“So what exactly did Fern say in his text?” Kate asked as I closed the door to my apartment behind us.
We had crept upstairs as quietly as possible so Leatrice wouldn’t know we were back. The last thing I needed after dealing with a dead body on the boat and a meeting with Debbie and Darla was my nosy neighbor who watched way too much CSI.
“Just that he’s with the bride at her hide-out.”
Kate scratched her head. “I didn’t know she had a hide-out.”
“Wouldn’t you want a hide-out if you had a stepmother like Babs Barbery?”
Kate dropped her purse on the floor and sank onto my couch, throwing her feet up onto the coffee table and knocking a pile of papers off the side. “Her first name is Babs?”
I picked up the papers and gave Kate a pointed look. “Well, Barbara, I guess.”
Kate laughed. “Barbara Barbery. It’s perfect!”
“You know Barbery is her married name.”
“I’ll bet she changed her name as fast as she changed the names on her rich husband’s checking accounts.” Kate had a grudging admiration for women who married well.
“Well, whatever her name, the bride doesn’t want to be anywhere near her or the boat until the negative energy has been cleared out,” I said.
“So now we’re supposed to clear negative energy, too?” Kate sighed. “Just add that to the weird list of things people ask us to do.” She snapped her fingers. “Remember that awful bride, what was her name . . . Angel, Angie?”
“The one who ordered us to clean her kitchen and take out her trash?” I asked, sitting down next to Kate.
“Could you believe that? She didn’t even ask nicely.” Kate folded her arms over her chest. “I’d like to tell her where she could put those rubber gloves.”
“It’s not as bad as having to give a grandmother of a bride a pedicure,” I said.
Kate made a face. “Please, don’t remind me. That woman ruined feet for me forever.”
“Not all of them are like that,” I reminded her. “Some of them we love.”
“You’re right,” Kate said. “But it’s the evil ones that seem to be seared into my brain forever.”
I pulled my hair out of its ponytail and ran my fingers through it. “At least this bride is sweet.”
“Sure, but with a stepmother from hell.”
“You can’t win them all,” I said, elbowing Kate in the side.
“But could we win most?” Kate looked at me with puppy dog eyes. “I’d really like to win most.”
“Annabelle? When did you get home?” A deep voice with a Scottish accent said from behind us. Kate screamed while I spun my head around.
“Ian?” I stood up while Kate managed to fall to the floor in an effort to run to the door or hide. “What are you doing here?”
“I wanted to surprise you and Leatrice let me in.” Ian wore black leather pants and a white T-shirt that was worn soft so that I could see the outline of his muscles underneath and the tattoos on his upper arms. His blond hair had gotten longer and curled around the nape of his neck. Everything about him screamed 'bad boy' so it still surprised me that, at heart, he was a nice guy. It was the nice guy that I'd fallen for but the bad boy that made my heart race.
"Of course she did," Kate said. Leatrice adored Ian, partly because he was a man with a heartbeat who liked me and partly because he helped when she needed things done around the house. I was grateful she no longer felt the need to set me up with every delivery man that came to our building.
“Well, you surprised me,” I said, trying to slow my heartbeat. I looked away from his tight shirt, hoping that would help.
Kate pulled herself up onto the couch. “Are you crazy? I thought you were an intruder.” She sniffed and pushed her hair out of her face. “You’re lucky I didn’t have a weapon.”
I knew that Kate would never carry a gun until they came out with a designer version that could fit in a Kate Spade clutch and breathed a sigh of relief that that day was a long way off. If the world was lucky, that day would never arrive.
Ian held up his hands. “Sorry. I didn’t mean to scare you.” He smiled at me and raised his eyebrows. “I thought I might catch you alone, love.”
I felt my pulse quicken a bit. I was a sucker for accents and his soft Scottish brogue could make me melt. It was almost enough to wipe away the thoughts of Reese that had been playing in my mind since I’d seen him.
Ian walked over to me and took my hand, then raised it to his lips. "I've missed you."
I felt myself blush and couldn't help breaking out in a huge smile.
Kate looked between the two of us. “Maybe I should run out for coffee?” She scooped her purse off the floor and batted her eyelashes at me. “Can I get you anything? Frappucino? Muffin?”
I shot her a look but she just smiled and blew me a kiss. My Blackberry beeped inside my purse and we all stopped.
“Ignore it.” Kate and Ian both said.
I cringed. “I can’t ignore it.” I gave Ian an apologetic look. “It’s probably nothing.”
“Then I’ll check it,” Kate said, lunging for my bag. She pulled it out and punched a few buttons. I saw her eyes grow wide and then she rolled them.
I held my hand out for the phone. “What? Who is it?”
“Richard,” Kate sighed. “Apparently the bride didn’t stay in her hide out. She and Fern just showed up on the boat with a space healer.” She read more. “They’re trying to remove anything with negative vibrations.”
I imagined Jeremy Johns and Mrs. Barbery being carried out and put on the dock by a spiritual healer dressed in flowing purple robes. This I had to see. I could only hope that Fern was not dressed as a spiritual healer wearing purple robes.
Ian’s eyebrows disappeared under his choppy bangs. “A space healer? What kind of wedding is this?”
“The insane kind,” I ran a hand through my hair. “Is there any other?”