had told her? If so, how did she know Yarrow would be tame? Or was the woman just so goddamned sure of her power that she took it as a given she could control anyone with a third-cousin connection to the film industry?
He shut off the lights and walked into the half-dark lobby, pausing so he didn’t run into Uberhazy again outside. He couldn’t drive himself crazy trying to figure her out. What he needed to do was get on top of this Sondervoil business, and the first step would be to find the impostor and tame her.
T RACE Y ARROW PUT DOWN the phone. He should have slammed it down; he’d wanted to from the moment he heard Dolly Uberhazy’s voice. But he hadn’t, had he?
He glanced around his studio cottage. The walls were bare but for the calendar from the cycle shop. The Madras spread on his single bed had bled so much, it was as if the color were racing the threads to oblivion. His table and unmatched chairs were from the Goodwill. Hell, no one could accuse him of being “into things,” into acquiring, into status.
He had loved doing stunt work. That’d been the best time of his life. He’d been so focused, there’d been no space for thought; he’d felt alive . And afterward, with the guys, the foot soldiers, he had known he belonged. He’d paid his dues. He’d been a “new boy” for five years, so long that he was afraid somehow the “okay guys,” the ones who’d made it, could see his secrets and know he wasn’t good enough. He’d just about decided that he loved doing gags enough to put up with life as an outsider, when suddenly one day he found that he was an okay guy himself. And he knew that the same guys he trusted doing a motorcycle spinout, or a horse drag, or a car hit, could be counted on in his life outside the business.
And then he’d had to walk away. It had been hell.
Now he’d got himself caught between two women. That meant trouble. He liked the detective, good enough body to be in the business, and what a mouth on her. Well, he liked that in a woman. She’d trotted right over the warning rope and gotten onto the set as if the rules weren’t meant for her. That he understood. All the time she’d been looking ahead, watching for chances, shifting, skirting, lunging, always in control. And he wouldn’t mind being the guy who crashed the levee of that control, no indeed. He could imagine that firm little body, and all that controlled passion and …
But she didn’t quite trust him.
His chest went cold; it was the same feeling he’d had when he’d been the driver in a car hit. The okay guy he’d had to hit had been running into the road. He was gauging the speed of the car, ready to jump and slide over the hood. If you’re going to come out just a little black and blue, you have to be in the air when the hit comes; the guy knew that. But he jumped too late. No time to brake or even swerve. Guy ended up with broken bones like yesterday’s chicken dinner.
Yarrow tried to shake off the cold. He hadn’t let the guy down, but he’d felt just as bad as if he had. He’d hated being the driver. Taking the hit—that was his style. Being the guy you couldn’t trust, or even appearing to be—well, you might as well be dead.
But the lady detective was right not to trust him. If she’d asked him an hour ago if she could count on him—the two of them scratching out the truth about little Lark Sondervoil, battling the greed and ego of the studio—he’d have screamed, “Yes!” It wouldn’t have occurred to him that that bitch Uberhazy could phone him up with one of those offers he couldn’t refuse.
She hadn’t held out the moon to him—teased him with a stunt job he knew he could never again handle. She didn’t offer him a coordinator’s job that would have had everyone in the business asking why all of a sudden, after ten years away from the business, Trace Yarrow got that plum. She was too smart for that. What she had held out to him was just a simple