Page 39 of Tripping on a Halo

“Ah, but that statement flies directly in the face of her full-time job,” Ansley butted in, her voice sing-songy as she waltzed past them and into the kitchen, pulling a gallon of milk out of the fridge.

“Look how quiet they are,” Autumn pointed out. “It’s like they aren’t even here!”

Declan gritted his teeth. “I’m going to say it one more time, and then I’m going to walk out of here. I don’t know what I told you last night, after whatever voodoo magic your body unleashed, but I’m not having a bodyguard. And I’m not sharing my schedule or notifying you of travel arrangements.” He pointed to the trio of men. “If I see any of you anywhere near me, I’m calling the police.”

He stepped back and Autumn’s face fell in disappointment. “But…”

Before she had the chance to say another word, or bat those big eyes, or seduce his mind into signing over his entire life, he stormed out the front door and got into his truck, leaving all of the crazy behind.


I sent the gentlemen from Met Security on their way with a plate of brownies, mucho apologies, and a voided contract. They let me keep my deposit, which was a nice gesture, especially considering the early Saturday house call. Ansley didn’t let me off the hook as easily.

“Voodoo Magic your body is unleashing? This I need to hear. Now, sit. Drink. Talk.” She pushed a hot cup of coffee toward me and took the closest stool. From the backyard, Paige and Caleb tore back into the house, chased by Mr. Oinks. Ansley pointed to the living room without turning her head. “Watch cartoons,” she called out.

“Nickelodeon?” Paige called out.

“Sure. Whatever.”

“Easy. That’s a slippery slope to a life of crime.” I widened my eyes theatrically. Paige’s ban of SpongeBob was completely unfounded, and a rule I broke with wild abandon every time I babysat her kids.

“Shut up and talk. Please tell me he made passionate love to you all night long.” She clasped her hands in front of her as if in prayer.

“Yes.” I lifted the coffee cup and took a tentative sip. It wasn’t bad. Too much sugar, but I could deal with that.

“NO,” she gasped, covering her mouth with one Alex & Ani-laden hand.

“YES,” I whispered, hiding my grin behind another sip of the coffee. “But that’s all over now.”

“All over,” she said slowly. “Why is it all over?”

“Well, you saw his dramatic exit, in which he threatened to call the cops.” I listed the first hurdle off with my thumb, then moved on to my index finger. “Then the bigger issue, which is that I am not here to have wild and delicious sex with Declan Moss.”

“You’re not?”

“No. I’m here to protect him.” It’s like she doesn’t understand what mortal danger is. A PLANE almost smote him. It took out a Toyota Highlander. There was a mailbox who never got to say goodbye to its family. Half a house that was pulverized in the explosion. Everyone was just tossing this humongous event aside as if it was a fender bender in the Publix shopping center.

“Oh, God.” Ansley rolled her eyes. “Have you ever thought that this is the universe pushing you two together? Just ignore your ridiculous idea of premonitions and mortal dangers and embrace the fact that a real live man spent last night in your bed.”

I groaned, wilting sideways on the stool. “And oh my God, it was so good. Ansley… he…” I tried to find the words to describe the event.

“Was talented?”

“Beyond talented. Could be a gigolo in his spare time.”

She slid the coffee creamer in between us and looked down at it suggestively. “Would you say he’s built like a gigolo also?” She ran her hand up the height of the jug in a way that made her meaning perfectly clear.

I knocked her hand off the container before she started jacking it off. “I don’t want to ruin your day with a detailed description of how gorgeous his coffee creamer was. Just know that keeping him safe has become a lot harder to do.” I pulled open the fridge and stuck the creamer on the shelf.

“Oh, a lady? That’s what you are?” Ansley scoffed, giving an exaggerated nod. “Good to know. Alright, penis size aside, just tell me. Was it just sex or was there emotion in it?”

Of course, my sister would ask the one question I didn’t want to ask myself. I scratched an itchy place on my scalp. “I don’t think two strangers can have emotions between them.”

“He’s not a stranger to you,” she pointed out. “You’ve known him, in some way shape or form, for … what, three months now?”

“Six,” I corrected her. “It was right after Mom.” Died. I couldn’t say it, but didn’t need to. I straddled the stool and picked up my coffee.