The door closed. The stairwell was thrown into complete darkness.

She grabbed for the handrail and made her way up the stairs to another door. It opened into an office, dark except for the focused light of a desk lamp. Michael’s office.

Fleeting sensations returned and became clear. He had lifted her off the floor and carried her up the stairs. That’s how he had gotten to her without being seen. She remembered that sense of gliding and the rhythmic beat of footsteps. Mystery solved, she thought, as she glanced around the room.

She should have walked back down the stairs. Instead, she edged closer to his desk, trailing her fingers along the rich wood and neatly arranged objects—a stack of folders to the right of his blotter, a wood cup holding a few high-end pens, a tray of index cards with his name printed at the top. Everything was orderly, which made perfect sense for a man always in control.

But something still nagged at her. How had he known she needed help? Was it coincidence? Had he come down to talk and found her unconscious? She shivered and rubbed her arms.

At the built-in bookshelves Kate ran her fingers along the spines. Most were books on management and finance. Where one shelf ended, a paneled wall separated it from the next set of built-ins. A better designer would have extended the bookcases. As her hand passed over the wall, she felt a warm vibration. She was wondering about that when her fingers slipped under a ledge, and a panel opened with a soft, whirring sound.

Kate jumped back. Her hands trembled as she fumbled to reverse what she’d done. Then, her gaze shifted, and she froze when she saw what the panels concealed.


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