“You said it.”

“What’you find out at his place? Anything that could mess up things?”

Matt shook his head. “He’s the man, V. You did a fine job,” he said. “No significant other, no job. A loser.”

She beamed like a schoolgirl hauling in an A from her favorite teacher. “Just followed your list, Turing. Loser. Check,” she said and she counted the items on his wish list with her fingers. “Mid-twenties. Check. No wedding band. Check. Scruffy clothing. Check. Reasonably proficient in English. Check.”

Matt nodded at every ‘check’.

“I’ll get the stories we prepared out into the world, see if we can bring the Giddyap stock back up.” She pulled her iPad from her purse.


She interrupted him before he could finish. “It’s what we need to do, Turing. We need to restore faith in the company. I need to restore faith in the company.”

He looked at her, a trickle of sweat forming in the nape of his neck. “We can’t move too quickly,” he said. “We need to be careful. I—Have you invested? You can’t invest, V. Not now. Not yet. People will smell it, think it was a set-up.”

Her make up couldn’t hide the red blotch that crept up from her neck, which told him she had purchased Giddyap stock. Victoria thrust her chin forward. “You will walk away with the bulk of the money, Turing. This is my retirement pay.”

“How much?”

“Enough to make me happy when the shares start soaring.” She held up her hand to stop him from asking more questions. “I’m not a fool, Turing. I have people in between. No one can trace anything back to me. Not a single share is in my name.”

His jaw unclenched. “Don’t jeopardize the operation. Just don’t.”

“I am careful. I’d never jeopardize it.” Victoria crossed her heart and put two fingers up in a schoolgirl’s pledge. She smiled a reassuring smile that didn’t reassure him the least bit. “Now what?” she asked.

“Now we wait,” he said. “Let’s have breakfast.” He got up.

She looked up, scrutinizing his face and not at all impressed by his towering over her. “What are you not telling me, Turing?” Her voice was so un-V-like soft that for a moment Matt thought he’d imagined hearing the question.

He met her gaze as open as he could and rested his hand on her shoulder, holding her down in her seat. “Nothing, V,” he said. “It’s vital to the plan that you know every single detail. You know that. Without you I’m doomed.” He took his hand away and reached it out. “We’re partners, V. Partners.”

She grabbed his hand and pulled herself up. Her eyes never left his, until she stood firmly on her feet. “Come on,” she exclaimed, more to the group of man that still huddled around the barstool as if she had never left. “Breakfast, boys!” He stilettos clickety-clacked a song on the marble floor as she marched out. The men followed her as if she was the cute little sister of the Pied Piper of Hamelin.