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Kay Layton Sisk
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Ron Gregory: drummer, gambler, chump. Thatâ€™s how his obituary will read when the loan shark gets through with him. So he goes into hiding.
Bettina Montgomery: photographer, dutiful daughter, chump. Thatâ€™s how she feels when her mother reveals the truth about her father. So she goes seeking one man and one set of answersâ€¦ and finds another and his truth instead.
She wasnâ€™t afraid of him. She couldnâ€™t be. A fearful woman launched herself in the back door, through the house, and out the front. A fearful woman didnâ€™t leave just a screen door between herself and her assailant. A fearful woman didnâ€™t let her lovely lips curl up at the corners into a little smirk. A little smirk that was rapidly becoming a laugh.
She lost the battle to contain herself. Although she never took her eyes from him, she was laughing too hard to stand. She leaned over, clasping her knees with her hands, the camera swinging from its loop around her neck. How brazen was she? Didnâ€™t she realize he might be a crazed serial killer, a maniac, a recluse given to nude sunbathing who hid a sawed-off shotgun...
Yeah, right. Nude sunbathers didnâ€™t hide anything. That was going to be painfully obvious when those shots hit the front page of some tabloid. He secured the towel and reached for the tee shirt, pulled it wrong side out over his head, tugged it low over his hips as if trying to doubly hide what she had caught on film. Who was he kidding? The instant those photos went on sale, Erns would find him and then heâ€™d need every copy of the paper he could get so he could remember how he used to be.
Ron pulled as much dignity together as he could and crossed his arms on his chest. "Youâ€™re not going to be laughing so hard when I come in there and get that camera. Now fork it over!â€ For emphasis, he extended his right hand and advanced on the door.
She straightened up and sidestepped away from him. But she didnâ€™t reach for the back door. She did clutch the camera and pull it to her side away from him. "Not bloody likely.â€
He cocked his head. And an accent? Or was that the choke of laughter still evident in her voice. "What did you say?â€
"You heard me. Not bloody likely that Iâ€™m turning my camera over to you.â€ She looked him up and down and swallowed a laugh. It turned into a snort.
English. She had an English accent. Oh, Lord, who knew him well enough to seal his fate not only with an exotic woman but one with the purr of England? He sucked in his cheeks and let out a long, slow breath. Maybe she was just a tourist and this was just a stop to get a view of the lake. He let his gaze drift to the right and the narrowing view of the water hidden more each day by the budding trees. No, that was lame. He studied her again. Thief sizing up the property for a possible break in? Sheâ€™d be very much disappointed; the most valuable thing heâ€™d found was a dark Polo shirt like C wore all the time. If she could prove it was his, the online auction market might make her days in jail a bit more luxurious. Nah, she wasnâ€™t a thief. Then what?
A damn, nosey lucky photographer, thatâ€™s what!
Best to quit being sidetracked by her accent, her looks, her laughter. She was all that stood between him and a knife. "Do you know who I am?â€
She nodded and lifted the camera, jiggled it at him. "Who knew success was so close at hand?â€ Straightening up, she turned to face him but still leaned a shoulder into the wall. Her legs were crossed at the ankle; she wasnâ€™t prepared for flight. She wanted a chat.
"So thatâ€™s whatâ€™s so damn funny?â€ He spotted the meat fork heâ€™d left on the grill cover. Long tines. Sharp. He might be able to rush the door and rip through the screen to the latch...
"No. Whatâ€™s so damn funny is that you look like a baby in a nappy!â€
That caught him off-guard. He spread his hands and looked down at himself. A baby in a nappy? Who was she kidding? What kind of nappies--uh, diapers--did they have over there? He was thinking he looked more like a waiter, poolside at a resort, his swim trunks visible only from the rear, his apron covering from his tee shirt to his knees.
"I do not!â€ Indignant, he re-cinched the towel, squared the tee over his hips.
"Perhaps youâ€™d be more comfortable if I fetched a pair of boxers for you?â€
Writing is second nature to Kay Sisk, and sheâ€™s been doing it since she wrote stories with her fourth grade friends as heroines. She enjoys writing about her native Texas, where she lives with her husband of 35 years and "third familyâ€ of three cats, the first family of dogs and second family of sons, having left the nest years ago.
Book Publisher: Wings e Press
No. of Pages: 306
Paper Weight (lb): 13
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