Mooches Monday – The Warm Up

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“How are you feeling?”Nathan leaned against her tiny couch much like he had last night, only this time Deacon was stretched out with his back against the man’s legs.

“Fine.”She curled her legs beneath her and sat on the rug near Nathan’s bare feet and Deacon’s head. “How’s he doing?”

“He’s a tough guy.”His big hand patted her dog’s belly. “Until you scratch the right spot, and then he turns into a pile of goo.”

Me too.

Madelyn forced a smile.

“You look a little flushed.”

His saying it certainly didn’t help the situation. She blushed to the roots. Her eyes darted around the room and settled on a plate with a toasted slice of her homemade bread and a small glass of clear bubbly liquid. “Is that for me?”

“If you can stomach it. If you don’t think you can, you can sleep and try tomorrow.”

“I can’t sleep yet. I have some questions and—”

“They can hold until tomorrow. I’ve already pushed you farther than I should’ve tonight.”

“Guess I’m not the only stubborn one around here.”She cocked a brow.

Nathan granted her a crooked smile.

She stroked Deacon’s head. “I need to know things to better protect myself and my dog.”

“That’s what you have me for.”He lit her up with the full wattage of his grin.

“So, Amadi, Ekene, Chief, and Hanri are what, suspects in your eyes?”

“If you want me to answer that, take a bite of toast.”

“What about you, have you eaten?”

“Always pushback with you.”Nathan’s disheveled hair flopped as he shook his head. “I ate, while you were in the shower.”

She smirked and snagged the bread for a nibble. It didn’t hit her stomach like an anvil. So, she took another. “Happy now?”

“Getting there.”He just studied her, his gaze roving her face, arms, chest, and then legs. “That’s better.”She opened her mouth to protest. “Another bite,”he ordered.

Madelyn snapped a large bite and set the toast on the plate. “Answer my questions, please,”she begged around the hunk of deliciousness.

“Yes, they’re all persons of interest. While I’m here, Agent Kepler is running background checks and combing through their pasts. Crimes like this seem random, but seldom are. There’s usually a common thread. We just have to find it.”

“I don’t know the bartender that well, but he seems like such a nice guy. Ekene is just a big bratty kid. Sure Amadi has the skills and size to do these things, but he doesn’t have the malice for it. He’s so in control and Zen.”She folded her arms over her chest. “And Chief is, well, Chief. He’s all about protecting and serving. Besides, he was born, raised, and married here, and will likely die here an old man.”

“There wasn’t a marriage certificate in his file and he didn’t mention a wife.”

“I don’t think they were married on the island. She’s from Miami, I think. And she doesn’t live here anymore. Hasn’t since I’ve been here. The gossip is she left him and moved back to the States because she didn’t like being stuck on an island.”

“And what about you?”

“I love it. It’s beautiful. Peaceful. Well, it was.”

“It will be again. Now, how about another bite of toast.”

“I think I’m good.”

“Then to bed you go.”He flicked his hand in the direction of her room.

“Excuse me?”

“You probably haven’t had a good sleep in days. Now, go get some.”

“I don’t do orders.”

A grin slowly formed on his lips. “I bet you would, if I gave the right ones.”

If you liked this excerpt, you can learn more about Nathan and Madelyn HERE.

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