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Four

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She walked past him and pushed her key into the lock. When the door swung open, she entered the office and flicked on the lights.

"You've already done enough," Rob said, following her in and plunking himself down into the armchair in front of her desk, legs spread, coat flaring out around him. "I want you to give me all your files on myself, on Gina, and anyone else involved in this little love triangle situation we've found ourselves in." He paused. "And I want to be reimbursed the money I paid you to investigate my wife."

Liv took her time placing her bag next to the credenza and lowering herself into the chair behind the desk. She leaned back, propped her feet onto the top, and crossed them at the ankles.

She turned the corners of her mouth up, but inside she was not feeling amused. More like furious. And a little scared. "Don't you mean love quadrangle? Or maybe pentagon is more appropriate? Just how many women were you sleeping with at once?"

He grinned at her again. "If you were the detective you claim to be, you'd know that, wouldn't you?"

Liv felt her face flush, a clear giveaway that he was getting to her. Damn. "I got all the information I needed."

Rob's smile faded, and he leaned forward. "Give me the files or I'm taking you to court."

Liv examined her fingernails. "Oh really? On what grounds?"

"Breach of contract? Sexual harassment? I don't care. My lawyer will think of something."

Liv dropped her feet to the floor, sat up straight. "Look, Rob, why don't you save your breath and your money. There was no breach of contract. You paid me to get information, and I got it. There was no sexual harassment. Your name is on the credit cards for all those Wednesday nights we spent together at the Cormorant Hotel. You can take me to court if you want, but you'll lose. Now please go away."

Rob's eyes darkened and his mouth tightened. Liv stared straight at him, aware and alert, ready to spring into self-defense mode if necessary. She wasn't at all sure how angry Rob actually was, or what he was capable of doing.

But then Rob leaned back again, playing it cool and suave. "Sending those photos of me to my wife, to Gina, Liv? I hired you to get the low-down on her, not the other way around. There has to be some ethical violation there."

"You're one to talk about ethics! Anyway, I don't think you're here on your lunch break for a spirited philosophical debate." Liv shrugged. "Again, you paid me for a service; I delivered. I had personal reasons for following you that night you met whoever-she-was at the Cormorant. You booked the same room we used, ordered up the same room service. Geez, Rob. I thought you had more imagination than that."

He gave her a nasty grin. "The woman scorned role doesn't fit you, Liv. It's kind of ugly, if you want to know the truth."

Her voice went icy. "I sent those photos anonymously to Gina because I thought she deserved to know just what kind of slimeball she's married to. I didn't tell her anything about the job I did for you." Liv's eyes shifted away. "My conscience is clear."

A moment ticked by. She glanced at her watch. "So, I think we're done here. I have a client meeting in a few minutes."

Rob stood. His eyes fell on the credenza in the corner. "Where's the Lakshmi statue?"

She shrugged. It was at home, in a cardbox box along with other reminders of their affair, but he didn't need to know that. "It didn't fit the decor."

"I'd like to have it back."

"Fine." It was not that valuable, just something he'd picked up on business in India and brought home for her. She'd liked the colors and the pouty lips on the goddess, the coins spilling from her hands. Mostly she'd liked that he'd thought of her while he was away. Damn him.

He pointed to the credenza. "And the files."

She walked to the credenza, pulled the file, held it out. "Here's the information you requested. Thank you for your business."

Rob grabbed the manila file. "I want the electronic files, as well. Email them to me."

"Fine," she said again. "Now would you leave?"

Rob glowered, almost said something else, but turned and slammed out of the office.

She sat down at her desk, put her feet up, stared out the window to the cracked and weedy parking lot. How had she ended up in this mess?

When he'd hired her, Rob told her he was about to start divorce proceedings and wanted any incriminating evidence on Gina that he could use in court. She'd given him a detailed report and photos of Gina and her lover. Six months later Gina and Rob were still married, and Liv still didn't know for sure why he'd hired her.

She bit her thumbnail, realized what she was doing, pulled her thumb away with an exasperated huff.

Maybe he'd wanted leverage on Gina. Maybe they had a prenup. Maybe it was a game they played with each other All she knew is what he'd chosen to tell her. She'd been stupid enough to believe him about the separation when he invited her to dinner. The affair progressed from there until a couple weeks ago when she'd followed him and a blond to the Commorant Hotel and broken things off.

He had the report. He had the pictures. She opened her computer and sent him the electronic file as he'd requested. There. Maybe now he'd stay out of her way and let them both move on.

She glanced out the window, saw Cooper Tedeschi walking across the parking lot toward the building. She pulled a fresh legal pad from the drawer.

The past was the past. It was time to meet with Cooper and find out what this plagiarism story of his was all about.

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