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“You’ve got a tight-knit crew,” Thor commented.

“Those two,” Marshall said with a nod toward Genevieve and Victor, “and Bethany all went to school together. Best friends. Poor Alex is the new guy. He’s only been around for about three years. All the way from Key Largo,” he added dryly. “What about your people?”

“The best,” Thor assured him. “Lizzie and Jack have worked it all—rescue, recovery, salvage. They’re a great team. And you must know Jack. Probably better than I do. The invitation to join this search came kind of suddenly, and several of my people were already committed to other projects. I’m missing some of my regulars, but I’ve known Jack forever and I’m glad to have him on my team.”

“Jack has more experience than all of us put together,” Marshall said.

“We should get going,” Thor said, checking his watch.

“I’d like to be down before nine to take advantage of the visibility before the storms roil up the sand.” He let out a whistle, drawing the attention of his crew, who hurried for their coffee.

Genevieve Wallace walked by, her eyes like sharp crystals as she assessed him without a word.

“Nice morning, wouldn’t you say, Miss Wallace.”

“Yes, a perfect morning,” she replied politely, and hurried on by.

It was a perfect morning, and the day passed uneventfully. Three different dives, hours under water. Just before three, with the regularity of a factory whistle, the storms started rolling in.

Thor had seen the sky change on the horizon, seen the rain when it had begun farther out at sea. When the divers came up for the third time, he motioned to Marshall that it was time to call it quits. With the boats lashed together, he could hear Marshall’s people talking as he waited for his own crew to stow their gear.

“I think we were closer yesterday,” Genevieve said.

“Why? Because of that woman you saw?” Alex teased her.

She slapped him on the arm. “Because I have a hunch. I think we need to back it up a bit, Marshall. We didn’t give yesterday’s location a thorough search. I mean, a relic isn’t going to just jump out of the sand into our hands.”

“We’ll talk about it,” Marshall assured her.

By then the motors were purring, they had cast off their ropes and weighed anchor, and were moving away.

“Think Genevieve might be right? Should we move back?” Lizzie asked.

He shrugged, though privately he admitted that they should retrace the area. There had been too much excitement yesterday—too much time spent looking for a woman’s body are not enough for signs of a wreck.

“We’ll see,” he said. “I’ll talk to Marshall about it tonight.”

He was startled when his cell phone started to ring. “Excuse me, guys,” he told them. When he moved forward and answered, he shook his head when he recognized Sheridan’s voice. “Yep, that will be fine.” He hung up and swore. The preliminaries had been done. But now…well, hell. It wasn’t his nickel. If Sheridan wanted to come down and talk again, so be it. “Meeting at the tiki bar tomorrow morning—seven-thirty sharp!” he called to the others.

Thor felt suddenly irritated. He didn’t know why exactly, but Sheridan bugged him. The man had even hinted that perhaps Thor should find another diver for his team. He didn’t like bringing in someone he didn’t know well. Maybe he’d have to hire someone else, he decided. They were looking for needles in a really giant haystack, and he wanted to do more of the actual diving himself. Well, tomorrow, at least, he would have an extra body around, if needed, with Sheridan there. That would work, for now, although he wasn’t sure how long he wanted Sheridan on his boat. Maybe it would all work out without bringing in untested strangers.

The day had yielded nothing, but Genevieve still felt on top of the world.

She had slept with every light in the bungalow on, dreading the darkness. But she had drifted off at some point and actually slept reasonably well.

She had tried to appear completely calm, competent and rational throughout the morning, even allowing the others to joke at her expense. She simply wasn’t going to live this down for a while. And yet, despite her apparent calm, she had been terrified all morning, praying silently not to have any visions this time, not to see a dead woman telling her to beware.

All day, she had stayed closer to Victor than usual, all the while trying not to let him know what she was doing. But if she saw something, she was determined he was going to see it, too.

There had been no finds. But there had been no corpses in the water, either. That made the day a great success, as far as she was concerned.

By five she had washed down her own equipment, helped with the boat, showered and changed. She wasn’t fond of hanging around by herself, so she hurried out to the tiki bar.

She was the first arrival from either of the crews. Clint saw her, and brought over a Miller Lite. “You do want a beer, right?”

“I do. Thank you.”

He grinned. “It’s the only appropriate libation for kick-ass women.”

“Bethany likes piña coladas,” she reminded him.

“Well…some chicks can get away with it,” he assured her. “Ah, the big guy himself.”

Genevieve thought he had to mean Zach—she hadn’t met many people in her life quite as tall as Zach. But then she turned and realized Clint wasn’t referring to Zach. He was talking about the man she had personally dubbed asshole.

To her displeasure, he headed right for her. Then again, the only other guests enjoying the thatched shade of the tiki bar right now were an elderly couple who had told her earlier they hailed from Ohio. A nice couple, but not exactly people any of them knew.

Not that he exactly knew her, Genevieve thought as he approached.

He didn’t ask if he could join her, just nodded—eyes shaded behind dark glasses again—and slid into one of the chairs. By the time he was seated, Clint had returned with a beer.

“One of these days, do you think I can head out with you guys?” Clint asked him.

Thor shrugged, accepting the beer with a quick “Thanks.” He looked up at Clint. “What kind of a diver are you?”

“A good one. I have a master’s certification.”

Thor gave Clint a long assessment, not a muscle in his face so much as ticking. “Sure. Take time off next week. But out on the boat, I’m not just captain, I’m God Almighty. If you can live with that…?”

“Shit, yes,” Clint said, then caught himself. “Sorry, Genevieve.”

“I think she’s all right with the word,” Thor said, smiling. Evidently he hadn’t forgotten a single one of her words to him.

“No problem, Clint,” she replied. “And if you want, I’m sure you can go out with us, too, one of these days.” She hoped her sunglasses were every bit as opaque as Thor’s and her smile every bit as pleasant.

“Cool.” Clint was still looking at Thor, as if for approval. After a moment, he moved away awkwardly, giving them a thumbs-up sign.

“So, how was your day?” Thor asked her once Clint had moved on.

“Fine, just fine.”

“Nothing down there, huh?”

“If there had been, I would have reported it.”

“Nothing strange, I meant.”

She forced another smile. “You know, I really don’t know who you think you are. I’ve been out on these reefs all my life. I know every landmark. And I’ll bet I make a discovery before you do.”

He sat back, a small smile curving his lips. “You think you can outdo me, Miss Wallace?”

“I know I can.”

He shook his head, amused. For a brief moment, she wondered what the hell she was doing. He had a sixth sense when it came to finding what was lost beneath the sea.

“Interesting,” he said. “You’re really throwing down the gauntlet.”

Yes, she was. And that, she realized, seemed to take him from believing she was nuts in one way to believing she was nuts in another, saner, way.

“Well?” she demanded icily.

He shrugged. “Is this a dare? For real?”

“You bet.”

“You’re on.”


“We’re talking about a real relic—not imagined,” he said.

“Absolutely,” she agreed.

“All right. What’s the bet?” he asked.

She shrugged. The stakes hadn’t entered her mind.

“A round of beers?” she suggested.

He shook his head. “Far too cheap.”

She arched a brow. “I planned on a friendly wager.”

“A friendly wager?”

“Okay. So we’re far from being friends.”

“Do you have so little faith in yourself?”

“Should I be betting my house?” she inquired lightly, feeling ever-so-slightly ill in the pit of her stomach.

He shook his head, his smile deepening. “I wouldn’t dream of taking your house.”

“What makes you think you’d take it? And what would I be getting—when I win?”

He laughed out loud then, truly enjoying himself. “I have a nice place in Jacksonville.”

“But I have no desire to leave the Keys.”

“As I said, I have no intention of taking your home, either.”

He was intent on winning, she knew—despite the fact she couldn’t see his eyes. There was a tightening, barely visible, in his muscles. His male ego was taking over. Testosterone was racing. It was pathetically immature, she thought.

She had started it.

“You won’t get a chance to take my home,” she assured him coolly.

“Well, a round of beers is too paltry, claiming your house too serious. I guess we could give this thing some thought overnight, hmm?” he suggested.

“Whatever you wish, Mr. Thompson,” she said stiffly.