The Templar Legacy (Page 9)
MALONE AND STEPHANIE WERE TRANSPORTED TO A POLICE BUILDING on the outskirts of Roskilde. Neither of them spoke on the way, as they both knew enough to keep their mouths shut. Malone fully realized that Stephanie's presence in Denmark had nothing to do with the Magellan Billet. Stephanie never worked the field. She was at the apex of the triangle--everyone reported to her in Atlanta. And besides, when she'd called last week and said she wanted to drop by and say hello, she'd made clear she was coming to Europe on vacation. Some vacation, he thought, as they were left alone in a brightly lit, windowless room.
"Oh, by the way, the coffee was great at the Cafe Nikolaj," he said. "I went ahead and drank yours. Of course that was after I chased a man to the top of the Round Tower and watched while he jumped."
She said nothing.
"I did manage to see you snatch your bag from the street. Did you happen to notice the dead man lying next to it? Maybe not. You seemed in a hurry."
"That's enough, Cotton," she said in a tone he knew.
"I don't work for you anymore."
"So why are you here?"
"I was asking myself the same thing in the cathedral, but the bullets distracted me."
Before she could say anything further, the door opened and a tall man with reddish blond hair and pale brown eyes entered. He was the Roskilde police inspector who'd brought them from the cathedral and he held Malone's Beretta.
"I made the call you requested," the inspector said to Stephanie. "The American embassy confirms your identity and status with your Justice Department. I'm awaiting word from our Home Office as to what to do." He turned. "You, Mr. Malone, are another matter. You are in Denmark on a temporary residence visa as a shopkeeper." He displayed the gun. "Our laws do not sanction the carrying of weapons, not to mention discharging it in our national cathedral--a World Heritage Site, no less."
"I like to break only the most important laws," he said, not letting the man think he was getting to him.
"I do love humor, Mr. Malone. But this is a serious matter. Not for me, but for you."
"Did the witnesses mention that there were three other men who started the shooting?"
"We have descriptions. But it is unlikely they are around any longer. You, though, are right here."
"Inspector," Stephanie said. "The situation that developed was of my doing, not Mr. Malone's." She threw him a glare. "Mr. Malone once worked for me and thought I required his assistance."
"Are you saying the shooting would not have occurred but for Mr. Malone's interference?"
"Not at all. Only that the situation grew out of control--through no fault of Mr. Malone's."
The inspector appraised her observation with obvious apprehension. Malone wondered what Stephanie was doing. Lying was not her forte, but he decided not to challenge her in front of the inspector.
"Were you in the cathedral on official United States government business?" the inspector asked her.
"That I cannot say. You understand."
"Your job involves activities that cannot be discussed? I thought you were a lawyer?"
"I am. But my unit is routinely involved in national security investigations. In fact, that's our main purpose for existing."
The inspector did not seem impressed. "What is your business in Denmark, Ms. Nelle?"
"I came to visit Mr. Malone. I haven't seen him in more than a year."
"That was your only purpose?"
"Why don't we wait for the Home Office."
"It is a miracle that no one was hurt in that melange. There is damage to a few sacred monuments, but no injuries."
"I shot one of the gunmen," Malone said.
"If you did, he did not bleed."
Which meant they were armored. The team had come prepared, but for what?
"How long will you be staying in Denmark?" the inspector asked Stephanie.
The door opened and a uniformed officer handed the inspector a sheet of paper. The man read, then said, "You apparently have some well-placed friends, Ms. Nelle. My superiors say to let you go and ask no questions."
Stephanie headed for the door.
Malone stood, too. "That paper mention me?"
"I'm to release you, as well."
Malone reached for the gun. The man did not offer it.
"There is no instruction that I am to return the weapon."
He decided not to argue. He could deal with that issue later. Right now, he needed to speak with Stephanie.
He rushed off and found her outside.
She whirled to face him, her features set tight. "Cotton, I appreciate what you did in the cathedral. But listen to me, and listen good. Stay out of my business."
"You have no idea what you're doing. In the cathedral you walked right into something with no preparation. Those three men wanted to kill you."
"Then why didn't they? There was every opportunity before you arrived."
"Which raises even more questions."
"Don't you have enough to do at your bookshop?"
"Then do it. When you quit last year, you made clear that you were tired of getting shot at. I believe you said that your new Danish benefactor offered a life you always wanted. So go enjoy it."
"You're the one who called me and wanted to stop by for a visit."
"Which was a bad idea."
"That was no purse snatcher today."
"Stay out of this."
"You owe me. I saved your neck."
"Nobody told you to do that."
"Dammit, Cotton. I'm not going to say it again. If you keep on, I'll have no choice but to take action."
Now his back was stiff. "And what do you plan to do?"
"Your Danish friend doesn't have all the connections. I can make things happen, too."
"Go for it," he said to her, his anger building.
But she did not reply. Instead, she stormed off.
He wanted to go after her and finish what they'd started, but decided she was right. This was none of his concern. And he'd made enough trouble for one night.
Time to go home.