Faith Hunter stood before me, offering me a beguiling smile. “Can I ask you a question?”
I snuck the case file I was working on into the top drawer of the metal desk. There wasn’t a reason for Faith to be interested in another suspicious activity reported by Mrs. Barlow, but one never knew with Faith.
Faith liked being involved in my business, detective work, more than she did her grandmothers’ scrapbook store, where she was actually employed. Once a person worked in the legal field, it was hard to leave it behind. Especially when the person in question felt like it wasn’t her choice that led to a career switch.
Or the reason I believed Faith inserting herself into murder cases. She’d tell me, and anyone else who’d listen, she wasn’t interested in crime-solving, but kept allowing friends to talk her into amateur sleuthing.
“Ted?” She used a breathy voice that always grabbed my attention, but never lead where I’d like it.
She blinked her luminous brown eyes at me. “No to even asking you a question?”
“I know what your question is.” I leaned back in my chair.
“You do not.” She flashed me a smile mixing teasing and smugness.
There was something about that “I knew something you don’t” challenge I wanted to accept with a dare of my own. I know she had feelings for me she wanted to ignore. But I knew about them.
Faith was easier to read than she believed. I wanted her to have all the facts before she settled into her choice of Davis. Not that Steve Davis was a bad guy, or bad for her, but I knew Faith and I were better for each other.
Faith walked around and her hand on my shoulder. Her trusting gaze centered right into my eyes.
Every time the woman drew near, protectiveness surged through me…and even worse a desire to tug her into my arms and kiss her good and well.
I had to talk her out of this mission of mercy that would turn into a disaster. Anything involving a Hooligan never turned out the way a person had planned. “You know it’s not a good idea. I know it. No is the smart answer. For both of us.”
She blinked once and her lips turned down into a frown.
Why had I expected her to accept the word no? She hadn’t any other time I said it.
“Please?” She batted her eyes at me then offered the faux damsel-in-distress look of hers.
Right. I crossed my arms. Who did she think I was Davis? Like I’d fall for the quivering lips and the “you’d be my hero” look in her eyes. Helping her out on this harebrained scheme meant I’d go along for the next. With Faith there was always a next, either one of her choosing or one guilt made her say yes to.
“It’s career day in an elementary school. Hank is out of work again. Henry thinks scrapbooking is boring so doesn’t want his mom. And the only person he thinks might be interesting is me.”
“Because you helped solve Michael Kane’s murder.” Why Sierra and Hank thought that was a conversation suitable for young children I’d never know. Then again, we weren’t just talking about young children but the Hooligans, boys I was surprised hadn’t pushed people into committing a murder just so they’d be locked up and safe from those kids’ pranks.
Faith nodded. “Henry wants someone to talk about crime. It’s me or you. I figured you’d be a better choice.”
“Why’s that?” I couldn’t resist asking. I almost wanted to convince Faith she’d be perfect for the role, as amateur sleuthing seemed her real career lately. But, knew better than to encourage her in something I’d deal with later.
“You have handcuffs, and the authority to do something if Henry feels he needs to commit a crime it can be solved.”
“The child wouldn’t hurt a classmate. Would he?”
“I don’t think so.” Now Faith looked worried. “He’s never committed a felony.”
I hoped not. Henry was only six. But a few misdemeanors around town already had the Hooligans names on them.
Two of them literally. Hank really needed to teach his kids not to leave a “calling card” when creating mischief around town. Fortunately, Gussie had some wayward boys of her own so wasn’t too angry about the redecoration of her front yard. Others in the community would not be as understanding.
If Faith talked to the class, Henry might decide to take up crime-fighting. While I didn’t need more criminals, I also didn’t need more amateur sleuths running around town. “I’ll talk with the class.”
You can read more about Ted in Designed to Death, the second book in the “Faith Hunter Scrap This” mystery series, published by Henery Press. The first book in the series is Cropped To Death.
Meet the author
The Faith Hunter Scrap This Mystery series brings together Christina Freeburn’s love of mysteries, scrapbooking, and West Virginia. When not writing or reading, she can be found in her scrapbook room or at a crop. Alas, none of the real-life crops have had a sexy male prosecutor or a handsome police officer attending.
Christina served in the JAG Corps of the US Army and also worked as a paralegal, librarian, and church secretary. She lives in West Virginia with her husband, children, a dog, and a rarely seen cat except by those who are afraid or allergic to felines.
Books are available at retail and online booksellers.