Page 29 of The District

“Money? Love? Power?”

“Does it look like these people care about power or money to you?” She waved her hand at the website, and then clenched it into a fist. “Wait. The tarot card. The one with the lion and the maiden means strength. I guess that could be power.”

“Power and death, right?” He tugged on his earlobe. “I was hoping there would be a directory of witches. How is the killer finding them? We need to figure that out before he gets to his next victim.”

“And before we go too far down this path, we need to check the witch connection with the other two victims outside San Francisco. So far, we have the occult symbol necklace on Liz, and Nora’s employment in an alternative bookstore and Libby’s assurance that Nora was a member of this coven.”

“Don’t forget the same symbol on your windshield, which means our killer is still in the city or someone other than the killer knows about the victims’ connection to this coven.”

She sat on the floor beside his chair, folding her legs beneath her and tilting her head back to look up at him. “We’ll have to turn over all this info to the P.D. We promised we’d share, and maybe they have something for us.”

“I’d feel a lot better if my brother was in town.”

“When is he coming back from his extended vacation?”

“Not until September. He’s with a teacher he met on his last case.”

“Your brother is actually serious enough about someone to travel with her? A teacher?”

“I know, a kindergarten teacher. I was kinda surprised, but that cold heart of his had to melt sometime.”

“Well, I’m glad it was a kindergarten teacher who did the melting and not some red-hot stripper.”

He laughed and ruffled her hair. “The date he brought to our engagement dinner was not a stripper.”

“Uh, she worked at The Boom Boom Room at the edge of North Beach, and her name was Candy.”

“Candy was an exotic dancer.”

“If an exotic dancer takes her clothes off, she’s a stripper, especially if her name is Candy.”

Eric pushed away from the table and grabbed a bottle of water from the mini fridge. “Sean dated those types of women because he was always afraid of getting too close to someone. He could keep his distance with them without hurting anyone’s feelings.”

“Looks like he’s gotten through all that if he’s on vacation with a kindergarten teacher.”

“Exactly why I don’t want to bother him with this case.” As he stepped through the door to his own room, he called over his shoulder, “I’m getting those files.”

When he returned to her room, she was huddled over the laptop, her fingers racing over the keyboard.

“Find anything else?”

“Just doing some name searches, but there aren’t any websites that seem to have a list of coven members.”

He dropped the files on the desk. “They probably want to keep a low profile.”

Someone knocked on Christina’s door. “Expecting someone?”

“No, unless that’s Darius Cole with more news about Vivi.” She untangled her legs and jumped to her feet. Placing a hand against the door, she put her eyeball up to the peephole and swore.

“Who is it?”

She whispered, “No one. We can just pretend we’re not here.”

With his brow furrowed, Eric stalked toward the door.

She slapped her hand over the peephole at the same time a voice came from the hallway.

“C’mon, Christina. It’s Ray Lopez. I know you’re in there, and I want this story.”

Chapter Nine

She ground her teeth together and took a quick look at Eric’s stormy face. He may have come to realize she was never working with Ray on a book about his family, but it didn’t mean he liked the man. And she didn’t need Ray complicating this tentative truce she had with her ex-fiancé and the father of her child.

Shaking her head, she mouthed, ignore him.

Eric reached across her and pushed down on the door handle. “By all means, let’s hear what the scrappy boy reporter Ray Lopez has to say on the matter.”

Eric flung open the door, and Ray jumped back into the hallway.

Ray’s mouth spread into a smile. “Now I know it’s a big case with a Brody in the mix. How the hell are you, Brody?”

Eric grunted in response and ignored Ray’s outstretched hand.

“What are you doing here, Ray?” She wedged her hands on her hips, hoping to show her extreme displeasure at her childhood friend’s appearance.