Read Insidious (FBI Thriller #20) - Catherine Coulter Page 0,1

followed in his wake, closing in on him. He ran past the Venetian hotel with its Grand Canal and gondolas floating past, knocking two people aside, leaving them cursing after him. When the crush of tourists became too thick, she ran in the street, close to the sidewalk, and gained on him more. When he turned right, toward the Wynn hotel and looked back over his shoulder, she saw it clear as day—fear. He’s afraid of me! It was heady to see that look after so many months of aggravation and, yes, fear. Now it was his turn. She felt fierce, unstoppable. She amped up her speed.

He was tiring fast as he ran into the huge hotel garage, nearly empty this time of day, Missy on his heels. She lost him for a moment in the shadows, then spotted him running across to the far side of the garage that opened onto the gardens of the Wynn. She was nearly on him now. Without hesitating, Missy took a flying leap and landed on his back, wrapping her arms around his neck. He fell forward under her weight, half on the grass, half on the concrete garage floor.

“You move, and I’ll slice off your ear!” She pricked his neck with her Ka-Bar, enough to draw a drop of blood, to show him she was serious. He became still as a stone. So he wasn’t a complete moron. She jerked off his ball cap, grabbed a tangle of brown hair, and pulled his head back. She elbowed off his sunglasses and looked down into a thin, good-looking face, marred by some acne scars on his forehead, and pale brown eyes filled with fear. Of her. Of her Ka-Bar digging into his neck. He didn’t outweigh her by more than twenty pounds. She felt triumphant; she’d brought him down, and not a cop in sight. Missy leaned close, thought about biting him but didn’t. She whispered in his ear, “You’re the one who’s scared now, aren’t you, you creep? Who are you? Why have you been stalking me?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about. I never saw you before in my life. You started ch-chasing me and I-I saw the knife. I ran.” His voice was high, twitchy, with a bit of a stutter that pleased her immensely.

“You puking little liar!” She jerked up his head by the hair, dug the knife a bit deeper. He groaned, music to her ears.

A man’s deep voice from just above her said quietly, easily, “Please don’t carve him up here, ma’am. Mr. Wynn wouldn’t be pleased. I’m Del Conroy, head of security.”

Missy stilled, craned her neck to look up into a hard face, at odds with that smooth cowboy voice. He was older, with iron-gray hair cut short, a white shirt and slacks. “Please don’t stop me, Mr. Conroy. I’m Missy. Missy Devereaux. I want to carve him up, but I won’t if he tells me why he’s been stalking me.”

“A stalker? And you brought him down. Well done.” He squatted down beside her. “Nice to meet you, Missy. And what’s your name, sir?”

“I didn’t do anything. She attacked me!”

Conroy studied the young man’s face, spotted the midwestern accent, stood. “Up you go, Missy, I’ve got this now, if you don’t mind.” And he scooped her up beneath her armpits and set her on her feet. Both of them stared down at the man, who was rubbing his neck. Missy saw the smear of blood from her Ka-Bar and smiled.

Conroy said in the same calm, soothing voice, “I suggest you don’t move or I’ll let her cut your ears off.” He turned back to Missy, who was still breathing fast and hard, not from all the running, but from the adrenaline rush. “Talk to me.”

Missy’s foot was raised to slam down on his back if he moved. The urge to kick him was nearly overpowering.

“Talk to me,” Conroy said again.

“Phew, well, okay. Like I said, this out-of-shape worm is a stalker, been lurking around corners for months, even followed me here from L.A.” And Missy couldn’t stop herself, she kicked him, not very hard at all, really, since she wasn’t in her boots, only sneakers.

He lurched to the side, hugging himself, and yelled, “You saw what she did. I’m going to have her arrested; I’m going to press charges. I didn’t do anything. I was walking down the Strip, minding my own, and she starts screaming at me and waving that knife! I want you to