double doors and a smaller heavy wooden door to the side with the bell. She
rang, and when the door opened she forgot she was supposed to speak. He was
gigantic, at least six foot eight, with broad shoulders and a lithe, athletic build.
A few strands of his unruly, mid-length blond hair fell over eyes that seemed
to be several shades of blue at once. They drew her in with more than their
beauty, as if something primeval was hidden in their depths, just barely
restrained. He faintly smiled. She knew her face was getting red.
such a fool.
She stuck out her hand. “My office made an appointment.”
voice was rich and deep and he spoke with a slight accent. When he shook her
hand, she held it too long. She still felt flushed.
have to deal with swooning women all the time, but I doubt he expected it from
an FBI agent.
tried not to stare at the way his jeans fit his hips, or the contours of his
muscles beneath his gray cashmere sweater. Gripped by a strong urge to run her
hands all over him, she was lucky his place was filled with fascinating things
to distract her. Antiques and art were arranged tastefully in the open space,
among brown leather couches and chairs and colorful woven rugs. Pale sun from
high skylights glinted off a sunburst mosaic above the mantle of a huge
concrete fireplace. Zan tried to concentrate on her surroundings, at least
until her pulse slowed down.
old-fashioned display of manners that she found charming.
you lived here?”
you can still see as you enter. The facility was shut down in 2010.”
the river. Most of it just goes to waste, and meanwhile they’re developing
Chester County farmland.”
redeveloping a brownfield. I had to do a lot of remediation, but now it’s an
excellent place to live.”
and turn it into a park.” Zan gave him her best sunny smile, with an openness
she knew made people trust her.
breath.” He returned her smile.
beautiful. How are you that beautiful? Why am I here? The knives.
than necessary, these are the knives in question.” Zan held up the case.
“Daggers, I think. Did Professor Carson explain where we found them?”
Independence National Historical Park. We wouldn’t be that concerned with weird
people doing weird things at night, but we found a human spleen. We tested the
DNA and ran it through the database and discovered that the spleen came from a
body found this past winter by the Philadelphia police. All its internal organs
had been removed. The police called us because they thought it might involve
organ trafficking, but we never found any evidence of it, so we weren’t much
help. No one ever filed a missing persons report on this man, and Philly PD was
never able to identify the corpse, let alone solve the crime.”
knives it might give us some insight into what this whole thing was about,
maybe generate some sort of lead. They look old, and Professor Carson said you
are an expert in antique bladed weapons.”
carved table to the left near the kitchen area. She opened the case and laid
the daggers out on a cloth. After he leaned down to scrutinize them, he said
they were ceremonial daggers and asked if he could pick them up. Zan told him
that because they were evidence, he would need to wear latex gloves. She handed
him a pair. He tried to put one on for a minute, then frowned at her.
They looked like they could crush a man’s skull, but also assemble a fine Swiss
up that way,” she said, fixing her gaze on the floor.
he had done the same to all four and they were back in the case, he motioned
Zan closer and directed her to lean down. He showed her the intricate motifs
and the manner in which the blades were joined to the hilts. He explained that
from these features, he could determine that the blades were ceremonial, made
in France in the late 19th century. She struggled to listen to what
he was saying. That impossible face was so close, and she could smell him. He
smelled like a pristine forest in the spring.
would have been used for ceremonies, like the opening or closing of a formal
meeting. They are valuable as antiques but they are not real weapons.”
ritual yet, because we’ve been concentrating on the spleen.” Zan shook her
head. “That sounds odd, doesn’t it?”
would have any insight?”
daggers were related to the ritual.”
failing to disguise her pleasure at the idea.
back this evening?”
need to remind you that you can’t discuss anything about this with anyone. Did
you read the agreement?”
of these daggers, I can send a few emails. My contacts may be able to discover
they were involved in a crime.” He nodded and began to snap pictures of the
knives with his phone.
amazed you were able to identify a time period and a use for those in just a
few minutes. I would love to have that kind of expertise. I know a lot about
guns because it comes with the job, but I love edged weapons. They’re so
see my collection?”
handsome face and you toss your professionalism right out the window.
ultra-modern staircase of black and silver and honey-toned wood leading to a
mezzanine lined with bookshelves. Zan enjoyed following him up the stairs.
ass is perfect.
back. Zan stood gaping when they entered. Save for several large windows, every
square foot of the stucco walls was hung with bladed weapons: axes, pikes,
halberds, and swords, mostly swords, in more styles and sizes than Zan knew
existed. Wood and glass cases filled with daggers and other small blades sat at
the far ends, with an island of leather couches and chairs at the center,
rimmed around a thick Persian rug in velvety red.
chuckled and thanked her.
Get ahold of yourself.
weapons represent?” she asked.
He still had that adorable look on his face, like a little boy showing someone
his secret clubhouse. Before she gave a thought to what she was doing, she had
asked him to call her Zan.
The Passion Season©
Book I of the Covalent Series
This music was chosen by Libby Doyle as a soundtrack for the novel. Some songs reflect the state of mind or aspirations of the characters. Some pieces are performed by the characters as part of the story, and others are meant to reflect the plot. Libby hopes you enjoy them.
Love Reign O’er Me – The Who
Cannonball – The Breeders
Burn – Nine Inch Nails
Sympathy for the Devil – The Rolling Stones
Rosary Sonata n. 6, The Agony in the Gethsemane Garden – Heinrich Biber -- played by Le Bizzarrie Armoniche (Riccardo Minasi, violinist)
Indiscipline – King Crimson (live, feat. Adrian Belew)
Brendan -- Fugazi
Top of the World – Shonen Knife
Don’t Let Your Deal Go Down – Lester Flat and Earl Scruggs
Caprice 24 – Paganini -- played by Hilary Hahn
Nasty – Janet Jackson
La Cumbia Campesina – Luis Ornelas
There Goes My Gun – The Pixies
Sex Machine – James Brown
Perfect Day – Lou Reed
The Weirdness – The Stooges
Salt Creek – The Tony Rice Unit
Chaconne, Partita No. 2 – Johann Sebastian Bach – played by Hilary Hahn
Dark Road – Sarah Jarosz
My Idea of Fun – The Stooges
War Pigs – Black Sabbath
Angel of Death – Slayer
To Be Over – Yes
Love is Blindness – Jack White
The World’s a Mess; It’s in My Kiss – X