Valiant Page 63

Seconds later the phone rang. She grabbed it up. ’’Hello?’’

’’Hello, Miss Shasta. This is Charlie Artzola. We just met, remember? I am at my office down the block and there seems to be a problem.’’

She sighed. ’’Did I forget to sign something?’’

’’No. It\s just that I can\ find you in the system. It\s as if you don\ exist.’’

’’Excuse me?’’ She was shocked. ’’What system? I don\ have a criminal record.’’

He laughed. ’’No. I mean I ran your driver\s license number but you don\ exist according to the database. I need to fax a copy of it to get your marriage license since there\s some kind of computer glitch. I\m sure it\s just a misunderstanding but we need to clear this up. I called the hotel and asked if someone from security could escort you to my office. I\m sure we can sort this out if you could bring me your identification. They\ll accept a faxed copy of it as proof that you do exist.’’ He laughed. ’’So, do you mind coming down here? It shouldn\ take more than maybe ten to twenty minutes. Just bring your wallet with you and your license.’’

She sighed. ’’Sure. Let me get my shoes and find my purse. It\s a good thing the sheriff returned it to me. It\s around here somewhere. Did security say it was all right for me to leave? I\m supposed to stay inside the suite.’’

’’I obtained permission from Tiger before he left. Someone will be there to escort you when you are ready to leave. Thank you, Miss Shasta. This is a big help. I know Valiant wanted this done quickly and I can\ get the marriage license without submitting proof of who you are.’’

’’I\ll hurry.’’

She hung up and walked into the bedroom. At least it would distract her from worrying about Valiant for a little while. Her purse still sat on the closet floor where Valiant had placed it after the sheriff had brought it with him to interview her. The New Species had to check it first and it had been delivered later that day. She\d also learned that the sheriff had her car safely towed to her house when he\d retrieved her purse from the crime scene.

She brushed her teeth and hair again. She didn\ bother with makeup. The quicker she could get back, the better, her mind was still on her coworkers. She didn\ want to miss their calls when they got her messages. Flame stood outside in the hallway when she opened the door. She smiled at him.

’’That attorney called and said he needed me and my purse.’’ She lifted it to show him. ’’And here we both are.’’

Flame smiled. ’’He called. Are you ready to go? His office isn\ far. I\ll call for a Jeep and I\ll drive you there.’’

’’Thanks.’’ They left the suite.

Flame used his radio to ask for the vehicle to be pulled up in front of the hotel while they waited for the elevator and by the time they walked out of the lobby, it had arrived. Flame helped her climb inside and rounded the vehicle. He drove from the hotel to where a two-story office had been constructed. He parked and helped her out.

The reception area was empty and silence filled the air. It seemed the building wasn\ currently in use. Flame hesitated. ’’I\m not sure where his office is. I haven\ been in here before. Only a few human employees work at Reservation and I haven\ been assigned this post. Did he tell you where it was?’’

’’No.’’

Flame sighed. ’’Let\s find him. I\d make some calls but we\ e on high alert right now and I don\ want to bother anyone when I can sniff him out.’’ He drew in air a few times through his nose and pointed to a hallway to the left. ’’This way. Male, human, and recent. His aftershave stinks and not in a good way.’’

She grinned. ’’Most guys are clueless and wear stuff that reeks.’’

’’We tend to be sensitive to smells. Most of our people use natural-scented products. Humans don\ .’’

Tammy followed him through a maze of hallways. ’’Are you on high alert because the two women were taken in town?’’

He nodded. ’’Yes. We have tightened all incoming security and put our snipers on top of the walls in case someone decides they want to try to breach Reservation. We will never forget the attack that happened at Homeland.’’

She\d heard about that on the news. A hate group had attacked the New Species Homeland right after it had opened. They\d rammed the front gate and a bunch of men with guns had invaded with trucks.

Deaths had resulted from that attack. Luckily those killed had been mostly the hate-group members. Tragically, a few human security guards who worked for Homeland had also died. It had been shocking that something like that could happen. Obviously the New Species were afraid of another attack and she didn\ blame them.

They found Charlie Artzola on the second floor in one of the offices. He sat behind his desk digging inside a drawer. He glanced at them both when they entered and he smiled.

’’That was quick.’’

’’I told you I\d escort her immediately.’’ Flame leaned against the wall right inside the office.

’’Have a seat, Miss Shasta.’’ The attorney jerked his chin at a chair. ’’You and your men can come inside and have a seat too. There\s four chairs and they may as well get used.’’

’’It\s just us. I\m fine standing.’’ Flame relaxed his stance.

The attorney nodded. ’’I\m looking for the notes I made. I\m very sorry about this. I was nervous and think I wrote the information down wrong. I might have just put in a wrong license number and the computer system will find you so we don\ have to fax it to them.’’ He leaned over farther behind his desk as Tammy took a seat closest to him. ’’Aha! I found it. I\m sure this is just an error. I probably just have it off by one or two digits.’’ He closed the desk drawer.


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