“I can think of lots of reasons,” said Tracy. “Rebellion. A desire to piss off his parents. Or maybe he actually believed in what they stood for? He didn’t ask to be born rich or royal after all.”
Cameron looked skeptical. “Maybe he was funding them? He could certainly afford it.”
“Maybe,” Tracy agreed excitedly. “And maybe the woman in that picture is Althea. Maybe she got him involved. Maybe she helped to channel the funds. And maybe Frank Dorrien knew about it, and . . .”
“Whoa. Hold on there.” Cameron put a hand on Tracy’s shoulder. “That’s a whole lot of conjecture. Are you sure you aren’t putting two and two together and making seventeen?”
Turning off the computer, Tracy turned to face him.
“Perhaps. But the point is, I’m putting two and two together. There is a link here, Cameron, a whole bunch of links in fact. Frank Dorrien doesn’t want anyone to find them. And the CIA are right behind him on that, trying to scare me off. Why?”
Without thinking, Tracy found she had put her hand over Cameron’s. It was a long time since she’d been this physically close to anyone, never mind an attractive man. Once again desire and guilt competed for her attention.
Guilt won. Tracy pulled back.
“If this is Althea,” Cameron said, “it’s the only picture anyone has of her.”
“I know,” said Tracy.
“Have you shown it to Greg Walton yet?”
“No. Only to you.”
Cameron flushed with pleasure. He liked that Tracy came to him first. Only to you. She looked incredibly sexy tonight, her green eyes alight with intelligence and purpose.
“Are you going to show Walton?”
Tracy thought about it.
“No,” she said at last. “Not for the moment anyway. The truth is, I don’t trust the CIA. Not fully. And I know for a fact that they don’t trust me.”
“Don’t take it personally,” Cameron said. “They’re spies. It’s their job not to trust people.”
“I’m not taking it personally. I’m just not prepared to work for them blind. I think they already know why Hunter Drexel didn’t get into that helicopter.”
Tracy nodded. “It was something to do with this story he was working on. Something to do with fracking. That’s the only thing that makes sense. Achileas’s family wanted to sell land to Henry Cranston, land rich with shale gas. Now Achileas and Cranston are both dead. The U.S. government has a huge vested interest in fracking. We’re talking about a multibillion-dollar business, vital to American interests.”
“You don’t need to tell me,” Cameron reminded her.
“You’re lucky you haven’t been hit so far,” Tracy told him. “Group 99 aren’t the only ones who want a share in those billions, a piece of that pie. People will kill for that sort of money.”
“Nobody’s going to kill me.”
Leaning forward Cameron kissed Tracy once, gently, on the lips.
She didn’t kiss him back. But she didn’t stop him either.
This is not supposed to happen. This cannot happen.
When she opened her eyes, Cameron was smiling at her.
“How about that dinner you promised me?”
THEY STAYED IN.
Cameron’s private chef had gone home for the night, but to Tracy’s surprise he whipped up a passable spaghetti supper for the two of them.
“I’d never have pegged you as the domestic type,” Tracy said.
Cameron noticed she was wolfing down her pasta as if she hadn’t eaten in days. For such a tiny person, she ate like a horse.
“When you’re divorced, you learn.” He poured them both more wine. “I’m not the next Jamie Oliver, but I can get by.”
They ate at the kitchen counter. Tracy had assumed they’d talk more about Group 99 and what she’d found in General Dorrien’s house, but in fact the conversation quickly turned to more personal matters. It was strange how easily things flowed between them. This was only the second evening Tracy had spent in Cameron’s company, but even before the kiss, an intimacy had been established between them that belied their short acquaintance.
Maybe it’s the shared grief, Tracy thought. Or maybe it’s the fact that I trust him. That we trust each other.
Trust was a commodity in increasingly short supply in Tracy’s world. She suspected the same was true for Cameron. He was so laid-back, it was easy to forget that he was worth billions of dollars. That fact alone would have earned him scores of enemies, and even more false friends.
Or maybe I’m kidding myself. Maybe this is nothing more than straightforward sexual attraction.
Certainly there could be no denying the chemistry between them. Tracy had felt it the moment she walked in to the apartment. She’d felt it again when they sat at the computer desk together. When they kissed. And just now, watching Cameron at the stove. Sex could make old friends of total strangers. It could also seriously cloud judgment.
“What?” Cameron was looking at her oddly. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing.” Tracy stared down at her spaghetti.
“It’s not nothing. Your face just changed. You’re feeling guilty, aren’t you?”
“Why would I be feeling guilty?” Tracy tried not to show how unnerved she felt. Cameron shouldn’t be able to read her like this.
“Because you’re happy. Even though Nick is dead.”
It wasn’t said unkindly. Quite the opposite in fact. But it was too much for Tracy. Tears swam in her eyes.
Cameron reached over and took her hand in his, just as he had back in Geneva at the restaurant. But this time Tracy didn’t snatch it away.
“Being happy is not betraying your son,” Cameron told her. “At least, if it is, then we’re both guilty.”
He squeezed her hand. Tracy squeezed back.
They didn’t need words.
AFTER DINNER THEY SAT together in Cameron’s living room, sipping Cognac in front of a vast baronial fireplace.
Out of nowhere, Cameron said, “I think you should show Walton the pictures.”
Tracy’s eyes widened. “What? Why?”
“Two reasons. One, because as long as you’re in possession of that hard drive, your life is probably in danger.”
Tracy didn’t argue.
“And two because this woman Althea needs to be stopped. You may be able to find her on your own. But finding her and capturing her are very different things. You can’t stop her alone. The CIA have resources.”
Tracy studied his face. The broken nose, the intense gray eyes. Cameron had beautiful eyes. There was something honest about them, the perfect complement to the matter-of-fact, direct way he expressed himself.
He’d be terribly easy to fall in love with, Tracy thought. If I were capable of falling in love again.
That was one roller coaster ride that was most definitely behind her. Thank heavens.
“What if I weren’t alone?” she said. “What if you helped me? What if we found her together?”
Cameron laughed. “Me?”
“Why not? You have resources too, after all.”
“I have money. That’s not quite the same thing.”
“Sure it is. And anyway, it’s not only money. You have a vast network of contacts all over the world. Not just in the fracking industry but in politics, journalism, the charity sector. You know people.”
“Yes, but Tracy, I’m a businessman. I’m not a spy or a paramilitary. I don’t have the wherewithal to stop terrorists.”
“Six months ago I was a soccer mom,” Tracy reminded him.
“Hardly.” Cameron gave her a knowing look.
Tracy’s eyes narrowed. “You’ve been researching me?”
“Maybe a little.” Cameron smiled sheepishly. “I liked what I found, though.”
“OK, so maybe I wasn’t your average soccer mom,” Tracy admitted. “But the point is I was a civilian. And now I’m not.”
“No,” Cameron agreed. “Now you’re not.”
“Please think about it. I know we could do it. We could find Althea and Hunter Drexel.”
“The world is out there looking for Hunter,” Cameron said. “What makes you think we could find him?”
“We have Sally Faiers. She trusts me and I think she’ll help me. Especially if Hunter wants to be found.”
“If he wanted to be found he’d have gotten into that helicopter,” Cameron said reasonably.
“Not if he thought the CIA might harm him. Or silence him. You and I are different. All we want is the truth. My bet is that’s exactly what Hunter Drexel’s been trying to do. Tell the truth. Remember, he was on his way to see you when he was kidnapped.”
“So he had something he wanted to tell you. Or ask you. I’m guessing he still does.”
“It’s a theory,” Cameron said skeptically.
“Do you have a better one?” asked Tracy.
“I guess not.”
Cameron moved closer. Suddenly Tracy felt powerfully aware of their touching hands. The heat of Cameron’s body, its strength, its nearness. The sexual tension between them was electric and stifling at the same time, like a New Orleans thunderstorm about to break.
Sliding a hand around the back of Tracy’s neck, Cameron pulled her to him and kissed her. Not gently, like he had earlier, but forcefully and passionately. Tracy responded instinctively, losing herself in the moment. The kiss was an explosion, wild and urgent, as if they were both racing against an invisible clock. Reaching down, Cameron grabbed the hem of Tracy’s dress and yanked it up over her head in one fluid movement.