Page 9


Della, arms crossed over her chest, dropped down into the chair across from the vamp, staring daggers at him. He stared right back at her as if to prove a point.
She’d decided to let him start the conversation … let him put his size-twelve feet in his mouth and try to talk around them. Unfortunately, he had more patience than she, and she finally blurted out, “Were you even going to tell me?”
“Of course I was going to tell you,” he said in a voice much calmer than hers.
“But you didn’t think you should tell me before telling them I wouldn’t do it? Since when do I not get a say in what I do?”
He leaned in, met her eye in a calculated stare. “Calm down.”
“I will not calm down. You denied—”
He thumped his hand on the desk. “Yes, I said no to you working for them. But I’ve already made a call, and am trying to contact someone to make a counteroffer. But, to answer your question, you don’t get a say in the matter when I feel you’re putting your life at risk.” He hissed out air through his clenched teeth. “And before you start, it’s not because you’re a girl! I wouldn’t have allowed anyone here at Shadow Falls to do that.”
She unfolded her arms, hearing the honesty in both his tone and his steady heart. “What kind of counteroffer?”
“I’m suggesting they allow Chase to come work with us, and you two work the case.” He held up a hand. “I might … might be willing to compromise and let him report to both of us, but only if they agree to my conditions.”
“What conditions?”
“All assignments have to be cleared through me, and I have the right to have other agents shadowing you two if I feel it’s needed.”
“And if they don’t agree to it?” she asked, thinking of Natasha and Liam.
“Then there isn’t any reason why the FRU can’t start our own investigation. We’ve already done the basic legwork.”
“And you’ll put me on the case?” she asked, needing assurance.
“It will have to be cleared by the FRU, but I don’t see any reason why they wouldn’t. You’ve already built a reputation with them.”
Della relaxed back in the chair, liking the sound of that, but it brought little reprieve from the real problems. “Thank you.”
He nodded, then frowned. “All this could have been avoided if Chase hadn’t set out to stir shit up.”
“You mean ‘cause trouble,’ or perhaps ‘stir crap up,’” Della corrected. When he looked confused, she explained, “You can’t cuss, remember?” A slight smile brushed across her lips remembering Holiday’s soap-washing threat.
“Trouble,” he said, correcting himself.
“And…” she continued, “honestly, Chase didn’t set out to cause trouble. He just happened to be at the falls when I went there.” Her heart did a little dance, because she didn’t actually believe it was a coincidence. They’d been called there. But was it about her and Chase or about Natasha and Liam?
“But he still told you about the case,” Burnett said, his tone deepened with anger.
“Not really. I mean, someone else told me and I just had him confirm it.”
Burnett studied her, probably listening to see if her heart marked her words as a lie. “No one else knows,” he said.
“Someone knows,” Della said.
“Who?” His brow tightened and he leaned forward.
“A ghost,” Della said, and felt the frown rise up inside her.
“What … ghost?” he asked, glancing around as if he expected it to be there.
She repeated what had happened at the falls to Burnett, told him about the voice, about the vision of two people feeding off each other. He picked up a pencil and rolled it in his hands while he listened. “Did you tell Holiday all this?”
Della nodded, her chest tightening as she grasped ahold of what little hope she had. “She thinks Natasha and Liam are dead.”
“And you don’t?” Burnett’s pencil rolling stopped while he waited for her to answer.
“No. I think the ghost is someone wanting them rescued. She referred to Natasha by name. She didn’t say ‘find me.’”
Burnett leaned back in his chair, making it squeak. “She?”
Della nodded. “And oddly, she didn’t mention Liam. It’s as if she’s more concerned about the girl.”
Burnett gave the pencil another roll between his palms. “But most of the time when Holiday has visions like … like the one you had—”
“I know,” Della said. “Most of the time it’s the person who’s dead. But I’m not Holiday. Maybe being a Reborn makes it different for me.” She looked up at him. “For us. Have you had any visions where they weren’t dead?”
He looked appalled at the idea of communicating with spirits, as if she’d asked him for a recommendation on which tampon to use. “I’ve … I’ve never had a vision. I just sense them when they’re hanging around Holiday and can hear them sometimes. But I’ve actually only seen one ghost—Hannah, Holiday’s sister.”
“Lucky you.”
“Yeah,” he agreed, almost too wholeheartedly, but then added, “But it is because of you seeing and hearing ghosts that we caught the last killer and didn’t arrest the wrong guy. Holiday insists it’s a gift. And sometimes I can’t argue with her.”