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"St Louis"


Prologue
Prologue

By barbara.wilkey

St. Louis

CHARACTERS:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan is a 27 year old private investigator. She's a tough lady but struggles with trust issues. She will over compensate to hide those issues. Her two best friends are a male black and tan dachshund, Arlo, and a Rottweiler, Edger.

Background information: McKenzie was named after her father, Mack Morgan. She joined her father's P.I. practice upon graduating college and before he died. Her mother, Helen, is also deceased. Both parents were murdered a year ago in a double homicide in Mack's Private Eye Office.

Major Logan Nelson is 34 years old and an active duty soldier. He's in the Army and stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina and is a member of the Army's prestigious Delta Force. He took thirty days of leave to come to St. Louis to help solve Megan's, his younger sister's murder. He believes her abusive boyfriend, George Whitney, murdered her.

SETTING:

July 2019 in St. Louis, Missouri.

PLOT:

Questions to be answered:
1) Can McKenzie solve Megan Nelson's murder?
2) Can Logan protect McKenzie from the person/people threatening her life and discover who and why?
3) Will McKenzie learn to trust Logan or anyone?
4) Will Logan and McKenzie find romance?


Author Notes Sorry, I meant to post this yesterday, but a stomach virus kept me in bed with numerous trips to the bathroom. These is only a condensed version of my notes. As the characters grow they will change and cause changes to the story.


Chapter 1
St. Louis Chapter 1 part 1

By barbara.wilkey

CHAPTER 1 PART

Logan Nelson rang the doorbell of Morgan's P.I. office. Whoever heard of a P.I. working from home? Why doesn't he have a real office? Why'd Dad hire this guy? Between him and the police we'll never prove Whitney murdered Megan. Hurry up! I don't have all day! I need to get this guy in jail before he murders somebody else's baby sister. He paused and listened to a dog barking. Figures there's a yapping dog. Why do people have yapping dogs? They're a nuisance. He rang the doorbell, again.

Next, he heard a female voice yell, "Arlo, be quiet. It's all right."

Great, a little old lady receptionist. Just what I need. This isn't going very well. I'm too busy for this.

McKenzie Morgan answered the door, holding a miniature black and tan dachshund. "Hello, how can I help you?" She put her hand over the dog's muzzle. "Shhh. It's all right."

"I want to speak to Mack Morgan about a case he's working on."

"Come in. Sorry it took so long. I was in the back yard." McKenzie pointed to a traditional black office chair. "Please, have a seat." She walked around the small wooden desk and sat, holding the dog. "Exactly what case would you like to discuss?"

Logan scanned the tiny office area. "If Mack Morgan's here, I'll wait for him. There's no sense repeating myself."

"I'm Mac Morgan. How can I help you?"

With eyebrows raised, Logan said, "My dad said he hired an old friend's firm to bring my sister's murderer to justice. I'm pretty sure you're not Dad's old high school buddy."

McKenzie brushed a brown strand of hair from her cheek. "You're correct. I'm his daughter. Let's start with what's your name?"

"No disrespect, I understand having your daughter as a receptionist, but I really need to speak with your dad."

"That's impossible, he's--"

"When will he return?" interrupted Logan as he stood. "I'll come back later."

"You're welcome to come back later, but it'll still be impossible to speak with Dad. He died a year ago."

Logan sat. "What? I don't understand."

"Let's start over and maybe I can help you understand. I'm guessing you must be Megan Nelson's brother. Your parents mentioned you might be coming by. Could I please have your name?"

"Yeah, Logan Nelson. You're?"

"McKenzie Morgan. People usually call me Mac. I was named after my dad. Dad trained me, we worked together, and I'm more than capable of doing the job. Your parents hired me yesterday."

"You're a P.I.?"

"I am. I'm licensed and everything." McKenzie pointed to the framed license hanging on the wall behind her.

"But how? Why? I wasn't expecting..."

"A female?"

"You could say that." The tips of Logan's ears tinged pink. "I've really made an ass of myself, haven't I?"

"I'm used to it." She grabbed a pencil. "What can I do for you?"

"I'm wondering if you've made any progress finding my sister's murderer."

"Since I was hired yesterday afternoon about four o'clock, I've barely had time to get a good start. This morning, I did meet with the police department and got what information I could. But to be honest, right now I have nothing new to report. Do you have any information you'd like to share?"

"I believe her on-again-off-again boyfriend, George Whitney, murdered her."

"Why do you think that?"

"He used to knock her around. It's a small step from assault to murder. I believe the stats show a lot of abused women end up getting killed by their abusers."

"Did you ever see him hit her?"

Logan frowned. "Do you think he's dumb enough to beat up my sister in front of me? Hell no! There's no way that loser would live to tell about it."

McKenzie tapped her pencil. "Then why do you think he abused your sister?"

"Because when I'd come home for holidays I'd see healing bruises and black eyes. When I'd ask what happened, she'd make up some excuse about falling or bumping into something. Nobody's that clumsy. Some bruises looked like hand imprints, but she'd never admit to it."

"So you don't live around here?"

"No. I'm in the Army. I'm stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. I've taken thirty days leave to help solve Megan's murder. I'm not going back until there's justice for my baby sister." A small amount of moisture welled in Logan's eyes.

Glancing at her watch, McKenzie set the pencil by the pad of paper. "I have somewhere I need to be. When I have information, I'll call your dad." She stood.

"How about if I come by tomorrow after lunch, then you can fill me in on the new information you have?" Logan turned toward the door.

*****
Outside Logan found a shade tree to stand under while he called for a taxi. There's no way that petite female's going to get enough evidence on Whitney to prove he murdered my sister. I'm going to have to do it myself. He grinned. She was a looker though. Maybe we can work together.

Outside Logan found a shade tree to stand under while he called for a taxi. There's no way that petite female's going to get enough evidence on Whitney to prove he murdered my sister. I'm going to have to do it myself. He grinned. She was a looker though. Maybe we can work together.

About forty-five minutes later, the taxi parked and waited for Logan to enter, he stood with one foot in the car and the other remained on the curb. He watched McKenzie open the door, chase the little dog around the yard, before putting it back inside and locking the townhouse door. I wonder where she's going. He sat and said, "Follow that purple Dodge coupe."

"You sure, sir?" asked the taxi driver.

"I'm positive."



Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered






Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered


Author Notes Thank you google images of a black and tan Dachshund, mine is red. I am so happy about the reviews I received on the prologue. Many of you can't wait to see what part the dogs play in this. They often take over the scene. Thank you for the encouragement.


Chapter 2
St. Louis Chapter 1 part 2

By barbara.wilkey

Ending of Previous Post:

Outside Logan found a shade tree to stand under while he called for a taxi. There's no way that petite female's going to get enough evidence on Whitney to prove he murdered my sister. I'm going to have to do it myself. He grinned. She was a looker though. Maybe we can work together.

About forty-five minutes later, the taxi parked and waited for Logan to enter, he stood with one foot in the car and the other remained on the curb. He watched McKenzie open the door, chase the little dog around the yard, before putting it back inside and locking the townhouse door. I wonder where she's going. He sat and said, "Follow that purple Dodge coupe."

"You sure, sir?" asked the taxi driver.

"I'm positive."


TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 1 PART 2

Logan watched McKenzie parallel park. Not bad for a female. I wonder where she got that classic muscle car. It's too much for her to handle. Total waste of machinery.

He stared as she went inside an Irish Pub. So she has a date or maybe she's a drinker. Logan paid the taxi driver, stood across the street, and watched. Now what? "DUH". I wait. He scanned the area. There's a food joint with outside tables. I'll grab something to eat. Maybe they'll have toasted ravioli.

Leisurely eating, Logan didn't move his stare from the pub's door. I wonder what she's doing in there. After paying the waiter, he walked back to his original spot and waited.

He glanced at his watch. She's been in there a couple of hours. Nope, exactly two hours and seventeen minutes. He ran his hand through his brown, military cut hair and muttered, "Why's my gut telling me she's gotten herself in trouble?" He released a deep breath. "I've only known this female P.I. maybe ten minutes. So I don't really know her, but she's affecting my gut. How can that be? Oh, all right. Damn, women anyway." He crossed the red brick street.

Inside the pub, Logan paused a few moments and allowed his green eyes to adjust to the dark, smoke-filled room. He scanned it for McKenzie. When he found her, her head was lying on the bar and two men were lifting her limp body from the bar stool. So she can't hold her liquor. I'd better rescue her before she gets herself in trouble. I'm sure those two are up to no good.

He walked up to them. "Excuse me. That's my date. What are you doing?"

The taller of the two faced Logan. "She's here by herself. She didn't say anything about waiting for anybody."

"I got hung up at work. She's probably pissed." Logan glanced down at her. "She never could hold her liquor. I'll take her home." His eyes met the taller one's eyes. "You can leave now."

Whispering to each other, they walked away.

When the bartender came over, Logan asked, "How much do I owe you and what's she drinking?" He put his arm under McKenzie's arm pits and tried to help her to her feet.

"Nothing, and water with lemon. I'm glad you got here. I think those two were up to no good. I don't think she knew them."

"Is she a regular?"

"Nope, I never saw her before."

Giving up on helping her stand, Logan reached inside her jean's pocket, retrieved the car keys, and picked her up. "It'll be easier this way." He glanced at the bartender. "Thanks for the information."

I'm glad I saw where you parked and in which pocket you put your keys. If I would've had to search for them, he wouldn't have believed I was helping. Logan unlocked the passenger door and helped McKenzie inside the car. "I'll take you home." After he sat behind the wheel, he said, "If I wouldn't have come along, how would you have gotten yourself out of this mess?"

At McKenzie's townhouse, Logan parked. "I'll unlock the door and come back for you." He shook his head. "Why am I talking to her? She's passed out." He hesitated on the first step. "I can already hear that yapper. Good thing he's not big enough to cause any trouble."

As Logan unlocked the door, he jumped back. "Whoa!" He shook his head and re-locked it. "I know that yapper didn't grow. How'd I miss him this afternoon?" He walked back to the car and crawled in. "I'm taking you to my hotel. There's no way I'm going inside your house."

In the hotel room, Logan laid McKenzie on one of the queen size beds, removed her shoes, and put a blanket over her. "I'm glad this room comes with two beds." He watched her lifeless body. "Can't wait to hear your story."





Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered

Author Notes Thank you google images of a 1970 plum crazy Dodge Coronet Super Bee 2. I struggled deciding on dividing this next part. I went ahead and did it. So you get about 650 words instead of about 1350 words. Please let me know if you want the longer posts. I am also still working on the book summary. I don't have it the way I want it yet. Thank you for the encouragement.


Chapter 3
St. Louis Chapter 1 part 3

By barbara.wilkey

Ending of Previous Post:


At McKenzie's townhouse, Logan parked. "I'll unlock the door and come back for you." He shook his head. "Why am I talking to her? She's passed out." He hesitated on the first step. "I can already hear that yapper. Good thing he's not big enough to cause any trouble."

As Logan unlocked the door, he jumped back. "Whoa!" He shook his head and re-locked it. "I know that yapper didn't grow. How'd I miss him this afternoon?" He walked back to the car and crawled in. "I'm taking you to my hotel. There's no way I'm going inside your house."

In the hotel room, Logan laid McKenzie on one of the queen size beds, removed her shoes, and put a blanket over her. "I'm glad this room comes with two beds." He watched her lifeless body. "Can't wait to hear your story."


TODAY'S POST:


ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 1 PART 3 post 3

A few hours later, McKenzie moved and groaned.

Logan put a trashcan next to the bed. "You're probably going to need this. I don't understand how anyone could get drunk from lemon water." Dummy! "She's not drunk. She's been drugged."

As McKenzie began to gag, Logan helped her lean over the garbage can. He held her long, brown hair as she vomited.

Once her stomach emptied, McKenzie opened and closed her eyes a few times. "Where am I? What happened?" Again, she leaned over the garbage can and heaved.

Again, Logan assisted with her hair. "I haven't seen anybody this sick since I had to get one of my young troops from the drunk tank. What happened?"

"You?" McKenzie scanned the room and slurred her words as she said, "How'd I get here?" She attempted to stand but fell onto the bed.

"I don't have a lot of answers. I'm hoping you can fill in the blanks. I'll tell you what I know." Logan waited until she finished vomiting before he continued, "First what were you doing at that pub?"

McKenzie wiped her mouth. "I got a lead that it's a regular hangout for that guy, what's his name?"

"George Whitney," offered Logan.

"Since he doesn't know me, I was hoping to observe him for a while."

"Did you see him?" Logan paused. "Didn't anybody ever tell you not to drink while you're on a stake-out?"

"I wasn't drinking. All I had was water with lemon. I don't know what happened. And no, I didn't see him. Why am I in here? What are you doing here? Were you following me?"

"The bartender said the same thing, lemon water. I tried taking you home, but Goliath met me at the door. He wasn't going to let me in the house."

McKenzie tilted her head "Goliath? Oh, Edger!" She grinned. "He's a little protective."

Logan released a deep breath. "Yeah, when he glared at me I saw reflections of steak in his eyes. He planned on having me for dinner. You need to feed him better. When you're feeling up to it, I want you to have some blood work done." Her blue eyes widened, but he continued, "I think you were drugged."

"Why would somebody do that? I didn't know anybody there."

"Unless there's something you're not telling me or something you don't know about, let's try you're a beautiful young lady who was at a bar by herself and some jerk spiked your drink. Have you ever heard of the date rape drugs?"

"But?"

"But nothing," interrupted Logan as he took out his phone and searched for a number. "A former Army buddy is a lab tech for some place here in The Lou. He owes me a favor. We need to know what drug you were given and possible side effects."

"Just a minute." She checked to make sure her clothes were still intact. "You still haven't told me why you followed me. How do I know you didn't drug me?"

Logan stared at her. "I only removed your shoes. I didn't touch anything else. What motive would I have? We're on the same team. I want to know who murdered my sister."

"Why were you stalking me?"

"I wasn't stalking you or even really following you. I was curious about where you were going and why."

"What? That's a bunch of bull."

His eyebrows crunched together. "Not really. I was getting inside the taxi when you came out. I thought maybe you had a lead on my sister's murderer and thought I could help. So I wasn't following you, per se." He held up his phone. "I found my friend's number."

After he spoke with his buddy, he said, "He'll meet us here in about fifteen minutes."

"I didn't know lab techs made house, no hotel calls."

"I told you he owes me a favor. To be honest you're in no condition to move. You can barely sit up."

"How do I know he's not part of this conspiracy to drug me, hold me captive, and do who knows what with me? You could've got the drugs from him." McKenzie attempted to stand, staggered a few steps, and started to fall.

Logan caught her. "Because, if I didn't care, I'd let you hit the floor." He led her back to bed.






Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou is an area name for St. Louis


Author Notes Thank you google images of a common hotel room. It seems it was a tie for longer or shorter posts. This post is a little over 700 words and the end of a chapter. I'll see about making the next post longer. I am also still working on the book summary. I don't have it the way I want it yet. Thank you for the encouragement.


Chapter 4
St. Louis Chapter 2 part 1

By barbara.wilkey

Ending of Previous Post:

"I wasn't stalking you or even really following you. I was curious about where you were going and why."

"What? That's a bunch of bull."

His eyebrows crunched together. "Not really. I was getting inside the taxi when you came out. I thought maybe you had a lead on my sister's murderer and thought I could help. So I wasn't following you, per se." He held up his phone. "I found my friend's number."

After he spoke with his buddy, he said, "He'll meet us here in about fifteen minutes."

"I didn't know lab techs made house, no hotel calls."

"I told you he owes me a favor. To be honest you're in no condition to move. You can barely sit up."

"How do I know he's not part of this conspiracy to drug me, hold me captive, and do who knows what with me? You could've got the drugs from him." McKenzie attempted to stand, staggered a few steps, and started to fall.

Logan caught her. "Because, if I didn't care, I'd let you hit the floor." He led her back to bed.


TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 2 PART 1

Almost twenty-five minutes later, a knock sounded on the hotel room door. Logan answered, "Hello." He shook hands with his old Army buddy. "Sorry, we have to get together like this. I hope your wife didn't mind you making a house call." He motioned toward McKenzie. "I'd like you to meet my PI friend, Mac Morgan. She got herself into some trouble tonight."

"Simon Knight." He offered his hand and then his eyes met Logan's. "I see you're still rescuing ladies in distress. Where'd you find this one?"

"An Irish Pub. All reports are that she was only drinking lemon water. When I walked in, two men were attempting to help themselves."

"Figures." Simon opened a black bag and removed some instruments. "I'm going to give you a quick check-up to make sure you don't need to make a trip to the ER. Can you describe your symptoms?"

"Confused and groggy."

"Her speech has been slurred, and she was unconscious when I got there," interrupted Logan. He glanced at his watch. "She was out for about two hours that I know about."

Simon nodded. "Continue, Mac, do you mind if I call you Mac?"

She shook her head and focused on the garbage can. "Vomiting. I have no memory of what happened."

"Okay. First, I want a urine sample. Can you make it to the bathroom?" Simon handed her a specimen jar.

Nodding, she said, "I think so."

Logan moved beside her. "I'm here if you need me." He offered his arm. "She hasn't been successful at standing." She stumbled, so he put his arm around her waist and helped her into the bathroom. "Let me know when you're finished."

Before long the men heard the door handle jiggle. Logan asked, "You need help?"

"I can get it."

The door opened, and McKenzie attempted a step but grabbed the door jamb to keep from falling. "When's the room gonna stop swirling?" She glanced at Simon.

"Depends what they gave you." He waited until Logan helped her back to bed and held up a stethoscope. "I want to listen to your heart, your pulse, and take your blood pressure."

After that was complete, Simon grabbed an elastic band and syringe. "I'll need some blood." His eyes met Logan's. "Did you notice her drink? Did it have any color or smell to it?"

"No color, and to be honest I didn't think to sniff it. Why?"

"My gut tells me it was GHB. It's colorless and odorless. We'll know more when I get the results back."

"How long will I feel like crap?" asked McKenzie.

"If it's GHB, it normally leaves the body in about twelve hours. But..." Simon released a deep breath. "It's often manufactured in home labs so we don't always know what's in it."

"Great." McKenzie closed her eyes.

Simon packed his bag. "I'm done. She's going to feel like shit for a few more hours, but she should be all right. I'll have the test results back in a couple days. I'll try by end of business tomorrow, but can't promise."

He glanced at McKenzie. "As long as she doesn't show any other signs, she should be fine. If anything at all shows up, don't hesitate to take her to the ER." He placed his hand on the door knob, and then turned around. "I doubt I need to tell you, but I wouldn't leave her alone until you're sure the drug's out of her system. Oh yeah, even though she's been communicating with us, she may struggle remembering it right away. She may never remember the pub."

"I won't leave her." Logan patted his buddy's back. "Thanks for helping."

"Anytime. You two need to come to dinner. I'll get with my wife and give you a date when I call with the results."

"She's only an acquaintance." Logan shook his head.

Simon grinned. "My gut says different. Us Special Forces types always listen to our gut, right?"

McKenzie managed to open an eye. "Did he say I'm stuck with you in this room for hours?"

Glancing at his watch, Logan replied, "I don't know when you ingested the drugs. To be safe I'd say you're stuck with me for another eight hours."

She attempted to sit. "I could really use a drink," she slid down, "of water."

Logan unwrapped a hotel glass and filled it with water. "I'll get you one." She held out her hand, and he grinned. "There's no way, I'm giving you this without help. You'll spill it. Then I'd have to give up the dry bed. I doubt you want us sharing a bed." He used his free arm to raise her so she could drink. "Go slowly until we know if you're going to keep it down."

After she took a few sips, she closed her eyes. "Thank you. You're a little bit nice."

"Yeah, right." Logan chuckled as he grabbed the remote control. "I hope there's a game on. I'm sure the Cards are blocked. Wait, they're playing in Atlanta." He turned his head to check on McKenzie. Good, she's asleep. I wonder what mess she's gotten into. Since Dad hired her yesterday, I doubt it has anything to do with Whitney. What else is she working on? I'll never find out tonight. She probably wouldn't tell me anyway.

A few hours later, Logan heard a commotion in the hotel hallway. He glanced out the peephole. It's only people checking-in. I guess I'm a little jumpy. He returned to his chair. Nobody would expect her to be here anyway. "Good, Yadi's up." He watched the first pitch. "Come on, we need a hit." Again, he glanced at the door. We could've been followed. I got careless. I never checked to see what those two jerks did. Tomorrow I'll visit the bartender and see what he knows about them.






Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou is an area name for St. Louis
Simon Knight Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league baseball team.
Yadi's Fan name for Yadier Molina - Cardindal's all-star catcher.

Author Notes Thank you google images of a common medical bag. This post is a little under 1000 words. I am also still working on the book summary. Starting March 11th, I'm on spring break, maybe I can get the summary under control then. I don't have it the way I want it yet. Thank you for the encouragement.


Chapter 5
St. Louis Chapter 2 part 2

By barbara.wilkey

Ending of Previous Post:

McKenzie managed to open an eye. "Did he say I'm stuck with you in this room for hours?"

Glancing at his watch, Logan replied, "I don't know when you ingested the drugs. To be safe I'd say you're stuck with me for another eight hours."

She attempted to sit. "I could really use a drink," she slid down, "of water."

Logan unwrapped a hotel glass and filled it with water. "I'll get you one." She held out her hand, and he grinned. "There's no way I'm giving you this without help. You'll spill it. Then I'd have to give up the dry bed. I doubt you want us sharing a bed." He used his free arm to raise her so she could drink. "Go slowly until we know if you're going to keep it down."

After she took a few sips, she closed her eyes. "Thank you. You're a little bit nice."

"Yeah, right." Logan chuckled as he grabbed the remote control. "I hope there's a game on. I'm sure the Cards are blocked. Wait, they're playing in Atlanta." He turned his head to check on McKenzie. Good, she's asleep. I wonder what mess she's gotten into. Since Dad hired her yesterday, I doubt it has anything to do with Whitney. What else is she working on? I'll never find out tonight. She probably wouldn't tell me anyway.

A few hours later, Logan heard a commotion in the hotel hallway. He glanced through the peephole. It's only people checking-in. I guess I'm a little jumpy. He returned to his chair. Nobody would expect her to be here anyway. "Good, Yadi's up." He watched the first pitch. "Come on, we need a hit." Again, he glanced at the door. We could've been followed. I got careless. I never checked to see what those two jerks did. Tomorrow I'll visit the bartender and see what he knows about them.


TODAY'S POST:

As the sun rose the following morning, McKenzie began to stir. "Argh, I have a massive headache."

From his bed, Logan rolled toward her. "Do you remember anything about last night?"

She studied him. "What are you doing in that bed?"

"It was either this bed or the one you're in. I figured you didn't want me in your bed. So I slept over here. It seemed the right thing to do." Logan stood. "Besides the headache, how are you feeling? What do you remember about last night?"

"One question at a time, and what's your name again?" She squinted. "You're...wait. I know this...you're Nelson, but what's your first name?"

He sat on the edge of the bed. "Logan. You're still a mess. I'll shower while you get yourself together." He pointed at the door. "Don't open it. You could be in danger."

"None of this makes sense."

"You're right about that. After I finish in here, you can get in. Over breakfast, we can try to sort it out. Just rest for now."

After Logan finished his bathroom routine, McKenzie watched him for a few moments. "I want to go home. It won't do me any good to shower. I need clean clothes."

"Can you walk?"

"What do you mean?"

"Try standing."

McKenzie sat on the edge of the bed and attempted to stand. "I'm up." She took a wobbly step and plopped down on the bed. "What happened?"

"Do you remember going to the Irish Pub last night?"

"Yes, one of the police detectives working on the case said George Whitney frequented that place. I thought I could observe him."

"Was he there?"

She thought and then shook her head. "I don't think so."

"Do you remember talking to any men there?"

"No." McKenzie released a deep breath, before she added, "Wait, there was a man who kept coming to the bar. He never really said anything but he gawked at me. I have no idea why."

"Did you know him?" After she shook her head, Logan asked, "What did he look like?"

She studied Logan. "Could you stand for a second?" He did, and she said, "Tall, but a little shorter than you. How tall are you?"

"Six-two. So maybe six foot." She nodded, and he asked, "How much did he weigh?"

"I didn't put him on a scale or really pay that much attention." McKenzie scanned Logan. "Less than you. He was skinnier. Not as muscular."

Logan grinned. "I just felt I was in a meat market. Remind me not to do that to women." He rubbed his chin. "I'm about two hundred pounds, so maybe a hundred seventy-five." He waited a few moments before he asked, "Can you describe him? Hair color, eye color? Maybe you can give the police sketch artist a description."

"He had blondish light brown hair. I'm not sure of his eye color, I didn't look that close." McKenzie held up her left arm and pointed to the inside of it. "He had a tatt here. I remember because it was a snake coiled and a scorpion next to it. I thought that was strange."

He tossed some blankets further onto his bed. "You have a good start on a sketch." After pausing a moment he asked, "Could you draw the tatt?"

"I'm not a good artist but I could try." McKenzie accepted a small pad of paper and a pen from Logan and grinned. "I guess it doesn't matter if it has the hotel's logo on it."

A few minutes later, Logan studied the drawing. "Not bad. I'll hang on to this in case we need it for identification. Since you don't want to shower now, how about some breakfast?"

"No way! My stomach's jumpy. I do want a shower." She studied the Band-Aid on her arm. "What's this from?"

"You don't remember much, do you? A buddy of mine came by. He's a lab tech. He took some blood to see what drug you were given."

McKenzie closed her eyes and thought. "I do remember that. His name started with an 's'."

"Yes, Simon Knight." Logan scanned the room. "Let's get you home. Think you can walk?" He shook his head. "Never mind. I'll help." He stood beside her. "Use my arm to steady yourself."

She studied her feet. "My shoes. Do you know where they are?"

Logan walked over to the dresser. "I put them over here last night." He noticed her eyes widen. "They're the only thing I touched." He brought them to her. "Let me help."

"I think I can." She bent over to try but closed her eyes. "I'm dizzy."

"Not surprised. Simon said it'd stay in your system for at least twelve hours."

"What time is it?"

Glancing at his watch, Logan said, "Eight-thirty."

"It's got to be over twelve hours, doesn't it?"

He fastened the last heeled sandal. "One would think so. Ready? Here's my arm." He held it out for her to take. "Those heels are pretty high. You sure you can walk in them? I don't want you hurting an ankle."

After a few wobbly steps, McKenzie released a deep sigh. "I guess it's bare feet for me."

Logan handed her the car keys. "Hold these." He put his arms under her. "I carried you in, I'll carry you out."

"How'd you get my keys?"

"You couldn't drive, so I helped myself. You have a nice ride by the way. Matter-of-fact, I'm driving you home. You're in no shape to drive."

"I don't like the idea of you taking over my life."

He set her in the parking lot. "Last night I rescued your butt from probably being raped or worse. Now, I'm keeping you safe until the drug wears off. If you don't want my help, I'll leave." He started to walk away.

McKenzie took a step and stumbled a little. "Logan, please stay." She held up the car keys. "I guess I've been ungrateful. Will you accept my apology?"




Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou is an area name for St. Louis
Simon Knight Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league baseball team.
Yadi's Fan name for Yadier Molina - Cardindal's all-star catcher.

Author Notes Thank you google images of a snake tattoo. This post is a little over 1000 words. I am also still working on the book summary. I'm on spring break!!!! Yeah!!! Maybe I can get the summary under control then. I don't have it the way I want it yet. Thank you for the encouragement.


Chapter 6
St. Louis Chapter 2 part 3

By barbara.wilkey

Ending of Previous Post:

Logan handed her the car keys. "Hold these." He put his arms under her. "I carried you in, I'll carry you out."

"How'd you get my keys?"

"You couldn't drive, so I helped myself. You have a nice ride by the way. Matter-of-fact, I'm driving you home. You're in no shape to drive."

"I don't like the idea of you taking over my life."

He set her in the parking lot. "Last night I rescued your butt from probably being raped or worse. Now, I'm keeping you safe until the drug wears off. If you don't want my help, I'll leave." He started to walk away.

McKenzie took a step and stumbled a little. "Logan, please stay." She held up the car keys. "I guess I've been ungrateful. Will you accept my apology?"

TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 2 PART 3

After parking at McKenzie's townhouse, Logan went around the car and opened her door. "You're going to have to go first. Goliath hates me."

"Who's Goliath?" McKenzie frowned. "Oh, you mean Edger. He's a pussy cat."

"Maybe to you, but he hates me. He told me that last night. Ready?" After she nodded, he carried her up the stairs. "The yapper's at it again."

"I'm sure they both want out and probably a walk. I run every day with Edger."

"I can help let them out, but there's no way I'm running with that dog. Are you sure he's a dog?" Logan still held her. "Can you get the door unlocked?"

"You're really worried about this, aren't you?"

"You didn't see the glare he gave me."

"Set me down. I'd better go first." McKenzie unlocked the door and opened it. She steadied herself with the doorknob, but one hand remained on Logan's arm.

At the door, stood Arlo and Edger. Arlo wagged his tail and jumped up against McKenzie's legs. Edger wagged his stubby tail, rubbed his head against McKenzie's hand, but kept a watchful eye on Logan.

"I told you he hates me." Logan was careful to stay away from the dog and close to the door. "Is he a rottweiler?"

McKenzie knelt and rubbed the sides of his large head as she hugged him. "He is and a big baby, but he tends to be suspicious of strangers." She struggled trying to stand as she glanced toward the stairs. "I need to shower. Are you going to wait around?"

He offered his hand. "Let me help." Once she stood, he continued, "As long as Goliath will allow me, I won't leave until I'm sure you're back to normal." Logan watched as she crept toward the stairs. "Can you make it up?"

"We'll see." She took a step. "If I go slowly, I should be all right."

Logan nodded. "I'll wait down here. Take him with you."

"He usually follows me everywhere. They both do." McKenzie hesitated. "I forgot. They need out." After she completed that task, she attempted the first step and then looked back at Logan. "I might be awhile. So don't worry."

"Why would I worry?"

"You look like the worrying type."

I meet this broad, Logan did the math in his head, seventeen hours ago. I've ready rescued her and then played nurse-mate so nothing else happens. Why would I worry? He searched through the refrigerator and kitchen cabinets. She must not be much of a cook. I need breakfast. He yelled up the stairs. "I'm going out for groceries." He shook his head. "I'd better let Goliath in. Who knows what trouble she'll get into while I'm gone?"

Edger studied him a few moments and then he followed Arlo up the staircase.

*****
Hours later when McKenzie entered the kitchen, Logan smiled. "You clean up nice. Your eyes tell me you're feeling a little better."

"I soaked in the tub for a while." Her cheeks tinged pink. "I think I fell asleep." She scanned the kitchen. "It looks like you've been busy."

"I was hungry and didn't see much in the way of food so I went to the store. I hope you like omelets and coffee."

"I do." McKenzie sat on the kitchen stool. "They smell great. Thank you."

Logan took a few bites. "Any idea who did this or why? Could it be case related?"

"I don't think so. I'm working a few cheating spouse cases, checking out a witness for the District Attorney, and then your sister's murder. Things are slow right now."

"Question, why do you have your office out of your house?"

McKenzie avoided his eyes as she sipped black coffee. "Dad's office was right downtown, only three blocks from the stadium. Mom helped part-time with the paperwork. As they were closing after dark, June 12th, 2018, they were both murdered. I was doing surveillance on a cheating husband or I probably would've been killed too. Anyway, I closed down that office. Every time I walked inside, it brought back too many memories."

"Did they catch their murderer?"

McKenzie nodded. "Yes, John Benson was arrested but died in prison before the trial, actually only a few days ago. He and his family claimed his innocence."

"What was his motive?"

"He worked for a large contracting company. Dad worked with the police and found evidence he embezzled from the company. He also laundered drug money for the 49 BAD Bloods street gang. They transport drugs from Phoenix to St. Louis. Dad was going to be a witness at his trial." McKenzie set her fork on her plate and drank the last of her coffee. "I don't know that much about it. Dad tried to keep me away from that part of our business. I really need to get busy. I can't sit here and talk all day."

"Do you mind if I hang around? I'm still not sure you're a hundred percent."

"You're using that as an excuse to be a pain-in-the-butt, aren't you?"

Logan grinned.







Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou is an area name for St. Louis
Simon Knight Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league baseball team.
Yadi's Fan name for Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler

Author Notes Thank you google images of a Rottweiler . This post is just under 900 words. Spring break is over and I never found the time to work on the book summary. It takes me forever to finish a novel so I have plenty of time. I'm sure something will come to me. It has been brought to me attention that I have my characters looking often, I have been working on that and still don't have it under control. Any help will be appreciated. Thank you for the encouragement.


Chapter 7
St. Louis Chapter 3 part 1

By barbara.wilkey

Ending of Previous Post:

McKenzie avoided his eyes as she sipped black coffee. "Dad's office was right downtown, only three blocks from the stadium. Mom helped part-time with the paperwork. As they were closing after dark, June 12th, 2018, they were both murdered. I was doing surveillance on a cheating husband or I probably would've been killed too. Anyway, I closed down that office. Every time I walked inside, it brought back too many memories."

"Did they catch their murderer?"

McKenzie nodded. "Yes, John Benson was arrested but died in prison before the trial, actually only a few days ago. He and his family claimed his innocence."

"What was his motive?"

"He worked for a large contracting company. Dad worked with the police and found evidence he embezzled from the company. He also laundered drug money for the 49 BAD Bloods street gang. They transport drugs from Phoenix to St. Louis. Dad was going to be a witness at his trial." McKenzie set her fork on her plate and drank the last of her coffee. "I don't know that much about it. Dad tried to keep me away from that part of our business. I really do need to get busy. I can't sit here and talk all day."

"Do you mind if I hang around? I'm still not sure you're a hundred percent."

"You're using that as an excuse to be a pain-in-the-butt, aren't you?"

Logan grinned.


TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 3 PART 1

As McKenzie checked her calendar and prepared to walk out the door, her phone rang. "Sure, Bill. I can check an alibi. I can do it right now. It shouldn't take long." She took notes. "I'll call you back, in let's say forty-five minutes." She paused. "Okay, I'll come by your office. See you then."

"Who's Bill? And why are you doing work for him? Does he pay?"

She shook her head. "You're a real pain. This is none of your business. I won't do anything on your sister's case until later this afternoon. You can leave until then." She released a deep breath. "You're not going anywhere are you?" After he grinned, she continued, "I might as well answer your questions. He's a lawyer and yes, he pays. I'm on retainer. I get a monthly check whether I work or not."

"I'm still hanging around. I might come in handy."

"I doubt it." McKenzie started out the door. "Can I have my car keys back?"

Logan tossed them to her. "Maybe this Bill guy can help with the men who drugged you."

"We won't know for a fact I was drugged until we get the results from your friend. Plus I won't be able to do anything because there's not a reliable chain of custody with the evidence."

"My friend's very reliable. I trust him with my life."

"I'm sure you do, but will a court?"

Logan tilted his head. "I see your point." He opened the driver's side door for her. "This seems a little strange. It's hard to be a gentleman when you're driving."

"Get used to it." She waited until Logan was seated before she pulled from her parking slot.

McKenzie studied the dilapidated building before her and then checked the notes she'd taken. "This is the address Bill gave me." She took out her phone. "I think I'll check."

After verifying the information and describing the scene to Bill, McKenzie hung up. "This is the address the suspect gave the police. I'm supposed to speak with a Marcie Kirks. Unless Marcie's a rat, I doubt we'll find her."

Before McKenzie stepped from the car, she removed her 40 caliber Smith & Wesson semi-automatic pistol and checked it.

"Nice pistol. You know how to use it?"

"Yes." She replaced the gun in the back of her waist band. "I have a real permit and everything. Do I need to show it to you? Have I mentioned you're a pain?"

"You have numerous times. To be honest; I've lost count." Logan grinned. "And I believe you have a permit, so we're good. Just pretend I'm your bodyguard."

"Only I don't need a bodyguard." McKenzie walked up to the building. "I can take care of myself, really I can."

Logan touched her arm. "What do you know about Bill? Could this be a set up?"

"Bill and Dad were friends. Your dad knows him too. They all went to high school together. You should ask him. There's no way it's a set up. I'll agree it looks suspicious. This is definitely an abandoned building. Nobody lives or works here." McKenzie took her Nikon camera and began snapping photographs. "If you're coming, let's go and look around."

As they searched inside, numerous rats, mice, and squirrels scampered into hiding.

Logan kicked over torn newspapers and fast food wrappers. "Looks like some junkies and homeless use this place for shelter."

McKenzie pointed to some empty bottles. "Don't forget drunks." She paused, held up her hand, and whispered, "Listen."

Logan nodded, turned toward the noise, and motioned McKenzie to take cover. He darted behind a rotting door and peered out.




Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou is an area name for St. Louis
Simon Knight Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league baseball team.
Yadi's Fan name for Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A> and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.

Author Notes Thank you google images of a dilapidated warehouse . This post is right at 600 words. I wrote this in July and have edited it over and over again. As I posted it, I made numerous changed. I hope I haven't made it worse. Any help you can offer will be appreciated. Thank you for the encouragement.


Chapter 8
St. Louis Chapter 3 part 2

By barbara.wilkey

Ending of Previous Post:

"Bill and Dad were friends. Your dad knows him too. They all went to high school together. You should ask him. There's no way it's a set up. I'll agree it looks suspicious. This is definitely an abandoned building. Nobody lives or works here." McKenzie took her Nikon camera and began snapping photographs. "If you're coming, let's go and look around."

As they searched inside, numerous rats, mice, and squirrels scampered into hiding.

Logan kicked over torn newspapers and fast food wrappers. "Looks like some junkies and homeless use this place for shelter."

McKenzie pointed to some empty bottles. "Don't forget drunks." She paused, held up her hand, and whispered, "Listen."

Logan nodded, turned toward the noise, and motioned McKenzie to take cover. He darted behind a rotting door and peered out.

TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 3 PART 2

After Logan identified the sound as a car's engine, he ran from the building and stared at the taillights. "Shit!"

McKenzie came up behind him. "Did you get a good look? There was no car around when we arrived."

"I know. It was a black crossover. I didn't get the model, probably two thousand sixteen or seventeen. The license plate started with 'ST' and maybe a three or eight. I couldn't tell for sure and didn't get the rest."

"Great. You just described ninety percent of the vehicles in the greater St. Louis area." McKenzie headed toward her car. "Let's go. I need to talk with Bill."

As they walked, Logan asked, "You need to find out who knew you'd be here. More information about this Marcie person, and..."

"I know what I need to ask," interrupted McKenzie as she opened her door. "I am a professional, regardless of what you believe."

"You took that wrong." He stared at her over the car's roof.

"I know you think you're trying to help." She sat behind the steering wheel. "Get in." She inserted the key and paused. "How long were they here?"

"Couldn't have been too long. I don't really know. Why?" asked Logan.

McKenzie opened the door. "They may have planted something on the car." She knelt, felt, and searched around the tire well.

Logan checked the passenger side.

After she finished her side, she lifted the hood. "I doubt they had time to do anything in here."

Logan leaned in for a better look. "This baby's clean. I never expected a 426 V8 Hemi." He shook his head. "I should've. It had some pick up. Where'd you get this beauty?"

"From Dad. His favorite past time was working on, no, restoring cars. Ever since I could walk, I toddled after him." McKenzie smiled. "I was his favorite helper." She closed the hood and checked both the front and back bumpers. "I guess they didn't mess with it. I wonder what they were doing and why they didn't stay."

"Maybe they didn't have time to complete their task. Or they wanted you, and my being here screwed up their plans."

McKenzie tilted her head. "I'll give you that you were a big help last night, but I'm pretty sure you didn't have anything to do with what just happened." She opened the driver's door. "Let's go."

*****
The traffic was light and it didn't take long before they had parked in front of a red brick, two-story building and stood at the receptionist's desk.

"D.A. Abbott, please," said McKenzie, "he's expecting me."

"I'm sorry, ma'am. He's very busy." The young lady checked a schedule. "I don't see your name or any name on the schedule. It looks like he's free next Wednesday afternoon at two o'clock. Give me your name and I'll write you in."

McKenzie smiled and checked the name tag. "Ms. Smith, please tell him Mac's here. He'll see me."

A lady in her early forties walked into the room and hugged McKenzie. "Hi! I've been on vacation and have missed your visits. How have you been?"

"No complaints, Rachel," answered McKenzie. "I need to speak with Bill, but..."

"He's busy," interrupted Ms. Smith. "I offered to set up an appointment."

Waving her hands, Rachel walked over, rapped a few times, and opened the door. "Bill, Mac's here." She faced the young receptionist. "I know you just started two days ago. Mac, Ms. Morgan, is welcome in Bill's office anytime."

Immediately, his arms surrounded her. "Mac!" He motioned her to enter. "Who's your friend?"

Introductions were made and Bill grinned. "Logan, I know your dad. He speaks highly of you. Thank you for your service. What do you do for the Army? How long you been in?"

"Twelve years, Sir. I'm stationed at Fort Bragg."

Bill shook his head. "Never understood why anybody would jump from a perfectly good airplane." He studied Logan for a few moments. "You're special forces or something, aren't you?"

Logan tilted his head. "Or something."

"You're..." Bill used the heel of his hand to tap his forehead, "black ops or Delta Force?"

"Sorry, Sir. I can't answer that."

McKenzie smiled. "You aren't the run-of-mill-pain-in-the-butt, you're a special one."

With a chuckle, Logan said, "You could say that."

"Now I understand where your cockiness comes from."

Bill smiled at the banter. "I see you two get along perfectly." He pointed to a couple of chairs. "Have a seat. Did you find anything useful?" He sat.

McKenzie searched her camera for the photos she'd taken. "I doubt Marcie Kirks lives or works here. Your suspect says he was with her at the time of the robbery. I doubt he's being truthful."

After studying them, Bill rechecked his notes. "Something's definitely wrong. I need to get back with the officer who gave me this information." He started to dial his phone. "He was a new officer. I think he just graduated the academy last week or the week before."

"Wait, before you call," interjected Logan. He filled Bill in on the black crossover and the license plate. When he'd finished, he explained last night's events.

Tapping his fingers on his desk, Bill's eyes met McKenzie's. "Why didn't you call? And don't say, you didn't want to bother me. I promised your parents I'd look after you. My wife and I are here for you any time of day or night."

"I know that, but..."

"To be honest, Sir, she was in no condition to call anybody. I didn't know about you so I couldn't call. If I did, I would've."

"Okay, that makes sense." Bill released a deep breath. "I'm glad your gut told you she was in trouble." He faced McKenzie. "I hope you thanked him."

"Of course, I did." Her gaze dropped to the floor. "But probably not as well as I should I have." After releasing a deep breath, McKenzie's eyes met Logan's. "Thank you for being there when I needed help. I do appreciate it."

Logan reached over and touched her arm. "Anytime. Although, I hope there's not a next time."

Bill reached for his phone. "I never did get that call made." He listened as the phone repeatedly rang and then hung up. "I'll have to get back with you. I'll follow up on the crossover and find out what Ms. Kirks is up to or even if she's a real person. I should have answers before close of business today."

McKenzie stood. "I better let you get back to work. I have a busy day, too." She glanced at Logan. "You coming?"

"Of course." Logan offered his hand. "Glad to meet you Mr..."

"Bill," he interrupted. "Anybody who helps my God-daughter calls me Bill." He leaned a little closer. "She's a handful."

Logan grinned. "I've already figured that out."

"If you two are done discussing me as if I'm not even in the room, we need to leave." She kissed Bill on the cheek. "We'll talk later."

He returned the kiss. "As soon as I get answers, I'll call. You can expect a call from Joanie later. You and Logan need to come to dinner this weekend." After McKenzie agreed, Bill walked them to the door.

In the reception area, Logan said, "I take it Joanie's his wife."

"She is. I can't imagine what we're going to do with all these dinner invitations." McKenzie kept walking. "That makes two."

"You do remember Simon."

"A little."

Once they arrived at McKenzie's home, Logan walked her inside and scanned the townhouse. "It looks safe. I think I'll visit my parents. I have a few questions for them."

"I can give you a ride."

"A taxi will work. I need to do some thinking anyway. What time should I be back?"

McKenzie's eyebrows crunched together. "I have no idea. I don't work on a schedule."

"Okay." He ran his hand through his hair. "I guess you wouldn't. I'll return when I'm done. How's that?"

"Okay, I guess, but you don't need to hang around. I can handle this."

Logan walked out the door and called over his shoulder. "I'll be back."

"I know you will." McKenzie paused. "Logan, wait a minute. I have a question." Once he came closer, she continued, "Bill said something like; I never understood why anybody would jump from a perfectly good airplane. What did he mean by that?"

"Fort Bragg is home of the 82nd Airborne Division. Their mission is within 18 hours of notification to strategically deploy, conduct forcible entry parachute assault, and secure key objectives for follow-on military operations."

"So it's part of your job to jump out of airplanes and put yourselves in danger?"

Logan grinned. "Yes, Ma'am."

"Why?"

"Somebody's got to do it." He turned to leave. "See you later."



Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou is an area name for St. Louis
Simon Knight Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league baseball team.
Yadi's Fan name for Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A> and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.

Author Notes Thank you google an image of a 1970 crazy purple super bee, McKenzie's car. Bill's comment, 'Never understood why anybody would jump from a perfectly good airplane.' is because Fort Bragg, NC is home of the 82nd Airborne Division and their mission is within 18 hours of notification, strategically deploy, conduct forcible entry parachute assault and secure key objectives for follow-on military operations in support of U.S. national interest.

This post is a little under 1400 words. I hope you don't mind the length. As with any of my novels this one is taking on a life of it's own. OH MY!!! Any help you can offer will be appreciated. Thank you for the encouragement.


Chapter 9
St. Louis Chapter 4 part 1

By barbara.wilkey

Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of sexual content.

Ending of Previous Post:

**A reviewer had a great point, so I changed the ending of this post slightly. My husband is retired military. I forgot that not everybody knows what the 82nd Airborne Division does.**

Bill returned the kiss. "As soon as I get answers, I'll call. You can expect a call from Joanie later. You and Logan need to come to dinner this weekend." After McKenzie agreed, he walked them to the door.

In the reception area, Logan said, "I take it Joanie's his wife."

"She is. I can't imagine what we're going to do with all these dinner invitations." McKenzie kept walking. "That makes two."

"You do remember Simon."

"A little."

Once they arrived at McKenzie's home, Logan walked her inside and scanned the townhouse. "It looks safe. I think I'll visit my parents. I have a few questions for them."

"I can give you a ride."

"A taxi will work. I need to do some thinking anyway. What time should I be back?"

McKenzie's eyebrows crunched together. "I have no idea. I don't work on a schedule."

"Okay." He ran his hand through his hair. "I guess you wouldn't. I'll return when I'm done. How's that?"

"Okay, I guess, but you don't need to hang around. I can handle this."

Logan walked out the door and called over his shoulder. "I'll be back."

"I know you will."

TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 4 PART 1

McKenzie read the notes concerning Megan Nelson's death she'd taken yesterday. I really need to see the autopsy report. Just as she picked up the phone to make a call, it rang. "Hello." After she listened and wrote down an address, she said, "Sure," and glanced at her watch, "I'll meet you in about an hour. I'll stop by the police station, park my car, and then catch the bus. See you then." She hurried to her room. Undercover's always fun. Jose's great to work with.

After she changed, put on make-up, a few fake tatts, and curled her hair, McKenzie glanced in the mirror. "I think I look slutty enough. This should work." On the way out, she grabbed her cue stick. "Those years hanging around the billiard hall with Dad will come in handy."

Once her car was parked in a secure lot, McKenzie found a seat on a city bus headed toward the address Jose had given her.

Outside the billiard parlor, McKenzie adjusted her blouse and jeans so the maximum amount of skin and tatts showed and finger brushed her hair. No matter what, nothing to drink. I've learned my lesson. She opened the door.

Jose walked up to her, put his arms around her, and plopped a sloppy kiss on her lips. "Hey, sweetthin', what took you so long? I thought you were meetin' me thirty minutes ago." He glanced toward three men. "This is Sammie, my gal. Sammie, meet the guys. The one wearin' the Cards' t-shirt's George; next to him is his brother, Tommy, and then cousin, Joey."

Each man raised a hand as Jose identified them. George grinned. "What can I get you?"

McKenzie pointed her cue stick at him. "Nothin', hon. I don't drink when I'm winnin'."

"You ain't winnin' at nothin'," said Tommy as he added chalk to his cue stick. "Joey, make sure there ain't no cheaten'."

"Keepin' my eyes on her won't be hard. She's a looker that's for sure."

"What is it best out of three? Who goes first?" McKenzie's eyes met George's but she pointed to the bartender. "How about he flips the coin, and you, big guy, call it?"

George called to the bartender, "Jake, okay with you?"

Jake lifted it up for all to see. "And I have a new shiny quarter. Call it in the air." He tossed it.

"Heads. I always call heads." He rubbed his crotch as he watched the quarter fall into Jake's hands.

"It's tails. Jose breaks."

McKenzie leaned over and kissed Jose. "Sugar, why don't we let the losers go first? I'm feelin' generous, right now."

Jose pulled her closer. "Sure, as long as I can get more of that." He kissed McKenzie and rubbed her rear-end. "George, break. I'm busy."

George's glare darted from the pool table to Jose and McKenzie as he hit the cue ball, but scratched as it rolled into a pocket. He took a long gulp of beer.

Jose glanced at George. "Sammie, I think he's already had too much brew. This should be an easy win."

Jose placed the cue ball in the area between the edge and the second set of diamonds. "I'll put it here." He eyed George before he said, "Do you mind if I let Sammie take my turn?"

"Hell, no. Let the lady go." George grinned. "But she can't change the cue ball's position. It's already been set."

McKenzie walked up to the table and leaned over, allowing a large portion of her breasts to slip out. She readied her stick, wiggled her rear-end a few times, and hit the cue ball. The six, eleven, two, and seven balls went in. "I guess we're goin' for the solid balls, all right with you?" She pecked Jose's cheek.

"Shore is. You takin' your next shot?" asked Jose.

"Why don't you?" She adjusted the knot just below her breasts. It held the front of her blouse together. "I think I'll watch." She stood beside George. "You don't mind if I stand here, do ya?"

"Shore don't." George's gaze followed the butterfly tattoo down her breasts to the knot. "Hmm..."

As George continued to stare at McKenzie's breasts, Jose pocketed the three, one, five, and four balls. "All I need is the eight ball in the side pocket," he motioned to the left side pocket, "and we win, sweetthin'."

The eight ball easily went into the pocket. "One down. One more game, and we're winners." Jose lifted McKenzie up and held her as she wrapped her legs around his waist and kissed him.

When the repeated kisses stopped and McKenzie was placed on the floor, she said, "Tommy," she rubbed his arm, "those are some muscles. Why don't you break?"

George lifted up his t-shirt sleeve. "Those ain't nothing. Try these."

McKenzie rubbed and squeezed his muscles. "Wow! You must work out." She leaned her head against his arm.

Jose grabbed her arm. "Sammie, now don't get all dreamy eyed, you're mine."

Tommy pocketed the seven along with the eight ball and hung his head. "I guess it ain't our night."

"Sammie, can you break yourself away from George long enough to play?" snapped Jose.

"Maybe." She bent over with her rear-end facing George to adjust her stiletto heel. "Just a minute."

George breathed heavily and reached toward the butterfly tattoo on the small of her back.

Joey slapped his hand and whispered, "Don't."

"I'm ready. Want me to finish this game?" She grinned. "I'm putting the twelve ball in the corner pocket." She pointed to the corner. It went in. She continued until she put the eight ball in the called pocket. She glanced at her watch. "Boys, I need to fix my momma dinner. It's been fun."

"Can I come by after your mom's asleep?" Jose drew her into his arms.

"Sure can. I promise not to be too loud." She giggled. "We wouldn't want to wake momma."

Jose walked her outside. "I'll stay to make sure you're not followed. I'll come by your place before I go home. Good job. Be safe."

"You too." McKenzie continued to the bus stop.


Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou is an area name for St. Louis
Simon Knight Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league baseball team.
Yadi's Fan name for Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A> and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.

Author Notes Thank you google an image of a lady teasing as she plays pool. LOL This post is a little over 1000 words. I hope you don't mind the length. As with any of my novels this one is taking on a life of it's own. OH MY!!! Any help you can offer will be appreciated. Thank you for the encouragement.


Chapter 10
St. Louis Chapter 4 part 2

By barbara.wilkey

Ending of Previous Post:

"I'm ready. Want me to finish this game?" She grinned. "I'm putting the twelve ball in the corner pocket." She pointed to the corner. It went in. She continued until she put the eight ball in the called pocket. She glanced at her watch. "Boys, I need to fix my momma dinner. It's been fun."

"Can I come by after your mom's asleep?" Jose drew her into his arms.

"Sure can. I promise not to be too loud." She giggled. "We wouldn't want to wake momma."

Jose walked her outside. "I'll stay to make sure you're not followed. I'll come by your place before I go home. Good job. Be safe."

"You too." McKenzie continued to the bus stop.


TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 4 PART 2

When McKenzie pulled into her parking slot, she shook her head at Logan sitting on the steps and called from the car, "How long have you been waiting?"

Logan glanced at his watch. "Only an hour and a half." He stood. "Where have you been?" His eyebrows arched as she stepped from the
car.

"Just a minute." McKenzie bent over and took off her stilettos. "I hate walking in these." She carried the heels.

"Mind telling me what you've been up to?"

"Jose Lopez called and wanted me to do some undercover work with him."

"Let me guess you were the..."

"His slutty girlfriend," interrupted McKenzie.

"I'd have never guessed." Logan chuckled as he held the door for MacKenzie. "Who was the mark?"

"George Whitney." She entered and continued, "Can this interrogation wait until I take a shower? I feel slimy." She stopped to pet the two dogs. "Hi, boys. I missed you too. I promise to spend time with you once I've showered."

Logan opened the backdoor. "Come on, I know you two have to go out." His eyes met McKenzie's. "I can't wait to hear what happened."

*****
Before long, McKenzie returned to the living room. "I feel better." She adjusted the barrette holding back part of her bangs and the sides of her hair.

Again, both dogs ran to her, vying for attention.

As she petted them, she glanced at Logan. "Whitney's a dirt-bag, but I don't think he murdered your sister."

His jaw set. "What happened?"

"Jose and I played pool with him, his brother, and a cousin. He's definitely a jerk."

"So from one pool game you've declared him innocent?"

"No, two. It was best out of three. Jose and I took both games. They weren't any good." McKenzie paused. "Maybe they are good, but Whitney spent more time gawking at me and drooling than paying attention to the game."

Logan nodded. "You were trying to trip him up."

"Sort of. We wanted to see how he responded to a female. I dominated the game and came on strong. All he did was drool. I don't think he did it."

"You only saw him horny, you didn't see him angry. I bet when he's angry he's violent. He beat my sister numerous times."

"You could be right. I'm not willing to rule anything out, yet." McKenzie opened kitchen cabinets and then the refrigerator. "There's nothing around here to eat."

"I already knew that. I searched for food this morning. Don't you cook or grocery shop?"

"Not really. It's just me." Her eyes met Logan's. "I guess you're staying for dinner. Want to go out or order delivery?"

He tilted his head. "Do you know how to cook?"

"I'm good with the microwave." McKenzie smiled.

"Let's go to the grocery store, and I'll cook." He grinned. "But you'll need to clean up."

"I don't think that's fair at all."

"Got a grill?" After McKenzie pointed out back, Logan continued, "I'll make it easy, steaks, baked potatoes, and salads. Easy clean up." He put his hand on the small of her back. "Let's go." He paused. "So you have a butterfly tatt back here. Interesting."

"So you drooled too?"

"Sweetheart, don't flatter yourself, but I did notice."

As Logan opened the door, Jose walked up and teased, "Couldn't help but hear the conversation. She did look pretty hot, didn't she?" He offered his hand. "Jose Lopez."

Accepting the hand, he said, "Logan Nelson."

Jose scratched his head. "Where are Edger and Arlo? They're always close by."

"Inside. Logan has them totally confused, especially Edger."

"You must be Megan's brother. I heard you were in town." Jose glanced toward McKenzie. "I don't think those tatts are real. The last time we worked together she had roses on her back and between her breasts."

"Jose!" McKenzie's hands were on hips.

"Hey, in my defense I am a man. You were scantily dressed."

"The next time I work with you, I'll dress like a schoolmarm."

"Then we won't get very far, will we?" Jose's look went between Logan and McKenzie. "Were you two going somewhere?"

"To the grocery store. She doesn't keep food in the house, and it's close to dinner."

"Want to join us? Logan's doing steaks on the grill."

"No, I need to get home to my wife." Jose grinned. "She likes to see me once in a while." He faced McKenzie. "I wanted to make sure Mac made it home." He adjusted his ball cap. "What was your take on Whitney?"

"He's a scumbag, but I'm not sure he's a murderer."

"I agree. As hot as he was after you, I don't think he's been with a woman for months. He was hurting."

"If Megan broke up with him, wouldn't that be motive?" asked Logan.

"Could be." Jose checked his phone. "My wife has dinner ready."

"I'll go by her school tomorrow and talk with the principal. I want to see who Megan hung around with. Maybe there's a new boyfriend we don't know about, and she confided in a friend." McKenzie brushed a hair away from her mouth.

"It's summer. School's out," added Logan.

"Principals don't take the entire summer off." She readjusted her barrette. "I can't get this right," she grumbled as she removed it. "Anyway, females talk so maybe somebody can fill us in on who Megan was seeing."

"Good idea. The Whitney boys and I have a boys' night out this weekend. I'll keep you posted. Better be going." Jose waved at Logan. "Good to meet you."

*****
As McKenzie and Logan sat in her car, he asked, "You didn't drive this to the bar, did you? People would recognize this beauty anywhere."

"I parked it at the police station and took the bus. I do think things through." Before she backed from the parking slot, she fingered two empty bottles of water. "I grabbed these on the way home. I didn't drink anything at the tavern."

"Glad to hear it. I hope Lopez knows how to keep you safe. Do you work with him often?"

"Probably a few times a month. He's one of the good guys. We work well together. We're able to follow each other's lead. By the way, he's happily married." McKenzie backed up the car. "You know I don't normally dress like that, don't you?"

"I figured as much." Logan grinned. "I'm hungry, let's get to the store."

*****
Back at home, McKenzie held up the bag containing two potatoes. "I can put these in the microwave." She pointed to the container of pre-made salad. "I'll put this in two bowls."

Logan grinned. "You really don't cook, do you?" With charcoal in hand, he headed toward the back door, but stopped. "Did your mom cook?"

"She did, but I hung around with Dad." She pulled her hair back in a ponytail. "I may not cook, but I can strip an engine and put it back together in a blink of an eye."

"Good to know." He continued to the backyard. What have I gotten myself into?




Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou is an area name for St. Louis
Simon Knight Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league baseball team.
Yadi's Fan name for Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A> and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.

Author Notes Sorry about last weeks post. I couldn't post with no Internet. A huge wind storm went through. We could've used rain, but got very little.
Thank you google a photo of a steak dinner. This post is a little under 1200 words. I hope you don't mind the length. As with any of my novels this one is taking on a life of it's own. OH MY!!! Any help you can offer will be appreciated. Thank you for the encouragement.


Chapter 11
St. Louis Chapter 4 part 3

By barbara.wilkey

Ending of Previous Post:

Back at home, McKenzie held up the bag containing two potatoes. "I can put these in the microwave." She pointed to the container of pre-made salad. "I'll put this in two bowls."

Logan grinned. "You really don't cook, do you?" With charcoal in hand, he headed toward the back door, but stopped. "Did your mom cook?"

"She did, but I hung around with Dad." She pulled her hair back in a ponytail. "I may not cook, but I can strip an engine and put it back together in a blink of an eye."

"Good to know." He continued to the backyard. What have I gotten myself into?


TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 4 PART 3

As McKenzie and Logan ate dinner, Logan took a bite of potato. "This is the best baked potato I've eaten."

"You're teasing me because I don't cook, aren't you?"

"Guilty as charged." Logan cut his meat. "I guess I'm used to traditional role models. But I'm not opposed to change."

McKenzie set her fork down. "Earlier you said, you hoped Jose knew how to keep me safe. I need to let you know that I'm capable of keeping myself safe. I also have his back when we're undercover." Logan started to speak, but she interrupted, "I know I messed up last night and I'm grateful you were there. I'm not going to make that mistake again. Okay?"

Logan nodded. "Okay."

Silence filled the room.

He mixed the butter and sour cream around his baked potato. "What are your plans for tonight?"

Her eyes widened. "You grew up in The Lou and you asked that question? I'm watching the Cardinals, of course." After a taking a long drink of water, she asked, "Did you have a nice visit with your parents?"

"Mostly. They wanted me to stay with them and not in a hotel." Logan took a drink before he continued, "I want to come and go without upsetting their schedule. If I'm late for dinner or out late, I don't want Mom worrying."

"I can understand that." She hesitated. "Did your dad give Bill a good recommendation?"

Logan nodded. "He did. I guess your dad, Bill, and my dad ate breakfast together once or twice a month. He and Bill still do. He said you're all good people. I'm surprised we didn't meet while growing up. I guess our dads talked about us, but didn't do things with the other family members."

"I think once in a great while the wives joined them for a dinner, maybe once or twice a year, but not often. It's a good question. I don't know why. Maybe you should ask your parents."

"I think I will." Glancing at his watch, Logan said, "Fifteen minutes until game time. They're still in Atlanta. I'll help with the dishes."

"You don't need to. The agreement was you cook, and I clean."

"But you helped cook; the potatoes and salad." He grinned. "I'll help clean. The two plates, silverware, and two bowls could take a while."

"Okay, you can throw the water bottles away. How's that?" McKenzie laughed.

Shaking his head, he said, "I can't win with you, can I?"

"What do you mean?"

"I'm trying to be a gentleman."

Pink tinged her cheeks. "It's rare to meet a gentleman in today's world."

"Point taken." Logan picked up the two plastic bottles. "Maybe we can work together and correct that."

"Maybe."

So she's been hurt or at least has had dealings with some real jerks. Of course she has, look at her profession. Tossing the bottles into the trash can, Logan said, "I bet Megan didn't meet many gentleman either."

McKenzie turned from the sink and faced him. "I bet you're right about Megan." She dried her hands. "I'll turn on the TV."

They both sat on the couch, but at opposite ends. Logan grinned as both dogs sat between them. "They like baseball too?"

"They do. They argue about who's going to sit closest to me. Right now Edger won." She petted his head. "I'm sure not for long."

"Edger's head is bigger than Arlo. He'll always win. How many pounds does he have on that little guy?"

"Edger weighs roughly one hundred forty pounds and Arlo around fifteen, unless he's put on weight. He likes to eat and is a world-class moocher. But don't underestimate the ways of a dachshund. He may be smaller but he's sneakier."

Before the first three outs were made, Arlo jumped up, ran to the front door, and started barking.

Logan stood. "What's the problem?"

Edger moseyed over to the door and sniffed.

McKenzie shook her head. "Probably nothing, but watch."

Arlo rushed back and sat by her. Edger sniffed Arlo. He had lost his spot.

Logan sat beside the large dog and petted his head. "You were outsmarted, big guy." He glanced at McKenzie. "Think he'll ever like me?"

"He's beginning to. With him it takes time."

"Some popcorn or peanuts would be nice. Maybe a beer. I should've thought of them at the store."

McKenzie stood. "I have microwavable popcorn. I'll make some." She teased, "But you'll need to clean up."

"Deal." Logan scanned the area. "Where's the vacuum?"

Pointing to a closet, McKenzie laughed.

After popping three individual sized bags, she put them in a large bowl and sat beside Logan. "Mind if we share?"

He grinned. "Sure don't." He turned toward the kitchen. "Anything to drink?"

"Water, tea, or coffee."

Logan stood. "I'll get a bottle of water, want one?" After she nodded, he handed her one.

As they munched popcorn and watched the game, McKenzie started falling asleep.

Either I'm boring or she's tired. He released a deep breath. It can't be me, I hope. I bet even though she slept last night it wasn't quality sleep.

By the eighth inning, her head leaned against Logan's arm. He put his arm around her. I'm not trying anything. You'll be more comfortable like this. He glanced at Edger staring at him, and whispered, "I'm not a bad guy, really. I won't hurt her. I promise." Now, I'm trying to convince this monster of a dog, I'm one of the good guys.

The game ended, and Logan glanced at McKenzie. Should I wake her or carry her to bed? He swallowed. "I'm carrying you to bed." He gently lifted her and carried her upstairs. He grinned at the light blue decor. "I guess you're not as tom-boyish as you want us to believe." After he laid her on the queen-size bed, he took half of the top blanket and covered her. "Good night. I'll see you in the morning."

Logan walked downstairs. He checked the back door to ensure it was locked. At the front door, he said, "Bye, boys, you're on duty now. Take care of her. I'll see ya tomorrow." He closed the door, making sure it was locked.





Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou is an area name for St. Louis
Simon Knight Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league baseball team.
Yadi's Fan name for Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A> and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.

Author Notes Thank you google images for a photo of a Rottweiler and a Dachshund. This post is a little over 1000 words. As with all of my novels this one is taking on a life of it's own. OH MY!!! Any help you can offer will be appreciated. Thank you for the encouragement.


Chapter 12
St. Louis Chapter 5 part 1

By barbara.wilkey

Ending of Previous Post:

Logan stood. "I'll get a bottle of water, want one?" After she nodded, he handed her one.

As they munched popcorn and watched the game, McKenzie started falling asleep.

Either I'm boring or she's tired. He released a deep breath. It can't be me, I hope. I bet even though she slept last night it wasn't quality sleep.

By the eighth inning, her head leaned against Logan's arm. He put his arm around her. I'm not trying anything. You'll be more comfortable like this. He glanced at Edger staring at him, and whispered, "I'm not a bad guy, really. I won't hurt her. I promise." Now, I'm trying to convince this monster of a dog, I'm one of the good guys.

The game ended, and Logan glanced at McKenzie. Should I wake her or carry her to bed? He swallowed. "I'm carrying you to bed." He gently lifted her and carried her upstairs. He grinned at the light blue decor. "I guess you're not as tom-boyish as you want us to believe." After he laid her on the queen-size bed, he took half of the top blanket and covered her. "Good night. I'll see you in the morning."

Logan walked downstairs. He checked the back door to ensure it was locked. At the front door, he said, "Bye, boys, you're on duty now. Take care of her. I'll see ya tomorrow." He closed the door, making sure it was locked.


TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 5 PART 1

McKenzie stood at the front door as Logan drove up. When he stepped from the car, she tilted her head. "I thought you got around by taxi."

"I did, but got tired of it. I rented this for a while. I see you're ready for your run. I'll go with you." Logan held up a duffel bag. "Can I use your shower afterward?"

"I guess. You have a way of taking over, don't you?"

He opened the door and set the bag inside. "Where's Edger? Isn't he ready?"

"While I stretch, he gets his leash."

"What?" His eyes widened.

"Yep, and he holds it too. There's a leash law. He doesn't like it, so I allow him to hold it. He's on a leash."

Laughing, Logan said, "I doubt it counts. I think a human needs to be in control. He's larger than some humans but he's still a dog."

"It's worked so far. He's very obedient. If I need him closer, all I need to do is say his name and he's there." McKenzie watched Edger coming toward her, holding the leash in his mouth. She attached it to his collar. "Ready?"

"Isn't Arlo coming?"

McKenzie's eyebrows crunched together. "Not unless you plan on carrying him. His legs are only four inches long."

"Good point. I'll get a doggy backpack so he can come."

"I thought you needed to go back to work soon. If you start something like that, I'll have to keep it up. I'm not taking him. He's a doxie."

"We'll see." He petted Arlo. "I'll get right on the doggy backpack. How far we going?"

"Can you handle five miles?"

"I can, but what about you and him?" He pointed to the dog.

"Let's go." McKenzie headed down the sidewalk with the dog by her side. "You coming or lagging behind?"

Logan quickly caught up.

*****
As they stretched on the sidewalk, McKenzie took a big drink of water. "Did my run meet your expectations?"

"I didn't know what to expect, but it's a good workout. Do you work with any weights?"

"Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings I go to a class and work on JKD and weights afterward."

"JKD?"

"Yes, Jeet Kune Do."

"I know what it is. You must be a Bruce Lee fan. It's a form of martial arts."

McKenzie started toward the door. "I told you I could take care of myself." As she walked into the house, she asked, "You want the shower first or second?"

"I'll go first. While you're showering, I'll fix breakfast." He teased, "I do need to eat, and so do you. Does that sound okay?"

"Fine. You really have this thing about cooking and eating, don't you?" She opened the door and let the dogs out. "There's a donut shop right down the street."

Logan laughed. "I'm sure there is. I bet you're on a first name basis with them, aren't you?" He picked up his bag and went headed toward the stairs.

"There are towels and things in the bathroom closet."

*****
After showering, Logan walked up to McKenzie and looked over her shoulder. "Your turn. What you looking at?"

"Nothing really. Just a file I've been working on for a while. It doesn't make sense. I need to think about it a little longer." McKenzie closed it. "Later this morning, I'm going to your sister's school. I think I'll get further without you. What are you going to do? Start dinner?"

"Ha, ha, very funny." Logan glanced toward the kitchen. "I'm going to the Irish Pub. I have some questions about Tuesday night. Then, for your information, I'll start dinner." He grinned. "Can we exchange phone numbers so we can coordinate our times?"

"I guess. Would you like my house key, too?"

"It would be nice, but I think it's too soon for that."

"Whatever..."

After they exchanged phone numbers, McKenzie went to shower, and Logan started breakfast.

*****
When McKenzie entered the kitchen, Logan's eyes widened. "You look nice."

Pink tinged her cheeks. "I usually wear jeans, but I thought I'd get more information in a dress. Hope I'm right. Breakfast smells good. Can I clean up when I get back? I don't want to risk getting dirty."

"I'll clean up before I leave. The later I get there the better anyway."

As they ate, McKenzie asked, "Hypothetical question; if a wife's having an affair, why would she be concerned if her husband's having one? Wouldn't they cancel each other out?"

"Good question, but I'm not sure it works that way." Logan ate a piece of bacon. "Why? Is that the case you were checking earlier?"

"It was. I don't understand why the wife is concerned that her husband isn't faithful."

"How do you know she's playing around?"

"I caught her. When I asked her about it, she not only admitted it, she was proud of it."

"Maybe she thought her husband was playing around, and decided to start, and now is worried he really wasn't."

"Hadn't thought of that. Maybe." McKenzie put jam on her toast. "This is good. What's for dinner?"

Logan chuckled. "I haven't decided. I guess it depends how long I'm at the Pub." He set his fork down. "Today's a travel day, so we can't watch the game. Any plans for tonight?"

"I need to follow my cheating husband."

"Sounds fun. Do you mind the company? I can help break the boredom."

McKenzie grinned. "Maybe. I'll think about it." When Arlo barked and she heard knocking on the door, she stood.

Opening the door, McKenzie greeted the man and then turned. "Logan, it's for you. It's your friend from the other night." She paused before she faced the man. "How did you know where I lived?"

"Logan gave me your name, and I checked the phone book." Simon offered his hand. "You look good. How are you feeling?"

She took his hand. "I'm fine." She nodded toward Logan. "I just can't convince him. He thinks he needs to hang around all the time."

"Occupational hazard of Special Forces types. Once they rescue somebody, they think they need to make sure they remain safe." Simon grinned as he shook Logan's hand. "I have the test results."

"Was she drugged?" Logan's eyes meet his buddy's.

"She was, and it was GHB. She had way more than a normal dose in her, and it was the homemade variety. Either they made a mistake or they wanted to make sure she was out. There's no way of telling."

Logan remained silent as he ran his hand through his hair. "So she was really lucky."

"Yep. No way was she in any condition to defend herself." Simon studied her. "Mac, I'd say somebody's out to get you."

She gulped. "I don't know why. I haven't done anything to anybody. None of the cases I'm working on would be a reason for this."

"If I were you, I'd be extremely careful." Simon put his hand on her shoulder. "I'm personally glad Logan has decided you're his new pet project. I'm confident he'll keep you safe. I know first hand how persistent he can be." He faced Logan. "How about you two come to dinner Sunday evening?"

Logan eyed McKenzie. "How about it?"

She nodded. "It'll keep you from cooking."

As Simon's eyebrows rose, Logan said, "She doesn't cook."

"Good then. I'll text you my address. I need to get back to work. I wanted to check on the patient myself. She's looks like she's doing fine. See you about seven o'clock."

After shaking hands, Simon left.

McKenzie grabbed her purse. "I need to be going. I'll see you later." She paused, opened a desk drawer, and removed a spare key. "Here. You might need this." She walked out the door.

So Simon's report must've gotten to you. I wonder if you know more than you're letting on. We'll talk later.




Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou is an area name for St. Louis
Simon Knight Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league baseball team.
Yadi's Fan name for Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A> and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.

Author Notes Sorry for the late post. I went into the ER Sunday morning and had to have an emergency gallbladder removal. I'm at home now and doing as well as can be expected.

Thank you google images for a poster if GHB. This post is a little over 1300 words. I had already edited this many times, but any help you can offer will be appreciated. Thank you for the encouragement.


Chapter 13
St. Louis Chapter 5 part 2

By barbara.wilkey

Ending of Previous Post:

"If I were you, I'd be extremely careful." Simon put his hand on her shoulder. "I'm personally glad Logan has decided you're his new pet project. I'm confident he'll keep you safe. I know first hand how persistent he can be." He faced Logan. "How about you two come to dinner Sunday evening?"

Logan eyed McKenzie. "How about it?"

She nodded. "It'll keep you from cooking."

As Simon's eyebrows rose, Logan said, "She doesn't cook."

"Good then. I'll text you my address. I need to get back to work. I wanted to check on the patient myself. She's looks like she's doing fine. See you about seven o'clock."

After shaking hands, Simon left.

McKenzie grabbed her purse. "I need to be going. I'll see you later." She paused, opened a desk drawer, and removed a spare key. "Here. You might need this." She walked out the door.

So Simon's report must've gotten to you. I wonder if you know more than you're letting on. We'll talk later.


TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 5 PART 2

About a third of the way to the middle school where Megan had taught, McKenzie pulled into a vacant parking lot as tears rolled down her cheeks. Who would want to hurt me? When I get home, I need to make a list of every case. The answer might there. I doubt any of Dad's cases would cause problems now. He died over a year ago. I need to pull myself together. It's not like me to be upset. I'm not the type. After a silent pause, she dried her tears and continued to her destination.

As she entered the school's front office, a slightly graying secretary asked, "Welcome. How can I help?"

"I'm McKenzie Morgan. I'd like to speak with Mrs. Barkley, please."

"Do you have an appointment?"

"Sorry, I don't." McKenzie showed her documentation. "I'm a Private Investigator. I'm investigating Megan Nelson's death. I'm sure Mrs. Barkley isn't involved, but she might be able to lead me in the right direction."

"I'll see if she's available. It'll only take a minute." She went into another office. Moments later, she returned. "Mrs. Barkley will speak with you. Please, follow me."

Mrs. Barkley stood and offered a hand to McKenzie. "Hello. I'm not sure how I can help."

McKenzie accepted her hand. "I'm wondering if you can tell me who Ms. Nelson's friends were. We really don't have any leads right now. She might have confided in a friend." She paused. "I understand the confidentiality of this situation, but it is an ongoing murder investigation. I'm sure you want to find the murderer as much as her family does."

After sitting, Mrs. Barkley offered McKenzie a chair. "I'm not sure who Ms. Nelson hung around with after school hours." She paused and adjusted her glasses before searching her computer. "Ms. Middleton may know. They're about the same age and spent a lot of time together while here." She picked up a pen and then wrote down the contact information. "Let me call her and see if it's all right if I give it to you." Once she completed the call, she gave it to McKenzie. "She's expecting your call."

McKenzie stood and offered her hand. "Thank you. I know Ms. Nelson's family appreciates your help."

"I hope you find who did this."

*****
Sitting inside her car, McKenzie tapped the paper on the steering wheel. The only thing I'm sure of right now, is I need to figure out how to get an air conditioner in this car. It's just too hot not to have one. No matter how good this car looks.

She called Ms. Middleton and set an appointment for two o'clock the following day at a coffee shop.

McKenzie drove aimlessly around St. Louis before she stopped in a parking garage by the Gateway Arch. I need a break; from life. She locked her car and walked toward the Arch. Maybe getting my mind off work for a little bit will help.

She sat on a bench not far from the Arch and watched people milling around. Today's a typical July summer day in The Lou, hot and humid. It must be close to ninety degrees with ninety percent humidity. She smiled. Even the pigeons are panting.

Standing, she walked toward the Mississippi river. "Maybe a street-vender will have some water or tea."

As she walked, a man bumped into her. "Excuse me, Ma'am."

McKenzie's eyes widened and her heart pounded, but she said, "It's okay." She turned toward the parking garage. I'm not safe anywhere. She stopped and took a few deep breaths. Don't be ridiculous. The sidewalk's crowded. It was an innocent accident. What's got into you? Pull yourself together. Simon could be wrong. It was probably just some good old boys wanting to have fun, and I was stupid in a no stupid zone.

As she returned to her car, tears rolled down her cheeks. I never did get my drink. I'm not ready to go home. She dried her eyes. Why am I crying? I'm not a crier. This isn't me. Get a grip, Mac. Running always helps. She glanced at her watch. I have a few extra hours. There's plenty of time. Logan's probably at the house any way. I'll buy some thrift shop running clothes. Next to it is a sports store. I needed new running shoes. It'll work out.

After her purchases, McKenzie changed and went to a park and ran.

*****
When McKenzie walked through her front door, she saw Logan. "What are you doing?"

He turned off the vacuum. "What does it look like I'm doing? I'm painting a wall." He turned it back on and continued.

She stood beside him. "What are you really doing?"

Logan's eyes met hers, again he turned it off. "I'm glad you're back. I was starting to worry. In another few minutes, I'd have called." He glanced at his watch. "Dinner will be ready in about forty-five minutes." He studied her. "You're not overly domestic. So I know you could care less about me helping. What's really bothering you?"

"My scheduled day to clean is Friday. If my house cleaning bothers you that much, you can leave. I'm showering and changing." McKenzie turned and walked upstairs.

*****
Staring at McKenzie, Logan asked, "What's bugging her?" He glanced around the living room and petted Edger. "I think it looks nice. Don't you agree?"

"I'd better start the grill." Logan turned and faced the stairs. "She's probably close to Megan's age. If I learned one lesson from my sister, it was better to leave her alone until she's ready to talk. Of course, if I'd have kept digging at her, maybe she'd be alive today."

When McKenzie returned, she wore blue jeans and a light blue tank top. Logan glanced up from setting the table. "More comfortable?"

"Maybe."

"I'm glad you're in a better mood. I'm barbecuing chicken for dinner. I hope you like it."

"I do. What do I need to do?"

"Nothing. I got potato salad and coleslaw to go with it. It should be done in maybe ten minutes."

"Okay. I'll do the dishes when we're done. I want to leave," McKenzie glanced at her watch, "in about forty-five minutes. According to his wife, Mr. Whitmore leaves his house every Thursday at seven o'clock. I need to see where he goes."

"What excuse does he give his wife?"

"She says she asks, and he just walks out the door."

"That's strange." Logan set the potato salad and coleslaw on the table. "What'd you have for lunch?"

"You're nosey. I don't appreciate you prying into my life."

Silence continued through dinner.




Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou is an area name for St. Louis
Simon Knight Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league baseball team.
Yadi's Fan name for Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A> and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.

Author Notes Thank you for your patience over last weeks late post. My doctor gave me an option of one or two weeks off of work. I took one. As I prepare for tomorrow, I am rethinking the wisdom of that decision. If I can't do it, I'll take the rest of the week off. LOL

Thank you google images for a photo of St. Louis's Gateway Arch. This post is a little over 1100 words. I have completely rewritten this post 3 times. I hope I convey what I want to this time. Thank you for the encouragement.


Chapter 14
St. Louis Chapter 5 part 3

By barbara.wilkey

Ending of Previous Post:

"Okay. I'll do the dishes when we're done. I want to leave," McKenzie glanced at her watch, "in about forty-five minutes. According to his wife, Mr. Whitmore leaves his house every Thursday at seven o'clock. I need to see where he goes."

"What excuse does he give his wife?"

"She says she asks, and he just walks out the door."

"That's strange." Logan set the potato salad and coleslaw on the table. "What'd you have for lunch?"

"You're nosey. I don't appreciate you prying into my life."

Silence continued through dinner.


TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 5 PART 3

About twenty minutes before seven o'clock, McKenzie and Logan went to her car. McKenzie shook her head. "Darn! I forgot to pick up the surveillance car." She released a deep breath. "I'll just take this." She unlocked it.

"Nobody would ever notice a purple Dodge Super Bee with a Hemi. There are plenty of them on the road."

She glared at him. "I get your point. The rental agency I use is closed. I messed up, okay? Just drop it."

"We can take my rental. Nobody will notice it." McKenzie's stare focused on Logan, as he added, "Just offering a solution. I'll let you drive."

"Okay." She relocked the door. "Drive. I'll give directions." She plopped in the passenger seat.

I see dinner didn't improve your attitude. This evening should be fun.

Logan followed McKenzie's instructions, but pulled off into a convenient store parking lot.

"What are you doing?" asked McKenzie.

"Getting snacks. We might be there a while, and you didn't eat much dinner."

"Why are you worried about my eating habits?" McKenzie paused and then continued, "I..."

"Lack of food can cause people to be grumpy," interrupted Logan. "I wouldn't want you any grumpier." He got out of the car.

When he returned with two sacks of food, McKenzie said, "I'm not grumpy."

"Could've fooled me. You're doing a good imitation. Hope you like what I got." He grinned. "I got a few donuts. If there are any leftovers, you can have them for breakfast."

"Ha Ha, you're just too funny."

"I thought so," he teased.

*****
At the Whitmore house, they watch Mr. Whitmore leave the house at exactly seven o'clock.

"It's strange. He's very precise," said McKenzie.

"I agree. Nobody is that exact. I wonder where he's going."

"We'll know soon enough. Follow him, but not close enough that he knows he's being followed."

"Will do, boss." Logan pulled from the curb and followed as they crossed the Mississippi River into East St. Louis.

About fifteen minutes later, Mr. Whitmore pulled into a gentlemen's club's parking lot.

"I never expected this." McKenzie stared at the building. "It looks like crap."

"Probably is. Most of them are."

"You've been to one?"

"Of course. I'd bet every American male has at least once." Logan grinned at McKenzie's wide eyes. "A group of us went to one while in college. We were curious."

"You went to college? I thought you went straight into Army."

"Nope, I have a degree in military history."

"Interesting." She glanced toward the building. "How are we going to know what he's doing in there?"

"I really don't want to, but I could go in and find out. Or I could just tell you what most men do in there."

"You don't want to go in?" Again, McKenzie's eyes widened.

"Why would I want to watch a middle-aged man get a lap dance from a well-used naked woman or two? He might even go into a private room and get the works."

"I figured all men liked viewing naked women."

"I'd rather sit here with you all night and eat junk food." He reached in the backseat and grabbed one of the sacks.

"I seriously doubt that."

"Honestly, I don't eat a lot of junk food. It's bad for you." He held up a bag of Fritos and a bag of Cheese Puffs. "Which one should we open?"

"Fritos, the Cheese Puffs will make a mess."

"I'm not surprised you'd know that." Logan chuckled. "What do we do while Whitmore's getting serviced?" He opened the bag and offered it to McKenzie.

She took a handful of Fritos and passed it back. "We sit and wait. He might go elsewhere when he's finished. We follow him until he's back home." She plopped one in her mouth.

After a long silence and eating, McKenzie asked, "Logan?" After he faced her, she continued, "I don't know why anybody would drug me." She faced the passenger door window as tears welled in her eyes.

Now I know what's bothering her. He touched her arm.

"Please don't."

He removed his hand. "I'm not hitting on you. I was trying to comfort you."

"I know." McKenzie wiped her tears before she turned around. "I..."

"You didn't want me to see you cry," interrupted Logan. "Why? You have every reason to be scared. It's not a sign of weakness."

"If one of your buddies cried, would you think he was weak?"

"I see your point, but..."

"Because I'm female, it's acceptable or expected," blurted McKenzie.

Logan set his jaw. I'm not the bad guy here.

"I work in a man's world."

"Mac, you're not one of my buddies. I hope we're friends. I just want to help. Will you let me?"

She nodded, and the tears fell freely.

Logan put his arms around her. I wonder when was the last time you felt comfortable enough to cry.

After she dried her tears, Logan asked, "Giving me your house key was your way of saying I'm scared, wasn't it?"

McKenzie chewed on her lower lip and nodded. "I've racked my brain all afternoon and I can't come up with anybody who would want to do this. Could I have simply been at the wrong place at the wrong time? Sort of stupid in a no stupid zone?"

"Could be. I don't know."

"But then what was that car doing at the abandoned building? Did they follow me? If they did, then they know where I live. They could've found my address in the phone book, like Simon did. Are we being watched right now? Are they just waiting for me to make a mistake?"

"Those are good questions, and I don't have the answers. My only suggestion is to be extra careful." Logan hesitated and then added, "I have your back."

She gulped. "I know."





Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou is an area name for St. Louis
Simon Knight Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league baseball team.
Yadi's Fan name for Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A> and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.

Author Notes Thank you google images for a photo of a Gentlemen's Club in East St. Louis. This post is a little under a 1000 words. I've made a lot of last minute changes. I hope I didn't make it worse.


Chapter 15
St. Louis Chapter 6 part 1

By barbara.wilkey

Ending of Previous Post:

"Mac, you're not one of my buddies. I hope we're friends. I just want to help. Will you let me?"

She nodded, and the tears fell freely.

Logan put his arms around her. I wonder when was the last time you felt comfortable enough to cry.

After she dried her tears, Logan asked, "Giving me your house key was your way of saying I'm scared, wasn't it?"

McKenzie chewed on her lower lip and nodded. "I've racked my brain all afternoon and I can't come up with anybody who would want to do this. Could I have simply been at the wrong place at the wrong time? Sort of stupid in a no stupid zone?"

"Could be. I don't know."

"But then what was that car doing at the abandoned building? Did they follow me? If they did, then they know where I live. They could've found my address in the phone book, like Simon did. Are we being watched right now? Are they just waiting for me to make a mistake?"

"Those are good questions, and I don't have the answers. My only suggestion is to be extra careful." Logan hesitated and then added, "I have your back."

She gulped. "I know."


TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 6 PART 1

As the early morning sun peeked over the horizon, Logan knocked on McKenzie's door. When only Arlo acknowledged him, he used the key and entered. He knelt and petted the short dog. "Hey, buddy isn't your master up yet? Where's the big guy? Did he sleep late, too?"

McKenzie stood at the stop of the stairs, with Edger beside her. "What are you doing here so early? It's the middle of the night."

"Actually it's six fifteen, not the middle of the night. I forgot to ask what time you go to the gym and didn't want to miss it. I need a good workout. Will they let visitors come?"

"I can bring guests but my class isn't until eight o'clock. What do you plan to do until then? And don't make breakfast. I can't eat until later."

Logan laughed. "Edger told me he'd like a short run. Want to go?"

"Can you give me about thirty minutes?"

"Sure, I have something I want to try with Arlo."

*****
When McKenzie walked down the stairs, she laughed. "I can't believe Arlo allowed you to put him in that contraption."

"After I explained that he can go on runs too, he was eager." Logan petted Edger. "Part of the problem was this guy laughed. I told him if he didn't stop, I'd put him in one too."

"You're talking to my dogs."

"You do, so I thought why not. They're very good conversationalists."

"I know. They only answer what you want to hear. Ready?"

"Let's do this." As they walked out the door, Logan asked, "How'd you sleep last night?"

"Why you asking?"

"You look tired."

"Then you have your answer."

*****
After about a thirty minute run, they returned to McKenzie's townhouse. She opened the refrigerator. "I'll get some water bottles, and then we can head for the gym."

Logan let Arlo free from the backpack. "I think he had fun."

"He did." She handed him two water bottles and grabbed her workout bag. "Is that enough or do you need more?"

"I'll drink one on the way. If I need more, I'm sure they have water." He grabbed his bag.

"They do."

Logan watched McKenzie inspect her car. This really has her spooked. Why wouldn't it? It'd spook me too. As she backed the car, he asked, "We going to watch Whitmore visit a strip club tonight?"

"Nope. I'm not sure what to tell his wife. I'll have to think about that. The Cards play the Cubs. I thought I'd watch the game."

"If you want to go, I have two tickets waiting."

"Really? I'd love to." McKenzie smiled, and then hesitated. "It's not a date or anything, is it?"

"Nope, just two friends who like baseball going to a ball game."

She nodded. "Good."

I wonder what she's worried about?

*****
Inside the gym, McKenzie signed Logan in as her guest and showed him around. After he started lifting weights, she went to the area for her martial arts class.

Vince, the instructor, showed up with a cast on his leg. "Mac, I missed you Wednesday." After she explained she wasn't feeling well, he continued, "I was working on my gutter at home and fell from the ladder. Class will be cancelled for a few weeks, maybe six. You're welcome to come and work out. There are always weights and the treadmills. The kickboxing bags are available. If you have a partner, I can guide you while you spar." He glanced around the area. "I see none of the other classmates showed up."

"The bag's fine. I already went for a run this morning." She began at the bag. "I'll probably hit the weights in a few minutes."

Her instructor stood off to the side.

Logan watched for a while and then came over. "I see you're pretty good. I'll spar with you."

McKenzie stopped. "I've been doing JKD for close to ten years."

"Not a problem. I'll try to keep up." Logan stood on the mat.

"Okay." She joined him, but waited for Vince.

Vince walked up to Logan. "You sure about this? She's pretty good."

"I'll be fine."

The instructor nodded for them to continue.

McKenzie and Logan faced each other and bowed. Each watched the other, willing them to start. Vince nodded for McKenzie to begin.

She threw four jabs Logan's way, and then three kicks. Logan blocked each one. She repeated the four jabs and three kicks. Again, he blocked them. She paused and studied him.

Logan said, "I watched while you were on the bag. You always start with four jabs and then three kicks. You need to vary them."

Vince grinned. "I never noticed, but he's right."

McKenzie nodded and began again. This time two jabs, six kicks, one jab, and five kicks.

Half of them landed. Logan blocked the rest. "Good job. Keep it up." He kicked twice and threw eight jabs.

A few hit their mark, but most were blocked.

This continued for almost thirty minutes. At the end, they bowed to each other.

Vince walked up to Logan and asked, "You're good. Where'd you take lessons?"

Logan grabbed a towel from his bag and wiped his face. "The Army."

"You must be..."

"He is," interrupted McKenzie. She faced Logan. "I should've guessed, but I didn't think about it." She went to her bag.

"We showering here or at your place?" asked Logan.

"Here." McKenzie headed toward the showers and over her shoulder said, "I don't want to damage the leather seats."

"Figured as much. I'll meet you later." Logan walked toward the showers.

When McKenzie finished showering, she saw Logan looking at the Super Bee. "What you doing?"

"Thought I'd get a head start on checking the car. It was that or tap my foot." Logan grinned. "It looks clear."

McKenzie unlocked the door. "Get in."

At her townhouse, McKenzie walked up the sidewalk. "That's strange. There's a package, only I didn't order anything."

Logan grabbed her arm. "Don't touch it." He called nine-one-one and reported it. "They're sending the police."

"I doubt that's necessary."

"I don't."







Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou is an area name for St. Louis
Simon Knight Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league baseball team.
Yadi's Fan name for Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A> and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.

Author Notes Thank you google images for a photo of a dachshund in a backpack. This post is a little over a 1000 words. Again, thank you for your wonderful support.
There are only 4 days of school left. This has not been a good year. I am ready for a break. Hopefully I can catch up on my writing.


Chapter 16
St. Louis Chapter 6 part 2

By barbara.wilkey

Ending of Previous Post:

When McKenzie finished showering, she saw Logan looking at the Super Bee. "What you doing?"

"Thought I'd get a head start on checking the car. It was that or tap my foot." Logan grinned. "It looks clear."

McKenzie unlocked the door. "Get in."

At her townhouse, McKenzie walked up the sidewalk. "That's strange. There's a package, only I didn't order anything."

Logan grabbed her arm. "Don't touch it." He called nine-one-one and reported it. "They're sending the police."

"I doubt that's necessary."

"I don't."


TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 6 PART 2

After the bomb squad deemed the package safe, a police officer opened it. Inside lay a dead rat.

McKenzie covered her mouth. "Who? Why?" She turned her head as she heard her name called and then ran into Bill's waiting arms.

Bill nodded at Logan, but asked, "Mac, what's going on?"

McKenzie remained silent.

"You can see the obvious." Logan paused. "Yesterday, my friend came by and confirmed Mac was drugged, GHB, and more than a single dose. Did you ever get any answers from our visit Wednesday?"

"Marcie Kirks doesn't exist. Still trying to figure out what that's about. And too many black crossovers to narrow down. So no."

"Whoever is trying to scare me is doing a great job. They know where I live."

"They do," confirmed Bill.

"Is there a safe place she can keep her car? It sticks out like a sore thumb." Logan's eyes met Bill's.

"Yes, my garage. There's plenty of extra room." Bill faced McKenzie. "You can come visit it anytime you want."

"How am I going to get around? I can't use a taxi for surveillance." McKenzie crossed her arms.

"I'm here." Logan set his jaw. "I'll take you wherever you need to go. Besides after this, you're crazy if you think you're going to be left alone. I'm not allowing you to be murdered."

"But..."

"But nothing," interrupted Logan.

"He's right, Mac. Somebody's definitely trying to scare you, at a minimum. They're probably trying to hurt you or worse. Until we find out which it is, somebody needs to remain with you. If you don't want Logan, I'll have a police detachment assigned to you. Take your pick."

"This is overkill." McKenzie brushed a stray strand of hair from her face. "I have plenty of security inside. Nobody's going to get by Edger."

"Stats show all somebody has to do is throw the dog a steak." Logan's eyes met hers.

"I'm getting tired of you taking over my life." McKenzie walked away.

Bill shook his head. "She's a stubborn one." His phone rang. "Give her time to calm down. Excuse me. I need to take this." He stepped away. After he hung up, he stood beside McKenzie. "I need to get back to the office. Joanie expects to see you Saturday evening for dinner. Is six-thirty all right?" After she nodded, he continued, "Give Logan a chance. I think he's trying to help."

"He's trying to take charge."

Biting his lip, Bill's attempt not to grin failed. "Mac, give him a chance." He kissed her forehead. "See you Saturday evening. I'll tell Joanie you'll be bringing your car by later today." He left.

McKenzie watched Bill walk away and then proceeded down the sidewalk in the opposite direction.

Logan followed but stayed a distance away.

After they had walked two blocks, McKenzie faced him. "How long are you going to follow me?"

"As long as I need to. If necessary, forever. I'm not going to allow you to get yourself killed." Logan started to take a step, but stopped himself.

"What if..."

"I wasn't here for Megan," interrupted Logan. "I am here for you. You're stuck with me. Get used to it." He took a deep breath. "I can be very persistent. Where are we walking to?"

"I'm hungry. Donuts sound good. I haven't visited Julie this week." She turned and walked.

"We have some left over from last night. Or I could make you a healthy breakfast."

McKenzie faced him. "There you are being bossy, again. Maybe I just want a donut. If you're going to be hanging around, you might want to learn to eat an occasional donut."

"A donut it is. Do they have coffee?"

"Yes." McKenzie motioned for him to catch up. "You know I can take care of myself, don't you?"

"I saw that today. You're very good." Logan grinned. "I was impressed. I wouldn't want you angry with me." They stood in front of the bakery. Logan reached for the doorknob.

McKenzie touched his arm. "I think a healthy breakfast might taste good."

"No donuts?"

"We have some left over. Maybe they'll be a good breakfast dessert."

*****
When they returned to McKenzie's townhouse, the police had just finished.

McKenzie walked to the porch. "Can we go inside?"

"I don't see why not," replied an officer. He glanced around. "Anything else we can help with?"

"I don't think so. Thank you." McKenzie went inside and calmed both dogs.

Logan followed. "What do we do now?"

"Don't know. I guess we eat and continue our day as normal. I'm not going to let this guy stop me."

Opening the refrigerator, Logan grabbed some eggs, onions, sweet peppers, and spinach. "After we eat, we can take the car to Bill's. What time is your meeting with Megan's teacher friend?"

"Two o'clock. I don't think you should be there."

"I agree. She may not be as open with Megan's brother listening. The bartender wasn't there yesterday. He had the day off. I'll drop you off and then stop by the pub."

"Sounds good." McKenzie went to her desk. "I'm going to review some old files and see if I can find somebody who wants to intimidate me." She glanced at Logan. "A rat would indicate somebody thinks I've told on them, right?"

"Usually. Any ideas who might think you ratted them out?" Logan cracked the eggs. "Are scrambled eggs and fruit okay?"

She nodded. "Yes. I guess technically any of the husband/wife cheating cases, but nothing that would cause this extreme behavior."

"Did it cause anybody to have to pay a large divorce settlement?"

"Good question. I'd need to do some further research into that."

Logan glanced at his ringing cell. That's strange. I don't recognize the number. He took it outside. "Hello." He listened. "Yes, Bill. What question?" Again he listened. "No, we haven't discussed overnight. She just started talking to me, again. I don't think I'd better press my luck, right now." Silence. "Sure, I'll let you know when I find out. How'd you get my number?" He laughed. "Of course, Dad. I'll get back to you when I have an answer." He added Bill's number to his cell.

When Logan returned to the kitchen, McKenzie asked, "Who was it?"

"Dad. He wanted to know when we were coming to dinner."


Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou is an area name for St. Louis
Simon Knight Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league baseball team.
Yadi's Fan name for Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A> and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.

Author Notes Thank you google images for a photo of a dead rat in a coffin. This post is a little over a 1000 words. Again, thank you for your wonderful support.
My 15 year old granddaughter is here visiting until the 13th. I am totally enjoying her company.


Chapter 17
St. Louis Chapter 6 part 3

By barbara.wilkey

Ending of Previous Post:

"Sounds good." McKenzie went to her desk. "I'm going to review some old files and see if I can find somebody who wants to intimidate me." She glanced at Logan. "A rat would indicate somebody thinks I've told on them, right?"

"Usually. Any ideas who might think you ratted them out?" Logan cracked the eggs. "Are scrambled eggs and fruit okay?"

She nodded. "Yes. I guess technically any of the husband/wife cheating cases, but nothing that would cause this extreme behavior."

"Did it cause anybody to have to pay a large divorce settlement?"

"Good question. I'd need to do some further research into that."

Logan glanced at his ringing cell. That's strange. I don't recognize the number. He took it outside. "Hello." He listened. "Yes, Bill. What question?" Again he listened. "No, we haven't discussed overnight. She just started talking to me, again. I don't think I'd better press my luck, right now." Silence. "Sure, I'll let you know when I find out. How'd you get my number?" He laughed. "Of course, Dad. I'll get back to you when I have an answer." He added Bill's number to his cell.

When Logan returned to the kitchen, McKenzie asked, "Who was it?"

"Dad. He wanted to know when we were coming to dinner."


TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 6 PART 3

After McKenzie parked her car in Bill's garage, she tossed a blanket over it. "Thank you for thinking of this."

Logan helped adjust the cover. "When I've deployed, I've had to store my cars. I've learned a few secrets." He glanced at his watch. "We'd better get going. We need to go clear across town to the coffee shop."

McKenzie thanked and said good-bye to Joanie. Logan passed her his car keys. "Want to drive? You probably know the shortest way."

"You sure?"

"Yes." Logan opened the door for her. "What are your plans after this meeting?"

"I'm not sure. I should contact Mrs. Whitmore and see what she wants to do with her husband's information." She watched the car in front of her switch lanes. "I don't think I'd want my husband hanging around a strip joint. But then again she is having an affair."

"I'm curious. Why not? Some men just watch and don't touch. Would that be okay?"

"I'm not sure, but something doesn't seem right about it. I guess I want to be the only woman my husband desires."

So she does have an old-fashioned streak.

"Why does that surprise you?"

"You just read my mind." Logan grinned. "It doesn't really, but you're not a traditional gal, except when it comes to this."

"Just because I don't cook?" McKenzie glanced at him. "Where'd you learn to cook anyway? Don't you live in the barracks?"

"I cook at home. Only the single lower enlisted live in barracks. I have my own place."

"With your wife?'

"Nope, I'm single." As he watched McKenzie's reaction, he added, "I've never been married."

McKenzie teased, "You're probably too bossy."

"Could be. I just figured I hadn't found the right girl, yet."

She pulled into a parking slot and glanced at her watch. "I'm about fifteen minutes early. That's good. I can find a private table so we can talk."

"Want me to come in and wait with you?" As McKenzie shook her head, Logan continued, "I'm at least going to come in and scout the area." He walked around and opened her door.

"Later we'll discuss what the right girl is."

Logan laughed. "Sure."

McKenzie watched Logan leave the coffee shop and then ordered a large coffee and a blueberry muffin. As she sat at a corner table, she smiled. I wonder what type of a woman would catch his eye. That should be an interesting conversation.



Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou is an area name for St. Louis
Simon Knight Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league baseball team.
Yadi's Fan name for Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A> and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.

Author Notes Thank you google images for a photo of a St. Louis coffee shop This post is a little under 500 words. I know it's a little short but it does have important information in it and the next post starts a new chapter. Again, thank you for your wonderful support.
I am still enjoying my granddaughter's company. Last week we took a vacation to Galveston and got caught in nothing but wind and rain. So getting into the gulf was out, but we still had a lot of fun.


Chapter 18
St. Louis Chapter 7 part 1

By barbara.wilkey

Ending of Previous Post:

She pulled into a parking slot and glanced at her watch. "I'm about fifteen minutes early. That's good. I can find a private table so we can talk."

"Want me to come in and wait with you?" As McKenzie shook her head, Logan continued, "I'm at least going to come in and scout the area." He walked around and opened her door.

"Later we'll discuss what the right girl is."

Logan laughed. "Sure."

McKenzie watched Logan leave the coffee shop and then ordered a large coffee and a blueberry muffin. As she sat at a corner table, she smiled. I wonder what type of a woman would catch his eye. That should be an interesting conversation.

TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 7 PART 1

McKenzie stood and approached a blonde lady in her mid-twenties. "Ms. Hartford?"

She accepted McKenzie's hand. "Yes. Please call me Kate."

"Okay. You can call me McKenzie. Before we begin, would you like some coffee?"

"Yes, I'll get some and be right back."

McKenzie returned to her table and sat. Why'd I introduce myself as McKenzie? I've been Mac for twenty plus years? She sipped her coffee and then peeled the paper from her muffin.

Kate sat across from McKenzie and added cream and sugar to her coffee before she said, "I hope you find who did this to Megan, but I'm not sure I can be of any help."

"Any information you can tell me about her private life will be helpful. I hope you don't mind me recording this. I do it so I don't make mistakes or have any misunderstandings." After Kate nodded, McKenzie tore a piece from her muffin and ate it before she started the recording. "Most people have a public life, a private life, and a secret life. It's usually the private and the secret life that gets them into trouble."

"I see. Megan had a few on-again-off-again boyfriends."

"I know about George Whitney. I've been told he was physically abusive. Is that true?"

"He was emotionally abusive. He was always trying to take control." Kate took a bite of a brownie. "Yes, I guess at times he got physical with her. He liked rough sex."

"Was Megan into that?" McKenzie attempted to keep her face from showing surprise.

"Let's say she was adventuresome with both sexes and multiple partners. She wasn't against experimenting. Once in a while it would get too rough, so she'd try to stop him. George didn't like to stop, once he was..." Kate stopped.

"It's okay. I get the picture," McKenzie quickly added before she took another bite of her muffin. "Were there any other men in her life?" She sipped her coffee.

"How much of this are you going to share with her family?" asked Kate.

"If anything you tell me helps me find the murderer, I'll share only the parts that pertain to that. Why?"

"Have you met her family?"

"Her father hired me." McKenzie grasped her coffee cup. I didn't lie. I just didn't tell the whole truth. I guess I lied by omission.

"So maybe you can understand how old fashioned they were."

Logan used the word traditional. Means the same thing.

"Megan had an older brother. He was almost a teenager when she was born. I think there's like eleven or more years between them. I can't remember his name. Anyway, he totally embraced the big brother role. On top of that, he was perfect in everything he did."

"What I heard you say was that her older brother watched over her and she struggled living up to his expectations."

"He got straight A's in every subject without even trying. Megan struggled to get B's. Her parents never understood why her grades were low. She was always compared to him." Kate took a breath. "You've heard of helicopter parents, well she had a helicopter brother. When he went into the Army, Megan celebrated her freedom, a lot."

Logan isn't going to like this one bit. McKenzie chewed on her lower lip before she asked, "Are you saying Megan was a party girl?"

"She wasn't a party animal. She only partied on weekends, but she did totally enjoy a good party."

"Did she only use alcohol or were drugs involved?"

"I think in college she used marijuana, but after graduating only alcohol. Again, she only partied on weekends and usually either Friday or Saturday, rarely both days."

"I understand. When was the last time she was with George Whitney?"

"That I'm not sure of. She broke up with him in April, but I think he still called and tried to get her back. She was getting pretty tired of it."

"Do you know of any other men she dated?"

"Donny, but I don't remember his last name. His number should be on her phone."

Her phone wasn't found. I need to check on that. McKenzie wrote herself a note. "Do you know how they met or where he works?"

"They were introduced by a mutual friend."

"Can I have contact information for that person?"

"Sure." Kate pulled up Eleanor's name on her phone and showed it to McKenzie. "I really don't know anything about him. Megan only had two or three dates with him that I know of. She didn't really talk about him. I don't think it was serious."

"Not a problem. I'll call and speak with Eleanor."

Kate checked her watch. "It's getting late. I need to get going? Anything else?"

"Besides George and Donny, do you know of any other men she saw?"

"There were some, but she met them at a bar, did some dancing. Once in a while, they'd leave together. One-night-stands."

"Do you know if they went back to her place or his?"

"Pretty sure hers, but not positive."

McKenzie handed Kate her card. "Thank you. If you think of anything else, please call."

The ladies shook hands, and then Kate left.

McKenzie took a long drink of coffee. I doubt Logan will want to hear any of this about his baby sister. How do I answer his questions? She put a large bite of muffin in her mouth.




Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou is an area name for St. Louis
Simon Knight Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league baseball team.
Yadi's Fan name for Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A> and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.
Kate Hartford Megan Nelson's friend they taught middle school
together.
Donny A man Megan Nelson dated.

Author Notes Thank you google images for a photo of the back of a cell phone. Finding this cell phone, might help answer some questions as to who killed Megan. This post is a little over 900 words. I've edited this post every day since the beginning of June and still made changes as I posted today. GRRR I just now had to change Kate Middleton's name, it's seems I was messing with royalty.
Sorry! Again, thank you for your wonderful support.


Chapter 19
St. Louis Chapter 7 part 2

By barbara.wilkey

Ending of Previous Post:

Kate checked her watch. "It's getting late. I need to get going? Anything else?"

"Besides George and Donny, do you know of any other men she saw?"

"There were some, but she met them at a bar, did some dancing. Once in a while, they'd leave together. One-night-stands."

"Do you know if they went back to her place or his?"

"Pretty sure hers, but not positive."

McKenzie handed Kate her card. "Thank you. If you think of anything else, please call."

The ladies shook hands, and then Kate left.

McKenzie took a long drink of coffee. I doubt Logan will want to hear any of this about his baby sister. How do I answer his questions? She put a large bite of muffin in her mouth.


TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 7 PART 2

About fifteen minutes later, Logan walked to McKenzie's table holding two cups of coffee. He offered her one. "You look like you could use it. How'd it go?"

"Thank you." McKenzie took a sip. "Even though I've already had plenty, I could still use another cup. The water just got a lot muddier. First, I need to see if the police found Megan's phone. Their report didn't mention a phone. Nowadays, everybody has their phone with them. Where's her phone?" She released a deep breath and drank more coffee. "Then I need to call an Eleanor."

"Who's Eleanor and what does she have to do with this?" Logan paused. "What are you avoiding telling me?" He glanced at the recorder. "You recorded the conversation?" After she nodded, he asked, "Can I hear it?"

"I'm not sure you want to."

"It can't be that bad. She's my baby sister, for God's sake."

McKenzie pushed the recorder toward him. "Don't say I didn't warn you."

Logan picked it up and left the building.

McKenzie watched him sit in the car. I wouldn't like the one-night-stands, myself, and it's just downhill from there. She studied him for a few moments. It'll be easier for him to listen to it alone. I doubt any brother wants to hear his sister likes experimenting with rough sex, multiple partners or with different sexes. I bet he never thought of himself as a perfectionist. McKenzie took a sip of coffee and grinned. He'll probably enjoy that title, but not the overprotective part. I'll tell him about Eleanor later. She watched through the window and noticed him hit the steering wheel. "Not good."

Moments later, Logan returned and sat across from her.

McKenzie glanced at him. "I need to call Kate. I forgot to ask what Megan's favorite bar was, if she had one."

Silence.

A few moments later, McKenzie placed her hand on Logan's. "You okay?"

"What do you think?"

McKenzie took a long drink of coffee and stood. "I'll leave you alone." She walked out of the coffee shop. Now where do I go and what do I do? I guess I'll window shop.

As she moseyed down the sidewalk, a man stopped in front of her. "Hello. You look lost. Maybe I can help."

"Thank you, but I'm not lost." McKenzie attempted to walk around him. When he moved in front of her again, she said, "Excuse me, Sir. I need to get by."

"Why don't I buy you a cup of coffee?" His eyes met hers.

"No thank you." She again attempted to walk past.

He touched her arm.

Logan walked up and grabbed the man's arm. "The lady isn't interested." He put his arm around McKenzie's waist. "Let's go, Sweetheart." He drew her closer to his body as they continued to the car.

At the car, Logan opened the passenger door for her. "I hope you don't mind, but I'm driving."

After he turned the ignition key, McKenzie asked, "Logan?"

"I'm fine."

"Good to know," whispered McKenzie and after a long silence, she said, "I'll cook my specialty for dinner tonight."

Logan stopped backing up and faced her. "What's your specialty?"

"Macaroni and cheese with hotdogs."

"So you do have a specialty?"

"Yes, I can open a box with the best of them. You even have an option. I can cut the hotdogs up and mix them with the macaroni or you can have them separate."

A car honked.

Logan waved his hand. "Oh, sorry." He pulled back into the parking place. "Your suggestion shocked me. I forgot I was backing up." He laughed and shook his head. "Your lack of basic cooking skills never cease to amaze me."

"I thought I might help. It's that or something microwaveable. Your choice." She smiled. "Actually, I was getting tired of doing dishes, so thought we could switch roles."

"Ah, the truth comes out." His eyes met McKenzie's. "Sorry about the earlier familiarity, but-" He took a breath. "Did you know that man?" After she shook her head, he continued, "Did you see him Tuesday night at the Pub?"

"I don't think I've ever seen him before. I still don't remember a lot from that night. Did the bartender have any information?"

"Not really. He didn't recognize the men who tried to help. They're not regulars and came in a little after you did. He's pretty sure they were up to no good. He did let me look at the surveillance video and will have a copy made. I can pick it up in a few days." Logan stared out the windshield a few moments. "It's possible that guy was just hitting on a pretty girl."

McKenzie touched his hand. "You don't need to come to my rescue all the time. If he would've continued, I would've decked him. I can, you know?"

"I know." Logan hesitated.

"So you think I'm pretty, huh?" teased McKenzie.

His eyes widened as he grinned. "You're more than pretty."

"Thank you." She leaned back in the seat. "As you take me home, you can tell me what you're looking for in a wife."

"I'm glad you asked that before I backed up or I would've gotten honked at again. I'd thought you'd forgotten about it. I see there's no chance of it." Logan backed up and then put the car in first gear. "I'll answer, but only if you agree to tell me what your expectations are for a husband. Fair enough?"

"Okay. But you have to go first. I asked first."

"Give me a few minutes to think."

"I'll help. She'd need to know how to cook."

"Not really, it would be nice, but I enjoy cooking, so it wouldn't be a deal breaker." He maneuvered through traffic. "This is a perfect conversation for pulling surveillance not fighting heavy city traffic."

"You're not going to get out of it that easy."

Logan chuckled. "I didn't expect to." He switched lanes. "Okay, let's see. I think a suitable wife would have to be smart and funny, or at least fun to be around. Somebody I could be completely comfortable with." He passed a car. "I'd have to trust her. Trust is very important. She'd need to be my best friend and supportive."

"I see you have thought about this."

"Maybe a little. Want me to go on, or do you have the general idea?"

"Go on."

"All right, emotionally stable, willing to compromise and work with me." Logan grinned. "This one is a must, accept that I'm not perfect, but loves me anyway." He pulled into the driveway. "How'd I do?"

"Think you'll find that person? She'd have to be pretty awesome."

"I think so." Logan winked at her. "We need to let the dogs out. Ready?"

As they walked to the front door, McKenzie asked, "Ready to discuss Megan or do you need more time?"

When Logan didn't answer, McKenzie went in the house. "I'll let the dogs out, and then I need to make a phone call."

"You calling Hartford and seeing where Megan partied?"

"I'll need to check that place out."

"You're not going by yourself."

"If that Donny guy's there, it won't help having you hanging around."

"I'll sit back, and let you do your thing. Only observe."

McKenzie tilted her head. "Logan..." She hesitated. "I'll make the phone call and then start dinner. We can put this on hold for tonight. We're going to have fun at the game."

"Deal, but no dinner. Ball games are one of my junk food nights."

She laughed. "How many do you have?"

"Three, professional baseball games, New Year's Eve, and the Super Bowl." He grinned. "Your specialty is pure junk food, but I'd rather waste my night at the game. How about you?"

"I agree. I didn't really want to cook anyway."

"I figured."

"I'm making my phone call." She went into her makeshift den.

When McKenzie returned to the room, Logan stood. "Well?"

"Some place she called 'The Roof.' The closest I could get was the 'Tin Roof.' You familiar with it?"

Logan shook his head. "No. When we going?"

McKenzie sighed. "I don't want you to go. I'll probably visit it Monday evening, and then go back Friday or Saturday. I can get an idea of what it's like Monday and then see who the players are on the weekend."

Logan set his jaw. "I don't want you to go alone."

"I'll take Jose with me." McKenzie paused. "It may be better if we meet there. I probably should go as a single female." She studied Logan. He's worried something will happen. Now what do I do? She moved closer to him. "Jose will have my back."

"I know. But..."

She put her hand on his arm. "I'm not Megan."

Logan turned and walked outside.

McKenzie watched. He needs time. She went to the den. "I need to check old cases and see if I can find anybody who'd want to harm me."




Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou is an area name for St. Louis
Simon Knight Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league baseball team.
Yadi's Fan name for Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A> and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.
Kate Hartford Megan Nelson's friend they taught middle school
together.
Donny A man Megan Nelson dated.

Author Notes Thank you google images for a photo of a tape recorder. This post is a little over 1500 words. I hope it's not too long. I really didn't know where to split it. Sorry.

Again, thank you for your wonderful support.


Chapter 20
St. Louis Chapter 8 part 1

By barbara.wilkey

Ending of Previous Post:


"Some place she called 'The Roof.' The closest I could get was the 'Tin Roof.' You familiar with it?"

Logan shook his head. "No. When we going?"

McKenzie sighed. "I don't want you to go. I'll probably visit it Monday evening, and then go back Friday or Saturday. I can get an idea of what it's like Monday and then see who the players are on the weekend."

Logan set his jaw. "I don't want you to go alone."

"I'll take Jose with me." McKenzie paused. "It may be better if we meet there. I probably should go as a single female." She studied Logan. He's worried something will happen. Now what do I do? She moved closer to him. "Jose will have my back."

"I know. But..."

She put her hand on his arm. "I'm not Megan."

Logan turned and walked outside.

McKenzie watched. He needs time. She went to the den. "I need to check old cases and see if I can find anybody who'd want to harm me."

TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 8 PART 1

Almost an hour later, Logan joined her. When McKenzie glanced up from her files, he said, "About earlier..."

"You don't need to explain," she interrupted. "I understand. Really, I do."

He swallowed hard as he glanced at the files. "Did you find anything?"

McKenzie shook her head. "Nothing even close." She grinned. "I called Mrs. Whitmore." When his eyebrows rose, she continued, "Want to pull surveillance again Thursday evening?"

"Sure. Be ready to discuss what qualities you're looking for in a perfect husband."

"Deal. Tomorrow, I'll make a list and let you read it."

"It'll be too dark. You'll need to tell me. That way I can ask questions if I need to." Logan grinned.

"That wasn't part of the deal. I didn't ask questions." Her lips formed a pout. "That's not fair."

"How's it my fault you didn't ask questions?" Logan grinned at her pout. "Okay. If you think of any, you can ask. Fair enough?" He glanced at his watch. "I like to watch batting practice. How about you?"

"Me too. I'll be ready in a minute." McKenzie ran upstairs.

When she returned, she stood and watched Logan check the back door to make sure it was locked. He gets an A plus in over-protectiveness.

He adjusted his Cardinals' hat. "I like your Molina T-shirt. Let's watch some baseball." He opened the front door.

*****

On the way to Bush Stadium, McKenzie asked, "Have you already planned your junk food meal?"

"I don't plan everything." Logan paused. "But the answer is yes; 'El Birdos Gourmet Nachos' and two large cheeseburgers. Probably some peanuts later. How about you?"

"Pretzel and a foot-long chili cheese dog with extra onions and cheese." McKenzie paused. "Oh yes, a chocolate milkshake. Of course, peanuts."

After Logan parked in the garage across from the stadium, they walked to the 8th street ticket booth and stood in line to pick up the tickets.

As Logan handed McKenzie her ticket, she asked, "How much do I owe you?"

"Nothing."

"Remember this isn't a date. We're two friends who enjoy baseball going to a game. I need to pay my way."

Logan held out his hand. "Do you have a five dollar bill?"

"I think so." McKenzie searched her billfold and handed one to him. "Here."

He shoved it in his pocket. "Your ticket's paid for."

She held it up. "I know it cost more than five dollars. They're playing the Cubs. You tricked me!" McKenzie's hands were on her hips.

Grabbing her hand, Logan teased, "I did," he grinned, "and I can't believe it was that easy. Let's get inside."

Standing in the walkway, McKenzie read her ticket stub out loud, "Section one hundred forty-six, row 'E'. That's right down the first base line. Wow! These tickets had to cost over a hundred dollars each." She hugged him and then her cheeks tinged pink. "Sorry. I guess I got a little excited."

"Not a problem. I'm glad you approve." Again, Logan held her hand and led her to their seats. After they were seated, he asked, "Did your parents bring you to the games?"

"Dad did. We came a few times a year. Mom rarely came."

"Didn't your mom like baseball? Maybe she was a Cubs fan." He chuckled.

"She wasn't." McKenzie smiled, but then avoided eye contact. "Mom had some problems."

She obviously doesn't want to talk about it. Subject change. Logan pointed to the dugout. "Yadi just came out." He smiled as McKenzie jumped up and cheered.

*****

About thirty minutes before game time, Logan stood. "I'll get the food. You wanted a pretzel and foot long chili cheese dog, right? What to drink?"

"Chocolate milkshake, but I'll come. You can't carry everything." She followed him up the steps. At the top, she asked, "Which way?"

Logan pointed to the left. "Your pretzels and hot dogs are over there." He reached into his billfold and took out some cash.

"I see your nacho place over there." She pointed to the right. "I'll get mine and meet you. Your line looks longer."

"But..." Logan still held the cash.

"If anybody tries anything, I'll scream and ..."

"Okay. I get it," interrupted Logan. "I'm overprotective. I'm working on it." He grinned and shoved the cash in his pocket. She's not going to make this easy. He called after her, "Try not to hurt anybody." He walked to the right, but often looked back to check on McKenzie.

She smiled and shook her head each time he glanced in her direction.

While standing in line, Logan got a text from Bill. He silently read it: "Mac needs protection during the night. Think she'll let you stay? If not, I'll have the police assign a detail."

Logan ran his hand through his military-cut hair and replied, "Maybe. We're actually getting along and having fun. I took her to a ball game. Will keep you posted."

*****

As McKenzie sipped her milkshake, Logan caught up and he asked, "Did you have to fight off any men or see anybody who looked suspicious?"

"I saw plenty of suspicious looking people, but nobody noteworthy. How about you?"

"When are you going to take these threats seriously?"

"I am taking them seriously." She briefly chewed on her lower lip. "I had a moment of weakness. I won't let it happen again. I won't let these threats take over my life."

He nodded. "If you insist. Let's get back to our seats, I'm hungry."

At their seats, McKenzie watched Logan take a sip of a drink. "What's that?"

"A beer. Do you want one?" After she shook her head, he held it out. "You want a drink?"

"No." She turned away and took a bite of her pretzel.

That was strange. Logan stood as the National Anthem played. Afterward, he faced McKenzie still standing. "Have I done something wrong?"

"No." She sat and picked up the scorecard. "The game's ready to start."

*****

McKenzie jumped up and down and clapped her hands as Matt Carpenter hit a homerun. "I think that makes twenty-three for him this year." She yelled, "Go Carp!"

Logan raised his hand for her to hand-slap. When she did, he grinned.
Maybe she's forgiven me for whatever I did.

At the beginning of the fifth inning, Logan called to a vendor.

McKenzie glared at him. "You're getting another beer?"

"No, I was getting us some peanuts. I thought they were on your list."

She gulped. "They were. Thank you."

I know it's the beer she's upset with, but why? I'm not drunk and disorderly with one beer. He paid the vendor and passed her a bag of peanuts. "Would you like something to drink with them?"

McKenzie nodded. "Water. I'll get it. Do you want one?" She took out her billfold.

He motioned for another vendor, bought two bottles of water, and passed her one. "I got this."

"But..."

"Watch the game. We're switching pitchers. He must be new. I don't recognize him."

"They've called up a couple of new relievers from the minors."

As the game ended, McKenzie remained in her seat. "Good game. We won. It's always a good feeling."

"Ready to leave?"

"Nope. I want to savor the win." She scanned the crowd. "We might as well wait until it lets up a little." She held out her hand. "The keys."

Logan tilted his head. "I'm not drunk if that's what you're implying." He glanced at his watch. "It's been three hours since I drank one beer. I weigh two hundred pounds. The alcohol's already left my system." He watched as McKenzie glared at him. He reached in his pocket, and handed her the keys. "Here, if it makes you feel better."

"It does."

In the foyer of the stadium, McKenzie paused. "I need to use the bathroom."

While Logan waited, he sent Bill a text. "You'll need to get a police detail for Mac. I messed up. I had a beer. She's pissed with me."

Bill replied. "That's on me. I should have warned you. I'll explain at dinner tomorrow."

"I'll stay with her until the detail arrives."

*****

Inside McKenzie's townhouse, Logan held out his hand. "My keys. I'll need to go home tonight unless you want me to sleep on your couch."

She handed them to him. "You can leave."

Logan glanced out the window. "They're here. I'll see you in the morning."

"Who's here?"

Logan pointed out the window. "Your protection." McKenzie crossed her arms over her chest as he continued, "Don't get upset with me. This is all on Bill. I'm innocent. It came down to a detail or me. I figured you'd rather have a detail."





Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou local name for St. Louis
Simon Knight Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league
baseball team.
Yadi's Fan name for Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A> and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.
Kate Hartford Megan Nelson's friend they taught middle school
together.
Donny A man Megan Nelson dated.

Author Notes Thank you google images for a photo of a Bush Stadium in St. Louis. I have tickets for July 14. I can't wait. This post is a little under 1500 words. I hope it's not too long. I really didn't know where to split it. Sorry. As I posted I made four major changes to this post. I hope it's all right. This post may seem like fluff but there are some things in here that will become important later on in the story.

Again, thank you for your wonderful support.


Chapter 21
St. Louis Chapter 8 part 2

By barbara.wilkey

Ending of Previous Post:

Inside McKenzie's townhouse, Logan held out his hand. "My keys. I'll need to go home tonight unless you want me to sleep on your couch."

She handed them to him. "You can leave."

Logan glanced out the window. "They're here. I'll see you in the morning."

"Who's here?"

Logan pointed out the window. "Your protection." McKenzie crossed her arms over her chest as he continued, "Don't get upset with me. This is all on Bill. I'm innocent. It came down to a detail or me. I figured you'd rather have a detail."


TODAY'S POST:

McKenzie stared out the window. I can't believe Bill did this. I'm sure Logan talked him into it. At dinner tomorrow, I'll get this straightened out. She petted Edger. "You want out, boy?"

As she let the dogs out, she noticed police officers checking her back yard. Arlo barked with back hair bristled, and Edger checked things out.

After an officer waved at her, she said, "My dogs are all the protection I need."

"I understand, Ma'am. I'm just following orders."

When the dogs returned inside, McKenzie shut and locked the door. "I'm a prisoner in my own house. Bill's going to get an earful." She headed upstairs. Both dogs followed.

*****

Early the following morning, Logan watched McKenzie struggle carrying a full laundry basket down the stairs, reached out his arms to take it, as he said, "Let me help."

McKenzie jumped and stumbled. He caught her as the basket fell, dumping laundry on the stairs and floor.

She backed away and yelled, "You startled me. Don't you ever knock?"

"I did. When you didn't answer, I figured you were still in bed."

"No, you didn't. Arlo didn't bark." She picked up dirty clothes. "If I was still in bed, what were you going to do? Join me."

"Joining you was the farthest thing from my mind. I would have waited down here. Maybe..."

"I know fix breakfast," interrupted McKenzie. "Not even my mom was this concerned about my eating habits."

"I was going to say, let the dogs out. I'm getting pretty good at that. I was also relieving the police detail." He grinned. "Then maybe start breakfast. You know it's the most important meal of the day." He knelt to pick up some things.

"Don't touch my stuff."

"Yes, Ma'am." He dropped them. "I was only trying to help. You know, it's not like I've never seen or touched women's clothing before. I had a sister and I am thirty-four. I've actually met a few women in my day."

"I'm sure you have." She finished picking up the clothes and carried the basket to the laundry room.

Logan followed. "What did you mean by that statement?"

"You probably have women stashed at every port."

"That would be the Navy. I'm Army." He paused. "Wait a minute. Are we going to argue all day?"

"I guess that's up to you." McKenzie started sorting clothes.

"Why are you this upset already or did you just wake up like this?" Logan watched her as she continued her task, before he said, "I guess you're still upset over the beer and maybe the assigned detail." He left. "I'm starting coffee. I need a cup."

*****

As Logan sipped his coffee, McKenzie entered the kitchen. "Logan?" When he glanced at her, she continued, "Can I have some coffee?"

"Sure." He got up, poured her a cup, and handed it to her. "Ready to tell me what's going on?"

"I feel I don't have any control of my life. Everybody's making decisions without asking me. Bill put a protective detail on me and you just entered my home without knocking."

"Let's get one thing straight. I did knock, but nobody answered."

"Why didn't the dogs bark? Arlo barks at everything."

"Maybe he's gotten used to me being around and didn't see any reason to bark." Logan stood. "Ready for me to start breakfast?" After she nodded he said, "Why do you think Bill put a protective detail on you?"

"Because he doesn't believe I can take care of myself."

Logan stared at her with raised eyebrows. "Really?"

"Okay, maybe because I was drugged and somebody left a package with a dead rat in it on my doorstep."

"Duh? Do you think? He also cares about you, a lot." He reached for some flour. "You like pancakes?" After she nodded, he continued, "Bill gave me a choice to stay with you myself or have a detail. I thought you would be more comfortable with a detail."

"Why wasn't I given the choice?"

"I don't know. You need to ask him." He took out a large mixing bowl, and then his eyes met hers. "Did I choose wrong?" When she didn't answer, he added, "You can talk with Bill tonight."

"I plan to."

"You're almost out of eggs. Do you plan on going grocery shopping today? If not, I'll get some."

"After I finish with the house, I'll go shopping. Want to help me with the list?"

"Sure. Is it all right if we split the bill?" After she nodded and grinned, he said, "Good."

McKenzie ate most of her stack of pancakes before she set her fork down. "I didn't get much sleep last night."

"Why?" He got the coffee pot, refilled hers and then his. "Want to talk about it?"

"I'm not sure I can."

"Were you angry or scared or something else?"

"At first I was angry, but then I got scared, I guess. I'm scared of the unknown. I don't know what's going on. Why is this happening?" McKenzie chewed on her bottom lip. "If I knew what was going on, I think I'd be okay."



Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou local name for St. Louis
Simon Knight Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league
baseball team.
Yadi's Fan name for Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A> and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.
Kate Hartford Megan Nelson's friend they taught middle school
together.
Donny A man Megan Nelson dated.

Author Notes I leave for vacation tomorrow, July 8th and will return July 25th. I will review and post, hopefully, as much as I can. My story is almost complete, so all I have to do is edit, and edit and edit. I still mess up. LOL

Thank you google images for a photo of a question mark made from puzzle pieces. I thought it was appropriate. This post is a little under 900 words.

Again, thank you for your wonderful support.


Chapter 22
St. Louis Chapter 9 part 2

By barbara.wilkey

Ending of Previous Post:

McKenzie ate most of her stack of pancakes before she set her fork down. "I didn't get much sleep last night."

"Why?" He got the coffee pot, refilled hers and then his. "Want to talk about it?"

"I'm not sure I can."

"Were you angry or scared or something else?"

"At first I was angry, but then I got scared, I guess. I'm scared of the unknown. I don't know what's going on. Why is this happening?" McKenzie chewed on her bottom lip. "If I knew what was going on, I think I'd be okay."

TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 9 PART 2

As the last of the groceries were put away, Logan asked, "Okay, what else is there to do?"

McKenzie flopped down on the left side of the couch. "House cleaned, check, laundry done, check, groceries bought and put away, check. Tomorrow is pay bill day, so we can still catch the end of the ballgame."

Logan sat on the right side. "I vote for that." He petted Edger as he crawled up beside him. "I guess he figures Arlo's always next to you, so he'll sit here." He chuckled. "I get it, big guy."

"It's the sixth inning. The Cards are down by one. There's plenty of time, but we need some hits and baserunners." McKenzie glanced at her watch. "We have time to see the end of the game before we need to head for Bill's."

During the bottom of the eighth inning the Cardinals had tied the game.

"Darn! I need to change." McKenzie scooted to the edge of her seat. "I hate these close games. It can go either way."

In the top of the ninth, the Cubs got two runs.

"Okay, it's now or never. Maybe we should turn it off." McKenzie glanced at Logan. "Think we should?"

Logan laughed. "Do you believe it'll change the outcome?"

"No, but if they lose it won't be as painful. It's bad enough if they lose but to the Cubs it's twice as bad." She stood. "Maybe I'll go ahead and change."

"But if they come back, you'll have missed it."

"True. What should I do?"

"Decisions, decisions." Logan winked.

"You're teasing me."

"A little." He pointed to the stairs. "If you decide to change, I promise not to share the outcome. Will that help?"

"Not at all." McKenzie leaned back on the couch. "I'll stay, but they'd better win."

Logan jumped up at a noise out front and went to the door.

Both dogs barked and joined Logan.

"What was it?" McKenzie followed.

"I don't know. Stay back. I'll look around." As he opened the door, he glanced at Edger. "Do your job." Logan stepped onto the front porch.

When he returned, he carried a large rock. "Do the neighborhood kids usually throw rocks?"

"Not normally. Why?"

"I found this by the door." He pointed to an indention in the wood. "It hit here."

"Looks like it had some velocity to it."

"I'd say so."

"Why? Just to remind me they're watching me?"

"Maybe."

"I'm going to change."

Logan petted Edger. "Big guy, I'd say this isn't going to improve her mood. What do you bet?" He released a deep breath. "But she's handling it better than most."

When McKenzie returned, she glanced at the TV. "Well, did they pull it off?"

"Almost, they got one run back, but still came up short." Logan turned off the TV. "You look nice by the way."

"Thank you." She walked over to the door. "After I let the boys go out, ready to leave?"

Logan nodded. "Do you need some time?"

"No, why would I need time?"

He walked up to her. "Your eyes are a little red. I thought maybe..."

"I'm not a crier," interrupted McKenzie.

"But if you did, it would be all right."

She chewed on her lower lip. "I know." As a tear escaped, she turned toward the wall.

His arms went around her. "Come here. It's okay."

"I'm not crying."

"I know." He guided her head to his chest.

"Don't tell Bill why we're late."

"I won't."



Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou local name for St. Louis
Simon Knight Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league
baseball team.
Yadi's Fan name for Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A> and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.
Kate Hartford Megan Nelson's friend they taught middle school
together.
Donny A man Megan Nelson dated.

Author Notes I spent the afternoon in St. Louis watching the Cardinals. They did win; 5-2. I am using my laptop. I am much more comfortable with my PC, so I'm hoping I'm not making numerous mistakes.

Thank you google images for a photo of a rock which could have been thrown that McKenzie's door.

Again, thank you for your wonderful support.


Chapter 23
St. Louis Chapter 10 part 1

By barbara.wilkey

Just a note, Please remember Logan and McKenzie only met four days ago.


Ending of Previous Post:

"Thank you." McKenzie walked over to the door. "After I let the boys go out, ready to leave?"

Logan nodded. "Do you need some time?"

"No, why would I need time?"

He walked up to her. "Your eyes are a little red. I thought maybe..."

"I'm not a crier," interrupted McKenzie.

"But if you did, it would be all right."

She chewed on her lower lip. "I know." As a tear escaped, she turned toward the wall.

His arms went around her. "Come here. It's okay."

"I'm not crying."

"I know." He guided her head to his chest.

"Don't tell Bill why we're late."

"I won't."

Today's Post:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 10 PART 1

Joanie greeted McKenzie with a hug. "It's been over a month since we've last had lunch. How are you doing?"

"Things are pretty good. We need to do it again soon. Before I leave, we'd better set a date so we're sure it happens. Life seems to get in the way." McKenzie motioned to Logan. "I'm sure Bill's told you about him."

"He has. Glad to finally meet." Joanie offered her hand. "Bill's out back, if you want to go on out."

McKenzie started toward the kitchen. "I need to have a few words with him."

"Oh no," teased Joanie. "I know that look. What's he done this time?"

"I'd better rescue him." Logan followed McKenzie, but continued talking, "She's upset over the nightly police detail he assigned."

Joanie watched them leave as she shook her head. "I'm sitting this one out."

*****

When McKenzie stepped onto the patio, Bill looked up from the grill. "Hello. I'm glad you're here. I'm fixing a brisket." He nodded toward Logan. "Things going okay?"

"No. Things aren't okay." McKenzie glared at Bill. "What's this police detail about? I already have Betty Crocker. Why do I need more aggravation?"

Bill's eyes widened. "Betty Crocker?"

"I'll explain," interrupted Logan. "Mac's cooking skills lack, so I do most of the cooking."

"I get it." Bill grinned. "Mac, somebody's trying to hurt you. Until we find out who and why, I'd feel better if you have some security. It's a police detail or," he laughed, "Betty Crocker. Your choice?"

"What about the option that I take care of me? I vote for that."

"That's not happening." Bill's eyes met hers. "It's the police detail or Logan."

McKenzie turned and went inside. "Maybe I can talk some sense into Joanie."

Bill shook his head. "She's one stubborn young lady." He glanced at Logan. "I'm sure you've already noticed."

"We've had a few run-ins, but nothing much. I've figured out if I give her time, she's more willing to discuss it."

"That's true. It took me longer to figure it out." Bill chuckled. "You're pretty smart." He opened the smoker and made adjustments to the brisket. "I'd offer you a beer, but..."

"Yeah, explain the no alcohol issue."

"This story goes back to her childhood." Bill motioned to a chair as he sat. "Helen, her mom." He paused before he started over, "Helen's dad, Gus, was an alcoholic, and a mean drunk at that. Helen was abused as a child and this continued into her married life."

"By her dad's hands?" asked Logan.

Nodding, Bill said, "The police were regulars at their house, but Helen never pressed charges."

"I never understand why women put up with it."

"The abusers make sure the women have no self-esteem and cause them to feel they're forced to stay in that relationship, that there's no way out. Her husband and Mac's dad tried to help, but nothing ever came of it." Bill rubbed his chin. "One night when Mac was nine or ten years old, her dad was at work and Gus came to visit. He was drunk as usual. Helen put Mac to bed early trying to protect her from her grandpa."

"Why didn't Helen call her husband?"

"She tried, but he was on call and couldn't respond. Mack was still a detective for the Police Department." After Logan nodded acknowledgment, Bill continued, "I guess Mac had a nightmare and woke up crying. Gus went into her room to quiet her and hit her a few times. Helen came in to protect her daughter and hit Gus."

"This doesn't end well, does it?" Logan released a deep breath.

"No, it doesn't. I'm sure you know what happened. A neighbor heard the screams and called the police. Helen was battered so badly she spent almost a month in the hospital. Gus did two years in jail. McKenzie had some nasty bruises but more importantly still carries emotional scars. This is just one example of encounters with her grandpa."

"Wow!"

"That's when Mack left the police force and became a P.I." Bill checked the brisket. "As if that's not enough, Mac has more reasons to dislike alcohol. After the senior prom ended, her best friend, Nancy, and boyfriend, Louis, attended a party. Louis got drunk and attempted to drive Nancy home. He ran a red light, got in a car accident, and Nancy died at the scene. Louis survived."

"Enough said. I understand and won't drink around Mac again." Logan paused. "I hope that's the end of the stories."

"Mostly. Mac has a few little ones here and there, concerning boyfriends." Bill glanced toward the patio door. "What are we going to do to protect her?"

Logan ran his hand through his hair. "I don't know. It's not easy helping when she doesn't want it."


Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou local name for St. Louis
Simon Knight Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league
baseball team.
Yadi's Fan name for Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A> and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.
Kate Hartford Megan Nelson's friend they taught middle school
together.
Donny A man Megan Nelson dated.

Author Notes I'm still on vacation and enjoying my year old granddaughter. She's napping, right now. Tomorrow, I go to my in-laws, and then home on Thursday.

Please remember that I write romance with a back story. I think the back story sometimes confuses people about exactly what the genre is.

Thank you google images for a photo of a brisket. I wanted a security detail but couldn't find the exact one I wanted.

Again, thank you for your wonderful support.


Chapter 24
St. Louis Chapter 10 part 2

By barbara.wilkey

Just a note, Please remember Logan and McKenzie only met four days ago. This is the same day as last weeks post.


Ending of Previous Post:


"That's when Mack left the police force and became a P.I." Bill checked the brisket. "As if that's not enough, Mac has more reasons to dislike alcohol. After the senior prom ended, her best friend, Nancy, and boyfriend, Louis, attended a party. Louis got drunk and attempted to drive Nancy home. He ran a red light, got in a car accident, and Nancy died at the scene. Louis survived."

"Enough said. I understand and won't drink around Mac again." Logan paused. "I hope that's the end of the stories."

"Mostly. Mac has a few little ones here and there, concerning boyfriends." Bill glanced toward the patio door. "What are we going to do to protect her?"

Logan ran his hand through his hair. "I don't know. It's not easy helping when she doesn't want it."

TODAY'S POST:

In the kitchen, McKenzie stood beside and watched Joanie as she cut up cabbage and carrots for coleslaw. "Is there anything that's good and easy to make?"

Joanie tilted her head. "That's a strange question coming from you. You've never shown an interest in cooking."

"My specialty is microwaveable TV dinners. For a change, I make mac-n-cheese and hot dogs. I guess that doesn't count as a healthy meal."

Glancing toward the patio door, Joanie smiled. "He's awfully handsome."

"I hadn't noticed." McKenzie avoided eye contact. "He likes to make and eat homemade meals."

"I see."

"I'm tired of doing dishes."

Joanie laughed. "Let me think about your problem. I'm sure I can come up with some easy-to-fix meals."

McKenzie put her finger to her lips as she heard the men coming toward the kitchen.

Bill's voice was heard, "Joanie, the brisket has maybe another thirty minutes. How you coming?"

She faced her husband. "I'm right on schedule. Potato salad done, coleslaw will be done immediately, baked beans in oven, and Mac's favorite dessert, done."

"Is Mac's favorite dessert by chance donuts?" asked Logan.

Joanie grinned. "If it is, I didn't know it. I thought..."

"No silly, donuts are a breakfast food," interrupted McKenzie.

"I see this is something between you two." Joanie's eyes widened. "Should I tell him what your favorite dessert is or let him suffer?"

Bill patted Logan's shoulder. "Come with me. You won't win with these two. Her favorite dessert is brownies topped with ice cream and chocolate syrup."

"I'm not surprised. Absolutely nothing healthy in that."

After the men headed outside, Joanie waited until they couldn't hear before she asked, "Is there anything romantic starting between you and Logan?"

"Of course not. We argue all the time." McKenzie chewed on her lower lip. "Really we do."

"I'm sure you do."

"He's bossy and likes to take charge. Besides, he refuses to see the healthy benefits of donuts for breakfast."

Joanie turned toward the front door as the bell sounded. "I wonder who that could be. We weren't expecting anybody." After she looked through the peephole, she opened it. "Mitch, I haven't seen you for a while. What can I do for you?"

He leaned over and kissed Joanie's cheek. "Work's been keeping me busy. You're right; it's been way too long. I hope everything's been treating you good." He scanned the room. "I need to speak with Bill, is he home?"

"He's out back." She led him through the kitchen. "You remember McKenzie Morgan, Mack's daughter?"

"Sure do. I'm glad you're here. You're the reason I need to speak with Bill." Mitch kissed her cheek. "I haven't seen you since your dad left the police force. How you doing?"

"Good, sir. I'll show you outside." McKenzie opened the patio door. "Bill, Mitch Gardner's here to speak with you, I guess with us." She glanced at him.

After greetings were completed and the introduction of Logan made, everybody sat.

"I guess I need to start." Mitch hung his head. "I came to ask Bill if he'd speak with you." His eyes met McKenzie's. "I know from when I partnered with your dad, that you played a pretty mean game of poker. I'm hoping you still do."

"I do. About once a month some old friends of Dad's and I get together and play a few hands. I've been known to still win a few hands. I'm surprised you haven't joined us. Why you asking?"

"She's usually the big winner," interrupted Bill.

Logan shook his head. "Is there anything you don't do?"

"Cook." McKenzie grinned.

Bill laughed. "That she doesn't do." He checked on the brisket, before he sat. "Why are you interested if Mac still plays poker?"




Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou local name for St. Louis
Simon Knight Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league
baseball team.
Yadi's Fan name for Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A> and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.
Kate Hartford Megan Nelson's friend they taught middle school
together.
Donny A man Megan Nelson dated.
Mitch Gardner St. Louis Police Department detective who has
partnered with McKenzie's dad.

Author Notes My vacation was cut short when my youngest son, Steven, called and asked us to come home. He's 26 years old and started having some cardiac issues. We're still waiting for some tests. I would appreciate prayers and well wishes. Thank you.

My novel 'Texas Dream Catcher' , if everything works out right, should be published in August. The title has changed to either 'Under Siege on the Rockin' A or 'Siege of the Rockin' A' I can't make up my mind. Please let me know what you think. I value your opinion.

Please remember that I write romance with a back story. I think the back story sometimes confuses people about exactly what the genre is.

Thank you google images for a photo of poker game. Again, I added to the story as I posts. I felt some areas needed clarity. I hope I didn't make it worse.

Again, thank you for your wonderful support.


Chapter 25
St. Louis Chapter 10 part 3

By barbara.wilkey

Just a note, Again they've only known each other four days.


Ending of Previous Post:

After greetings were completed and the introduction of Logan made, everybody sat.

"I guess I need to start." Mitch hung his head. "I came to ask Bill if he'd speak with you." His eyes met McKenzie's. "I know from when I partnered with your dad, that you played a pretty mean game of poker. I'm hoping you still do."

"I do. About once a month some old friends of Dad's and I get together and play a few hands. I've been known to still win a few hands. I'm surprised you haven't joined us. Why you asking?"

"She's usually the big winner," interrupted Bill.

Logan shook his head. "Is there anything you don't do?"

"Cook." McKenzie grinned.

Bill laughed. "That she doesn't do." He checked on the brisket, before he sat. "Why are you interested if Mac still plays poker?"


TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 10 Part 3

Mitch released a deep breath. "We've been doing surveillance on a man, Ivan Smart. We're positive he's the leader of a gang who's running a human trafficking and child pornography ring. He's probably also into drugs. They seem to go together. But we don't have enough evidence to make any arrests. He plays poker every Wednesday night. We're afraid he'll make us, but Mac could buy into a seat and probably nobody would be suspicious. I heard she's really good undercover. Bottom line is we need somebody to get close to him."

Logan stretched out his legs and said, "With everything that's going on right now, I don't think it's a good idea."

Bill stood. "I agree with Logan. Mac's got too much on her plate. I'm sure you can find somebody else. Besides wouldn't a male be able to get closer to him than a female?"

"Wait a minute!" McKenzie glared at Bill, who was standing by the smoker. "When did you two become my bosses?" She faced Mitch. "I'll be happy to do it. I'm sure I could get close to him. I could play up to his male ego."

A gulp was heard, before Mitch asked, "What am I missing? There seems to be an elephant in the room."

"I think the timings off." Bill tapped the tongs he still held in his hand from checking the meat. "There have been a few threats made on Mac. I've assigned her a nightly police detail."

"Mac's safety is of upmost importance. I need to find somebody else for this." Mitch paused. "Do you know who's making threats?"

"Absolutely no idea, not even a hint." Bill took a drink of water. "That's the worst part. We don't know who we're dealing with."

"I'm sitting right here. I refuse to be held hostage in my house. I'm going to continue doing my job. I'll be happy to play poker." McKenzie held her breath. "If it makes you guys feel better, I'll take Jose with me as my lucky charm. I'm sure he could win over this guy."

"I know Jose, and he does great undercover work. I thought of him first, but he's a lousy poker player. I've played with him a couple of times." Mitch studied McKenzie. "I like your enthusiasm but I'm not sure it's in your best interest."

Joanie opened the patio door. "How close is the brisket?"

Bill got up to recheck. "Maybe another fifteen minutes."

"I can do this." McKenzie glanced at Joanie as she closed the door. "If it'll make you feel better, send Jose's partner with him."

After studying Logan, Bill said, "Mac, I know you'll argue with this idea but with Logan's training he'd better at this than Jose or his partner."

"Just because he's had great training doesn't mean he can execute it. All we really know is he has something to do with the Army's Special Forces and likes to cook. He may be a wimp."

"I seriously doubt that." Bill pointed the tongs toward Logan. "Have you noticed those biceps?"

"Okay, he lifts weights but that doesn't mean he can protect me or himself, for that matter."

Logan had been sitting quietly listening to the banter between McKenzie and Bill. He cleared his throat. "Mac, did you forget yesterday we went to the gym and sparred."

She nodded. "You kept up with me."

"If I remember correctly, I offered advice about how predictable your jabs and kicks were that your instructor hadn't noticed."

Her cheeks tinged pink. "Okay, you did well, but that doesn't mean you can handle yourself in a difficult situation. How do we know you can make split second decisions, especially under fire?"

"Are you by chance Peter Nelson's son?" asked Mitch. After Logan, nodded, he continued, "I know your dad. How many special op's missions have you been in and under heavy fire?"

"Sorry, sir. I can't answer that." Logan watched McKenzie.

"Okay, so you're some sort of special hero. You guys, it doesn't mean he can take over my life." McKenzie went into the house.

Logan stood. "Should I go after her?"

Bill tapped the chair. "Have a seat. My experience with Mac is to let her calm down before trying to talk with her. Joanie'll take care of it."



Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou local name for St. Louis
Simon Knight Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league
baseball team.
Yadi's Fan name for Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A> and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.
Kate Hartford Megan Nelson's friend they taught middle school
together.
Donny A man Megan Nelson dated.
Mitch Gardner St. Louis Police Department detective who has
partnered with McKenzie's dad.
Ivan Smart A bad guy

Author Notes Steven has taken this cardiac incident seriously and is starting to each much healthier. A big step in the right direction. Thank you for your well wishes.

I will keep you posted on how my new book being published is going.

Please remember that I write romance with a back story. I think the back story sometimes confuses the issue.

Thank you google images for a photo of poker game. Again, I added to the story as I posts. I felt some areas needed clarity. I hope I didn't make it worse. Please remember Ivan Smart. He's important and his name will show up again.

Again, thank you for your wonderful support.

As a teacher, I go back to work Thursday. DARN!!! The children return on the 26th. I actually do miss them.


Chapter 26
St. Louis Chapter 10 part 4

By barbara.wilkey

Still day four of McKenzie and Logan's relationship.


Ending of Previous Post:

Her cheeks tinged pink. "Okay, you did well, but that doesn't mean you can handle yourself in a difficult situation. How do we know you can make split second decisions, especially under fire?"

"Are you by chance Peter Nelson's son?" asked Mitch. After Logan, nodded, he continued, "I know your dad. How many special op's missions have you been in and under heavy fire?"

"Sorry, sir. I can't answer that." Logan watched McKenzie.

"Okay, so you're some sort of special hero. You guys, it doesn't mean you guys can take over my life." McKenzie went into the house.

Logan stood. "Should I go after her?"

Bill tapped the chair. "Have a seat. My experience with Mac is to let her calm down before trying to talk with her. Joanie'll take care of it."


TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 10 PART 4

Bill took the brisket off the grill. "Mitch, have you had dinner? There's more than enough. You're welcome to stay. We'd enjoy your company."

Glancing at his watch, Mitch shook his head. "Better get on home. My wife's waiting dinner, and I'm already late. It's been nice discussing old times. As for Mac, I'll find somebody else. I understand not wanting her to do it. Under the circumstances, I don't either. I'm sorry I brought it up. I'm sure her dad's rolling over in his grave at the suggestion." He patted Logan's back. "You have a feisty one on your hands. Good luck." He walked inside.

Logan watched him leave. "Why does everybody assume Mac and I are a couple? Half the time we're barely on speaking terms."

Chuckling, Bill said, "Because that's how all good relationships start."

Logan opened the door for Bill. "Whatever."

Inside Joanie showed Mitch to the front door while Bill and Logan went into the dining room.

McKenzie glanced up from setting the table. "I don't want to talk about it."

Bill set the brisket on the table. "Good. I was hoping we'd have a pleasant dinner, weren't you?"
Joanie entered. "I don't know what you're arguing about this time, but put it on pause until after dinner, and then you can go to your respected corners. Deal?"

Bill sat. "Deal."

McKenzie placed the last plate on the table. "Deal." She glanced at her ringing phone and stepped into the kitchen.

When she returned, everybody was seated and Joanie asked, "Is everything all right?"

McKenzie sat in a vacant chair closest to Logan. "Yes. It was Jose. He's having a boys-night-out with Whitney. He asked me to check on something for him. It's not urgent so I'll do it when I get home or in the morning." She glanced at Logan. "Nothing has changed."

Bill picked up a large serving fork. "Mac, pass me your plate. I hope you're hungry."

Joanie laughed. "Ever known a time she wasn't?"

He placed large slices of meat on Mckenzie's plate and said, "True. Logan, help yourself to some potato salad and pass it around. You're up next."

McKenzie studied Logan a few moments. "Do you have a key to Megan's apartment?"

"No, but I'm sure my parents do, why?"

"No phone was found on her. Most young women always have their phone with them. I think it's strange there wasn't one."

Logan tilted his head. "You're right. Her phone was almost an extension of her hand. On the way home we'll stop at my parents' and get the key."

Bill and Joanie winked at each other.

McKenzie noticed. "What was that about?"

"What?" asked Bill.

"You know what, those winks. The one you and Joanie just shared."

Joanie stood. "I forgot the buns. I'll get them." As she left the room, she added, "It's only been four days, and you're already meeting his parents."

"I'm not meeting his parents. Besides, I already know his parents. Mr. Nelson hired me. You two are reading more into this relationship than there is."

Bill nodded. "So you're admitting there's a relationship?"

McKenzie's eyes met Logan's. "Why aren't you helping me?"

"You're doing a fine job of convincing them we're in a relationship. I figured if we let it drop then it'd be over. Sort of you are protesting too much."

McKenzie hung her head. "I give up."







Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou local name for St. Louis
Simon Knight Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league
baseball team.
Yadi's Fan name for Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A> and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.
Kate Hartford Megan Nelson's friend they taught middle school
together.
Donny A man Megan Nelson dated.
Mitch Gardner St. Louis Police Department detective who has
partnered with McKenzie's dad.
Ivan Smart A bad guy

Author Notes Please remember that I write romance with a back story. I think the back story sometimes confuses the issue.

Thank you google images for a photo of a brisket dinner plate. Again, I added to the story as I posts. It's these corrections that cause additional mistakes. LOL I felt some areas needed clarity. I hope I didn't make it worse. Again, thank you for your wonderful support.

This next week will be my first full week back to work after summer break. We were emailed the schedule. Two weeks of sitting through training. OUCH!!!! The children won't come back for two weeks.


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