Chicago's hard-boiled PI Marly Jackson is on a sensational missing persons case. Wading through ex-lovers, blackmail, sex-for-hire, the mob, and murder plots there's $4,000,000 at stake...and her life.
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Nora Quick - Bio, Books, Online Store
When a missing persons case leads to a secret stash of millions, Marly Jackson P.I. is hot on the trail. The Case Of the Missing Millionaire takes her deep into a world where sin sells for any price, and every friend is foe. Evading mobsters, a killer, and the FBI, Marly teams with her ex-lover Finn, a retired police captain, a deviant heiress, and a former whore to find the truth in a sea of sex, lies, and betrayal. When passions run hot, Marly Jackson must keep her cool to win the ultimate prize…survival.
I didn’t trust him. He was gorgeous; six feet three inches of pure beefcake, his brown wavy hair perfectly sculpted and sun-light at edges, his green eyes showing surprising intelligence for such a beautiful arrangement of bones. His skin was too tan for a Chicago November, beautifully covering a structure speaking of wild snow-dwelling ancestors.
He was a beautiful lying sack of shit, and it was my job to figure out why.
“You want me to find your boss?” I asked again for the tenth time. Old cop trick; keep asking the same question until they change their story. Seven years off the force and the habits didn’t die, no matter how far down the toilet my career had gone.
“Yes! Now will you take the case or not?”
I looked him over. Brooks Brothers black suit, starched white shirt in an old Reilly collar, his tie was loose, pure silk, and creased-new. The only skin visible was his face and hands, and the hands told a story his eyes never could. The left one had three busted knuckles, barely healed over, the wounds made from punching something or someone hard, repeatedly, and in the last twelve hours. The fingers also curled strangely, like smashing into things was an old habit matching a few scars.
My guess was this missing woman was his sugar momma, and he used her as a Bobo doll. She’d had enough and took off, and now his meal ticket had skipped town. Wouldn’t be the first time, though he was certainly the best-dressed kept man that had darkened my door.
Normally I would have sent a lying sack of shit running, but this had the potential to be the most exciting case to date of my career as a PI. This had the promise of big money and sex, and I was bored enough to dig deeper.
“Well, Ms. Jackson?” he asked and I just kept my level gaze on him, making him sweat.
“Call me Marly,” I said automatically, waiting, watching him squirm.
He was a bit too classy for my office, busted knuckles or no. Oh, the wood was old and real, the books numerous, but the floor was peeling black & white vinyl tiles, and years of cigarette and cigar smoke turned the white walls a slightly off color. I’d covered one water stain with a George Tooker print. What the hell, I thought, deciding to take the case. I needed a few new things around the office and he looked like he might have some money.
“What’s her full name?” I asked and pulled a notepad and pen from my desk, pushing aside the Sunday Tribune and the article on the latest WTC cleanup efforts. I found the pad more personal than clacking on a computer keyboard while a client was talking, and my desktop computer was old and frankly embarrassing.
“Mary Beth Anderson.” Something about that ticked my memory, but nothing came immediately to mind. Getting my computer to Google would have to wait, on an old Pentium 2 the journey was like sailing from Madagascar to Sweden. However, he said it like I should know, and I knew he’d thrown her name around before.
Sighing, I took the bait. “Where do I know that name?”
He frowned in distaste. “She’s one of the heads of the Historical Landmarks Preservation Society, she’s in the paper pretty often, and she’s a very famous millionaire.”
The last word breathed across my skin like a lover’s touch. Money; I didn’t have enough of it, was always losing it, and desperately needed more of it.
“Those Frank Lloyd Wright psychos?” I hedged, trying not to tip my hand. Last I’d heard one of Louis Sullivan’s churches had burned down and they were under suspicion, being that Sullivan fans and Wright fans never got along.
His lips twisted into a wry smile. “They’ve been called worse.”
“Where does her money come from?”
“The old fashioned way. She was born into it and married more.”
Looking up I snorted. “Anderson.”
I stopped writing and sat back, chewing on my pencil and wishing for a cigarette. I didn’t normally take cases on Sundays but this honeypot had shown up at my door knocking until I stumbled out of bed hung over to let him in. “Why isn’t her husband here?”
“He’s in Europe on business. He’s a developer, works a lot of remote sites. I have his secretary trying to reach him but she says he’s unreachable.”
Hmm. “So what do you do for Mrs. Anderson?” I looked him up and down and got a pretty graphic idea.
“I handle her personal affairs for her…this seems to be a personal affair.”
The way he said affair was just the right level of flirtation, and I had to resist snorting again. “Did you file a police report, Mr. Roberts?”
He hesitated long enough I knew the name wasn’t the one on his driver’s license. “No,” he drawled at last, shaking his head and worrying his tie, proving he was most a blue collar boy playing dress up. “Look, she wouldn’t want this getting out; she wouldn’t want the world to look into her personal life. I need discretion here.”
“How long have you been fucking Mary Beth Anderson?”