Buttercream Bump Off

Buttercream Bump Off by Jenn McKinlay Read Free Book Online

Book: Buttercream Bump Off by Jenn McKinlay Read Free Book Online
Authors: Jenn McKinlay
Really, it had surprised no one when he became a lawyer. He liked to be the fixer. He liked to be needed. He did not like to think he was blowing it big time.
    “Shoes? Would that do it for you?” he asked. He looked at her sock-clad feet. “I could probably get one of those metal foot-measuring things on eBay.”
    He wiggled his eyebrows, and Mel had to press her lips together to keep from laughing.
    “You’re missing the point,” she said, trying to maintain her ire and failing spectacularly.
    “Listen,” he said, “I know the case I’ve been working on really came at a bad time for us, but it’s almost over.”
    Mel looked at him. She’d heard this before. She untangled herself from him and rolled off the couch. She crossed the room to the door.
    “Tell you what, Joe: When your case is over, call me,” she said.
    He stood. “Are we breaking up?”
    “There isn’t anything to break up,” Mel said. “ ‘I think what we got on our hands is a dead shark.’ ”
    “Alvy Singer in Annie Hall ,” Joe said, identifying the quote. He moved to stand in front of her. “Our shark isn’t dead. Hell, he hasn’t even had a chance to get in the pool.”
    He pulled Mel into his arms and planted a kiss on her that made her knees buckle. How did he do that?
    “I’m not giving up on us, Cupcake, and neither should you. I’ll call you tomorrow.”
    Mel closed the door behind him and couldn’t figure out if they’d just broken up or not. She suspected not. And suddenly, that was okay. Any man who could nail a line from Annie Hall deserved another chance.
    Besides, given the evening she’d had, she wasn’t sure she was in a proper emotional state to declare the status of any relationship.

    Tate strolled into Lo-Lo’s Chicken and Waffles with the Sunday paper tucked under his arm. Angie and Mel sat at their usual table, waiting for him. Lo-Lo’s was a Phoenix landmark known for the best fried chicken and red velvet cake in the state. Mel had been thrilled when they opened up a second restaurant just down the road from the bakery. As usual the place was mobbed, and Tate had to throw a few elbows to get to his seat.
    Angie had already ordered him a Lo-Lo’s, which consisted of three pieces of chicken, southern style, and two waffles. Mel and Angie had lesser versions of the same, as they always saved room for Sanny Sand’s red velvet cake. They each had a large sweet tea to wash it all down.
    “So, how is Mom doing?” Tate asked Mel as he sat down and tucked into his food.
    “Shaky,” Mel said. She gave him a pained look. “Apparently Detective Martinez asked my mother if Baxter was into eroto-asphyxiation, and Uncle Stan almost punched him in the face.”
    Both Tate and Angie cringed.
    “Then, of course, Uncle Stan had to explain what that is to Mom, which gave her a fit of hysterics.”
    “I’m assuming they’ve ruled that out then?” Tate asked, wiping his mouth with his napkin before taking up another piece of chicken.
    “Yes, so far it looks as if they believe Mom was just an innocent bystander, but until they come up with another suspect, she’s on the hot seat. I get the feeling they would really love it if she could just remember seeing someone else there that night.”
    “Do they have any other suspects?” Angie asked.
    “Uncle Stan said Malloy’s son is in town and that the police are questioning him as well.”
    “Was there bad blood between them?” Tate asked.
    “I don’t know.” Mel took a bite of her chicken and almost swooned. It was crispy and crunchy and seasoned to perfection.
    “Well, after you told me what Mr. Felix said about his company investing all of their pensions with Malloy’s company, I did some checking in investment circles,” Tate said. “I knew I had heard the name Baxter Malloy. He used to live on the East Coast and was a big trader. There were a lot of rumors about him, however, that something wasn’t quite right.”
    “Can you find out more?” Mel

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