Home > Boundary Crossed (Boundary Magic #1)(8)

Boundary Crossed (Boundary Magic #1)(8)
Author: Melissa F. Olson

Quinn nodded when I was through, as though I’d confirmed exactly what he’d expected.

“Do you know why they wanted the baby?” he asked first, raw curiosity bleeding into his voice.

I looked at him questioningly. “I assumed it was just because she’s a baby,” I said slowly. “Isn’t that something people do? Kidnap babies and sell them to people who can’t have kids? Or maybe they just wanted to keep her for themselves.” I knew there were other, worse things that people could do with stolen children, but I refused to think about them in the context of Charlie.

Quinn studied my face for a moment, and I had the fleeting impression that he knew exactly what those people had wanted with my niece . . . and it was far different from anything I’d suspected. But before I could pursue the thought, he leaned forward and took my good hand. “Lex,” he said intently. “I want you to forget everything you remember about the couple. The way they moved, the way he healed. Their names. Forget all of it.”

He gave me the same sort of probing look Victor had given me, like I was missing some subtext. At that exact moment I felt something behind my eyes, a subtle pressure and a hint of pain. Like the beginning of a headache.

I slid my hand out from under Quinn’s and glared at him. “I never told you that I go by Lex,” I pointed out. “And how do you expect me to forget about this?” It occurred to me that he hadn’t shown me any identification. And that the nurses were supposed to take my vitals five minutes ago. “I want to see your badge,” I said abruptly.

Looking surprised, Quinn dropped my hand and leaned back in the chair. “Well, damn me twice,” he swore. “It’s true, then.”

My brow furrowed. “What’s true?”

Quinn tilted his head to study me, and goose bumps broke out along my forearms. He had that same alien detachment as Victor and Darcy. “You really don’t know, do you?” he finally asked.

“I really don’t,” I said curtly. I have no patience for people who lord their knowledge over others. “But unless you can produce identification, I’d like you to leave. Right now.” I reached for the bedside remote that had the nurse’s call button. It was six inches away from my right hand, but Quinn managed to beat me to it, even from the other side of the bed. I shook my head, trying to clear it. “These drugs must be really good,” I mumbled. “Who are you?”

Ignoring me, Quinn held the device out of my reach with one hand. With the other, he dipped into his breast pocket and pulled out a cell phone. He touched the screen to make a call, keeping his eyes on me as he waited for the person on the other end to pick up.

“It’s Quinn,” he said into the receiver. So maybe that was his real name. “I think I’ve got one of yours. Only—funny thing—she doesn’t seem to know she’s one of yours.” Glancing at me, he added, “Allison Alexandra Luther.”

He listened for a moment, and I could hear a woman’s voice saying something to him. I kept quiet, waiting. He wasn’t hurting me—yet—and I was too injured to fight well, anyway. Better to wait until I understood the situation before I made a move.

“How soon can you get to BCH?” Quinn said into the phone, turning his head to glance at the clock on the wall. I couldn’t hear her response, but his lips tightened with irritation. “Are you sure you can’t come before then?” He listened for another moment. “Okay, okay. Send the kid. But when I say she doesn’t know anything, I mean she doesn’t know anything . . . what? Oh. Stab wounds. In the back.”

He hung up the phone and returned it to his pocket.

“Who was that, and what don’t I know?” I said coolly.

He looked at me speculatively for a long moment, but he seemed curious rather than dangerous. If he wasn’t here to hurt me, why the hell was he here? “Quinn?” I asked.

Finally, he sighed heavily, scrubbing the palm of his hand against his cheek. “This isn’t my job. You are not part of my job.”

“Well,” I proposed, “maybe you could start by telling me about your job. You move like a cop, but you’re not one, are you?”

He froze, then dropped his hand. “How do you know what a cop moves like?”

“My cousin is with Boulder PD. We have lunch sometimes. So what do you do?”

One side of his mouth turned up in a small smile. “You’re very persistent, aren’t you?”

“No, I’m very confused,” I corrected. “And my throat hurts, and I’m trying to decide if I need to get up and beat the shit out of you.”

This time he laughed, although I was only half kidding. “I’m not a cop anymore,” he admitted. “But I used to be one, in Chicago.”

I thought about that. He did have a Midwestern, Scandinavian kind of look. “Are you like some kind of private detective?” I tried. That was the only other thing I could think of that made any sense. Maybe he was tracking the strange couple for another client or something.

“The work I do can be like that sometimes,” Quinn said carefully. “You can think of me as a fixer. I work for someone who has a lot of pull in this town, and when that person has a situation that needs to be straightened out, I step in.” His voice had gotten a little bitter at the end, like maybe he wasn’t an entirely willing participant in his work. Interesting.

“Your boss is a woman, isn’t she?”

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