Home > Lion's Quest (A Lion's Pride #12)(6)

Lion's Quest (A Lion's Pride #12)(6)
Author: Eve Langlais

Problem being, he was fucking agitated. Only one thing to do.

He went looking for kittens.

Which might sound odd until tried. Something about the cute little furballs was relaxing and soothed him. Maybe one day he’d adopt one and not have to leave his house for calming. Today was not that day.

He found a lapful of furballs in the alley not far from the dry cleaners. He stroked the little rumbling bodies and couldn’t help thinking of the key found in his apartment in Russia. Everyone wanted to get their hands on it.

Let them. By the time they figured out the truth, he’d hopefully already have the treasure in hand.

 

 

Chapter Three

 

 

Nora didn’t find out about the attempted Montgomery kidnapping until the next morning. Night-shift Zach, who’d taken over surveillance so she could sleep, didn’t think to wake her.

He told her about it over the protein shake he’d made her for breakfast. Something gross and full of stuff that belonged in a rabbit cage, making them fat for eating. He ended up wearing some green goo as she spat it out and exclaimed, “What the hell? Why didn’t you wake me?”

“Didn’t see the point since I thwarted their attempt.” Zach dabbed at the slime rolling down his shirt.

It didn’t appear to be chewing through fabric. Yet. Her stomach, though…it rebelled against all that healthy stuff in one shot.

“Are you sure they were after him?” she asked.

“Sure seemed like it. The trunk on that car opened just seconds before Montgomery would have passed it. There were two guys in the car, one in the front, one in the back. The guy in the rear seat is the one who jumped out the second our boy went into the alley.”

“The same alley you were hiding in?”

He nodded. “Good thing I was already watching from the fire escape.”

“Where did you stash the perps? I want to talk to them.”

“I don’t have them.” His lips turned down. “I knocked out the backseat guy and would have taken front seat out, too, if a patrol car didn’t turn onto the street.”

Since getting arrested was a big no-no, Zach had darted back into the alley and watched as the driver hauled his friend off.

She inadvertently took a swig of the toxic green stuff and managed to swallow rather than gag. She had an ex-boyfriend who would have been impressed. “Did you get the license plate?”

“Yeah. And I already ran it. It’s a fake.”

“What about Montgomery? Is he aware of what happened? Did he see you?”

“No and no. He made it back to his apartment safe.” He pointed to the screen.

Montgomery was just getting out of bed, wearing nothing but black briefs. Much sexier than those baggy shorts some guys wore as underwear.

If Montgomery followed his routine, he’d be in the bathroom for about forty-five minutes and would emerge showered and wrapped in a towel from his waist down. For a human, he had a decent body. Lean. Too lean, actually, and more muscled than a sedentary guy like him had any business owning.

Almost as intriguing as the vee leading below the towel’s edge were the scars. White stripes all over his body. Old scars healed, but caused by what? They indicated he’d not spent the last six months in a luxury situation, but no one knew where he’d been.

Nora had pored over his file. It painted an interesting picture.

Peter Montgomery had a rap sheet. Theft being highest on his list. Nothing violent or truly depraved. He did like antiques, though. Not as a collector but as a person who acquired and then resold them for what the art world claimed they were worth. He’d had two lawsuits filed against him in the past for not disclosing the fact he knew something was valuable and giving the owners peanuts for it. Not exactly a crime if morally unethical, as one judge claimed before tossing the case.

In the case of the jail time he’d done, it was a heist gone wrong with him left as the fall guy. He got out and was later suspected of a few crimes, nothing concrete. Then about six months ago, he’d traveled to Russia on business. What business was never gleaned. He’d gone missing long enough that his sister went over to look for him. She didn’t find Montgomery, but she did get embroiled in a mystery that involved a key recovered from his apartment in Russia.

A key he supposedly didn’t remember. A disappearance that left him with amnesia. And scars…

Didn’t need to be curious to realize there was something hinky about the whole thing.

“What are you hiding?” she muttered before getting ready to go to work.

She got into place just in time and was checking the mailbox when he emerged from the elevator onto the ground floor. She leaned into the metal array of locked boxes, peering as she reached for nothing. He left without a word of greeting, and thirty seconds later, so did she. In bright daylight with people around, an attack was less likely. Especially since Zach had thwarted one just the night before. Whoever was targeting Montgomery would need to regroup.

Her subject didn’t have to go far before he entered a bookstore that matched his nerdy pastimes since they’d started spying, but not his portfolio of crimes. Which was the real man? The guy who’d pulled off some clever heists or the one who probably owned a set of dice and a wizard’s robe?

With him at work, it was time for her to start her new job. She entered the butcher shop that dealt in deli meats along with the fresher stuff. It resided across from the bookstore. Owned by some panther shifters under Pride protection, they’d agreed to let her pretend to work for them. It provided opportunities to go outside to wash the big display window. An hour later, she swept the sidewalk, watching who stayed parked too long. Who loitered. Every time someone entered his store, an alarm pinged her, and she also got notice if the door on the alley opened. Melly had installed special security to help Nora keep track of those coming and going. Brisker traffic than she would have expected for such a small shop. Nora wasn’t big on the whole reading thing, but she did like video gaming. First-person shooter and fighting scenarios being her faves.

Which happened to be what her target played.

Not that she cared about his likes. He was a job.

When he left the shop around noon, she started untying her apron, only to realize he was crossing the road. Shit, he was coming into the shop.

Why? Had he pegged her? How should she handle it?

Probably by pretending she actually worked here. She busied herself behind the counter, straightening the cheese slices, because you know, a good sandwich needed them tidy?

He’d think she was an idiot for sure. Next she’d be aligning the slices of meat.

She tucked her hands behind her back. “Hello and welcome. Can I help you?” The standard greeting she’d heard many a time when entering a place of business.

“Hey. Don’t I know you?”

Given they’d seen each other a few times around the building, lying was out of the question. “Maybe. You live around here?”

“That’s it.” He lifted his finger in an aha moment. “You’re the new neighbor.”

“Am I?” She played it nonchalant.

“You like to jog, and your boyfriend is into computers.”

So he’d noticed. “Do you stalk all your neighbors, or am I just special?” she crooned, leaning forward on the counter.

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