Authors: Vanessa Devereaux
Copyright© 2012 Vanessa Devereaux
Cover Artist: Sour Cherry Designs
Editor: Karyn White
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
WARNING: The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. No part of this book may be used or reproduced electronically or in print without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in reviews.
This is a work of fiction. All names, characters, and places are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
For Auntie Eileen
I’d also like to say a thank you to Sue, my critique partner, for her help with this story.
Copyright © 2012
He spotted the son of a bitch through the gap where the lace curtains didn’t quite meet. He tapped the steering wheel waiting for the sun to go down when he’d be less noticeable. It was all her fault that they were in this predicament. As always, he was the one having to put the matter right
. She never got her nose dirty
and he doubted she’d approve of what he was about to do
but neither of them had a choice.
He lit a ciga
rette and inhaled hoping the nicotine
would calm him
He’d done a lot of crappy and illegal things in hi
s life before
but killing a man was a first. Shit, he’d never thought about resorting to that no matter how tempting it had sometimes
en. He inhaled again, seeing his soon to be victim
walk to the window and look out
almost as if he knew so
meone was outside lurking.
Not that he’d give him credit for being clairvoyant or anything. When you blackmailed people you could
not to get pissed off with
He stubbed out the cigarette and took a deep breath while glancing at the passenger seat.
As dusk set in,
he light in the parking lot of the motel came on and illuminated the knife.
He pulled on the latex gloves he’d taken from the salon
trace of his fingerprints in the room or on the weapon
. He snapped them over his wrist, grabbed
the knife and kept it well hidden inside his
jacket. He got out of the car and
made his way to room thirty-one
He looked around to m
re no one could recognize him being at the
cene of the crime. He knocked on the door.
“So you finally decided to
pay up,” he said opening
. “You’d better come in.”
and he followed him inside the room where NCIS Los A
ngeles was playing on the TV. A
bucket of fried chicken sat on the table next to a bottle of unopened beer.
“I hope you got the amount I asked for.
“Oh yeah,” he said
pulling out th
e knife. “I think you’ll find this is everything you deserve.”
Before he could turn
he slammed the knife into his back watching him slump to the ground. Son of a bitch got exactly what he was asking for.
grabbed both the bucket of chicken and bottle of beer and headed outside.
take the blame for this
o cared as long a
s it wasn’t him.
“Emily Richardson, you’re under arrest for the murder of Michael Ambrose. You
have the right to remain silent
you have the right…”
Bile rose from Wade’s stomach
the back of his throat where
he truly believe
it would choke him. He coughed
hoping that would c
more hot acid invaded
possibly be happening
I must be dreamin
g…or worse yet, having a
Wade wanted to
punch the police officer in the jaw for even suggesting this s
old was guilty of anything more than…No,
there was nothing that Emily could be
y of other than maybe leaving
ing in the no park zone
hopped out to return
her library books
. She’d always been a pillar of
and Wade still believed
to this day that was true. Even though he’d been away for close to eight years and hadn’t seen her for a
while, he knew deep in his heart she was a good person incapable of hurting anyone
However, as a
p himself, Wade knew Officer Albright
following orders and
doing his job.
“Could I take
two pies out of the oven before we leave?” Emily’s request had
out of his current train of tho
and then looked over at him
It was almost as if he was asking Wade’s opinion about whether or not he should
let her go about he
before formally taking her in.
Wade tilted his head forward.
quite a nod
secret code between a form
er and current lawman. He guessed Albright
was finding this whole situation
just as uncomfortable and bizarre as he was.
you go ahead
and do what you have to. We
have plenty of ti
e, so don’t go rushing
yourself and have a stroke or something,”
lbright. He took off his hat,
scratched his head
and glanced over at Wade again.
“Thank you so much,” sa
id Emily. She took
a pair of oven mitts
off the hook by
and walked o
ver to the oven while she pulled open the door.
Wade had smelled those huckleberry pies baking the minute he’d stepped through the door of the
bed and breakfast. The aroma had brought back a flood of happy memories
. Now actually seeing Emily get
m from the oven a
nd place the two
on the cou
ntertop made his mouth water
“They always were your favorites, weren’t they
Had she seen him take a deep breath to take in more of that wond
ll? Had he without realizing it also licked his lips
“They sure were
long with the c
ream from the Nickelsons
farm. You could stand a spoon upright in that because it was so thick,”
“If they weren’t for the guests I’d let you have a slice
both of you boys,” said Emil
y pointing toward Wade and then Albright.
you were as old as Emily you got to call guys their
“I might have to come back and eat here with my wife because
mell and look mighty fine,” said Albright taking a few steps forward to take a closer look.
“They’re the best in
,” said Wade. “All Emily’s c
ooking makes a man’s legs weak. She could have any man
she wanted just by cooking him one of her
Wade winked at her.
She winked back.
“He’s always had a wonderful appetite
since he was a young boy. He used to sit over on
that table and eat a dozen chocolate chip
cookies at a time,” Emily told Albright.
Wade felt himself blush
. Yeah, he’d been a gr
eedy little bugger
Now if I could just let Julie
who works at reception know what’s happening and that I’ll be leaving soon, we’ll be all set,” said Emily. She took her apron off and hung it on a peg by the door.
Both Wade and Albright
followed her out of the kitchen and into the reception area. This was Wade’s first time back at
the Mountainview B and B since
he’d returned from
months ago. He’d stopped by
t Emily know that he
back living in
to tell her
that he’d come by again
and have dinner with her one night. He
around to it
which suddenly made him feel
guilty that it
hadn’t been a priority. After all, the lady was almost like family to him and his dad.