May 12 = DAY 1 = Chapter 1
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Another Night in Monaco
Casimir van Amsberg
Casimir answered his ringing phone, fumbling in the dark for the glowing, buzzing contraption. “What?”
“Turn on the television.” The man’s deep, British voice on the line belonged to his friend Arthur Finch-Hatton.
Casimir fumbled for the remote in the dark hotel room. “What’s going on? Was there an earthquake in Los Angeles?” Caz’s wife, Rox, was still in LA, overseeing the day-to-day operations of their law firm.
“Tell me if it’s Los Angeles!”
“It’s not LA. It’s Monaco.”
Casimir found the power button on the remote and flipped through the channels, looking for news as he asked Arthur, “Did Quentin Sault call you again because Maxence ditched his security?”
“Just find a news channel. Where are you?” Arthur asked.
The last time Max had gone missing in Monaco just a few months before, Casimir and Arthur had undertaken a desperate sleuthing mission to find him. Their efforts had culminated in a quick dodge and a yacht ride through the Mediterranean. Because anything that involved Monaco might have dire implications for Maxence, Casimir and Arthur had erred on the side of caution.
They’d run to Monaco to find Max four times total over the last decade, so twice within a few months would be weird.
But with Max’s older brother dead and Monaco’s throne up for grabs, Prince Maxence of Monaco might be in trouble.
Finally, among the shopping shows and reruns on the hotel’s TV, Casimir found a news channel.
Blood and gunfire filled the television screen.
The crawl across the bottom read, Mass shooting in Monaco. Five known dead, more unaccounted for.
Casimir sat straight up in the bed. “Jesus Christ!”
More footage followed of people running and screaming from the Grimaldi Forum, the convention center in Monaco. Some of it was shaky cell phone video. Other shots were grainy security footage.
Casimir choked, asking, “Have you heard from him?”
“His secretary called me from his phone and said they were at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco when this went down. She said his security had double-crossed him, and they’d kidnapped him and taken him out in a helicopter from the roof.”
God, they were never going to find Max. There was little chance they’d find his body. “It was the Sea Change Gala. He was listed as the host on the invitation. We almost went to that.” Meaning Casimir and his wife.
“Us, too,” Arthur said. “There’s a close-up of him being hustled out of the convention center by security, including Quentin Sault.”
“I never trusted that guy. Jesus, Arthur.”
“I’m calling in favors now. Have your sister put you on a military plane to Nice. I’ll be there as soon as I can.”
“Where are you?”
“I’ll see you in France.”