Mr. Perfect (Sinister in Savannah #2) - Aimee Nicole Walker
To the scrappers who never lose sight of their dreams, even when they seem unattainable. Chin up, shoulders back, and straighten that damn crown. You are enough.
A shrill sound woke Felix from a deep sleep. What was it? The neighbor’s vicious peacocks shrieking in the bushes outside his window again? No, that wasn’t the right noise. By the time it sounded again, Felix was wide awake and fully aware of what had woken him.
To most, a ringing phone in the dead of night was a bad thing. To a reporter, it was the sound of opportunity and possibility. Would this be the story that brought them fame and notoriety? Any reporter who claimed not to want those things was full of shit. They either were lying to themselves or just everyone around them. Felix was many things, some of them unpleasant, but self-delusional wasn’t among his attributes or flaws. He knew who he was, what he wanted, and what it took to make it happen. He didn’t lie to himself or anyone around him.
It was the only way to live.
Felix retracted his right hand from beneath his pillow. He reached for his phone but connected with a second pillow where his nightstand should’ve been. Wait a minute. He was on the wrong side of the bed. That alone wasn’t enough to induce panic, but the sleepy voice answering the phone from his normal side of the bed was.
The events of the evening assailed him—one earth-shattering, technicolor image after the other. It wasn’t his phone ringing. He wasn’t even sleeping in his bed.
Fuck. Oh fuck. What have I done?
Two weeks earlier…
“He’s a sanctimonious prick, and I can’t stand him,” Felix growled into his phone as he pulled into the parking lot at work. He’d once dreamed of a grander position than the lead investigative reporter for a midsize market newspaper. Savannah Morning News was supposed to be the first stop on a huge adventure, but Felix was still here thirteen years later. He was happy. Scratch that. Happiness was as foreign a concept as living on Mars. Felix was content. Right?
“Of course,” Reanna, his best friend since college, said, yanking his focus back to their conversation.
“I don’t like your patronizing tone, Ree,” Felix shot back.
“I haven’t had enough coffee to deal with your bullshit, Fee.” She was the only person on the planet he’d let get away with calling him such a ridiculous name. Ree and Fee—two peas in a pod. Felix had been the poorest kid and Reanna had been the only black student in their journalism program at Emory. They attended the university on scholarships and grants, while most of the kids were there on their parents’ dimes. They never let Felix and Reanna forget it either. Felix was bitter then, and he was bitter now. Ree had fared much better than he, and deservedly so. She was the best person he knew.
“You’re the one who called me,” Felix reminded her.
“To wish you a happy birthday, not to get started on your old grievances against Jude Arrow.”
The Straight Shooter. Christ. The moniker infuriated Felix more than he should permit. “I’m not the one who spoke his name.”
Ree snorted. “I just asked if you’ve run into him since he moved to Savannah.”
“He’s living here?” Felix asked, feigning stupid. Oh, how he wished he didn’t know the back-stabbing bastard was living in Savannah. Felix didn’t believe ignorance was bliss in any situation besides this one. Knowing Jude lived here and worked for Channel Eleven only stirred up trouble he couldn’t ignore.
“This is me you’re talking to. There’s no need to pretend.” Warmth and compassion suffused Reanna’s voice. “Have you seen him?”
It felt like he’d been holding his breath every day for six months waiting to run into Jude someplace. A small part of his brain had expected Jude to seek him out and take another swing at the apologies Felix had refused to accept in college. Felix didn’t need to be a smug bastard, although he was the smuggest of them all, to expect Jude to know he worked for Savannah Morning News.
It was equally unbelievable another investigative journalist, even one who specialized in another medium, hadn’t heard of the Sinister in Savannah podcast Felix had formed with his two friends, Jonah and Rocky. Hell, the trio had recently appeared in an interview for the morning show Jude’s network produced. Jude had most likely known but made no attempt to seek out Felix, and that’s what pissed him off the