Shall we see what Mace and Li have to say about the whole thing? Will they force Hui Sun into revealing the whereabouts of his daughter? It's time to sit and relax with a nice cuppa and find out! Enjoy!!!
Hustle Into Love
* * * * *
“Talk to me, Sun.” Mace had the older man by his lapels. “What the hell has Chóngdé done?”
“Brother, please.” Gently, Lì pulled Mace’s clenched hands away. “He is just as horrified as we are. Give him a chance to speak.”
“Bullshit.” Pushing away from Hui Sun, Mace paced to the window. “He may be shocked, but he had to know something like this could happen. Hell, he warned me himself Chóngdé didn’t take losing gracefully.”
“It is so.” Hui straightened his collar and sighed. “This is in part my fault. I have indulged her too much. When she was dismissed from The Golden Tiger she was so distraught.” He glanced Lì’s way. “I struck out at you and your casino then threatened your brother. When that did not work and I let the matter go, she flew into a tantrum. To make peace I allowed her to take over the Lotus Palace’s entertainment. I thought that would keep her mind off Ms. Montgomery.”
“Obviously, it didn’t,” Mace grumbled.
“No.” The older man shook his head. “And now you tell me she hired this choreographer without telling me. She has never kept things from me before. But I am afraid something changed in my daughter once Chantal Montgomery arrived. I have never seen her so—” he searched for the proper word, “—obsessed. It was as if she had to prove to everyone she was better than your lady. Or at the very least, her equal.”
“That would not be possible. Chantal is one of a kind,” Lì said simply. He met Hui Sun’s gaze. “Tell me the truth, my friend. Do you think your daughter has done the unthinkable? Do you believe she is responsible for the bombing? For Chantal’s disappearance?”
Hui looked grim. “I would never have imagined such a thing before, but now?” He rubbed his eyes tiredly, an unconscious gesture that surprised Mace. Most Asians of Sun’s generation rarely showed their emotions. “She has been acting so secretively lately. I allowed it, thinking whatever she was keeping to herself was harmless. But if the man she hired kidnapped Ms. Montgomery, I have no choice but to consider she may be involved.”
“I want to talk to her.” Mace glared at Hui. “Where is she?”
“At this hour? She is in her bedroom, of course.” Sun went to his desk and pushed a button on the intercom. “Chóngdé? Daughter? Wake up. I know it is early, but I wish to speak to you in my office.”
There was no answer.
Frowning, Hui tried again. “Daughter? Answer me immediately.”
“She’s not there,” Mace growled in disgust. “You don’t know where she is.”
The elder’s cheeks reddened. “It is four o’clock in the morning. She probably is sleep—”
“Have someone check.” Mace interrupted him without remorse. “Do it now, or I’ll do it for you.”
Having his daughter suspected of criminal activity seemed to be too much for the older man. For the moment, he was completely cowed. Sun’s lips tightened at Mace’s threat, but surprisingly, he said nothing. Only spoke briefly into the intercom ordering one of his men to check his daughter’s room. They waited in silence, and no one was surprised when several minutes later it was reported that Chóngdé’s room was empty.
“Perhaps she is with Chantal now,” Lì suggested. “Try contacting her.”
But Hui Sun’s phone call went unanswered. Mace’s panic increased. What was going on? Where was Chóngdé and where the hell was Chantal?
“We may be going about this the wrong way.”
Mace blinked at his brother’s words. “What do you mean?”
“We may not be able to find Chóngdé, but we are still not sure she’s involved.”
“I’m sure,” Mace snarled, “and if she’s hurt Chantal, she’ll be sorry she was ever born.”
“I will not allow you to hurt my daughter,” Hui Sun protested, his eyes glinting with anger, “no matter what she’s done.”
“Try and stop me.”
“Brother,” Lì remonstrated. “Hui. Let us focus on finding Chantal. We can cast blame later when all the facts are in.”
Mace knew in his gut he had all the facts he needed. Chóngdé was involved, right down to her tiny feet. But he knew Lì was right. As much as he hated the fact, Hui Sun was the only one who might be able to help them find both women.
“As I said before we may be missing the obvious.”
“What do you mean?” Sun asked.
“While we can only assume your daughter is involved, we do know who is. Perhaps we should talk to him.”
“Christ.” Mace wanted to kick his own ass. He’d been so focused on Chóngdé he’d forgotten. “Chin Zhao.”
“The choreographer. Yes,” Hui mused. “He may be the key.”
“But he’s a dead end.” Mace gave up and began pacing again. The hell with being inscrutable and saving face. He was too damn worried. “We tried to find him but couldn’t. Sent men to his apartment and to your casino. He’s nowhere to be found.”
Hui Sun smiled. The worried father disappeared, and in his place was the hard, cold man Mace had met when he first arrived in Macau. “No one is unfindable, Mr. D'Avranches. Not for me.”
For the first time since he’d gotten involved with Hui Sun, Mace was glad the man’s reach was so long. Within an hour, the Asian had men searching all of Macau for the missing choreographer. Sun was confident they would have information on Chin Zhao’s whereabouts by morning.
But with every minute that passed, Mace’s fears grew stronger. What was Chóngdé planning? Why had she taken Chantal? Had she hurt her? Mace’s stomach turned. Done worse to the woman he loved? He couldn’t bear the thought.
He cringed each time he remembered the last argument he’d had with Chantal. It had been so stupid, so unnecessary. He swore to himself that when he got her back, he’d never argue with her again.
Then he laughed. Not argue with Chantal? That would be bloody impossible. She was like a flame, licking at you when you least expected it. You couldn’t help but react. But right now any communication with her was welcome. Be it an argument or whispered loving under the covers late at night. He just wanted her back where she belonged.
In his arms.
And when he finally did, he knew he would never let her go again. It was time for all those plans he’d been thinking about to come to fruition. Absently, he reached into his pant’s pocket and pulled out the small black jeweler’s box he carried there. Flipping it open he gazed at the engagement ring he’d designed for the woman he loved.
It was a yellow diamond. A deeper shade than normal, it was almost golden in color, the same flashing hue as Chantal’s beautiful eyes. It sat in a swirling circle of white gold and smaller diamonds, giving the impression of movement and fluidity, almost as if the amber-colored diamond was dancing amongst the other stones. It was gorgeous, unique and one of a kind.
Just like his lady.
“So you are going to propose to Chantal?” Lì’s voice brought him out of his reverie. “It is about time.”
Mace smiled wryly. “I’ve only known her a few months, brother.”
“Must I remind you of the ten years wasted?”
A pang shot through Mace. “No, damn it. And I promise you, once I get her back, the first thing I’m going to do is ask her to be my wife.”
“That is good. All will be as it should be.” Lì looked pleased. “And I am glad of my small part in it.”
“Small?” Mace stared at his brother. “If it hadn’t been for you setting us up, who knows how much more time would have been wasted.”
“That is so.” Lì nodded serenely in agreement. “So my part was not so small.”
Mace snorted out a laugh, but then sobered. “God, Lì. Where is she? I can’t help thinking the worst. What if I never have a chance to give her this ring? What if I never see her again?”
“Do not say such things,” Lì answered, his tone firm and unbending. “We will find her. We will get her back. You will have the rest of your lives together. I promise you.”
“I hope so.” Mace rubbed the diamond ring once for luck then snapped the box closed and put it in his pocket. “I’m about ready to go out and look for Chin myself. Where the hell can a choreographer hide?”
As it turned out, he couldn’t hide at all. Chin Zhao was picked up a few hours after sunrise hiding in one of the warehouses Hui Sun used. Mace didn’t think it was a coincidence it was the same place where Sun Trust Manufacturing had stored the parts used in making the bomb. Obviously, Zhao wasn’t the brightest bulb in the pack.
It took a while, but by mid-morning, the choreographer was exactly where Mace wanted him. Sweating in a chair, surrounded by three men who wanted answers and wanted them now.
“I do not understand why I am here,” the small man whined. “I have done nothing wrong.”
Mace longed to pick the man up and shake the truth out of him, but Chin was like a rat caught in a trap. Violence would do no good. Subtlety was needed. For the moment, he left the interrogation to his brother and Sun. There would be time later for his more “pro-active” questioning.
“I believe you were trespassing in my warehouse,” Hui Sun said mildly, skirting the real issue. “I know I have not given you permission to be on the premises.”
“I had permission,” Chin Zhao blurted out, looking suddenly relieved. “Yes. Your daughter said I could stay there.”
Definitely not the brightest bulb. Now they had proof Chóngdé and Chin were involved.
Chin nodded eagerly. “Yes, sir. She gave me permission.”
“So you and my daughter are…friends?”
The choreographer blushed. “N-No, sir. I work for her. I mean, at the Lotus Palace. I help with the entertainment.”
“And are part of your duties visiting other casinos after hours?” Lì’s soft voice made Zhao flinch and his eyes rolled wildly.
“I-I do not know what you are talking about.” He tried to stand. “I must be going. I have work to do.”
Mace’s strong hand pushed him back into his seat. “You aren’t going anywhere.”
“I am talking about you being in The Golden Tiger last night,” Lì continued as if they hadn’t spoken. “Do you deny it?”
“What?” Chin Zhao squawked. “I have not been anywhere near your casino. I swear it. You cannot prove it. Please, sir,” he pleaded with Hui Sun as his sweating grew worse. “I am telling the truth.”
“Are you?” Hui Sun cocked his head. “So you know nothing about a break in last night.”
Chin shook his head so hard sweat droplets flew everywhere. “No, sir. I know nothing about that. I wasn’t there.”
“Then why was your key card used?” Mace asked quickly.
The other man’s face went pale. “K-Key card?”
“Chin, Chin,” Lì murmured. “Surely you understand we keep records of such things. We know you were there. Tell us the truth.”
“I do not know anything!” Zhao was shaking now. “I didn’t see Ms. Montgomery. I don’t know where she is.”
“Where she is?” Hui Sun pounced on that statement. “I do not recall anyone mentioning Chantal Montgomery disappearing.” His voice went ice cold, and there was something in it that made even Mace shiver. Apparently the stories he’d heard about Sun were all true. He was one scary man.
Sun’s smile was shark-like. “I think it is time for you to tell us all you know, or—” the older man bent closer, making the choreographer shrink away in terror, “—otherwise I will be very, very disappointed.”
Chin Zhao gazed at Mace’s furious face then at Lì’s intense one. He looked back at the frightening visage of Hui Sun—a man who could literally make him disappear in seconds.
And Chin began to talk.
Whoo Whee!!!! I'm glad I'm not in Chin Zhao's shoes! I think we're about to get a taste of what makes Hui Sun the most powerful man in Macau. I hope there's no blood.
Well...I wouldn't mind a little. <grin>
Come on back on Tuesday to see what happens next!