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Mountain Darkness (Wild Mountain Men 1) Vanessa Vale 2022/7/22 14:36:56

My eyebrows went up. “Not what I was expecting to hear.”

“I called my boss. Told him I was in a relationship with Kit, a suspect, that it had been going on for a while and that wasn’t going to change.”

“I thought you said he’d shit a brick when he found out.”

“If he found out from someone besides me. Kit’s worth whatever he wanted to do to me. I don’t want to hide what we have.”

“Holy shit. You got fired?”

“He wanted to fire my ass. He wanted to suspend me. But he can’t. Not with the murder case.” He laughed, rubbed the back of his neck. “He put Miranski on the Mills case. I’m tackling all others. He’s not happy, but he’ll survive. It’s only been forty-eight hours since she was found. I handed over my notes. Miranski ran Kit’s questioning. It’s all recorded and legit. Keith Mills might have his panties in a twist, but it would only become an issue for your office… if she were actually under arrest for the crime.”

I sighed, because that was never going to happen. “Which she won’t be.”

“You’re quitting?” he asked, circling us back to my earlier announcement.

“I’ve been my dad’s pawn in the DA’s office all along.”

“You didn’t win cases because of your father.”

“No, but I got the resume building cases because Daddy’s mayor. He has plans for me.”

He studied me and I waited for him to connect the dots. “The mayor and his future DA. Nash and Nash.”

“You don’t want to be his right-hand man?” The words were laced with sarcasm. Nix knew Pops well, knew how slick he was.

“I’ll start my own practice. He won’t be happy, but his happiness is not my concern.”

“Kit’s is,” he replied, pushing off the side of his SUV.

“That’s right. I have to run. Time to watch the shit hit the fan.”

I couldn’t be happier.

I was going through the motions. I spent the night on Dolly’s couch. I’d slept on there before, back in high school when my mom had either been in one of her manic moods or in the hospital on psych eval. But I hadn’t ached for two men, nor had lusty thoughts about them that had me slipping my hands beneath my sleep shorts, still leaving me unfulfilled. I also hadn’t had nightmares of my friend being murdered.

Between crying over what I couldn’t have and waking up afraid I was next on the murderer’s list, I’d barely slept.

Thankfully, makeup covered most of the puffy eyes and dark circles. I didn’t have to think all too much working at the diner. Not that it was easy, but because, besides the one year I was in Billings, I’d been working there for a decade.

Never ending black coffee didn’t hurt either. And while it offered the pick-me-up I needed, the lunch rush helped distract me.

Where I’d been bothered by the whispers and gossip from patrons the day before, now, I barely heard it. If I did, I didn’t care. I’d discovered something that hurt worse than having people think I was a murderer. And that was saying a lot.

Like something out of a romance movie, I’d thought maybe Nix or Donovan would return. Sweep me off my feet and carry me away to a happily ever after. I loved to see the perfect happy ending in the movie theater and read about them in books, but they didn’t happen in real life. Not for me.

“How are you holding up?” Dolly asked.

I shrugged as I closed out another ticket in the computer, tearing off the bill from the little printer.

“Thought so. Listen, Wendy and Sally have been talking.”

“About me?” I asked, glancing across the restaurant at the other two waitresses.