Cal needed to intervene. But the timing needed to be perfect.
Scott spent the afternoon working on the lighting in the grand entryway. He knew there was a hidden panel which, once revealed, would present him the treasure he sought. He knew the gold was here, he simply needed to find it.
Before the job ended, which was way too close.
Cissie told him the job would end when the B&B opened–whether he was finished or not.
Normally he’d wouldn’t pay any attention to single women trying to get him to commit to something like that. He just didn’t do it. Nobody pushed Scott into commitment. Nobody. Except Cissie made him sign a contract. So once the B&B opened, his was history. She wouldn’t have any trouble getting someone else out here to work once the public started showing up.
The solitude would only last as long as they were alone.
Scott wanted the job to be done. This old house was really getting under his skin. He’d been creeped out several times the past week, constantly feeling as if someone was watching over his shoulder. And the tools. That was freaky. He’d put down a hammer, or wire cutters and when he went to grab them again, just a second or two later, they’d be gone. He was being toyed with or losing his mind.
Probably not. Just the stress.
He was anxious to get back into town tonight. He had more research to do, and he needed to go by the library before it closed. Besides, the young librarian was fairly hot. She’d come onto him the last time he’d stopped in there. Maybe he’d get lucky.
Clouds drifted across the late afternoon sun, causing a shadow to creep across the stairs. Cold chills fingered their way down his spine and he looked up to find Cissie watching him from the foot of the stairs.
“What are you doing?’ she asked.
“Um, checking out the outlet here.” He pointed to the top of the staircase. He’d added an outlet so the maid wouldn’t have to plug-in a vacuum in a guest room.
He’d insisted on adding the outlet, easily explained and not on the original plan, so he could search for panels on the staircase. He’d already exhausted his other options in the attic, basement, dining and kitchen areas. The great rooms and the reception hall offered no place where hidden panels might conceal the Colonels stash.
“I want you to finish up. It looks like it’s going to storm and I don’t want you stuck out here all night if the road turn into a mudslide.”
As she turned on her heel to return to the kitchen she dropped the letter opener.
Scott ran down the stairs and grabbing her by the waist, reached around her to retrieve it.
Cissie yelped in surprise and pulled away, knocking a vase of flowers off the entryway table. The crystal shattered and the water ran in rivulets from the table to the hard wood floor at their feet.
Cissie pushed him away and he slipped in the water, hand clutching the letter opener. His legs went out from under him and his arms windmilled with the letter opener connecting with the electrical outlet at the same time the storm began in earnest.
Lightning struck the rods on the roof of the old mansion and the charge traveled down from the roof through the house.
Every electrical outlet, old and new exploded in a flash. Snap, crackle, pop. Light bulbs popped, current slid across any available surface, and appliances unfortunate enough to be plugged in, immediately blew out.
When Scott landed, with the letter opener in his grip connecting with the outlet at the foot of the stairs, he began to jerk and flop like a trout on the shoreline deprived of air.
Cissie could only watch in horror.