“I’ve got another
client for you. Tyler Brodie, I’d like you to meet my grandniece,
Haley Warren. Haley’s out here from Chicago. Her grandmother was
Just to regain a
little of his dignity, Ty let his gaze roam over her, starting at
the frosted-pink toenails peeking out of strappy high-heeled,
open-toed sandals, sliding up a pair of long legs in snug fitting
jeans, across that bare midriff with its glittering bellybutton ring
over a set of nicely rounded breasts to a pretty face framed by
long, softly curling honey blond hair.
She had big blue
eyes, and an Angelina Jolie mouth that made him think of dirty sex.
Maybe she read his thoughts for a faint blush rose in her cheeks.
Good. A little
payback only seemed fair.
Besides, she was a
real pleasure to look at. Not beautiful in the classic sense like
some of the women he knew, but with those dimples and big blue eyes,
she was way beyond cute.
“Nice to meet you,
The smile was gone
and she assessed him coolly. “Aunt Ellie tells me you’re a friend,
as well as an investigator.”
“I like to think
“Of course it’s
true,” Ellie said. “That’s why I know we can count on Ty to help
Wariness slid through
him. Ellie had a way of bringing him clients who were nothing but
trouble. “How’s that?”
“Well, you see, three
months ago Haley’s father died when his power boat exploded.”
“I’m sorry for your
loss,” he said to her.
Grief flashed in her
eyes an instant before she glanced away. “Thank you.”
“At the time everyone
thought it was an accident,” Ellie continued, “a gas leak of some
kind that turned deadly. Haley’s stepmother doesn’t believe it.
About a month ago, Betty Jean started emailing Haley, trying to
convince her to come to Los Angeles and help her find out the
Ty focused on the
leggy blonde. “And you think she’s right because...?”
“I don’t know if
she’s right or not. I’ve never met her. Before he died, my father
and I had been estranged for nearly five years, ever since he left
my mother and ran off with another woman.”
“Betty Jean,” he
said, just to make sure he was getting this straight.
“That’s right. After
he moved to L.A., Dad tried to mend our relationship, but I just...I
couldn’t get past his desertion.” She glanced down and her eyes
misted. “Now my father’s gone.”
Ty nodded, beginning
to get the picture. “So your dad’s dead and you regret not mending
“Yes, I do. Very
much. But the thing is, some of the things Betty Jean says make
sense. I owe it to my father to find out what really happened.”
He flicked a glance
at Ellie, whose features looked a little too bland to suit him. “I
take it you’re here to convince me to help her.”
“That’s right. You
know how good you are at these things, Tyler. Johnnie’s out of town
on some case or other. And Haley will be helping you. That’ll save
you from having to do everything by yourself.”
Haley would be
helping him. He could think of any number of things he’d like her
to do for him, but none of them had anything to do with business.
The fact was Haley Warren was Ellie’s niece. Seducing her probably
wasn’t a good idea.
“Have you talked to
“Betty Jean has,”
Haley answered. “The police said there was nothing to indicate any
sort of foul play. But my stepmother isn’t convinced and if she’s
“I’ll tell you what.
I’ll look into the circumstances of the accident, see if anything
looks suspicious. I’ve got friends in the department. If
something’s not right, I’ll talk to them myself.”
Haley reached over
and caught his arm. He felt a little zing of awareness and figured
she must have felt it too since she stepped back as if she’d been
She glanced away,
took a deep breath and forced her eyes back to his face. “I want to
be involved in this, Mr. Brodie. I need to find out for myself. I
owe it to my father to find out the truth.”