know that she had been lucky—lucky to have been warned just in the nick of time that she was in the path of the masonry, sent falling at his word. And for that moment Roux would know Cauchon had had her life in his hands and could easily have snuffed it out had he so wanted. The change in the tone of Roux’s voice as he’d mentioned Annja’s name had been delicious. It was all the confirmation he had needed to know he was right. He had never intended to kill the young woman, just shake her up, and only then so that she could pass the scare onto the old man so he would realize his mysterious caller meant business. The old man was going to pay. Cauchon played his fingers across the row of SIM cards he had lined up on the table in front of him, each one still attached to the credit-card-size retainers. He had no intention of making it easy for Roux. That would only serve to take the sport out of it. Cauchon knew Roux wouldn’t turn to the police. That was an avenue that was never open to him. Far more likely was him taking matters into his own hands. Cauchon welcomed the idea. Let the old bastard fight back. Breaking him then would be so much more satisfying. It didn’t matter if the girl herself believed that the incident was actually an accident. No doubt Roux would disabuse her of that notion when he talked to her, and that would keep her looking over her shoulder, on edge. Uncomfortable. Cauchon was banking on the belief that Roux was protective of her. He had plenty of reasons to believe he was right. He watched the hands of the clock on the wall slowly turn. He wanted to give the old man time to find out what had happened and then more time to think about the call, to let his words get under his skin. He wanted him to start worrying, to imagine what might happen next. He wanted him to be constantly worrying, doubting, looking at strangers and thinking, Are you the one trying to get to me? And then he wanted to visit the man’s worst nightmares upon him.
9 They drove back to the hotel in near-silence, Philippe constantly tuning the radio in search of a song that wasn’t going to get on his nerves. Obviously it wasn’t about the music. It didn’t matter what he found. Nothing matched his mood. Annja resisted the temptation to lean over and kill the radio. She concentrated on the road, checking her rearview mirror a couple of times more than she normally would have. As much as she didn’t want to admit it, Roux’s call had disturbed her. She knew he was always concerned about her well-being, but that the first thing he said was to question whether the incident at Carcassonne was an accident…that was a little paranoid, even for him. So she was watching, even if she wasn’t sure what she was watching for. Of course it had crossed her mind that the falling masonry could have been something other than a freakish accident, especially as Roux had chosen that moment to call her. Annja had been in the old man’s orbit enough not to believe in coincidence. He hadn’t misdialed as he’d said.He was checking up on her. And once her mind started down that path she knew it wasn’t an accident. She thought about the silver Mercedes. Cause and effect? Or seeing patterns where there were none? “What do you want to do about food?” “I like the way you think.” She grinned. Philippe shrugged and started to fiddle with the radio again. “I’m French. We love good food and good company.” “And I sure could use a drink.” Annja tried to stay focused, but her thoughts kept going back to her conversation with Roux. “Now I’m liking the way you’re thinking,” Philippe murmured as he glanced out the side window. Clever. She could be friends with this one, she decided. “I think we might even stretch it to sharing a bottle,” she suggested. It wasn’t long before her mind was elsewhere though, as the horn of a car traveling toward them on the other side of the road blared, causing her to