Meg checked the nearly hidden table in the corner by the fireplace as she walked into her favorite coffee shop. He was there—again. A little shiver shot up her spine.
She had no idea why he evoked such uneasiness in her. He didn’t look as bad as most of the homeless men she saw roaming the streets. But they weren’t here, in the upscale coffee shop where she went on her coffee break. He was. Every day.
She knew nothing about him except that he must have a lot of time on his hands. He was big—both tall and heavy—with a round face and vacant eyes that made her wonder what drug he was on. He always wore a huge, dingy white T-shirt over jeans that were frayed from dragging the floor. He looked unwashed. His short hair somehow managed to look uncombed, and he always needed a shave.
And he watched her. Maybe that was why he seemed so creepy. Men didn’t usually watch Meg like that. Not that she was unattractive. She was just so horribly average that most men slid their gazes right over her while searching for the next flashy, half-dressed babe. But she’d felt his eyes on her often and turned to catch him as he averted his gaze. Yeah. He was just creepy.
Meg stepped up to the counter and ordered her cinnamon bagel and espresso. She had just dropped her change into her purse and picked up the bag and cup when someone plowed into her from behind. The cup flew out of her hand, coffee splashing back, burning down the front of her wool jacket as she heard her attacker shout, “Get down on the floor, bitch! You! Behind the counter! Hands where I can see them!”
As she crashed against the counter wildly grasping for the edge to keep from falling, something big shot from near the fireplace—so fast it was nearly a blur. Meg heard two shots, then nothing but the ringing in her ears, and looked down to see a tall, well-muscled man, one knee in the back of the gunman, slapping handcuffs onto his wrists. The gun lay on the floor nearby.
Her rescuer looked up at her, concern in his dark eyes. “Are you OK? Hey, Pete, get her some cold water. That coffee probably burns.” His oval face sported a sexy hint of beard, and his short hair was slightly unruly with curls. He was wearing a white T-shirt and jeans… Oh my God! It was Creepy Guy. What the hell?
Point sat quietly at the nearly hidden table beside the fireplace, trying to be invisible. An upscale coffee shop hardly seemed like the kind of business that would need his brand of security service, but this one had somehow wound up in the crosshairs of a gang takeover. He didn’t let the fact that he’d been sitting here waiting for weeks for them to follow up on their threats make him any less vigilant. He’d done too many of these jobs to fall into that trap.
And this job had a rare benefit. Every morning at 10 a.m., Monday through Friday, Classy Lady came in to pick up a bagel and a cup of coffee. He was trying again to guess in which of the many nearby skyscrapers she might work when she came for this morning’s cuppa.
She appeared to be searching for someone, then looked uneasy when she saw him in his usual place. Whoever she looked for every morning never seemed to show up. He was used to seeing that uneasiness in women, though. He had no idea why. He was one of the good guys.
He watched her surreptitiously while she waited for her order to be bagged. She was wearing a sky blue suit of lightweight wool, the skirt reaching just below the knee. As she entered, he’d seen the white blouse under the jacket, only the top two buttons open and with a blue print scarf hiding any cleavage that might accidently peek out—damn it. It looked like an expensive outfit, but then she could make WalMart jeans look expensive.
He was admiring the round swell of hip accented by the fitted jacket when a man stepped through the door, pulling a ski mask down over his face and a weapon out of a jacket pocket. While Point berated himself for being lax, the man covered the space from the door to the counter and shoved Classy Lady hard into the counter. Her coffee splashed down the front of her suit as the cup flew out of her hand.
“Down on the floor, bitch! You! Behind the counter! Keep your hands where I can see them!”
Bitch? Point launched himself out of the chair. The gunman got off two shots before Point disarmed him, breaking several of the man's fingers in the process and—maybe—his arm as he threw him to the floor. Ignoring the perp's shrieks and curses of pain, he planted his knee in the middle of the guy's back while he cuffed him. Only then did he look up.
Classy Lady was staring at him in compete shock. She didn’t look a bit frightened, and she didn’t seem to notice that hot coffee was dripping off her breasts--her round, soft-looking breasts--onto her blue leather shoes. Maybe it hadn’t soaked through the wool jacket yet.
“Are you OK? Hey, Pete, get her some cold water. That coffee probably burns.”
from When the Moon Is Risen, book four in the series that starts with When the Moon Is Gibbous and Waxing