PJ Sugar had been born to sneak up on people. She clearly
possessed the instincts of a panther, with the ability to
find her prey and slink up to them in the shadows, pouncing
only when they least suspected.
Suspected adulterer Rudy Bagwell didnâ€™t have a prayer of
escaping. â€śIâ€™m telling you, Jeremy, weâ€™re going to nail him
this time.â€ť She wasnâ€™t sure why she felt the need to keep
her voice to just a hoarse whisper into the cell phone or
even to slink down into the bucket seat of her VW Bugâ€”it
wasnâ€™t like Rudy or his cohort in crime, Geri Fitz, would
PJ glanced at the digital clock on the dash. It glared 2:14
a.m., a resounding gavel bang to Rudyâ€™s guilt.
After all, who would be sneaking around after midnight?
Without, er, a good reason. Like a stakeout. â€śI followed him
to the Windy Oaks Motel off Highway 12,â€ť she continued. She
glanced at the soot-dark picture window next to the peeling
door of the ancient one-story motel. A brass number eight,
slanted at a corrupt angle, glared against the parking lot
lights as if spotlighting the sin behind the closed doors.
If she were picking a location to have a tryst with her old
highschool sweetheart, she might have aimed higher than a
graying yellow motel edged with weeds, a broken swing-set, a
muddy sandbox, and a Dumpster stuffed with a ripped
prison-striped mattress. Oh, the romance.
Just sitting in the greasy parking lot made her itch, as if
she might be the one engaging in the skullduggery. Now that
she was a PI in training, she got to use words like that.
She had even highlighted this one in the Basics of Private
Investigation manual Jeremy had assigned her to read as part
of her apprenticeship. She had read the â€śStakeoutâ€ť chapter
three times. And, if she did say so herself, had the
â€śTailing Your Suspectâ€ť techniques down to a science.
Nope, Rudy wasnâ€™t getting away with cheating on his wife.
Not with PJ Sugar on the job.
â€śAre you sure itâ€™s him?â€ť Jeremy spoke through the gravel in
his voice, obviously dredged from a deep sleep. She heard a
faint siren on the other end of the line and did the math.
â€śAre you sleeping at the office again?â€ť
â€śI worked late. Are you sure itâ€™s Rudy?â€ť
â€śOf course itâ€™s Rudy. Heâ€™s exactly the same dirt bag he was
in high schoolâ€”pock-marked face, a permanent scowl. He was
even wearing his leather jacket, which seems suspicious
given that itâ€™s August and about seventy degrees outâ€”â€ť â€śPJâ€”â€ť
She heard him sigh, could imagine Jeremy running his wide
hand over his face, through the dark grizzle of his late
night shadow, over his curly, thinning hair. â€śIâ€™m not sure
that Iâ€™m up to your PI prowess tonight. Have I ever told you
that youâ€™re hard to handle?â€ť â€śEvery day. Now, get out of bed
and bring your camera equipment. Oh, Cynthie is going to be
thrilledâ€”I promised her we were going to take down her
And Cynthie wasnâ€™t the only one to whom sheâ€™d promised
results. Sheâ€™d also made a plethora of private promises to
herself. A brand new job, a brand new lifeâ€”this time, she
wasnâ€™t going to quit, or take the fastest route out of town.
She was getting this done, no matter what the cost.
â€śSee, this is your problem, PJ. You make promises you canâ€™t
keep. Two weeks, and Rudy hasnâ€™t been seen doing anything
more notorious than ordering extra whip on his macchiato.
Iâ€™m thinking Cynthie is dreaming his affairâ€”and speaking of
dreaming, thatâ€™s what I should be doing. And you, too. Get
home. Go to bed.â€ť