Matt took her face in his hands. “You look so troubled. Is it Inspector Liu?”
“Yes,” she lied. “He’s out to get me.”
“Well, he won’t succeed,” Matt assured her. “Not while I’m around. Listen, Lisa, I know it’s not really the time. And I know last night was unexpected, for both of us. But I have to tell you. I’ve never felt like this before. I—”
Lisa put a finger to his lips. “Not here. Liu and his men will probably coming scuttling out of that door any moment.”
She was right. A busy street outside of a police station was no place to declare his undying love. Matt stretched out his arm. A cab stopped instantly.
Lisa raised an eyebrow. The Peninsula was the grandest hotel in Hong Kong. They could afford it, now that the authorities had unfrozen Miles’s accounts and allowed Lisa access to his money. But it was hardly lying low.
“I figured if we’re going to be kept here under virtual house arrest, we might as well make our cage a gilded one,” said Matt. “I want you to be happy.”
Lisa knew all about gilded cages. “I’ll be happy anywhere,” she told him truthfully, “as long as I’m with you.”
If only I could stay with him forever.
If only I could tell him the truth.
But she knew she never would.
THEIR SUITE WAS GENEROUS. THERE WAS a small, exquisitely furnished living room and two full-size marble baths adjoining a grand double bedroom with spectacular harbor views. After a hot shower and a room-service club sandwich, Lisa felt revived enough to talk to Matt about her interview with Inspector Liu.
“He had new information. He must have spoken to Joyce Chan. Frightened her into speaking out.”
“Who’s Joyce Chan?”
“Our housekeeper at Prospect Road. She’s the only one who could have put the idea into Liu’s head that I was having an affair.”
So that’s where the rumor started, thought Matt, remembering his heated conversation with Danny McGuire. Malicious servant’s gossip.
“Oh no!” Lisa looked horrified. “No, no, Mrs. Chan’s lovely. She would never knowingly try to hurt me.”
“Then why on earth would she say such a thing?”
“Because she was frightened,” said Lisa. “And because it’s true.”
“I HAVEN’T BEEN FULLY HONEST WITH you.”
It was twenty minutes later and the two of them were in bed. Naked, wrapped in each other’s arms…it felt like the right time to share confidences.
“I wanted to. But I didn’t know where to start.”
“That’s okay.” Matt stroked her hair soothingly. The truth was, he hadn’t been fully honest with Lisa either. She still knew nothing about his connection with Interpol and Danny McGuire. All this time she’d been sharing her home, and now her bed, with a police mole. If that wasn’t a betrayal, he didn’t know what was.
Nervously, stumbling over her words, Lisa told Matt about the affair. There had only been one lover, not a string of them, as McGuire had implied. She’d denied the relationship to the police in order to protect the young man involved. She had never loved him, nor he her, but he’d helped alleviate the loneliness of her marriage to Miles.
“When Miles and I dated, we were intimate. It wasn’t the most passionate relationship in the world—Miles was a lot older—but we did make love. But after we married, things changed. Miles was kind to me and affectionate. But he put me on a pedestal in his mind. As if I were this pure, untouchable thing. Relations between us were…rare.”
For a second, Matt felt an affinity with Miles Baring. Lisa was incredibly desirable. Yet at the same time she was so perfect, so good, he understood the urge to cast her as a Madonna, something to be worshipped rather than defiled.
“It was a sex thing, then. Between you and this man?”
Lisa blushed and looked away. “Do you hate me?”
Matt pulled her close, breathing in the warm scent of her. “I could never hate you. You’re everything to me.”
Lisa looked pained. “Don’t say that.”
“Why not? It’s true. You know it’s true. I think I might hate him, but that’s a different matter. And I certainly don’t think you should be protecting him at your own expense.”
“I have to protect him,” said Lisa.
“Because. It’s my duty. We promised not to reveal each other’s identity.”
“Yeah, but that was before Miles was murdered and you were raped. That kind of changes things, don’t you think? Liu obviously suspects he was involved.”
Lisa shook her head in silent misery. “Nothing changes a promise. Breaking a vow is wrong. It’s wrong.” She rolled away from him to the other side of the bed.
“How well do you know this guy?” asked Matt, his blood running cold. What if Inspector Liu and Danny were right? Not about Lisa being an accomplice to the murder of her husband—that was ridiculous—but about her lover being the killer? He clearly still had some sort of hold over her.
Lisa answered with her face to the wall. “How well does anybody know anyone?” More riddles. “How well do you and I know each other, if it comes to that?”
The echoes of Danny McGuire’s words were uncomfortable. Had that conversation really only been last night? It felt like a lifetime ago.
“Tell me his name, Lisa.”
“I can’t. I’m sorry.”
Matt said bitterly, “You don’t trust me.”
Lisa turned back around, propping herself up on her elbow, her magnificent breasts tumbling onto the Frette sheets between them. “I do trust you, Matt,” she said indignantly. “You have no idea what a big deal that is for me. At least I’m being honest, which is more than I can say for you.”
“What do you mean?”
“That phone call last night. You brushed it off when I asked you about it. But it wasn’t just a ‘misunderstanding with a friend,’ was it? It was about me.”
Matt sighed. “Okay. Yes, it was.” After all this time it was a relief to admit it. He told her about Danny McGuire, how he’d worked on the original investigation into Andrew Jakes’s homicide and since moved to Interpol, but how Matt had tracked him down and told him about the other murders, of Didier Anjou and Piers Henley.
“The other widows all disappeared, as you know, but you were still safe, at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. I flew out here to find out what I could and report back to McGuire.”
The blood drained from Lisa’s face.
“And did you? ‘Report back,’ I mean? Oh my God. Is that why you slept with me? To try to get more information out of me, to get me to open up?”
“No!” Matt shook his head vehemently. “That’s why I came out here, but once I met you, everything changed. I haven’t contacted McGuire once, I swear. That was part of the reason he was pissed at me last night on the phone. I disappeared on him.”
Lisa drew her knees up to her chest, the sheet wrapped defensively around her. She thought about what Matt had said. Eventually she asked him, “What was the other part? You said that was ‘part of the reason’ he was pissed. What was the other part?”
Matt swallowed. In for a penny, in for a pound. He might as well tell her now.
“He’d spoken to Liu. He told me you were cheating on Miles and that he thought you might have been an accessory to his murder.”
“I know, I know. I told him he was blowing smoke out of his ass, that you had nothing to do with it. But he wanted me to leave you, to get out of Mirage and come home. Liu had pictures of you and me together. He’d put two and two together and made about a thousand. I think Danny was worried that if I got arrested it would come out that he and I were working together. The folks at Interpol aren’t too thrilled about having amateurs meddling in their cases. Danny might have gotten in trouble, or at the very least been pulled off the case.”
“So you knew I was cheating on Miles,” said Lisa. “You knew and it didn’t bother you?”
“I didn’t know. McGuire told me you were, but I didn’t believe him. It didn’t jibe with the Lisa I know.”
The Lisa you know! It was so poignant, so pathetic in a way, Lisa didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.
Matt said, “I love you so much. I don’t care what happened before you and I met.”
“You should, Matt. The past—”
“—is gone. You know, last night Danny McGuire asked me the same question you just did: How well do I really know you? How well do you really know me? And you know what the answer is?”
“The answer is, we know what we need to know. We know we love each other. That’s enough.”