The Target
locked, but she tried them anyway. When they didn’t open, she stepped back and smiled at the glass eye. At least there was no metal detector, so she’d be able to bring her weapon if she got hired. It would be tucked into her special handbag, along with a burner phone, plastic evidence bags, and some zip-tie handcuffs. Just in case she caught someone in the act.
    A twenty-something man came to the door and spoke into the intercom. “State your name and business.”
    “J.C. Hunter. I have an interview at ten with Mr. Grissom for the administrative position.”
    “Show me your ID please.” Dallas dug out her new driver’s license and held it up to the glass. She’d had to upload a photo with her résumé as part of the security, so the company was obviously a little paranoid. But if they were conducting sabotage or stealing proprietary secrets, then they probably worried their competitors were too.
    The doors clicked and slid open.
    “Welcome to TecLife.” He stepped aside and gestured for her to enter. “I’m Adrian, the front desk host.”
    Aka, receptionist.
“Nice to meet you.”
    “Have a seat in our lobby and someone will be with you in a minute. Would you like something to drink?”
    “No thanks.”
    The room was narrow and tall, with a fifteen-foot ceiling and black low-slung couches lining the walls. A giant flat-screen filled one side, rotating with scientific images, most of a molecular nature. The company’s name was displayed on the opposite wall, spelled out in oversized chrome lettering.
Egotists,
she thought. Filled with the importance of their work. She wondered what the company culture was like for employees. From here, the building seemed silent. Even Adrian, the receptionist, had disappeared behind a brick wall.
    But she didn’t feel alone. Someone was watching her. Dallas looked around for cameras but didn’t see anything overt. After a ten-minute wait, she heard footsteps coming down stairs, and a moment later, a woman entered the lobby. Late-thirties and bone-thin, she had flawless pale skin that nearly blended into her white shirt. Close-cropped auburn hair and dark-blue eyes that didn’t smile.
    “I’m Cheryl Decker. We had a last-minute change, so I’ll be conducting the interview.”
    Damn.
The pheromones were probably wasted, and this audition would be more challenging. Dallas stood and shook her hand. “J.C. Hunter. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”
    “This way, please.”
    She followed her to a door at the end of a short hallway. Decker spoke over her shoulder as she opened the door. “I don’t trust elevators, so I hope you don’t mind taking the stairs.”
    “It’s fine.” Odd that a scientist didn’t trust technology. Or maybe it was just a personal phobia.
    Cheryl Decker moved quickly for someone who displayed little muscle tone and looked like she’d never set foot outside. Dallas hoped the executive was confident enough to hire a younger, more attractive woman—‌or that she was gay.
    Two flights up, they stepped into another hallway and headed for an office at the end. Decker hadn’t spoken since they left the first floor, and Dallas was worried. They entered an outer office, with no one at the desk, then Decker unlocked the inner door.
Not good.
The woman kept her office locked whenever she went out. Snooping, or even planting a bug, would be challenging.
    Her corner office was huge, but messy, and it looked more like a lab than an executive suite. The windows were covered with dark drapes that blocked out the bright sun.
    “Have a seat, and we’ll get right to this.” Decker gestured but stayed clear of her desk.
    The guest chairs were the only surfaces not covered with papers. Dallas sat, her mind working madly to find a way to win this woman over. Why wasn’t Max Grissom interviewing the person who would be his assistant?
    “We’ve had a change of plan since we posted the job.” Decker sat next to her, without a notepad or list of questions.

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