Home > The Investigator (Norcross #1)

The Investigator (Norcross #1)
Author: Anna Hackett

Chapter One

 

 

There was a glass of chardonnay with her name on it waiting for her at home.

Haven McKinney smiled. The museum was closed, and she was done for the day.

As she walked across the East gallery of the Hutton Museum, her heels clicked on the marble floor.

God, she loved the place. The creamy marble that made up the flooring and wrapped around the grand pillars was gorgeous. It had that hushed air of grandeur that made her heart squeeze a little every time she stepped inside. But more than that, the amazing art the Hutton housed sang to the art lover in her blood.

Snagging a job here as the curator six months ago had been a dream come true. She’d been at a low point in her life. Very low. Haven swallowed a snort and circled a stunning white-marble sculpture of a naked, reclining woman with the most perfect resting bitch face. She’d never guessed that her life would come crashing down at age twenty-nine.

She lifted her chin. Miami was her past. The Hutton and San Francisco were her future. No more throwing caution to the wind. She had a plan, and she was sticking to it.

She paused in front of a stunning exhibit of traditional Chinese painting and calligraphy. It was one of their newer exhibits, and had been Haven’s brainchild. Nearby, an interactive display was partially assembled. Over the next few days, her staff would finish the installation. Excitement zipped through Haven. She couldn’t wait to have the touchscreens operational. It was her passion to make art more accessible, especially to children. To help them be a part of it, not just look at it. To learn, to feel, to enjoy.

Art had helped her through some of the toughest times in her life, and she wanted to share that with others.

She looked at the gorgeous old paintings again. One portrayed a mountainous landscape with beautiful maple trees. It soothed her nerves.

Wine would soothe her nerves, as well. Right. She needed to get upstairs to her office and grab her handbag, then get an Uber home.

Her cell phone rang and she unclipped it from the lanyard she wore at the museum. “Hello?”

“Change of plans, girlfriend,” a smoky female voice said. “Let’s go out and celebrate being gorgeous, successful, and single. I’m done at the office, and believe me, it has been a grueling day.”

Haven smiled at her new best friend. She’d met Gia Norcross when she joined the Hutton. Gia’s wealthy brother, Easton Norcross, owned the museum, and was Haven’s boss. The museum was just a small asset in the businessman’s empire. Haven suspected Easton owned at least a third of San Francisco. Maybe half.

She liked and respected her boss. Easton could be tough, but he valued her opinions. And she loved his bossy, take-charge, energetic sister. Gia ran a highly successful PR firm in the city, and did all the PR and advertising for the Hutton. They’d met not long after Haven had started work at the museum.

After their first meeting, Gia had dragged Haven out to her favorite restaurant and bar, and the rest was history.

“I guess making people’s Instagram look pretty and not staged is hard work,” Haven said with a grin.

“Bitch.” Gia laughed. “God, I had a meeting with a businessman caught in…well, let’s just say he and his assistant were not taking notes on the boardroom table.”

Haven felt an old, unwelcome memory rise up. She mentally stomped it down. “I don’t feel sorry for the cheating asshole, I feel sorry for whatever poor shmuck got more than they were paid for when they walked into the boardroom.”

“Actually, it was the cheating businessman’s wife.”

“Uh-oh.”

“And the assistant was male,” Gia added.

“Double uh-oh.”

“Then said cheater comes to my PR firm, telling me to clean up his mess, because he’s thinking he might run for governor one day. I mean, I’m good, but I can’t wrangle miracles.”

Haven suspected that Gia had verbally eviscerated the man and sent him on his way. Gia Norcross had a sharp tongue, and wasn’t afraid to use it.

“So, grueling day and I need alcohol. I’ll meet you at ONE65, and the first drink is on me.”

“I’m pretty wiped, Gia—”

“Uh-uh, no excuses. I’ll see you in an hour.” And with that, Gia was gone.

Haven clipped her phone to her lanyard. Well, it looked like she was having that chardonnay at ONE65, the six-story, French dining experience Gia loved. Each level offered something different, from patisserie, to bistro and grill, to bar and lounge.

Haven walked into the museum’s main gallery, and her blood pressure dropped to a more normal level. It was her favorite space in the museum. The smell of wood, the gorgeous lights gleaming overhead, and the amazing paintings combined to create a soothing room. She smoothed her hands down her fitted, black skirt. Haven was tall, at five foot eight, and curvy, just like her mom had been. Her boobs, currently covered by a cute, white blouse with a tie around her neck, weren’t much to write home about, but she had to buy her skirts one size bigger. She sighed. No matter how much she walked or jogged—blergh, okay, she didn’t jog much—she still had an ass.

Even in her last couple of months in Miami, when stress had caused her to lose a bunch of weight due to everything going on, her ass hadn’t budged.

Memories of Miami—and her douchebag-of-epic-proportions-ex—threatened, churning like storm clouds on the horizon.

Nope. She locked those thoughts down. She was not going there.

She had a plan, and the number one thing for taking back and rebuilding her life was no men. She’d sworn off anyone with a Y chromosome.

She didn’t need one, didn’t want one, she was D-O-N-E, done.

She stopped in front of the museum’s star attraction. Claude Monet’s Water Lilies.

Haven loved the impressionist’s work. She loved the colors, the delicate strokes. This one depicted water lilies and lily pads floating on a gentle pond. His paintings always made an impact, and had a haunting, yet soothing feel to them.

It was also worth just over a hundred million dollars.

The price tag still made her heart flutter. She’d put a business case to Easton, and they’d purchased the painting three weeks ago at auction. Haven had planned out the display down to the rivets used on the wood. She’d thrown herself into the project.

Gia had put together a killer marketing campaign, and Haven had reluctantly been interviewed by the local paper. But it had paid off. Ticket sales to the museum were up, and everyone wanted to see Water Lilies.

Footsteps echoed through the empty museum, and she turned to see a uniformed security guard appear in the doorway.

“Ms. McKinney?”

“Yes, David? I was just getting ready to leave.”

“Sorry to delay you. There’s a delivery truck at the back entrance. They say they have a delivery of a Zadkine bronze.”

Haven frowned, running through the next day’s schedule in her head. “That’s due tomorrow.”

“It sounds like they had some other deliveries nearby and thought they’d squeeze it in.”

She glanced at her slim, silver wristwatch, fighting back annoyance. She’d had a long day, and now she’d be late to meet Gia. “Fine. Have them bring it in.”

With a nod, David disappeared. Haven pulled out her phone and quickly fired off a text to warn Gia that she’d be late. Then Haven headed up to her office, and checked her notes for tomorrow. She had several calls to make to chase down some pieces for a new exhibit she wanted to launch in the winter. There were some restoration quotes to go over, and a charity gala for her art charity to plan. She needed to get down into the storage rooms and see if there was anything they could cycle out and put on display.

Hot Books
» House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City #1)
» Deviant King (Royal Elite #1)
» Chasing Cassandra (The Ravenels #6)
» The Play (Briar U Book 3)
» Sweet Temptation
» From Blood and Ash (Blood And Ash #1)
» Steel Princess (Royal Elite #2)
» Archangel's War
» Angry God (All Saints High #3)
» ENEMIES
» Twisted Kingdom (Royal Elite #3)
» Fake It 'Til You Break It
» The Queen of Nothing (The Folk of the Air #
» Devious Lies (Cruel Crown #1)
» Credence