Home > The Man in the Black Suit(2)

The Man in the Black Suit(2)
Author: Sylvain Reynard


   “Mademoiselle Rainier will not be arriving.” The guest glared. “Strike her name from the reservation.”

   He pivoted, and his handmade leather shoes tapped against the marble floor as he crossed to the concierge’s desk. The agent stared after him, stunned.

   Settling himself in an ornate chair in front of the concierge’s desk, the man slid his finger across his cell phone screen. “I need to speak with Marcel.”

   “I’m sorry, Marcel isn’t in today,” the concierge replied. “My name is Acacia. May I be of service?”

   The man lifted his dark eyes to meet hers. He was displeased. “I spoke with Marcel yesterday. He was arranging a meeting.”

   “Of course. And your name?”

   The man huffed impatiently. “Pierre Breckman.”

   The woman turned to her laptop and pressed a few keys, her hazel eyes scanning. “I’m sorry, Monsieur Breckman. There’s nothing in your records about a meeting. Would you like me to reserve one of our salons?”

   “No, I would like you to produce Marcel.” He stared at her with mounting hostility.

   Acacia’s gaze strayed to the left side of his face.

   A long scar curved across his cheek and edged toward his mouth. It was white against his tanned skin and very deep, as if someone had attempted to cleave his face in two. He was an elegant man in all other respects, which made the scar that much more jarring.

   His dark eyes narrowed. “Find Marcel. Now.”

   Acacia jolted, her hand moving instinctively to the curls at the right side of her face. She gave him a repentant look. “I’m sorry.”

   The man leaned forward. “Keep your eyes on my accounts. I’m sure you won’t find them repulsive.”

   Acacia glanced over at the bodyguard, who stood at the end of her desk. He was even taller than Monsieur Breckman, standing at six-foot-six and weighing at least two hundred and fifty pounds. His head was shaved, and he had pale blue eyes.

   She consulted her laptop. “Marcel booked your usual table at Guy Savoy’s at eight o’clock this evening. Will you be needing a car?”

   “No.” The man sat back in his chair. As if in retaliation for her perusal, he shamelessly assessed her intelligent hazel eyes, her tan and flawless skin, and the black, curly hair she wore in a bob. His upper lip curled. “Marcel said he’d be on duty.”

   “Yes, monsieur. I was called in to replace him.”

   “Why?”

   “I’m a member of Les Clefs d’Or.” Her fingers brushed past the jaunty scarf she wore at her throat and touched the gold keys pinned to her lapel. “Marcel is my senior colleague, but I can assist you with whatever you may need.”

   “I don’t need your assistance. I need Marcel.” The man tapped his phone with short, staccato motions. When his call connected, it went to voicemail. “He isn’t answering his mobile. Ring him at home.”

   “I’m afraid Marcel cannot be reached.” Acacia’s voice was strained. She tried to hide her distress by consulting her computer. “He arranged for champagne and fruit to be delivered to your suite, and he noted your allergy to strawberries. Shall I arrange your usual breakfast for tomorrow morning?”

   “I ask you about Marcel and you reply with strawberries.” The guest’s eyebrows snapped together angrily. “Has Marcel left the country?”

   Acacia looked up in puzzlement. “No, monsieur.”

   “Is he dead?”

   “Certainly not!”

   “If Marcel hasn’t left the country and he isn’t dead, then why isn’t he here?”

   Acacia forced a smile. “Monsieur Breckman, I would be more than happy to—”

   The man stood abruptly and returned to the front desk, where he addressed Céline. “Tell the manager to find Marcel and send him to my suite. The concierge on duty seems to have difficulty fulfilling the simplest of requests. I asked for Marcel no less than four times, and she refused to assist me.”

   The man strode toward the elevators with his bodyguard, his footsteps echoing angrily through the lobby.

 


   Céline gave Acacia a smug look.

   Acacia rose from behind her desk and tried to hide her distress. She watched with gritted teeth as Céline dialed the hotel manager and reported the guest’s words. Paul, the other reservation agent, didn’t bother to conceal his eavesdropping on her conversation. He seemed amused.

   Acacia had been a concierge at the Hotel Victoire for only a few months. She worked hard to provide exceptional service without attracting undue attention, hiding behind her navy blue uniform and her desk. Most guests treated her as they treated the furniture: with benign indifference. Monsieur Breckman had been in the hotel less than fifteen minutes and had already made her conspicuous.

   She straightened her navy jacket, sat down, and ignored the desk staff and their reactions. She outranked them in the hotel’s hierarchy but had always treated them with respect.

   Now they were enjoying her embarrassment a little too much.

   She turned to face the manager’s office and steeled herself for his appearance. She was in trouble, she knew. She just didn’t know how much.

 

 

Chapter Two

 

ACACIA WATCHED JACQUES ROY, the hotel manager, approach her desk via a series of heavy, foreboding footfalls. He wore an expensive blue suit and a paisley tie that contrasted with the violet of his dress shirt.

   Acacia thought he resembled a blueberry.

   Monsieur Roy waited until he was close enough to speak to her without attracting the guests’ attention. “What happened with Monsieur Breckman?”

   Acacia rose from behind her desk. She was five-foot-eleven in her two-inch heels and looked down at her five-foot-four supervisor. “He was adamant he speak with Marcel. When I explained Marcel was unavailable, he ordered Céline to contact you.”

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