Cameron Crewe was distraught.
He couldn’t let that happen. He had to get Tracy to wake up.
He’d been on the point of giving up when suddenly, in the early hours of this morning, he’d woken suddenly in the chair by Tracy’s bed to hear her moaning loudly, asking for water and complaining about her head. She’d been confused at first. Delirious. But within a few short hours she was sitting up, sipping sweetened tea and holding his hand, talking to him quite normally.
“Do you know what happened to you?” Cameron asked her. “Do you remember anything?”
Tracy looked away guiltily.
“I know you had dinner with Jeff Stevens,” Cameron said. “It’s OK.”
He was trying to reassure her, but Tracy’s eyes instantly narrowed with suspicion.
“How do you know?”
“Greg Walton mentioned it,” Cameron said, a little too breezily. The last thing he wanted was to alienate Tracy now. He’d let her out of his sight once, against his better judgment, and he was in no hurry to repeat the experience. “Do you have any idea who did this to you?” he asked, changing tack.
Tracy shook her head. “Do you?”
“I have a couple of theories.”
“You won’t like them.”
“OK. Jeff Stevens.”
“Jeff?” Tracy started to laugh, but it made her head hurt. “That’s ridiculous.”
“Is it?” Cameron looked at her intently. “I don’t see why. He knew where you were. It would have been the easiest thing in the world for him to follow you that night. He’d already pumped you for information over dinner. Found out what his paymasters wanted to know. He didn’t need you anymore.”
“Jeff would never hurt me.” Tracy was unequivocal.
“Are you sure? What if he felt he’d told you too much that night at dinner? What if he regretted it? Maybe he was scared?”
Tracy shook her head. “You’re way off base.”
But Cameron wasn’t giving up. “Maybe he was jealous. Angry. Lashing out in a blind fit of rage.”
“You and me,” Cameron said. “Being together. That can’t be easy for him.”
Tracy blushed scarlet. She wanted to say, We’re not together! Who said we were together? But this didn’t feel like the right time. Besides which, she really didn’t know what her romantic feelings were at this moment, for Cameron, or Jeff, or anyone.
“You told me yourself he has a temper,” Cameron went on. “It makes sense, Tracy.”
“It doesn’t. Move on. What’s your other theory?”
“General Frank Dorrien.”
Tracy’s ears pricked up. “Go on.”
Cameron outlined his theory. Like Jeff, Dorrien knew where Tracy had been that night and could easily have followed her after dinner. Perhaps he knew about the harddrive Tracy had stolen from his house in England, the evidence tying him to Prince Achileas’s death? That alone would be motive enough for him to try to kill her. He’d made no secret of his dislike of Tracy from the beginning. Now, according to Greg Walton, Dorrien’s MI6 bosses were equally displeased with her efforts to corner Hunter Drexel privately, not to mention her failure to make progress on Althea.
“No one in Whitehall would be crying into their Earl Grey tea if you met an untimely end, Tracy,” Cameron said bluntly. “They want to catch Drexel first. They want the glory. That’s why they brought Jeff Stevens in in the first place, to cut you off at the knees.”
Tracy thought, It’s possible. Jeff basically admitted as much over dinner.
“What if Dorrien saw his chance and he took it?” Cameron warmed to his theme. “But he screwed up. You didn’t die right away. There was a witness. So he swoops in as a ‘bystander,’ has you brought here, controls all access to you. He didn’t even tell the CIA you’d been attacked until a day and a half after the fact. That doesn’t strike you as suspicious?”
The problem was, everything struck Tracy as suspicious. She was more than prepared to believe that Frank Dorrien had attacked her. She knew for a fact he was capable of it, especially if he felt impelled by some warped sense of duty. Or even just to save his own skin. And yet something was niggling at her. Something that didn’t quite ring true.
“What about Hunter Drexel?” she asked Cameron.
“What about him?”
“He could have attacked me. If he thought I was close to finding him. Close to finding out the truth.”
“It’s possible, I suppose.” Cameron sounded unconvinced.
“Or Althea?” Tracy mused.
“No. That makes no sense. Why would she go to so much trouble to get you involved in this in the first place if all she wanted was to kill you? Besides, the witnesses described a man.”
“It was dark. A tall woman with her hair up could easily look like a man.”
Cameron shook his head. “I think it was the British, Tracy. Either Dorrien or Stevens. They’re on the same team now, after all. And it’s not our team. All this talk of ‘cooperation,’ it’s total bullshit.”
That much Tracy agreed with. “I know.”
She squeezed Cameron’s hand.
“You can’t trust Jeff Stevens, Tracy.”
“I know that too. I was planning on working with him, not trusting him.”
Cameron looked confused.
“Jeff would never hurt me,” Tracy explained. “But if he sees finding Hunter and Althea as a competition between us—and I think he does—then he’ll stop at nothing to win.”
“So why work with him?”
Tracy smiled weakly. “Because I’ll stop at nothing to win, either. And I usually do. In the end.”
They talked for a few more minutes. Then Tracy started to feel tired. Kissing her tenderly on the top of her head, above the bandages, Cameron left, double-checking on his way out that no one was to be allowed past security.
HEADING BACK TO HIS hotel, Cameron couldn’t help smiling to himself, thinking about the first time Tracy had woken up.
“The way you smiled at me,” he told her today. “The look in your eyes when you said ‘it’s you.’ I can’t tell you what that meant to me.”
Tracy had been affected by it too. “I don’t remember,” she told him. But her blushes told a different story.
She loves me, Cameron thought. She’s too scared to admit it yet. But she does.
AFTER CAMERON LEFT, TRACY stared at the ceiling above her bed for a long time.
Stop feeling guilty, she told herself sternly. It’s ridiculous to feel guilty.
You can’t control your dreams, Tracy.
No one can.
She did remember smiling. She remembered looking into those loving, familiar eyes and saying “it’s you!” and feeling profoundly happy.
But the eyes weren’t Cameron’s.
They were Jeff’s.
And yet Jeff hadn’t visited her in the hospital. Cameron had.
Jeff hadn’t checked up on her and flown thousands of miles to keep a constant vigil by her bedside.
What Cameron offered her was something real. Something she could touch and hold on to and rely on. Something she could trust.
Jeff, on the other hand . . .
Jeff was just a beautiful dream.
JEFF LANDED AT CHARLES de Gaulle red-eyed and exhausted. He’d had to change planes in New York, but he barely remembered being at JFK. Everything that had happened since Frank Dorrien called him was a blur.
Getting to Tracy. That was all that mattered now.
The rest of the world had faded to gray.
Frank Dorrien was waiting as soon as Jeff stepped into the arrivals hall. Clean-shaven, apparently well rested, and sporting his usual civilian uniform of dark blue corduroy trousers, a perfectly pressed cotton shirt, tweed sports jacket and brogues, the General was like a creature from another planet.
“How is she?” Jeff blurted, pushing past him. “I have to get to the hospital.”
Frank Dorrien grabbed his arm. “She’s not there.” Seeing Jeff’s eyes widen in horror, he quickly explained, “She’s not dead. Don’t worry. About an hour after I spoke to you, she woke up.”
Jeff felt his knees begin to buckle beneath him. The relief was so overpowering, he thought he might be sick.
“I have to see her.”
Frank said stiffly, “I’m afraid that’s not possible.”
Jeff turned on him. “What are you talking about?” Shrugging off the general’s hand he began walking towards the taxi rank. The general followed.
“This isn’t my doing,” he told Jeff. “If you want to blame someone, blame Cameron Crewe.”
The mention of Crewe’s name stopped Jeff in his tracks.
Frank explained that Cameron had flown in to see Tracy and promptly banned everyone from her bedside. That Tracy had been voluntarily released into his charge and was now recuperating at one of Cameron’s countless luxury properties, about an hour south of Paris.
“When you have as much money as Cameron Crewe, you can buy doctors, politicians, whomever you want,” Frank observed bitterly. “Normal rules don’t apply.”
“I still need to see Tracy.”
Jeff told Frank what he’d learned in Colorado. The general’s eyes widened.