Free Nickels by Karen Baney

Book: Nickels by Karen Baney Read Free Book Online
Authors: Karen Baney
Unless she tried to get ahead on work.  She might not even log it
as billable hours.  No, Brian would have her head for that.  If she did work,
she’d have to bill it.
    What did other people do on the weekend?
    Marcy seemed to spend every waking minute with Chad these
days.  Then she went to church on Sunday morning and often to her parents in
the afternoon.  She always complained about the weekends being too short.
    Niki had none of those things.  No boyfriend, because she
was dedicated to protecting her heart from loss.  No church, because she refused
to believe in a God who took everyone away from her.  No afternoons with
parents, because hers were gone.  Once every few months she would go with Marcy
to visit her friend’s parents, but that was not the same.
    Grabbing her laptop case, she walked down the hall to the
master suite.  She smiled again at the new paint color.  It felt homier to her
now.  Extracting her laptop from its case, she set it on the dark walnut desk nestled
in the bay window nook.  Flipping the lid open, she debated whether to turn it
on.  She could squeeze in another hour of work before Marcy got home and they
left for dinner.  She pulled her long hair out of the tight ponytail.  Then she
ran her fingers through it, rubbing her scalp and shaking out the brown locks.
    The doorbell rang, announcing a visitor.  Niki padded down
the hall to the front door, working on her game face.  She was prepared to
shoot down whatever the solicitor wanted.  As she opened the door, her stoic
face slackened.
    “Hello, Niki.”
    “Kyle.”  Guess he was stalking her now.

Chapter 10

    Kyle shifted his weight to his other foot.  “May I come in? 
Marcy told me it would be fine if I met her here.”
    Niki blinked at him through the security door with the wire
design of a coyote howling at the moon.  She really needed to switch that out
for something more her style.
    Perfect.  Marcy would not be home for almost another hour. 
Now she would have to entertain Kyle—the last person she wanted to spend her
Friday night with.  She would much rather be coding.
    At his throat clearing, she moved into action.
    “One second.”  She closed the door then retrieved the key
for the security door from its nearby hiding place.  She never, never, never
let the person on the other side of the door see where it was hidden.  One
could never be too careful.  Key in hand, she opened the door, unlocked the
security door, and held it open.
    Once Kyle stepped into the living room, she closed and
locked both doors.  She waited for him to turn his back and peruse the room
before she stowed the key back in the drawer of the sofa table.
    “Wow.  You’ve got a nice place.”  Kyle spun around a second
    Her parents had picked a nice home.  It’s why she kept it.
    “Thanks.  Make yourself at home.  I’ve got to go change.”
    She turned back down the hallway, locking the master suite
door behind her.  She didn’t know why she did that.  She really had no reason
to distrust him.  None—other than two prank-filled years in high school.  But
that was a long time ago.  And it’s not like he ever physically harmed her,
though the day he’d shoved her into the pool came close.
    Digging through her closet, she settled on a pair of
fashionable midrise jeans, bedazzled with flowers—something Marcy told her she
had to buy during one of their rare shopping trips together.  She hated
shopping as much as Marcy loved it.  Flipping through the casual tops, she
settled on a solid bright pink fitted v-neck tee.  Sliding a pair of wedge
sandals from the shelf, she dropped them on the floor as she stripped off her
blouse and skirt.  Just as she donned the jeans, her phone rang.
    She looked around the room and realized she left it in her
purse in the kitchen.  Swiping the shirt from the bed, she threw it on quickly
and darted down the hall.  As she rounded the corner to the kitchen she

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