Besides, look what had happened to Allison? She’d moved in with Logan for protection from her ex-husband, and they ended up married. Of course, Devon believed they would’ve gotten married anyway. And it wasn’t like she thought she and Trey would end up that way. But still, the principle was the thing. She wasn’t going to foist herself on a guy she planned to have a short fling with. It was too easy to fall into a habit of convenience by staying with him. Not her style.

So her only other alternative had been to crash at Logan and Allison’s. She’d be safe under their roof, protected by their Fort Knox security system.

Sammy’s high-pitched scream assaulted her eardrums. Peanut whined and looked at her with pitiful eyes. Devon grabbed a pillow and shoved it over her ears. She glanced at the clock. Six-thirty on a Saturday morning. Ugh.

So much for sleeping in. She winced as a stab of pain pricked behind her eyes. Why do I feel like crap?

With a heavy sigh, she recalled the glasses of wine Logan kept pouring for her last night, and her headache made sense. Allison had tried to stay awake and be the stalwart friend. But she’d dragged herself to bed at one a.m. looking pale and exhausted. When Logan had revealed that Allison was pregnant with baby number two, and Sammy was teething, Devon felt like more of a leech then she already did for intruding on their family time.

Tossing back the covers, she threw her legs over the side of the bed and rubbed her eyes with the heels of her hands. She couldn’t stay here, but she didn’t want to go home, either. How could she? Her house, her sanctuary, had been invaded by a sick, sadistic hacker.

An alternate plan was in order. She reached into the overnight bag she’d thrown together last night and changed into a pair of leggings, a sports bra, and an oversized t-shirt. If she wasn’t at home, at least she could still be comfortable. She slid into her sandal flats and went to the guest bathroom to brush her teeth, drag a comb through her hair, and wipe off two smudges of mascara under her eyes.

Good enough, she thought with a shrug. Then she swiped Peanut up under her arm, slung the handle of her overnight bag onto her shoulder, and planned to make a silent get away. Halfway down the steps, she saw Allison walking back and forth through the great room carrying Sammy on her hip, her eyes half-closed like a sleepwalker moving on autopilot.

“Hey,” Allison said in a cracked whisper, looking up at Devon. She struggled to produce a smile. “Sleep okay last night?”

“You have a very comfortable guest bed.” Sending her friend a look of compassion, Devon dropped her bag in the foyer and went to the kitchen to make coffee. Allison could probably use some, and Devon needed a jolt of caffeine. She found a pot already made, removed two mugs from the cupboard and poured them to the brim. She returned to the great room and offered one to Allison.

“No, thanks.” Allison shook her head then rubbed a circle over her stomach. “I’m far enough along that I’ve switched to Chai tea. Logan said he let the news slip last night. I wanted to be the one to tell you I’m pregnant again, but I didn’t want to take away from the excitement of your job interviews.”

“It’s okay,” Devon assured. “I’m not fragile. I don’t need special care and handling when it comes to learning other women are pregnant. Especially my best friend.” She smiled warmly. “I’m so happy for you.”

“I waited to say anything until I made it to the eight-week mark.”

Devon held up her hand to stall further explanation. “I understand.”

Several months ago, Allison had miscarried at six weeks. She’d called Devon sobbing, and the depth of her loss had affected Devon like a dagger through the heart. For once, she found herself grateful she couldn’t have kids. She’d had plenty of years to accept it and be pleased for other people when it happened to them. But to learn she was pregnant only to lose the baby? She honestly couldn’t imagine how devastating that must’ve been for Allison. Now, instead of sharing pain, they’d share the excitement of a new addition to their family.

Their family. It amazed her how she automatically considered herself a member of the Stone family. As if Allison was her best friend and sister-in-law rolled into one. And Sammy was her godson.

The thought of packing up and leaving all this carved a gash across Devon’s conscience. Sure, she’d return for holidays and birthdays, but how much of Sammy’s milestone years would she lose while she created a separate life and career two states away? And how could she miss the birth of Allison’s new baby?

Regret gripped her chest. She forced those thoughts aside for now. She’d cross that emotional bridge once she had the job offer in hand.

Logan ambled into the room, eyeing the second mug of coffee as if Devon held a cup of salvation. He reached for it. “I’ll take that off your hands.”

“Sorry I intruded last night—”

“You are always welcome here,” Logan replied with a firm glance. He sipped the coffee and went to his wife’s side. He kissed Allison’s temple, gave her shoulder a squeeze, and whispered something that made her smile. “Give me a few hours, Devon. I’ll be in my office with my team going over the clues.”

A sickening wave of dizziness almost knocked Devon off her feet. “No, I’ve had enough of my privacy stolen. You are not allowed to invade my personal life, Logan. I love you and all, but forget it. Whatever those cameras caught is off-limits.”

“I don’t mean that literally. Whatever was caught, it was done on live feed. There’s no actual footage.”

Relief swamped her. “At least that’s one ray of sunshine through this steaming pile of crap.”

Logan took Sammy with his free arm and said to Allison, “Go get some sleep, baby. I’ll take him for a few hours before I head into work.”

Allison sent him a look filled with so much love and devotion, Devon felt like she was trespassing on their moment. “Thanks,” Allison said with a grateful sigh. She gave Devon a hug. “I hope this works out, and you get rid of this guy before he causes anymore damage.”

Devon hugged her back. “If anyone can help solve this mystery, it’s Logan and Trey.” Allison nodded and drifted down the hallway toward their master bedroom. Devon stared after her. “Poor thing, she’s beyond beat.”

“She’s a champ, for sure,” Logan agreed. His expression filled with loving concern, and his gaze lingered on his wife until she disappeared from sight. Then he shifted Sammy on his hip while gesturing after Allison with his coffee mug. “We need to give your mama a break, buddy. She’s growing your little brother or sister inside her, and that’s a lot of work.”

Tags: Vanessa Waltz Billionaire Bodyguard Suspense