If you haven’t checked out the Prologue, you can do that now. Here is chapter one!
Two months later
Monday morning Logan pulled into McGuire’s B&B a little more than five hours after he’d left New York City.
His body was stiff and sore and he needed to get out of the car and walk it off. Stretch. Bend. Anything to get out and just move.
Maybe it was too soon to sit for this long, but he couldn’t stay in his apartment staring at the walls any longer contemplating his future.
He’d left the Army shortly after his buddy Trevor Miles. Trevor got out before anything major happened to him. When Logan barely escaped being blown to pieces with a bomb, he knew it was time to move on—after he lost one of the only women he’d let into his life in that explosion, knowing he’d have a hard time getting past it.
The job at NYPD seemed the logical decision. He went back to where he’d grown up in Manhattan and figured why not?
He’d been stabbed on the force a few years ago and been told he was lucky to be alive. Just a few more inches and he would have bled out like a gutted deer.
Did he leave his job after that? Nope, he went right back at it.
But this time, he was starting to think of the whole three strikes and you’re out. He had his third strike, he wasn’t out, but he wasn’t sure he was ready to try the nine lives theory either.
He had a month left on his medical leave to come to terms with his future.
And why he felt he had to come to terms with anything surprised him since he had more zeroes in the bank than anyone ever knew.
He didn’t flaunt it and never would. Why? Because it wasn’t who he was.
But that wealth was making it easier for him to walk away from the career he loved and not worry about starving. That wealth wasn’t going to make him happy if he couldn’t figure out what to do with his life though.
Thirty-five was just too damn young to do nothing.
He walked up to the front door of the B&B, let himself in and heard a woman call out from the back, “Come on in. I can see you on the camera.”
He looked up in the corner and saw a camera aimed at the door, then walked toward the voice. She was standing there, her hands kneading dough on the counter. “I’m Celeste Ryder. You must be Logan Taylor. Trevor and Riley’s friend.”
“That’s me,” he said. When it came time to escape, he figured why not go up in the mountains and relax in nature. Though he lived in the big city and had loved the action, there was a part of him that just wanted peace and quiet in his surroundings. Water, trees, woods. Anything different than what he was coming from.
Celeste wiped her hands off, then walked forward and shook his hand. “So glad to have you. Can I offer you a drink or a snack after your long drive before I show you the cabin?”
“I’m good,” he said. He really just wanted to get his stuff unpacked and sit down and have a beer from the cooler in his vehicle. He knew he’d have to get some food at the store, but he wanted a cold beer before he did anything else.
“Then let me show you where you’ll be staying.”
“I can find it myself if you’re busy,” he said.
“It can wait,” she said. “I’m just making a few pies for dinner. I serve breakfast at eight, lunch at noon, and dinner at six. On that wall is the menu for each day. If you aren’t here for the meal, there are normally leftovers and snacks around.”
He looked over at the large chalkboard and saw the menu in a neat script. He was both impressed and touched by the hominess of something he’d never experienced growing up. Home cooked meals by a parent. Nah.
His mother never cooked a day in her life. Why would she when she’d grown up with housekeepers and cooks herself? When she married, she wasn’t about to change or learn anything different from what she’d known.
Divorcing his cheating, lying father when Logan was five just padded his mother’s bank account with a lot more than she’d had. Marrying someone twenty years older than her a few years later did the same. Now she was a widow with not a care in the world living in Long Island on the water, being catered to by all sorts of staff.
Cooking for her only son, yeah, nothing she’d ever cared to do.
“Let me just grab your keycard.”
He watched as Celeste walked to what he assumed was an office off the kitchen and that was when he noticed she was pregnant. His best guess was not too far along, but long enough that there was a slight bulge showing with her leggings and fitted shirt to her mid thigh.
He was kind of surprised to see her so covered up even though the windows were open letting in some nice spring air. He was still warm in his shorts and T-shirt though it was barely eighty out now. Eighty in the mountains did feel cooler than eighty in the concrete jungle.
Celeste walked back out and handed him the card. “This will get you into the cabin out back and in here too. Every guest has one for the main house, but that will access both locations.”
He followed her out the back door and saw the little cabin closer to the water along a stone path. “It’s bigger than I thought it’d be,” he said.
“It’s where I used to live before I got married. My husband, Caleb, and I live in the house to your right. The smaller house, or what we really refer to as the cottage, on your left is where Max’s patients stay.”
“Riley’s brother?” he asked.
“Yes,” she said.
Trevor’s wife Riley’s brother was a plastic surgeon that had relocated here years ago from New York City himself. Logan had met Riley when Trevor needed his help trying to find who was stalking Riley on his own home turf almost a year ago.
Once they realized it wasn’t really a stalker, but a woman with disabilities that missed Riley and their friendship, Trevor and Riley came back home, got engaged then married only a few months ago. No long engagement for them. Just a few months.
They’d flown back to New York City so Riley could have Debra in her wedding. The woman who’d missed her and kept sending her flowers and letters. Logan was Trevor’s best man for the small ceremony held in an upscale restaurant.
Riley and Max had come from money. Not as much as him, but again, no one knew that and if he had his way no one would.
Celeste opened the door and he followed in behind her, looking around. There was a small galley kitchen on one wall with a counter and two stools. It opened up into a small living room that more than suited him with a couch and chair, a TV on the wall.
The colors were blues, greens, grays, and extremely calming. Just what he needed in his life.
“The bedroom and bath are behind those doors.”
He walked the few steps and looked into the tiny but efficient bathroom, then popped his head into the bedroom. There looked to be a queen sized bed. Again, enough for him. He’d be fine without his king bed for a month. “Is that a deck off the back?” he asked, looking out the sliding door to the water beyond.
“It is. It’s not big, but enough to sit out and enjoy the view with a cup of coffee.”
“Or a beer,” he said, grinning, knowing he was going to do that the minute Celeste was gone.
“Absolutely. I don’t provide alcohol at the main house. Guests are allowed to bring their own; however most don’t do it unless they drink it that night. Otherwise it’s stored in their room or the kitchen where someone else might drink it.” He smiled at her laugh. “But here, you’ve got more privacy.”
“I’m surprised this was available,” he said.
When he made the last minute decision to come here, he feared he’d be in a hotel the whole time. He wasn’t sure he could handle that, but would have if he needed to.
“I don’t rent it out often. As I said, I used to live here. Caleb is trying to convince me to hire someone full time to care for the B&B and move in here, especially with the baby coming. It’s just so hard to step away from something you love doing though.”
“Yeah, I know,” he said quietly.
She just looked at him, nodded her head and said, “I’ll let you get unpacked and settled. No need to let me know whether you’ll be around for meals. There is always plenty though.”
“Thanks,” he said, then followed her out and back to the parking lot to get his things. His shoulder was aching like a cat in heat, his side not much better, but the sooner he had his belongings in the cabin, the sooner he could have that beer on the deck.
He opened the back of his brand new black SUV. His last car had too many bullet holes in it to repair. He should have gotten another sedan, but something told him to change that too.
After two trips to the cabin, he finally grabbed his little cooler that was filled with a six-pack of his favorite craft beer. Long Island, Brooklyn, the Bronx. Craft breweries were flowing there and he had his pick of more than he could name. Short of filling the back of his SUV up with beer for the month, he hoped he could find a few here he wouldn’t mind.
His clothes could wait to be put away, but the beer really couldn’t.
He pulled the can out, found a glass in the kitchen, poured it, and then made his way to the deck. There were two chairs and one was calling his name.
He’d taken one long sip when his phone rang. He looked down to see Trevor calling him. “Hey,” he answered.
“Did you make it?” Trevor asked.
“Sitting on the deck with a cold one as we speak.”
“Damn. You couldn’t even wait for me?”
“Come on over,” Logan said. “I could use another by the time you get here.”
“Can’t,” he said. “On duty. How about you come to the house tonight and have dinner? We can have a few on my deck while Riley cooks for us.”
“Barely three months of marriage and you have her cooking for you?” Logan asked, grinning.
“Riley is a great cook. She loves taking care of me,” Trevor said.
Logan heard the humor behind the words. The love too. Yeah, he was jealous. “But will she love cooking for someone else?” he asked, taking another long sip of his ice cold brew that hit the spot better than it ever had before.
“We had planned on it. She gets out of work at five. I’ll be out shortly after. How does six thirty sound? Sometimes she can be held up at work with patients.”
Riley Hamilton-Miles was a dentist in town. Trevor, the chief of police of Lake Placid. “Sounds good. Anything I can bring?”
“Just yourself,” Trevor said. “I asked Kennedy to join us, but it’s her late night at the spa.”
Kennedy Miles, Trevor’s sister. Another reason he came here, but he had no intention of letting Trevor know that, at least not tonight. “I’m sure I’ll see her at some point.”
“You two seemed to hit it off at the wedding. Figured it wouldn’t hurt to have a friendly face to show you around besides me.”
Kennedy was more than a friendly face, but he doubted she was going to be all that friendly to him when she saw him again. That was probably why she’d declined the dinner invitation.
“I’ll see you in a few hours,” Logan said, disconnecting the call, thoughts of Kennedy in his mind.
Kennedy had had a little bit too much to drink the night of Trevor’s wedding. The two of them ended up back at her hotel room. Things were getting heated, and if it were anyone else, he wouldn’t have stopped.
But he did. He realized it was his best friend’s sister and told himself it wasn’t right. He couldn’t have a one-night stand with her. Especially since they’d both drunk more than they should have.
He’d stopped when everything within his body told him to push forward and strip her naked like she’d asked him to do.
She hadn’t been happy with him when he stopped and then left. She’d probably been embarrassed though she had no reason to be.
He hadn’t been able to get her out of his mind in the past few months. He’d walked out of her hotel room just two weeks before he’d gotten shot.
And all those times he’d been told he was lucky to be alive…well, he was ready to put some of that luck to use and finish what was started with Kennedy.