Miami, mistletoe & murde.., p.6
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       Miami, Mistletoe & Murder, p.6

         Part #4 of Red Stone Security series by Katie Reus
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Page 6


  Acting like he had every right to be where he was, he strode toward the guy who watched him warily. He gave him a friendly, practiced smile. “Hi, I’m John Davis, I work with Alisa but we haven’t been able to get a hold of her. ” He motioned toward the house with yellow crime scene tape across the front door. “What’s happened? Is she all right? My boss thought she might have just quit without giving notice, but I knew better so I volunteered to come over. ” Reggie had learned that sometimes the more he talked, the easier it was to get answers out of people. It put them at ease. Of course it didn’t always work, but more often than not he got lucky.

  With his paper in one hand, the guy rubbed a hand over his face with his other as he tried to wake up. Reggie wasn’t sure, but he thought he smelled whiskey on him.

  “I’m not sure what happened, but I heard some neighbors talking about how she was taken away in an ambulance. She got shot by an ex-boyfriend, I think. ” He shrugged, clearly unconcerned about his neighbor’s well-being.

  Alisa had been shot? Reggie covered his surprise with concern. “That’s awful. What about her daughter? Is she okay?”

  The guy shrugged again. “I dunno. Supposedly someone shot Alisa, then someone else shot and killed the guy that shot her. I’m sure her daughter’s fine. Try the hospital or cops if you got more questions because I don’t know what else to tell ya. ” Without waiting for a response, the man turned and headed back to his house, muttering under his breath about nosy assholes disturbing his peaceful morning.

  Reggie frowned as he headed back to his car. He needed to get out of there before anyone paid attention to him. Loitering around a crime scene was never a good idea. There was no way his brother had shot Alisa. That bitch had to be covering for someone. Probably whoever had shot and killed his brother. Unless she’d done it herself. But no, Alisa didn’t have enough balls for that. Right now he planned to take her neighbor’s advice. He wouldn’t be calling the cops but he sure as hell planned a visit to the hospital.

  If he could get to Alisa, he knew he could convince her to tell him the truth. Reggie had been looking out for Dwight since they were kids and his death wouldn’t change that. When he found out who had killed his little brother, that person was dead.

  Chapter 5

  “You make the best coffee,” Travis murmured as Noel pulled into the parking lot of the hospital.

  “I’d better, or I need to find a new job. ” Noel zoomed into a spot right up front, thankful they’d found one so quickly.

  Despite the early morning hour, the sun was already up, creating a gorgeous display of reds and oranges streaking across the sky. Everything seemed so calm and quiet this morning, the near cloudless day making it hard to believe everything that had happened yesterday. Not only that, but Noel couldn’t believe one of the sexiest men she’d ever met had slept over at her house last night—in her guestroom.

  After that hot kiss they’d shared, they’d eaten, talked, and yes, flirted. But there had been no more kissing. Then she’d surprised herself yet again by offering to let him stay over. He’d looked exhausted and the truth was, after yesterday she hadn’t minded the company. He hadn’t even paused when he’d said yes, something that still warmed her inside. It was clear he was comfortable around her. When she’d told him she planned to go to the hospital to check on Juanita this morning, she was pleased he’d wanted to come with her. So here they were and now she found herself nervous around him.

  It was a strange sensation. She’d grown up with all boys, surrounded by not only her brothers, but their friends too. She knew how guys thought and acted, but Travis kept her on edge. The man was impossible to read and the few times she’d seen past that guarded exterior of his she’d been floored by the raw lust in his gaze. It kept her off balance. He’d never shown any blatant interest in her before other than typical male appreciation, but she’d never considered that she was really his type. He was so edgy and tattooed and she was so not any of that.

  Her breath curled in front of her as she stepped out of her car, but she didn’t bother with mittens since the walk to the sliding glass doors would take only seconds. It was an unusually cold winter in Miami so she’d been able to pull out actual coats, hats and boots. Normally winters in South Florida were mild, but there had been a series of cold fronts move through and she loved it. She’d finally gotten to wear the knee-high boots she’d bought in Chicago last Christmas while visiting one of her brothers.

  “So how many tattoos do you have, exactly?” she asked as Travis met her at the front of her car. It was a question she’d been dying to ask, but she couldn’t believe she’d just blurted it out all of a sudden. What was it about this man that made her so nervous she spoke before she thought?

  He’d been blowing on the top of the travel mug she’d let him use, but he stopped and faced her, his eyes darkening. “I’ll let you find out on your own. ” There was a sensual note in his voice that she felt all the way to her toes.

  His response surprised her yet again, but she grinned. She’d like nothing more than to discover what the rest of his body looked like. How many tattoos he had, what they looked like, what body parts they covered… “You like getting me flustered. ”

  “I like it when you blush,” he admitted. “It’s…hot. ”

  She pressed her lips together to keep from smiling, but didn’t say anything as they headed for the main doors. After speaking to the woman behind the information desk, they found that Alisa wasn’t in the ICU anymore, but had been moved to a different floor. That meant she was stable. Definitely a good thing.

  Once they were in an elevator, another thought occurred to Noel. Probably inappropriate, but her curiosity got the best of her. “Why did you take your piercings out?” She’d noticed that his eyebrow and ear piercings were gone. He looked good with or without them, but she’d been wondering.

  He shrugged those broad shoulders, making her entire body flare to life. She wanted to stroke her fingers over them, to feel the strength and muscles under what that sweater was hiding. “I had to for my last job and haven’t had time to put them back in. But…I didn’t take all of them out. ”

  She blinked at his last words, trying to wrap her mind around the intent when it hit her. Immediately her eyes dropped to his groin area, then her face flamed. Again. Damn him for getting her all bothered like this. She snapped up to meet his gaze only to find him watching her with amusement. “You don’t really have a piercing…down there, do you?”

  He shrugged in that maddening way of his, not really giving her an answer, but the wicked glint in his dark eyes told her everything she needed to know. He most certainly did. She really wanted to know why he was so into tattoos and piercings, especially since he had one in the most sensitive place ever.

  Swallowing hard, Noel turned back to face the metal doors in time for the soft ding of the elevator announcing their arrival on the fifth floor. The thought of having sex with a guy who had a cock piercing—she was sure there was an official term for it—turned her on more than she’d ever thought possible. Okay, the thought of Travis having one was what made her hot. She’d heard stories from one of her girlfriends about how intense the stimulation could be, but she’d never even known anyone who had one. Or she guessed she didn’t. It wasn’t something people talked about, she supposed. And when had she decided to have sex with him anyway? They’d only shared one kiss. A really intense one where she’d wanted nothing more than to feel his bare chest against hers.

  Sighing, she stepped out onto the linoleum hallway. Who was she kidding? They’d been building up to this for months, dancing around their attraction, though she couldn’t figure out why. She’d been nervous because Travis was seriously gorgeous in an edgy, dark way, but for the life of her she didn’t understand why it had taken him so long to make a move. It didn’t matter now because something was definitely happening between them. She just wasn’t sure what Travis’s exact inte
ntions were when it came to her.

  They were buzzed into the ward where Alisa was. Her room was the third one down the long hallway so they didn’t have to go far. The door was half-open and Noel could hear murmured female voices so she knocked as they stepped inside. “Hello?”

  A white curtain was pushed back and Alisa was sitting up in her bed. Her hair was pulled back in a loose ponytail and bags circled her eyes, but she looked to be in good spirits. Probably because her daughter was right by her side. An older woman who Noel had seen in pictures at their house, sat in a chair by the window knitting. It was Alisa’s older sister and she was pretty sure there was a big age gap between them. Close to twenty years if she had to guess.

  Juanita jumped up from her spot by the bed, racing around it. She practically tackled Noel, wrapping her thin arms around Noel’s waist. “I’m so glad you’re here. ”

  She returned the hug and kissed the top of the young girl’s head. Before she could respond, Juanita had tugged away and embraced Travis in a similar, binding hug. He looked stunned and a little uncomfortable as Juanita started going on about how wonderful he was.

  Smothering a smile, she left him alone and strode toward Alisa’s bed. “I’m glad to see you doing so well. ”

  “Thank you, and not just for being here today. I’ve been working too much and I should have been there. I should have known what was going on with my own daughter. I’m so glad Juanita called you, but it never should have happened in the first place. ” Alisa’s voice broke on the last word as tears tracked down her makeup-free face.

  Noel knew she’d had Juanita very young, at fifteen, she thought. Right now the woman looked impossibly young herself. She was only a couple of years older than Noel. “What’s done is done and you didn’t do anything wrong. You’re trying hard to provide for your daughter and she knows that. What’s more, you’ve got a good kid with a smart head on her shoulders. Whose idea was it to put her in the Big Sister program?”
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