Authors: Vanessa Devereaux
Copyright© 2014 Vanessa
Cover Artist: Sour Cherry Designs
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
WARNING: The unauthorized
reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal.
No part of this book
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.
To everyone at
Publishing, Stacey, and all my wonderful editors.
Copyright © 2014
It had to be that
influence on the universe
because today everything had gone completely to hell. Well, at least that was
Alex’s take on things at
been told, Missy,
his usual waitress, was out sick with the flu that had been making its way
through the population of Thurston. Upon placing his order,
also been informed that they’d run out of his favorite sausages. The
even come close on taste. Too
much sage and not enough thyme, but maybe he was just being
His usual scrambled eggs had somehow strangely arrived fried and felt like
rubber in his mouth. He shook his head, trying to get the image of rubber bands
out of his head. He washed them down with more
wasn’t up to its usual high standard either. Missy’s husband, Mike, was also
explained the sudden decline in
Alex scrapped most of the burned flecks
off his toast and let them fall onto the plate. He usually read the local
newspaper while he ate, but today the replacement
was distracting him each time she walked by his table. So
he hadn’t read a single word or even looked at any of the photos. A woman
held his attention like this for as long as he could
remember. Her pretty, dark hair tied up in a ponytail swung left and right,
left and right, almost hypnotizing him as she zoomed by his table either
carrying the coffee pot on her way to top up someone’s drink or trying to serve
more tables than she could clearly handle. Her cheeks were red and tiny beads
of perspiration stood out on her forehead. She swiped them away with the back
of her forearm and glanced over at him as if she was fully aware he was
Quickly looking down at the
newspaper, Alex began reading. He smiled because at least the
was keeping his mind off his visit to the doctor’s
office for his physical. Glancing at his watch, he realized he had only five
hours and twenty-four minutes to go until his appointment. He hated anything
connected with doctors. Not that he had anything against them personally, but
the smell of their offices made his stomach turn. He
shots and being prodded and poked. Still he had to do it or his mother would
hound him or even drag him there herself. Not that he could blame her, losing
one son had broken her heart and he
live through that again. So prodded and poked
He took another sip of coffee
realizing that part of his fear was what if they found something was actually
What if he had the same thing that had
killed his baby brother and
need surgery, chemo
even. David had been through a horrible ordeal and it was something he
ever want to experience for himself.
walked by again. She had a cute ass as well as face.
it, focus on
her and not on what’s going to happen to you this afternoon. Maybe I can
convince her to come along to the doctor’s office and hold my hand. He smiled
again, being brazen in the fact that only he knew what had brought that grin to
“Miss, I asked for biscuits and
maybe I’m wrong, but these look like waffles to me,” a man shouted at her. He
lifted his plate so everyone could see that he
“I’m so sorry.” She took the
plate for him, zipping by Alex’s table so fast the napkin waved in the wind
she’d set up. She looked frustrated and flustered and Alex
have to use his detective skills to figure out that this was her first time
doing this sort of work.
“Miss, I’ve been waiting fifteen
minutes for my order,” said one man tapping the face on his watch.
“I know and I’m sorry.
just we’re sort of rushed off our feet this morning.
It’s me and the cook and that’s all.”
“Miss, I’m waiting to pay,”
shouted a woman from the front of the café.
“I’ll be with you in just a
“Miss, the cook’s ruined my toast.”
“Miss, the white of this egg is
know about her, but his head was about to explode with everyone calling out to
her at the same time. He
enjoy his meal and newspaper
with this much clutter going on around him. He stood.
“Miss, you want me to help you
She looked at him. She had the
most beautiful blue eyes
ever seen and freckles
over the bridge of her nose. Her face seemed familiar, but he was sure he
seen her around town before. Then
maybe he had and been foolish enough not to take notice the first time.
“Sheriff, you would be a life
saver,” she said.
she’d seen his
badge and maybe even his gun when she’d taken his order.
“Glad to hear that. Where would
you like me to start?”
“You any good at playing
“I can give it a try.” Alex saw
three customers now lined up at the register.
“Here’s the key to open the
drawer and I filled it up with cash this morning so you shouldn’t have any
problem with making change.”
She unclipped a small gold key
from the belt on her apron and handed it to him. Their fingers brushed
, sending tiny sparks of pure pleasure through
“Let me see to these folks and
you can tell me what you want help with next.” He walked over to the cash register
that it was Sally Reece who was first in line
He took her bill and rang it up.
“Everything okay for you today,
“No, the oatmeal was scorched and
my fruit bowl lacked any evidence of cantaloupe, and that’s the only reason I
get the fruit bowl, but I’ll let it pass this time. Oh, and I didn’t think it
appropriate to leave a tip today; that young lady was very slow and the
scorched oatmeal was made worse because it was stone cold by the time it got to
me. I’m not the type of person who rewards mediocrity.”
You nasty old biddy.
He took her money, and as
expected from someone as mean-spirited and anal as
Sally, it was the exact change and all in quarters. When she turned her back to
leave, Alex reached into his pocket for three one-dollar bills and slipped it
into the tip jar on the desk. That young
working her butt off, yes, a very nice one, and deserved some reward for her
“How are you?” Alex asked Bill
Adams who ran the local drugstore.
although the wife’s down with that flu, hence me coming here for my breakfast.
Nowhere near as good as the wife’s cooking.” He handed Alex the bill and a $10
note. Alex counted out his change and handed it back to him.
“I left the tip on the table.”
Alex nodded. “Hope Mabel’s
don’t think I could stand eating here again the way things were today.”
“And how was…”
not ask how the food was to the next person in line. That was tempting fate.
“Looks like we might get some
rain,” said Alex taking the bill from Joe
worked at one of the local ranches.
Joe picked up a toothpick from
the box on the desk and stuck it in his mouth. “Sure does but we need it. Been
very dry lately and I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s the reason everyone’s
down with the flu.”
Alex gave him two one-dollar
bills as his change and Joe slipped both of them into the tip jar.