Rush
“You could have been crushed.”
    “He’ll live.”
    She settled the kitten in her lap again. “Have you taken him to the vet? He might have fleas and he’ll need shots.”
    “I know.”
    “Where does he sleep?”
    “I have a box for him in the laundry room.”
    She looked at him as if he put the cat to bed dangling at the end of a fishing pole out the window.
    “What?” he asked.
    “You make him sleep alone ?”
    He didn’t have a coherent response for that. He figured it was probably a trick question anyway so even if he could come up with an answer it would be akin to Why yes, those pants do make your ass look huge . But then he looked down into those amazing golden eyes and grew stupid enough to say, “He can sleep with you tonight.”
    “Really?” Holding the kitten, she bounced up to her knees. She put a hand on his shoulder and leaned in, dropping a kiss on his cheek. “Thank you.” Before he could get a hold of her, she was on her feet, walking away. “Goodnight.” She snuggled the kitten to her neck, murmuring to it as she disappeared down the hall.
    He glanced down at the raging hard-on straining against his shorts. Fucking Gooch always did get the girl.
    *****
    The following morning Lucas and Mi met the detective in charge of her case at Mi’s house. She wanted to stay in the truck, but Lucas wouldn’t let her. Following him and the lead detective into her house, loneliness crept over her, leaving her oddly bereft. Her little neighborhood had gone through a transformation, changing from a place she felt safe to a place that had let her down. Mrs. Wickerson peeped through her drapes across the street just as she always did when anything bigger than the Stanton’s Chihuahua stepped foot on the street. Where was her nosy neighbor when that creep had installed cameras in her house?
    Lucas took Detective Rolls through the house to her bedroom to show him the cameras he’d found. The detective seemed to defer to Lucas and his knowledge of covert surveillance from the moment he’d stepped foot in the house. Plainly showing how impressed he was, Rolls asked question after question. The steady flow of them reached Mi in the entryway.
    Mi stood in the foyer of the house she’d been so proud of, feeling it had somehow betrayed her. Somebody had been watching her in her most private moments. Tears pricked the back of her eyes and she swallowed hard, pushing back the sob that crept up her throat. Rubbing her arms, she shuddered. She heard Lucas and the detective coming back down the hall. Dropping her arms and standing up straighter, she pasted on a brave face.
    “I’ll need a team to go through the place. That’ll take some time, ya know.” Detective Rolls turned his fat wrist, glancing at the watch straining against his flesh. “Couple hours or so. You got somewhere to be?”
    “I have to be at work by ten,” Mi said.
    “Work,” Rolls snorted as he shook his head, his jowls flapping, like a hound dog. “Jesus H. Christmas just when I’d thought I’d seen it all.” He gave Lucas a jab with his elbow. “You seen what they do there for profit?” He didn’t wait for a response. “Now I ain’t one to judge, mind you. What two reasonably mature people do in the privacy of the boudoir and all sure ain’t my business. But it just seems so unseemly, all them fake wieners lyin’ about. And then those other things.” He waved a meaty hand around. “Whatchya call ‘em? Them things with the holes for the men?”
    “Strokers,” Mi provided.
    “Strokers. Jesus H. Christmas. Don’t need to waste my money when I got Rosie and her five sisters right here.” He put his hand up and wiggled his sausage fingers. “If you catch my meanin’.” He winked and prodded Lucas with his elbow again.
    Mi rolled her lips under, suppressing a smile. She’d come across Detective Rolls’s type before. They were relatively harmless, seeing what Mi did as a novelty. It was the others, the ones who didn’t

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