Home > Brotherhood in Death (In Death #42)(5)

Brotherhood in Death (In Death #42)(5)
J.D. Robb

Somebody wanted something from Edward Mira. Chances were he’d stay alive until they got it.

She went back to the living room. They’d turned on the fire, and sat together on a sofa, drinking tea.

Eve sat on the coffee table facing them, as it made a tighter connection.

“I need some information. The Realtor—name, contact?”

“I have no idea. I’m sorry. The assistant didn’t mention it, and I was too upset to ask.”

“Okay, I’ll get that from his office. Where’s his office?”

“He retired from Congress to create and head a political think tank,” Mira told her. “He has an office in their headquarters, in the Chrysler Building.”

“Prime real estate.”

“Status is very important to Edward,” Dennis said. “His organization, the Mira Institute, takes two floors, and owns a pied-à-terre in East Washington for Edward’s use or when one of the other executives needs to be there.”

“Need that address, too, and his home address. I’m going to talk to his wife when I leave here. How was their relationship?”

Dennis glanced at his wife, sighed.

“I’ll take this. Mandy is a realist who enjoys the life she leads. She excelled on the campaign trail, continues to excel at fund-raisers and committees. The fact that Edward cheated, often? She considers that part of the whole, and not particularly important, as he’s discreet. She’s discreet as well, and uses the services of a licensed companion. Both their children are grown, of course, and while each play the game in public, neither have much affection for their parents or the choices their parents have made.”

“The world’s made up of all manner of parts, Charlie,” Dennis murmured.

“I’m aware. My professional opinion is Mandy would do nothing to unbalance her world. She would never hurt Edward, and in her way, she’s fond of him. In his way, he’s both grateful for her contributions to his career, and proud of her standing socially.”

“He’d have enemies.”

“Oh, scores. Politically, as you’d expect.”

“And personally?”

“He can and does charm—it’s part of politics, again. He also believes himself right on whatever stand he takes, politically and personally, and that can cause friction. This house is an example,” Mira continued. “Edward decided it needed to be sold, so to him, it will be.”

“He’s wrong,” Dennis said quietly, “and it won’t be. But that’s not important right now. Someone hurt him, and there’s been no mention of ransom.” He looked at Eve now. “You haven’t mentioned ransom.”

“I’ll talk to his wife about that. Mr. Mira, I want you to know I believe everything you’ve told me. And I don’t believe, not for a second, you’d do anything to hurt your cousin. Or anyone.”

“Thank you.”

“But I have to ask what I’m going to ask, or I’m not doing my job. If I’m not doing my job, I’m not helping you.”

“I understand. You need to ask me when I saw Edward last, how things were between us. If keeping this house in the family is so important to me, I might hire someone to frighten him.”

He nodded, set his tea aside. “We saw each other over the holidays. For form, really, I’m sorry to say. Charlotte and I attended a cocktail party at his home. When was that, Charlie?”

“On the twenty-second of December. We only stayed about an hour, as Edward tried to corner Dennis about selling the house.”

“I didn’t want to argue, so we left early. He sent me an e-mail shortly after the first of the year, outlining his reasons, again, and his plan of action.”

“You didn’t tell me that, Dennis.”

“You get so angry with him.” Dennis took Mira’s hand again. “And there was nothing new in it. I don’t like bringing that discord into our home. I answered him briefly that I didn’t agree, and intended to keep my promise to our grandfather. When he responded immediately, I knew he was very angry. He would usually wait as if too busy to deal with such matters. But he responded right away, and said he would give me time to be reasonable, and warned he would be forced to take legal action if I insisted on clinging to sentiment. And . . . he claimed there had been no promise, that I—as I tend to do—had mixed things up.”

“The hell with him!”

“Charlie—”

“The hell with him, that coldhearted bastard. I mean it, Dennis!” Outraged fury deepened her color, flashed in her eyes. “If you want to look at someone who’d have wanted to hurt him, look right here.”

“Dr. Mira,” Eve said coolly, “cut it out. I’m going to have EDD access those e-mails. That was your last communication?”

“Yes, it was. I didn’t respond. It was a cruel thing to say, and it was a lie. We made a promise.” Eve saw his baffled sorrow as clearly as Mira’s outraged fury. “I didn’t contact him again until today, but he didn’t answer.”

“All right.” She couldn’t help herself, and touched a hand to his knee. “You don’t mix up anything that’s important. I’ll find the answers to all this. I promise.”

She rose, grateful when the bell rang. “That’s going to be for me. I’m going to put the sweepers on the study first, and I’m going through the house personally. I’ve got uniforms who’ll knock on doors, see if any of the neighbors saw anything. I’m going to have a uniform take you home.”

She pulled out her ’link. “Would you put all the names and contact data I asked for on here?”

“Charlie should. I’m terrible with electronics.”

“So am I.” She passed her ’link to Mira. “It’s going to be okay.”

Dennis rose. “You’re such a smart woman. Such a good girl,” he added to her baffled surprise. Then he kissed her cheek, sweetly, leaving a faint tickle from the stubble he’d probably missed when shaving. “Thank you.”

Eve felt that tickle work its way into her heart as she went to answer the door.

2

Eve saw them off, spoke with the uniforms, the sweepers, and decided to take the house top to bottom. But as she started up the stairs, she stopped, sat down on one.

And tagged Roarke.

She led with “I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be.” His face filled the screen and, boy, what a face. It never failed to strike how some days the gods, the angels, the poets, the artists all got together to create something perfect. A beautifully carved mouth, wildly, impossibly blue eyes, sculpted cheekbones all framed by thick black silk.

“You’ve caught a case,” he continued, with those mists of Ireland whispering in his voice to complete the perfection.

“Sort of. No body, which makes it different. Or none yet. Dennis Mira was attacked.”

“What?” The just-for-her smile in his eyes vanished. “Is he hurt? What hospital? I’ll meet you.”

“He’s okay. I just sent them home. He took a pretty good whack to the back of the head, then smacked his temple on the floor when he fell. Probably has a mild concussion, but Mira’s on it.”

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