“Followers? You mean the women?” He elbowed Morgan again. “You lookin’ for some action, my friend? I can get you some of that, too. Though I saw that little gal you’re so hot on in Haskins Corners last week.”
“Who?” he asked cautiously, not wanting Dewey to know about Tara if he didn’t already. Sylvie on the other hand… “You’ve seen Sylvie?”
Dewey’s laugh was nearly a cackle. “She’s kinda tough to miss. You lose her?”
Morgan nearly went after the man and his insinuation right there in the yard. He’d fought Dewey a few times, enough to know it wasn’t an easy slam dunk to beat the man. But Morgan hadn’t been thinking straight for weeks. Why start now?
When Morgan leaned in closer, Dewey lifted his hands in the sign of surrender. “I’m just sayin’, I got an in, man.” Dewey grew quiet. “What’s the point if you’re not gonna step into a ring?” He turned away, pulling paperwork out. “I’d like to get some of my money back, but I ain’t gonna beg. You change your mind, your brother knows how to reach me.”
“You know where Sylvie is?” Morgan asked, his voice low and menacing.
“Maybe. You fight. Maybe I’ll get the information for you. I can get you in next weekend.”
Was this the last puzzle piece? Was he finally going to find Sylvie—and Brooke? Morgan stepped into Dewey’s personal space, real close, real tight. “Prove to me you know where she’s at, and you bet your ass I’ll fight.” Morgan stalked away, glaring at Jack, who, slack-jawed, stared at him. “I’m taking lunch,” he told Jack and headed to his pickup. His concentration was shot. Dread threatened to overwhelm the flicker of hope he felt.
The old Chevy was as small a vehicle as he could stand to drive after sitting in the big rig for so long. He revved the engine and took off through the lot like a bat out of hell. He didn’t have to crank the radio. It was already on full blast, heavy guitars blaring in the close confines of the cab.
Driving past Dewey, Morgan thought about flipping the guy off but knew Jack wouldn’t like it. And whether Morgan liked it or not, this was Jack’s haven now. Morgan felt as out of place in the office as ever.
* * *
TARA STARED AT her brother. DJ had come in for lunch again, and she couldn’t help wondering what was going on. It was Saturday and Tammie was home. Surely he’d want to spend time with his wife instead of his sister.
“What?” he asked around the bite of his thick burger.
Tara crossed her arms and tried to judge his mood. “Why are you here? Why aren’t you at home with Tammie and Tyler?” Was there trouble in their new marriage?
DJ looked at his plate and slowly dragged a fry through the ketchup. “Tyler’s at a fair at the school with his buddy. And uh, well, Tammie’s, uh, having a difficult time right now.”
“And you left her alone? DJ—”
“Now hold on.” He lifted a hand. He actually looked angry.
She remembered the dark, withdrawn man he’d been when he’d first come home from Afghanistan. It hurt to see that man return.
“It’s not what you think.”
“Then you’d better start explaining.”
DJ took his time eating the rest of his food. She tried to wait patiently, cleaning the counters around him.
Finally, he pushed his empty plate away and wiped the grease from his lips with the napkin. Tossing it on top of the plate, he met her gaze.
What she saw in his eyes wasn’t anger or sorrow or pain, but fear and happiness all mixed up. What the heck?
“Tammie sent me here because she knows I’m dying for a good burger.” He tucked his hands under his arms, leaning back in the chair. “But whenever I eat one around her now, she gets nauseous.”
That didn’t make sense. Tammie loved burgers. She came in sometimes specifically for one of Tara’s special ones. “I don’t—” She stared at the shit-eating grin on her brother’s face.
Nausea. No. “Is she? Are we going to have—” Another little Hawkins to spoil? “Really?”
DJ laughed and nodded. “She’s pregnant.” The wonder in his voice nearly overshadowed the tinge of worry in his eyes. “But she’s having a rough time.” Now the happiness faded.