Here's the link from KMM's Blog.
KMM advised to read Chapter 4 of Darkfever before reading JZB's POV. If you don't have it on hand, I've attached the whole scene below. Have fun reading~
Someone knocking at my door awakened me.
I sat up, rubbing gritty, tired eyes that felt as if I'd just shut them seconds ago. It took me a few moments to remember where I was—in a twin bed in a chilly room in Dublin, with rain tapping lightly at the window.I'd been having a fantastic dream. Alina and I were playing volleyball up at one of the many man-made lakes built by Georgia Power, scattered throughout the state. There were three near Ashford and we went to one or the other just about every weekend in the summer for fun, sun, and guy-watching. The dream had been so vivid I could still taste Corona with lime, smell coconut suntan oil, and feel the silk of trucked-in sand beneath my feet.
I glanced at my watch. It was two o'clock in the morning. I was sleepy and grumpy and didn't try to disguise it. "Who is it?"
I couldn't have been slammed awake any harder if I'd been hit upside the head with my mom's cast-iron frying pan. What was he doing here? How had he found me? I shot up, my hand hovering over the phone, ready at any moment to call the front desk and ask for the police. "What do you want?"
"We have information to exchange. You want to know what it is. I want to know what you know about it."
I wasn't about to reveal how freaked out I was that he'd hunted me down. "Bright guy, aren't you? I figured that out back at the store. What took you so long?"
There was such a protracted silence that I began to wonder if he'd gone away. "I am unaccustomed to asking for what I want. Nor am I accustomed to bartering with a woman," he said finally.
"Well, get used to it with me, bud, because I don't take orders from anyone. And I don't give up anything for free." Bluster, bluster, bluster, Mac. But he didn't know that.
"Do you intend to open this door, Ms. Lane, or shall we converse where anyone might attend our business?"
"Do you really intend to exchange information?" I countered. "I do." "And you'll go first?" "I will."
My shoulders slumped. I moved my hand away from the phone. I straightened my shoulders again quickly. I knew the value of putting a smile on a sad face—it made you feel happy after a while. Courage was no different. I didn't trust Jericho Barrons farther than I could throw him, which was a great big Not At All, but he knew what this shi-sadu was, and although I hoped I could find the information somewhere else, what if I couldn't? What if I wasted weeks looking
with no success? Time was money and mine was finite. If he was willing to trade, I had to open that door. Unless... "We can trade through the door," I said.
"No." "Why not?" "I am a private person, Ms. Lane. This is not negotiable." "But I—" "No."
I blew out an aggravated breath. The tone in his voice said it would be a waste of time to argue. I stood and reached for a pair of jeans. "How did you find me?" I buttoned my fly and pushed my hands into my hair. It always got tangled when I slept because it was so long. I had major bed- head.
"You procured a hired conveyance at my establishment."
"We call them taxis where I come from. And bookstores." God, he was stuffy.
"We call them manners where I come from, Ms. Lane. Have you any?"
"You should talk. It's not my fault. Being threatened seems to bring out the worst in me." I opened the door a crack and glared up at him through the space afforded by the latch-chain.
I couldn't imagine Jericho Barrons as a child, going to school, face freshly scrubbed, hair neatly combed, lunch box in hand. He'd surely been spawned by some cataclysmic event of nature, not born.
He cocked his head and studied me through the narrow opening, spending several seconds on each part of me: disheveled hair, sleep-swollen mouth and eyes, lacy sleep shirt, jeans, toes. I felt as if I'd been burned to CD by the time he was done. "May I come in?" he said.
"I wouldn't have let you up this far." I was furious the desk clerk had let him up. I'd thought the place had better security. I was going to have a word with the manager tomorrow.
"I told them I was your brother." He gleaned my thoughts from my face.
"Right. Because we look so much alike." If he was winter, I was summer. If I was sunshine, he was night. A dark and stormy one.
Not an ounce of amusement flickered in those dark eyes. "Well, Ms. Lane?"
"I'm thinking." Now that he knew where I was staying, if he wanted to harm me, he could do it anytime. No need to rush into it tonight. He could lie in wait for me and jump me somewhere tomorrow in the streets. I would be no safer in the future than I was from him now, unless I was willing to move about from inn to inn, trying to lose him, and I wasn't. I needed to be in this part of town. Besides, he just didn't look like the kind of creep that would messily murder a woman in her hotel room; he looked like the kind of creep that would line her up in the sights of an assassin's rifle without a shred of emotion. That I would use that as an argument in his favor should have worried me. Later I would realize I'd been walking around still more than a little numb from Alina's death during those first weeks in Ireland, and more than a little reckless from it as well. I sighed. "Sure. Come in."
I closed the door, unhooked the chain, opened it again, then stepped back, allowing him to enter. I pushed the door open all the way and left it flush to the wall, so anyone walking past could see in and, if I needed to, I could shout down the third floor with my cries for help. Adrenaline was pumping through my body, making me feel shaky. He was still wearing his impeccable Italian suit, his shirt just as crisp and white as it had been hours ago. The cramped room was suddenly stuffed to overflowing with Jericho Barrons. If a normal person filled one hundred percent of the molecules they occupied, he somehow managed to cram his to two hundred percent capacity.
He cast a brief yet thorough glance around and I had no doubt, if questioned later, he would be able to accurately recount every detail, from the rust-colored water spots high up on the ceiling, down to my pretty flowered bra lying on the rug. I nudged the rug with my toe, pushing it and its cargo beneath the bed.
"So what is it?" I said. "No, wait—how do you spell it?" I'd tried everything today, and assuming he told me and I lived, I wanted to be able to research it on my own.
He began pacing a small circle around me. I turned with him, not willing to give him my back. "S-i-n-s-a-r," he spelled.
"Sinsar?" I said it phonetically. He shook his head. "Shi-sa. Shi-sa-du."
"Oh, that makes great sense. And the 'du'?" He stopped circling, so I stopped too, his back to the wall, mine to the open door. In time, when I began to see patterns, I would see that he always positioned himself in such a fashion, never with his back to an open window or door. It wasn't about fear. It was about control.
"Dubh is do?" I was incredulous. It was no wonder I hadn't been able to find the stupid word. "Should I be calling pubs poos?"
"Dubh is Gaelic, Ms. Lane. Pub is not."
"Don't bust a gut laughing." I'd thought I was being funny. Stuffy, like I said. "Nothing about the Sinsar Dubh is a laughing matter." "I stand corrected. So what is this gravest of graves?"
His gaze dropped from my face to my toes and back again. Apparently he was unimpressed by what he saw. "Go home, Ms. Lane. Be young. Be pretty. Get married. Have babies. Grow old with your pretty husband."
His comment stung like acid on my skin. Because I was blonde, easy on the eyes, and guys had been snapping my bra strap since seventh grade, I'd been putting up with the Barbie stereotype for years. That pink was my favorite color, that I liked matching accessories and eye-catching heels, didn't help much. But I'd never been turned on by the Ken doll—even before I looked down his pants and saw what was missing—I wasn't jonesing for a white picket fence and an SUV in the driveway, and I resented the Barbie implications—Go procreate and die, I'm sure that's all someone like you can do. I might not be the brightest bulb in the box, but I wasn't the dimmest, either. "Oh, screw you, Jericho Barrons. Tell me what it is. You said you would."
"If you insist. Don't be a fool. Don't insist." "I'm insisting. What is it?" "Last chance." "Too bad. I don't want a last chance. Tell me."
His dark gaze bored into mine. Then he shrugged, his fine suit sliding over his body with suppleness and ease only exorbitant custom-made clothing could achieve. "The Sinsar Dubh is a book."
"A book? That's all? Just a book?" It seemed terribly anti-climactic.
"On the contrary, Ms. Lane, never make that mistake. Never think it just a book. It is an exceedingly rare and exceedingly ancient manuscript countless people would kill to possess."
"Including you? Would you kill to possess it?" I needed to know exactly where we stood, he and I.
"Absolutely." He watched my face as I took that in. "Reconsidering your stay, Ms. Lane?" "Absolutely not." "You'll be going home in a box, then." "Is that another of your threats?"
"It is not I who will put you there." "Who will?"
"I answered your question, now it's your turn to answer mine. What do you know of the Sinsar Dubh, Ms. Lane?"
Not nearly enough, obviously. What on earth had my sister gotten into? Some kind of shadowy Dublin underworld filled with stolen artifacts, peopled by murderers and ruthless thieves?
"Tell me," he pressed. "And don't lie. I'll know."
I glanced at him sharply, almost able to believe he would. Oh, not in some extrasensory way—I don't believe in that kind of stuff—but in the way of a man who scrutinizes people, gathers their tiniest gestures and expressions, and measures them. "My sister was studying here." He'd given me the bare minimum. I would give him nothing more. "She was killed a month ago. She left me a voice-mail message right before she died, telling me I had to find the Sinsar Dubh."
"Why?" "She didn't say. She just said everything depended on it." He made an impatient sound. "Where is this message? I must hear it myself." "I accidentally deleted it," I lied.
He crossed his arms over his chest and leaned back against the wall. "Liar. You would make no such mistake with a sister you care enough about to die for. Where is it?" When I said nothing, he said softly, "If you are not with me, Ms. Lane, you are against me. I have no mercy for my enemies."
I shrugged. He wanted the same thing I wanted and he was willing to kill for it. That made us enemies in my book any way I looked at it. I glanced over my shoulder at the hallway beyond the open door and pondered my next move. His threat did not decide me. I wanted to see his face when I played the message for him. If he'd had any involvement with my sister or her death, I hoped he would betray something when he heard her voice and her words. I also wanted him to know that I knew as much as I did, and to believe the police did, as well.
"I already gave a copy of this recording to the Dublin Gardai," I told him, as I fished my cell phone out of my purse and thumbed up my saved messages. "They're working to track down the man she was involved with." See Mac bluff. Better than See Mac run. Way better than See Mac get her stupid self killed. He didn't challenge my words—so much for his boast that he would know if I lied. I pressed speakerphone, then play, and Alina's voice filled the small room.
I flinched. No matter how many times I listened to it, it made me cringe—my sister sounding so frightened, hours before her death. Fifty years from now, I would still hear her message, ringing in my heart's ear, word for word.
Everything has gone so wrong... I thought I was in love... he's one of them... we've got to find the Sinsar Dubh, everything depends on it... we can't let them have it... he's been lying to me all along.
I watched him intently as he listened. Composed, aloof, his expression told me nothing. "Did you know my sister?"
He shook his head.
"You were both after this 'exceedingly rare book' yet never ran into each other?" I accused.
"Dublin is a city of a million-odd people inundated daily by countless commuters and besieged by a never-ending wave of tourists, Ms. Lane. The oddity would be if we had encountered each other. What did she mean by 'you don't even know what you are'?" His dark gaze fixed on my face as if to gauge the veracity of my answer in my eyes.
"I wondered that myself. I have no idea." "None?" "None." "Hmm. This was all she left you? A message?" I nodded.
"Nothing more? No note or package or anything of the sort?"
I shook my head.
"And you had no idea what she meant by the Sinsar Dubh? Your sister didn't confide in you?"
"I used to think she did. Apparently I was wrong." I couldn't mask the note of bitterness in my voice.
"Who did she mean by 'them'?" "I thought you might be able to tell me that," I said pointedly.
"I am not one of these 'them,' if that is what you're inferring," he said. "Many seek the Sinsar Dubh, both individuals and factions. I want it as well, but I work alone."
"Why do you want it?" He shrugged. "It is priceless. I am a book collector."
"And that makes you willing to kill for it? What do you plan to do with it? Sell it to the highest bidder?"
"If you don't approve of my methods, stay out of my way."
"Fine. What else have you to tell me, Ms. Lane?"
"Not a thing." I retrieved my cell phone, resaved the message, and jerked a frosty glance from him to the door, encouraging him to leave.
He laughed, a rich dark sound. "I do believe I'm being dismissed. I can't recall the last time I was dismissed."
I didn't see it coming. He was nearly past me, nearly to the door, when he grabbed me and slammed me back against his body. It was like hitting a brick wall. The back of my head bounced off his chest, and my teeth clacked together from the impact.
I opened my mouth to scream, but he clamped a hand over it. He banded an arm beneath my breasts so tightly that I couldn't inflate my lungs to breathe. His body was far more powerful beneath that fine suit than I ever would have guessed, like reinforced steel. In that instant, I understood that the open door had been nothing more than a mocking concession, a placebo he'd fed me that I'd swallowed whole. Anytime he'd wanted, he could have snapped my neck and I wouldn't have gotten off a single scream. Or he could simply have suffocated me, as he was doing now. His strength was astonishing, immense. And he was only using a small fraction of it. I could feel the restraint in his body; he was being very, very careful with me.
He pressed his lips to my ear. "Go home, Ms. Lane. You don't belong here. Drop it with the Gardai. Stop asking questions. Do not seek the Sinsar Dubh or you will die in Dublin." He released enough pressure on my mouth to afford my reply, enough on my ribs to permit me breath to fuel it.
I sucked in desperately needed air. "There you go, threatening me again," I wheezed. Better to die with a snarl than a sniffle.
His arm bit into my ribs, cutting off my air again. "Not threatening—warning. I haven't been hunting it this long and gotten this close to let anyone get in my way and fuck things up. There are two kinds of people in this world, Ms. Lane: those who survive no matter the cost, and those who are walking victims." He pressed his lips to the side of my neck. I felt his tongue where my pulse fluttered, tracing my vein. "You, Ms. Lane, are a victim, a lamb in a city of wolves. I'll give you until nine P.M. tomorrow to get the bloody hell out of this country and out of my way."
He let me go, and I crumpled to the floor, my blood starved for oxygen. By the time I picked myself up again, he was gone.