“Hello?” I can hear road noise and raise a brow.
“You’ve left early.”
“Lance asked me to meet him at home,” she replies with a sigh.
“No idea. What’s up?”
“I have a small lead, and I’m going to need some help. Is there a person that you prefer I use internally to do some snooping, or can I call in my own private investigator?”
“We usually use someone internally, but let’s bring in someone from the outside for this.”
I nod in agreement. “Will do, thanks.”
I place a call to Adam, a local investigator that a colleague recommended, and leave him a voice mail, outlining what I need, then hang up and study the transactions again. I’ve looked through them a hundred times, but didn’t see the time stamp similarities until today.
What else am I missing?
“You look serious.”
I gasp and throw the papers on the desk, startled, then cover my heart with my hand and sigh. “You scared me, Hilary.”
“Sorry.” She grins. “I have to go run some errands, but do you want to meet up for happy hour this afternoon? Say, around four?”
I frown and shake my head. “No, thanks. I had a long weekend. I really just want to go home and relax.”
“A long weekend, huh?” She leans on the doorjamb and crosses her arms. “Who is he?”
I laugh and shake my head at my new friend. “You’re incorrigible. It’s not always about sex, you know.”
“Of course it’s always about sex.” She laughs and tucks her hair behind her ear. “And you’re having some. I can tell. I want to hear all about it. And you look like you could use a drink.”
I sigh and start to shake my head again, but she rolls her eyes. “You’re not saying no. Meet me at Huck’s at four.”
“Fine. Have a lemon drop waiting for me.”
“So, talk. Who is it?” Hilary asks, as I sit and take a sip of a delicious lemon drop.
“Not telling.” No way, nohow.
“You’re not fun. I need details.”
“I’m not telling you who it is, but I’ll spill some details about the sex itself.”
“Right on.” She shifts in her seat and signals to the waitress for another drink.
“How long have you been here?” I ask.
“A little while. I’m a drink ahead of you. You have to catch up.”
I take another drink and lick the sugar on the rim of the glass. I love this damn sugar.
It’s probably why my hips are so wide. Damn hips.
“So, was the sex good?” Hilary asks.
“The best sex that was ever invented,” I confirm, and click my glass to hers.
“Impressive.” She sighs and rests her chin in her hand. “Does he do fun oral stuff?”
“Good. If a man won’t go down on you, it’s a red flag. Life’s too short for that.”
I giggle and nod. “For sure. My ex-husband refused to do that. It should have been a clue to his ass-hattery.”
“My ex-husband only wanted to have missionary sex,” she says with a wrinkle of her nose. “What’s the fun in that?”
“Missionary is good,” I reply.
“Yes, but every time? Let’s switch it up a bit.”
“Was he a pushover, or did he wear the pants? Pun intended.” She sips her Bloody Mary through a straw and leans in.
“Oh, he’s bossy for sure.”
“I love the bossy ones.”
I nod in agreement, then watch in wonder as she drains her Bloody Mary and signals to the waitress for another.
“Slow down there, Speedy Gonzales.”
She giggles and shakes her head. “I’m celebrating.”
“Oh! What are we celebrating?”
“My new car.” She smiles proudly. “I just bought a new Mercedes.”
I blink at her, stunned. “Seriously? How can you afford that on our salary?”
“Oh, honey, where there’s a will, there’s a way.” She winks and sips her new drink, and all the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. But before I can say anything, my phone rings.
“We need you. Now.”
“Dec?” I frown and immediately reach for my purse; I mouth got to go to Hilary, who just nods and waves me off, already paying attention to her own phone. I reach the sidewalk and pause. “Where am I going? What’s happening?”
“Come to Savannah’s, now.”
“Is she okay?”
My stomach drops and a cold sweat breaks out on my skin that has nothing at all to do with the heat of summer.
“Is she alive?” I whisper.
“Yes. Get here.”
“Wait! Where does she live?”
Declan swears under his breath. “Fuck, you don’t have a car. Get to Charly’s shop and she’ll drive you both here.”
“On it.” I end the call and run to Charly’s just two blocks over. She’s locking up the front door, her phone pressed to her ear, tears running down her pretty face. “Charly!”
“She’s here. We’re coming now.”
“What is going on?”
“I’m not sure; Declan didn’t want to waste time giving info, he just said Van’s been hurt, and we need to get there. Get in.”
We climb into Charly’s car and she speeds off.
“How far away is her house?”
“How far is it normally?” I ask, and brace my hand on the dashboard as Charly weaves in and out of traffic.
I hold my breath and pray as Charly gives the cab driver from my first day a run for his money in the crazy driving department, and finally she comes to a screaming stop in a driveway, cuts the engine, and we both go running for the front door.
“Van?!” Charly screams as she pushes inside. “Where is everybody?”
“Upstairs!” Beau calls, and we run through the beautiful home, up the stairs, and come to a halt when we find all three Boudreaux brothers and a man I don’t know just outside of Van’s bedroom. Beau is talking into the door.
“Who are you?” I ask the handsome, tall man with sandy-blonde hair and deep blue eyes. Eyes that look tortured and worried.
“This is Ben,” Eli replies. “He’s been a good friend for many years.”