Hide & Seek - Nicole Edwards Page 0,1

with sausage biscuits?”

“What do you want, Tavoularis?”

“Already ate. Omelets and bacon this morning. Just need more coffee.” Reese got to his feet, looked at Brantley. “Want some?”

Unable to turn down more caffeine, Brantley nodded, tossed back what was left in his mug, then passed it to Reese.

“Would it hurt you to make a couple extra omelets in the mornin’?” JJ whined with a smile. “The rest of us gotta eat, too.”

“Cereal’s a healthy part of a day, but this ain’t about breakfast,” Brantley told her, cutting them off before they could take this down the rabbit hole.

“You suck,” JJ said, tacking on a “boo” for good measure.

Brantley rolled his eyes, unable to hide his smile. “We need a name.”

“Um…” Baz frowned, scratched his forehead. “Brantley’s not good enough?” Baz asked, deadpan.

JJ laughed. Proving she thought the six-foot, one-inch Adonis was hot, because his jokes were certainly lackluster.

“Not for me. For the task force.”

“Why?” Baz asked, holding up the badge they’d been given as proof they were technically law enforcement. “I figure this is good enough.”

“Maybe, but either we come up with a name or we’re nothin’ but glorified PIs.”

“Like Magnum,” JJ said.

“Who’s Magnum?” he asked, knowing he would regret it.

“You know. Magnum, P.I. Ex-Navy SEAL turned private investigator? Originally played by the uber-sexy Tom Selleck? Now by the delicious Jay Hernandez?” JJ sighed when he simply shook his head. “Come on, Brantley. Don’t tell me you don’t watch any TV.”

Baz barked a laugh, pinned his eyes on Brantley. “You really are our very own Magnum.”

“He doesn’t,” Reese said, bringing Brantley his coffee. “Watch TV.”


“Yep.” Reese glanced over at JJ. “Unless it’s the news, or somethin’ I happen to have on, he doesn’t watch.”

“Surely you’re makin’ headway there, Tavoularis.” She cocked an eyebrow at her empty coffee mug.

“Might I remind you, we don’t have a couch,” Reese said, “so our living room’s useless.”

“Where’s your TV?” Baz asked, his brow furrowed as though he couldn’t believe it was even possible for someone not to have one.

“In the bedroom,” Brantley said, looking directly at JJ. “And there’re far more important things to do in the bedroom than watch TV.”

JJ’s eyebrows bounced. “So I’ve heard. Maybe I could take a peek sometime. See what all the fuss is about.”

Brantley narrowed his eyes. “Watch it, woman.”

A laugh was her response.

“Back on topic,” Reese said, his face an interesting shade of crimson.

“Yes. Task force name.” Baz cleared his throat, looked down at his desk. “Please, God, let us get back on topic.”

Brantley smirked. “So? Suggestions?”

“Well, we’ve already decided Five-O is out of the question,” JJ said.

He found it amusing that there was a hint of a question in that statement. “We’re not gonna be Five-O.”

“Fine.” She huffed. “What number is Texas?”

“Twenty-eighth to join the union,” Reese noted.

“Paid attention in Texas History, did you?” JJ teased.

Reese winked.

“Nothing remarkable about Two-Eight. Doesn’t have a ring to it,” Baz mused. “But we are the Lone Star State. Maybe we’re the Lone Star Task Force.”

“Next thing you know, we’ll be called the Lone Rangers,” JJ said. “No way.”

A buzzer sounded, signaling someone was at the door, drawing the conversation to a halt and all eyes in that direction.

“You expectin’ someone?” Brantley asked no one in particular.

“It’s Travis,” JJ said.

Brantley glanced back to where she’d projected the camera image onto the TV. Sure enough, the man was standing outside, holding a paper sack and likely his patience.

Reese headed for the door, unlocked it.

Travis Walker was one of Brantley’s many cousins. His daughter Kate’s disappearance was the first case they’d taken on, although it hadn’t been in an official capacity. However, it was the one that had resulted in the governor assigning a task force.

Brantley watched as Reese shook Travis’s hand, gestured the guy inside, and closed the door behind him.

“What brings you by?” Brantley asked, curious as to what would’ve drawn the man their way first thing on a Monday. Considering he owned and operated Alluring Indulgence Resort, he probably had more pressing issues to deal with.

“I brought tacos,” he said, holding up a white paper sack.

“Oh. My. God!” JJ launched herself up and raced over to him. “If you weren’t married, I’d kiss you right now.”

Travis chuckled. “Yeah. My husband and wife might get a little upset about that.”

“I know, right?” JJ grinned, snagged the bag, and trotted toward the kitchen.

Travis’s attention shifted to Baz, and it was then Brantley realized the true reason Travis had come by. He was here to scope out the new guy.

“Travis, meet our newest