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Murder at the Lanterne Rouge (Aimee Leduc Investigations, #12) by Cara Black Read Online (FREE)

Murder at the Lanterne Rouge (Aimee Leduc Investigations, #12) by Cara Black

Read Murder at the Lanterne Rouge (Aimee Leduc Investigations, #12) by Cara Black full novel online for free here.

PARIS
JANUARY 1998

Friday Evening

 

TOO SMALL FOR a bomb, Aimée Leduc thought, nudging with her high-heeled toe at the tiny red box on the cold landing outside Leduc Detective’s office. No card. Curious, she picked up the red gift-wrapped box, sniffed. Nothing floral. A secret admirer?

The timed hallway light clicked off, plunging the landing into darkness. She shivered, closed the frosted glass door behind her, and hit the light switch. The chandelier’s crystal drops caught the light and reflected in the old patinated mirror over the fireplace.

For once the high-ceilinged nineteenth-century office was warm, too warm. The new boiler had gone into overdrive. Her nose ran at the switch from the chill January evening to a toasty, warm office. She set down her shopping bags—January was the season of soldes, the big sales. She’d blown her budget.

Et alors, yogurt and carrots at her desk for the next week.

She slung her coat over the chair and noticed a chip on her rouge-noir-lacquered pinkie. Zut. She’d have to spring for a manicure.

The office phone trilled, startling her.

“Tell me you found Meizi’s birthday present, Aimée,” came the breathless voice of René, her business partner at Leduc Detective. “The damned jeweler screwed up the delivery.”

“Small red box? You mean it’s not for me?” she joked. She shook the box and heard a rattle. Maybe those jade earrings she’d seen him looking at. “You’re serious about Meizi? I mean, that kind of serious?”

“One day you’ll meet your soul mate, too, Aimée.”

Soul mate? He’d known Meizi what, two months? But Aimée bit her tongue. So unlike René to rush into something. A surge of protectiveness hit her. She ought to check this girl out, see what she could learn from a quick computer background search. Could be a little ticking bomb, all right.

“Save my life, eh?” René said. “Bring it to the resto, Chez Chun.”

“But I’m in the middle of a security proposal, René,” she answered, hoping he didn’t hear the little lie in her voice. She surveyed their bank of computers, which were running security checks, updating client systems she’d programmed before she left. The boring bread and butter of their computer security firm.

“Take a taxi, Aimée,” he said, his voice pleading. “Please.”

Meizi must have something his previous girlfriends from the dojo didn’t. Better to check her out in person. Aimée put the box in one jacket pocket and dug through the other for her cell phone.

“A taxi, with this traffic? Métro’s faster, René.”

She grabbed her leopard-print coat and locked the office door.

Twenty minutes later she ran up the Métro steps, perspiring and dodging commuters. Frustrated, she found herself at the exit farthest from where she wanted to be, by the Romanesque church that was now the Musée des Arts et Métiers. Harmonic Gregorian chanting wafted in the cold air and drifted into the enveloping night. Petals of snow lodged like nests of white feathers in the bare-branched trees. What a night, the temperature falling, a storm threatening in the clouded sky. The frigid air sliced her lungs, shot up the mini under her coat.