Excerpt from Finding Southern Comfort
Harper reached for the handrail. These suckers looked steep. The door closed behind her, and she was left in the darkness. Maybe the children had brought their parents? She started down. Her wired tail flailed the steps, almost keeping time to the music.
“Keep 'em in line,” Rizzo had told her with one of his sleazy grins.
Sure. Right. She’d thought he was talking about rambunctious first graders, not the howling group below.
A guy waited at the foot of the stairs. The low lighting glinted off blond hair when he glanced at his Rolex. “You’re late.”
“Sorry, I had trouble finding the—”
“I’m Cameron Bennett, and you’re thirty minutes late.”
Her cheeks stung. “I’m Harper Kirkpatrick and I said I was sorry.” She’d had trouble with the zippers. Probably not the time to share. His blue eyes iced her. Stumbling on the last step, Harper pitched forward.
“Good God.” He broke her fall with both hands.
“Sorry. So sorry.” Cripes. She pushed away from a chest that had seen a gym or two.
“You okay?” Cameron Bennett looked more annoyed than worried.
“I’m fine. It’s dark in here, in case you hadn’t noticed.” Squaring her shoulders, she peered into the room. “Where’re the kids?”
A chill shot down her spine. Guys with flushed faces lounged in chairs around a few tables. The low-ceilinged room held a hint of Cuban cigars smoked here a long time ago. Her lungs squeezed tight. She had rules and Rizzo had broken them.
But her rent was way past overdue.