Deadly Coincidence (Brantley Walker Off the Books #4) - Nicole Edwards

Chapter One

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Reese Tavoularis stared out the second-floor window, his binoculars bringing the monstrosity of a house across the street into sharp focus. It was still dark outside, the sun not quite coming over the horizon, but the vast estate was lit up like the surface of the sun, making his job easier.

Just shy of forty-eight hours on this painfully boring stakeout and they hadn’t seen a single person at the Prince residence. No one had so much as poked their head out. Not Nicholas Prince, not his new young wife or his daughter. Hell, not even the maid, the butler, or the pool cleaner. And Reese expected that would continue to be the case, no matter how long they remained here, because this was what they referred to as a total bust.

Then again, the Prince family was out of town for the holidays. And by holidays, Reese was referring to the entire months of December and January, starting, of course, back in November because, hey, why the hell not?

Who took a vacation for two solid months? In France?

Apparently the uber-rich, that’s who. The one-percenters. One of the many who lived in this ritzy neighborhood with its palatial mansions and luxury cars, kids who went to fancy boarding schools, and pets who had not only groomers but massage therapists.

Yep, it was a thing. Ask Evelyn “Just call me Maude” Montgomery, the seventy-two-year-old randy widow who lived here in this four-thousand-square-foot stately abode with her ninety-six-year-old mother, who could give Betty White a run for her money, as well as Maude’s best friend, Maxine. Sound familiar? If not, think a live version of The Golden Girls off in here, because that was exactly what was going on.

If Blanche and team had a miniature poodle named Snookums, that was.

And like the promiscuous Blanche Devereaux on The Golden Girls, Maude did have guests of the male variety on occasion, she had happily told them, but for the duration of their stay, she would ensure her many suitors were kept at bay.

Nice of her.

“Anything?” the deep, rumbling voice sounded from behind him.

Reese lowered the binoculars, scanned the yard and street one final time. “Nope.”

“I think it’s time to call it,” Brantley said in that sexy, just-woken-up, gravel-laced voice.

“I agree.”

Reese hadn’t been keen on the idea of spending the few days before Christmas camping out in some old lady’s second-floor spare bedroom just so they could keep a close eye on the house where they thought Juliet Prince might possibly appear, but he’d been overruled by Brantley, as well as Brantley’s cousin Travis, who was insistent they would find Juliet if they just looked hard enough. Didn’t seem to matter that they’d been dedicating a tremendous amount of time and effort the past few weeks to finding the woman and still nothing.

Of course, Reese didn’t have much say in the matter. After all, he worked for the Off the Books Task Force that Brantley spearheaded, and if Brantley wanted a stakeout, Brantley would get a stakeout.

Not that Reese had put up much of a fight. Not after Brantley had sweet-talked him with a blow job followed by breakfast in bed. Initially, Reese had figured the extra attention was his reward for finding a significant lead in a cold case they’d been sweating for the two weeks prior to this impromptu trip.

Oh, how wrong he’d been.

Brantley had given Reese the news of this supposed lovers’ getaway after that intimate massage with his lips and tongue, assuring Reese this was a chance for them to enjoy some downtime—a vacation if you will—before the chaos known as Christmas with the Walkers.

Teach him to give in to that wickedly skilled mouth, because this most certainly was not a vacation.

But Brantley had been right about needing some downtime. It would be scarce, because once the holidays were over, they were dedicating the first few weeks of the new year to doing interviews for the task force vacancies, and if he was being honest, despite knowing they needed the help, Reese wasn’t looking forward to it. He’d mastered many things in his life, but interviews weren’t on that list.

He was, however, looking forward to going home to see Tesha, his four-legged, furry partner, who was spending the weekend with JJ.

“So when do you wanna leave?” Reese asked, glancing back at Brantley.



That was not what he’d been expecting to see, but he wouldn’t deny he was intrigued.

Setting the binoculars on the window ledge, Reese turned around fully, taking in the sight