Dangerous Minds (Knight and Moon #2)

Dangerous Minds (Knight and Moon #2)

Janet Evanovich


IT WAS A LITTLE AFTER ONE IN THE MORNING WHEN Riley Moon stopped struggling to make sense of the spreadsheet in front of her. She scraped her chair back from her desk, stood, and gave up a sigh. She was in a small room in a large mansion in Washington, D.C., and was surrounded by boxes, laundry hampers, and black garbage bags filled with official papers. She’d been hired to untangle the complicated financial affairs of the Knight family, who for generations had been brilliant at making money and pathetic at keeping records. Riley had been on the job for almost two months, and she’d reached the conclusion that it would be best for everyone if she just set fire to the office and destroyed every available document.

Her curly red hair was a rat’s nest from a recently acquired habit of raking her fingers through it. Her brown eyes felt bloodshot. She thought a martini would fix everything, but she didn’t have the energy to make one. She had two degrees from Harvard, a cute nose, a nice family back in Texas, and no social life. The closest she came to having a guy in her life was her boss, Emerson Knight, a man known far and wide as an “odd duck.” True, he was rich, brilliant, and totally hot-looking, but that didn’t alter the fact that he was quackers.

Emerson was the latest heir to the Knight fortune, and he had no interest in either making more money or keeping better records. He simply wanted to get his family’s affairs in order so he could keep their many charitable trusts operating while he pursued a life of investigation.

Their backgrounds were worlds apart, Riley thought. Her father was the sheriff of a small, dusty county in north Texas. Her mother was a second grade teacher. Her modest childhood home had unfashionable, comfortable furniture, a small backyard that was fenced for the family dog, a kitchen table that seated seven, and a dining room table that could fit a tight ten but was only used for Thanksgiving dinner. Growing up she had to compete with her four brothers, so she knew how to shoot, throw a punch, hit a hardball, and cuss.

Riley glanced out her office’s small window and considered her options. She could traipse downstairs, get into her black-and-white Mini Cooper, and drive home to her Georgetown apartment, or she could select one of the many guest bedrooms just down the hall and sleep here at the Knight mansion, Mysterioso Manor.

“The answer is obvious,” Emerson said, standing in shadow on the far side of the room. “It would be more efficient for you to stay here.”

“Crap on a cracker!” Riley said, whipping around, hand over her heart. “You just scared the heck out of me. How long have you been standing there?”

“That’s an interesting question. On a quantum level, either always or never.”

“And on the level we all live on except you?”

“About twenty seconds. I was checking the security monitors and I saw that your office light was still on.”

“I can’t reconcile money spent through your animal rights charitable trust with money received. You seem to have too much money, but I don’t know where it came from.”

“Is that a dilemma?”


Only one of many, Riley thought, looking at her boss. Emerson had a peculiar intelligence that set him apart from other brilliant people she’d met. He was good at connecting the dots even when half the dots were missing. Unfortunately, he was also a charmingly annoying enigma with the right combination of charisma and resourcefulness to convince her of just about anything. And if that wasn’t enough of a problem, he looked like a model for a romance novel cover. He was six feet two inches tall, with a lot of wavy black hair, smoldering dark eyes, and a hard-muscled, lean body. The dark hair and eyes were inherited from his Spanish mother. The muscle was the result of years of martial arts practice.

Riley agreed with Emerson that it would be more efficient for her to spend the night here. Problem was, the guest rooms were creepy. In fact, the whole mansion was creepy. It was a massive gray stone Gothic-Victorian architectural disaster with a wraparound porch, multiple chimneys, hidden passages, gargoyles, turrets, and lancet windows. It was filled with priceless bric-a-brac, elaborate woodwork, uncomfortable antique furniture, and heavy velvet drapes with gold tassels. Previous generations of eccentric Knights had lived in the mansion and filled it with their collected treasures, wives, and mistresses.

Riley was about to choose comfort over efficiency when Emerson’s house security alarm screamed out, “Intrusion, intrusion, intrusion.”

“What the heck?” Riley said, clapping her hands over her ears.

Emerson tapped a code into his smartphone. The noise stopped, and images from the house’s security cameras appeared on the phone’s screen.

“Follow me,” Emerson said. “The game is afoot.”

“Really?” Riley said. “Someone just broke into your house and you’re quoting Sherlock Holmes?”

“It popped into my head. It seemed appropriate.”

“Hiding in the closet and waiting for the police seems more appropriate.”

“We would have a very long wait. The alarm system isn’t connected to the police. I have my own top men who handle these sorts of problems.”



Vernon was Emerson’s cousin from Virginia who’d taken up semi-permanent residence in a monster RV he kept parked behind the mansion. He was a big, good-natured guy who had a way with the ladies and preferred fishing to thinking.

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