"Who put me up to it, Mr Kingston, is none of your business."
"I got a visual of him," Paddy said. "Clever of you."
"And dumb of her to even think of him. Let's get out of here."
"Easier said than done. One of the guys has a gun pointed at your back."
"So, untie me and let's rumble."
Paddy snorted in amusement. Then Vic felt the rope around his wrists loosen. A second later he heard a shout of surprise and had the feeling whoever had been holding the gun wasn't anymore. He ripped his hands free of the rope, reaching for Mrs Peake. He discovered the man wasn't the only one who had been armed when she pulled a small pistol from behind her back, pointing it at his chest.
"Stay right where you are," she ordered. "Jerry…" She took a quick glance behind Vic, her eyes widening in shock. "Who the hell…?"
Vic almost turned to see what had happened, thought better of it, and grabbed her wrist, twisting the gun down and then out of her hand. She fought back, scratching and hissing, but by that time he was standing. He had no compunction about hitting her hard on the jaw, smiling slightly when she dropped to the floor in a heap. Only then did he turn to see what had happened behind him.
Paddy had materialized and was holding a tire iron while looking down at the two goons who were now unconscious at his feet. He grinned at Vic. "Your backup has arrived, or at least that's what we'll tell Mrs Peake when she recovers. What are we going to do with these three?"
"For the time being, tie them up and leave them here. I want to have a few words with the man who hired her." Vic looked questioningly at Paddy.
When Paddy described the image of the man that he'd picked out of Mrs Peake's mind, Vic was surprised, but not unduly so. "I wonder if Governor Hobson knows what he's doing." When Paddy asked, Vic told him, "That's Arthur Margolin, the governor's top political advisor. Offhand, I'd say Margolin must have his doubts about Hobson's being able to win the primary fair and square."
Paddy nodded. "Somehow, he finds out you've been hired and brings in Mrs Peake to stop you." He chuckled. "And I bet I know why her. When she flashed on him, he was showing a lot more skin than decency allows."
"Lovers?" Vic glanced down at the woman. "She really is a royal bitch." He went into the garage, returning a moment later with a roll of baling wire and wire cutters. It didn't take long for him and Paddy to restrain Mrs Peake and her helpers. When they were finished, Vic suddenly snapped his fingers. "Now I remember where I've seen her before—at one of the fundraisers."
"Checking out the enemy camp?"
"I'd say so. It might explain how she knew I was involved with finding the blackmailer."
"One question," Paddy said as they left the office, closing the door behind them, and then walking across the garage to the exit. "I take it whoever contacted Mr Marshall did it anonymously."
"Wouldn't you, if you were going to blackmail someone?"
"True." Paddy pointed to the alarm box by the exit. "Good thing she had that disarmed so the guys could bring you in here."
"Eh, I could have bypassed is," Vic bragged, which would have been true if he'd had the right tools with him.
When they were outside, Vic called Evan, assured him he was all right, and asked him to pick them up.