Shadow in Serenity
- Wednesday, December 07, 2011
Julia breathed a laugh and rolled her eyes.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” Logan said. “I changed the subject, didn’t I?”
“So . . . would you prefer a postdated check or credit?” While she was thinking it over, he dropped the timbre of his voice and said, “By the way, are you planning to be at the bingo hall tomorrow night?”
“I think so.”
“Good,” he said. “I was hoping you would.”
Flustered, she had taken his order. “All right, Logan, I’ll give you credit. You don’t look like the type who would make me sorry.”
“Just look into these eyes, Julia. Tell me you don’t see pure, grade-A honesty.”
Today, when he went back in to pick up the fliers, he turned the charm up a notch. “Not only are you the prettiest girl in Serenity, but you’re the most talented too. These are excellent fliers.”
Julia giggled and touched her hair. “Uh, Logan . . . I meant to ask you . . . what project is it that you’re working on? I looked all over it, but the flier didn’t say.”
He shot her a you-devil grin and brought his index finger to his lips. “I can’t tell you before I tell the rest of the townsfolk, now can I? It wouldn’t be fair to cut you in before anybody else has had a chance.”
“Oh, I wouldn’t tell anyone,” she promised. “Discretion is my middle name. Secrets come through this shop all the time, and I never say a word. Politicians, clergymen, what-not. Everybody in town knows they can trust me.”
Chuckling, he handed her back one of the fliers. “Come to the bingo hall early tonight, and you’ll hear everything you want to know. Now don’t forget to send me that bill.”
With a wink he was out the door, leaving her staring after him with a wistful look.
Stepping out into the cool sunlight of the May day, he looked down at the box of fliers. It shouldn’t be hard to pass all of them out by tonight. And having the seminar at the bingo hall in the town’s community center was a stroke of genius. That place drew hundreds of people on Saturday nights, and tonight they would just come an hour earlier to hear him. By tomorrow, he’d be riding high.
He would hit the hardware store next, since it seemed inordinately busy today. Easy marks there — he’d hook every one of them.
He stopped, waited for a car to pass, then started to dart across the street. The sound of a Harley hog stopped him. It growled its warning as it tore its way up the street, breaking the relative quiet that he had come to associate with the town. He stepped back when it passed, but when its wheel cut through a puddle, it splashed mud onto the shins of his pants.
“Hey!” he yelled. The driver apparently didn’t hear. Logan stared after the bike, which carried a woman and a little boy. The petite biker’s shoulder-length blonde hair stuck out from under her tangerine helmet, softening the impression created by the powerful bike. As she went up the street, people looked her way and waved, apparently pleased to see her rather than annoyed at the disruption.
Logan tried to rein in his temper as she pulled into a parking space and cut off the loud engine. It wouldn’t pay to ruin the image he’d so carefully cultivated here by throttling the first woman who had the gall to ruffle his feathers.
It was an accident, he told himself. An accident she would probably be glad to apologize for.
As she got off the bike, he approached her. “Excuse me, ma’am. I’m not one to hold grudges, but you just splashed mud all over my pants.”
The woman pulled off her helmet, revealing a head full of baby-blonde hair. She looked like that little actress Kristin Chenoweth, with a flash of fire in her eyes.
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