Iris Johansen – Eight Days to Live

By SMW Staff

Why had she suddenly thought of MacDuff’s Run? Why not the lake cottage back in Atlanta?

It must have been Celine talking about the painting and her lust for MacDuff. He had obviously impressed her. Why not? MacDuff was an impressive man, and the force of his personality was pure magnetism. She  wasn’t sure that Celine had believed her when she’d told her that she hadn’t gone to bed with MacDuff . Their relationship had consisted of part ally, part adversary in the past few years. Whenever they were together, he ignited a response in her that always put her on the defensive. She didn’t need MacDuff in her life.

The elevator opened, and she stepped out into Celine’s apart­ment. All blues and creams and Louis XV furniture and gorgeous bronze mirrors. Restful, but exquisite. All Celine. Not at all Jane. She’d be glad to get back to the U.S. and the simplicity and com­fort of her own apartment.

Day after tomorrow. She’d already made her flight reservations.

For now, shower, crawl into the bed that looked like Marie Antoinette had probably slept in it.

In a few minutes Celine would probably be at a club, flitting from table to table like the butterfly to which Jane had mentally compared her.

Jane didn’t envy her at all.

JANE’S CELL PHONE was ringing.

She reached out sleepily for the phone on the nightstand.


She was jerked wide- awake at the hoarse male voice.


“Who is this?”


An obscene caller. She was about to hang up when something occurred to her. “How did you get my cell number, you creep?”


“I’m going to hang up. And then I’m going to call the police and see if they can trace you.”

“They won’t be able to do it. I have all the angels of paradise on my side.”

“I don’t believe angels would have anything to do with a slime-ball like you. You’d better check your information.”

“You sit there spitting foulness at me in your little cocoon above the gallery of sin, Jane MacGuire. You think you’re safe.”

A chill went through her. Gallery. This was no random ob­scene call. He was speaking in English. He knew where she was. Who she was. “I am safe.”

“Not from me. Not from us.”

“Who are you?”

“I’ve left a calling card at the front door. Come and get it.”

“No way.”

“Never mind. I see a taxi coming down the street. It may be the whore who runs this gallery. I’ll give my card to her.” He hung up. Celine. She jumped out of bed and ran to the window overlooking the street. There was a taxi drawing to the curb across the street.

Damn. Damn. Damn.

She’d be stupid if she went down and opened that door.

But if she didn’t, then that bastard who had called her might attack Celine when she finished paying the driver and came into the vestibule of the gallery.

She dialed Celine’s number.

No answer.

Dammit, she wished she had a gun. But it was just too difficult traveling with even licensed firearms through airport security. So compromise. Call the police and tell them she suspected an intruder, then go downstairs and talk to that son of a bitch through the door and try to distract him.

She ran to the kitchen, grabbed a butcher knife, and ran to­ward the elevator. What the hell was the French version of 911?