Read Firstborn Online

Authors: Carrigan Fox

Firstborn (2 page)

“Intuitive health and awareness?”

She grinned at the skepticism in his voice.  “When you say it that way, it doesn’t really sound too different from what you do, does it, Dr. Archer?” she teased.

His eyes flashed, sparking with
irritation that both pleased and intrigued Jac.  “I suspect that our professions are more different than you might think, Ms. MaCall.  Psychiatry is a science.  I had to earn a PhD in order to work with my patients.”

This seemed to amuse her as she chuckled and shook her head.  “I was just
messing with you, Dr. Archer.  If you are comfortable with my qualifications, perhaps we could move forward with the consult.”

He paused a moment, as though considering his
precise level of comfort with her qualifications.  “What would you recommend?”

Jac reached into her purse and pulled out her phone.  “Taryn emailed me the proposal while I was walking over here.”  She read over the bullet pointed suggestions and filled in the detailed answers to any questions he had about the technology involved and whether or not remote access would be necessary. 

As she elaborated on the wireless equipment for the remote access, he resisted the temptation to tuck a strand of hair behind her ear for her.  She really was a piece of work.  And in spite of her hocus pocus shop, she did seem to know what she was talking about when she presented the pros and cons of taking advantage of the MSC drive-by check points.

“I tend to agree with Taryn’s assessment and would recommend the upgraded alarm system along with the 360-degree cameras and motion sensors.  But because of the unusual nature of the break-in, I don’t think it would hurt to contract out our security team to do a nightly drive-by, as well.
  At least for a couple of weeks.”

“How soon can we get the new system installed?”

“By the end of the week.  Our installation crew has a few orders to process and will probably get to yours within the next two or three days.  Taryn said she would have the office email you a copy of the contract.  I can call and ask them to add the drive-by and email a new version.  It won’t take more than a couple of minutes.  Then I can get your signature and be on my way.”

“Back to your spinning class?” he kidded.

“Yoga,” she corrected.

“Of course,” he answered dryly.  “I do appreciate you taking the time to fill in for Taryn.  With all of my patient files here, I do have required privacy laws to follow, and I am really unnerved by the possibility of someone gaining access to that privileged information.”

“Were your files disturbed?” she asked.

“This entire cabinet had been toppled.”

He watched her well-shaped eyebrows draw together.  “But no files were missing?”

He shook his head.  “Everything is accounted for.  And 98% of my files are stored electronically
.  I occasionally take shorthand notes during my sessions and then type them up and file the shorthand notes.”

“Was the computer disturbed?”

“Not that I could tell.  But I do typically leave it turned on.”

You probably shouldn’t do that.  And make sure there’s a password protection required for login.  I wonder what they were looking for.”  She stood and crossed the room to explore his bookshelves and the file cabinet that had been pushed over.  She gently ran her fingertips over the surface of the cabinet as he stood close enough to her to catch a hint of peach scent.

“The police already dusted for prints and found no evidence in this room.  They c
leared me to get everything back in order soon after that.  There’s nothing here.”

When she closed her eyes and curled her fingertips around the back of the cabinet as though she planned to pull it over herself, he
opened his mouth to question her methods.  But before he could speak, her eyes snapped open and she removed her hands quickly from the wooden cabinet surface.  There wasn’t exactly nothing here.

“What’s wrong?”

Her eyes met his, but she didn’t answer him at first.  She licked her suddenly dry lips and he touched her elbow with both concern and skepticism.  He was afraid that she was going to get weird on him, judging by the look of surprise in her beautifully haunting eyes.

“Ms. MaCall?”

“I think we need to make some modifications to your contract, Dr. Archer.”

The corners of his mouth began to twitch with humor, but the serious look in her eyes
told him that she wasn’t joking.

Since she turned thirteen, Jaclyn MaCall had received visions.  Her grandmother had called it a blessing and had admitted that it was a family tradition.  As with
the majority of her previous visions, the images appeared without warning and were accompanied by a crystal clear soundtrack. 
She had seen a bearded man and a young blond man rifling through Dr. Archer’s office files.  They were clearly looking for something specific and making no effort to hide any evidence of their search.  In frustration, the blond had slammed a desk drawer and said, “Can’t we just eliminate the doctor?”

The bearded man glanced at him
with impatient irritation.  “Not until we can be certain that he hasn’t already set the ball in motion.  Keep looking for signs of the girl.  The sooner we find her, the sooner we can move on this.”

Will Archer grew serious in an instant when she didn’t elaborate.  “
Modifications?  What do you mean?” he asked after an unnecessarily long pause.

“These men
who broke into your office,” she paused dramatically, “are dangerous.  And they haven’t yet found what they were looking for.  That means they will be back.”  Her lively eyes no longer danced.  Her wide mouth showed no sign of the contagious grin he’d admired earlier. 

“How can you be sure?”

She studied him for a moment, considering how much she could tell him.  “If they’d found what they needed, you would already be dead.”

His eyes widened in surprise and then narrowed in skepticism.  “Who would want to kill me?” he scoffed

She tapped a short fingernail on the top of the cabinet before saying, “A bearded middle age man and a young blond man.”  She met his eyes and added, “Does it sound like anyone you know?”

He laughed incredulously.  “You can’t be serious.”

She didn’t bother to respond to his disbelief.

“How do you know this?”

She looked away and lifted her fingertips off of the file cabinet.

“Did you have a psychic vision or something?” 

She could hear the strain in his voice as she bent at the waist to gather her phone and keys.  “I used to be a top notch consultant for MaCall Securities, Dr. Archer.  I know about security and am confident that the contract we have drawn up would suit your needs perfectly in a typical situation.  But I also know that your situation is decidedly atypical.”

“How are you so confident about that?  There is no reason for anyone to come after me.  Who could possibly want me dead?”

“I don’t have an answer to that second question.  And you don’t want an answer to the first.  If you trust me, I will speak with my father about around-the-clock
armed security.”

stared dumbfounded at her for a full six seconds before he shook his head in disbelief and met her lavender eyes.  “I trust you, Jac MaCall.  Your unconventional methods are a bit…unconventional, but according to you, I can’t afford to not trust you.”

She nodded, having anticipated his agreement. 

His eyes fell on her golden shoulder that had been exposed when her hoodie slipped off to one side.  She caught his attention and adjusted her hoodie, zipping it up a bit to hide her belly button ring, much to his disappointment.

“Prepare yourse
lf, Dr. Archer,” she warned.  “We’ll be in touch.”

As she shut the door behind her, he knew that she meant that someone from her father
’s company would be in touch.  Nevertheless, he hoped for a moment that it would be her.



hapter 2

Gray Campbell cringed at the squeal of his tired breaks as he pulled ahead of the black Lexus stopped on the side of the road.  It wasn’t just the water on the road that made the
m squeal.  He’d been meaning to replace the breaks on his tow truck for two weeks now.  Two weeks.  He shook his head at his unusual procrastination.

He used to be meticulous about maintaining his vehicles.  Even as a teenager, he had done routine oil changes, tire rotations, transmission flushes, and general inspections of his belts
, hoses and fluid levels.  But in the two years since his return from Afghanistan and his military discharge, his life had changed.  His priorities had changed.

He adjusted the baseball cap on his head and checked out the blond in his rear view mirror.  She was standing impatiently beside her luxury vehicl
e.  He was certain she was impatient.  She was wearing a business suit, even though it had been 85 degrees at noon that day.  And her blond hair was twisted up and pinned somehow to the back of her head.  Even soaking wet, he could tell that she would be perfectly composed.  He looked at her feet and noticed one of her pumps was tapping.  Definitely impatient.

This is going to be a blast,” he muttered sarcastically, opening his door and climbing down from his truck and stepping into the downpour.

Taryn MaCall watched him approach with undisguised irritation.  She had called him nearly twenty minutes ago and had been standing in the rain and kicking her flat tire for each of those twenty minutes.

“It’s been twenty minutes,” she greeted coldly, trying to not notice how his jeans fit his spectacularly muscular thighs.  And was it a trick of the downpour, or was he walking with a slight limp?

He barely looked at her as he dropped his toolbox on the ground beside her flat tire and answered, “At least your watch still works.”

Outraged at his nerve and disrespect, she growled, “I expect my bill will reflect a discount for this inconvenience.”

“I was in the middle of replacing a fuel pump in a BMW.  It wasn’t terribly convenient for me to jet out here to rescue your ass, either.”  He liked the sound of her voice.  It was a bit lower than your average female and had a bit of a sexy rasp to it.  He glanced up from where he knelt as he loosened the lug nuts. 
He wondered what color her flashing eyes were in the sunlight.  Under the cloud coverage and the pouring rain, he couldn’t tell.

“How long will this take you?”
she snapped.

“Go sit in your car and get out of the rain.  I’ll take care of

She muttered something to herself and turned on her heel.  As much as she didn’t want to give him the satisfaction of following his orders, she at least felt that she could take some pleasure in the knowledge that he was working in a hard rain while she was inside, nice and…
cold and wet.

She hoped that a large truck would drive by and
saturate him on the side of the road.

He looked over his shoulder as she walked away, admiring the shape of her leg
s in her skirt and high heels.  She was exquisite.  Tough…and exquisite.

She couldn’t help but think that her sister had something to do with the rain.  Her rational side knew that Jaclyn didn’t have any power over the weather.  But she also knew that her sister had been highly irritated with
being asked to handle the consult for her.  She wondered how the consult was going.  Jac was brilliant and talented.  She would not only sign the Archer contract, but she would also get him set up with the best system money could buy.  The only consultant stronger than Jac was…well…Taryn.

When Jac had left the family business a couple of years before, their father had taken
advantage of the opportunity to promote his younger daughter.  He and Taryn had been talking about her becoming the Vice President of MaCall Securities, but her father had been afraid that Jaclyn would be offended.  When she finally came to him and told him of her plan to start her own business, he had been both relieved and disappointed.  He had been priming his daughters to take over his business since they were toddlers.

His wife had died when the girls had been only four and five.  Taryn favored her
mother with the blond hair and the ice blue eyes.  But Jaclyn had always had a closer relationship with their mother.  She had warned her husband that both Taryn and Jaclyn would have the visions that had plagued the previous generations of women in their family.  And when she died, she told him that the girls would some day need the benefit of his own knowledge and expertise.  She assured him that their lives would depend on it.  She also hinted at the possibility of their girls changing the world.  He had snorted at the absurdity of his toddlers saving the world, and he was still almost certain that his wife had been exaggerating.  Nevertheless, he had followed her suggestions and had trained both of his girls in his business.  Both of them were very capable when it came to assessing a situation, recommending a security program, neutralizing a threat, and even handling a firearm when necessary.  And when his girls were teenagers, Joe MaCall saw firsthand that his faith in his wife’s premonition had been wise.

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