Stealing Home - By Jennifer Seasons Page 0,1

had concocted a plan that was simple and straightforward, but she didn’t want to risk screwing it up by being stupid.

The house band kicked into a new set just as the brunette stomped away in a pout, making Lorelei chuckle under her breath. Sultry blues filled the bar, all guitar and moody sax. Her gaze shifted from the catcher to the two other men sitting at the table with him. Both she recognized from the Denver Rush Web site. Even if she hadn’t seen their pictures there was no mistaking them for anything but baseball players. They had that rough-and-cocky quality about them.

All three of them had been drinking steadily since they’d arrived. Fabulous. It was going to make her job that much easier. Mark Cutter wouldn’t even know he’d been robbed until it was too late.

Shame echoed in the recesses of her mind at the word “robbed,” but she shoved it away.

Tapping a foot with nervous energy, Lorelei thought back to the night she’d met Dina Andrews. She’d painted the picture of a womanizing, alcohol-chugging, drug-abusing jerk. But her conscience had nagged at her to rate the guy for herself and not go on faith alone. Which explained why she was currently running surveillance and being all inconspicuous in her little corner.

Dina’s description wasn’t quite jiving with what she’d been observing the past hour, but it’d been enough at the time to get her to agree to the deal. Now it was too late to back out and she was caught between the proverbial rock and hard place.

She and her brother had tried everything under the sun to get the money to pay for the surgery that would save her niece’s life. Nothing had worked and now their backs were to the wall. Everybody understood the state of national health care these days, and its shortcomings. Her brother made too much money for government assistance, but couldn’t afford health insurance on his own, being self-employed. Plus, with her niece’s congenital condition, no private insurance would touch them.

They were stuck. Michelle had been given six months to live if the hole in her heart wasn’t repaired soon.

That’s where the desperation came into play. Every legitimate avenue had been exhausted in search of money, and as the clock ticked down and panic ratcheted up, that line between right and wrong had become increasingly easy to cross.

The way Lorelei saw it she had two options.

Option A: Watch a two-year-old die while secure in the knowledge that her own moral purity had been maintained.

Or Option B: Break into the home of a man at the request of his bitter ex-wife to steal his good luck charm for a whole lot of money.

Sign her up for a trip to purgatory and stamp her passport. It wasn’t even a competition.

People might disagree, but it wasn’t their precious family member on the line. Let them judge. She was past caring.

What she did care about was the money, its implications, and the bailout in place if she got caught. Dina had put some serious thought into this plan. If there was any trouble at all, Lorelei was covered.

They’d planned out all the scenarios and set up escape routes. The operation was foolproof. All she had to do was slip into the catcher’s condo, swipe the gold chain he kept in his nightstand drawer when he wasn’t playing, and slide right back out.

Thirty seconds max. Easy as pie. If she did get caught, Dina said her name was still on the lease. Lorelei would simply say that she was there at the request of her friend to pick up a few items, and that if they’d like to call Ms. Andrews she could corroborate her story in full. Then Lorelei would meet up with her and she’d exchange the charm for a hundred grand.

Over and done. What Dina planned to do with the necklace after that, Lorelei didn’t know and didn’t care.

She’d hightail it back to Loveland and Michelle would have her surgery. Life would get back to normal—whatever that was. It’d been so long since she’d known anything close to normalcy that Lorelei sometimes wondered if she’d even be able to recognize it. For two years her life had been put on hold while she helped her brother. Not that she was complaining. Family was family, and with it came certain obligations.

She hadn’t minded giving up her apartment and moving back to the ranch. That old farmhouse was the perfect place for a writer to gain inspiration.