Today's Reading

Graham pushed back his chair and got to his feet. He went to stand at the window. He had a spectacular view of New York City, but in his mind's eye he saw Europe, the Middle East, Russia, and beyond—all the way to the Far East. He intended to position the firm to take advantage of the opportunities that would abound in the future. It would be his legacy, he thought, the legacy that he would leave to his son and heir, who would, in turn, provide future generations of Enrights.

Not that he planned to leave that legacy to his son anytime soon. Graham was still in his prime, healthy and fit. He came from a long-lived line. Unfortunately, the men of the Enright line were not very prolific. After two wives—both deceased—he had managed to sire only one heir.

The law firm of Enright & Enright had been founded by his father, Neville Enright, amid the chaos following the Civil War. Neville had understood that the desires for money and power and revenge were forms of lust and, therefore, immutable aspects of human nature. Firms that catered to those elemental lusts would always prosper, regardless of stock market crashes and wars.

On the surface, Enright & Enright was a respected law firm that specialized in estate planning for an exclusive, wealthy clientele. But in addition, it provided very discreet services to those willing to resort to any means to achieve their objectives so long as they could keep their own hands clean. For a hefty fee, Enright & Enright was willing to do the dirty work for its clients.

In the aftermath of the War to End All Wars it had become clear to Graham that not only would there be more wars in the future, but there would also be an unlimited demand for the services that Enright & Enright provided.

It had also become obvious that the rapid advances in modern technology—faster modes of transportation and communications as well as more efficient weaponry—would open up new markets and new opportunities.

"The times are changing," he said. "The firm must change with them. To do so we must cultivate clients such as the one that has commissioned us to retrieve the notebook."

"A client with international interests," Julian repeated softly. "Very interesting."

He no longer sounded bored. There was something new in his voice. Anticipation. Graham was pleased and more than a little relieved. Satisfied, he turned around.

"The only way to secure this client is to find the notebook and get rid of anyone who might be aware of its value," he said. "You will, of course, have the full resources of the firm at your disposal."

Julian headed toward the door. "I'll get started immediately."

"One moment, if you don't mind."

Julian paused, his hand on the doorknob. "What is it?"

"Can I assume you have some idea of where to start looking?"

"Yes, as a matter of fact, I do," Julian said. "Spencer employed only three people. One of them has gone missing."

Graham tensed. "Which one?"

"The private secretary, Anna Harris. An orphan with no family and, given her career, very little money, unless she stole some from Spencer. She is the only member of the staff who disappeared, so it seems likely that she took the notebook."

"I see."

"The thing is, Anna Harris is not a professional like Spencer. She won't know how to go about making a deal for an item as dangerous as the notebook without revealing herself to someone who is watching for it to appear on the underground market."

"Someone like you."

"Thanks to the firm's connections I can keep an eye on that market. Don't worry, Anna Harris and the notebook will show up sooner or later, and when they do, I'll deal with both issues."

"Why didn't you mention this before?"

Julian smiled his fallen-angel smile. "Because I wanted to know just how important this contract was to you."

"I see. What makes you think that this Anna Harris knows the value of the notebook?"

"I'm sure of it, because she fled without helping herself to the necklace that was in the safe. She must have seen it. Why would a poor secretary leave such a valuable item behind unless she thought she had something of even greater value to sell?"

"Good point," Graham said. "But I must say, I'm surprised that Spencer confided the truth about the notebook to her secretary."

Julian's brows rose. "Are you really? We both know that, sooner or later, private secretaries discover a great deal about their employers' confidential business."

Graham grunted. "Very true."

It was unfortunate that the very qualities that made for a skilled secretary—intelligence, organizational talents, and the ability to anticipate her employer's needs before he was even aware of them—were the same qualities that eventually caused problems.

(This excerpt ends on page 13 of the hardcover edition.)

What our readers think...

Contact Us Anytime!

Facebook | Twitter