narrowed her eyes, assessing. “But it’s not me?”
I shrugged. “That’s not for me to say.”
She chuckled. “A diplomatic answer.” She looked around the space. “You’re right. It’s not me. I just haven’t gotten around to redecorating it.”
“I know someone who does great work,” I said quickly. Then I snapped my mouth closed. I wasn’t here to drum up business for Armani’s venture; I was here to get myself a job.
“Do you have her card?”
“Not on me, but I can get you one,” I lied smoothly with a smile, not even knowing whether Armani and Tara even had business card.
Lani nodded. “I’d appreciate that. Now let me tell you about the job. As I said, it’s part-time and has got a flexible schedule, but it requires a self-starter with a killer work ethic.”
Thinking of my assassination jobs, I said honestly, “I’ve got a killer’s work ethic.”
“Good. Good.” She looked at a sheaf of papers on her desk. “When can you start?”
“But…” I protested. “You haven’t really told me what the job entails, the hours, the salary.”
“Do you know what makes a good real estate broker, Maggie?”
I shrugged. “A knowledge of architecture?”
She looked up from her papers. “No one’s ever given me that answer before.”
I thought that was probably because she’d never interviewed anyone who had less of an idea of what they were doing than I did, but I kept that opinion to myself.
“It’s definitely part of the equation, but a bigger part is going with your gut. It’s how I ended up here.” She waved at the office. “Built my career from nothing because I always pay attention to my instincts. And my instincts are telling me that you’re right for this job.”
“But you haven’t even seen my resume,” I protested.
She smiled. “I don’t need to. The job is yours, Maggie. If you want it.”
I hesitated, unsure.
“It’ll give you the schedule you need. You’ll be able to take care of your niece, and while the salary isn’t much to start, with the skills you’ll learn, you could carve out a nice career for yourself.”
Somehow I found myself nodding, shaking hands, and giving her a start date.
“Great.” She beamed. “I’ll be away for the first two weeks after you start, but two of my best employees, Susan Cambra and Angela Loayza, will show you the ropes.”
It wasn’t until I’d gotten back into my car that I realized that Lani was a hell of a saleswoman. I might learn a lot from her.
Since I still had some time left on my lunch break, I headed back to the B&B to grab something to eat since I hadn’t packed any food and didn’t want to contend with the cafeteria at the insurance company
When I got to the house, I couldn’t immediately pull into the driveway because a mail truck blocked my path. While I waited for the driver to deliver his package to the house across the street, I glanced toward the B&B and saw Aunt Susan carrying a cardboard box about the size of a toaster out to her car. She put it in her trunk, and then looked around guiltily, as though she didn’t anyone to know she’d snuck something out.
Because of the angle, she didn’t see me watching her.
She closed her trunk and went back inside.
I wondered what she was up to. It had certainly looked like she was doing something sneaky, but what?
My gut told me something was going on, but I couldn’t figure out what.
My appetite gone, I drove straight back to work, wondering what kind of secret Susan was keeping.
As I drove down the long, private driveway to the retreat center, I had second thoughts about my plan. I wasn’t sure I could pull off the Krout job, let alone survive a weekend filled with people with some bizarre desire to improve themselves.
“Maybe this isn’t the best idea,” I muttered.
“What could go wrong?” the lizard drawled from his resting spot in the cup holder. “It’ll just be uptight, close-minded,
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