Home > Curious Minds (Knight and Moon #1)(3)

Curious Minds (Knight and Moon #1)(3)
Janet Evanovich, Phoef Sutton

“It’s been more than a few days.”

“Many days?”

“Yes. That would be more accurate. Günter always managed my family’s assets, including our gold holdings. And now that my father’s dead and the estate has been settled…”

“I know this is a difficult time for you.”

Riley’s superior had prepared that line for her, knowing that Emerson’s father had died just eight months ago.

“Not really,” Emerson said. “My father and I were never close. And now that I’ve inherited the family fortune, I see that it has dwindled.”

“The economic downturn has been rough on everyone,” Riley said. She’d been coached on that line, too. “I understand you’re concerned about the state of your portfolio, and I want to assure you that your personal assets are in competent hands.”

“I don’t care about my personal assets,” he said. “There’s more than enough for me. The foundation that controls charitable contributions is in disarray, and I do care about that. The foundation funds several positions at three different hospitals. We support leukemia research at Massachusetts General Hospital. We maintain no-kill animal shelters throughout the country. We run food banks and shelters for the homeless. We support the arts. It’s now my personal responsibility that the foundation stays financially healthy.”

“Of course.”

“For some time now I’ve been having doubts about the management and security of my assets. These doubts are disturbing my intellectual equilibrium.”

“I suppose that’s uncomfortable.”

“Indeed,” Emerson said. “What it comes down to is…I want my gold.”

“Pardon?”

“My gold,” Emerson said. “The family’s gold holdings. I want to withdraw them.”

“Well, I don’t think you mean that literally.”

“I do. I mean it literally. Not figuratively.”

Emerson looked at Riley with an expectant expression on his face.

“You act as if we keep the gold in a vault in the bank,” Riley said.

“Don’t you?”

“Yes, of course, but it might not be in the D.C. bank,” Riley said.

“Nevertheless, I want it.”

“You can’t just withdraw the gold. It isn’t done.”

“Can I look at it?”

“Excuse me?” Riley said.

“Can I look at my gold?” Emerson asked.

“Why?”

“It’s my gold. I ought to be able to look at it.”

Riley narrowed her eyes and dug in. “It might be too much of a security risk.”

“Why? Are you afraid I’m going to steal it? I can’t. It’s my gold.”

“You can’t just look at it.” Riley was doing her best to speak with authority, but truth is, she was feeling a little out of her depth. Harvard Business School hadn’t prepared her for this.

“Why not?” He sat forward on his chair. “You don’t know where my gold is, do you?”

Riley met his gaze. “I don’t know where your gold physically is. But I can assure you that it is perfectly safe.”

“As far as you know?”

“I can’t know any further than that.”

He cocked his head. “I like that. That’s good. I’m going to remember that.” Emerson looked at her quite seriously. “Miss Moon, how long have you been working at Blane-Grunwald?”

“Just a short time.”

“How short?”

“I started last week.”

“Good,” he said. “Then we can learn together.” He got up and walked toward the doors. “Come on.”

“Come on where?”

“To the bank. To get my gold. You have to drive. I forgot to renew my license.”

Crap on a cracker, Riley thought. Her assignment was to placate the client, not bring him in to withdraw his fortune.

“I can’t just drive you to the bank and give you the gold,” she said to Emerson.

“Sure, you can. We’ll go see your boss.”

“You need an appointment.”

“Nonsense. I’m really, really rich, remember? I don’t need appointments.”

Aunt Myra handed Emerson a tweedy gray sports jacket as he went out the front door and told him to behave himself.

“Of course,” Emerson said, the tone suggesting that he couldn’t care less about his behavior.

“It might be a little messy in here,” Riley said, leading him to the Mini and unlocking the door. “I wasn’t expecting a passenger.”

Emerson looked down at the tiny car with the black-and-white checkerboard roof. “What is this?”

“This is my car.”

“It’s small.”

“It’s a Mini Cooper.”

Riley reached in and cleared the passenger seat of a folder containing random legal documents, a pair of running shoes, a fast-food bag that had held her breakfast sandwich, and a couple crumpled candy wrappers. She was almost sure that her suit skirt was long enough to cover her hoo-ha when she bent over, but she gave the skirt a subtle tug just to be sure.

“Cute,” Emerson said.

Riley straightened. “You meant the car, right?”

“What else would I mean?”

“You never know,” she said. “Please get in. And watch your head.”

Riley neatly slipped behind the wheel, and Emerson folded his six foot two form into the passenger seat as best as he could. He pulled a weather-beaten rucksack in with him and settled it on his lap.

“Sorry about the lack of leg room,” Riley said. “I had to get the smallest car I could find. That’s the only way I can fit into the little parking space they gave me at work.”

“Blane-Grunwald gave you a bad parking space?”

“Well, not bad. It’s just…well, it is bad, but I’m a rookie, so it’s only to be expected. It’s okay.”

“That’s inexcusable. I’ll talk to Werner about it.”

A bolt of panic shot through Riley’s stomach, and she made a silent promise to speak more carefully in the future. It was a promise she made often, with varied results. Werner Grunwald was Günter’s brother. He was the Grunwald of Blane-Grunwald. The head honcho. The topmost of top dogs. The last thing she wanted to do was come off to him as somebody who whined to clients about petty things like company parking spaces.

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