Tara planned to ask the rest of the staff about the girl, to see if they recognized her, too, and ask them to let her know if she came in again. She didn’t look in imminent danger, but something didn’t feel right. She wasn’t happy, like a kid should be.

Tara wasn’t sure what she should do, if anything, but she couldn’t totally dismiss the situation.

Or maybe she was looking for a distraction. Tara forced herself to focus on clearing tables and not worry about everyone else’s problems.

Though she doubted she’d forget the girl or the rest of today’s events anytime soon.

* * *

MORGAN HAD DRIVEN straight to Dallas, whittling away at the night. He’d expected to sleep the couple hours it would take to prep the load and get everything ready once he reached his apartment. But sleep eluded him.


Frustration of all types created energy, and the only way Morgan knew to burn off excess energy was by working out. He’d outfitted his apartment to accommodate his exercise routine. The bar suspended from the bedroom doorframe had seen many a pull-up session. Today, it would see more.

“What’s eating you?” Jack didn’t bother to knock. Morgan made a mental note to get that key back.

“Nothing.” He counted to focus on his progress. Eleven. “Just my workout.”

“They don’t have gyms in…where the hell were you? Corners something?” Jack headed to the fridge to stare into the depths.

“Haskins.” Fifteen. “It’s on the paperwork. I know you read it.”

“Read, but I didn’t commit it to memory.”

“Might be a useful skill to develop.” Eighteen.

“Waste of brain cells.” Jack yanked out a beer and actually seemed to consider it.

“Before noon?”

Jack shrugged. “Maybe not.” He put it back somewhat reluctantly. “Truck’ll be ready to go by two. Will you?”

“Sure.” Twenty.

“Uh-huh. You sleep yet?”

“No.” Twenty-two. “I’ll catch a catnap after this.” Twenty-four.

“I’ll hold the load if you’re not awake.” Jack glared at him. “I’m serious. You aren’t driving tired or hyped-up on caffeine. Remember, I know you. What’s eating you? Start talking or I’ll send Gary or Phil instead of you.”

The expletive that filled the room would have gotten Morgan backhanded as a kid. Jack just laughed. Twenty-seven.

Three more pull-ups strained his arms, the burn reminding him why he did this. He jumped to the ground and grabbed the towel and wiped his face. “I didn’t find a damned thing. The leads are dead ends.”

Even he heard the defeat in his voice.

“Then other than this delivery, why are you going back? It’s an easy swap to send one of the guys. Kyle’s been asking for extra hours now that his wife is expecting.”


Jack laughed. “Yeah. Guess absence makes the heart grow fonder?”

Morgan glared at him.

“Sorry.” Jack turned back to the fridge. “Where to next?”

Guilt swept through Morgan. He’d thought a lot about his situation as he’d driven last night, about all the hours he spent on the road, alone, accomplishing nothing. Of the burden Jack took on at the office.

About Tara and the mess he could get into without much effort. “Nowhere.”

Silence followed his statement. Jack slowly rose, staring over the fridge door at Morgan.

“You giving up?”

“Maybe.” Why did that idea make his chest hurt? Morgan shook his head. “No. But I think it’s time to give the PI a try.” Instead of continuing with his workout, he grabbed his water bottle and downed nearly half of it.

Jack closed the fridge, a water bottle in his hand, as well. “Really? You got enough cash together for that?”

“No.” Morgan did not want to have this conversation. “I just feel like it’s time. I’ll…I’ll figure out something.”

Jack didn’t ask anything for a long time, the look of confusion on his face telling Morgan he’d have questions soon.

“Feel? Since when are you a touchy-feely kinda guy?”

“Funny. Real funny, dumbass. You learn anything more about the schools?”

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