A quick bite, p.1
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       A Quick Bite, p.1

         Part #1 of Argeneau series by Lynsay Sands
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A Quick Bite
Prologue

 

  November 2000

  "It's just a little dinner party. "

  "Uh-huh. " Standing, Greg Hewitt caught the phone receiver in the crook between his shoulder and neck, holding it in place with his chin as he began to clean up his desk in preparation for leaving the office.

  Anne's voice had taken on a wheedling tone, which was always a bad sign. Sighing inwardly, he shook his head as his sister rattled on, telling him what she had planned for the meal and so on, all in an effort to convince him to attend. He noticed she wasn't mentioning who eise was to be at this little dinner, but suspected he already knew. Greg had no doubt it would be Anne, her husband John, and yet another single female friend she hoped to hook up with her still-single older brother.

  "So?"

  Greg paused and caught the phone in hand. He'd obviously missed something. "I'm sorry, what was that?"

  "So, what time can you get here tomorrow?"

  "I won't be coming. " Before she could whine, he quickly added, "I can't. I'll be out of the country tomorrow. "

  "What?" There was a pause, then a suspicious, "Why? Where are you going?"

  "Mexico. I'm going on vacation. That's why I called you in the first place. I fly out first thing in the morning for Cancun. " Knowing he'd just set her aback, Greg allowed a smile to tug at his lips as he juggled the phone around to don the suit jacket he'd discarded earlier in the day. "Mexico?" Anne said after a long pause. "A vacation?" Greg couldn't decide if her bewilderment was amusing or just a sad commentary on his life to date. This was the first vacation he'd taken since starting his psychology practice eight years ago. Actually, he hadn't gone on vacation since starting university. He was a typical workaholic, driven to succeed and willing to put in the hours to do so. It didn't leave much time for a social life. This vacation was long overdue.

  "Listen, I have to get going. I'll send you a postcard from Mexico. Bye. " Greg hung up before she could say anything to stop him, then grabbed his briefcase and quickly escaped the office. He wasn't surprised to hear the phone start ringing as he locked the office door, Anne was the persistent sort. Smiling faintly, he ignored it and pocketed his keys as he started down the hall to the elevator.

  Dr. Gregory Hewitt was now officially on vacation, and the knowledge made him relax more with every step away from his office. He was actually whistling softly as he boarded the elevator and turned to push the button marked P3. The whistle died, however, and Greg reached instinctively toward the panel, his eyes searching for the hold button to keep the doors open when he realized a woman was hurrying toward the closing doors. He needn't have bothered; she was quick on her feet and managed to slip through just before the doors closed.

  Greg let his hand drop away from the panel and stepped politely out of the way so she could select the floor she wanted. He gave her a curious once-over as she moved in front of him, idly wondering where the woman had come from. The hall had been empty when he'd traversed it, and he hadn't heard a door open or close, but then he'd been distracted with thoughts of his coming vacation. There were several offices on the floor besides his own, and she could be from any of them; but he was sure he'd never seen her before.

  Greg had barely glimpsed her face as she'd boarded the elevator, and most of her features were a vague blur in his memory, but her eyes had been an attention-grabbing silver-blue. Unusual and beautiful, they were probably the result of colored contacts, he thought, and immediately lost any interest in her. Greg could appreciate beautiful women, and had no problem with them making the best of their appearance, but when they moved on to this level of artifice to try to attract attention, he tended to be turned off.

  Shrugging her out of his thoughts, he relaxed back against the elevator wall, his mind immediately turning to his corning trip. Greg had planned a lot of outings; he'd never been anywhere like Mexico before and wanted to enjoy all there was to do. Along with the usual lounging on the beach, he hoped to get in some parasailing, snor-keling, and maybe go on one of those boat rides where you got to feed the dolphins.

  He also hoped So fit in a trip to the Museum Casa Maya, an ecological park with a reproduction of how the Mayans lived centuries ago and walking paths where you could see the local animals. Then there was the night life. If he had the energy after his active days, Greg might just hit the dance bars like the Coco Bongo or the Bulldog cafe where half-naked people gyrated to deafening music.

  The elevator's cheerful ding drew Greg's thoughts from half-naked dancing women to the panel above the doors. P3 was lit up; parking level three. His floor.

  Nodding politely to his companion, he stepped off the elevator and started through the large, nearly empty parking garage. With half-naked women still dancing on the periphery of his mind, it took Greg a minute to notice the sound of footsteps behind him. He almost glanced over his shoulder to see who it was, then let the matter go. The sound was the hollow tap tap of high heels on concrete; sharp and quick and echoing loudly in the nearly empty space. The brunette was obviously also parked on this floor.

  His gaze moved absently over the open space toward where his car should be. but got caught on one of the supporting beams as he passed. The large black PI painted on the concrete beam made him slow in confusion. Parking levels 1 and 2 were reserved for visitors to the various offices and businesses in the building. He was parked on P3 and had been sure the elevator panel light had read P3 when he'd looked. . . but it appeared he'd been wrong. Stopping, he started to turn back the way he'd come.

  This is the right floor. There is the car ahead.

  "Yes, of course," Greg murmured, and continued forward. He strode up to the lone vehicle.

  It wasn't until he opened the trunk that the thought broke through his mind that the little red sports car wasn't his. He drove a dark blue BMW. But as quickly as that thought--with its accompanying alarm--claimed him, it blew away like fog under the influence of a breeze.

  Relaxing, Greg set his briefcase inside the trunk, climbed in after it, arranged himself in the small space, then pulled the trunk closed.
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