Slacker Jon Reagan often challenges his life expectancy since he and his best pal, an autistic genius, partnered with a couple of bounty hunters. In their private war against drug dealers, Jon snagged a sexy FBI agent girlfriend, but he promptly got her shot. He’s been beaten to a pulp and tested his Kevlar far more than is wise, enough his partners often mumble, “Bullets love you.” When he thinks karma may cut him a break, more of the same piles on when family skeletons and a new load of disasters slap him upside the head. He faces a life decision. Odds don’t favor him living to make it.
SEEker 3Chapter 1~The dude’s breath wafted between us like an overly-ripe fish. He oozed redneck, which I thought the South had a monopoly on. Maybe six two. Two hundred pounds. A bit flabby. Maybe played in the secondary in high school and still thinks he has the moves. That was ten years ago. Tonight his eyelids proved he’d tossed back too many beers too fast since leaving the warehouse floor.I didn’t even want to be here. The way Logan acted, she didn’t either. But it was her suggestion. She felt indebted to play tour guide. To entertain me. I should explain I’m easily amused. But as it was, my visit in Syracuse thus far hadn’t been great, considering our combined pains. I was trying to keep a smile on my face.Not that the band sucked. I just don’t do the night scene. Cigarette smoke burns my sinuses. And I’m as boring as my mom. My music tastes are actually mellower than hers. She often wears an old Metallica tee on the weekends working in her yard. Must be a hundred years old. The tee, not my mom.“Ignore him,” Logan shouted at me over the music.I didn’t think there was much chance of that.“You drinkin’ sodas?” the guy slurred.Should I tell him I’m on antibiotics?“And her too?” He hocked a guffaw. Logan’s on antibiotics too. At least I didn’t have a bag hanging from my neck collecting gut puss. I shuddered just forming that thought. “You allergic to alcohol, or Bible thumpers?” the jerk shouted.I guess he believed you have to drink and get stupid in a roadhouse. Logan probably shouldn’t have even ordered the soda. She’s still on gelatin and saltines.“Say, babe,” he directed Logan’s way.Even in the muted light the spray of his spittle glinted as it fluttered across our tiny table.“Dump this wuss. I’ll let you drink adult beverages. Warm you up a little tonight if you’re lucky.”I’ve known Logan since April. Long enough to read her body language. She was ready to kill this guy. Luckily her service weapon is still in evidence in Tampa. I held her hand tightly under the table. Three weeks ago a .45 slug caught her in the waist of her jeans, twice, coming and going. It wasn’t pretty.So I was going to have to shut this guy up myself.“Don’t,” Logan hissed at my ear. “Go away, okay?” I said to the drunk.Maybe that wasn’t the most assertive I could have been.I returned from my jaunt to Neverland on the floor, spread eagle. The guy freaking sucker punched me. That I immediately figured out, because I have experience in the matter. I scrabbled to get up from the floor before I realized the only face peering down at me was Logan’s. The other pant legs were just guys waiting to set our table back in place and mop up the spilled soda. “Where’d he go?” I mouthed at Logan.I read, “Bouncer,” on her lips.Couldn’t he have shown up ten seconds sooner? I shook my head and the common spike struck. How many concussions have I suffered since April? I couldn’t even remember anymore.Logan didn’t try to help me off the floor. Best she didn’t rip something important open. I managed on my own and one of the crew handed me a damp cloth, which I used to clean up my hands and the back of my head. Wasn’t much I could do with my sticky-wet shirt or jeans.I tried to ignore the leers and laughter from the tables around us as we headed for the exit. I slid my tongue over my lip. Yep. Another fat one. We stepped out into the night air, me muttering internally we should have stayed home. But even Logan was getting tired of the sideways glances her mom was giving her. We should have just rented a room while I was here.No. Logan had to make a statement, remind them she was an adult.Neither of us even tried to explain our sleeping arrangement was purely platonic. Though if Logan didn’t have that tube hanging out her side I think it would have been different. Maybe. I don’t know. Her dad would guffaw if I told him I’m still a virgin.Be thirty in November. I’m not chaste. Just a wallflower.Pretty sure Mr. Logan figured his daughter was neither.Why was Logan so set on me staying in her room? Her parents lived in a five bedroom McMansion. Plenty of empty bedrooms. If only she’d been up to returning to her apartment in Brooklyn. But she barely makes it up the stairs to her room here still.Dang this trip had been a nightmare. Never should have come. Logan wasn’t up to showing me Syracuse anyway. I tried to take a deep breath. The sinuses still burned from the smoke.“You okay?” Logan asked.I worked my jaw around. Was already stiffening up.“How do you attract so much pain?” Logan asked.If I only knew.She stopped me under a sidelight and checked me out. I followed her finger troll around in a circle. I kept my eyes from crossing, pretty much, and didn’t fall over. She wiped at my nose. The girl isn’t squeamish. “Got a tissue in the car for that bloody nose.”Er. I thought it was just runny, with my allergies.And I don’t think he even caught me in the nose. I think my brain bleeds out my nose. Only thing that’s kept my head from exploding.“I’ll drive,” she said.I wasn’t going to debate that. Her dad’s fancy new Lexus made me nervous anyway. Way nicer than the Taurus my mom has driven for twenty years. I should buy her a new car. She’d probably take it back to the dealer. Won’t take a dollar from me. That idiot father of mine left her in a deep hole. She should have done the bankruptcy thing like all her friends said. Most of them are no longer in her life. She’s a stubborn one.The engine turned on with lights as we approached the Lexus. I may have jerked. Still not used to these fandangle new cars. Inside, Logan grabbed a tissue from the center console and shoved it at me. “I’m sorry,” I said.“For what?” she said. “I’m the one who dragged you here.”Yeah, she did. But I was sorry I embarrassed her. I do that way too often. What does she see in me?“Don’t do it,” she snapped.“What?” I asked.“You know what.”The irritation in her voice scrubbed my gray matter with a rag clicking with static electricity. She believes I have a poor self-image. I think I just have a better understanding of my worth than she does.“Not your fault the idiot sucker punched you,” she said.Roger never would have been caught off guard like that. But no one would dare consider challenging Roger. He’s like a five-foot-eight Atlas. Exudes testosterone and virility. Even if Michael, his dad, believes he’s a virgin. No way Roger’s a virgin.“Don’t go comparing yourself to a Mueller.” There was more plea than command in her tone.She can read my mind almost as well as Augie.I missed Augie. Of course he texted me every thirty minutes. I couldn’t pronounce the entrée he reported Norm prepared for dinner. Mrs. Logan prepared stroganoff. It was good. Not as much pepper or something as Mom dumps in hers. Mom likes food that prickles the sensations.Logan pulled out of the lot and had us on a parkway in two minutes, when she started in a comfortable monologue. She’s accepted I’m totally incompetent at conversation. So glad she thinks of things to talk about. Tonight it was about how three of the ladies, term used loosely, that sat near us, dressed. The efficiency of the bouncer. The music the band played. The warm night.I just nodded. Though seventy-nine degrees isn’t warm to a Floridian. A Floridian can stand on the surface of the sun in their flip-flops and mumble, “Meh.”You’re in New York, Jon. Way north of I-20 and Southern civilization.On the bright side, I was missing a few days of Florida’s August inferno. Missed little Chica, too. Cute little pup. I’m an idiot. Thinking of what I miss instead of enjoying being here with Logan.“I’m enjoying being here with you,” I blurted, talking over her.“Yeah. I bet,” she said. “I don’t have the energy to do anything.”“Not much to do in Syracuse anyway,” I teased.“Yeah, well you’re from that great tourist state, huh.”“Loved driving around in those hills today on the south side.” I could throw her a bone.“Only a real flatlander could have enjoyed that.” She had teased me for an hour.In Tampa you only glimpse the horizon if you’re on a freeway overpass or the beach.“At least,” Logan said softly, “until tonight you’d kept from getting beat up or shot.”Three days. About a record since meeting the Muellers. No wonder I had a bleeding ulcer and a staph infection. Still say the latter was from the long-nose plyers Michael used to pull the shotgun pellets out of my arm and leg.“I’d meant to ask,” she said. “Any fallout with the Tampa police about you leaving the city while they investigate our thing?”Our thing. That’s what she was calling it now? She could have died. Together we killed seven men. The one guy bled out two miles away from the three .22 slugs she put in his chest. Our thing. We messed up their little abduction plan. Almost got her killed.“Augie still says Goldman’s attorney says screw ’em.”“Is it just me,” she said, “or does that lawyer come across a little slimy to you?”More than a little. “You know more about the law than I do.”I heard her growl. Going to grump about my inferiority complex again. But she has the master’s degree. Three degrees. Who needs that many parchments on the wall? I’m the slacker clerk.Chapter 2~Mrs. Logan met us in the hall before we executed our escape up the stairs.“You two are home early,” she accused. “Is that blood on your shirt, Jon?”“The band was atrocious,” Logan-Amelia said louder than she needed to. “We’re just going to crash.”“We had some sherbet a little while ago,” Mrs. Logan bragged. “Could I serve you a scoop?”My stomach screeched a heck yeah.“No thanks, Mom,” My Logan answered. “Not on my approved dietary list.”If we lived in Syracuse, I guess I’d have to drop the Loganand stick with Amelia. But she started out as Logan. And I fell in love with her as Logan. Funny it annoyed me at first when Denny called me Reagan.“Even with the nap,” Amelia continued, “this evening jaunt tired me out. So good night.”“Sleep well,” floated at our backs.I followed Amelia up the stairs obediently despite my stomach crying out for sugar. My ears burned as I realized my eyes remained on the seat of Amelia’s pants. Mrs. Logan probably thinks I’m a letch, but I was just lamenting how much weight Amelia has lost through all this.Her jeans are really loose.I flopped on top of Amelia’s bed. She headed into her bathroom, only swinging the door closed partway. I know that is a message of intended intimacy. One I’m not sure I need. I think she wants to impress me with how comfortable she is with me, so maybe I’ll stop asking, “What do you see in me?”But really. What does she see in me?She’s knock-me-down-dead gorgeous. Sexy. Smart. Educated. A professional. Years as a Syracuse cop. Four years now in the FBI. She impressed people to get a New York City gig. Michael said that spoke volumes. And he doesn’t even like her. At least doesn’t act like he does. They got off on the wrong foot back when.My phone jingled, Augie’s tone, and Amelia laughed. I love her casual laugh. It strangles my throat a little and makes the flutterbys in my stomach flop about.“It’s a little late for him,” she said.A grin tightened my face. I pulled my phone out, which Augie bought me recently and thrust upon me with a threat. He said I needed a phone manufactured this century. I read his text and my face flushed hot.“He say good night?” Amelia asked.Not exactly. Now he’s telling me about his sex with Denny? Could he be rubbing it in? The special guy is getting it, but I’m not. Ah. Denny had to have gotten hold of his phone. That made a heck of a lot more sense. How does a blind chick text? But when she was at her apartment, she was always texting Augie. Probably an app on her computer. Oh, yeah. These fandangle phones have speech-thingie. My sex with Denny tonight was astronomical.Denny lives to pull my chain.The slutty cougar.“Tell him I said good night.”Dang Logan, Amelia, has a beautiful voice. The stomach fluttered some more. She strode out of the bathroom in a nightie so short it didn’t cover her collection bag. But that image wasn’t enough to close off my mind from the other. Or suppress the erection that filled my jeans.“You’re gaping,” she whispered, grinning. She turned out the bathroom light and even in the glint of her nightstand nightlight, the angelic glow evaporating, she appeared more beautiful than anything I deserved.I told her, “It’s just that you’re so homely.”“Oh,” she mewed. “That old seduction line.”Yep. I’m really smooth. I hurried to take my turn in the bathroom. It was really hard not to shut the door all the way. That would have been insulting, right? Since she doesn’t? I sat to pee.Nighttime tasks done, donning the black, silk jammies Michael bought me, bottoms only, forced on me for this trip, I padded back into Amelia’s room, pulled back the blanket and sheet, and crawled into bed next to her. An action that really feels weird to me still. Sleeping next to Amelia as though we’re longtime lovers. We’ve never even made out. Pecks and such, sure. But none of that romantic stuff in the hot movies. She was shot the first night we ever had alone. Like a date.She rolled toward me and the little guy extended to reach her. Down boy. Down. Until Logan was in one piece, there was going to be none of that.Her hand reached my forearm and slowly traced toward my shoulder. She repositioned her stuff so she could snuggle closer, her face a couple inches from mine. Had she decided I’d calmed down enough I might not scream like a girl