Today I’m posting an excerpt from the fifth and final book in contemporary adventure series, The Tomcat Line, the novel SACRIFICES:
Leaving Grayson’s office, Brian walked along the corridor in the wing that housed the Archaeology department. He knew exactly where he wanted to go, having scoped out the building before arriving for his appointment. He knew there were two corridors intersecting at the other end of this long corridor, with stairs at both ends and a set of elevators at the intersection.
The area needed to be clear before Brian could slip into the hiding place he had chosen, but at the moment there were two students talking outside an office door and a young woman heading for the stairs at the end of the corridor. Brian slowed his pace as he approached the storeroom adjacent to the stairs and he knelt down on one knee as if tying a loose shoelace, twisting in such a way that he could see the only other occupants of the corridor standing a short distance from him. As he watched, one of the students glanced at his wrist, presumably checking the time, said something quickly to his friend and then hurried away, almost running by the time he reached the stairs. The remaining person opened the door and entered the office.
Brian took his opportunity and quickly stepped inside the storeroom, the lock of which he had picked earlier. As he expected, the room contained all the equipment required for cleaning the premises, or at least this floor. He had done a little checking and discovered that the cleaning staff didn’t start their night shift until eight.
Checking the time, Brian found it was a little before four-thirty; he guessed he would have to wait until six or maybe six-thirty to be sure that Grayson had left the office. Brian was certain Grayson would be gone by then; he was supposed to attend that charity function thing tonight if the news was anything to go on. He would have plenty of time to break into Grayson’s office and take the statue, as well as search his desk and files for the papers.
He glanced around for a way to make himself at least a little more comfortable during the couple of hours he had to kill. He found a sturdy bucket and turned it upside down, at least he would have somewhere to sit while he waited.
At six-fifteen, Mac pulled into the parking lot of the university. For once he wasn’t at the wheel of his SUV; he was driving his new black Cadillac XLR-V convertible, which he hoped Ian would appreciate when he actually saw it. It would be a lovely surprise. He pressed the switch that put the top up, locked it in position and he stretched his body, enjoying the feel of the comfortable seat and the more than ample leg room. Especially in the back, where there was plenty of space. Mac smiled as he let his imagination drift.
When Mac told Ian he’d ordered a new car, his lover had rolled his eyes and commented snidely, “Not another one. Don’t tell me? It’s black.” He’d grinned. Smiling at the memory, Mac wondered what his partner would say when he saw the all black interior too.
Mac got out of the vehicle but then opened the rear door and leaned inside, pulling out a zip-up suit carrier containing Ian’s tuxedo. He hadn’t been surprised to find a message waiting for him at his office when he pulled his rig back in around lunchtime. Neil had handed him the slip of paper with a grin after telling him it was from Ian. It was actually from Graham, informing him that even though he had reminded Ian the day before, he had still come into work that morning without the tux.
“Not changed much, has he?” Neil commented as Mac read the note. “Still in a world of his own when he’s stuck into his research.”
“Yep, but you’d think after all the trouble he’s gone to in arranging this shindig he would at least remember it!” Mac grumbled.
“You wouldn’t have him any other way.” Neil laughed, and Mac didn’t deny it.
Ian had come up with the idea about three months earlier, after grumbling about the lack of anywhere suitable in the Institute Museum to display all the pieces they had available to show the remarkable cultures of Mesoamerica. His area of expertise was rather out of the normal range of interests in the museum. He usually had to make special arrangements with Dean Tyler for a space to be provided for his displays, which occasionally included items sent to him by colleagues from around the world. The Dean was as accommodating as possible, but Mesoamerican studies was a very minor subject of study for the Institute. It could be very frustrating for Ian when he sometimes had to wait months rather than weeks for a room, or more often than not, a portion of a room to be available to house his displays. The last straw had been when he’d watched himself on the documentary he had filmed in the InstituteMuseum, strolling from one room to another to show one piece here and one layout there. It had all seemed so very scattered and very unsatisfying for Ian.
That was what had sparked the whole idea for a specific home for all the Mesoamerican artifacts that he had recovered and brought back to the university, together with other pieces donated to the museum because of Ian’s tenure there. After much thought and discussion, or perhaps it was better described as using Mac as a sounding board, Ian presented the idea of a permanent display of Mesoamerican artifacts and art, incorporating a lecture hall where he and any visiting guests could speak. Dean Tyler was in favor of the premise but had no funds for such a project and no way to gain any. There was too much demand on the Institute’s resources as it was, and therefore it was impossible to consider something so radical.
So Ian decided to set about getting the funding himself. Of course, Mac offered to help any way he could, which Ian accepted—providing he didn’t simply intend to dip into his rather deep pockets.
“But I want to help, Ian,” Mac said, frowning a little, hurt by Ian’s apparent instant dismissal of his offer.
“I know, and of course I will happily accept a contribution, a small one, Mac. This is not your responsibility, this is my wish, my…need. I want to do this, Mac. The idea may have finally coalesced but the desire has always been there. Of course, I would also be very happy if you could get some of your contacts to perhaps support the project?” Ian had grinned at Mac but for once Mac didn’t respond with one of his quick comebacks, looking very thoughtful instead.
“You could set up a foundation,” Mac suggested. “Try to raise funds to build an annex specifically to house your stuff.”
“Build an annex!” Ian exclaimed. That was so much more ambitious than he’d considered.
“Why not?” Mac smiled. “If you really want this, let’s go all out. I’ve got plenty of contacts in the business world, you’ve got plenty in academia and hell, even with the media. Come on, Ian let’s go for it.”
Ian grinned at his partner, suddenly excited at the prospect. “You’re right, Mac. I do want this. I’ll need help though, haven’t got the slightest idea how to go about setting up a foundation or raising funds.”
“I’ll help. What I don’t know I can find out.”
“I’ll accept all the help you can give me, Mac, except—”
“Except my money, I know, Ian. I’ll talk to Neil, he’ll know all the legal angles or know someone who does. I’ll spread the word among my contacts. You need to get your proposal publicized, that’s your first step.”
“I need to learn about fundraising too. Something that will grab the public’s interest.”
And Mac mused now, Ian had certainly done that. The archaeologist had given more interviews and more lectures in the last three months than he had in the last year, and the donations had started coming in. Mac had raised a lot of interest and a lot of promises from his contacts. Tonight’s concert would be the culmination of the effort, the first big public fundraiser. All the proceeds from the evening’s performance would go to the Grayson Foundation. Ian hadn’t been keen on naming the foundation after himself, but Mac had pointed out his name would be a draw in its own right and he would be a fool not to make use of his fame.
It occurred to Mac later that it might have been the publicity campaign for the annex that had spurred Guerrero to leave his bequest to Ian, as he also left a small sum of money to the Foundation, on the condition that when Ian felt the time was right at some point in the future, the statue should be put on display in pride of place.
If readers want to read the full story the novel can be purchased here
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