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"St Louis"


Prologue
Prologue

By barbara.wilkey

St. Louis

CHARACTERS:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan is a 27 year old private investigator. She's a tough lady but struggles with trust issues. She will over compensate to hide those issues. Her two best friends are a male black and tan dachshund, Arlo, and a Rottweiler, Edger.

Background information: McKenzie was named after her father, Mack Morgan. She joined her father's P.I. practice upon graduating college and before he died. Her mother, Helen, is also deceased. Both parents were murdered a year ago in a double homicide in Mack's Private Eye Office.

Major Logan Nelson is 34 years old and an active duty soldier. He's in the Army and stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina and is a member of the Army's prestigious Delta Force. He took thirty days of leave to come to St. Louis to help solve Megan's, his younger sister's murder. He believes her abusive boyfriend, George Whitney, murdered her.

SETTING:

July 2019 in St. Louis, Missouri.

PLOT:

Questions to be answered:
1) Can McKenzie solve Megan Nelson's murder?
2) Can Logan protect McKenzie from the person/people threatening her life and discover who and why?
3) Will McKenzie learn to trust Logan or anyone?
4) Will Logan and McKenzie find romance?


Author Notes Sorry, I meant to post this yesterday, but a stomach virus kept me in bed with numerous trips to the bathroom. These is only a condensed version of my notes. As the characters grow they will change and cause changes to the story.


Chapter 1
St. Louis Chapter 1 part 1

By barbara.wilkey

CHAPTER 1 PART

Logan Nelson rang the doorbell of Morgan's P.I. office. Whoever heard of a P.I. working from home? Why doesn't he have a real office? Why'd Dad hire this guy? Between him and the police we'll never prove Whitney murdered Megan. Hurry up! I don't have all day! I need to get this guy in jail before he murders somebody else's baby sister. He paused and listened to a dog barking. Figures there's a yapping dog. Why do people have yapping dogs? They're a nuisance. He rang the doorbell, again.

Next, he heard a female voice yell, "Arlo, be quiet. It's all right."

Great, a little old lady receptionist. Just what I need. This isn't going very well. I'm too busy for this.

McKenzie Morgan answered the door, holding a miniature black and tan dachshund. "Hello, how can I help you?" She put her hand over the dog's muzzle. "Shhh. It's all right."

"I want to speak to Mack Morgan about a case he's working on."

"Come in. Sorry it took so long. I was in the back yard." McKenzie pointed to a traditional black office chair. "Please, have a seat." She walked around the small wooden desk and sat, holding the dog. "Exactly what case would you like to discuss?"

Logan scanned the tiny office area. "If Mack Morgan's here, I'll wait for him. There's no sense repeating myself."

"I'm Mac Morgan. How can I help you?"

With eyebrows raised, Logan said, "My dad said he hired an old friend's firm to bring my sister's murderer to justice. I'm pretty sure you're not Dad's old high school buddy."

McKenzie brushed a brown strand of hair from her cheek. "You're correct. I'm his daughter. Let's start with what's your name?"

"No disrespect, I understand having your daughter as a receptionist, but I really need to speak with your dad."

"That's impossible, he's--"

"When will he return?" interrupted Logan as he stood. "I'll come back later."

"You're welcome to come back later, but it'll still be impossible to speak with Dad. He died a year ago."

Logan sat. "What? I don't understand."

"Let's start over and maybe I can help you understand. I'm guessing you must be Megan Nelson's brother. Your parents mentioned you might be coming by. Could I please have your name?"

"Yeah, Logan Nelson. You're?"

"McKenzie Morgan. People usually call me Mac. I was named after my dad. Dad trained me, we worked together, and I'm more than capable of doing the job. Your parents hired me yesterday."

"You're a P.I.?"

"I am. I'm licensed and everything." McKenzie pointed to the framed license hanging on the wall behind her.

"But how? Why? I wasn't expecting..."

"A female?"

"You could say that." The tips of Logan's ears tinged pink. "I've really made an ass of myself, haven't I?"

"I'm used to it." She grabbed a pencil. "What can I do for you?"

"I'm wondering if you've made any progress finding my sister's murderer."

"Since I was hired yesterday afternoon about four o'clock, I've barely had time to get a good start. This morning, I did meet with the police department and got what information I could. But to be honest, right now I have nothing new to report. Do you have any information you'd like to share?"

"I believe her on-again-off-again boyfriend, George Whitney, murdered her."

"Why do you think that?"

"He used to knock her around. It's a small step from assault to murder. I believe the stats show a lot of abused women end up getting killed by their abusers."

"Did you ever see him hit her?"

Logan frowned. "Do you think he's dumb enough to beat up my sister in front of me? Hell no! There's no way that loser would live to tell about it."

McKenzie tapped her pencil. "Then why do you think he abused your sister?"

"Because when I'd come home for holidays I'd see healing bruises and black eyes. When I'd ask what happened, she'd make up some excuse about falling or bumping into something. Nobody's that clumsy. Some bruises looked like hand imprints, but she'd never admit to it."

"So you don't live around here?"

"No. I'm in the Army. I'm stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. I've taken thirty days leave to help solve Megan's murder. I'm not going back until there's justice for my baby sister." A small amount of moisture welled in Logan's eyes.

Glancing at her watch, McKenzie set the pencil by the pad of paper. "I have somewhere I need to be. When I have information, I'll call your dad." She stood.

"How about if I come by tomorrow after lunch, then you can fill me in on the new information you have?" Logan turned toward the door.

*****
Outside Logan found a shade tree to stand under while he called for a taxi. There's no way that petite female's going to get enough evidence on Whitney to prove he murdered my sister. I'm going to have to do it myself. He grinned. She was a looker though. Maybe we can work together.

Outside Logan found a shade tree to stand under while he called for a taxi. There's no way that petite female's going to get enough evidence on Whitney to prove he murdered my sister. I'm going to have to do it myself. He grinned. She was a looker though. Maybe we can work together.

About forty-five minutes later, the taxi parked and waited for Logan to enter, he stood with one foot in the car and the other remained on the curb. He watched McKenzie open the door, chase the little dog around the yard, before putting it back inside and locking the townhouse door. I wonder where she's going. He sat and said, "Follow that purple Dodge coupe."

"You sure, sir?" asked the taxi driver.

"I'm positive."



Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered






Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered


Author Notes Thank you google images of a black and tan Dachshund, mine is red. I am so happy about the reviews I received on the prologue. Many of you can't wait to see what part the dogs play in this. They often take over the scene. Thank you for the encouragement.


Chapter 2
St. Louis Chapter 1 part 2

By barbara.wilkey

Ending of Previous Post:

Outside Logan found a shade tree to stand under while he called for a taxi. There's no way that petite female's going to get enough evidence on Whitney to prove he murdered my sister. I'm going to have to do it myself. He grinned. She was a looker though. Maybe we can work together.

About forty-five minutes later, the taxi parked and waited for Logan to enter, he stood with one foot in the car and the other remained on the curb. He watched McKenzie open the door, chase the little dog around the yard, before putting it back inside and locking the townhouse door. I wonder where she's going. He sat and said, "Follow that purple Dodge coupe."

"You sure, sir?" asked the taxi driver.

"I'm positive."


TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 1 PART 2

Logan watched McKenzie parallel park. Not bad for a female. I wonder where she got that classic muscle car. It's too much for her to handle. Total waste of machinery.

He stared as she went inside an Irish Pub. So she has a date or maybe she's a drinker. Logan paid the taxi driver, stood across the street, and watched. Now what? "DUH". I wait. He scanned the area. There's a food joint with outside tables. I'll grab something to eat. Maybe they'll have toasted ravioli.

Leisurely eating, Logan didn't move his stare from the pub's door. I wonder what she's doing in there. After paying the waiter, he walked back to his original spot and waited.

He glanced at his watch. She's been in there a couple of hours. Nope, exactly two hours and seventeen minutes. He ran his hand through his brown, military cut hair and muttered, "Why's my gut telling me she's gotten herself in trouble?" He released a deep breath. "I've only known this female P.I. maybe ten minutes. So I don't really know her, but she's affecting my gut. How can that be? Oh, all right. Damn, women anyway." He crossed the red brick street.

Inside the pub, Logan paused a few moments and allowed his green eyes to adjust to the dark, smoke-filled room. He scanned it for McKenzie. When he found her, her head was lying on the bar and two men were lifting her limp body from the bar stool. So she can't hold her liquor. I'd better rescue her before she gets herself in trouble. I'm sure those two are up to no good.

He walked up to them. "Excuse me. That's my date. What are you doing?"

The taller of the two faced Logan. "She's here by herself. She didn't say anything about waiting for anybody."

"I got hung up at work. She's probably pissed." Logan glanced down at her. "She never could hold her liquor. I'll take her home." His eyes met the taller one's eyes. "You can leave now."

Whispering to each other, they walked away.

When the bartender came over, Logan asked, "How much do I owe you and what's she drinking?" He put his arm under McKenzie's arm pits and tried to help her to her feet.

"Nothing, and water with lemon. I'm glad you got here. I think those two were up to no good. I don't think she knew them."

"Is she a regular?"

"Nope, I never saw her before."

Giving up on helping her stand, Logan reached inside her jean's pocket, retrieved the car keys, and picked her up. "It'll be easier this way." He glanced at the bartender. "Thanks for the information."

I'm glad I saw where you parked and in which pocket you put your keys. If I would've had to search for them, he wouldn't have believed I was helping. Logan unlocked the passenger door and helped McKenzie inside the car. "I'll take you home." After he sat behind the wheel, he said, "If I wouldn't have come along, how would you have gotten yourself out of this mess?"

At McKenzie's townhouse, Logan parked. "I'll unlock the door and come back for you." He shook his head. "Why am I talking to her? She's passed out." He hesitated on the first step. "I can already hear that yapper. Good thing he's not big enough to cause any trouble."

As Logan unlocked the door, he jumped back. "Whoa!" He shook his head and re-locked it. "I know that yapper didn't grow. How'd I miss him this afternoon?" He walked back to the car and crawled in. "I'm taking you to my hotel. There's no way I'm going inside your house."

In the hotel room, Logan laid McKenzie on one of the queen size beds, removed her shoes, and put a blanket over her. "I'm glad this room comes with two beds." He watched her lifeless body. "Can't wait to hear your story."





Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered

Author Notes Thank you google images of a 1970 plum crazy Dodge Coronet Super Bee 2. I struggled deciding on dividing this next part. I went ahead and did it. So you get about 650 words instead of about 1350 words. Please let me know if you want the longer posts. I am also still working on the book summary. I don't have it the way I want it yet. Thank you for the encouragement.


Chapter 3
St. Louis Chapter 1 part 3

By barbara.wilkey

Ending of Previous Post:


At McKenzie's townhouse, Logan parked. "I'll unlock the door and come back for you." He shook his head. "Why am I talking to her? She's passed out." He hesitated on the first step. "I can already hear that yapper. Good thing he's not big enough to cause any trouble."

As Logan unlocked the door, he jumped back. "Whoa!" He shook his head and re-locked it. "I know that yapper didn't grow. How'd I miss him this afternoon?" He walked back to the car and crawled in. "I'm taking you to my hotel. There's no way I'm going inside your house."

In the hotel room, Logan laid McKenzie on one of the queen size beds, removed her shoes, and put a blanket over her. "I'm glad this room comes with two beds." He watched her lifeless body. "Can't wait to hear your story."


TODAY'S POST:


ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 1 PART 3 post 3

A few hours later, McKenzie moved and groaned.

Logan put a trashcan next to the bed. "You're probably going to need this. I don't understand how anyone could get drunk from lemon water." Dummy! "She's not drunk. She's been drugged."

As McKenzie began to gag, Logan helped her lean over the garbage can. He held her long, brown hair as she vomited.

Once her stomach emptied, McKenzie opened and closed her eyes a few times. "Where am I? What happened?" Again, she leaned over the garbage can and heaved.

Again, Logan assisted with her hair. "I haven't seen anybody this sick since I had to get one of my young troops from the drunk tank. What happened?"

"You?" McKenzie scanned the room and slurred her words as she said, "How'd I get here?" She attempted to stand but fell onto the bed.

"I don't have a lot of answers. I'm hoping you can fill in the blanks. I'll tell you what I know." Logan waited until she finished vomiting before he continued, "First what were you doing at that pub?"

McKenzie wiped her mouth. "I got a lead that it's a regular hangout for that guy, what's his name?"

"George Whitney," offered Logan.

"Since he doesn't know me, I was hoping to observe him for a while."

"Did you see him?" Logan paused. "Didn't anybody ever tell you not to drink while you're on a stake-out?"

"I wasn't drinking. All I had was water with lemon. I don't know what happened. And no, I didn't see him. Why am I in here? What are you doing here? Were you following me?"

"The bartender said the same thing, lemon water. I tried taking you home, but Goliath met me at the door. He wasn't going to let me in the house."

McKenzie tilted her head "Goliath? Oh, Edger!" She grinned. "He's a little protective."

Logan released a deep breath. "Yeah, when he glared at me I saw reflections of steak in his eyes. He planned on having me for dinner. You need to feed him better. When you're feeling up to it, I want you to have some blood work done." Her blue eyes widened, but he continued, "I think you were drugged."

"Why would somebody do that? I didn't know anybody there."

"Unless there's something you're not telling me or something you don't know about, let's try you're a beautiful young lady who was at a bar by herself and some jerk spiked your drink. Have you ever heard of the date rape drugs?"

"But?"

"But nothing," interrupted Logan as he took out his phone and searched for a number. "A former Army buddy is a lab tech for some place here in The Lou. He owes me a favor. We need to know what drug you were given and possible side effects."

"Just a minute." She checked to make sure her clothes were still intact. "You still haven't told me why you followed me. How do I know you didn't drug me?"

Logan stared at her. "I only removed your shoes. I didn't touch anything else. What motive would I have? We're on the same team. I want to know who murdered my sister."

"Why were you stalking me?"

"I wasn't stalking you or even really following you. I was curious about where you were going and why."

"What? That's a bunch of bull."

His eyebrows crunched together. "Not really. I was getting inside the taxi when you came out. I thought maybe you had a lead on my sister's murderer and thought I could help. So I wasn't following you, per se." He held up his phone. "I found my friend's number."

After he spoke with his buddy, he said, "He'll meet us here in about fifteen minutes."

"I didn't know lab techs made house, no hotel calls."

"I told you he owes me a favor. To be honest you're in no condition to move. You can barely sit up."

"How do I know he's not part of this conspiracy to drug me, hold me captive, and do who knows what with me? You could've got the drugs from him." McKenzie attempted to stand, staggered a few steps, and started to fall.

Logan caught her. "Because, if I didn't care, I'd let you hit the floor." He led her back to bed.






Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou is an area name for St. Louis


Author Notes Thank you google images of a common hotel room. It seems it was a tie for longer or shorter posts. This post is a little over 700 words and the end of a chapter. I'll see about making the next post longer. I am also still working on the book summary. I don't have it the way I want it yet. Thank you for the encouragement.


Chapter 4
St. Louis Chapter 2 part 1

By barbara.wilkey

Ending of Previous Post:

"I wasn't stalking you or even really following you. I was curious about where you were going and why."

"What? That's a bunch of bull."

His eyebrows crunched together. "Not really. I was getting inside the taxi when you came out. I thought maybe you had a lead on my sister's murderer and thought I could help. So I wasn't following you, per se." He held up his phone. "I found my friend's number."

After he spoke with his buddy, he said, "He'll meet us here in about fifteen minutes."

"I didn't know lab techs made house, no hotel calls."

"I told you he owes me a favor. To be honest you're in no condition to move. You can barely sit up."

"How do I know he's not part of this conspiracy to drug me, hold me captive, and do who knows what with me? You could've got the drugs from him." McKenzie attempted to stand, staggered a few steps, and started to fall.

Logan caught her. "Because, if I didn't care, I'd let you hit the floor." He led her back to bed.


TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 2 PART 1

Almost twenty-five minutes later, a knock sounded on the hotel room door. Logan answered, "Hello." He shook hands with his old Army buddy. "Sorry, we have to get together like this. I hope your wife didn't mind you making a house call." He motioned toward McKenzie. "I'd like you to meet my PI friend, Mac Morgan. She got herself into some trouble tonight."

"Simon Knight." He offered his hand and then his eyes met Logan's. "I see you're still rescuing ladies in distress. Where'd you find this one?"

"An Irish Pub. All reports are that she was only drinking lemon water. When I walked in, two men were attempting to help themselves."

"Figures." Simon opened a black bag and removed some instruments. "I'm going to give you a quick check-up to make sure you don't need to make a trip to the ER. Can you describe your symptoms?"

"Confused and groggy."

"Her speech has been slurred, and she was unconscious when I got there," interrupted Logan. He glanced at his watch. "She was out for about two hours that I know about."

Simon nodded. "Continue, Mac, do you mind if I call you Mac?"

She shook her head and focused on the garbage can. "Vomiting. I have no memory of what happened."

"Okay. First, I want a urine sample. Can you make it to the bathroom?" Simon handed her a specimen jar.

Nodding, she said, "I think so."

Logan moved beside her. "I'm here if you need me." He offered his arm. "She hasn't been successful at standing." She stumbled, so he put his arm around her waist and helped her into the bathroom. "Let me know when you're finished."

Before long the men heard the door handle jiggle. Logan asked, "You need help?"

"I can get it."

The door opened, and McKenzie attempted a step but grabbed the door jamb to keep from falling. "When's the room gonna stop swirling?" She glanced at Simon.

"Depends what they gave you." He waited until Logan helped her back to bed and held up a stethoscope. "I want to listen to your heart, your pulse, and take your blood pressure."

After that was complete, Simon grabbed an elastic band and syringe. "I'll need some blood." His eyes met Logan's. "Did you notice her drink? Did it have any color or smell to it?"

"No color, and to be honest I didn't think to sniff it. Why?"

"My gut tells me it was GHB. It's colorless and odorless. We'll know more when I get the results back."

"How long will I feel like crap?" asked McKenzie.

"If it's GHB, it normally leaves the body in about twelve hours. But..." Simon released a deep breath. "It's often manufactured in home labs so we don't always know what's in it."

"Great." McKenzie closed her eyes.

Simon packed his bag. "I'm done. She's going to feel like shit for a few more hours, but she should be all right. I'll have the test results back in a couple days. I'll try by end of business tomorrow, but can't promise."

He glanced at McKenzie. "As long as she doesn't show any other signs, she should be fine. If anything at all shows up, don't hesitate to take her to the ER." He placed his hand on the door knob, and then turned around. "I doubt I need to tell you, but I wouldn't leave her alone until you're sure the drug's out of her system. Oh yeah, even though she's been communicating with us, she may struggle remembering it right away. She may never remember the pub."

"I won't leave her." Logan patted his buddy's back. "Thanks for helping."

"Anytime. You two need to come to dinner. I'll get with my wife and give you a date when I call with the results."

"She's only an acquaintance." Logan shook his head.

Simon grinned. "My gut says different. Us Special Forces types always listen to our gut, right?"

McKenzie managed to open an eye. "Did he say I'm stuck with you in this room for hours?"

Glancing at his watch, Logan replied, "I don't know when you ingested the drugs. To be safe I'd say you're stuck with me for another eight hours."

She attempted to sit. "I could really use a drink," she slid down, "of water."

Logan unwrapped a hotel glass and filled it with water. "I'll get you one." She held out her hand, and he grinned. "There's no way, I'm giving you this without help. You'll spill it. Then I'd have to give up the dry bed. I doubt you want us sharing a bed." He used his free arm to raise her so she could drink. "Go slowly until we know if you're going to keep it down."

After she took a few sips, she closed her eyes. "Thank you. You're a little bit nice."

"Yeah, right." Logan chuckled as he grabbed the remote control. "I hope there's a game on. I'm sure the Cards are blocked. Wait, they're playing in Atlanta." He turned his head to check on McKenzie. Good, she's asleep. I wonder what mess she's gotten into. Since Dad hired her yesterday, I doubt it has anything to do with Whitney. What else is she working on? I'll never find out tonight. She probably wouldn't tell me anyway.

A few hours later, Logan heard a commotion in the hotel hallway. He glanced out the peephole. It's only people checking-in. I guess I'm a little jumpy. He returned to his chair. Nobody would expect her to be here anyway. "Good, Yadi's up." He watched the first pitch. "Come on, we need a hit." Again, he glanced at the door. We could've been followed. I got careless. I never checked to see what those two jerks did. Tomorrow I'll visit the bartender and see what he knows about them.






Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou is an area name for St. Louis
Simon Knight Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league baseball team.
Yadi's Fan name for Yadier Molina - Cardindal's all-star catcher.

Author Notes Thank you google images of a common medical bag. This post is a little under 1000 words. I am also still working on the book summary. Starting March 11th, I'm on spring break, maybe I can get the summary under control then. I don't have it the way I want it yet. Thank you for the encouragement.


Chapter 5
St. Louis Chapter 2 part 2

By barbara.wilkey

Ending of Previous Post:

McKenzie managed to open an eye. "Did he say I'm stuck with you in this room for hours?"

Glancing at his watch, Logan replied, "I don't know when you ingested the drugs. To be safe I'd say you're stuck with me for another eight hours."

She attempted to sit. "I could really use a drink," she slid down, "of water."

Logan unwrapped a hotel glass and filled it with water. "I'll get you one." She held out her hand, and he grinned. "There's no way I'm giving you this without help. You'll spill it. Then I'd have to give up the dry bed. I doubt you want us sharing a bed." He used his free arm to raise her so she could drink. "Go slowly until we know if you're going to keep it down."

After she took a few sips, she closed her eyes. "Thank you. You're a little bit nice."

"Yeah, right." Logan chuckled as he grabbed the remote control. "I hope there's a game on. I'm sure the Cards are blocked. Wait, they're playing in Atlanta." He turned his head to check on McKenzie. Good, she's asleep. I wonder what mess she's gotten into. Since Dad hired her yesterday, I doubt it has anything to do with Whitney. What else is she working on? I'll never find out tonight. She probably wouldn't tell me anyway.

A few hours later, Logan heard a commotion in the hotel hallway. He glanced through the peephole. It's only people checking-in. I guess I'm a little jumpy. He returned to his chair. Nobody would expect her to be here anyway. "Good, Yadi's up." He watched the first pitch. "Come on, we need a hit." Again, he glanced at the door. We could've been followed. I got careless. I never checked to see what those two jerks did. Tomorrow I'll visit the bartender and see what he knows about them.


TODAY'S POST:

As the sun rose the following morning, McKenzie began to stir. "Argh, I have a massive headache."

From his bed, Logan rolled toward her. "Do you remember anything about last night?"

She studied him. "What are you doing in that bed?"

"It was either this bed or the one you're in. I figured you didn't want me in your bed. So I slept over here. It seemed the right thing to do." Logan stood. "Besides the headache, how are you feeling? What do you remember about last night?"

"One question at a time, and what's your name again?" She squinted. "You're...wait. I know this...you're Nelson, but what's your first name?"

He sat on the edge of the bed. "Logan. You're still a mess. I'll shower while you get yourself together." He pointed at the door. "Don't open it. You could be in danger."

"None of this makes sense."

"You're right about that. After I finish in here, you can get in. Over breakfast, we can try to sort it out. Just rest for now."

After Logan finished his bathroom routine, McKenzie watched him for a few moments. "I want to go home. It won't do me any good to shower. I need clean clothes."

"Can you walk?"

"What do you mean?"

"Try standing."

McKenzie sat on the edge of the bed and attempted to stand. "I'm up." She took a wobbly step and plopped down on the bed. "What happened?"

"Do you remember going to the Irish Pub last night?"

"Yes, one of the police detectives working on the case said George Whitney frequented that place. I thought I could observe him."

"Was he there?"

She thought and then shook her head. "I don't think so."

"Do you remember talking to any men there?"

"No." McKenzie released a deep breath, before she added, "Wait, there was a man who kept coming to the bar. He never really said anything but he gawked at me. I have no idea why."

"Did you know him?" After she shook her head, Logan asked, "What did he look like?"

She studied Logan. "Could you stand for a second?" He did, and she said, "Tall, but a little shorter than you. How tall are you?"

"Six-two. So maybe six foot." She nodded, and he asked, "How much did he weigh?"

"I didn't put him on a scale or really pay that much attention." McKenzie scanned Logan. "Less than you. He was skinnier. Not as muscular."

Logan grinned. "I just felt I was in a meat market. Remind me not to do that to women." He rubbed his chin. "I'm about two hundred pounds, so maybe a hundred seventy-five." He waited a few moments before he asked, "Can you describe him? Hair color, eye color? Maybe you can give the police sketch artist a description."

"He had blondish light brown hair. I'm not sure of his eye color, I didn't look that close." McKenzie held up her left arm and pointed to the inside of it. "He had a tatt here. I remember because it was a snake coiled and a scorpion next to it. I thought that was strange."

He tossed some blankets further onto his bed. "You have a good start on a sketch." After pausing a moment he asked, "Could you draw the tatt?"

"I'm not a good artist but I could try." McKenzie accepted a small pad of paper and a pen from Logan and grinned. "I guess it doesn't matter if it has the hotel's logo on it."

A few minutes later, Logan studied the drawing. "Not bad. I'll hang on to this in case we need it for identification. Since you don't want to shower now, how about some breakfast?"

"No way! My stomach's jumpy. I do want a shower." She studied the Band-Aid on her arm. "What's this from?"

"You don't remember much, do you? A buddy of mine came by. He's a lab tech. He took some blood to see what drug you were given."

McKenzie closed her eyes and thought. "I do remember that. His name started with an 's'."

"Yes, Simon Knight." Logan scanned the room. "Let's get you home. Think you can walk?" He shook his head. "Never mind. I'll help." He stood beside her. "Use my arm to steady yourself."

She studied her feet. "My shoes. Do you know where they are?"

Logan walked over to the dresser. "I put them over here last night." He noticed her eyes widen. "They're the only thing I touched." He brought them to her. "Let me help."

"I think I can." She bent over to try but closed her eyes. "I'm dizzy."

"Not surprised. Simon said it'd stay in your system for at least twelve hours."

"What time is it?"

Glancing at his watch, Logan said, "Eight-thirty."

"It's got to be over twelve hours, doesn't it?"

He fastened the last heeled sandal. "One would think so. Ready? Here's my arm." He held it out for her to take. "Those heels are pretty high. You sure you can walk in them? I don't want you hurting an ankle."

After a few wobbly steps, McKenzie released a deep sigh. "I guess it's bare feet for me."

Logan handed her the car keys. "Hold these." He put his arms under her. "I carried you in, I'll carry you out."

"How'd you get my keys?"

"You couldn't drive, so I helped myself. You have a nice ride by the way. Matter-of-fact, I'm driving you home. You're in no shape to drive."

"I don't like the idea of you taking over my life."

He set her in the parking lot. "Last night I rescued your butt from probably being raped or worse. Now, I'm keeping you safe until the drug wears off. If you don't want my help, I'll leave." He started to walk away.

McKenzie took a step and stumbled a little. "Logan, please stay." She held up the car keys. "I guess I've been ungrateful. Will you accept my apology?"




Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou is an area name for St. Louis
Simon Knight Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league baseball team.
Yadi's Fan name for Yadier Molina - Cardindal's all-star catcher.

Author Notes Thank you google images of a snake tattoo. This post is a little over 1000 words. I am also still working on the book summary. I'm on spring break!!!! Yeah!!! Maybe I can get the summary under control then. I don't have it the way I want it yet. Thank you for the encouragement.


Chapter 6
St. Louis Chapter 2 part 3

By barbara.wilkey

Ending of Previous Post:

Logan handed her the car keys. "Hold these." He put his arms under her. "I carried you in, I'll carry you out."

"How'd you get my keys?"

"You couldn't drive, so I helped myself. You have a nice ride by the way. Matter-of-fact, I'm driving you home. You're in no shape to drive."

"I don't like the idea of you taking over my life."

He set her in the parking lot. "Last night I rescued your butt from probably being raped or worse. Now, I'm keeping you safe until the drug wears off. If you don't want my help, I'll leave." He started to walk away.

McKenzie took a step and stumbled a little. "Logan, please stay." She held up the car keys. "I guess I've been ungrateful. Will you accept my apology?"

TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 2 PART 3

After parking at McKenzie's townhouse, Logan went around the car and opened her door. "You're going to have to go first. Goliath hates me."

"Who's Goliath?" McKenzie frowned. "Oh, you mean Edger. He's a pussy cat."

"Maybe to you, but he hates me. He told me that last night. Ready?" After she nodded, he carried her up the stairs. "The yapper's at it again."

"I'm sure they both want out and probably a walk. I run every day with Edger."

"I can help let them out, but there's no way I'm running with that dog. Are you sure he's a dog?" Logan still held her. "Can you get the door unlocked?"

"You're really worried about this, aren't you?"

"You didn't see the glare he gave me."

"Set me down. I'd better go first." McKenzie unlocked the door and opened it. She steadied herself with the doorknob, but one hand remained on Logan's arm.

At the door, stood Arlo and Edger. Arlo wagged his tail and jumped up against McKenzie's legs. Edger wagged his stubby tail, rubbed his head against McKenzie's hand, but kept a watchful eye on Logan.

"I told you he hates me." Logan was careful to stay away from the dog and close to the door. "Is he a rottweiler?"

McKenzie knelt and rubbed the sides of his large head as she hugged him. "He is and a big baby, but he tends to be suspicious of strangers." She struggled trying to stand as she glanced toward the stairs. "I need to shower. Are you going to wait around?"

He offered his hand. "Let me help." Once she stood, he continued, "As long as Goliath will allow me, I won't leave until I'm sure you're back to normal." Logan watched as she crept toward the stairs. "Can you make it up?"

"We'll see." She took a step. "If I go slowly, I should be all right."

Logan nodded. "I'll wait down here. Take him with you."

"He usually follows me everywhere. They both do." McKenzie hesitated. "I forgot. They need out." After she completed that task, she attempted the first step and then looked back at Logan. "I might be awhile. So don't worry."

"Why would I worry?"

"You look like the worrying type."

I meet this broad, Logan did the math in his head, seventeen hours ago. I've ready rescued her and then played nurse-mate so nothing else happens. Why would I worry? He searched through the refrigerator and kitchen cabinets. She must not be much of a cook. I need breakfast. He yelled up the stairs. "I'm going out for groceries." He shook his head. "I'd better let Goliath in. Who knows what trouble she'll get into while I'm gone?"

Edger studied him a few moments and then he followed Arlo up the staircase.

*****
Hours later when McKenzie entered the kitchen, Logan smiled. "You clean up nice. Your eyes tell me you're feeling a little better."

"I soaked in the tub for a while." Her cheeks tinged pink. "I think I fell asleep." She scanned the kitchen. "It looks like you've been busy."

"I was hungry and didn't see much in the way of food so I went to the store. I hope you like omelets and coffee."

"I do." McKenzie sat on the kitchen stool. "They smell great. Thank you."

Logan took a few bites. "Any idea who did this or why? Could it be case related?"

"I don't think so. I'm working a few cheating spouse cases, checking out a witness for the District Attorney, and then your sister's murder. Things are slow right now."

"Question, why do you have your office out of your house?"

McKenzie avoided his eyes as she sipped black coffee. "Dad's office was right downtown, only three blocks from the stadium. Mom helped part-time with the paperwork. As they were closing after dark, June 12th, 2018, they were both murdered. I was doing surveillance on a cheating husband or I probably would've been killed too. Anyway, I closed down that office. Every time I walked inside, it brought back too many memories."

"Did they catch their murderer?"

McKenzie nodded. "Yes, John Benson was arrested but died in prison before the trial, actually only a few days ago. He and his family claimed his innocence."

"What was his motive?"

"He worked for a large contracting company. Dad worked with the police and found evidence he embezzled from the company. He also laundered drug money for the 49 BAD Bloods street gang. They transport drugs from Phoenix to St. Louis. Dad was going to be a witness at his trial." McKenzie set her fork on her plate and drank the last of her coffee. "I don't know that much about it. Dad tried to keep me away from that part of our business. I really need to get busy. I can't sit here and talk all day."

"Do you mind if I hang around? I'm still not sure you're a hundred percent."

"You're using that as an excuse to be a pain-in-the-butt, aren't you?"

Logan grinned.







Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou is an area name for St. Louis
Simon Knight Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league baseball team.
Yadi's Fan name for Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler

Author Notes Thank you google images of a Rottweiler . This post is just under 900 words. Spring break is over and I never found the time to work on the book summary. It takes me forever to finish a novel so I have plenty of time. I'm sure something will come to me. It has been brought to me attention that I have my characters looking often, I have been working on that and still don't have it under control. Any help will be appreciated. Thank you for the encouragement.


Chapter 7
St. Louis Chapter 3 part 1

By barbara.wilkey

Ending of Previous Post:

McKenzie avoided his eyes as she sipped black coffee. "Dad's office was right downtown, only three blocks from the stadium. Mom helped part-time with the paperwork. As they were closing after dark, June 12th, 2018, they were both murdered. I was doing surveillance on a cheating husband or I probably would've been killed too. Anyway, I closed down that office. Every time I walked inside, it brought back too many memories."

"Did they catch their murderer?"

McKenzie nodded. "Yes, John Benson was arrested but died in prison before the trial, actually only a few days ago. He and his family claimed his innocence."

"What was his motive?"

"He worked for a large contracting company. Dad worked with the police and found evidence he embezzled from the company. He also laundered drug money for the 49 BAD Bloods street gang. They transport drugs from Phoenix to St. Louis. Dad was going to be a witness at his trial." McKenzie set her fork on her plate and drank the last of her coffee. "I don't know that much about it. Dad tried to keep me away from that part of our business. I really do need to get busy. I can't sit here and talk all day."

"Do you mind if I hang around? I'm still not sure you're a hundred percent."

"You're using that as an excuse to be a pain-in-the-butt, aren't you?"

Logan grinned.


TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 3 PART 1

As McKenzie checked her calendar and prepared to walk out the door, her phone rang. "Sure, Bill. I can check an alibi. I can do it right now. It shouldn't take long." She took notes. "I'll call you back, in let's say forty-five minutes." She paused. "Okay, I'll come by your office. See you then."

"Who's Bill? And why are you doing work for him? Does he pay?"

She shook her head. "You're a real pain. This is none of your business. I won't do anything on your sister's case until later this afternoon. You can leave until then." She released a deep breath. "You're not going anywhere are you?" After he grinned, she continued, "I might as well answer your questions. He's a lawyer and yes, he pays. I'm on retainer. I get a monthly check whether I work or not."

"I'm still hanging around. I might come in handy."

"I doubt it." McKenzie started out the door. "Can I have my car keys back?"

Logan tossed them to her. "Maybe this Bill guy can help with the men who drugged you."

"We won't know for a fact I was drugged until we get the results from your friend. Plus I won't be able to do anything because there's not a reliable chain of custody with the evidence."

"My friend's very reliable. I trust him with my life."

"I'm sure you do, but will a court?"

Logan tilted his head. "I see your point." He opened the driver's side door for her. "This seems a little strange. It's hard to be a gentleman when you're driving."

"Get used to it." She waited until Logan was seated before she pulled from her parking slot.

McKenzie studied the dilapidated building before her and then checked the notes she'd taken. "This is the address Bill gave me." She took out her phone. "I think I'll check."

After verifying the information and describing the scene to Bill, McKenzie hung up. "This is the address the suspect gave the police. I'm supposed to speak with a Marcie Kirks. Unless Marcie's a rat, I doubt we'll find her."

Before McKenzie stepped from the car, she removed her 40 caliber Smith & Wesson semi-automatic pistol and checked it.

"Nice pistol. You know how to use it?"

"Yes." She replaced the gun in the back of her waist band. "I have a real permit and everything. Do I need to show it to you? Have I mentioned you're a pain?"

"You have numerous times. To be honest; I've lost count." Logan grinned. "And I believe you have a permit, so we're good. Just pretend I'm your bodyguard."

"Only I don't need a bodyguard." McKenzie walked up to the building. "I can take care of myself, really I can."

Logan touched her arm. "What do you know about Bill? Could this be a set up?"

"Bill and Dad were friends. Your dad knows him too. They all went to high school together. You should ask him. There's no way it's a set up. I'll agree it looks suspicious. This is definitely an abandoned building. Nobody lives or works here." McKenzie took her Nikon camera and began snapping photographs. "If you're coming, let's go and look around."

As they searched inside, numerous rats, mice, and squirrels scampered into hiding.

Logan kicked over torn newspapers and fast food wrappers. "Looks like some junkies and homeless use this place for shelter."

McKenzie pointed to some empty bottles. "Don't forget drunks." She paused, held up her hand, and whispered, "Listen."

Logan nodded, turned toward the noise, and motioned McKenzie to take cover. He darted behind a rotting door and peered out.




Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou is an area name for St. Louis
Simon Knight Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league baseball team.
Yadi's Fan name for Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A> and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.

Author Notes Thank you google images of a dilapidated warehouse . This post is right at 600 words. I wrote this in July and have edited it over and over again. As I posted it, I made numerous changed. I hope I haven't made it worse. Any help you can offer will be appreciated. Thank you for the encouragement.


Chapter 8
St. Louis Chapter 3 part 2

By barbara.wilkey

Ending of Previous Post:

"Bill and Dad were friends. Your dad knows him too. They all went to high school together. You should ask him. There's no way it's a set up. I'll agree it looks suspicious. This is definitely an abandoned building. Nobody lives or works here." McKenzie took her Nikon camera and began snapping photographs. "If you're coming, let's go and look around."

As they searched inside, numerous rats, mice, and squirrels scampered into hiding.

Logan kicked over torn newspapers and fast food wrappers. "Looks like some junkies and homeless use this place for shelter."

McKenzie pointed to some empty bottles. "Don't forget drunks." She paused, held up her hand, and whispered, "Listen."

Logan nodded, turned toward the noise, and motioned McKenzie to take cover. He darted behind a rotting door and peered out.

TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 3 PART 2

After Logan identified the sound as a car's engine, he ran from the building and stared at the taillights. "Shit!"

McKenzie came up behind him. "Did you get a good look? There was no car around when we arrived."

"I know. It was a black crossover. I didn't get the model, probably two thousand sixteen or seventeen. The license plate started with 'ST' and maybe a three or eight. I couldn't tell for sure and didn't get the rest."

"Great. You just described ninety percent of the vehicles in the greater St. Louis area." McKenzie headed toward her car. "Let's go. I need to talk with Bill."

As they walked, Logan asked, "You need to find out who knew you'd be here. More information about this Marcie person, and..."

"I know what I need to ask," interrupted McKenzie as she opened her door. "I am a professional, regardless of what you believe."

"You took that wrong." He stared at her over the car's roof.

"I know you think you're trying to help." She sat behind the steering wheel. "Get in." She inserted the key and paused. "How long were they here?"

"Couldn't have been too long. I don't really know. Why?" asked Logan.

McKenzie opened the door. "They may have planted something on the car." She knelt, felt, and searched around the tire well.

Logan checked the passenger side.

After she finished her side, she lifted the hood. "I doubt they had time to do anything in here."

Logan leaned in for a better look. "This baby's clean. I never expected a 426 V8 Hemi." He shook his head. "I should've. It had some pick up. Where'd you get this beauty?"

"From Dad. His favorite past time was working on, no, restoring cars. Ever since I could walk, I toddled after him." McKenzie smiled. "I was his favorite helper." She closed the hood and checked both the front and back bumpers. "I guess they didn't mess with it. I wonder what they were doing and why they didn't stay."

"Maybe they didn't have time to complete their task. Or they wanted you, and my being here screwed up their plans."

McKenzie tilted her head. "I'll give you that you were a big help last night, but I'm pretty sure you didn't have anything to do with what just happened." She opened the driver's door. "Let's go."

*****
The traffic was light and it didn't take long before they had parked in front of a red brick, two-story building and stood at the receptionist's desk.

"D.A. Abbott, please," said McKenzie, "he's expecting me."

"I'm sorry, ma'am. He's very busy." The young lady checked a schedule. "I don't see your name or any name on the schedule. It looks like he's free next Wednesday afternoon at two o'clock. Give me your name and I'll write you in."

McKenzie smiled and checked the name tag. "Ms. Smith, please tell him Mac's here. He'll see me."

A lady in her early forties walked into the room and hugged McKenzie. "Hi! I've been on vacation and have missed your visits. How have you been?"

"No complaints, Rachel," answered McKenzie. "I need to speak with Bill, but..."

"He's busy," interrupted Ms. Smith. "I offered to set up an appointment."

Waving her hands, Rachel walked over, rapped a few times, and opened the door. "Bill, Mac's here." She faced the young receptionist. "I know you just started two days ago. Mac, Ms. Morgan, is welcome in Bill's office anytime."

Immediately, his arms surrounded her. "Mac!" He motioned her to enter. "Who's your friend?"

Introductions were made and Bill grinned. "Logan, I know your dad. He speaks highly of you. Thank you for your service. What do you do for the Army? How long you been in?"

"Twelve years, Sir. I'm stationed at Fort Bragg."

Bill shook his head. "Never understood why anybody would jump from a perfectly good airplane." He studied Logan for a few moments. "You're special forces or something, aren't you?"

Logan tilted his head. "Or something."

"You're..." Bill used the heel of his hand to tap his forehead, "black ops or Delta Force?"

"Sorry, Sir. I can't answer that."

McKenzie smiled. "You aren't the run-of-mill-pain-in-the-butt, you're a special one."

With a chuckle, Logan said, "You could say that."

"Now I understand where your cockiness comes from."

Bill smiled at the banter. "I see you two get along perfectly." He pointed to a couple of chairs. "Have a seat. Did you find anything useful?" He sat.

McKenzie searched her camera for the photos she'd taken. "I doubt Marcie Kirks lives or works here. Your suspect says he was with her at the time of the robbery. I doubt he's being truthful."

After studying them, Bill rechecked his notes. "Something's definitely wrong. I need to get back with the officer who gave me this information." He started to dial his phone. "He was a new officer. I think he just graduated the academy last week or the week before."

"Wait, before you call," interjected Logan. He filled Bill in on the black crossover and the license plate. When he'd finished, he explained last night's events.

Tapping his fingers on his desk, Bill's eyes met McKenzie's. "Why didn't you call? And don't say, you didn't want to bother me. I promised your parents I'd look after you. My wife and I are here for you any time of day or night."

"I know that, but..."

"To be honest, Sir, she was in no condition to call anybody. I didn't know about you so I couldn't call. If I did, I would've."

"Okay, that makes sense." Bill released a deep breath. "I'm glad your gut told you she was in trouble." He faced McKenzie. "I hope you thanked him."

"Of course, I did." Her gaze dropped to the floor. "But probably not as well as I should I have." After releasing a deep breath, McKenzie's eyes met Logan's. "Thank you for being there when I needed help. I do appreciate it."

Logan reached over and touched her arm. "Anytime. Although, I hope there's not a next time."

Bill reached for his phone. "I never did get that call made." He listened as the phone repeatedly rang and then hung up. "I'll have to get back with you. I'll follow up on the crossover and find out what Ms. Kirks is up to or even if she's a real person. I should have answers before close of business today."

McKenzie stood. "I better let you get back to work. I have a busy day, too." She glanced at Logan. "You coming?"

"Of course." Logan offered his hand. "Glad to meet you Mr..."

"Bill," he interrupted. "Anybody who helps my God-daughter calls me Bill." He leaned a little closer. "She's a handful."

Logan grinned. "I've already figured that out."

"If you two are done discussing me as if I'm not even in the room, we need to leave." She kissed Bill on the cheek. "We'll talk later."

He returned the kiss. "As soon as I get answers, I'll call. You can expect a call from Joanie later. You and Logan need to come to dinner this weekend." After McKenzie agreed, Bill walked them to the door.

In the reception area, Logan said, "I take it Joanie's his wife."

"She is. I can't imagine what we're going to do with all these dinner invitations." McKenzie kept walking. "That makes two."

"You do remember Simon."

"A little."

Once they arrived at McKenzie's home, Logan walked her inside and scanned the townhouse. "It looks safe. I think I'll visit my parents. I have a few questions for them."

"I can give you a ride."

"A taxi will work. I need to do some thinking anyway. What time should I be back?"

McKenzie's eyebrows crunched together. "I have no idea. I don't work on a schedule."

"Okay." He ran his hand through his hair. "I guess you wouldn't. I'll return when I'm done. How's that?"

"Okay, I guess, but you don't need to hang around. I can handle this."

Logan walked out the door and called over his shoulder. "I'll be back."

"I know you will." McKenzie paused. "Logan, wait a minute. I have a question." Once he came closer, she continued, "Bill said something like; I never understood why anybody would jump from a perfectly good airplane. What did he mean by that?"

"Fort Bragg is home of the 82nd Airborne Division. Their mission is within 18 hours of notification to strategically deploy, conduct forcible entry parachute assault, and secure key objectives for follow-on military operations."

"So it's part of your job to jump out of airplanes and put yourselves in danger?"

Logan grinned. "Yes, Ma'am."

"Why?"

"Somebody's got to do it." He turned to leave. "See you later."



Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou is an area name for St. Louis
Simon Knight Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league baseball team.
Yadi's Fan name for Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A> and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.

Author Notes Thank you google an image of a 1970 crazy purple super bee, McKenzie's car. Bill's comment, 'Never understood why anybody would jump from a perfectly good airplane.' is because Fort Bragg, NC is home of the 82nd Airborne Division and their mission is within 18 hours of notification, strategically deploy, conduct forcible entry parachute assault and secure key objectives for follow-on military operations in support of U.S. national interest.

This post is a little under 1400 words. I hope you don't mind the length. As with any of my novels this one is taking on a life of it's own. OH MY!!! Any help you can offer will be appreciated. Thank you for the encouragement.


Chapter 9
St. Louis Chapter 4 part 1

By barbara.wilkey

Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of sexual content.

Ending of Previous Post:

**A reviewer had a great point, so I changed the ending of this post slightly. My husband is retired military. I forgot that not everybody knows what the 82nd Airborne Division does.**

Bill returned the kiss. "As soon as I get answers, I'll call. You can expect a call from Joanie later. You and Logan need to come to dinner this weekend." After McKenzie agreed, he walked them to the door.

In the reception area, Logan said, "I take it Joanie's his wife."

"She is. I can't imagine what we're going to do with all these dinner invitations." McKenzie kept walking. "That makes two."

"You do remember Simon."

"A little."

Once they arrived at McKenzie's home, Logan walked her inside and scanned the townhouse. "It looks safe. I think I'll visit my parents. I have a few questions for them."

"I can give you a ride."

"A taxi will work. I need to do some thinking anyway. What time should I be back?"

McKenzie's eyebrows crunched together. "I have no idea. I don't work on a schedule."

"Okay." He ran his hand through his hair. "I guess you wouldn't. I'll return when I'm done. How's that?"

"Okay, I guess, but you don't need to hang around. I can handle this."

Logan walked out the door and called over his shoulder. "I'll be back."

"I know you will."

TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 4 PART 1

McKenzie read the notes concerning Megan Nelson's death she'd taken yesterday. I really need to see the autopsy report. Just as she picked up the phone to make a call, it rang. "Hello." After she listened and wrote down an address, she said, "Sure," and glanced at her watch, "I'll meet you in about an hour. I'll stop by the police station, park my car, and then catch the bus. See you then." She hurried to her room. Undercover's always fun. Jose's great to work with.

After she changed, put on make-up, a few fake tatts, and curled her hair, McKenzie glanced in the mirror. "I think I look slutty enough. This should work." On the way out, she grabbed her cue stick. "Those years hanging around the billiard hall with Dad will come in handy."

Once her car was parked in a secure lot, McKenzie found a seat on a city bus headed toward the address Jose had given her.

Outside the billiard parlor, McKenzie adjusted her blouse and jeans so the maximum amount of skin and tatts showed and finger brushed her hair. No matter what, nothing to drink. I've learned my lesson. She opened the door.

Jose walked up to her, put his arms around her, and plopped a sloppy kiss on her lips. "Hey, sweetthin', what took you so long? I thought you were meetin' me thirty minutes ago." He glanced toward three men. "This is Sammie, my gal. Sammie, meet the guys. The one wearin' the Cards' t-shirt's George; next to him is his brother, Tommy, and then cousin, Joey."

Each man raised a hand as Jose identified them. George grinned. "What can I get you?"

McKenzie pointed her cue stick at him. "Nothin', hon. I don't drink when I'm winnin'."

"You ain't winnin' at nothin'," said Tommy as he added chalk to his cue stick. "Joey, make sure there ain't no cheaten'."

"Keepin' my eyes on her won't be hard. She's a looker that's for sure."

"What is it best out of three? Who goes first?" McKenzie's eyes met George's but she pointed to the bartender. "How about he flips the coin, and you, big guy, call it?"

George called to the bartender, "Jake, okay with you?"

Jake lifted it up for all to see. "And I have a new shiny quarter. Call it in the air." He tossed it.

"Heads. I always call heads." He rubbed his crotch as he watched the quarter fall into Jake's hands.

"It's tails. Jose breaks."

McKenzie leaned over and kissed Jose. "Sugar, why don't we let the losers go first? I'm feelin' generous, right now."

Jose pulled her closer. "Sure, as long as I can get more of that." He kissed McKenzie and rubbed her rear-end. "George, break. I'm busy."

George's glare darted from the pool table to Jose and McKenzie as he hit the cue ball, but scratched as it rolled into a pocket. He took a long gulp of beer.

Jose glanced at George. "Sammie, I think he's already had too much brew. This should be an easy win."

Jose placed the cue ball in the area between the edge and the second set of diamonds. "I'll put it here." He eyed George before he said, "Do you mind if I let Sammie take my turn?"

"Hell, no. Let the lady go." George grinned. "But she can't change the cue ball's position. It's already been set."

McKenzie walked up to the table and leaned over, allowing a large portion of her breasts to slip out. She readied her stick, wiggled her rear-end a few times, and hit the cue ball. The six, eleven, two, and seven balls went in. "I guess we're goin' for the solid balls, all right with you?" She pecked Jose's cheek.

"Shore is. You takin' your next shot?" asked Jose.

"Why don't you?" She adjusted the knot just below her breasts. It held the front of her blouse together. "I think I'll watch." She stood beside George. "You don't mind if I stand here, do ya?"

"Shore don't." George's gaze followed the butterfly tattoo down her breasts to the knot. "Hmm..."

As George continued to stare at McKenzie's breasts, Jose pocketed the three, one, five, and four balls. "All I need is the eight ball in the side pocket," he motioned to the left side pocket, "and we win, sweetthin'."

The eight ball easily went into the pocket. "One down. One more game, and we're winners." Jose lifted McKenzie up and held her as she wrapped her legs around his waist and kissed him.

When the repeated kisses stopped and McKenzie was placed on the floor, she said, "Tommy," she rubbed his arm, "those are some muscles. Why don't you break?"

George lifted up his t-shirt sleeve. "Those ain't nothing. Try these."

McKenzie rubbed and squeezed his muscles. "Wow! You must work out." She leaned her head against his arm.

Jose grabbed her arm. "Sammie, now don't get all dreamy eyed, you're mine."

Tommy pocketed the seven along with the eight ball and hung his head. "I guess it ain't our night."

"Sammie, can you break yourself away from George long enough to play?" snapped Jose.

"Maybe." She bent over with her rear-end facing George to adjust her stiletto heel. "Just a minute."

George breathed heavily and reached toward the butterfly tattoo on the small of her back.

Joey slapped his hand and whispered, "Don't."

"I'm ready. Want me to finish this game?" She grinned. "I'm putting the twelve ball in the corner pocket." She pointed to the corner. It went in. She continued until she put the eight ball in the called pocket. She glanced at her watch. "Boys, I need to fix my momma dinner. It's been fun."

"Can I come by after your mom's asleep?" Jose drew her into his arms.

"Sure can. I promise not to be too loud." She giggled. "We wouldn't want to wake momma."

Jose walked her outside. "I'll stay to make sure you're not followed. I'll come by your place before I go home. Good job. Be safe."

"You too." McKenzie continued to the bus stop.


Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou is an area name for St. Louis
Simon Knight Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league baseball team.
Yadi's Fan name for Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A> and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.

Author Notes Thank you google an image of a lady teasing as she plays pool. LOL This post is a little over 1000 words. I hope you don't mind the length. As with any of my novels this one is taking on a life of it's own. OH MY!!! Any help you can offer will be appreciated. Thank you for the encouragement.


Chapter 10
St. Louis Chapter 4 part 2

By barbara.wilkey

Ending of Previous Post:

"I'm ready. Want me to finish this game?" She grinned. "I'm putting the twelve ball in the corner pocket." She pointed to the corner. It went in. She continued until she put the eight ball in the called pocket. She glanced at her watch. "Boys, I need to fix my momma dinner. It's been fun."

"Can I come by after your mom's asleep?" Jose drew her into his arms.

"Sure can. I promise not to be too loud." She giggled. "We wouldn't want to wake momma."

Jose walked her outside. "I'll stay to make sure you're not followed. I'll come by your place before I go home. Good job. Be safe."

"You too." McKenzie continued to the bus stop.


TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 4 PART 2

When McKenzie pulled into her parking slot, she shook her head at Logan sitting on the steps and called from the car, "How long have you been waiting?"

Logan glanced at his watch. "Only an hour and a half." He stood. "Where have you been?" His eyebrows arched as she stepped from the
car.

"Just a minute." McKenzie bent over and took off her stilettos. "I hate walking in these." She carried the heels.

"Mind telling me what you've been up to?"

"Jose Lopez called and wanted me to do some undercover work with him."

"Let me guess you were the..."

"His slutty girlfriend," interrupted McKenzie.

"I'd have never guessed." Logan chuckled as he held the door for MacKenzie. "Who was the mark?"

"George Whitney." She entered and continued, "Can this interrogation wait until I take a shower? I feel slimy." She stopped to pet the two dogs. "Hi, boys. I missed you too. I promise to spend time with you once I've showered."

Logan opened the backdoor. "Come on, I know you two have to go out." His eyes met McKenzie's. "I can't wait to hear what happened."

*****
Before long, McKenzie returned to the living room. "I feel better." She adjusted the barrette holding back part of her bangs and the sides of her hair.

Again, both dogs ran to her, vying for attention.

As she petted them, she glanced at Logan. "Whitney's a dirt-bag, but I don't think he murdered your sister."

His jaw set. "What happened?"

"Jose and I played pool with him, his brother, and a cousin. He's definitely a jerk."

"So from one pool game you've declared him innocent?"

"No, two. It was best out of three. Jose and I took both games. They weren't any good." McKenzie paused. "Maybe they are good, but Whitney spent more time gawking at me and drooling than paying attention to the game."

Logan nodded. "You were trying to trip him up."

"Sort of. We wanted to see how he responded to a female. I dominated the game and came on strong. All he did was drool. I don't think he did it."

"You only saw him horny, you didn't see him angry. I bet when he's angry he's violent. He beat my sister numerous times."

"You could be right. I'm not willing to rule anything out, yet." McKenzie opened kitchen cabinets and then the refrigerator. "There's nothing around here to eat."

"I already knew that. I searched for food this morning. Don't you cook or grocery shop?"

"Not really. It's just me." Her eyes met Logan's. "I guess you're staying for dinner. Want to go out or order delivery?"

He tilted his head. "Do you know how to cook?"

"I'm good with the microwave." McKenzie smiled.

"Let's go to the grocery store, and I'll cook." He grinned. "But you'll need to clean up."

"I don't think that's fair at all."

"Got a grill?" After McKenzie pointed out back, Logan continued, "I'll make it easy, steaks, baked potatoes, and salads. Easy clean up." He put his hand on the small of her back. "Let's go." He paused. "So you have a butterfly tatt back here. Interesting."

"So you drooled too?"

"Sweetheart, don't flatter yourself, but I did notice."

As Logan opened the door, Jose walked up and teased, "Couldn't help but hear the conversation. She did look pretty hot, didn't she?" He offered his hand. "Jose Lopez."

Accepting the hand, he said, "Logan Nelson."

Jose scratched his head. "Where are Edger and Arlo? They're always close by."

"Inside. Logan has them totally confused, especially Edger."

"You must be Megan's brother. I heard you were in town." Jose glanced toward McKenzie. "I don't think those tatts are real. The last time we worked together she had roses on her back and between her breasts."

"Jose!" McKenzie's hands were on hips.

"Hey, in my defense I am a man. You were scantily dressed."

"The next time I work with you, I'll dress like a schoolmarm."

"Then we won't get very far, will we?" Jose's look went between Logan and McKenzie. "Were you two going somewhere?"

"To the grocery store. She doesn't keep food in the house, and it's close to dinner."

"Want to join us? Logan's doing steaks on the grill."

"No, I need to get home to my wife." Jose grinned. "She likes to see me once in a while." He faced McKenzie. "I wanted to make sure Mac made it home." He adjusted his ball cap. "What was your take on Whitney?"

"He's a scumbag, but I'm not sure he's a murderer."

"I agree. As hot as he was after you, I don't think he's been with a woman for months. He was hurting."

"If Megan broke up with him, wouldn't that be motive?" asked Logan.

"Could be." Jose checked his phone. "My wife has dinner ready."

"I'll go by her school tomorrow and talk with the principal. I want to see who Megan hung around with. Maybe there's a new boyfriend we don't know about, and she confided in a friend." McKenzie brushed a hair away from her mouth.

"It's summer. School's out," added Logan.

"Principals don't take the entire summer off." She readjusted her barrette. "I can't get this right," she grumbled as she removed it. "Anyway, females talk so maybe somebody can fill us in on who Megan was seeing."

"Good idea. The Whitney boys and I have a boys' night out this weekend. I'll keep you posted. Better be going." Jose waved at Logan. "Good to meet you."

*****
As McKenzie and Logan sat in her car, he asked, "You didn't drive this to the bar, did you? People would recognize this beauty anywhere."

"I parked it at the police station and took the bus. I do think things through." Before she backed from the parking slot, she fingered two empty bottles of water. "I grabbed these on the way home. I didn't drink anything at the tavern."

"Glad to hear it. I hope Lopez knows how to keep you safe. Do you work with him often?"

"Probably a few times a month. He's one of the good guys. We work well together. We're able to follow each other's lead. By the way, he's happily married." McKenzie backed up the car. "You know I don't normally dress like that, don't you?"

"I figured as much." Logan grinned. "I'm hungry, let's get to the store."

*****
Back at home, McKenzie held up the bag containing two potatoes. "I can put these in the microwave." She pointed to the container of pre-made salad. "I'll put this in two bowls."

Logan grinned. "You really don't cook, do you?" With charcoal in hand, he headed toward the back door, but stopped. "Did your mom cook?"

"She did, but I hung around with Dad." She pulled her hair back in a ponytail. "I may not cook, but I can strip an engine and put it back together in a blink of an eye."

"Good to know." He continued to the backyard. What have I gotten myself into?




Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou is an area name for St. Louis
Simon Knight Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league baseball team.
Yadi's Fan name for Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A> and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.

Author Notes Sorry about last weeks post. I couldn't post with no Internet. A huge wind storm went through. We could've used rain, but got very little.
Thank you google a photo of a steak dinner. This post is a little under 1200 words. I hope you don't mind the length. As with any of my novels this one is taking on a life of it's own. OH MY!!! Any help you can offer will be appreciated. Thank you for the encouragement.


Chapter 11
St. Louis Chapter 4 part 3

By barbara.wilkey

Ending of Previous Post:

Back at home, McKenzie held up the bag containing two potatoes. "I can put these in the microwave." She pointed to the container of pre-made salad. "I'll put this in two bowls."

Logan grinned. "You really don't cook, do you?" With charcoal in hand, he headed toward the back door, but stopped. "Did your mom cook?"

"She did, but I hung around with Dad." She pulled her hair back in a ponytail. "I may not cook, but I can strip an engine and put it back together in a blink of an eye."

"Good to know." He continued to the backyard. What have I gotten myself into?


TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 4 PART 3

As McKenzie and Logan ate dinner, Logan took a bite of potato. "This is the best baked potato I've eaten."

"You're teasing me because I don't cook, aren't you?"

"Guilty as charged." Logan cut his meat. "I guess I'm used to traditional role models. But I'm not opposed to change."

McKenzie set her fork down. "Earlier you said, you hoped Jose knew how to keep me safe. I need to let you know that I'm capable of keeping myself safe. I also have his back when we're undercover." Logan started to speak, but she interrupted, "I know I messed up last night and I'm grateful you were there. I'm not going to make that mistake again. Okay?"

Logan nodded. "Okay."

Silence filled the room.

He mixed the butter and sour cream around his baked potato. "What are your plans for tonight?"

Her eyes widened. "You grew up in The Lou and you asked that question? I'm watching the Cardinals, of course." After a taking a long drink of water, she asked, "Did you have a nice visit with your parents?"

"Mostly. They wanted me to stay with them and not in a hotel." Logan took a drink before he continued, "I want to come and go without upsetting their schedule. If I'm late for dinner or out late, I don't want Mom worrying."

"I can understand that." She hesitated. "Did your dad give Bill a good recommendation?"

Logan nodded. "He did. I guess your dad, Bill, and my dad ate breakfast together once or twice a month. He and Bill still do. He said you're all good people. I'm surprised we didn't meet while growing up. I guess our dads talked about us, but didn't do things with the other family members."

"I think once in a great while the wives joined them for a dinner, maybe once or twice a year, but not often. It's a good question. I don't know why. Maybe you should ask your parents."

"I think I will." Glancing at his watch, Logan said, "Fifteen minutes until game time. They're still in Atlanta. I'll help with the dishes."

"You don't need to. The agreement was you cook, and I clean."

"But you helped cook; the potatoes and salad." He grinned. "I'll help clean. The two plates, silverware, and two bowls could take a while."

"Okay, you can throw the water bottles away. How's that?" McKenzie laughed.

Shaking his head, he said, "I can't win with you, can I?"

"What do you mean?"

"I'm trying to be a gentleman."

Pink tinged her cheeks. "It's rare to meet a gentleman in today's world."

"Point taken." Logan picked up the two plastic bottles. "Maybe we can work together and correct that."

"Maybe."

So she's been hurt or at least has had dealings with some real jerks. Of course she has, look at her profession. Tossing the bottles into the trash can, Logan said, "I bet Megan didn't meet many gentleman either."

McKenzie turned from the sink and faced him. "I bet you're right about Megan." She dried her hands. "I'll turn on the TV."

They both sat on the couch, but at opposite ends. Logan grinned as both dogs sat between them. "They like baseball too?"

"They do. They argue about who's going to sit closest to me. Right now Edger won." She petted his head. "I'm sure not for long."

"Edger's head is bigger than Arlo. He'll always win. How many pounds does he have on that little guy?"

"Edger weighs roughly one hundred forty pounds and Arlo around fifteen, unless he's put on weight. He likes to eat and is a world-class moocher. But don't underestimate the ways of a dachshund. He may be smaller but he's sneakier."

Before the first three outs were made, Arlo jumped up, ran to the front door, and started barking.

Logan stood. "What's the problem?"

Edger moseyed over to the door and sniffed.

McKenzie shook her head. "Probably nothing, but watch."

Arlo rushed back and sat by her. Edger sniffed Arlo. He had lost his spot.

Logan sat beside the large dog and petted his head. "You were outsmarted, big guy." He glanced at McKenzie. "Think he'll ever like me?"

"He's beginning to. With him it takes time."

"Some popcorn or peanuts would be nice. Maybe a beer. I should've thought of them at the store."

McKenzie stood. "I have microwavable popcorn. I'll make some." She teased, "But you'll need to clean up."

"Deal." Logan scanned the area. "Where's the vacuum?"

Pointing to a closet, McKenzie laughed.

After popping three individual sized bags, she put them in a large bowl and sat beside Logan. "Mind if we share?"

He grinned. "Sure don't." He turned toward the kitchen. "Anything to drink?"

"Water, tea, or coffee."

Logan stood. "I'll get a bottle of water, want one?" After she nodded, he handed her one.

As they munched popcorn and watched the game, McKenzie started falling asleep.

Either I'm boring or she's tired. He released a deep breath. It can't be me, I hope. I bet even though she slept last night it wasn't quality sleep.

By the eighth inning, her head leaned against Logan's arm. He put his arm around her. I'm not trying anything. You'll be more comfortable like this. He glanced at Edger staring at him, and whispered, "I'm not a bad guy, really. I won't hurt her. I promise." Now, I'm trying to convince this monster of a dog, I'm one of the good guys.

The game ended, and Logan glanced at McKenzie. Should I wake her or carry her to bed? He swallowed. "I'm carrying you to bed." He gently lifted her and carried her upstairs. He grinned at the light blue decor. "I guess you're not as tom-boyish as you want us to believe." After he laid her on the queen-size bed, he took half of the top blanket and covered her. "Good night. I'll see you in the morning."

Logan walked downstairs. He checked the back door to ensure it was locked. At the front door, he said, "Bye, boys, you're on duty now. Take care of her. I'll see ya tomorrow." He closed the door, making sure it was locked.





Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou is an area name for St. Louis
Simon Knight Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league baseball team.
Yadi's Fan name for Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A> and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.

Author Notes Thank you google images for a photo of a Rottweiler and a Dachshund. This post is a little over 1000 words. As with all of my novels this one is taking on a life of it's own. OH MY!!! Any help you can offer will be appreciated. Thank you for the encouragement.


Chapter 12
St. Louis Chapter 5 part 1

By barbara.wilkey

Ending of Previous Post:

Logan stood. "I'll get a bottle of water, want one?" After she nodded, he handed her one.

As they munched popcorn and watched the game, McKenzie started falling asleep.

Either I'm boring or she's tired. He released a deep breath. It can't be me, I hope. I bet even though she slept last night it wasn't quality sleep.

By the eighth inning, her head leaned against Logan's arm. He put his arm around her. I'm not trying anything. You'll be more comfortable like this. He glanced at Edger staring at him, and whispered, "I'm not a bad guy, really. I won't hurt her. I promise." Now, I'm trying to convince this monster of a dog, I'm one of the good guys.

The game ended, and Logan glanced at McKenzie. Should I wake her or carry her to bed? He swallowed. "I'm carrying you to bed." He gently lifted her and carried her upstairs. He grinned at the light blue decor. "I guess you're not as tom-boyish as you want us to believe." After he laid her on the queen-size bed, he took half of the top blanket and covered her. "Good night. I'll see you in the morning."

Logan walked downstairs. He checked the back door to ensure it was locked. At the front door, he said, "Bye, boys, you're on duty now. Take care of her. I'll see ya tomorrow." He closed the door, making sure it was locked.


TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 5 PART 1

McKenzie stood at the front door as Logan drove up. When he stepped from the car, she tilted her head. "I thought you got around by taxi."

"I did, but got tired of it. I rented this for a while. I see you're ready for your run. I'll go with you." Logan held up a duffel bag. "Can I use your shower afterward?"

"I guess. You have a way of taking over, don't you?"

He opened the door and set the bag inside. "Where's Edger? Isn't he ready?"

"While I stretch, he gets his leash."

"What?" His eyes widened.

"Yep, and he holds it too. There's a leash law. He doesn't like it, so I allow him to hold it. He's on a leash."

Laughing, Logan said, "I doubt it counts. I think a human needs to be in control. He's larger than some humans but he's still a dog."

"It's worked so far. He's very obedient. If I need him closer, all I need to do is say his name and he's there." McKenzie watched Edger coming toward her, holding the leash in his mouth. She attached it to his collar. "Ready?"

"Isn't Arlo coming?"

McKenzie's eyebrows crunched together. "Not unless you plan on carrying him. His legs are only four inches long."

"Good point. I'll get a doggy backpack so he can come."

"I thought you needed to go back to work soon. If you start something like that, I'll have to keep it up. I'm not taking him. He's a doxie."

"We'll see." He petted Arlo. "I'll get right on the doggy backpack. How far we going?"

"Can you handle five miles?"

"I can, but what about you and him?" He pointed to the dog.

"Let's go." McKenzie headed down the sidewalk with the dog by her side. "You coming or lagging behind?"

Logan quickly caught up.

*****
As they stretched on the sidewalk, McKenzie took a big drink of water. "Did my run meet your expectations?"

"I didn't know what to expect, but it's a good workout. Do you work with any weights?"

"Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings I go to a class and work on JKD and weights afterward."

"JKD?"

"Yes, Jeet Kune Do."

"I know what it is. You must be a Bruce Lee fan. It's a form of martial arts."

McKenzie started toward the door. "I told you I could take care of myself." As she walked into the house, she asked, "You want the shower first or second?"

"I'll go first. While you're showering, I'll fix breakfast." He teased, "I do need to eat, and so do you. Does that sound okay?"

"Fine. You really have this thing about cooking and eating, don't you?" She opened the door and let the dogs out. "There's a donut shop right down the street."

Logan laughed. "I'm sure there is. I bet you're on a first name basis with them, aren't you?" He picked up his bag and went headed toward the stairs.

"There are towels and things in the bathroom closet."

*****
After showering, Logan walked up to McKenzie and looked over her shoulder. "Your turn. What you looking at?"

"Nothing really. Just a file I've been working on for a while. It doesn't make sense. I need to think about it a little longer." McKenzie closed it. "Later this morning, I'm going to your sister's school. I think I'll get further without you. What are you going to do? Start dinner?"

"Ha, ha, very funny." Logan glanced toward the kitchen. "I'm going to the Irish Pub. I have some questions about Tuesday night. Then, for your information, I'll start dinner." He grinned. "Can we exchange phone numbers so we can coordinate our times?"

"I guess. Would you like my house key, too?"

"It would be nice, but I think it's too soon for that."

"Whatever..."

After they exchanged phone numbers, McKenzie went to shower, and Logan started breakfast.

*****
When McKenzie entered the kitchen, Logan's eyes widened. "You look nice."

Pink tinged her cheeks. "I usually wear jeans, but I thought I'd get more information in a dress. Hope I'm right. Breakfast smells good. Can I clean up when I get back? I don't want to risk getting dirty."

"I'll clean up before I leave. The later I get there the better anyway."

As they ate, McKenzie asked, "Hypothetical question; if a wife's having an affair, why would she be concerned if her husband's having one? Wouldn't they cancel each other out?"

"Good question, but I'm not sure it works that way." Logan ate a piece of bacon. "Why? Is that the case you were checking earlier?"

"It was. I don't understand why the wife is concerned that her husband isn't faithful."

"How do you know she's playing around?"

"I caught her. When I asked her about it, she not only admitted it, she was proud of it."

"Maybe she thought her husband was playing around, and decided to start, and now is worried he really wasn't."

"Hadn't thought of that. Maybe." McKenzie put jam on her toast. "This is good. What's for dinner?"

Logan chuckled. "I haven't decided. I guess it depends how long I'm at the Pub." He set his fork down. "Today's a travel day, so we can't watch the game. Any plans for tonight?"

"I need to follow my cheating husband."

"Sounds fun. Do you mind the company? I can help break the boredom."

McKenzie grinned. "Maybe. I'll think about it." When Arlo barked and she heard knocking on the door, she stood.

Opening the door, McKenzie greeted the man and then turned. "Logan, it's for you. It's your friend from the other night." She paused before she faced the man. "How did you know where I lived?"

"Logan gave me your name, and I checked the phone book." Simon offered his hand. "You look good. How are you feeling?"

She took his hand. "I'm fine." She nodded toward Logan. "I just can't convince him. He thinks he needs to hang around all the time."

"Occupational hazard of Special Forces types. Once they rescue somebody, they think they need to make sure they remain safe." Simon grinned as he shook Logan's hand. "I have the test results."

"Was she drugged?" Logan's eyes meet his buddy's.

"She was, and it was GHB. She had way more than a normal dose in her, and it was the homemade variety. Either they made a mistake or they wanted to make sure she was out. There's no way of telling."

Logan remained silent as he ran his hand through his hair. "So she was really lucky."

"Yep. No way was she in any condition to defend herself." Simon studied her. "Mac, I'd say somebody's out to get you."

She gulped. "I don't know why. I haven't done anything to anybody. None of the cases I'm working on would be a reason for this."

"If I were you, I'd be extremely careful." Simon put his hand on her shoulder. "I'm personally glad Logan has decided you're his new pet project. I'm confident he'll keep you safe. I know first hand how persistent he can be." He faced Logan. "How about you two come to dinner Sunday evening?"

Logan eyed McKenzie. "How about it?"

She nodded. "It'll keep you from cooking."

As Simon's eyebrows rose, Logan said, "She doesn't cook."

"Good then. I'll text you my address. I need to get back to work. I wanted to check on the patient myself. She's looks like she's doing fine. See you about seven o'clock."

After shaking hands, Simon left.

McKenzie grabbed her purse. "I need to be going. I'll see you later." She paused, opened a desk drawer, and removed a spare key. "Here. You might need this." She walked out the door.

So Simon's report must've gotten to you. I wonder if you know more than you're letting on. We'll talk later.




Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou is an area name for St. Louis
Simon Knight Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league baseball team.
Yadi's Fan name for Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A> and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.

Author Notes Sorry for the late post. I went into the ER Sunday morning and had to have an emergency gallbladder removal. I'm at home now and doing as well as can be expected.

Thank you google images for a poster if GHB. This post is a little over 1300 words. I had already edited this many times, but any help you can offer will be appreciated. Thank you for the encouragement.


Chapter 13
St. Louis Chapter 5 part 2

By barbara.wilkey

Ending of Previous Post:

"If I were you, I'd be extremely careful." Simon put his hand on her shoulder. "I'm personally glad Logan has decided you're his new pet project. I'm confident he'll keep you safe. I know first hand how persistent he can be." He faced Logan. "How about you two come to dinner Sunday evening?"

Logan eyed McKenzie. "How about it?"

She nodded. "It'll keep you from cooking."

As Simon's eyebrows rose, Logan said, "She doesn't cook."

"Good then. I'll text you my address. I need to get back to work. I wanted to check on the patient myself. She's looks like she's doing fine. See you about seven o'clock."

After shaking hands, Simon left.

McKenzie grabbed her purse. "I need to be going. I'll see you later." She paused, opened a desk drawer, and removed a spare key. "Here. You might need this." She walked out the door.

So Simon's report must've gotten to you. I wonder if you know more than you're letting on. We'll talk later.


TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 5 PART 2

About a third of the way to the middle school where Megan had taught, McKenzie pulled into a vacant parking lot as tears rolled down her cheeks. Who would want to hurt me? When I get home, I need to make a list of every case. The answer might there. I doubt any of Dad's cases would cause problems now. He died over a year ago. I need to pull myself together. It's not like me to be upset. I'm not the type. After a silent pause, she dried her tears and continued to her destination.

As she entered the school's front office, a slightly graying secretary asked, "Welcome. How can I help?"

"I'm McKenzie Morgan. I'd like to speak with Mrs. Barkley, please."

"Do you have an appointment?"

"Sorry, I don't." McKenzie showed her documentation. "I'm a Private Investigator. I'm investigating Megan Nelson's death. I'm sure Mrs. Barkley isn't involved, but she might be able to lead me in the right direction."

"I'll see if she's available. It'll only take a minute." She went into another office. Moments later, she returned. "Mrs. Barkley will speak with you. Please, follow me."

Mrs. Barkley stood and offered a hand to McKenzie. "Hello. I'm not sure how I can help."

McKenzie accepted her hand. "I'm wondering if you can tell me who Ms. Nelson's friends were. We really don't have any leads right now. She might have confided in a friend." She paused. "I understand the confidentiality of this situation, but it is an ongoing murder investigation. I'm sure you want to find the murderer as much as her family does."

After sitting, Mrs. Barkley offered McKenzie a chair. "I'm not sure who Ms. Nelson hung around with after school hours." She paused and adjusted her glasses before searching her computer. "Ms. Middleton may know. They're about the same age and spent a lot of time together while here." She picked up a pen and then wrote down the contact information. "Let me call her and see if it's all right if I give it to you." Once she completed the call, she gave it to McKenzie. "She's expecting your call."

McKenzie stood and offered her hand. "Thank you. I know Ms. Nelson's family appreciates your help."

"I hope you find who did this."

*****
Sitting inside her car, McKenzie tapped the paper on the steering wheel. The only thing I'm sure of right now, is I need to figure out how to get an air conditioner in this car. It's just too hot not to have one. No matter how good this car looks.

She called Ms. Middleton and set an appointment for two o'clock the following day at a coffee shop.

McKenzie drove aimlessly around St. Louis before she stopped in a parking garage by the Gateway Arch. I need a break; from life. She locked her car and walked toward the Arch. Maybe getting my mind off work for a little bit will help.

She sat on a bench not far from the Arch and watched people milling around. Today's a typical July summer day in The Lou, hot and humid. It must be close to ninety degrees with ninety percent humidity. She smiled. Even the pigeons are panting.

Standing, she walked toward the Mississippi river. "Maybe a street-vender will have some water or tea."

As she walked, a man bumped into her. "Excuse me, Ma'am."

McKenzie's eyes widened and her heart pounded, but she said, "It's okay." She turned toward the parking garage. I'm not safe anywhere. She stopped and took a few deep breaths. Don't be ridiculous. The sidewalk's crowded. It was an innocent accident. What's got into you? Pull yourself together. Simon could be wrong. It was probably just some good old boys wanting to have fun, and I was stupid in a no stupid zone.

As she returned to her car, tears rolled down her cheeks. I never did get my drink. I'm not ready to go home. She dried her eyes. Why am I crying? I'm not a crier. This isn't me. Get a grip, Mac. Running always helps. She glanced at her watch. I have a few extra hours. There's plenty of time. Logan's probably at the house any way. I'll buy some thrift shop running clothes. Next to it is a sports store. I needed new running shoes. It'll work out.

After her purchases, McKenzie changed and went to a park and ran.

*****
When McKenzie walked through her front door, she saw Logan. "What are you doing?"

He turned off the vacuum. "What does it look like I'm doing? I'm painting a wall." He turned it back on and continued.

She stood beside him. "What are you really doing?"

Logan's eyes met hers, again he turned it off. "I'm glad you're back. I was starting to worry. In another few minutes, I'd have called." He glanced at his watch. "Dinner will be ready in about forty-five minutes." He studied her. "You're not overly domestic. So I know you could care less about me helping. What's really bothering you?"

"My scheduled day to clean is Friday. If my house cleaning bothers you that much, you can leave. I'm showering and changing." McKenzie turned and walked upstairs.

*****
Staring at McKenzie, Logan asked, "What's bugging her?" He glanced around the living room and petted Edger. "I think it looks nice. Don't you agree?"

"I'd better start the grill." Logan turned and faced the stairs. "She's probably close to Megan's age. If I learned one lesson from my sister, it was better to leave her alone until she's ready to talk. Of course, if I'd have kept digging at her, maybe she'd be alive today."

When McKenzie returned, she wore blue jeans and a light blue tank top. Logan glanced up from setting the table. "More comfortable?"

"Maybe."

"I'm glad you're in a better mood. I'm barbecuing chicken for dinner. I hope you like it."

"I do. What do I need to do?"

"Nothing. I got potato salad and coleslaw to go with it. It should be done in maybe ten minutes."

"Okay. I'll do the dishes when we're done. I want to leave," McKenzie glanced at her watch, "in about forty-five minutes. According to his wife, Mr. Whitmore leaves his house every Thursday at seven o'clock. I need to see where he goes."

"What excuse does he give his wife?"

"She says she asks, and he just walks out the door."

"That's strange." Logan set the potato salad and coleslaw on the table. "What'd you have for lunch?"

"You're nosey. I don't appreciate you prying into my life."

Silence continued through dinner.




Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou is an area name for St. Louis
Simon Knight Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league baseball team.
Yadi's Fan name for Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A> and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.

Author Notes Thank you for your patience over last weeks late post. My doctor gave me an option of one or two weeks off of work. I took one. As I prepare for tomorrow, I am rethinking the wisdom of that decision. If I can't do it, I'll take the rest of the week off. LOL

Thank you google images for a photo of St. Louis's Gateway Arch. This post is a little over 1100 words. I have completely rewritten this post 3 times. I hope I convey what I want to this time. Thank you for the encouragement.


Chapter 14
St. Louis Chapter 5 part 3

By barbara.wilkey

Ending of Previous Post:

"Okay. I'll do the dishes when we're done. I want to leave," McKenzie glanced at her watch, "in about forty-five minutes. According to his wife, Mr. Whitmore leaves his house every Thursday at seven o'clock. I need to see where he goes."

"What excuse does he give his wife?"

"She says she asks, and he just walks out the door."

"That's strange." Logan set the potato salad and coleslaw on the table. "What'd you have for lunch?"

"You're nosey. I don't appreciate you prying into my life."

Silence continued through dinner.


TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 5 PART 3

About twenty minutes before seven o'clock, McKenzie and Logan went to her car. McKenzie shook her head. "Darn! I forgot to pick up the surveillance car." She released a deep breath. "I'll just take this." She unlocked it.

"Nobody would ever notice a purple Dodge Super Bee with a Hemi. There are plenty of them on the road."

She glared at him. "I get your point. The rental agency I use is closed. I messed up, okay? Just drop it."

"We can take my rental. Nobody will notice it." McKenzie's stare focused on Logan, as he added, "Just offering a solution. I'll let you drive."

"Okay." She relocked the door. "Drive. I'll give directions." She plopped in the passenger seat.

I see dinner didn't improve your attitude. This evening should be fun.

Logan followed McKenzie's instructions, but pulled off into a convenient store parking lot.

"What are you doing?" asked McKenzie.

"Getting snacks. We might be there a while, and you didn't eat much dinner."

"Why are you worried about my eating habits?" McKenzie paused and then continued, "I..."

"Lack of food can cause people to be grumpy," interrupted Logan. "I wouldn't want you any grumpier." He got out of the car.

When he returned with two sacks of food, McKenzie said, "I'm not grumpy."

"Could've fooled me. You're doing a good imitation. Hope you like what I got." He grinned. "I got a few donuts. If there are any leftovers, you can have them for breakfast."

"Ha Ha, you're just too funny."

"I thought so," he teased.

*****
At the Whitmore house, they watch Mr. Whitmore leave the house at exactly seven o'clock.

"It's strange. He's very precise," said McKenzie.

"I agree. Nobody is that exact. I wonder where he's going."

"We'll know soon enough. Follow him, but not close enough that he knows he's being followed."

"Will do, boss." Logan pulled from the curb and followed as they crossed the Mississippi River into East St. Louis.

About fifteen minutes later, Mr. Whitmore pulled into a gentlemen's club's parking lot.

"I never expected this." McKenzie stared at the building. "It looks like crap."

"Probably is. Most of them are."

"You've been to one?"

"Of course. I'd bet every American male has at least once." Logan grinned at McKenzie's wide eyes. "A group of us went to one while in college. We were curious."

"You went to college? I thought you went straight into Army."

"Nope, I have a degree in military history."

"Interesting." She glanced toward the building. "How are we going to know what he's doing in there?"

"I really don't want to, but I could go in and find out. Or I could just tell you what most men do in there."

"You don't want to go in?" Again, McKenzie's eyes widened.

"Why would I want to watch a middle-aged man get a lap dance from a well-used naked woman or two? He might even go into a private room and get the works."

"I figured all men liked viewing naked women."

"I'd rather sit here with you all night and eat junk food." He reached in the backseat and grabbed one of the sacks.

"I seriously doubt that."

"Honestly, I don't eat a lot of junk food. It's bad for you." He held up a bag of Fritos and a bag of Cheese Puffs. "Which one should we open?"

"Fritos, the Cheese Puffs will make a mess."

"I'm not surprised you'd know that." Logan chuckled. "What do we do while Whitmore's getting serviced?" He opened the bag and offered it to McKenzie.

She took a handful of Fritos and passed it back. "We sit and wait. He might go elsewhere when he's finished. We follow him until he's back home." She plopped one in her mouth.

After a long silence and eating, McKenzie asked, "Logan?" After he faced her, she continued, "I don't know why anybody would drug me." She faced the passenger door window as tears welled in her eyes.

Now I know what's bothering her. He touched her arm.

"Please don't."

He removed his hand. "I'm not hitting on you. I was trying to comfort you."

"I know." McKenzie wiped her tears before she turned around. "I..."

"You didn't want me to see you cry," interrupted Logan. "Why? You have every reason to be scared. It's not a sign of weakness."

"If one of your buddies cried, would you think he was weak?"

"I see your point, but..."

"Because I'm female, it's acceptable or expected," blurted McKenzie.

Logan set his jaw. I'm not the bad guy here.

"I work in a man's world."

"Mac, you're not one of my buddies. I hope we're friends. I just want to help. Will you let me?"

She nodded, and the tears fell freely.

Logan put his arms around her. I wonder when was the last time you felt comfortable enough to cry.

After she dried her tears, Logan asked, "Giving me your house key was your way of saying I'm scared, wasn't it?"

McKenzie chewed on her lower lip and nodded. "I've racked my brain all afternoon and I can't come up with anybody who would want to do this. Could I have simply been at the wrong place at the wrong time? Sort of stupid in a no stupid zone?"

"Could be. I don't know."

"But then what was that car doing at the abandoned building? Did they follow me? If they did, then they know where I live. They could've found my address in the phone book, like Simon did. Are we being watched right now? Are they just waiting for me to make a mistake?"

"Those are good questions, and I don't have the answers. My only suggestion is to be extra careful." Logan hesitated and then added, "I have your back."

She gulped. "I know."





Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou is an area name for St. Louis
Simon Knight Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league baseball team.
Yadi's Fan name for Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A> and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.

Author Notes Thank you google images for a photo of a Gentlemen's Club in East St. Louis. This post is a little under a 1000 words. I've made a lot of last minute changes. I hope I didn't make it worse.


Chapter 15
St. Louis Chapter 6 part 1

By barbara.wilkey

Ending of Previous Post:

"Mac, you're not one of my buddies. I hope we're friends. I just want to help. Will you let me?"

She nodded, and the tears fell freely.

Logan put his arms around her. I wonder when was the last time you felt comfortable enough to cry.

After she dried her tears, Logan asked, "Giving me your house key was your way of saying I'm scared, wasn't it?"

McKenzie chewed on her lower lip and nodded. "I've racked my brain all afternoon and I can't come up with anybody who would want to do this. Could I have simply been at the wrong place at the wrong time? Sort of stupid in a no stupid zone?"

"Could be. I don't know."

"But then what was that car doing at the abandoned building? Did they follow me? If they did, then they know where I live. They could've found my address in the phone book, like Simon did. Are we being watched right now? Are they just waiting for me to make a mistake?"

"Those are good questions, and I don't have the answers. My only suggestion is to be extra careful." Logan hesitated and then added, "I have your back."

She gulped. "I know."


TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 6 PART 1

As the early morning sun peeked over the horizon, Logan knocked on McKenzie's door. When only Arlo acknowledged him, he used the key and entered. He knelt and petted the short dog. "Hey, buddy isn't your master up yet? Where's the big guy? Did he sleep late, too?"

McKenzie stood at the stop of the stairs, with Edger beside her. "What are you doing here so early? It's the middle of the night."

"Actually it's six fifteen, not the middle of the night. I forgot to ask what time you go to the gym and didn't want to miss it. I need a good workout. Will they let visitors come?"

"I can bring guests but my class isn't until eight o'clock. What do you plan to do until then? And don't make breakfast. I can't eat until later."

Logan laughed. "Edger told me he'd like a short run. Want to go?"

"Can you give me about thirty minutes?"

"Sure, I have something I want to try with Arlo."

*****
When McKenzie walked down the stairs, she laughed. "I can't believe Arlo allowed you to put him in that contraption."

"After I explained that he can go on runs too, he was eager." Logan petted Edger. "Part of the problem was this guy laughed. I told him if he didn't stop, I'd put him in one too."

"You're talking to my dogs."

"You do, so I thought why not. They're very good conversationalists."

"I know. They only answer what you want to hear. Ready?"

"Let's do this." As they walked out the door, Logan asked, "How'd you sleep last night?"

"Why you asking?"

"You look tired."

"Then you have your answer."

*****
After about a thirty minute run, they returned to McKenzie's townhouse. She opened the refrigerator. "I'll get some water bottles, and then we can head for the gym."

Logan let Arlo free from the backpack. "I think he had fun."

"He did." She handed him two water bottles and grabbed her workout bag. "Is that enough or do you need more?"

"I'll drink one on the way. If I need more, I'm sure they have water." He grabbed his bag.

"They do."

Logan watched McKenzie inspect her car. This really has her spooked. Why wouldn't it? It'd spook me too. As she backed the car, he asked, "We going to watch Whitmore visit a strip club tonight?"

"Nope. I'm not sure what to tell his wife. I'll have to think about that. The Cards play the Cubs. I thought I'd watch the game."

"If you want to go, I have two tickets waiting."

"Really? I'd love to." McKenzie smiled, and then hesitated. "It's not a date or anything, is it?"

"Nope, just two friends who like baseball going to a ball game."

She nodded. "Good."

I wonder what she's worried about?

*****
Inside the gym, McKenzie signed Logan in as her guest and showed him around. After he started lifting weights, she went to the area for her martial arts class.

Vince, the instructor, showed up with a cast on his leg. "Mac, I missed you Wednesday." After she explained she wasn't feeling well, he continued, "I was working on my gutter at home and fell from the ladder. Class will be cancelled for a few weeks, maybe six. You're welcome to come and work out. There are always weights and the treadmills. The kickboxing bags are available. If you have a partner, I can guide you while you spar." He glanced around the area. "I see none of the other classmates showed up."

"The bag's fine. I already went for a run this morning." She began at the bag. "I'll probably hit the weights in a few minutes."

Her instructor stood off to the side.

Logan watched for a while and then came over. "I see you're pretty good. I'll spar with you."

McKenzie stopped. "I've been doing JKD for close to ten years."

"Not a problem. I'll try to keep up." Logan stood on the mat.

"Okay." She joined him, but waited for Vince.

Vince walked up to Logan. "You sure about this? She's pretty good."

"I'll be fine."

The instructor nodded for them to continue.

McKenzie and Logan faced each other and bowed. Each watched the other, willing them to start. Vince nodded for McKenzie to begin.

She threw four jabs Logan's way, and then three kicks. Logan blocked each one. She repeated the four jabs and three kicks. Again, he blocked them. She paused and studied him.

Logan said, "I watched while you were on the bag. You always start with four jabs and then three kicks. You need to vary them."

Vince grinned. "I never noticed, but he's right."

McKenzie nodded and began again. This time two jabs, six kicks, one jab, and five kicks.

Half of them landed. Logan blocked the rest. "Good job. Keep it up." He kicked twice and threw eight jabs.

A few hit their mark, but most were blocked.

This continued for almost thirty minutes. At the end, they bowed to each other.

Vince walked up to Logan and asked, "You're good. Where'd you take lessons?"

Logan grabbed a towel from his bag and wiped his face. "The Army."

"You must be..."

"He is," interrupted McKenzie. She faced Logan. "I should've guessed, but I didn't think about it." She went to her bag.

"We showering here or at your place?" asked Logan.

"Here." McKenzie headed toward the showers and over her shoulder said, "I don't want to damage the leather seats."

"Figured as much. I'll meet you later." Logan walked toward the showers.

When McKenzie finished showering, she saw Logan looking at the Super Bee. "What you doing?"

"Thought I'd get a head start on checking the car. It was that or tap my foot." Logan grinned. "It looks clear."

McKenzie unlocked the door. "Get in."

At her townhouse, McKenzie walked up the sidewalk. "That's strange. There's a package, only I didn't order anything."

Logan grabbed her arm. "Don't touch it." He called nine-one-one and reported it. "They're sending the police."

"I doubt that's necessary."

"I don't."







Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou is an area name for St. Louis
Simon Knight Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league baseball team.
Yadi's Fan name for Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A> and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.

Author Notes Thank you google images for a photo of a dachshund in a backpack. This post is a little over a 1000 words. Again, thank you for your wonderful support.
There are only 4 days of school left. This has not been a good year. I am ready for a break. Hopefully I can catch up on my writing.


Chapter 16
St. Louis Chapter 6 part 2

By barbara.wilkey

Ending of Previous Post:

When McKenzie finished showering, she saw Logan looking at the Super Bee. "What you doing?"

"Thought I'd get a head start on checking the car. It was that or tap my foot." Logan grinned. "It looks clear."

McKenzie unlocked the door. "Get in."

At her townhouse, McKenzie walked up the sidewalk. "That's strange. There's a package, only I didn't order anything."

Logan grabbed her arm. "Don't touch it." He called nine-one-one and reported it. "They're sending the police."

"I doubt that's necessary."

"I don't."


TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 6 PART 2

After the bomb squad deemed the package safe, a police officer opened it. Inside lay a dead rat.

McKenzie covered her mouth. "Who? Why?" She turned her head as she heard her name called and then ran into Bill's waiting arms.

Bill nodded at Logan, but asked, "Mac, what's going on?"

McKenzie remained silent.

"You can see the obvious." Logan paused. "Yesterday, my friend came by and confirmed Mac was drugged, GHB, and more than a single dose. Did you ever get any answers from our visit Wednesday?"

"Marcie Kirks doesn't exist. Still trying to figure out what that's about. And too many black crossovers to narrow down. So no."

"Whoever is trying to scare me is doing a great job. They know where I live."

"They do," confirmed Bill.

"Is there a safe place she can keep her car? It sticks out like a sore thumb." Logan's eyes met Bill's.

"Yes, my garage. There's plenty of extra room." Bill faced McKenzie. "You can come visit it anytime you want."

"How am I going to get around? I can't use a taxi for surveillance." McKenzie crossed her arms.

"I'm here." Logan set his jaw. "I'll take you wherever you need to go. Besides after this, you're crazy if you think you're going to be left alone. I'm not allowing you to be murdered."

"But..."

"But nothing," interrupted Logan.

"He's right, Mac. Somebody's definitely trying to scare you, at a minimum. They're probably trying to hurt you or worse. Until we find out which it is, somebody needs to remain with you. If you don't want Logan, I'll have a police detachment assigned to you. Take your pick."

"This is overkill." McKenzie brushed a stray strand of hair from her face. "I have plenty of security inside. Nobody's going to get by Edger."

"Stats show all somebody has to do is throw the dog a steak." Logan's eyes met hers.

"I'm getting tired of you taking over my life." McKenzie walked away.

Bill shook his head. "She's a stubborn one." His phone rang. "Give her time to calm down. Excuse me. I need to take this." He stepped away. After he hung up, he stood beside McKenzie. "I need to get back to the office. Joanie expects to see you Saturday evening for dinner. Is six-thirty all right?" After she nodded, he continued, "Give Logan a chance. I think he's trying to help."

"He's trying to take charge."

Biting his lip, Bill's attempt not to grin failed. "Mac, give him a chance." He kissed her forehead. "See you Saturday evening. I'll tell Joanie you'll be bringing your car by later today." He left.

McKenzie watched Bill walk away and then proceeded down the sidewalk in the opposite direction.

Logan followed but stayed a distance away.

After they had walked two blocks, McKenzie faced him. "How long are you going to follow me?"

"As long as I need to. If necessary, forever. I'm not going to allow you to get yourself killed." Logan started to take a step, but stopped himself.

"What if..."

"I wasn't here for Megan," interrupted Logan. "I am here for you. You're stuck with me. Get used to it." He took a deep breath. "I can be very persistent. Where are we walking to?"

"I'm hungry. Donuts sound good. I haven't visited Julie this week." She turned and walked.

"We have some left over from last night. Or I could make you a healthy breakfast."

McKenzie faced him. "There you are being bossy, again. Maybe I just want a donut. If you're going to be hanging around, you might want to learn to eat an occasional donut."

"A donut it is. Do they have coffee?"

"Yes." McKenzie motioned for him to catch up. "You know I can take care of myself, don't you?"

"I saw that today. You're very good." Logan grinned. "I was impressed. I wouldn't want you angry with me." They stood in front of the bakery. Logan reached for the doorknob.

McKenzie touched his arm. "I think a healthy breakfast might taste good."

"No donuts?"

"We have some left over. Maybe they'll be a good breakfast dessert."

*****
When they returned to McKenzie's townhouse, the police had just finished.

McKenzie walked to the porch. "Can we go inside?"

"I don't see why not," replied an officer. He glanced around. "Anything else we can help with?"

"I don't think so. Thank you." McKenzie went inside and calmed both dogs.

Logan followed. "What do we do now?"

"Don't know. I guess we eat and continue our day as normal. I'm not going to let this guy stop me."

Opening the refrigerator, Logan grabbed some eggs, onions, sweet peppers, and spinach. "After we eat, we can take the car to Bill's. What time is your meeting with Megan's teacher friend?"

"Two o'clock. I don't think you should be there."

"I agree. She may not be as open with Megan's brother listening. The bartender wasn't there yesterday. He had the day off. I'll drop you off and then stop by the pub."

"Sounds good." McKenzie went to her desk. "I'm going to review some old files and see if I can find somebody who wants to intimidate me." She glanced at Logan. "A rat would indicate somebody thinks I've told on them, right?"

"Usually. Any ideas who might think you ratted them out?" Logan cracked the eggs. "Are scrambled eggs and fruit okay?"

She nodded. "Yes. I guess technically any of the husband/wife cheating cases, but nothing that would cause this extreme behavior."

"Did it cause anybody to have to pay a large divorce settlement?"

"Good question. I'd need to do some further research into that."

Logan glanced at his ringing cell. That's strange. I don't recognize the number. He took it outside. "Hello." He listened. "Yes, Bill. What question?" Again he listened. "No, we haven't discussed overnight. She just started talking to me, again. I don't think I'd better press my luck, right now." Silence. "Sure, I'll let you know when I find out. How'd you get my number?" He laughed. "Of course, Dad. I'll get back to you when I have an answer." He added Bill's number to his cell.

When Logan returned to the kitchen, McKenzie asked, "Who was it?"

"Dad. He wanted to know when we were coming to dinner."


Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou is an area name for St. Louis
Simon Knight Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league baseball team.
Yadi's Fan name for Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A> and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.

Author Notes Thank you google images for a photo of a dead rat in a coffin. This post is a little over a 1000 words. Again, thank you for your wonderful support.
My 15 year old granddaughter is here visiting until the 13th. I am totally enjoying her company.


Chapter 17
St. Louis Chapter 6 part 3

By barbara.wilkey

Ending of Previous Post:

"Sounds good." McKenzie went to her desk. "I'm going to review some old files and see if I can find somebody who wants to intimidate me." She glanced at Logan. "A rat would indicate somebody thinks I've told on them, right?"

"Usually. Any ideas who might think you ratted them out?" Logan cracked the eggs. "Are scrambled eggs and fruit okay?"

She nodded. "Yes. I guess technically any of the husband/wife cheating cases, but nothing that would cause this extreme behavior."

"Did it cause anybody to have to pay a large divorce settlement?"

"Good question. I'd need to do some further research into that."

Logan glanced at his ringing cell. That's strange. I don't recognize the number. He took it outside. "Hello." He listened. "Yes, Bill. What question?" Again he listened. "No, we haven't discussed overnight. She just started talking to me, again. I don't think I'd better press my luck, right now." Silence. "Sure, I'll let you know when I find out. How'd you get my number?" He laughed. "Of course, Dad. I'll get back to you when I have an answer." He added Bill's number to his cell.

When Logan returned to the kitchen, McKenzie asked, "Who was it?"

"Dad. He wanted to know when we were coming to dinner."


TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 6 PART 3

After McKenzie parked her car in Bill's garage, she tossed a blanket over it. "Thank you for thinking of this."

Logan helped adjust the cover. "When I've deployed, I've had to store my cars. I've learned a few secrets." He glanced at his watch. "We'd better get going. We need to go clear across town to the coffee shop."

McKenzie thanked and said good-bye to Joanie. Logan passed her his car keys. "Want to drive? You probably know the shortest way."

"You sure?"

"Yes." Logan opened the door for her. "What are your plans after this meeting?"

"I'm not sure. I should contact Mrs. Whitmore and see what she wants to do with her husband's information." She watched the car in front of her switch lanes. "I don't think I'd want my husband hanging around a strip joint. But then again she is having an affair."

"I'm curious. Why not? Some men just watch and don't touch. Would that be okay?"

"I'm not sure, but something doesn't seem right about it. I guess I want to be the only woman my husband desires."

So she does have an old-fashioned streak.

"Why does that surprise you?"

"You just read my mind." Logan grinned. "It doesn't really, but you're not a traditional gal, except when it comes to this."

"Just because I don't cook?" McKenzie glanced at him. "Where'd you learn to cook anyway? Don't you live in the barracks?"

"I cook at home. Only the single lower enlisted live in barracks. I have my own place."

"With your wife?'

"Nope, I'm single." As he watched McKenzie's reaction, he added, "I've never been married."

McKenzie teased, "You're probably too bossy."

"Could be. I just figured I hadn't found the right girl, yet."

She pulled into a parking slot and glanced at her watch. "I'm about fifteen minutes early. That's good. I can find a private table so we can talk."

"Want me to come in and wait with you?" As McKenzie shook her head, Logan continued, "I'm at least going to come in and scout the area." He walked around and opened her door.

"Later we'll discuss what the right girl is."

Logan laughed. "Sure."

McKenzie watched Logan leave the coffee shop and then ordered a large coffee and a blueberry muffin. As she sat at a corner table, she smiled. I wonder what type of a woman would catch his eye. That should be an interesting conversation.



Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou is an area name for St. Louis
Simon Knight Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league baseball team.
Yadi's Fan name for Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A> and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.

Author Notes Thank you google images for a photo of a St. Louis coffee shop This post is a little under 500 words. I know it's a little short but it does have important information in it and the next post starts a new chapter. Again, thank you for your wonderful support.
I am still enjoying my granddaughter's company. Last week we took a vacation to Galveston and got caught in nothing but wind and rain. So getting into the gulf was out, but we still had a lot of fun.


Chapter 18
St. Louis Chapter 7 part 1

By barbara.wilkey

Ending of Previous Post:

She pulled into a parking slot and glanced at her watch. "I'm about fifteen minutes early. That's good. I can find a private table so we can talk."

"Want me to come in and wait with you?" As McKenzie shook her head, Logan continued, "I'm at least going to come in and scout the area." He walked around and opened her door.

"Later we'll discuss what the right girl is."

Logan laughed. "Sure."

McKenzie watched Logan leave the coffee shop and then ordered a large coffee and a blueberry muffin. As she sat at a corner table, she smiled. I wonder what type of a woman would catch his eye. That should be an interesting conversation.

TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 7 PART 1

McKenzie stood and approached a blonde lady in her mid-twenties. "Ms. Hartford?"

She accepted McKenzie's hand. "Yes. Please call me Kate."

"Okay. You can call me McKenzie. Before we begin, would you like some coffee?"

"Yes, I'll get some and be right back."

McKenzie returned to her table and sat. Why'd I introduce myself as McKenzie? I've been Mac for twenty plus years? She sipped her coffee and then peeled the paper from her muffin.

Kate sat across from McKenzie and added cream and sugar to her coffee before she said, "I hope you find who did this to Megan, but I'm not sure I can be of any help."

"Any information you can tell me about her private life will be helpful. I hope you don't mind me recording this. I do it so I don't make mistakes or have any misunderstandings." After Kate nodded, McKenzie tore a piece from her muffin and ate it before she started the recording. "Most people have a public life, a private life, and a secret life. It's usually the private and the secret life that gets them into trouble."

"I see. Megan had a few on-again-off-again boyfriends."

"I know about George Whitney. I've been told he was physically abusive. Is that true?"

"He was emotionally abusive. He was always trying to take control." Kate took a bite of a brownie. "Yes, I guess at times he got physical with her. He liked rough sex."

"Was Megan into that?" McKenzie attempted to keep her face from showing surprise.

"Let's say she was adventuresome with both sexes and multiple partners. She wasn't against experimenting. Once in a while it would get too rough, so she'd try to stop him. George didn't like to stop, once he was..." Kate stopped.

"It's okay. I get the picture," McKenzie quickly added before she took another bite of her muffin. "Were there any other men in her life?" She sipped her coffee.

"How much of this are you going to share with her family?" asked Kate.

"If anything you tell me helps me find the murderer, I'll share only the parts that pertain to that. Why?"

"Have you met her family?"

"Her father hired me." McKenzie grasped her coffee cup. I didn't lie. I just didn't tell the whole truth. I guess I lied by omission.

"So maybe you can understand how old fashioned they were."

Logan used the word traditional. Means the same thing.

"Megan had an older brother. He was almost a teenager when she was born. I think there's like eleven or more years between them. I can't remember his name. Anyway, he totally embraced the big brother role. On top of that, he was perfect in everything he did."

"What I heard you say was that her older brother watched over her and she struggled living up to his expectations."

"He got straight A's in every subject without even trying. Megan struggled to get B's. Her parents never understood why her grades were low. She was always compared to him." Kate took a breath. "You've heard of helicopter parents, well she had a helicopter brother. When he went into the Army, Megan celebrated her freedom, a lot."

Logan isn't going to like this one bit. McKenzie chewed on her lower lip before she asked, "Are you saying Megan was a party girl?"

"She wasn't a party animal. She only partied on weekends, but she did totally enjoy a good party."

"Did she only use alcohol or were drugs involved?"

"I think in college she used marijuana, but after graduating only alcohol. Again, she only partied on weekends and usually either Friday or Saturday, rarely both days."

"I understand. When was the last time she was with George Whitney?"

"That I'm not sure of. She broke up with him in April, but I think he still called and tried to get her back. She was getting pretty tired of it."

"Do you know of any other men she dated?"

"Donny, but I don't remember his last name. His number should be on her phone."

Her phone wasn't found. I need to check on that. McKenzie wrote herself a note. "Do you know how they met or where he works?"

"They were introduced by a mutual friend."

"Can I have contact information for that person?"

"Sure." Kate pulled up Eleanor's name on her phone and showed it to McKenzie. "I really don't know anything about him. Megan only had two or three dates with him that I know of. She didn't really talk about him. I don't think it was serious."

"Not a problem. I'll call and speak with Eleanor."

Kate checked her watch. "It's getting late. I need to get going? Anything else?"

"Besides George and Donny, do you know of any other men she saw?"

"There were some, but she met them at a bar, did some dancing. Once in a while, they'd leave together. One-night-stands."

"Do you know if they went back to her place or his?"

"Pretty sure hers, but not positive."

McKenzie handed Kate her card. "Thank you. If you think of anything else, please call."

The ladies shook hands, and then Kate left.

McKenzie took a long drink of coffee. I doubt Logan will want to hear any of this about his baby sister. How do I answer his questions? She put a large bite of muffin in her mouth.




Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou is an area name for St. Louis
Simon Knight Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league baseball team.
Yadi's Fan name for Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A> and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.
Kate Hartford Megan Nelson's friend they taught middle school
together.
Donny A man Megan Nelson dated.

Author Notes Thank you google images for a photo of the back of a cell phone. Finding this cell phone, might help answer some questions as to who killed Megan. This post is a little over 900 words. I've edited this post every day since the beginning of June and still made changes as I posted today. GRRR I just now had to change Kate Middleton's name, it's seems I was messing with royalty.
Sorry! Again, thank you for your wonderful support.


Chapter 19
St. Louis Chapter 7 part 2

By barbara.wilkey

Ending of Previous Post:

Kate checked her watch. "It's getting late. I need to get going? Anything else?"

"Besides George and Donny, do you know of any other men she saw?"

"There were some, but she met them at a bar, did some dancing. Once in a while, they'd leave together. One-night-stands."

"Do you know if they went back to her place or his?"

"Pretty sure hers, but not positive."

McKenzie handed Kate her card. "Thank you. If you think of anything else, please call."

The ladies shook hands, and then Kate left.

McKenzie took a long drink of coffee. I doubt Logan will want to hear any of this about his baby sister. How do I answer his questions? She put a large bite of muffin in her mouth.


TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 7 PART 2

About fifteen minutes later, Logan walked to McKenzie's table holding two cups of coffee. He offered her one. "You look like you could use it. How'd it go?"

"Thank you." McKenzie took a sip. "Even though I've already had plenty, I could still use another cup. The water just got a lot muddier. First, I need to see if the police found Megan's phone. Their report didn't mention a phone. Nowadays, everybody has their phone with them. Where's her phone?" She released a deep breath and drank more coffee. "Then I need to call an Eleanor."

"Who's Eleanor and what does she have to do with this?" Logan paused. "What are you avoiding telling me?" He glanced at the recorder. "You recorded the conversation?" After she nodded, he asked, "Can I hear it?"

"I'm not sure you want to."

"It can't be that bad. She's my baby sister, for God's sake."

McKenzie pushed the recorder toward him. "Don't say I didn't warn you."

Logan picked it up and left the building.

McKenzie watched him sit in the car. I wouldn't like the one-night-stands, myself, and it's just downhill from there. She studied him for a few moments. It'll be easier for him to listen to it alone. I doubt any brother wants to hear his sister likes experimenting with rough sex, multiple partners or with different sexes. I bet he never thought of himself as a perfectionist. McKenzie took a sip of coffee and grinned. He'll probably enjoy that title, but not the overprotective part. I'll tell him about Eleanor later. She watched through the window and noticed him hit the steering wheel. "Not good."

Moments later, Logan returned and sat across from her.

McKenzie glanced at him. "I need to call Kate. I forgot to ask what Megan's favorite bar was, if she had one."

Silence.

A few moments later, McKenzie placed her hand on Logan's. "You okay?"

"What do you think?"

McKenzie took a long drink of coffee and stood. "I'll leave you alone." She walked out of the coffee shop. Now where do I go and what do I do? I guess I'll window shop.

As she moseyed down the sidewalk, a man stopped in front of her. "Hello. You look lost. Maybe I can help."

"Thank you, but I'm not lost." McKenzie attempted to walk around him. When he moved in front of her again, she said, "Excuse me, Sir. I need to get by."

"Why don't I buy you a cup of coffee?" His eyes met hers.

"No thank you." She again attempted to walk past.

He touched her arm.

Logan walked up and grabbed the man's arm. "The lady isn't interested." He put his arm around McKenzie's waist. "Let's go, Sweetheart." He drew her closer to his body as they continued to the car.

At the car, Logan opened the passenger door for her. "I hope you don't mind, but I'm driving."

After he turned the ignition key, McKenzie asked, "Logan?"

"I'm fine."

"Good to know," whispered McKenzie and after a long silence, she said, "I'll cook my specialty for dinner tonight."

Logan stopped backing up and faced her. "What's your specialty?"

"Macaroni and cheese with hotdogs."

"So you do have a specialty?"

"Yes, I can open a box with the best of them. You even have an option. I can cut the hotdogs up and mix them with the macaroni or you can have them separate."

A car honked.

Logan waved his hand. "Oh, sorry." He pulled back into the parking place. "Your suggestion shocked me. I forgot I was backing up." He laughed and shook his head. "Your lack of basic cooking skills never cease to amaze me."

"I thought I might help. It's that or something microwaveable. Your choice." She smiled. "Actually, I was getting tired of doing dishes, so thought we could switch roles."

"Ah, the truth comes out." His eyes met McKenzie's. "Sorry about the earlier familiarity, but-" He took a breath. "Did you know that man?" After she shook her head, he continued, "Did you see him Tuesday night at the Pub?"

"I don't think I've ever seen him before. I still don't remember a lot from that night. Did the bartender have any information?"

"Not really. He didn't recognize the men who tried to help. They're not regulars and came in a little after you did. He's pretty sure they were up to no good. He did let me look at the surveillance video and will have a copy made. I can pick it up in a few days." Logan stared out the windshield a few moments. "It's possible that guy was just hitting on a pretty girl."

McKenzie touched his hand. "You don't need to come to my rescue all the time. If he would've continued, I would've decked him. I can, you know?"

"I know." Logan hesitated.

"So you think I'm pretty, huh?" teased McKenzie.

His eyes widened as he grinned. "You're more than pretty."

"Thank you." She leaned back in the seat. "As you take me home, you can tell me what you're looking for in a wife."

"I'm glad you asked that before I backed up or I would've gotten honked at again. I'd thought you'd forgotten about it. I see there's no chance of it." Logan backed up and then put the car in first gear. "I'll answer, but only if you agree to tell me what your expectations are for a husband. Fair enough?"

"Okay. But you have to go first. I asked first."

"Give me a few minutes to think."

"I'll help. She'd need to know how to cook."

"Not really, it would be nice, but I enjoy cooking, so it wouldn't be a deal breaker." He maneuvered through traffic. "This is a perfect conversation for pulling surveillance not fighting heavy city traffic."

"You're not going to get out of it that easy."

Logan chuckled. "I didn't expect to." He switched lanes. "Okay, let's see. I think a suitable wife would have to be smart and funny, or at least fun to be around. Somebody I could be completely comfortable with." He passed a car. "I'd have to trust her. Trust is very important. She'd need to be my best friend and supportive."

"I see you have thought about this."

"Maybe a little. Want me to go on, or do you have the general idea?"

"Go on."

"All right, emotionally stable, willing to compromise and work with me." Logan grinned. "This one is a must, accept that I'm not perfect, but loves me anyway." He pulled into the driveway. "How'd I do?"

"Think you'll find that person? She'd have to be pretty awesome."

"I think so." Logan winked at her. "We need to let the dogs out. Ready?"

As they walked to the front door, McKenzie asked, "Ready to discuss Megan or do you need more time?"

When Logan didn't answer, McKenzie went in the house. "I'll let the dogs out, and then I need to make a phone call."

"You calling Hartford and seeing where Megan partied?"

"I'll need to check that place out."

"You're not going by yourself."

"If that Donny guy's there, it won't help having you hanging around."

"I'll sit back, and let you do your thing. Only observe."

McKenzie tilted her head. "Logan..." She hesitated. "I'll make the phone call and then start dinner. We can put this on hold for tonight. We're going to have fun at the game."

"Deal, but no dinner. Ball games are one of my junk food nights."

She laughed. "How many do you have?"

"Three, professional baseball games, New Year's Eve, and the Super Bowl." He grinned. "Your specialty is pure junk food, but I'd rather waste my night at the game. How about you?"

"I agree. I didn't really want to cook anyway."

"I figured."

"I'm making my phone call." She went into her makeshift den.

When McKenzie returned to the room, Logan stood. "Well?"

"Some place she called 'The Roof.' The closest I could get was the 'Tin Roof.' You familiar with it?"

Logan shook his head. "No. When we going?"

McKenzie sighed. "I don't want you to go. I'll probably visit it Monday evening, and then go back Friday or Saturday. I can get an idea of what it's like Monday and then see who the players are on the weekend."

Logan set his jaw. "I don't want you to go alone."

"I'll take Jose with me." McKenzie paused. "It may be better if we meet there. I probably should go as a single female." She studied Logan. He's worried something will happen. Now what do I do? She moved closer to him. "Jose will have my back."

"I know. But..."

She put her hand on his arm. "I'm not Megan."

Logan turned and walked outside.

McKenzie watched. He needs time. She went to the den. "I need to check old cases and see if I can find anybody who'd want to harm me."




Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou is an area name for St. Louis
Simon Knight Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league baseball team.
Yadi's Fan name for Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A> and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.
Kate Hartford Megan Nelson's friend they taught middle school
together.
Donny A man Megan Nelson dated.

Author Notes Thank you google images for a photo of a tape recorder. This post is a little over 1500 words. I hope it's not too long. I really didn't know where to split it. Sorry.

Again, thank you for your wonderful support.


Chapter 20
St. Louis Chapter 8 part 1

By barbara.wilkey

Ending of Previous Post:


"Some place she called 'The Roof.' The closest I could get was the 'Tin Roof.' You familiar with it?"

Logan shook his head. "No. When we going?"

McKenzie sighed. "I don't want you to go. I'll probably visit it Monday evening, and then go back Friday or Saturday. I can get an idea of what it's like Monday and then see who the players are on the weekend."

Logan set his jaw. "I don't want you to go alone."

"I'll take Jose with me." McKenzie paused. "It may be better if we meet there. I probably should go as a single female." She studied Logan. He's worried something will happen. Now what do I do? She moved closer to him. "Jose will have my back."

"I know. But..."

She put her hand on his arm. "I'm not Megan."

Logan turned and walked outside.

McKenzie watched. He needs time. She went to the den. "I need to check old cases and see if I can find anybody who'd want to harm me."

TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 8 PART 1

Almost an hour later, Logan joined her. When McKenzie glanced up from her files, he said, "About earlier..."

"You don't need to explain," she interrupted. "I understand. Really, I do."

He swallowed hard as he glanced at the files. "Did you find anything?"

McKenzie shook her head. "Nothing even close." She grinned. "I called Mrs. Whitmore." When his eyebrows rose, she continued, "Want to pull surveillance again Thursday evening?"

"Sure. Be ready to discuss what qualities you're looking for in a perfect husband."

"Deal. Tomorrow, I'll make a list and let you read it."

"It'll be too dark. You'll need to tell me. That way I can ask questions if I need to." Logan grinned.

"That wasn't part of the deal. I didn't ask questions." Her lips formed a pout. "That's not fair."

"How's it my fault you didn't ask questions?" Logan grinned at her pout. "Okay. If you think of any, you can ask. Fair enough?" He glanced at his watch. "I like to watch batting practice. How about you?"

"Me too. I'll be ready in a minute." McKenzie ran upstairs.

When she returned, she stood and watched Logan check the back door to make sure it was locked. He gets an A plus in over-protectiveness.

He adjusted his Cardinals' hat. "I like your Molina T-shirt. Let's watch some baseball." He opened the front door.

*****

On the way to Bush Stadium, McKenzie asked, "Have you already planned your junk food meal?"

"I don't plan everything." Logan paused. "But the answer is yes; 'El Birdos Gourmet Nachos' and two large cheeseburgers. Probably some peanuts later. How about you?"

"Pretzel and a foot-long chili cheese dog with extra onions and cheese." McKenzie paused. "Oh yes, a chocolate milkshake. Of course, peanuts."

After Logan parked in the garage across from the stadium, they walked to the 8th street ticket booth and stood in line to pick up the tickets.

As Logan handed McKenzie her ticket, she asked, "How much do I owe you?"

"Nothing."

"Remember this isn't a date. We're two friends who enjoy baseball going to a game. I need to pay my way."

Logan held out his hand. "Do you have a five dollar bill?"

"I think so." McKenzie searched her billfold and handed one to him. "Here."

He shoved it in his pocket. "Your ticket's paid for."

She held it up. "I know it cost more than five dollars. They're playing the Cubs. You tricked me!" McKenzie's hands were on her hips.

Grabbing her hand, Logan teased, "I did," he grinned, "and I can't believe it was that easy. Let's get inside."

Standing in the walkway, McKenzie read her ticket stub out loud, "Section one hundred forty-six, row 'E'. That's right down the first base line. Wow! These tickets had to cost over a hundred dollars each." She hugged him and then her cheeks tinged pink. "Sorry. I guess I got a little excited."

"Not a problem. I'm glad you approve." Again, Logan held her hand and led her to their seats. After they were seated, he asked, "Did your parents bring you to the games?"

"Dad did. We came a few times a year. Mom rarely came."

"Didn't your mom like baseball? Maybe she was a Cubs fan." He chuckled.

"She wasn't." McKenzie smiled, but then avoided eye contact. "Mom had some problems."

She obviously doesn't want to talk about it. Subject change. Logan pointed to the dugout. "Yadi just came out." He smiled as McKenzie jumped up and cheered.

*****

About thirty minutes before game time, Logan stood. "I'll get the food. You wanted a pretzel and foot long chili cheese dog, right? What to drink?"

"Chocolate milkshake, but I'll come. You can't carry everything." She followed him up the steps. At the top, she asked, "Which way?"

Logan pointed to the left. "Your pretzels and hot dogs are over there." He reached into his billfold and took out some cash.

"I see your nacho place over there." She pointed to the right. "I'll get mine and meet you. Your line looks longer."

"But..." Logan still held the cash.

"If anybody tries anything, I'll scream and ..."

"Okay. I get it," interrupted Logan. "I'm overprotective. I'm working on it." He grinned and shoved the cash in his pocket. She's not going to make this easy. He called after her, "Try not to hurt anybody." He walked to the right, but often looked back to check on McKenzie.

She smiled and shook her head each time he glanced in her direction.

While standing in line, Logan got a text from Bill. He silently read it: "Mac needs protection during the night. Think she'll let you stay? If not, I'll have the police assign a detail."

Logan ran his hand through his military-cut hair and replied, "Maybe. We're actually getting along and having fun. I took her to a ball game. Will keep you posted."

*****

As McKenzie sipped her milkshake, Logan caught up and he asked, "Did you have to fight off any men or see anybody who looked suspicious?"

"I saw plenty of suspicious looking people, but nobody noteworthy. How about you?"

"When are you going to take these threats seriously?"

"I am taking them seriously." She briefly chewed on her lower lip. "I had a moment of weakness. I won't let it happen again. I won't let these threats take over my life."

He nodded. "If you insist. Let's get back to our seats, I'm hungry."

At their seats, McKenzie watched Logan take a sip of a drink. "What's that?"

"A beer. Do you want one?" After she shook her head, he held it out. "You want a drink?"

"No." She turned away and took a bite of her pretzel.

That was strange. Logan stood as the National Anthem played. Afterward, he faced McKenzie still standing. "Have I done something wrong?"

"No." She sat and picked up the scorecard. "The game's ready to start."

*****

McKenzie jumped up and down and clapped her hands as Matt Carpenter hit a homerun. "I think that makes twenty-three for him this year." She yelled, "Go Carp!"

Logan raised his hand for her to hand-slap. When she did, he grinned.
Maybe she's forgiven me for whatever I did.

At the beginning of the fifth inning, Logan called to a vendor.

McKenzie glared at him. "You're getting another beer?"

"No, I was getting us some peanuts. I thought they were on your list."

She gulped. "They were. Thank you."

I know it's the beer she's upset with, but why? I'm not drunk and disorderly with one beer. He paid the vendor and passed her a bag of peanuts. "Would you like something to drink with them?"

McKenzie nodded. "Water. I'll get it. Do you want one?" She took out her billfold.

He motioned for another vendor, bought two bottles of water, and passed her one. "I got this."

"But..."

"Watch the game. We're switching pitchers. He must be new. I don't recognize him."

"They've called up a couple of new relievers from the minors."

As the game ended, McKenzie remained in her seat. "Good game. We won. It's always a good feeling."

"Ready to leave?"

"Nope. I want to savor the win." She scanned the crowd. "We might as well wait until it lets up a little." She held out her hand. "The keys."

Logan tilted his head. "I'm not drunk if that's what you're implying." He glanced at his watch. "It's been three hours since I drank one beer. I weigh two hundred pounds. The alcohol's already left my system." He watched as McKenzie glared at him. He reached in his pocket, and handed her the keys. "Here, if it makes you feel better."

"It does."

In the foyer of the stadium, McKenzie paused. "I need to use the bathroom."

While Logan waited, he sent Bill a text. "You'll need to get a police detail for Mac. I messed up. I had a beer. She's pissed with me."

Bill replied. "That's on me. I should have warned you. I'll explain at dinner tomorrow."

"I'll stay with her until the detail arrives."

*****

Inside McKenzie's townhouse, Logan held out his hand. "My keys. I'll need to go home tonight unless you want me to sleep on your couch."

She handed them to him. "You can leave."

Logan glanced out the window. "They're here. I'll see you in the morning."

"Who's here?"

Logan pointed out the window. "Your protection." McKenzie crossed her arms over her chest as he continued, "Don't get upset with me. This is all on Bill. I'm innocent. It came down to a detail or me. I figured you'd rather have a detail."





Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou local name for St. Louis
Simon Knight Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league
baseball team.
Yadi's Fan name for Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A> and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.
Kate Hartford Megan Nelson's friend they taught middle school
together.
Donny A man Megan Nelson dated.

Author Notes Thank you google images for a photo of a Bush Stadium in St. Louis. I have tickets for July 14. I can't wait. This post is a little under 1500 words. I hope it's not too long. I really didn't know where to split it. Sorry. As I posted I made four major changes to this post. I hope it's all right. This post may seem like fluff but there are some things in here that will become important later on in the story.

Again, thank you for your wonderful support.


Chapter 21
St. Louis Chapter 8 part 2

By barbara.wilkey

Ending of Previous Post:

Inside McKenzie's townhouse, Logan held out his hand. "My keys. I'll need to go home tonight unless you want me to sleep on your couch."

She handed them to him. "You can leave."

Logan glanced out the window. "They're here. I'll see you in the morning."

"Who's here?"

Logan pointed out the window. "Your protection." McKenzie crossed her arms over her chest as he continued, "Don't get upset with me. This is all on Bill. I'm innocent. It came down to a detail or me. I figured you'd rather have a detail."


TODAY'S POST:

McKenzie stared out the window. I can't believe Bill did this. I'm sure Logan talked him into it. At dinner tomorrow, I'll get this straightened out. She petted Edger. "You want out, boy?"

As she let the dogs out, she noticed police officers checking her back yard. Arlo barked with back hair bristled, and Edger checked things out.

After an officer waved at her, she said, "My dogs are all the protection I need."

"I understand, Ma'am. I'm just following orders."

When the dogs returned inside, McKenzie shut and locked the door. "I'm a prisoner in my own house. Bill's going to get an earful." She headed upstairs. Both dogs followed.

*****

Early the following morning, Logan watched McKenzie struggle carrying a full laundry basket down the stairs, reached out his arms to take it, as he said, "Let me help."

McKenzie jumped and stumbled. He caught her as the basket fell, dumping laundry on the stairs and floor.

She backed away and yelled, "You startled me. Don't you ever knock?"

"I did. When you didn't answer, I figured you were still in bed."

"No, you didn't. Arlo didn't bark." She picked up dirty clothes. "If I was still in bed, what were you going to do? Join me."

"Joining you was the farthest thing from my mind. I would have waited down here. Maybe..."

"I know fix breakfast," interrupted McKenzie. "Not even my mom was this concerned about my eating habits."

"I was going to say, let the dogs out. I'm getting pretty good at that. I was also relieving the police detail." He grinned. "Then maybe start breakfast. You know it's the most important meal of the day." He knelt to pick up some things.

"Don't touch my stuff."

"Yes, Ma'am." He dropped them. "I was only trying to help. You know, it's not like I've never seen or touched women's clothing before. I had a sister and I am thirty-four. I've actually met a few women in my day."

"I'm sure you have." She finished picking up the clothes and carried the basket to the laundry room.

Logan followed. "What did you mean by that statement?"

"You probably have women stashed at every port."

"That would be the Navy. I'm Army." He paused. "Wait a minute. Are we going to argue all day?"

"I guess that's up to you." McKenzie started sorting clothes.

"Why are you this upset already or did you just wake up like this?" Logan watched her as she continued her task, before he said, "I guess you're still upset over the beer and maybe the assigned detail." He left. "I'm starting coffee. I need a cup."

*****

As Logan sipped his coffee, McKenzie entered the kitchen. "Logan?" When he glanced at her, she continued, "Can I have some coffee?"

"Sure." He got up, poured her a cup, and handed it to her. "Ready to tell me what's going on?"

"I feel I don't have any control of my life. Everybody's making decisions without asking me. Bill put a protective detail on me and you just entered my home without knocking."

"Let's get one thing straight. I did knock, but nobody answered."

"Why didn't the dogs bark? Arlo barks at everything."

"Maybe he's gotten used to me being around and didn't see any reason to bark." Logan stood. "Ready for me to start breakfast?" After she nodded he said, "Why do you think Bill put a protective detail on you?"

"Because he doesn't believe I can take care of myself."

Logan stared at her with raised eyebrows. "Really?"

"Okay, maybe because I was drugged and somebody left a package with a dead rat in it on my doorstep."

"Duh? Do you think? He also cares about you, a lot." He reached for some flour. "You like pancakes?" After she nodded, he continued, "Bill gave me a choice to stay with you myself or have a detail. I thought you would be more comfortable with a detail."

"Why wasn't I given the choice?"

"I don't know. You need to ask him." He took out a large mixing bowl, and then his eyes met hers. "Did I choose wrong?" When she didn't answer, he added, "You can talk with Bill tonight."

"I plan to."

"You're almost out of eggs. Do you plan on going grocery shopping today? If not, I'll get some."

"After I finish with the house, I'll go shopping. Want to help me with the list?"

"Sure. Is it all right if we split the bill?" After she nodded and grinned, he said, "Good."

McKenzie ate most of her stack of pancakes before she set her fork down. "I didn't get much sleep last night."

"Why?" He got the coffee pot, refilled hers and then his. "Want to talk about it?"

"I'm not sure I can."

"Were you angry or scared or something else?"

"At first I was angry, but then I got scared, I guess. I'm scared of the unknown. I don't know what's going on. Why is this happening?" McKenzie chewed on her bottom lip. "If I knew what was going on, I think I'd be okay."



Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou local name for St. Louis
Simon Knight Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league
baseball team.
Yadi's Fan name for Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A> and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.
Kate Hartford Megan Nelson's friend they taught middle school
together.
Donny A man Megan Nelson dated.

Author Notes I leave for vacation tomorrow, July 8th and will return July 25th. I will review and post, hopefully, as much as I can. My story is almost complete, so all I have to do is edit, and edit and edit. I still mess up. LOL

Thank you google images for a photo of a question mark made from puzzle pieces. I thought it was appropriate. This post is a little under 900 words.

Again, thank you for your wonderful support.


Chapter 22
St. Louis Chapter 9 part 2

By barbara.wilkey

Ending of Previous Post:

McKenzie ate most of her stack of pancakes before she set her fork down. "I didn't get much sleep last night."

"Why?" He got the coffee pot, refilled hers and then his. "Want to talk about it?"

"I'm not sure I can."

"Were you angry or scared or something else?"

"At first I was angry, but then I got scared, I guess. I'm scared of the unknown. I don't know what's going on. Why is this happening?" McKenzie chewed on her bottom lip. "If I knew what was going on, I think I'd be okay."

TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 9 PART 2

As the last of the groceries were put away, Logan asked, "Okay, what else is there to do?"

McKenzie flopped down on the left side of the couch. "House cleaned, check, laundry done, check, groceries bought and put away, check. Tomorrow is pay bill day, so we can still catch the end of the ballgame."

Logan sat on the right side. "I vote for that." He petted Edger as he crawled up beside him. "I guess he figures Arlo's always next to you, so he'll sit here." He chuckled. "I get it, big guy."

"It's the sixth inning. The Cards are down by one. There's plenty of time, but we need some hits and baserunners." McKenzie glanced at her watch. "We have time to see the end of the game before we need to head for Bill's."

During the bottom of the eighth inning the Cardinals had tied the game.

"Darn! I need to change." McKenzie scooted to the edge of her seat. "I hate these close games. It can go either way."

In the top of the ninth, the Cubs got two runs.

"Okay, it's now or never. Maybe we should turn it off." McKenzie glanced at Logan. "Think we should?"

Logan laughed. "Do you believe it'll change the outcome?"

"No, but if they lose it won't be as painful. It's bad enough if they lose but to the Cubs it's twice as bad." She stood. "Maybe I'll go ahead and change."

"But if they come back, you'll have missed it."

"True. What should I do?"

"Decisions, decisions." Logan winked.

"You're teasing me."

"A little." He pointed to the stairs. "If you decide to change, I promise not to share the outcome. Will that help?"

"Not at all." McKenzie leaned back on the couch. "I'll stay, but they'd better win."

Logan jumped up at a noise out front and went to the door.

Both dogs barked and joined Logan.

"What was it?" McKenzie followed.

"I don't know. Stay back. I'll look around." As he opened the door, he glanced at Edger. "Do your job." Logan stepped onto the front porch.

When he returned, he carried a large rock. "Do the neighborhood kids usually throw rocks?"

"Not normally. Why?"

"I found this by the door." He pointed to an indention in the wood. "It hit here."

"Looks like it had some velocity to it."

"I'd say so."

"Why? Just to remind me they're watching me?"

"Maybe."

"I'm going to change."

Logan petted Edger. "Big guy, I'd say this isn't going to improve her mood. What do you bet?" He released a deep breath. "But she's handling it better than most."

When McKenzie returned, she glanced at the TV. "Well, did they pull it off?"

"Almost, they got one run back, but still came up short." Logan turned off the TV. "You look nice by the way."

"Thank you." She walked over to the door. "After I let the boys go out, ready to leave?"

Logan nodded. "Do you need some time?"

"No, why would I need time?"

He walked up to her. "Your eyes are a little red. I thought maybe..."

"I'm not a crier," interrupted McKenzie.

"But if you did, it would be all right."

She chewed on her lower lip. "I know." As a tear escaped, she turned toward the wall.

His arms went around her. "Come here. It's okay."

"I'm not crying."

"I know." He guided her head to his chest.

"Don't tell Bill why we're late."

"I won't."



Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou local name for St. Louis
Simon Knight Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league
baseball team.
Yadi's Fan name for Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A> and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.
Kate Hartford Megan Nelson's friend they taught middle school
together.
Donny A man Megan Nelson dated.

Author Notes I spent the afternoon in St. Louis watching the Cardinals. They did win; 5-2. I am using my laptop. I am much more comfortable with my PC, so I'm hoping I'm not making numerous mistakes.

Thank you google images for a photo of a rock which could have been thrown that McKenzie's door.

Again, thank you for your wonderful support.


Chapter 23
St. Louis Chapter 10 part 1

By barbara.wilkey

Just a note, Please remember Logan and McKenzie only met four days ago.


Ending of Previous Post:

"Thank you." McKenzie walked over to the door. "After I let the boys go out, ready to leave?"

Logan nodded. "Do you need some time?"

"No, why would I need time?"

He walked up to her. "Your eyes are a little red. I thought maybe..."

"I'm not a crier," interrupted McKenzie.

"But if you did, it would be all right."

She chewed on her lower lip. "I know." As a tear escaped, she turned toward the wall.

His arms went around her. "Come here. It's okay."

"I'm not crying."

"I know." He guided her head to his chest.

"Don't tell Bill why we're late."

"I won't."

Today's Post:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 10 PART 1

Joanie greeted McKenzie with a hug. "It's been over a month since we've last had lunch. How are you doing?"

"Things are pretty good. We need to do it again soon. Before I leave, we'd better set a date so we're sure it happens. Life seems to get in the way." McKenzie motioned to Logan. "I'm sure Bill's told you about him."

"He has. Glad to finally meet." Joanie offered her hand. "Bill's out back, if you want to go on out."

McKenzie started toward the kitchen. "I need to have a few words with him."

"Oh no," teased Joanie. "I know that look. What's he done this time?"

"I'd better rescue him." Logan followed McKenzie, but continued talking, "She's upset over the nightly police detail he assigned."

Joanie watched them leave as she shook her head. "I'm sitting this one out."

*****

When McKenzie stepped onto the patio, Bill looked up from the grill. "Hello. I'm glad you're here. I'm fixing a brisket." He nodded toward Logan. "Things going okay?"

"No. Things aren't okay." McKenzie glared at Bill. "What's this police detail about? I already have Betty Crocker. Why do I need more aggravation?"

Bill's eyes widened. "Betty Crocker?"

"I'll explain," interrupted Logan. "Mac's cooking skills lack, so I do most of the cooking."

"I get it." Bill grinned. "Mac, somebody's trying to hurt you. Until we find out who and why, I'd feel better if you have some security. It's a police detail or," he laughed, "Betty Crocker. Your choice?"

"What about the option that I take care of me? I vote for that."

"That's not happening." Bill's eyes met hers. "It's the police detail or Logan."

McKenzie turned and went inside. "Maybe I can talk some sense into Joanie."

Bill shook his head. "She's one stubborn young lady." He glanced at Logan. "I'm sure you've already noticed."

"We've had a few run-ins, but nothing much. I've figured out if I give her time, she's more willing to discuss it."

"That's true. It took me longer to figure it out." Bill chuckled. "You're pretty smart." He opened the smoker and made adjustments to the brisket. "I'd offer you a beer, but..."

"Yeah, explain the no alcohol issue."

"This story goes back to her childhood." Bill motioned to a chair as he sat. "Helen, her mom." He paused before he started over, "Helen's dad, Gus, was an alcoholic, and a mean drunk at that. Helen was abused as a child and this continued into her married life."

"By her dad's hands?" asked Logan.

Nodding, Bill said, "The police were regulars at their house, but Helen never pressed charges."

"I never understand why women put up with it."

"The abusers make sure the women have no self-esteem and cause them to feel they're forced to stay in that relationship, that there's no way out. Her husband and Mac's dad tried to help, but nothing ever came of it." Bill rubbed his chin. "One night when Mac was nine or ten years old, her dad was at work and Gus came to visit. He was drunk as usual. Helen put Mac to bed early trying to protect her from her grandpa."

"Why didn't Helen call her husband?"

"She tried, but he was on call and couldn't respond. Mack was still a detective for the Police Department." After Logan nodded acknowledgment, Bill continued, "I guess Mac had a nightmare and woke up crying. Gus went into her room to quiet her and hit her a few times. Helen came in to protect her daughter and hit Gus."

"This doesn't end well, does it?" Logan released a deep breath.

"No, it doesn't. I'm sure you know what happened. A neighbor heard the screams and called the police. Helen was battered so badly she spent almost a month in the hospital. Gus did two years in jail. McKenzie had some nasty bruises but more importantly still carries emotional scars. This is just one example of encounters with her grandpa."

"Wow!"

"That's when Mack left the police force and became a P.I." Bill checked the brisket. "As if that's not enough, Mac has more reasons to dislike alcohol. After the senior prom ended, her best friend, Nancy, and boyfriend, Louis, attended a party. Louis got drunk and attempted to drive Nancy home. He ran a red light, got in a car accident, and Nancy died at the scene. Louis survived."

"Enough said. I understand and won't drink around Mac again." Logan paused. "I hope that's the end of the stories."

"Mostly. Mac has a few little ones here and there, concerning boyfriends." Bill glanced toward the patio door. "What are we going to do to protect her?"

Logan ran his hand through his hair. "I don't know. It's not easy helping when she doesn't want it."


Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou local name for St. Louis
Simon Knight Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league
baseball team.
Yadi's Fan name for Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A> and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.
Kate Hartford Megan Nelson's friend they taught middle school
together.
Donny A man Megan Nelson dated.

Author Notes I'm still on vacation and enjoying my year old granddaughter. She's napping, right now. Tomorrow, I go to my in-laws, and then home on Thursday.

Please remember that I write romance with a back story. I think the back story sometimes confuses people about exactly what the genre is.

Thank you google images for a photo of a brisket. I wanted a security detail but couldn't find the exact one I wanted.

Again, thank you for your wonderful support.


Chapter 24
St. Louis Chapter 10 part 2

By barbara.wilkey

Just a note, Please remember Logan and McKenzie only met four days ago. This is the same day as last weeks post.


Ending of Previous Post:


"That's when Mack left the police force and became a P.I." Bill checked the brisket. "As if that's not enough, Mac has more reasons to dislike alcohol. After the senior prom ended, her best friend, Nancy, and boyfriend, Louis, attended a party. Louis got drunk and attempted to drive Nancy home. He ran a red light, got in a car accident, and Nancy died at the scene. Louis survived."

"Enough said. I understand and won't drink around Mac again." Logan paused. "I hope that's the end of the stories."

"Mostly. Mac has a few little ones here and there, concerning boyfriends." Bill glanced toward the patio door. "What are we going to do to protect her?"

Logan ran his hand through his hair. "I don't know. It's not easy helping when she doesn't want it."

TODAY'S POST:

In the kitchen, McKenzie stood beside and watched Joanie as she cut up cabbage and carrots for coleslaw. "Is there anything that's good and easy to make?"

Joanie tilted her head. "That's a strange question coming from you. You've never shown an interest in cooking."

"My specialty is microwaveable TV dinners. For a change, I make mac-n-cheese and hot dogs. I guess that doesn't count as a healthy meal."

Glancing toward the patio door, Joanie smiled. "He's awfully handsome."

"I hadn't noticed." McKenzie avoided eye contact. "He likes to make and eat homemade meals."

"I see."

"I'm tired of doing dishes."

Joanie laughed. "Let me think about your problem. I'm sure I can come up with some easy-to-fix meals."

McKenzie put her finger to her lips as she heard the men coming toward the kitchen.

Bill's voice was heard, "Joanie, the brisket has maybe another thirty minutes. How you coming?"

She faced her husband. "I'm right on schedule. Potato salad done, coleslaw will be done immediately, baked beans in oven, and Mac's favorite dessert, done."

"Is Mac's favorite dessert by chance donuts?" asked Logan.

Joanie grinned. "If it is, I didn't know it. I thought..."

"No silly, donuts are a breakfast food," interrupted McKenzie.

"I see this is something between you two." Joanie's eyes widened. "Should I tell him what your favorite dessert is or let him suffer?"

Bill patted Logan's shoulder. "Come with me. You won't win with these two. Her favorite dessert is brownies topped with ice cream and chocolate syrup."

"I'm not surprised. Absolutely nothing healthy in that."

After the men headed outside, Joanie waited until they couldn't hear before she asked, "Is there anything romantic starting between you and Logan?"

"Of course not. We argue all the time." McKenzie chewed on her lower lip. "Really we do."

"I'm sure you do."

"He's bossy and likes to take charge. Besides, he refuses to see the healthy benefits of donuts for breakfast."

Joanie turned toward the front door as the bell sounded. "I wonder who that could be. We weren't expecting anybody." After she looked through the peephole, she opened it. "Mitch, I haven't seen you for a while. What can I do for you?"

He leaned over and kissed Joanie's cheek. "Work's been keeping me busy. You're right; it's been way too long. I hope everything's been treating you good." He scanned the room. "I need to speak with Bill, is he home?"

"He's out back." She led him through the kitchen. "You remember McKenzie Morgan, Mack's daughter?"

"Sure do. I'm glad you're here. You're the reason I need to speak with Bill." Mitch kissed her cheek. "I haven't seen you since your dad left the police force. How you doing?"

"Good, sir. I'll show you outside." McKenzie opened the patio door. "Bill, Mitch Gardner's here to speak with you, I guess with us." She glanced at him.

After greetings were completed and the introduction of Logan made, everybody sat.

"I guess I need to start." Mitch hung his head. "I came to ask Bill if he'd speak with you." His eyes met McKenzie's. "I know from when I partnered with your dad, that you played a pretty mean game of poker. I'm hoping you still do."

"I do. About once a month some old friends of Dad's and I get together and play a few hands. I've been known to still win a few hands. I'm surprised you haven't joined us. Why you asking?"

"She's usually the big winner," interrupted Bill.

Logan shook his head. "Is there anything you don't do?"

"Cook." McKenzie grinned.

Bill laughed. "That she doesn't do." He checked on the brisket, before he sat. "Why are you interested if Mac still plays poker?"




Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou local name for St. Louis
Simon Knight Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league
baseball team.
Yadi's Fan name for Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A> and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.
Kate Hartford Megan Nelson's friend they taught middle school
together.
Donny A man Megan Nelson dated.
Mitch Gardner St. Louis Police Department detective who has
partnered with McKenzie's dad.

Author Notes My vacation was cut short when my youngest son, Steven, called and asked us to come home. He's 26 years old and started having some cardiac issues. We're still waiting for some tests. I would appreciate prayers and well wishes. Thank you.

My novel 'Texas Dream Catcher' , if everything works out right, should be published in August. The title has changed to either 'Under Siege on the Rockin' A or 'Siege of the Rockin' A' I can't make up my mind. Please let me know what you think. I value your opinion.

Please remember that I write romance with a back story. I think the back story sometimes confuses people about exactly what the genre is.

Thank you google images for a photo of poker game. Again, I added to the story as I posts. I felt some areas needed clarity. I hope I didn't make it worse.

Again, thank you for your wonderful support.


Chapter 25
St. Louis Chapter 10 part 3

By barbara.wilkey

Just a note, Again they've only known each other four days.


Ending of Previous Post:

After greetings were completed and the introduction of Logan made, everybody sat.

"I guess I need to start." Mitch hung his head. "I came to ask Bill if he'd speak with you." His eyes met McKenzie's. "I know from when I partnered with your dad, that you played a pretty mean game of poker. I'm hoping you still do."

"I do. About once a month some old friends of Dad's and I get together and play a few hands. I've been known to still win a few hands. I'm surprised you haven't joined us. Why you asking?"

"She's usually the big winner," interrupted Bill.

Logan shook his head. "Is there anything you don't do?"

"Cook." McKenzie grinned.

Bill laughed. "That she doesn't do." He checked on the brisket, before he sat. "Why are you interested if Mac still plays poker?"


TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 10 Part 3

Mitch released a deep breath. "We've been doing surveillance on a man, Ivan Smart. We're positive he's the leader of a gang who's running a human trafficking and child pornography ring. He's probably also into drugs. They seem to go together. But we don't have enough evidence to make any arrests. He plays poker every Wednesday night. We're afraid he'll make us, but Mac could buy into a seat and probably nobody would be suspicious. I heard she's really good undercover. Bottom line is we need somebody to get close to him."

Logan stretched out his legs and said, "With everything that's going on right now, I don't think it's a good idea."

Bill stood. "I agree with Logan. Mac's got too much on her plate. I'm sure you can find somebody else. Besides wouldn't a male be able to get closer to him than a female?"

"Wait a minute!" McKenzie glared at Bill, who was standing by the smoker. "When did you two become my bosses?" She faced Mitch. "I'll be happy to do it. I'm sure I could get close to him. I could play up to his male ego."

A gulp was heard, before Mitch asked, "What am I missing? There seems to be an elephant in the room."

"I think the timing's off." Bill tapped the tongs he still held in his hand from checking the meat. "There have been a few threats made on Mac. I've assigned her a nightly police detail."

"Mac's safety is of upmost importance. I need to find somebody else for this." Mitch paused. "Do you know who's making threats?"

"Absolutely no idea, not even a hint." Bill took a drink of water. "That's the worst part. We don't know who we're dealing with."

"I'm sitting right here. I refuse to be held hostage in my house. I'm going to continue doing my job. I'll be happy to play poker." McKenzie held her breath. "If it makes you guys feel better, I'll take Jose with me as my lucky charm. I'm sure he could win over this guy."

"I know Jose, and he does great undercover work. I thought of him first, but he's a lousy poker player. I've played with him a couple of times." Mitch studied McKenzie. "I like your enthusiasm but I'm not sure it's in your best interest."

Joanie opened the patio door. "How close is the brisket?"

Bill got up to recheck. "Maybe another fifteen minutes."

"I can do this." McKenzie glanced at Joanie as she closed the door. "If it'll make you feel better, send Jose's partner with him."

After studying Logan, Bill said, "Mac, I know you'll argue with this idea but with Logan's training he'd better at this than Jose or his partner."

"Just because he's had great training doesn't mean he can execute it. All we really know is he has something to do with the Army's Special Forces and likes to cook. He may be a wimp."

"I seriously doubt that." Bill pointed the tongs toward Logan. "Have you noticed those biceps?"

"Okay, he lifts weights but that doesn't mean he can protect me or himself, for that matter. Logan had been sitting quietly listening to the argument between McKenzie and Bill. He cleared his throat. "Mac, did you forget yesterday we went to the gym and sparred?"

She nodded. "You kept up with me."

"If I remember correctly, I offered advice about how predictable your jabs and kicks were that your instructor hadn't noticed."

Her cheeks tinged pink. "Okay, you did well, but that doesn't mean you can handle yourself in a difficult situation. How do we know you can make split second decisions, especially under fire?"

"Are you by chance Peter Nelson's son?" asked Mitch. After Logan, nodded, he continued, "I know your dad. How many special op's missions have you been in and under heavy fire?"

"Sorry, sir. I can't answer that." Logan watched McKenzie.

"Okay, so you're some sort of special hero. You guys, it doesn't mean he can take over my life." McKenzie went into the house.

Logan stood. "Should I go after her?"

Bill tapped the chair. "Have a seat. My experience with Mac is to let her calm down before trying to talk with her. Joanie'll take care of it."



Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou local name for St. Louis
Simon Knight Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league
baseball team.
Yadi's Fan name for Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A> and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.
Kate Hartford Megan Nelson's friend they taught middle school
together.
Donny A man Megan Nelson dated.
Mitch Gardner St. Louis Police Department detective who has
partnered with McKenzie's dad.
Ivan Smart A bad guy

Author Notes Steven has taken this cardiac incident seriously and is starting to each much healthier. A big step in the right direction. Thank you for your well wishes.

I will keep you posted on how my new book being published is going.

Please remember that I write romance with a back story. I think the back story sometimes confuses the issue.

Thank you google images for a photo of poker game. Again, I added to the story as I posts. I felt some areas needed clarity. I hope I didn't make it worse. Please remember Ivan Smart. He's important and his name will show up again.

Again, thank you for your wonderful support.

As a teacher, I go back to work Thursday. DARN!!! The children return on the 26th. I actually do miss them.


Chapter 26
St. Louis Chapter 10 part 4

By barbara.wilkey

Still day four of McKenzie and Logan's relationship.


Ending of Previous Post:

Her cheeks tinged pink. "Okay, you did well, but that doesn't mean you can handle yourself in a difficult situation. How do we know you can make split second decisions, especially under fire?"

"Are you by chance Peter Nelson's son?" asked Mitch. After Logan, nodded, he continued, "I know your dad. How many special op's missions have you been in and under heavy fire?"

"Sorry, sir. I can't answer that." Logan watched McKenzie.

"Okay, so you're some sort of special hero. You guys, it doesn't mean you guys can take over my life." McKenzie went into the house.

Logan stood. "Should I go after her?"

Bill tapped the chair. "Have a seat. My experience with Mac is to let her calm down before trying to talk with her. Joanie'll take care of it."


TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 10 PART 4

Bill took the brisket off the grill. "Mitch, have you had dinner? There's more than enough. You're welcome to stay. We'd enjoy your company."

Glancing at his watch, Mitch shook his head. "Better get on home. My wife's waiting dinner, and I'm already late. It's been nice discussing old times. As for Mac, I'll find somebody else. I understand not wanting her to do it. Under the circumstances, I don't either. I'm sorry I brought it up. I'm sure her dad's rolling over in his grave at the suggestion." He patted Logan's back. "You have a feisty one on your hands. Good luck." He walked inside.

Logan watched him leave. "Why does everybody assume Mac and I are a couple? Half the time we're barely on speaking terms."

Chuckling, Bill said, "Because that's how all good relationships start."

Logan opened the door for Bill. "Whatever."

Inside Joanie showed Mitch to the front door while Bill and Logan went into the dining room.

McKenzie glanced up from setting the table. "I don't want to talk about it."

Bill set the brisket on the table. "Good. I was hoping we'd have a pleasant dinner, weren't you?"
Joanie entered. "I don't know what you're arguing about this time, but put it on pause until after dinner, and then you can go to your respected corners. Deal?"

Bill sat. "Deal."

McKenzie placed the last plate on the table. "Deal." She glanced at her ringing phone and stepped into the kitchen.

When she returned, everybody was seated and Joanie asked, "Is everything all right?"

McKenzie sat in a vacant chair closest to Logan. "Yes. It was Jose. He's having a boys-night-out with Whitney. He asked me to check on something for him. It's not urgent so I'll do it when I get home or in the morning." She glanced at Logan. "Nothing has changed."

Bill picked up a large serving fork. "Mac, pass me your plate. I hope you're hungry."

Joanie laughed. "Ever known a time she wasn't?"

He placed large slices of meat on Mckenzie's plate and said, "True. Logan, help yourself to some potato salad and pass it around. You're up next."

McKenzie studied Logan a few moments. "Do you have a key to Megan's apartment?"

"No, but I'm sure my parents do, why?"

"No phone was found on her. Most young women always have their phone with them. I think it's strange there wasn't one."

Logan tilted his head. "You're right. Her phone was almost an extension of her hand. On the way home we'll stop at my parents' and get the key."

Bill and Joanie winked at each other.

McKenzie noticed. "What was that about?"

"What?" asked Bill.

"You know what, those winks. The one you and Joanie just shared."

Joanie stood. "I forgot the buns. I'll get them." As she left the room, she added, "It's only been four days, and you're already meeting his parents."

"I'm not meeting his parents. Besides, I already know his parents. Mr. Nelson hired me. You two are reading more into this relationship than there is."

Bill nodded. "So you're admitting there's a relationship?"

McKenzie's eyes met Logan's. "Why aren't you helping me?"

"You're doing a fine job of convincing them we're in a relationship. I figured if we let it drop then it'd be over. Sort of you are protesting too much."

McKenzie hung her head. "I give up."







Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou local name for St. Louis
Simon Knight Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league
baseball team.
Yadi's Fan name for Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A> and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.
Kate Hartford Megan Nelson's friend they taught middle school
together.
Donny A man Megan Nelson dated.
Mitch Gardner St. Louis Police Department detective who has
partnered with McKenzie's dad.
Ivan Smart A bad guy

Author Notes Please remember that I write romance with a back story. I think the back story sometimes confuses the issue.

Thank you google images for a photo of a brisket dinner plate. Again, I added to the story as I posts. It's these corrections that cause additional mistakes. LOL I felt some areas needed clarity. I hope I didn't make it worse. Again, thank you for your wonderful support.

This next week will be my first full week back to work after summer break. We were emailed the schedule. Two weeks of sitting through training. OUCH!!!! The children won't come back for two weeks.


Chapter 27
St. Louis Chapter 11 part 1

By barbara.wilkey

Still day four of McKenzie and Logan's relationship.


Ending of Previous Post:

Joanie stood. "I forgot the buns. I'll get them." As she left the room, she added, "It's only been four days, and you're already meeting his parents."

"I'm not meeting his parents. Besides, I already know his parents. Mr. Nelson hired me. You two are reading more into this relationship than there is."

Bill nodded. "So you're admitting there's a relationship?"

McKenzie's eyes met Logan's. "Why aren't you helping me?"

"You're doing a fine job of convincing them we're in a relationship. I figured if we let it drop then it'd be over. Sort of you are protesting too much."

McKenzie hung her head. "I give up."

TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 11 PART 1

The drive to Logan's parents' house was silent. Eventually Logan asked, "What did Jose want?"

"He wanted me to call in a favor. It seems Whitney might have been arrested for drunk-and-disorderly the night Megan died. The arresting officer and Jose don't get along. He thought I might be able to get more information." McKenzie thought for a while before she continued, "We need to know exactly what time he was arrested. If it was before Megan was murdered, we're wasting our time. If it was after she was murdered, then we need to see if there was any blood or anything on him."

Logan continued toward his parent's. "Makes sense." He took a deep breath. "I'm not sure the police ever checked her apartment."

"I don't think they did either. There's nothing in the report about it."

"We're almost here. It's the second house on the left."

After Logan parked, McKenzie studied the house. "Why don't you go in and get the key? I'll wait out here."

"No, you won't." McKenzie opened her mouth to object, but Logan continued, "For two reasons, first, we could've been followed so it wouldn't be safe. Second, my parents don't bite and as you already stated you know my dad and we're not in a relationship, are we?"

"Of course we're not. I'm boring, not willing to compromise, or work with you."

Logan's eyes met McKenzie's. "What are you talking about?"

"Those are things you said you'd look for in a wife."

He walked around the car and opened her door. "Come on." He paused before he added, "I can't believe you memorized my list." He put his hand in the small of her back as they walked. "You're far from boring."

Logan opened the front door. "Mom, Dad, we're here."

Peter and Nancy Nelson hurried to the door as Nancy said, "Ever since you called, I've been looking for that key. I know it's in one of the drawers in the hallway."

Logan hugged his mom and kissed her cheek. "No hurry, Mom. I know you'll find it."

Peter offered McKenzie his hand. "I'm glad to see you again." He grinned. "She'll find the key. Nothing's ever permanently lost."

Accepting his hand, McKenzie said, "I completely understand. I'm sure the key wasn't used often, if at all."

Nancy continued searching drawers. "We've never used it. We gave Megan her privacy."

Peter led the way to the living room. "Exactly why do you need it?"

Logan nodded for McKenzie to answer. "I got to thinking that her cell phone wasn't listed as part of her personal belonging." She held up her phone. "I always have mine with me. I thought it was strange."

Nancy looked up from her searching. "It seemed strange to me a purse wasn't found. Mine is always on my left arm."

McKenzie tilted her head. "I don't have one. Did Megan usually carry one?"

Logan stretched his legs out. "There are a lot of things that don't make sense." He faced McKenzie. "Have you seen an autopsy report, yet?"

Shaking her head, she said, "Not yet. They said Monday or Tuesday. I'm not sure why it's taking so long."

Peter cleaned his glasses. "There are a lot of things going wrong with this. Tomorrow it will be exactly a week, and they haven't released her body. We can't even give her a decent burial." After a long silence, he continued, "I don't understand why she was in Buder Park at that time of night. The park closes thirty minutes after sunset. There's no reason for her to be there."

McKenzie bit her tongue. Unless it's a drug deal gone bad.

"Nothing good ever happens after ten o'clock. I've said it hundreds of times." Mrs. Nelson set a pile of paper aside.

"No Mom, you've said it at least a trillion times," teased Logan.

Nancy held up the key. "I found it." She joined the others sitting in the living room. "Can I offer either of you anything to eat?"

McKenzie rubbed her stomach. "No thank you."

Logan reached for the key. "Thank you Mom, but we just finished dinner and dessert with Bill and Joanie Abbott." He glanced at McKenzie. "I think we were going to visit Megan's apartment tonight, right?"

As McKenzie stood, she took Logan's offered hand. "We were."

They headed toward the front door. Good byes were said, and they walked down the front step.

Nancy watched them. "Peter, aren't they a cute couple?"

"Mom, I heard that," called Logan. "We aren't a couple. We're working together to solve Megan's murder."

"Then why are you still holding hands?"

They dropped each other's hand. "We're not," answered Logan.




Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou local name for St. Louis
Simon Knight Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league
baseball team.
Yadi's Fan name for Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A> and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.
Kate Hartford Megan Nelson's friend they taught middle school
together.
Donny A man Megan Nelson dated.
Mitch Gardner St. Louis Police Department detective who has
partnered with McKenzie's dad.
Ivan Smart A bad guy
Peter and Nancy Nelson Logan's parents

Author Notes Please remember that I write romance with a back story. I think the back story sometimes confuses the issue.

Thank you google images for artwork of looking for lost keys. My silly side won out. I guess there's a reason I teach first grade. This time I only made a couple of changes. LOL I hope I didn't make it worse. Again, thank you for your wonderful support.

Now starts the second week of sitting through training. My rear-end hurts. The children won't come back for two weeks.


Chapter 28
St. Louis Chapter 11 part 2

By barbara.wilkey

Still day four of McKenzie and Logan's relationship. I know it's been a long day, but it's still Saturday.


Ending of Previous Post:

Nancy held up the key. "I found it." She joined the others sitting in the living room. "Can I offer either of you anything to eat?"

McKenzie rubbed her stomach. "No thank you."

Logan reached for the key. "Thank you Mom, but we just finished dinner and dessert with Bill and Joanie Abbott." He glanced at McKenzie. "I think we were going to visit Megan's apartment tonight, right?"

As McKenzie stood, she took Logan's offered hand. "We were."

They headed toward the front door. Good byes were said, and they walked down the front step.

Nancy watched them. "Peter, aren't they a cute couple?"

"Mom, I heard that," called Logan. "We aren't a couple. We're working together to solve Megan's murder."

"Then why are you still holding hands?"

They dropped each other's hand. "We're not," answered Logan.

TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 11 PART 2

Inside the car, Logan released a deep breath. "Sorry about that. Mom can be...well, Mom."

McKenzie smiled. "At least she engages with you. Sometimes Mom - " She stopped in mid-sentence.

Logan stopped backing out of the driveway. "Do you want to talk about it?"

"You sure want to talk about a lot of things. Maybe you inherited it from your mom."

"Point taken." After a long silence, Logan asked, "Anything in particular you're looking for besides Megan's phone?"

"Definitely the phone." McKenzie paused a moment. "Maybe a purse. Your dad brought up an interesting point. Why was Megan in that park at two o'clock in the morning? I'm beginning to wonder if she was killed someplace else and dropped there. Tomorrow I want to get a good look at the crime scene and compare it to the crime scene photos. I still haven't seen the autopsy report. There are a lot of questions nobody has answers for."

Logan parked in a vacant slot. "True." He released a deep breath and pointed. "See that blue Ford Taurus?" After McKenzie nodded, he continued, "That was Megan's car. Dad needs to do something with it. I bet he hasn't had time to think about it."

"I wonder where the keys are. Wherever she was, somebody drove her."

"Mom has a spare set." He chuckled. "In one of her drawers."

McKenzie smiled. "I have a feeling growing up you spent a lot of time waiting for your mom to find things in a drawer."

He got out of the car and opened her door. "I did. Ready?"

As they walked up the sidewalk, McKenzie said, "Those are good memories."

Logan put the key in the door's lock. "They are, but it frustrated me at the time."

"I'm sure it did." McKenzie waited for Logan to push the door open. When he hesitated, she said, "Maybe you should wait here. I won't be long."

Shaking his head, Logan said, "I came home to find my sister's murderer. This is part of the process."

"It could bring back memories."

He flipped the light switch. "Or help solve her murder. To be honest this is only the second time I've been in her apartment. The first was when I helped her move in."

"You knew her better than I did. Where would she leave her phone?"

Logan ran his fingers through his short hair. "How should I know? I always know where my phone is. Where would you leave your phone?"

McKenzie walked around the living room and scanned the area. "I usually leave it on a table or in my jeans' pocket." She turned to face Logan. "Did Megan carry a purse? If so, how big?"

Frowning Logan hesitated. "I'm not going to be much help. I didn't pay any attention. Sorry."

"Don't worry about it." She turned down the hallway. "I'm checking her bedroom and bathroom."

"I'll finish the living room and then start the kitchen. Holler if you need anything."

McKenzie nodded. "Whatever." She grinned to herself. What am I going to do with him? I can understand why Megan thought he was over protective. And I've only known him four days. He already tries to boss me around.

*****
About thirty minutes later, Logan came into the bedroom. "On the fridge, Megan kept a calendar. She had written down a meeting with Sidney at 8:00 P.M. on the night she was murdered."

McKenzie hid an object behind her back. "That's interesting. Nobody's mentioned a Sidney."

"I guess she could be a friend."

"With a name like Sidney, it could be a male or female. Monday morning, I'll call Ms. Middleton, and see if she knows a Sidney."

"Good. What are you hiding behind your back?"

She scooted a little on the bed. "Nothing. Why do you ask?"

Logan moved closer. "Because I saw you move something behind your back when I walked in. What is it?"

She held out a box. "Nothing really."

He took it from her and read the label. "It's a pregnancy test. What? Was Megan pregnant?"

"I don't know. It's still sealed. I haven't seen the autopsy report yet."

Logan plopped on the bed. "She must have thought she was or she wouldn't have bought it."

"Maybe she got it for a friend."

He tapped the kit in his hand. "Who are you trying to fool? I've already figured out my little sister isn't as innocent as I wanted to believe."

McKenzie studied him for a few moments. "I'll work in the kitchen. I'm surprised the police haven't searched this place. I wonder why not."

When Logan entered the kitchen, McKenzie pointed to a smudge in the counter. "The police did process the apartment. They took a fingerprint from here. I'm surprised they left it so clean. I'm curious what they found and why it wasn't in the report." After she sighed, she said, "I think I'm finished for right now. I may want to return later. Are you ready?"

"I am. Let's go."

On the way home, McKenzie was silent as she studied the streetlights. Finally she said, "Monday's going to be busy. I won't have time for the gym. After a run, I'm going to the police station and find out why Megan's apartment search wasn't in the report and recheck the report on the area where she was found. I'm betting it was a dump site. I don't believe she was killed there."

"I'm beginning to think there's a cover-up, but why?"

"I don't know. Her phone's still missing and probably some sort of purse or at least a billfold. I need to see her autopsy report."

"I'd like to know if she was pregnant. If she was, who's the father?"

"I doubt we'll ever have that information." McKenzie paused. "I need to set up an appointment with Eleanor and see what I can find out about Donny. Also call Middleton and see if she knows a Sidney."

Logan glanced at her. "Are you going to the Tin Roof?"

"I'd like to. I need to check with Jose and see if he's free Monday night."

Pulling into a parking slot in front of McKenzie's townhouse, Logan said, "I'm going whether he's free or not. I'll be a fly on the wall."

"I doubt that," McKenzie said as she opened the car door and got out.

"You're supposed to wait for me to open it for you."

"Why? I'm capable of opening a car door. It's not hard."

"I know you're capable of opening it by yourself, but my parents taught me to be a gentleman. I'm supposed to open doors for a lady. It's just what I do."

McKenzie unlocked the front door and waited. After a few moments she said, "Aren't you going to open the door for me? I thought that's what you do? I'm waiting."

Logan opened the door and bowed. "You may now enter." After he entered, he closed and locked the door. "You're impossible." He noticed her smiling. "You enjoy every minute of it, don't you?"

"Sure do." She petted the two dogs and let them out the back door.

He checked his watch. "The police detail should be here before long. Is there anything we need to wrap up before I leave?"

McKenzie shook her head. "Not that I know of." She released a deep breath. "Want to discuss Megan?"

"I don't know of anything that needs to be said." Logan turned and faced the door.

"Or so you hope." McKenzie walked over and put her hand on his arm. "I don't know how to say this delicately so I'll just blurt it out. Just because Megan may have been pregnant doesn't change who she is."

Logan looked down at her hand and then placed his over it. "I know. She was a young, modern woman. I just remember her as my baby sister."

McKenzie's eyes met his. "You told me you weren't married and never have been. Have you ever had sex?"

His eyes widened. "Where did that come from?"

After releasing a deep breath, she continued, "Did you ever think any of those women could be somebody's baby sister?"

He scratched his jaw. "I get your point." Turning his head toward an outside noise, he added, "I think your detail's arrived."

McKenzie closed and locked the door after him. "And I'm sure none too soon for you."







Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou local name for St. Louis
Simon Knight Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league
baseball team.
Yadi's Fan name for Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A> and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.
Kate Hartford Megan Nelson's friend they taught middle school
together.
Donny A man Megan Nelson dated.
Mitch Gardner St. Louis Police Department detective who has
partnered with McKenzie's dad.
Ivan Smart A bad guy
Peter and Nancy Nelson Logan's parents

Author Notes Thank you google images for a photo of a pregnancy test. Does it play a role in Megan's murder? This post is a little under 1500 words. I hope you don't mind. This time I only made a couple of changes. LOL I hope I didn't make it worse. Again, thank you for your wonderful support.

First graders start tomorrow. I will be back in full swing. Oh my!!!!


Chapter 29
St. Louis Chapter 12 part 1

By barbara.wilkey

We've made it to Sunday morning. McKenzie and Logan have known each other 5 days.


Ending of Previous Post:

McKenzie shook her head. "Not that I know of." She released a deep breath. "Want to discuss Megan?"

"I don't know of anything that needs to be said." Logan turned and faced the door.

"Or so you hope." McKenzie walked over and put her hand on his arm. "I don't know how to say this delicately so I'll just blurt it out. Just because Megan may have been pregnant doesn't change who she is."

Logan looked down at her hand and then placed his over it. "I know. She was a young, modern woman. I just remember her as my baby sister."

McKenzie's eyes met his. "You told me you weren't married and never have been. Have you ever had sex?"

His eyes widened. "Where did that come from?"

After releasing a deep breath, she continued, "Did you ever think any of those women could be somebody's baby sister?"

He scratched his jaw. "I get your point." Turning his head toward an outside noise, he added, "I think your detail's arrived."

McKenzie closed and locked the door after him. "And I'm sure none too soon for you."

TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 12 PART 1

McKenzie studied a file as her front door opened. She glanced up. "Didn't your parents teach you to knock before entering somebody's home?" Her eyes widened. "Why you decked out in a suit?"

Logan's eyes twinkled. "My parents did teach me to knock, but I figured you'd accuse me of not knocking so why bother?" He paused. "Truthfully, I figured you were upstairs and wouldn't hear it. You usually don't." Logan adjusted his tie. "It's Sunday. I came by to tell you I won't be here until after church. I didn't want you to worry. Aren't you going to church?"

"Later this morning, I'm going to check out Buder Park."

"After church, we can do it together. You don't have transportation anyway. Your car's in Bill's garage." Logan stepped closer to McKenzie and moved the file. "Find anything that will tell us who's threatening you?"

She laid the file on the desk. "Nope. I guess I'll keep reading until you return. Maybe I'll find something, but doubt it."

"Back to my original question; aren't you going to church?" He paused. "I know you don't have transportation but I figured you attended a neighborhood church. The detail should stay until I return."

McKenzie pointed south. "I used to go every Sunday to a small church, just down the block. After Mom and Dad died, I stopped. I couldn't take all the stares and comments."

"Have you tried a different church?" After she shook her head, Logan continued, "I'll wait while you change. You're coming with me. My parents will be happy to see you."

McKenzie wrinkled her nose. "You're being bossy again, and your parents already think we're a couple. That would just cement their opinion."

"I'm willing to risk it. Besides when I go back to Fort Bragg, they'll figure it out." Logan pointed to the stairs. "Get changed. I'll let the dogs out."

*****
It wasn't long before McKenzie returned in a dress, heels, hair flowing down her back, and make-up. Logan's eyes widened. Wow! I knew she was a looker, but wow! He found his voice, "You clean up nice."

"Thank you. You look pretty good yourself." She walked to the backdoor and let the dogs in. "I guess I'm ready." She hesitated. "Are you sure about this."

"Yes." Logan placed his hand in the small of her back. "At a minimum, it'll be interesting." He chuckled.

"After church, I'll change. I want to visit the crime scene before our dinner engagement with your buddy."

He opened the car door for her. "I hope you're including me on the crime scene visit. I want to see it for myself."

After Logan crawled behind the steering wheel, McKenzie asked, "Do I have a choice?"

He smirked. "Since you put it that way, I guess not."

"Figured as much," she teased. "Let's get this over with. Where's the church?"

"In Benton Part West, about a mile from my parents' house." Logan checked his watch. "We need to hurry or we'll be late."

*****
Logan scooted across the pew next to his dad just as the pastor welcomed everybody. McKenzie sat beside Logan, mouthed and nodded a hello to his parents, before she opened the bulletin.

As soon as the service ended, Nancy hugged her son. "We always go to Blues City Deli. It's just a sandwich shop, but we like it. Please come with us."

Logan faced McKenzie. "Do you want to or do we need to get going?"

"We have time. It's only eleven-thirty." McKenzie chewed on her lower lip. "Our afternoon plans shouldn't take that long. What time are our dinner plans?"

"Seven o'clock. He lives on the southwest side of St. Louis, Webster Groves."

"That's one of the more affluent areas." McKenzie smiled.

Logan faced his mom. "We'll follow behind. I'm sure Dad knows a quicker way. I can get there, but it would probably be the long way." He pointed toward the parking lot. "I'm parked on the east side."

As they walked out of the church to the parking lot, Nancy hooked her arm through McKenzie's. "What do you two have planned this afternoon? I hope it's something fun."

McKenzie nodded for Logan's help. I don't want to tell her we're going to check out the spot where Megan's body was found. Logan, get me out of this.

Logan put his arm around Nancy's shoulders. "Mom, do they still have the 'Sweet n' Smokey Memphis Stax'?"

Nancy smiled. "They sure do."

"I thought you only ate junk food on three occasions," teased McKenzie. "I bet they have a nice salad."

"Oh, McKenzie, they have a wonderful Greek salad. I know you'll love it." Nancy patted her arm.

Logan shook his head. "Not this gal. She's a total junk food junkier. What I don't know is if she'll go for chicken or pork." He grinned. "Maybe both." He paused. "And to answer your question, I rarely eat Sunday dinner with my parents, so it's an exception. I do allow for exceptions." Nodding toward the car, he added, "We're parked over here," and steered McKenzie toward it.

"Thank you for switching the subject. I didn't want to tell your mom we're going to the dump site."

"I understand. I knew from your face you needed help. Mom's handling all of this a lot better than I expected. I'm not sure it's hit her yet. Since the body hasn't been released, she'll still need to deal with that."

"I understand."

Silence continued to the restaurant.

Thank you Paul Bonn and the Bluesmen playing at Blue City Deli in St. Louis. They usually only have live music on Thursday evenings.






Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou local name for St. Louis
Simon Knight Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league
baseball team.
Yadi's Fan name for Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A> and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.
Kate Hartford Megan Nelson's friend they taught middle school
together.
Donny A man Megan Nelson dated.
Mitch Gardner St. Louis Police Department detective who has
partnered with McKenzie's dad.
Ivan Smart A bad guy
Peter and Nancy Nelson Logan's parents

Author Notes Thank you google images for a photo of a Blues City Deli. Last week I left many editing errors in my post. I hate it when I do that. I edited it many times and simply didn't catch them. I sure hope this post is cleaner.

I am back in the classroom full time with 24 students, 15 active little boys. Please say a few prayers.


Chapter 30
St. Louis Chapter 12 part 2

By barbara.wilkey

It's Sunday afternoon. McKenzie and Logan have known each other 5 days.


Ending of Previous Post:

McKenzie nodded for Logan's help. I don't want to tell her we're going to check out the spot where Megan's body was found. Logan, get me out of this.

Logan put his arm around Nancy's shoulders. "Mom, do they still have the 'Sweet n' Smokey Memphis Stax'?"

Nancy smiled. "They sure do."

"I thought you only ate junk food on three occasions," teased McKenzie. "I bet they have a nice salad."

"Oh, McKenzie, they have a wonderful Greek salad. I know you'll love it." Nancy patted her arm.

Logan shook his head. "Not this gal. She's a total junk food junkier. What I don't know is if she'll go for chicken or pork." He grinned. "Maybe both." He paused. "And to answer your question, I rarely eat Sunday dinner with my parents, so it's an exception. I do allow for exceptions." Nodding toward the car, he added, "We're parked over here," and steered McKenzie toward it.

"Thank you for switching the subject. I didn't want to tell your mom we're going to the dump site."

"I understand. I knew from your face you needed help. Mom's handling all of this a lot better than I expected. I'm not sure it's hit her yet. Since the body hasn't been released, she'll still need to deal with that."

"I understand."

Silence continued to the restaurant.

TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 12 PART 2

As Logan parked in front of McKenzie's townhouse and turned off the engine, she asked, "Aren't you dropping me off and going home to change?"

"It's not a home. It's a hotel, and I'm prepared. I'll change at your house and then we can leave. It'll save time." He opened the car door for her and then the trunk. He held up a black-bag. "See?"

"A regular boy scout," she teased.

"Don't knock it. I'm normally ready for anything."

I bet you are. McKenzie unlocked the front door and was met by both dogs.

Logan let the dogs out while McKenzie went upstairs to change. When she returned, he did the same. When he finished, he asked, "Ready or do you need a snack before we leave?"

McKenzie rubbed her stomach. "I'm stuffed. The food was really good. I need to remember that place." She grabbed a couple of water bottles from the refrigerator. "I'm sure we'll need these. The July heat can be dangerous."

As Logan held the car door for her, she stared out the windshield. "Are you sure you're up for this? I can do it by myself."

"I know you can. But this is something I need to do." Logan shut the door and walked around to his side. From behind the steering wheel, he continued, "I feel I failed Megan. I'm her big brother. I should have been here to protect her."

McKenzie put her hand on his. "Megan was a grown woman. She needed to live her life and make her own mistakes. Unfortunately, this was a huge one."

Logan backed the car onto the street. "That's an understatement."

An easy silence continued until Logan parked the car, and they faced the huge park. Logan shielded his eyes. "It's around one hundred forty acres. Any idea where to start?"

McKenzie passed her camera to Logan to hold as she pulled some papers from her back pocket and unfolded them. "I do." She studied the photos and map before she pointed. "See that train-track bridge? Her body was found under the big tree to the left. See the yellow stake in the ground?"

"I do, but why isn't it staked off? It's a crime scene. I thought all crime scenes were roped off. They are in the movies."

Smiling McKenzie added. "That area should be roped off, but real life and the movies don't always agree. There are a lot of strange things about this case and none of them make sense. It's still an active investigation." She paused and bit her lower lip. "If I didn't know better, I'd swear there's a cover up. I'm going into the police station first thing tomorrow morning. I have numerous questions. I don't want you along."

"But..." He noticed McKenzie's glare. "Understood."

They headed toward the yellow stake. Logan stopped a few feet away. "How close should we get?"

"I need to get a good look of the entire area and take my own pictures." She retrieved her camera from Logan. "You can stay here."

"I'm coming. I just didn't want to contaminate the scene."

McKenzie kicked an empty beer can. "It's already been contaminated." She knelt under a limb and cleared some debris. "This is about where her body laid." She pointed to a photograph. "We need to search for a phone or purse."

Logan wiped his mouth and released a deep breath. "Do you know if she was sexually assaulted?"

"I don't. Her autopsy report hasn't been released, and nothing addressed that in the police report I saw. That's one of the areas I'm going to ask about tomorrow."

"So right now we believe she was murdered someplace else and her body dumped here. We have no clue where, who, or why. Do I understand this correctly?" Logan kicked some dirt.

"The more we find out, the more confusing it becomes. I don't believe it was a wrong place at the wrong time situation." McKenzie tilted her head. "Did she have any credit cards? Nothing was mentioned in the police report. I never thought of robbery."

"Who would rob a teacher? They don't make much money."

"A druggy, who was looking for an easy mark." McKenzie walked around the tree. "It would be nice to know where she went after she left her apartment and who she was with. I'm guessing the Sidney person, but no clue who that was. Why were they meeting? What were they doing? Where were they doing it?"

"Who was the father of her baby? Did he have anything to do with her death?"

"We don't know for a fact that she was pregnant, only that she thought she could be."

"Once again, more questions than answers."

"I'm hoping tomorrow I'll get some answers. Between the police station, calling Kate, and hoping to meet Donny, maybe something will pop up. I need to call Eleanor and see if Donny has a last name." She glanced around the area. "I want to walk around and see if I find anything." She pointed to the right. "Check that area. We'll cover more area if we split up. I'll go this way."

"Exactly what am I looking for?"

"Anything that looks like it doesn't belong in a park."

*****
About thirty minutes later, McKenzie called, "Logan, come here." She waited until he got closer. "Do you have a handkerchief? You're a boy scout. You have to."

As he pulled one from his back pocket, he asked, "Why?" He handed it to her.

She took it and used it to pick up an object. "Look what I just found; a cell phone."

"Megan's?"

"I doubt it. By the looks of it, I'd say it's a burner, but I don't know." She eyed Logan. "I'm guessing Megan had a pretty little phone, maybe in pink?"

"Light blue with wild flowers growing up from the bottom. You're right, not black." Scanning the area, he continued, "Now what?"

"I'll keep this safe until I turn it into the police." McKenzie started walking. "I'm wondering who we can trust at the police department."

Logan took her arm. "What are you saying?"

"In case there is a cover-up, I need to know who is safe."

"Isn't Jose working on Megan's case, and don't you trust him?"

"I trust Jose with my life. He stays pretty much undercover. He's not the detective assigned to this case. It's complicated."

McKenzie tapped the phone. "Another question. I'm betting Megan's phone can be GPS tracked. So why hasn't anybody checked where she went? Is the phone still on? Maybe somebody has it." Before she entered the car, she paused and asked, "Is there any way we could stop for some ice cream on the way home? I sure could use a turtle concrete about now."

Laughing, Logan said, "Get in. One Ted Drew's coming up. Do you eat anything healthy?"

After he sat, she rubbed her tummy. "Why do you think I run every day? Tomorrow, it may be seven or eight miles instead of five. You up for it?"

"If you can, I'm good."

"The best I've done after a weekend is eight and a half. Let's try."

"Can Edger go eight?"

"Shoot, that guy could probably do ten without breaking a sweat. Don't forget you'll be toting Arlo."






Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou local name for St. Louis
Simon Knight Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league
baseball team.
Yadi's Fan name for Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A> and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.
Kate Hartford Megan Nelson's friend they taught middle school
together.
Donny A man Megan Nelson dated.
Mitch Gardner St. Louis Police Department detective who has
partnered with McKenzie's dad.
Ivan Smart A bad guy
Peter and Nancy Nelson Logan's parents

Author Notes Thank you google images for a photo of a Ted Drew's. I've had ice cream there 3 times. It's really good. When we visit my son's family in St. Louis, we make sure we go there at least once. I did some major editing yesterday and earlier today on this post. I hope I got it right. Some areas didn't seem to flow. I hope they do now. This post is a little over 1200 words. I hope it's not too long. Thank you for your wonderful support.

Texas Dream Catcher is getting closer to being published. I didn't like the cover they did for me. Soni looked like a hootchie mama. NO WAY!!!!!


Chapter 31
St. Louis Chapter 13 part 1

By barbara.wilkey

It's Sunday evening. McKenzie and Logan have known each other 5 days.


Ending of Previous Post:

McKenzie tapped the phone. "Another question. I'm betting Megan's phone can be GPS tracked. So why hasn't anybody checked where she went? Is the phone still on? Maybe somebody has it." Before she entered the car, she paused and asked, "Is there any way we could stop for some ice cream on the way home? I sure could use a turtle concrete about now."

Laughing, Logan said, "Get in. One Ted Drew's coming up. Do you eat anything healthy?"

After he sat, she rubbed her tummy. "Why do you think I run every day? Tomorrow, it may be seven or eight miles instead of five. You up for it?"

"If you can, I'm good."

"The best I've done after a weekend is eight and a half. Let's try."

"Can Edger go eight?"

"Shoot, that guy could probably do ten without breaking a sweat. Don't forget you'll be toting Arlo."


TODAY'S POST:

Logan pulled into a parking slot in front of Simon's house. "You won't need to worry about Simon making interesting comments like Mom."

"I like your mom. She's what a mom is supposed to be. You're lucky you came from such a wonderful and supportive family."

"Any time you want to talk about anything, I'm a good listener."

McKenzie adjusted herself in the seat. "I know." She hesitated. "What did you say Simon's wife's name is?"

"Sheila. She's nice. You'll meet their two kids." He opened his door. "Ready?"

"Yep, let's do this."
*****

After the introductions, Logan glanced around. "It's too quiet. Where are the boys?"

"They're with my parents," said Sheila as she patted her large baby bump. "I had a doctor's appointment late Friday afternoon and they offered to take them for the weekend. They'll bring them back sometime tomorrow. It's uncomfortable standing in the hall. Why don't we move to the living room."

As McKenzie sat in an overstuffed chair, she asked, "When's your baby due?"

Sheila handed them each a glass of lemonade and got comfortable on the couch before she said, "In two months, the end of September. I still need to go through the August heat."

Logan asked, "Do you know if it's a boy or girl?"

Simon put his arm around Sheila. "Nope. Since we already have two boys, we figure it'll be another boy."

McKenzie took a drink of lemonade. "What are your boys' ages?"

"Four and two. I've been pregnant or nursing for almost five years."

Simon held up his hands in a defensive way. "It's not my fault. Don't blame me."

Logan punched his buddy's arm. "Then whose fault is it?"

Sheila laughed. "Exactly." She paused. "Honestly, we like the idea of having them young together. I think siblings form a bond when they grow up that way. Mac, how many siblings do you have?"

"I'm an only child."

Logan winked at McKenzie. "She fully enjoyed not having to share her dad,"

"I did. I completely embraced the role of daddy's little helper."

Sheila attempted to stand. "I think dinner's ready."

Simon offered his arm for a brace as she rose and then asked, "Need help in the kitchen?"

"No, but we can all move to the dining room."

Logan held a chair for McKenzie and then sat beside her. "Everything okay? You seem a little quiet."

She nodded as the couple returned from the kitchen.

Simon carried in a pan of chicken enchiladas and set it on the table. "I'll be right back. I need to get the fruit bowl."

Sheila carried in a large bowl of salad and set it beside McKenzie. "I hope you like the enchiladas. I got the recipe from Logan."

McKenzie teased, "Betty Crocker himself."

As he placed the fruit bowl down, Simon asked, "What's she talking about?"

"Mac, isn't - doesn't do a lot of cooking. As you know it's one of my hobbies, so I do the cooking."

"I'm not as traditional as Logan would like."

Sheila patted McKenzie's hand. "Good for you. I understand you're a Private Investigator?"

"I am."

Simon reached for Sheila's and Logan's hands. "Let's say prayer, and then we can chat and eat."

Sheila took McKenzie's hand, and Logan took her other hand. Prayer was said, and the food was passed.

Halfway through dinner Simon answered the ringing phone. "It's your dad." He handed the phone to Sheila.

After she hung up, she sighed. "Benjamin doesn't want to sleep with Matthew." She laughed. "He doesn't have a choice. There's only one bed available for them. Boys!" She handed the phone back to Simon. "I'm so glad Mom and Dad are able to take the boys for a few days." She faced McKenzie. "Do you still have grandparents in the area?"

"My father's parents died while I was in elementary school." McKenzie swallowed hard. "My mother's mom died just before I was born and my mom's father..." She set her fork down. "I haven't seen him since I was fourteen."

Simon sipped some lemonade. "I'm sorry to hear that. Does your mom live around here?"

"Mom and Dad were murdered about a year ago." McKenzie chewed her bottom lip. "Excuse me." She left the table.

Simon and Sheila stared at Logan.

"Her parents were murdered in their place of business. The man's still in jail. I really don't know much about it. Her mom's dad was a drunk. One night he beat her mom so bad she ended up in the hospital. Mac also was beaten that night. He did two or three years in jail and there was a restraint order against him. As far as I know, she's never seen him since."

"Is he still alive? Could he be paying somebody to harm Mac?" asked Simon.

Logan's eyebrows crunched together. "I don't think anybody's considered that. I'll have Bill check into it." He took out his phone and dialed Bill's number, but there was no answer.

Sheila stood. "Excuse me. I think it's time for some girl talk."

*****
As Sheila knocked on the bathroom door, McKenzie answered, "Logan, go away. I didn't come from a perfect family and I'm not a perfect traditional woman like you're used to. I'm a horrible a cook. I hate cleaning house. I can strip an engine, shoot pool, and play poker. You and Bill won't let me play poker. You think it's too dangerous, but I can take care of myself."

Sheila again knocked on the door. "Mac, it's not Logan. It's me. You can't stay in my bathroom forever, so come out. We'll go to my bedroom and talk. How's that?"

McKenzie opened the door. "I sounded very childish, didn't I? I'm sorry."

Taking McKenzie's hand, Sheila led her to the bedroom and pointed to the bed. "Have a seat." She sat beside her. "I need to share a story. I think it might help. When I was eight and a half months pregnant with our second baby, I couldn't take it anymore. Simon had just returned from a four month deployment. I wasn't feeling well and had one still in diapers. We lived at Fort Bragg, so I had no family or support. Normally, when the guys come back the spouses and girlfriends meet the bus. I didn't this time. When Simon got to our apartment, I was still throwing his clothes and belongings into the hallway."

McKenzie covered her mouth. "Oh my!"

"Don't worry. As Simon and I look back, we laugh. Anyway, a few days later, Logan came by for a visit, and we had a long talk. He convinced me to talk with Simon. I took his advice, and we had one of the most honest discussions of our marriage. He understood that I couldn't sit home and worry about whether or not he was going to return while trying to hold our family together. It wasn't who I am. He agreed to get out of the Army to save our family. I'll never forget that. He loves me that much."

"Logan and I aren't a couple. We're just working on his sister's case together."

"Are you sure about that?"

"Completely. Why do you ask?"

"I see the way you look at each other." She released a deep breath. "I know Logan really well. He and Simon have been best friends since before I knew Simon. He was Simon's best man at our wedding."

"That explains why he called Simon to do my blood work. He trusts him."

"He does. Logan has dated, but nobody seriously. They never get past a few months. I can tell you're special to him."

"I'm not the old-fashioned female he's used to. I don't come from a normal family. My mom had emotional issues because of the abuse she suffered as a child. That's why I was pretty much raised by my dad."

"Why don't you try being honest with him and see where it gets you? I'm positive he'll be honest back. He's one of those guys who's honest to a fault."


Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou local name for St. Louis
Simon Knight and Sheila Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician. Sheila
is his wife
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league
baseball team.
Yadi's Fan name for Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A> and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.
Kate Hartford Megan Nelson's friend they taught middle school
together.
Donny A man Megan Nelson dated.
Mitch Gardner St. Louis Police Department detective who has
partnered with McKenzie's dad.
Ivan Smart A bad guy
Peter and Nancy Nelson Logan's parents

Author Notes Thank you google images for a photo of chicken enchiladas. I did some major editing yesterday and earlier today on this post. I know the message I wanted this post to convey. I just hope I did it.
I hope I got it right. This post is a little under 1300 words. I hope it's not too long. Thank you for your wonderful support.




Chapter 32
St. Louis Chapter 13 part 2

By barbara.wilkey

It's Sunday evening. McKenzie and Logan have known each other 5 days.


Ending of Previous Post:

"I'm not the old-fashioned female he's used to. I don't come from a normal family. My mom had emotional issues because of the abuse she suffered as a child. That's why I was pretty much raised by my dad."

"Why don't you try being honest with him and see where it gets you? I'm positive he'll be honest back. He's one of those guys who's honest to a fault."


TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 13 PART 2

When Sheila and McKenzie returned to the dining room, the dishes had been taken care of and the men were watching a Cardinal's baseball game.

Logan patted the cushion on the couch beside him. "Have a seat. You okay?"

"I'm fine."

"Good. Molina's at bat."

Small talk continued throughout the game. When it ended, Logan stood and offered McKenzie his hand. "I guess we'd better be going. Ready?"

She accepted it, stood, thanked Simon and Sheila and promised they'd return, soon.

As they walked out the door, Sheila hugged McKenzie and whispered, "Talk to Logan. He'll understand. I know him."

The ride home was silent.

Once parked in front of her townhouse, McKenzie stared out the door window. "I owe you an apology. I'm sorry I embarrassed you in front of your friends."

"You didn't. I hope you don't feel embarrassed. I figured it was coming. I'm just glad it came out around good friends and not some place like the middle of church."

"What do you mean?"

"Nobody can keep stuff bottled up inside forever. It'll always make its way out in some form." Logan reached over and turned her face toward him. "Let's go inside and talk. I don't think you want the police detail and nosey neighbors wondering what's going on."

Inside Logan took care of the dogs and then walked to the couch. "Do you want me to sit beside you or over here?" He pointed to a chair. "Which would be easier for this talk?"

McKenzie forced a smile. "Neither. The easiest would be not to talk."

"It's completely up to you. I'm not going to force you. I just thought you needed to unload."

She dropped onto the couch. "I guess I owe you an explanation."

Logan turned his head as Arlo barked. "You don't owe me anything. I'll let the dogs in."

Arlo ran and jumped up next to McKenzie.

As she petted his head, Logan asked, "Should I stay or leave?"

McKenzie scooted Arlo over. "Please sit."

"You sure?" After she nodded, he sat. "There's no pressure. Whenever you're ready, I'm here. I've no place to be."

"Besides sleep."

Logan chuckled. "It won't be the first time I've lost a night's sleep. I'll be all right." He took her hand in his. "Will this help?"

A few moments passed before she began. "After hearing how wonderful Sheila's parents were and having met your parents, I realized I wasn't raised in a normal family. It hurt." She wiped an escaped tear. "I want a normal family." Silence. "I'm not crying."

"I know that. Just because your father's parents died when you were young and your mom's parents had a few issues doesn't mean you didn't have a normal family. All families have faults. I imagine your parents were very normal."

McKenzie swallowed hard. "Mom -- suffered from manic depression caused by her dad's physical and emotional abuse. Often she wasn't emotionally available to raise a young child." She felt Logan's arm go around her and she leaned into it. "That's why I followed Dad around. I was raised more like a son than a daughter. I learned to stay out of Mom's way."

"I'm sure she loved you."

"She did in her own way. I've learned you can't really love somebody else unless you learn to love yourself. Mom did love me. The best she could."

"Learning to repair cars, playing poker, and pool aren't bad things," teased Logan. "I'm sure they're an important skill set for P.I.'s."

"Just not for being a future wife."

Logan adjusted himself so their eyes met. He used his thumb to dry a tear. "Any man worthy of you would be proud to have you as his wife."

"You think?"

"I know it."

"Thank you."

He moved back onto the couch, replaced his arm around her, and waited until she cuddled into him.

Silence continued.

When Logan was sure McKenzie wasn't crying, he said, "Simon had a good question that I need to ask it. Is there any way your mom's dad could be behind the threats made to you?"

"No." When Logan started to speak, McKenzie said, "I'm positive. It's not up for discussion."

"Okay."


Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou local name for St. Louis
Simon Knight and Sheila Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician. Sheila
is his wife
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league
baseball team.
Yadi's Fan name for Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A> and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.
Kate Hartford Megan Nelson's friend they taught middle school
together.
Donny A man Megan Nelson dated.
Mitch Gardner St. Louis Police Department detective who has
partnered with McKenzie's dad.
Ivan Smart A bad guy
Peter and Nancy Nelson Logan's parents

Author Notes Thank you google images for a photo of couple holding hands. I almost skipped this post and posted next weeks. I'm glad I caught it in time. I did some major editing earlier today. I'm sure I missed somethings and made others worse. Thank you for your wonderful support.




Chapter 33
St. Louis Chapter 14 part 1

By barbara.wilkey

It's Monday morning. McKenzie and Logan have known each other 6 days.

Ending of Previous Post:

"Learning to repair cars, playing poker, and pool aren't bad things," teased Logan. "I'm sure they're an important skill set for P.I.'s."

"Just not for being a future wife."

Logan adjusted himself so their eyes met. He used his thumb to dry a tear. "Any man worthy of you would be proud to have you as his wife."

"You think?"

"I know it."

"Thank you."

He moved back onto the couch, replaced his arm around her, and waited until she cuddled into him.

Silence continued.

When Logan was sure McKenzie wasn't crying, he said, "Simon had a good question that I need to ask it. Is there any way your mom's dad could be behind the threats made to you?"

"No." When Logan started to speak, McKenzie said, "I'm positive. It's not up for discussion."

"Okay."

TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 14 part 1

McKenzie reached for two bottles of water from the refrigerator as Logan walked in. She glanced up. "I'm positive you didn't knock this morning."

He chuckled. "You're right. I figured I'd be accused of not knocking so why bother."

"Whatever." She petted and spoke to Edger, "Go, get your leash." She watched the large dog as she set a water bottle in front of Logan. "Ready for the run?"

"Once I get Arlo in his carrier. Order Big Guy, not to laugh," teased Logan.

Answering her phone, McKenzie said, "Hi Jose, I'm glad you got back to me so soon. I got some information that Megan was dating a guy called, 'Donny'." She listened. "No, I don't have a last name. I do have a contact who might know it. It's too early to call now. I'll do it later this morning and see if she can help with it. The reason I called was I want to know if you can be my partner at the Tin Roof tonight? I've been told he frequents that place." Again, she waited. "Good. We can meet in the next block and plan our approach at about seven. Thanks again."

McKenzie faced Logan. "I'm sure you heard that."

"I did." He moved beside her. "I'm going to be there. I promise not to interfere. I'll sit in the background. You won't even know I exist. I have a bad feeling about this."

Her hands were on her hips. "I don't have a choice, do I?"

"Nope, you don't." He walked toward the door. "Let's get this run started. You need to get to the police station."

She followed him out. "I haven't forgotten. Did we ever decide how far we're going this morning?"

"I'm following your and Edger's lead. Don't worry about me. I'm used to it."

*****
Eight and a half miles later, they returned to the townhouse, Logan teased, "I'm surprised you didn't stop for donuts."

"I figured Betty Crocker would make breakfast so I wouldn't need to." She pointed at the stairs. "Get going and shower. I'm hungry and have a busy day." She grabbed a water bottle and drank as she watched Logan until he was out of sight. "When he leaves, I'm going to miss him. I've gotten used to having him around, but he's still a pain."

*****
After she'd showered, McKenzie sat at the table as Logan set scrambled eggs, sausage, and toast in front of her. "I thought sausage wasn't healthy."

"It's turkey sausage. Not as bad."

"I see." She took a bite of the sausage. It's pretty good." She slowly sipped coffee and watched him. After he sat, she continued, "Thank you for not talking about last night."

"I figured if you wanted to discuss it, you would." He winked at her.

She picked up her ringing phone. "I guess I'm popular today." She listened. "Sure Bill. I had planned to stop by anyway. I have a few things I want to pass by you. After breakfast, I'm going to the police station. Do you know of anybody who's completely safe? I need to turn in some possible evidence." She waited. "Yes, I'm wondering about a cover-up. I know there are a few dirty cops. There's probably more."

After she hung up, Logan asked, "Are we dropping by Bill's before or after the police station?"

"After. I'm seeing Mitch Gardner first."

"Isn't he the guy who wanted you to go undercover and play poker? I'm opposed to that."

"So's Bill. He suggested I talk to him about the cover-up. I agreed. He's good people. He was Dad's partner and friend." She finished her coffee and wiped her mouth. "Ready?"

*****
Once Logan pulled into the police department's parking lot, he said, "I could use another cup of coffee. Is there a coffee shop close by?"

"Since we're talking to Mitch, you can come if you promise to behave."

He laughed as he opened the car door. "I'm pretty sure I can handle that. Do they have coffee?"

Nodding her head, McKenzie laughed. "I'm sure they do and you might be able to find a donut or two."

"Very funny." Logan paused. "Although, since we missed the your favorite shop this morning, I might have to have a few." He held the police station door open for her. "Lead the way."

The sergeant sitting at the front desk smiled and said, "Hi, Mac. Who are you visiting today?"

"Hi, Sam." She offered her hand and he took it as she continued, "Is Mitch Gardner still in the same office?"

"Affirmative. Right next to your dad's old office. I'll call let him know you're on your way."

"Thanks." McKenzie nodded for Logan to follow.

As they got to the door, Mitch opened it. "Hi! I get to see you twice in the same week. How lucky can I be? I'd better play the lottery." He motioned for them to take a seat. "What brings you here?"

McKenzie glanced at the open door. "Do you mind if I close it?"

As Mitch nodded, he said, "So this isn't a friendly visit. What's going on?"

She explained the inconsistencies in Megan Nelson's murder, the lack of information, and the elusive autopsy report. "Jose Lopez went undercover to check out George Whitney as a suspect. We're almost positive he had nothing to do with her murder. It seems he was arrested for drunk and disorderly. We need to know at what time. I've also discovered they weren't even dating any longer and hadn't been for over a month."

Mitch stopped writing, tapped his pen, and then shook his head.

McKenzie continued, "The last man she was known to date was a Donny. I don't have a last name yet, but have a contact number who might know it. On the night she was murdered, she had an eight o'clock appointment with a Sidney. Never has that name come up. We discovered the name in Megan's apartment. Even though the police searched her apartment there was nothing in the report about it. They evidently missed or ignored Sidney's name."

Mitch leaned back in his chair. "I understand your concern. So you're thinking a cover-up." After McKenzie nodded, he continued, "Any idea why?"

She took a deep breath. "Not really but..." she chewed on her lower lip, "Sorry, Logan, but it seems there was some drug use. Could be a drug deal gone wrong. Maybe an affair gone wrong. She may have been pregnant. We don't have that confirmed one way or another." She reached in her jeans pocket and took out the phone. "I found this by the drop site. It looks like a burner. I couldn't trust it to anybody else."

"What do you mean by the drop site? I heard she was murdered in Buder Park."

"There's not nearly enough blood. She was killed someplace else."

"I see why you have concerns. Thank you for coming to me."

"I didn't know who else to come too. I'm going to continue working the case. I'm not stopping until I find answers. We're also wondering why the GPS in her phone hasn't been checked." McKenzie stood. "Can you check this out for me? I've kept you long enough. I need to be going. I have a few other places to go and some phone calls to make."

Mitch walked around his desk and gave McKenzie a hug. "Please be safe. Your determination reminds me so much of your dad. Man, I miss him. I'll see what I can find out and get back to you." He shook Logan's hand. "Nice to see you again."

As McKenzie left Mitch's office, she looked across the hall, stopped, turned, hugged Logan, and whispered in his ear, "Read the name plate on the office two doors from the right."

It read: Sidney Parks





Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou local name for St. Louis
Simon Knight and Sheila Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician. Sheila
is his wife
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league
baseball team.
Yadi's Fan name for Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A> and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.
Kate Hartford Megan Nelson's friend they taught middle school
together.
Donny A man Megan Nelson dated.
Mitch Gardner St. Louis Police Department detective who has
partnered with McKenzie's dad.
Ivan Smart A bad guy
Peter and Nancy Nelson Logan's parents

Author Notes Thank you google images for a St. Louis PD patch. This post is a little over 1300 words. I hope you don't mind. Logan and McKenzie continue their search for Megan's murder and they get closer to becoming a couple. Thank you for your wonderful support.




Chapter 34
St. Louis Chapter 14 part 2

By barbara.wilkey

It's Monday late morning and early afternoon. McKenzie and Logan have known each other 6 days.

Ending of Previous Post:

"I see why you have concerns. Thank you for coming to me."

"I didn't know who else to come to. I'm going to continue working the case. I'm not stopping until I find answers. We're also wondering why the GPS in her phone hasn't been checked." McKenzie stood. "Can you check this out for me? I've kept you long enough. I need to be going. I have a few other places to go and some phone calls to make."

Mitch walked around his desk and gave McKenzie a hug. "Please be safe. Your determination reminds me so much of your dad. Man, I miss him. I'll see what I can find out and get back to you." He shook Logan's hand. "Nice to see you again."

As McKenzie left Mitch's office, she looked across the hall, stopped, turned, hugged Logan, and whispered in his ear, "Read the name plate on the office two doors from the right."

It read: Sidney Parks


TODAY'S POST:

Inside the car, Logan teased, "I enjoyed the surprise hug by-the-way." McKenzie playfully slapped his arm, as he continued, "Do you think Sidney Parks is the same guy Megan had an appointment with? If so, who is he? What is his job with the PD?"

"Again, more questions than answers. Maybe Bill can help."

"First, can we stop for a cup of coffee?"

"Why all the extra coffee? Did you stay out late last night?

"After I carried your butt up the stairs and put you to bed, I went straight to my hotel room. To be honest, I struggled getting to sleep. I want to meet up with your mom's dad for a few minutes. Just give me ten minutes with him. He won't ever use another female as a punching bag."

"Thank you for the offer, but I don't need to worry about him anymore. I wish I'd known you when I was younger. You could've helped then." She pointed. "There's a coffee shop in the next block on your right."

Logan pulled into the parking lot, got out of the car, and said, "Let's go." He held the shop's door open and asked, "What would you like?" As McKenzie thought, he walked up to the counter and ordered. He then turned around and faced her. "I think I know what you like.

"I'll find us a table," she said as she walked away. He's taking over my life again. How could he possibly know what I want?

Logan carried a tray with two large black coffees, a blueberry muffin, and a pumpkin oatmeal muffin.

As he placed it in front of McKenzie, her eyes widened and she pointed. "What's that?"

He handed her a coffee. "A pumpkin, Chia seed, oatmeal muffin. Why?"

"I hope it's not for me."

Handing her the blueberry muffin, he said, "Nope, you get the unhealthy one."

"It's got blueberries. How can it be unhealthy?"

"I'll give you that. Just eat your muffin." After taking a few sips of coffee, he continued, "Do you ever eat anything healthy?"

McKenzie took a bite and thought. "Probably not. Well, wait a minute. I do like bananas, apples, just about any fruit, and most vegetables. Does any of that count?"

"It does. Actually, you do have a well-rounded diet, just too many sweets."

"Glad you sort of approve." McKenzie took a few sips of coffee and then checked her watch. "I'm going to the car and call Eleanor. It should be late enough in the morning." She held her hand out for the keys. "I'll be right back."

"Don't forget to ask about Sidney."

McKenzie gave a thumbs-up as she left.

After making the phone call, McKenzie returned and handed Logan the keys. "It's taken care of."

Once McKenzie sat, Logan took a small bite of his muffin, before he asked, "Did you get any new information or did the waters just get muddier?"

"Donny's last name is something like Karlson, Carlton, or Tarlson. She's not sure. He does hang out at the Tin Roof but hasn't been seen for a few days. I also called Kate Hartford and checked out Sidney, all she knew was what there was some guy calling Megan often, but she never said who or what it was about. She kept it to herself. It could be Sidney."

"That seems strange."

"It does to me too." She stirred her coffee. "I can't wait to talk with Bill. Maybe he can shed some light on this."

*****
When McKenzie and Logan arrived, Bill stood in the main office discussing a file with the secretary. He smiled and hugged McKenzie before he pointed to his office door. "Let's go inside and talk. A few minutes ago I got off the phone with Mitch." Once everyone was inside, he shut the door. "Make yourselves comfortable. Logan, you look like you could use a cup of coffee." He poured one and handed it to Logan.

"He not only wants to be protective of me today but now he wants to make the past right."

Bill's eyebrows crunched together. "What?"

McKenzie's phone rang. "Sorry, I need to get this." She left the room.

Logan rubbed his temples. "Yesterday, Mac opened up a little and told me about her childhood. I would love to spend some time alone with her mother's father."

"Wouldn't we all?"

"Could he have hired somebody to threaten her?"

Bill chewed on his lower lip. "No. He's dead."

"How long ago? Natural causes?"

After a sigh, Bill answered, "About thirteen years ago. Mac was fourteen at the time. He died at their house."

"What happened?"

"Nobody really knows, except the family. I won't speculate. It's Mac's story to tell."

"So it wasn't natural causes?"

Bill turned away.

"Enough said." Logan sipped his coffee. "Mac got a partial last name for Donny. Something like Karlson, Carlton, or Tarlson. Not sure which one."

Picking up the phone, Bill said, "I'll have a background check done on all three names."

When McKenzie walked back into the room, both men studied her. Logan was the first to ask, "Everything all right?"

"Not really. It was my one of my neighbors. The dogs were going ballistic so they went outside to see if there was a problem. It seems somebody dumped a truckload of garbage on my front walkway."

Bill grabbed his phone. When he finished talking, he said, "A crew is being sent over to clean it up and two officers will be patrolling the area at all times, along with the night detail. Whoever this is, is getting way too brave." He took out a pad of paper and pen. "Back to the case. Let's list your concerns."

McKenzie leaned back in the chair. "I hope you're ready to make a long list. First: Megan was killed eight days ago and still no autopsy and her body has not been released to the family."

Bill wrote then looked up. "Next."

"There are pictures of where Megan's body was found, but it hasn't been roped off as a crime scene. We were there yesterday and there wasn't nearly enough blood. It's a drop sight and nothing is mentioned in the police report about the possibility of her being murdered someplace else." After Bill caught up with writing, McKenzie continued, "The police checked out her apartment, and fingerprints were taken but, again, it wasn't mentioned in the police report."

Logan added, "There's no mention of her cell phone, a purse, or if she was sexually molested." He took a deep breath. "We found a pregnancy kit at her house. We don't know if she was pregnant or not."

"Megan kept a calendar on her refrigerator. On the Sunday she was murdered, she had an eight P.M. appointment with Sidney. There is no mention of this in the police report." McKenzie brushed a piece of hair from her mouth. "The only Sidney we have found is a Sidney Parks. He has an office at the police department."

Bill called to his secretary. "Find out what Sidney Parks does with the police department." He added some notes to his list. "We'll find out. What else?"

"The only suspect the police are looking at is George Whitney, and we're pretty sure he's innocent. He may have been sitting in lock-up during the murder. We've found another suspect, Donny..."

"Logan gave me that name. I've already called the possible last names in and having a background check done. As for Whitney, that's what Mitch called about. Yes, he was in lock-up when Megan was murdered. He's off the hook."

"Okay, we can officially cross his name off." McKenzie adjusted herself in the chair. "Tonight Jose and I are going to the Tin Roof and hope to get information about Donny and maybe Sidney."

Bill studied Logan.

Logan nodded. "Yes, I'll be there. I've promised to sit in the background." After Bill nodded and grinned, Logan continued, "Mac found a burner phone at Buder Park. It may be connected. She gave it to Mitch. I hope you can understand why we feel there's a cover up."

"I definitely see evidence of a cover-up." Bill picked up his ringing phone and listened. "Thank you." He hung up. "It seems Sidney Parks is a detective for the drug unit. Any reason he might be involved?"

McKenzie put her hand on Logan's. "Again, I'm sorry." She hesitated a moment. "One of Megan's friends mentioned Megan used recreational drugs in college, but no indication that she was a hard core user. I don't know about the company she kept. I think this covers it for now. If I've forgotten something, I'll call. Thank you for listening." She stood.
"We'd better let you get back to work."

Bill walked around his desk and hugged McKenzie. "You know I always have time for you." He shook Logan's hand and nodded.

"I saw that nod. Is it secret male language for continue being a pain in Mac's butt?"

"You'll never know," teased Bill.

Inside the car, Logan asked, "Where to next?"

McKenzie glanced at her watch. "Good. I have a standing appointment every Monday at eleven-thirty. We'll just make it."

"Will they let me in?"

"I'm sure you have a military ID or something, right?" After Logan answered, she continued, "Good. There shouldn't be a problem." She paused. "I've never asked, but you do know how to handle a gun, don't you?




Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou local name for St. Louis
Simon Knight and Sheila Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician. Sheila
is his wife
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league
baseball team.
Yadi's Fan name for Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A> and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.
Kate Hartford Megan Nelson's friend they taught middle school
together.
Donny A man Megan Nelson dated.
Mitch Gardner St. Louis Police Department detective who has
partnered with McKenzie's dad.
Ivan Smart A bad guy
Peter and Nancy Nelson Logan's parents
Sidney Parks works for the St. Louis Police Detective with the drug unit.

Author Notes Thank you google images for a blueberry muffin. I've made changes to this post again today. I hope I didn't make it worse. I've written enough posts to make post every week until summer break of 2020. I edit them almost weekly. I can't seem to get it right. I really appreciate your help. This post is a little over 1500 words. I hope you don't mind. Logan and McKenzie continue their search for Megan's murder and they get closer to becoming a couple. Thank you for your wonderful support.



Chapter 35
St. Louis Chapter 15 part 1

By barbara.wilkey

It's Monday afternoon. McKenzie and Logan have known each other 6 days.

Ending of Previous Post:

McKenzie put her hand on Logan's. "Again, I'm sorry." She hesitated a moment. "One of Megan's friends mentioned Megan used recreational drugs in college, but no indication that she was a hard core user. I don't know about the company she kept. I think this covers it for now. If I've forgotten something, I'll call. Thank you for listening." She stood. "We'd better let you get back to work."

Bill walked around his desk and hugged McKenzie. "You know I always have time for you." He shook Logan's hand and nodded.

"I saw that nod. Is it secret male language for continue being a pain in Mac's butt?"

"You'll never know," teased Bill.

Inside the car, Logan asked, "Where to next?"

McKenzie glanced at her watch. "Good. I have a standing appointment every Monday at eleven-thirty. We'll just make it."

"Will they let me in?"

"I'm sure you have a military ID or something, right?" After Logan answered, she continued, "Good. There shouldn't be a problem." She paused. "I've never asked, but you do know how to handle a gun, don't you?

TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 14 PART 3

As Logan parked in McKenzie's parking space, she stared at her townhouse. "It looks like the mess was cleaned up. Only a few wet spots left on the sidewalk. I'm sure Edger's pacing. Ready?"

Logan rushed out of the car and hurried around to open McKenzie's car door. "Good. I beat you to it." His eyes twinkled.

"I see opening doors is very important to you," she teased. "Let's get inside. I want another look at your shot group. I'm sure you cheated."

"How could I cheat at a firing range? I don't think it's possible."

Inside, McKenzie assured Edger things were okay before she took his target and held it up to the light to get a better look at it. "I've seen some great shot groups, but never one this good. Are you sure you didn't cheat?"

Logan grabbed a water bottle from the refrigerator. "For the hundredth time, no, I didn't cheat." He took a swig of water. "Let me see yours again." He held it up to the light. "Yours is good. It's better than a lot of my troops."

"But nowhere close to yours. How'd you do it?"

"Years of practice." He paused. "Ready for some lunch?"

"So you not only fix breakfast and dinner, you do lunch too?"

"Usually something light; salad or sandwiches. What would you like?"

"Surprise me. I'm going to work on some things in the office."

A little later, Logan brought in a salad, a sandwich, and a bottle of water. "I couldn't decide, so I did a little of both. I hope you like it." He scanned the bulletin board filled with different colored notes. "Pretty impressive."

"Check it out and see if I've forgotten anything. There's a lot of information, but none of it makes any sense."

He stepped closer to read each note, and then stared at it. "I think you have it covered. Did you get any new ideas as you worked on this?"

"No, I was hoping I would. Nothing, nada." McKenzie took a bite of her sandwich. "Thank you." Finishing her sandwich, she said, "I'll work on something else. Maybe I need to let it sit for a while."

"Good idea. I have a few things I need to catch-up on myself. I'll be at the table if you need me."

McKenzie watched Logan go to the black bag he always brought with him. Hmm, a laptop. I thought he just kept clothes in that. Wonder what he's working on. She opened a file. I have my own work to worry about.

*****
Logan searched for McKenzie's parents obituaries in the local newspaper. He found what he was looking for and noticed McKenzie was the only surviving family member of Mack and Helen Morgan. He also found that both Mack's parents preceded him in death as did both Helen's parents. He did discover Helen's dad, Gus's last name was Piper.

After he got a bottle of water and an apple from the refrigerator, Logan did a Google search for Gus Piper. He not only found his obituary but newspaper articles about his death. He died suspiciously from blunt force trauma at the Morgan home. It seemed no investigation was done and no suspects questioned. I wonder why. It doesn't make any sense. He got up to stretch his legs and went outside to walk around the backyard.

When he returned, he saw McKenzie leaning over his computer. She glared at him. "What are you doing?"

"I was curious about your mother's father. I did some researches. It wasn't difficult to find."

"You've officially crossed the line. You need to leave." When he didn't move, she yelled, "I told you to leave! Get out now!"

"I'm not going anywhere."

McKenzie turned and walked toward the stairs. "I'm going upstairs. When I return, you'd better be gone or I'm calling the police."

Logan watched her stomp up the stairs. "I'd say she's officially angry. Now what?" He cringed when he heard her bedroom door slam. "Yep, she's angry."

A little over an hour later, McKenzie entered the kitchen. "I thought I smelled dinner. I told you that you're not welcome here any longer."

"And I've already told you that you're stuck with me. Just because you're angry doesn't mean I'm leaving. Dinner will be done in about fifteen minutes. We can eat together, or I'll go outside and eat."

"We can both eat at the table, but don't expect me to speak to you."

Logan grinned. "Of course not."

After the silent dinner was completed, McKenzie did dishes and cleaned the kitchen. When finished, she went upstairs to change.

Once back downstairs, she started to call a taxi. Logan grabbed the phone. "I'll drive you to the Tin Roof. I told you I'm going." He paused. "You look nice by-the-way."

McKenzie glared at him. "I told you I could handle this myself."

"I don't listen or follow directions very well." He opened the door. "Ladies first. Even angry ladies."

"Whatever."

"Where's this place?"

"On Clark Avenue."

"That's down by the stadium, right?"

McKenzie nodded.

"Is there any way we can call a truce?" When he received no answer, he continued, "I'm sorry. I didn't realize it would cause this much trouble. I was curious."

"I'd already told you I didn't want to talk about Mom's dad."

"You did but..."

"There are no buts. The conversation is over."

"Okay, when you're ready to discuss it, I'm here for you."

"I'll never be ready."





Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou local name for St. Louis
Simon Knight and Sheila Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician. Sheila's his wife.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league
baseball team.
Yadi Fan name for Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.
Kate Hartford Megan Nelson's friend they taught middle school
together.
Donny A man Megan Nelson dated.
Mitch Gardner St. Louis Police Department detective who has
partnered with McKenzie's dad.
Ivan Smart A bad guy
Peter and Nancy Nelson Logan's parents
Sidney Parks works for the St. Louis Police Detective with the drug unit.
Mack and Helen Morgan McKenzie's parents - both deceased
Gus Piper McKenzie's abusive grandfather - deceased


Author Notes Thank you google images for photo of a shot group. I've made changes to this post again today. I hope I didn't make it worse. I really appreciate your help. This post is a little over 900 words. Logan and McKenzie continue their search for Megan's murder and they get closer to becoming a couple.
but did Logan mess up so badly that Mac can't forgive him? Thank you for your wonderful support.




Chapter 36
St. Louis Chapter 15 part 2

By barbara.wilkey

It's Monday evening. McKenzie and Logan have known each other 6 days.

Ending of Previous Post:

Once back downstairs, she started to call a taxi. Logan grabbed the phone. "I'll drive you to the Tin Roof. I told you I'm going." He paused. "You look nice by-the-way."

McKenzie glared at him. "I told you I could handle this myself."

"I don't listen or follow directions very well." He opened the door. "Ladies first. Even angry ladies."

"Whatever."

"Where's this place?"

"On Clark Avenue."

"That's down by the stadium, right?"

McKenzie nodded.

"Is there any way we can call a truce?" When he received no answer, he continued, "I'm sorry. I didn't realize it would cause this much trouble. I was curious."

"I'd already told you I didn't want to talk about Mom's dad."

"You did but..."

"There are no buts. The conversation is over."

"Okay, when you're ready to discuss it, I'm here for you."

"I'll never be ready."

TODAY'S POST:

Jose tapped Logan's shoulder and asked to cut in. Logan graciously bowed and went back to the area he'd had originally occupied.

With a grin, Jose said, "You looked like a couple."

"Only for appearances," replied McKenzie.

"Of course," teased Jose. "I don't think Donny's showing."

"I don't either. We need to find out where he's been hiding this past week."

"I agree." When the music stopped, Jose walked her off the dance floor. "Ready to leave?"

McKenzie nodded toward Logan to let him know their plans. "I think we can safely walk out together."

Together they walked toward the block where they had parked.

*****
After a few minutes, Logan walked toward the door. Austin walked up to him. "So you think Mac's your lady?"

"No. What's it to you anyway? We danced a few dances."

"She's mine."

"I understood she'd broken it off and she's not seeing anybody."

"That was temporary. She's high strung. She realized what she's missed."

Logan attempted to walk away, but Austin grabbed his arm. "You'd better stay away from her."

Yanking his arm away, Logan grabbed the front of Austin's T-shirt. His eyes glared, his voice quiet, yet stern. "Don't do that again. Don't make threats you can't enforce. Don't ever come in contact with McKenzie again. If you do, you'll have me to deal with. It's not a threat, it's a promise." Logan let go, turned, and walked out the front door. As he headed toward the car, he heard two gun shots.

McKenzie screamed and grabbed her friend. "Jose!" She pressed her hands against his shoulder wound, willing the bleeding to stop. "Somebody call an ambulance!"

Logan ran up. "You all right?"

She nodded. "Yes, but Jose's been shot."

Removing his shirt, Logan knelt beside her and handed it to her. "Press this hard on the wound. What happened?"

Tears streamed down McKenzie's cheeks. "We were talking and this black SUV slowed down and started firing. They were meant for me. Jose pushed me down and got shot." The crying became heavier. "This bullet was meant for me. Jose's shot because he protected me."

"Was it the same SUV we saw at the warehouse?"

McKenzie nodded. "I think so, but can't be sure."

The ambulance arrived and EMT attendants cleared the area so they could stabilize Jose. McKenzie remained in Logan's arms, until the police came and questioned them, separately.

When Bill arrived, McKenzie ran to him and cried, "Bill, do something."

He kissed her forehead. "Sweetheart, it's out of my hands now."

Bill nodded for Logan to look to his left and said, "Mac, I need to speak to somebody. Logan'll stay with you."

Putting his arms around McKenzie, Logan guided her head to his chest. "In a few minutes, they'll transport Jose to the hospital. I'll take you there." He watched Bill walk over to Sidney Parks.

After EMTs were positive Jose was stabilized, they loaded him in the back of the ambulance and headed toward Barnes-Jewish Hospital.

Bill, Logan, and McKenzie headed toward their cars. Logan helped McKenzie into his car. As he readied to shut her door, she said, "Thank you for everything."

"You have nothing to thank me for."

She wiped a tear. "I do. You told me something was off tonight, and I wouldn't listen. If I had, maybe Jose would be safe at home with his wife."

"Nobody could've predicted this would happen." Logan shut the door, opened the trunk, reached inside his bag, and grabbed another shirt. As he walked to the driver's side, he put it on.

He slid behind the steering wheel, turned the key, and then reached for McKenzie's hand. He held it. "We'll be there in a few minutes."

*****
At the hospital, they were told that Jose was in an operating room. As they waited, Jose's wife, Lucy, arrived.

McKenzie ran to her. "I'm so sorry." They hugged.

"Mac, it's not your fault. Every time Jose goes out, I know this could happen."

Tears rolled down McKenzie's cheeks. "But this bullet had my name on it. He pushed me out of the way." She broke down.

Logan put his arm around McKenzie and drew her to him.

Through her tears, Lucy said, "Mac, you would've done the same for Jose. That's what partners do. That's what makes you two a good team."

Acknowledging what Lucy had said, Logan nodded. He guided both ladies to a chair. "It may be a long wait."

Bill walked over to Logan. "Can we talk?"

Logan glanced at the ladies. "If it's short." He stood, and they stepped off to the side.

Bill turned away from McKenzie's eyesight and said, "Sidney Parks told me that he was there because he'd heard a police officer was shot and wanted to offer support."

"Do you believe him?"

"Nope."

"Good, neither do I."

"I have something for you." Bill snuck Logan a Sig Sauer P226 TACPAC 9MM pistol. "I'm sure you're used to better, but this is the best I could come up with on short notice. I went out on a limb, so don't rob a bank with it."

"It's perfect. Do I need to fill out any paperwork? What about a license?"

"I hear you went by the firing range with Mac today."

"There are no secrets in this town, are there?"

"Not a one. The manager's a friend. He vouched that you can handle a gun, so we're good. Just make sure Mac's safe. Think now she'll let you camp out on her sofa?"

Logan studied her. "Maybe tonight. She's really upset, but she might kick me out tomorrow night. I've already been ordered to leave once today."

Bill shook his head. "What did you do?"

"She caught me researching Gus Piper."

"I'm surprised she didn't shoot you herself. She must really like you. I don't even know all the facts."

"Really?"

"As close as her dad and I were, he never told me what happened. It was never talked about."

A doctor came up to Lucy.

McKenzie glanced around for Logan. He walked over to her and put his arm around her waist.

The doctor said, "Mr. Lopez is out of surgery. He'll be drowsy for the rest of the night. He should make a full recovery. The bullet missed all the important organs. If I were you, I'd go home tonight. You should be able to speak with him tomorrow."

Logan asked, "Can Mrs. Lopez see him? I'm sure there's a place in the room she can stay for the night."

The doctor sighed. "There's a couch we can make up for her."

Bill nodded. "I'll stay with her until she's settled. Logan, take McKenzie home."

*****
When Logan parked the car, the police detail was already in place.

McKenzie glanced around. "I'm never going to get rid of them, now. Am I?"

"Pretty sure Bill isn't going to allow you out of the house without a body guard."

She opened the car door. "You'd better hurry to your hotel. I don't want you getting shot too."

Logan took her arm. "I'm not worried about getting shot. I am worried about your safety. I'm not going anywhere. You have a comfortable couch. I'm sleeping on it tonight." He reached back and grabbed his bag. McKenzie opened her mouth to speak, but he continued, "Don't say a word. It's my turn to be stubborn. Once inside, you go on to bed. I'll take care of the dogs."



Thank you for the video from the Legends Undercover. They play in the St. Louis area.









Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou local name for St. Louis
Simon Knight and Sheila Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician. Sheila's his wife.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league
baseball team.
Yadi Fan name for Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez his wife is Lucy Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.
Kate Hartford Megan Nelson's friend they taught middle school
together.
Donny A man Megan Nelson dated.
Mitch Gardner St. Louis Police Department detective who has
partnered with McKenzie's dad.
Ivan Smart A bad guy
Peter and Nancy Nelson Logan's parents
Sidney Parks works for the St. Louis Police Detective with the drug unit.
Mack and Helen Morgan McKenzie's parents - both deceased
Gus Piper McKenzie's abusive grandfather - deceased

Author Notes Thank you google images for photo of the Tin Roof, in St. Louis. I've added a video of a band who plays there. I've made changes to this post again today. I hope I didn't make it worse. I really appreciate your help. This post is a little over 1200 words. Logan and McKenzie continue their search for Megan's murder and they get closer to becoming a couple.
Thank you for your wonderful support.



Chapter 37
St. Louis Chapter 16 part 1

By barbara.wilkey

It's Tuesday morning. McKenzie and Logan have known each other 7 days. They've made it an entire week. LOL

Ending of Previous Post:

When Logan parked the car, the police detail was already in place.

McKenzie glanced around. "I'm never going to get rid of them, now. Am I?"

"Pretty sure Bill isn't going to allow you out of the house without a body guard."

She opened the car door. "You'd better hurry to your hotel. I don't want you getting shot, too."

Logan took her arm. "I'm not worried about getting shot. I am worried about your safety. I'm not going anywhere. You have a comfortable couch. I'm sleeping on it tonight." He reached back and grabbed his bag. McKenzie opened her mouth to speak, but he continued, "Don't say a word. It's my turn to be stubborn. Once inside, you go on to bed. I'll take care of the dogs."


TODAY'S POST:

The following morning, McKenzie walked down the stairs and saw Logan sitting at the table drinking a cup of coffee. "Did you get any sleep last night?"

He stood. "Can I get you a cup? It's fresh. I just made a fresh pot."

"You didn't answer my question and how many cups have you already had?"

"This is my first, and I slept okay."

McKenzie accepted the offered cup and took a sip. "Logan?" He waited for her to continue, "Any ideas who would want me dead?"

"I don't. What about this Austin guy? What's his last name?"

"Bryant, Austin Bryant. He wrote the book on being a jerk, but I don't believe he'd try to kill me." McKenzie stared at her coffee and then took a drink. "This tastes good."

"Would you call Bill and have him checked out? As I left the bar, he threatened me."

"What?"

"He ordered me to stay away from you."

McKenzie covered her mouth to hide her grin. "How did that work for him? What did you do?"

"Nothing. I just told him to be careful who he threatened, unless he could back it up."

"And you said this just like we're talking here, right?"

Logan winked. "Of course." He paused. "Ready for breakfast?" He turned when he heard the doorbell. "Let me get this."

After the door was answered, Bill walked in. "Good morning. How's Mac this morning?"

She called from the kitchen, "I'm fine, Bill. Want some coffee? Betty Crocker makes a good pot."

"I could use a cup. Betty Crocker, a complaint was registered with the PD this morning that you man-handled an Austin Bryant. Since Mac's my goddaughter they forwarded on to me. Do you know anything about it?"

McKenzie's eyebrow's rose. "He's an old boyfriend who got a little too friendly last night at the Tin Roof. I guess he threatened Logan and ordered him to stay away from me. According to Betty Crocker all he said was to be careful who he threatened, unless he could back it up. At least that's the story, he just told me."

Bill grinned. "What really happened?"

"As I was leaving, he grabbed my arm and threatened me if I didn't leave Mac alone. I grabbed the front of his shirt and told him to be careful who he threatened. I told him to stay away from Mac or he'd be dealing with me. It wasn't a threat it was a promise. Just protecting Mac. That's what I do. Anybody need more coffee?" Logan poured himself another cup.

Bill took a long drink of coffee. "This is good. I'll let them know I investigated it and found no creditability to his story." He turned to McKenzie. "What are your plans for today?"

"I'll probably spend a large part of it at the hospital. I need to make sure Jose's okay." McKenzie leaned over and petted Edger. "Is there any way I can go for a run? Edger and I need one."

Frowning, Bill said, "You'd be a sitting duck. I don't like that idea at all. Not even with Logan by your side. Maybe a gym."

"Edger can't go into a gym. He's used to running too."

Logan grinned. "What if I take the dogs for a run and then come back, and you and I go to the gym and run? The security detail will be outside so there shouldn't be any problem."

McKenzie's eyes widened. "That's double run for you."

"I can handle it. I'm used to it."

"I like that idea." Bill finished his coffee. "I'd better get to the office. I'll be checking in throughout the day." He leaned over and kissed McKenzie's forehead. "Stay safe."

After Bill left, McKenzie looked out the window. "Do you really believe all this is necessary?"

"Are you forgetting what happened last night?" Logan studied the skillet. "I guess I'll fix breakfast after we finish our runs."

"Could it be that Jose getting shot was just a freak accident? It was just a gang-related drive-by? They do happen in The Lou."

Stepping closer to her, Logan asked, "Do you really believe that?"

"No. But I do need to work. I have bills to pay. I can't stay held up in my home forever. Besides, here I'm a sitting duck just waiting for an attack."

"I understand." Logan took her hand. "But your safety takes priority."

McKenzie sighed.








Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou local name for St. Louis
Simon Knight and Sheila Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician. Sheila's his wife.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league
baseball team.
Yadi Fan name for Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez his wife is Lucy Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.
Kate Hartford Megan Nelson's friend they taught middle school
together.
Donny A man Megan Nelson dated.
Mitch Gardner St. Louis Police Department detective who has
partnered with McKenzie's dad.
Ivan Smart A bad guy
Peter and Nancy Nelson Logan's parents
Sidney Parks works for the St. Louis Police Detective with the drug unit.
Mack and Helen Morgan McKenzie's parents - both deceased
Gus Piper McKenzie's abusive grandfather - deceased
Austin Bryant an old boyfriend - McKenzie broke up with him because he's a jerk.


Author Notes Thank you google images for photo of a cup of coffee. I couldn't find exactly what I wanted so I settled. LOL I've made changes to this post again today. I hope I didn't make it worse. A reviewer questioned if Logan could lift a person by their shirt, so I changed to just grabbing it. I really appreciate your help. This post is a little over 700 words. Logan and McKenzie continue their search for Megan's murder as they get closer to becoming a couple.
Thank you for your wonderful support.


Chapter 38
St. Louis Chapter 16 part 2

By barbara.wilkey

It's Tuesday morning. McKenzie and Logan have known each other 7 days. They've made it an entire week. LOL

Ending of Previous Post:

"I like that idea." Bill finished his coffee. "I'd better get to the office. I'll be checking in throughout the day." He leaned over and kissed McKenzie's forehead. "Stay safe."

After Bill left, McKenzie looked out the window. "Do you really believe all this is necessary?"

"Are you forgetting what happened last night?" Logan studied the skillet. "I guess I'll fix breakfast after we finish our runs."

"Could it be that Jose getting shot was just a freak accident? It was just a gang-related drive-by? They do happen in The Lou."

Stepping closer to her, Logan asked, "Do you really believe that?"

"No. But I do need to work. I have bills to pay. I can't stay held up in my home forever. Besides, here I'm a sitting duck just waiting for an attack."

"I understand." Logan took her hand. "But your safety takes priority."

McKenzie sighed.


TODAY'S POST:

After the work out and breakfast, Logan and McKenzie were on their way to the hospital when Logan's phone rang. He handed it to McKenzie. "Answer it. I'm driving, and the traffic's heavy."

"Hello." McKenzie answered and explained to Bill why she had Logan's phone. She added, "I have you on speaker."

Bill continued, "Logan, do you remember when you first noticed Sidney Parks last night? I'm not buying that he got the news on the police scanner and was there that fast. I think he was already close by waiting to hear the results."

McKenzie tilted her head. "Sidney Parks was there last night? I didn't see him."

Logan nodded. "You were busy taking care of Jose and didn't notice. I didn't notice him until you pointed him out. I agree. He was way too comfortable. He didn't just come up on the scene. But how do we verify our suspicions?"

"I doubt if we can. I'll check and see if there are any security cameras in the area. I just wanted to make sure I wasn't the only one feeling this way."

"You're not. We're close to the hospital. Can we finish this in a few minutes?"

"I've got somebody at my door, so I need to go anyway. I'll be checking in on you. Bye."

McKenzie handed the phone back to Logan. "It's looking more and more like Sidney Parks is the same Sidney that Megan had her meeting with. Why was she meeting with him? Were they dating? I wonder how old he is. Is he too old for her? None of this makes sense. Besides why and what does that have to do with Jose getting shot?"

"Or better yet, the threats to you."

Entering the hospital, Logan and McKenzie went straight to Jose's room. McKenzie showed the two officers outside his door identification, and they allowed her and Logan to enter.

McKenzie hugged Lucy. "How are you doing?"

Jose piped up. "Hey, I'm the one who was shot, why aren't you asking me how I'm doing?"

Logan shook his hand. "Jose, how are you doing?"

Giving Jose a hug, McKenzie teased, "Well, Jose, exactly how are you?"

"I'm glad you asked. I'm fine. Please tell my doc that I'm ready to get out of here and back to work." Jose paused. "You two have any ideas, who did this or why?"

Studying her feet, McKenzie said, "You know you were shot pushing me out of the way. I was the intended target."

Jose reached for her hand. "I'd do it again, too. You know you would've done the same."

Tears welled. "True, but it still doesn't seem right that you took a bullet meant for me." McKenzie wiped her eyes. She glanced toward Logan.

He leaned toward her and whispered, "I know you're not crying but if you were, it would be all right." He winked at Jose.

Jose responded with a grin. He reached for Lucy's hand. "Mac, Lucy hasn't left my side. Why don't you two females get some lunch and let us men discuss our battle scares?"

Lucy reached for Mac's hand. "That sounds like a great idea. I heard the cafeteria has really good cheeseburgers."

Logan stepped outside and signaled for an officer to follow the ladies.

Jose chuckled. "How'd you get so much authority in such a short time? Nobody listens to me and I've been around for years."

"I have Bill on speed dial. You know DA Abbott."

"Has he hooked you up with a weapon, yet?"

Logan raised his shirt and showed Jose the handgun Bill had given him. "He's supposed to send somebody with the permit this afternoon." He sighed. "He's checking on Mac every few hours. He's really worried about her."

"I'm not surprised. I've heard rumors about how close he was to Mac's dad. He and his wife were her godparents. Since her parents were murdered they've taken her in as their own. They couldn't have kids. Mac's their daughter."

"I've noticed. It's good for both of them. Mac needs family. Do you know anything about her parents or grandparents?"

"I met her dad a few times. He was a great guy. I never met her mom or her grandparents. I heard rumors about one of her grandpas. I heard he was mean. He died under suspicious circumstances, but nobody questioned it. It was like they figured he had it coming."

Jose answered his ringing cell. After he listened a few moments, he said, "Thanks for the information." He grinned at Logan. "You'll like this. Donny's last name is Carlton. Give me a paper and a pencil. I'll write down the address." After a few attempts at writing, Jose held out the pencil. "You'll have to do it." He patted the bandages on his right arm. "I guess I won't be writing anything for a few days." Logan wrote as Jose repeated the address, "5450 Geraldine Ave."

"Isn't that in the Mark Twain area?" After Jose nodded, Logan continued, "It's not the world's safest neighborhood, is it?"

"It's not. I know you'll want to check this place out." Jose paused before he continued, "Would Mac be followed?"

"She would." Logan removed his cell. "Bill, Jose just got Donny's address. I'm wondering if you would be able to get a rental car parked in the employee parking lot. Mac and I could check his place out without anybody knowing we left the hospital. We could leave through an employee exit. I'm sure my rental is being watched. We'll return when we're done and go home like they'd expect us to do." He hung up. "He'll let us know when the car arrives."

After McKenzie and Lucy returned with cheeseburgers for Logan and Jose, Logan filled her in on how they'd be going to check out Donny's house.

About an hour later, Bill called Logan and told him the rental was parked in the employee parking garage and gave him the parking slot number. He also said a nurse would be handing him the keys.

As McKenzie and Logan prepared to leave, Jose asked, "Mac, this isn't one of The Lou's finest neighborhoods, are you prepared?"

Tapping her right side's waistband, she nodded. "I'm good." She glanced at Logan. "I'm worried about you."

Before Logan could answer, a police officer knocked on the door. When Logan answered, the officer said, "This is a special delivery from DA Abbot for a Major Logan Nelson."

Logan accepted the envelope. "Thank you." He watched the officer leave before he opened it. "Good. Now, I don't have to worry."

McKenzie leaned over to see what it was. "How or why or who did you get this from?" She shook her head. "It's a concealed weapons permit. Are they handing these out to everybody now-a-days? You don't even have a gun."

Jose grinned. "I think you need to let her in on this."

Logan raised his shirttail, revealing the gun. "Bill gave this to me. He wants to ensure your safety."

Opening the door, McKenzie said, "Let's get going. So Bill's behind this. I need to think about this and then have a chat with him." She turned around. "Jose, Lucy, this shouldn't take long. We'll be back."

*****
Logan drove slowly down the street in front of Donny's small, rundown house. "This looks way too peaceful. Something doesn't feel right."

"I agree. Drive a few houses down and park. We can decide how we want to approach it."



Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou local name for St. Louis
Simon Knight and Sheila Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician. Sheila's his wife.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league
baseball team.
Yadi Fan name for Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez his wife is Lucy Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.
Kate Hartford Megan Nelson's friend they taught middle school
together.
Donny Carlton A man Megan Nelson dated.
Mitch Gardner St. Louis Police Department detective who has
partnered with McKenzie's dad.
Ivan Smart A bad guy
Peter and Nancy Nelson Logan's parents
Sidney Parks works for the St. Louis Police Detective with the drug unit.
Mack and Helen Morgan McKenzie's parents - both deceased
Gus Piper McKenzie's abusive grandfather - deceased
Austin Bryant an old boyfriend - McKenzie broke up with him because he's a jerk.
Joshua Davis so far a nobody, but is a neighbor to Donny Carlton


Author Notes Thank you google images for photo of Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis. I've made changes to this post again today. I hope I didn't make it worse. I really appreciate your help. This post is a little over 1200 words. Logan and McKenzie continue their search for Megan's murder as they get closer to becoming a couple.
Thank you for your wonderful support.


Chapter 39
St. Louis Chapter 17 part 1

By barbara.wilkey

*****I want to apologize that I haven't had time to review all of my fans' posts. I attempted to get caught up some yesterday. I've been putting in 12-14 hour days at school. It seems governmental bureaucracy has entered the elementary school systems and it is NOT beneficial to young children. Teachers do too much paperwork and not enough time teaching in my humble opinion.*****


It's Tuesday afternoon. McKenzie and Logan have known each other 7 days. They've made it an entire week. LOL


Ending of Previous Post:


About an hour later, Bill called Logan and told him the rental was parked in the employee parking garage and gave him the parking slot number. He also said a nurse would be handing him the keys.

As McKenzie and Logan prepared to leave, Jose asked, "Mac, this isn't one of The Lou's finest neighborhoods, are you prepared?"

Tapping her right side's waistband, she nodded. "I'm good." She glanced at Logan. "I'm worried about you."

Before Logan could answer, a police officer knocked on the door. When Logan answered, the officer said, "This is a special delivery from DA Abbot for a Major Logan Nelson."

Logan accepted the envelope. "Thank you." He watched the officer leave before he opened it. "Good. Now, I don't have to worry."

McKenzie leaned over to see what it was. "How or why or who did you get this from?" She shook her head. "It's a concealed weapons permit. Are they handing these out to everybody now-a-days? You don't even have a gun."

Jose grinned. "I think you need to let her in on this."

Logan raised his shirttail, revealing the gun. "Bill gave this to me. He wants to ensure your safety."

Opening the door, McKenzie said, "Let's get going. So Bill's behind this. I need to think about this and then have a chat with him." She turned around. "Jose, Lucy, this shouldn't take long. We'll be back."

*****
Logan drove slowly down the street in front of Donny's small, rundown house. "This looks way too peaceful. Something doesn't feel right."

"I agree. Drive a few houses down and park. We can decide how we want to approach it."

TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 17 PART 1 post 39

After they had parked, McKenzie sighed. "Let's get this over with." She reached for the car's door handle.

Logan touched her arm. "You okay? I can do this if you want me to."

"I'm fine. Just a little jumpy." She opened the door, stepped from the car, and waited for Logan. "Any ideas how to proceed?"

"I was hoping you had a plan."

"Sure don't. I guess we walk up to the door loud and proud and knock."

"Why not? It'll work as well as any plan."

The couple walked up the sidewalk.

McKenzie pointed. "The front door's ajar. Now what?"

Logan knocked.

No answer.

"I guess he's not home." McKenzie used her hip and pushed the door open. "That's an invitation to enter. Right?" She withdrew her weapon and aimed it forward.

Logan nodded and did the same.

She scanned the room and knelt to the floor. "It looks like a fight took place. My guess this is dried blood. I have a feeling it didn't turn out too well for Donnie. Let's look around. I don't smell a body but maybe there's one somewhere. I can't identify the odor, can you?"

"It's a distinct smell, maybe cat urine. I don't see evidence of a cat." He paused. "I have a feeling I know what it is." Logan moved closer to the kitchen. "I'm right." He motioned for her to come closer. "A meth lab."

Taking out her phone, McKenzie called Bill and relayed the findings. "Yes, we'll stay until the police arrive. Maybe we can find Megan's phone or something else that can help our case. This seems to be another dead end." She glanced at Logan. "Be sure you don't touch anything."

Logan found a photograph. "I wonder if this is Donnie. I can't believe my sister would be caught dead with this loser."

"You don't know the whole story. Wait and see where it leads. Things may not be as they seem right now."

After searching through the house and finding nothing, they sat outside on the steps. "I'm beginning to think Megan's elusive phone is the key to everything." McKenzie tilted her head. "Why hasn't anybody checked her phone records? That's always one of the first things done, yet it's been nine days since she died and nobody's followed through." She took out her phone. "I'm calling Mitch. Somebody's definitely hiding something."

Soon after McKenzie finished talking with Mitch, the police arrived. After talking with them, Logan and McKenzie headed toward their car when a young male approached them.

He offered Logan his hand. "Hello, I'm Joshua Davis." He pointed. "I live in that blue house on your right."

McKenzie asked, "How well do you know Donny?"

"I don't really. We'd visit when we see each other on the street. That's all. Why's the police there? Did something happen?"

She chewed on her lower lip. "The door was left ajar and it appears somebody was looking for something. Do you know where Donny is? He's not home."

"I've been wondering about him. I haven't seen anybody there since a week ago Sunday. His car hasn't been there either."

Logan glanced back at the house. "What kind of car does he have? Maybe he went to visit relatives."

"A tan Pruis. Yeah, he could be visiting somebody. I never thought of that. But why'd he leave the door ajar?"

McKenzie shrugged her shoulders. "Maybe he was burglarized while he was gone."

"Could be. I hadn't thought of that. It's a good possibility. This isn't the safest neighborhood." He glanced toward his house. "I'd better get going. My girlfriend's probably getting worried. Glad to meet you." Joshua turned toward his house and then back again. "Hey, I didn't catch your names."

Logan and McKenzie had already headed toward their car.

Inside the car, McKenzie wiped her brow. "Can you put the air on? I've got to figure out how to get one in my car."

"Doesn't that take away from the value? An air conditioner wasn't stock on Super Bees."

"I know, but it's too hot not to have one." She paused. "What's your take on Joshua, if that's his real name? Was he searching for information or really a concerned neighbor?"

"Both are possibilities."

McKenzie stretched back in the seat and sighed. "What do we know?"

"We know George Whitney didn't kill my sister. He was in lock-up."

"We know she was possibly dating Donny Carlton, but don't know for how long. There was a fight in his house, blood on the floor, but don't know for sure it's his. He's been missing for over a week; about the same day Megan was murdered. Did he do it and is hiding or was he murdered too?"

"No idea and how does Sidney Parks fit into all of this. What did he want with my sister?" Logan pulled away from the curb. "What's this have to do with the threats against you or are they all together separate?"


Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou local name for St. Louis
Simon Knight and Sheila Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician. Sheila's his wife.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league
baseball team.
Yadi Fan name for Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez his wife is Lucy Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.
Kate Hartford Megan Nelson's friend they taught middle school
together.
Donny Carlton A man Megan Nelson dated.
Mitch Gardner St. Louis Police Department detective who has
partnered with McKenzie's dad.
Ivan Smart A bad guy
Peter and Nancy Nelson Logan's parents
Sidney Parks works for the St. Louis Police Detective with the drug unit.
Mack and Helen Morgan McKenzie's parents - both deceased
Gus Piper McKenzie's abusive grandfather - deceased
Austin Bryant an old boyfriend - McKenzie broke up with him because he's a jerk.
Joshua Davis so far a nobody, but is a neighbor to Donny Carlton

Author Notes Thank you google images for photo of a house in the Mark Twain neighborhood in St. Louis. I had edited this post many times but when I reread it before church, I found many issues with it. I hope I got it right now. I really appreciate your help. This post is a little over 800 words. Somebody asked what the real title of this novel is. Unfortunately, I have no idea. My editors always change the title anyway. I am not good at choosing titles. Any ideas? Logan and McKenzie continue their search for Megan's murder as they get closer to becoming a couple.
Thank you for your wonderful support.


Chapter 40
St. Louis Chapter 17 part 2

By barbara.wilkey

It's Tuesday afternoon. McKenzie and Logan have known each other 7 days. They've made it an entire week. LOL


Ending of Previous Post:

McKenzie stretched back in the seat and sighed. "What do we know?"

"We know George Whitney didn't kill my sister. He was in lock-up."

"We know she was possibly dating Donny Carlton, but don't know for how long. There was a fight in his house, blood on the floor, but don't know for sure it's his. He's been missing for over a week; about the same day Megan was murdered. Did he do it and is hiding or was he murdered too?"

"No idea and how does Sidney Parks fit into all of this. What did he want with my sister?" Logan pulled away from the curb. "What's this have to do with the threats against you or are they all together separate?"


TODAY'S POST:

On the way back to the hospital both Logan and McKenzie pondered their individual thoughts. When they entered Jose's room, he asked, "Anything new?"

McKenzie shook her head. "Nope. Donny was missing and the place was trashed. A neighbor said he hasn't been seen since the night Megan died. There was also a lot of blood splatter. Somebody was beaten and/or murdered there."

"So the plot thickens." Jose studied his IV.

"We're no closer to finding who murdered my sister than we were when I arrived. I agree with Mac. There seems to be a cover-up, but why? What was Megan into?"

"We don't have any answers." McKenzie held up her phone. "I called Gardner. He's going to get a hold of her phone records. Maybe they hold the secret we're overlooking. It would help to find that phone. I feel it in my gut the phone's the key. What else haven't we thought of?" She paused. "Sorry, Jose. Any news about when you'll be released?"

"Doc says maybe tomorrow morning." He eyed the cards spread out on his over-the-bed-table. "I'm tired of playing solitary. How about a riveting game of poker? Maybe Mac can teach me how to play."

Lucy grinned. "Losing is starting to effect his sunny disposition."

"My disposition's always sunny." Jose grinned as he gathered the cards. "Mac, I heard you turned down an undercover gig playing poker."

"I didn't turn it down. I was overruled by Bill and this dude." McKenzie poked Logan's arm.

Logan placed his hand over hers. "Since somebody's trying to kill you, maybe playing poker with a known criminal isn't the best idea."

Jose shuffled the cards. "Lucy, you joining us?" After she nodded, he asked, "What we playing?"

"How about 'Texas Holdem'? I think that's the most common game." McKenzie glanced at Logan. "What do you think?" She wrinkled her nose. "Do you even play?"

Jose chuckled. "Of course, he plays. He's in the Army and been on numerous deployments. What do you think the guys do sitting around waiting for action, listen to opera?"

"Point taken." McKenzie scanned the room and grabbed a chair pulling it closer to the bed. "Pull up a chair. Is there enough? What we playing for? Bragging rights?"

Eyeing Logan, Jose chuckled. "I already know Mac's great at poker, partly because she doesn't have any tells." He continued studying Logan. "You're in one of the Special Forces areas of the Army. I'm betting you're an expert at keeping it together. Your life would depend on it." He raised his hands over his head. "I'm dead." He grinned. "Let's do this, anyway."

Jose dealt each player two cards face down and each person checked their cards and placed bets. Then he dealt two cards up. Each person placed an additional bet before he placed another card up. Jose dealt another face up card and said, "I'm out."

Lucy laid her cards down. "It's between you two. I'm out."

Logan grinned. "You raising or calling me out?" He turned his head as the door opened. "Hi, Bill. You're about ready to watch me kick Mac's butt at poker."

Bill walked into the room and hugged McKenzie. "For real?"

"We're not sure, but it looks like a possibility," answered Jose. "What brings an important guy like you to my humble abode, twice within twenty-four hours?"

Lucy patted his arm. "Jose, behave. Sorry Mr. Abbott, he's getting bored."

"I hear you're going home tomorrow." Bill glanced toward the door. "I'm worried about security. I'm putting somebody at your house, until we figure out what's going on." His eyes met Logan's. "We moved your things from the hotel into Mac's house."

"What?" McKenzie stood with her hands on her hips. "Again you're making decisions without my consent or even mentioning it to me."

"How would you feel if something happened to Logan?"

"I'd feel horrible, but that doesn't mean I want him moving in with me. He's already too bossy. He'd be even worse if he lived there. I'm sure you can come up with a better plan. He's some sort of a hero."

Logan covered his grin with his hand.

"I've already taxed the police department with a detail for you, coverage for Jose while he's in the hospital, and he'll get a detail when he's released. I've put security on Logan's parents. There's nobody left."

"Send him home to his parents."

Jose chuckled. "Mac, he's always with you. It only makes sense. I'm betting there's only a little security on his parents. He'd require more. He's working this case with you. He's in danger too."

Bill eyed Logan. "It's about time you were heard from. Tell this hard-headed young lady I'm right."

"Mac, I found out last night your couch isn't too bad to sleep on. I need to go back to Fort Bragg, three weeks from today. I think we can work something out for three weeks, don't you?" He paused. "I'm beginning to understand your comment about not having any say in things. I didn't get a say either. I'm also capable of taking care of myself. I've done it under more dangerous circumstances than this." He took her hand. "I don't see any way out. Can we work together and make this work?"

McKenzie sighed. "I don't see a way out of it either."

"Darn!" yelled Jose. When everybody faced him, he said, "I bumped the table. We won't know who won the poker game." He grinned at McKenzie. "What did you have?"

"I'll never tell."

Bill answered his ringing phone. After he listened for a while, he hung up and said, "They just found Donny Carlton's body."

"Where?" asked McKenzie.

"In a drainage ditch in Wright City."

Logan rubbed his chin. "That's a ways out of the city. They didn't want it to be found."

"They sure didn't, and it appears he's been there about a week. We'll know more after the autopsy."

McKenzie plopped down in a chair. "If they ever get around to doing it. We're still waiting for Megan's results."




Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou local name for St. Louis
Simon Knight and Sheila Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician. Sheila's his wife.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league
baseball team.
Yadi Fan name for Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez his wife is Lucy Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.
Kate Hartford Megan Nelson's friend they taught middle school
together.
Donny Carlton A man Megan Nelson dated.
Mitch Gardner St. Louis Police Department detective who has
partnered with McKenzie's dad.
Ivan Smart A bad guy
Peter and Nancy Nelson Logan's parents
Sidney Parks works for the St. Louis Police Detective with the drug unit.
Mack and Helen Morgan McKenzie's parents - both deceased
Gus Piper McKenzie's abusive grandfather - deceased
Austin Bryant an old boyfriend - McKenzie broke up with him because he's a jerk.
Joshua Davis so far a nobody, but is a neighbor to Donny Carlton

Author Notes Thank you google images for photo of a Texas Hold'em Game. I had edited this post many times but when I reread it before church, I found many issues with it. I'm struggling describing the poker game. I hope I got it right this time. I really appreciate your help. This post is a little over 1000 words. Logan and McKenzie continue their search for Megan's murder as they get closer to becoming a couple.
Thank you for your wonderful support.


Chapter 41
St. Louis Chapter 17 part 3

By barbara.wilkey

It's Tuesday evening. McKenzie and Logan have known each other 7 days. LOL


I HOPE YOU ALL HAVE A VERY WONDERFUL THANKSGIVING FILLED WITH LOVE AND FAMILY!!!!!!

Ending of Previous Post:


Bill answered his ringing phone. After he listened for a while, he hung up and said, "They just found Donny Carlton's body."

"Where?" asked McKenzie.

"In a drainage ditch in Wright City."

Logan rubbed his chin. "That's a ways out of the city. They didn't want it to be found."

"They sure didn't, and it appears he's been there about a week. We'll know more after the autopsy."

McKenzie plopped down in a chair. "If they ever get around to doing it. We're still waiting for Megan's results."


TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 17 PART 3

On the way to McKenzie's home, she asked, "Have you thought anything about our forced living arrangements?"

"I figured I'd take the couch like I did last night." As he stopped at a red light, he faced her. "If you're completely against it, I'll go to a hotel."

"The light's green." She chewed on her lower lip. "I can't imagine your parents being happy about you living with a single female?"

Logan chuckled. "I'm thirty-four years old. I think their days of commenting about my lifestyle are over."

"I guess you're right."

He parked in her parking slot. "I can tell you're concerned about something. Talk to me. We're roommates. What's bothering you?"

She stared out the window, avoiding his eyes. "I've never shacked up with a man before."

Logan laughed out loud.

McKenzie opened the car door, slammed it, and ran into the house.
Obviously laughing was not the right thing to do. Now, what? He cringed when he heard another door slam. That can't be good.

The security detail stared at Logan as he walked up the sidewalk. He shrugged his shoulders. "Women!" When he turned the doorknob, the door was locked, he knocked. "Mac, let me in." When she didn't, he continued, "Open the door." She didn't, again. "Never mind, I'll use my key."

When he entered, the dogs studied him, so he asked, "Where'd she go?"

Edger glanced toward the stairs.

"So she went to her room. Makes sense." He petted the large dog. "Any idea what I do now?"

Edger lay down, and Arlo barked.

"I doubt going to her room's a good idea. She'll probably throw something at me. I have a feeling she's got a pretty good arm." Logan stepped on the bottom step. "Mac, I'm not coming to your room. I respect your privacy, but this isn't getting us anywhere. Come down. We can talk about it." He paused. "I'm sorry, I laughed. It was insensitive of me. I didn't mean to insult you."

He sat on the couch, Edger on his left and Arlo on the right. "Guys, any idea how long this wait's going to be?" He heard a noise and glanced at the top of the stair. "Are you joining us?"

McKenzie took one step.

Logan stood. "I'm sorry I offended you. I didn't mean to. I messed up." He studied her for a few moments. "I think we have a misunderstanding. What's your definition of 'shacking up'? I'm thinking that may be where the mix up is." When she didn't answer, he continued, "We'll be staying in the same house, but I'll be sleeping on the couch. We won't be intimate. I couldn't do that with you."

She tilted her head, waited a moment, and then turned around.

He moved toward the steps. "I just put my foot in my mouth again. I didn't mean that like it sounded. I respect you too much to sleep with you."

Turning around, McKenzie walked down the stairs. At the bottom step she asked, "How many women have you shacked up with?"

"None."

McKenzie turned and started up the stairs.

Logan touched her arm. "Mac?"

"I thought we were going to have an honest conversation. I don't believe you."

"Why? I'm telling the truth."

"So you're telling me you've never had sex?"

He raised his hands chest high and palms out. "I didn't say that." He took her hand. "I think we're talking two different things. Let's talk this out." He led her to the couch. "Sit."

They both sat. "Yes, I've had sex, but no I've never shacked up with a woman. What else do you want to know?"

"Why haven't you shacked up with someone?"

"I guess because, if I'm going to keep house with a lady, I don't want it to be pretend. I want it to be the real thing. I want to be married."

"Have you ever come close to being married?"

"Once, I thought about it. She didn't like me being gone with Army business and it became a trust issue. Remember when I said trust was very important?" After McKenzie nodded, Logan continued, "Because of a lack of trust, we both decided to go our separate ways."

"How long ago was that?"

"Close to two and half years, ago. Why?"

"No reason. Just curious."

"Do you want to know my entire dating history?" He paused. When she didn't answer, he continued, "I'll gladly share it with you."

"It's not necessary. Besides it's none of my business."

"True, it's not, but I don't have anything to hide. If it'll help you become more comfortable with me, I'll tell you."

Her eyes avoided his, as she said, "I've dated some men, but have never been seriously involved. I've never been with a man. I mean really been with a man."

He held her hand. "That's nothing to be ashamed of." He kissed her forehead. All of this makes more sense now.

"I wasn't crying upstairs and I'm not going to cry now."

Logan grinned. "I know you're not." When he felt she was more composed, he said, "Mac, I'm safe. I'll never hurt you, in any way."

Her eyes met his. "I know that. I really do know it."




Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou local name for St. Louis
Simon Knight and Sheila Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician. Sheila's his wife.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league
baseball team.
Yadi Fan name for Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez his wife is Lucy Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.
Kate Hartford Megan Nelson's friend they taught middle school
together.
Donny Carlton A man Megan Nelson dated.
Mitch Gardner St. Louis Police Department detective who has
partnered with McKenzie's dad.
Ivan Smart A bad guy
Peter and Nancy Nelson Logan's parents
Sidney Parks works for the St. Louis Police Detective with the drug unit.
Mack and Helen Morgan McKenzie's parents - both deceased
Gus Piper McKenzie's abusive grandfather - deceased
Austin Bryant an old boyfriend - McKenzie broke up with him because he's a jerk.
Joshua Davis so far a nobody, but is a neighbor to Donny Carlton

Author Notes Thank you google images for image of a slamming door. I had edited this post many times but when I reread it before church, I found many issues with it. I really appreciate your help. This post is a little under 900 words. Logan and McKenzie continue their search for Megan's murder as they get closer to becoming a couple.
Thank you for your wonderful support.


Chapter 42
St. Louis Chapter 18 part 1

By barbara.wilkey

It's Wednesday morning. McKenzie and Logan have known each other 8 days. LOL


Ending of Previous Post:

"Do you want to know my entire dating history?" He paused. When she didn't answer, he continued, "I'll gladly share it with you."

"It's not necessary. Besides it's none of my business."

"True, it's not, but I don't have anything to hide. If it'll help you become more comfortable with me, I'll tell you."

Her eyes avoided his, as she said, "I've dated some men, but have never been seriously involved. I've never been with a man. I mean really been with a man."

He held her hand. "That's nothing to be ashamed of." He kissed her forehead. All of this makes more sense now.

"I wasn't crying upstairs and I'm not going to cry now."

Logan grinned. "I know you're not." When he felt she was more composed, he said, "Mac, I'm safe. I'll never hurt you, in any way."

Her eyes met his. "I know that. I really do know it."


TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 18 PART 1

The following morning, McKenzie came down the stairs and watched Logan throw some clothes in the dryer. He had just returned from a run with Edger and Arlo. He glanced at her. "I hope you don't mind me doing laundry. I threw some in the washer before our run. You're going to the gym today, right?"

"Yes. I don't like running on a treadmill. They're boring, but I guess I don't have a choice."

"You're right. Treadmills are boring. Give me a few minutes and I'll be ready to leave." Logan went over to the refrigerator and grabbed a couple of water bottles. "How many do you want?"

"Maybe two. I want to do JKD. I missed it on Monday. If nobody's there, will you spar with me?"

He handed her the water bottles. "Sure, before or after the run?"

"I'm not sure which would be the best. I also want to do weights. I'm feeling flabby."

Logan grinned. "I guess it's whatever order you want. My only advice would be to take a break between each one."

Glancing at her watch, McKenzie said, "If we leave now we can get on a treadmill, run for about thirty minutes, rest for maybe ten, and then spar for thirty minutes, then rest, lift weights, and end with another run."

"You sure?"

She moved her shoulders back and forth. "I'm feeling tight. I need a good workout. You afraid you won't be able to keep up?" she teased.

Logan opened the door and waited for her to go through. "I'm sure I can keep up. I'm guessing you need to work out your stress. Life has been pretty hectic the past few days."

McKenzie waited by the car. "Maybe you're right." She scanned the area. "I wonder when I'll have my life back to normal. Before long my neighbors will complain about all the extra people around."

Logan unlocked and held the door. "Probably as soon as we figure out who's threatening you. I'm beginning to think the two are related somehow, but I have no idea how."

"That makes two of us."

*****

At the gym, Logan and McKenzie found two free treadmills beside each other. Both began a slow warm up and then began running.

About thirty minutes later, McKenzie noticed Vince standing by the mats. "As soon as I slow down, I'm going to the mats and speak with Vince."

Logan nodded. "I'll be right there. I'm getting water first. Want one?"

McKenzie nodded. She continued decreasing the speed until she was at a walk. Finally, she stopped. After a sigh, she said, "See you in a few minutes."

"I'll be right there."

Smiling, McKenzie headed for the mats. I know he will. She glanced back. That's one of his more charming qualities. I can always count on him being predictable.

Before she got to the JKD area, a man walked up to her. "McKenzie, I haven't seen you for a few months." He gave her a quick hug.

She returned the hug. "Mark, hello. Are you back in town?"

"Definitely, and I'm glad. The trooper I covered for has healed and is back on the job. So I get to return to my area."

"I'm happy to hear it."

Logan walked up and handed McKenzie a water. "Hello."

She smiled. "Mark Young, I'd like you to meet Logan Nelson." She held up the water, "Thank you," and took a drink.

After the men shook hands, Mark asked, "Logan, how long have you known McKenzie?"

Logan's eyes widened. "Not long. Mac and I met about a week ago over a job she's working on. I'm helping her with it. How long have you known each other?"

"About six months. We meet here. It seems we both like to work out. What do you do?"

"I'm in the Army. And you?"

"I'm a state trooper." He offered his hand. "Thank you for your service."

Accepting his hand, Logan said, "You're welcome. I need to return the thank you." He glanced toward McKenzie. "Ready?"

"Yes." She touched Mark's arm. "Glad to see you again."

"I'm sure we'll be seeing more of each other. Is your number still the same?"

"It is. Bye." She turned and walked up to Vince. "We're ready." She took her place on the mat.

Logan faced her.

They each bowed and then studied each other.

McKenzie started with a kick that connected, then followed with two jabs. They both hit their mark. She backed away and held up her hand. "Wait a minute."

Vince walked over. "What's wrong? You're doing fine."

"It's too easy. Something's wrong." She glanced at Logan standing on the mat and moved closer. Whispering she said, "What's wrong?"

"Nothing. Let's keep going."

"I know you well enough to know when something's going on." She paused a moment. "Is it Mark?"

"Why would that guy be bothering me?"

"I don't know, but everything was fine until I introduced you two."

"Are you dating or have you dated?"

McKenzie took his hand and led him to a quiet area. "We have never dated or shacked up," she teased. When Logan glared at her, she said, "Sorry. Mark and I met here at the gym. He asked me out a few times, but I was always too busy. Then another trooper got injured on the job and he was transferred to the Kansas City until now. I guess he just returned."

Logan started walking. "Okay, let's continue our workout."

She placed her hand on his arm. "You're not getting by that easy, buddy. You're always questioning me, now it's my turn. Start talking." She slightly moved her hand up and down his arm. I think he's jealous, but why?

"Just wanted to make sure you're safe." When her eyes widened, he said, "Okay, you've kind of grown on me. I've come to like you a little bit."

"Guess what? I kinda like you a little bit too." She took his hand. "Now, I'm going to whip your butt."

They both headed toward the mat.






Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou local name for St. Louis
Simon Knight and Sheila Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician. Sheila's his wife.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league
baseball team.
Yadi Fan name for Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez his wife is Lucy Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.
Kate Hartford Megan Nelson's friend they taught middle school
together.
Donny Carlton A man Megan Nelson dated.
Mitch Gardner St. Louis Police Department detective who has
partnered with McKenzie's dad.
Ivan Smart A bad guy
Peter and Nancy Nelson Logan's parents
Sidney Parks works for the St. Louis Police Detective with the drug unit.
Mack and Helen Morgan McKenzie's parents - both deceased
Gus Piper McKenzie's abusive grandfather - deceased
Austin Bryant an old boyfriend - McKenzie broke up with him because he's a jerk.
Joshua Davis so far a nobody, but is a neighbor to Donny Carlton
Mark Young an acquaintance of McKenzie, a state trooper, and will become important much later in the novel

Author Notes Thank you google images for photo of a gym. I really appreciate your help. This post is a little over 1000 words. Logan and McKenzie continue their search for Megan's murder as they get closer to becoming a couple.
Thank you for your generous support.


Chapter 43
St. Louis Chapter 18 part 2

By barbara.wilkey

It's Wednesday late morning. McKenzie and Logan have known each other 8 days. LOL


Ending of Previous Post:

"I know you well enough to know when something's going on." She paused a moment. "Is it Mark?"

"Why would that guy be bothering me?"

"I don't know, but everything was fine until I introduced you two."

"Are you dating or have you dated?"

McKenzie took his hand and led him to a quiet area. "We have never dated or shacked up," she teased. When Logan glared at her, she said, "Sorry. Mark and I met here at the gym. He asked me out a few times, but I was always too busy. Then another trooper got injured on the job and he was transferred to the Kansas City until now. I guess he just returned."

Logan started walking. "Okay, let's continue our workout."

She placed her hand on his arm. "You're not getting by that easy, buddy. You're always questioning me, now it's my turn. Start talking." She slightly moved her hand up and down his arm. I think he's jealous, but why?

"Just wanted to make sure you're safe." When her eyes widened, he said, "Okay, you've kind of grown on me. I've come to like you a little bit."

"Guess what? I kinda like you a little bit too." She took his hand. "Now, I'm going to whip your butt."

They both headed toward the mat.

TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 18 PART 2

When they arrived home from the gym and after each had showered, McKenzie called Jose to see if and when he'd be leaving the hospital. When he said he'd be home by early afternoon. She covered the phone and turned toward Logan. "Jose will be released in a little while." She chewed on her lower lip.

"Just ask. What do you want?" Logan waited for her to continue. When she didn't, he said, "Yes, we can drop by his house."

"Can we bring dinner too?"

Logan chuckled. "Yes, we'll bring dinner. Are you cooking?"

"I can. Think they'd like mac and cheese with hotdogs?" She removed her hand from the phone. "Sorry. Logan and I'll bring dinner by around sixish?" She glanced at Logan for confirmation. When he nodded, she continued, "See you then."

She walked over to the cupboard. "I'd better make sure I have at least three boxes of mac and cheese."

"You're a trip. You know I'll fix something. So stop acting like I won't." He turned when he heard knocking at the door. "Are you expecting anybody?" As he moved his hand closer to his weapon, he motioned her to stand back. After Logan opened the door, he smiled. "Hi, Mitch, come in. I hope you have news."

Mitch held up a manila envelope. "I have Megan's phone records for the past three months. It seems she called Sidney Parks four different times on the day she was murdered. They talked about fifteen -- twenty minutes each time." He paused. "I don't have copies of her texts. Still waiting on that."

McKenzie took the envelope from him. "Let me see this." She sat, opened it, and skimmed through the phone calls.

Mitch pointed to the paper. "I highlighted two numbers. One is his private cell and one is his work number."

She glanced at him. "Since Megan regularly called his work number, wouldn't that indicate their relationship could be work related?"

Logan looked over her shoulder. "Why can't we just ask this Parks guy what he had to do with my sister?"

Mitch put his hand on Logan's shoulder. "Because if he's the one covering up things, we just let him know he's under suspicion. That's why." His eyes met Logan's. "And if he's the one behind the threats to Mac, it would only get more dangerous for her."

McKenzie turned toward the den. "I want to make a copy of this. There's other numbers she called often. I want to check them out."

"I figured as much. That's your copy."

"Thanks for bringing it by. I'll spend this afternoon tracking down the numbers. Did you ever get a number for the phone I found at Buder Park?"

"Not yet. I need to get back to the department. Let me know if you find anything interesting or need anything." Mitch hugged McKenzie. "Please stay safe." He faced the door.

"I will."

Logan walked behind him. "Thanks for the help."

"Keep her safe."

"I'll do my best. She's not the easiest person..."

"I heard that," yelled McKenzie. "I can take care of myself."

Mitch chuckled. "I know what you mean. She's feisty."

After the men shook hands, Logan rejoined McKenzie in the den and peeked over her shoulder. He pointed to a phone number. "That's Mom's cell phone."

McKenzie picked up a pink highlighter. "Mitch marked Parks with yellow. I think the family should be in pink. Sound all right?" He nodded, and she continued, "Is your dad's number here?"

Logan again pointed. "Here and there's mine. Also there's my parents' landline."

After highlighting those numbers, McKenzie picked up her phone. "I have Kate and Eleanor's numbers on my phone. I'll mark them in green." Her eyes met Logan's. "It would help if we had Donny's. I bet Jose has Whitney's. We can get it tonight when we're there."

"What about the school's number?"

"I'll get it." McKenzie searched through the phone book and then highlighted it. She held up the list of numbers. "We've marked off almost half. I guess we call the others and see who they belong to."

"That doesn't sound right. We can't just say we're working a murder investigation and your number showed up on the victim's cell phone. How do you know this person and by the way did you kill her?"

McKenzie giggled. "You're right. That won't work. But we do have a few ways to find out who these numbers belong to. We can reverse search them, Google them, and use the National Cellular Directory. Pull up a chair." She pointed to some numbers. "Why don't you research these numbers, and I'll do these." She typed on her laptop. "I'll do the National Cellular Directory because I'm already registered. Which one of the others would you like to try?"

Logan went to get his laptop. "I guess I'll try the google search. Think I'll get very far?"

"Good question. A lot of people are on social media and they use their cell phone numbers to register."

"Do you?" Logan raised his eyebrows.

"Nope. I don't trust it."

"Good."

*****
After a few hours of work, Logan closed his laptop. "I've only found a few names. How you doing?"

Lifting her notes for Logan to see, she said, "Here. What we don't know is if there is any background information on these people. That would help."

Logan leaned over to get a closer look at the names. "I don't recognize any as Megan's friends."

As he looked up, his eyes met McKenzie and they locked in a gaze. Logan gulped. "I think I'd better fix something for lunch."

McKenzie released a deep breath. "I'll look over the list of names you came up with."

"Good idea." He went into the kitchen.




Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou local name for St. Louis
Simon Knight and Sheila Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician. Sheila's his wife.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league
baseball team.
Yadi What Cardinal fans call Tadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez his wife is Lucy Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.
Kate Hartford Megan Nelson's friend they taught middle school
together.
Donny Carlton A man Megan Nelson dated.
Mitch Gardner St. Louis Police Department detective who has
partnered with McKenzie's dad.
Ivan Smart A bad guy
Peter and Nancy Nelson Logan's parents
Sidney Parks works for the St. Louis Police Detective with the drug unit.
Mack and Helen Morgan McKenzie's parents - both deceased
Gus Piper McKenzie's abusive grandfather - deceased
Austin Bryant an old boyfriend - McKenzie broke up with him because he's a jerk.
Joshua Davis so far a nobody, but is a neighbor to Donny Carlton
Mark Young an acquaintance of McKenzie, a state trooper, and will become important much later in the novel

Author Notes Thank you google images for a Google search of a phone number. I really appreciate your help. This post is a little under 1000 words. Logan and McKenzie continue their search for Megan's murder as they get closer to becoming a couple.
Thank you for your generous support.


Chapter 44
St. Louis Chapter 19 part 1

By barbara.wilkey

It's Wednesday around lunch. McKenzie and Logan have known each other 8 days. LOL


Ending of Previous Post:

After a few hours of work, Logan closed his laptop. "I've only found a few names. How you doing?"

Lifting her notes for Logan to see. "Here. What we don't know is if there is any background information on these people. That would help."

Logan leaned over to get a closer look at the names. "I don't recognize any as Megan's friends."

As he looked up, his eyes met McKenzie, and they locked in a gaze. Logan gulped. "I think I'd better fix something for lunch."

McKenzie released a deep breath. "I'll look over the list of names you came up with."

"Good idea." He went into the kitchen.

TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 19 PART 1

McKenzie walked into the kitchen. "We'll never get background checks on all these people. We don't have probable cause. I guess we'll have to do old-fashioned surveillance."

"You're right, but with everything that's happened, I'm not sure it's safe for you to be out in the open. Did you forget the attempt on your life?" Logan paused and pointed to a chair. "Have a seat. Lunch is ready."

She plopped down. "I haven't forgotten about Monday evening. How could I? But I can't stay cooped up in the house forever. We'll never discover who murdered your sister."

Both heads turned as they heard a knock on the door. Logan stood. "You're very popular today. Stay..."

"I know stay put," interrupted McKenzie. "I can't even answer my own door." She took a bite of a pasta dish. "This is good. What is this?"

"Hello, what brings you this direction? Come in. We were just sitting down to lunch. Have you eaten?"

Simon answered, "Yes, we ate. Sheila had a doctor's appointment. On the way home she asked about Mac. I've heard rumor that things are getting nasty." He glanced back at the door. "I can tell by the heavy police presence, what I heard is correct."

McKenzie had joined them and hugged Sheila. "How'd your appointment go?"

"It went well. Things are moving right along." Sheila put her hands over her stomach. "I'm getting bigger and bigger." She smiled. "This baby's going to be huge."

"I think you look radiant." McKenzie took her arm. "Let's go in here and sit. We'll let the men discuss men things.

*****
Logan watched the women. "Thank you for stopping by. I think the stress is getting to Mac. It's nice to see her smile."

"It was all Sheila's idea. How you holding up? How's your relationship with Mac going?"

"I'm doing fine. This isn't my first rodeo. There is no relationship with Mac."

Simon laughed. "Keep telling yourself that. I just saw the way you were watching her. I know you better than you know yourself. You're in love with her. I know you've been under stress before, but never when somebody you love has been targeted. I'm asking again, how you holding up? Knowing you, my question should be how many miles are you running every day?" When Logan didn't answer, Simon continued, "Out with it."

"Okay. Today I ran twelve miles. Seven before Mac got up and then five with her at the gym."

"Doesn't surprise me. Want to talk about it? Why don't we go out back for privacy?"

Logan nodded. "Hey, we're going outside and let you ladies talk in peace."

The ladies acknowledged the men and kept talking.

After both men sat in lawn chairs, Simon asked, "What's going on?"

Logan filled him in on everything that happened since he had seen them Sunday evening.

Simon's eyes widened. "All of that in only three days? Wow! The dead rat was bad enough, but her friend getting shot. Not good."

"It isn't, especially since the bullet had her name on it." Logan hesitated. "She doesn't want to be held hostage at home either. She wants to get back to work."

"Can you blame her? She's usually very active."

"Not really, but she needs to stay safe." Logan studied the backdoor. "I can't be in love with her. Half the time she's not speaking to me."

"Maybe that's her way of dealing with her feelings for you? If she's angry with you, she can't be in love with you."

He chuckled. "That's ridiculous but that's exactly how Mac would think. I swear sometimes she conjures up things to get upset over."

Simon raised his hand for a slap. "Welcome to the world of women." He checked his watch. "I need to take Sheila home and get back to work."

"Thanks for dropping by. I think it helped."

"It was all Sheila. She had this little voice that said she needed to visit with Mac. She listened to that wee voice."

Logan opened the door. "I'm glad she did."

Simon walked over to Sheila and offered his hand to help her stand. "We need to get going, so they can finish their lunch, and I need to get back to work.

The ladies hugged good bye, and Simon and Sheila left.

McKenzie sat at the table. "I'm glad Sheila came by. We had a nice visit."

"It's good you and Sheila have become friends."

"I agree. In my line of work, one doesn't make many friends."

"I guess you're right." After a pause, Logan continued, "The Cardinals are on tonight, right?"

"They are. I think they play the Dodgers." McKenzie took a bite. "This is really good. Are you going to make it for tonight or something else?"

"I'm thinking about a ravioli lasagna casserole, lettuce salad, French bread, and a caramel apple crisp for dessert. What do you think?" He grinned. "Or we could always default to mac-an-cheese and hot dogs. You're choice."

"Sounds delicious. Can I watch or maybe help?"

"I guess, but I usually work alone." Logan glanced at the kitchen. "I'll clean up, and we'll need to go to the store. While I clean, why don't you start a grocery list?"

*****
As McKenzie sat in the car, she sighed. "I hate being followed everywhere. I doubt anybody would try something at a grocery store."

"You're probably right, but don't let it ruin your day."

"You're right."

Logan backed from the parking slot. "What did you and Sheila talk about?"

"Not much. She wanted to know how I was handling the threats." McKenzie studied the passenger window.

"What did you tell her?"

"At times, I struggle with the idea I have security around all the time."

He stopped at a red light. "Did she offer suggestions?"

"She thinks I should discuss it with you. She said you're a good listener."

"Hmm, wonder why she'd say that."

"Maybe because the time she threw Simon out of the house, you listened and told her to discuss it with Simon, and it saved their marriage."

"Well, I think they talked and realized how much they loved each other and saved their own marriage. I had nothing to do with it." Logan reached over and put his hand on hers. "But if you ever need somebody to listen, I'm available."

"I know. Sometimes, it's just a feeling, and I can't put it into words." McKenzie stared in the side mirror. "Logan, that SUV behind us. I think it's the same one at the warehouse and it went by when Jose was shot. It's license plate starts with an ST-365." She took out her phone and took a picture through the mirror. "I hope this works. I can't see the last two numbers." After she finished, she added, "I'm calling Bill."

"That plate fits the one I saw. Now we have the additional numbers."





Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou local name for St. Louis
Simon Knight and Sheila Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician. Sheila's his wife.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league
baseball team.
Yadi What Cardinal fans call Tadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez his wife is Lucy Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.
Kate Hartford Megan Nelson's friend they taught middle school
together.
Donny Carlton A man Megan Nelson dated.
Mitch Gardner St. Louis Police Department detective who has
partnered with McKenzie's dad.
Ivan Smart A bad guy
Peter and Nancy Nelson Logan's parents
Sidney Parks works for the St. Louis Police Detective with the drug unit.
Mack and Helen Morgan McKenzie's parents - both deceased
Gus Piper McKenzie's abusive grandfather - deceased
Austin Bryant an old boyfriend - McKenzie broke up with him because he's a jerk.
Joshua Davis so far a nobody, but is a neighbor to Donny Carlton
Mark Young an acquaintance of McKenzie, a state trooper, and will become important much later in the novel

Author Notes Thank you google images for a photo of a pasta salad. I really appreciate your help. This post is a little over 1100 words. Logan and McKenzie continue their search for Megan's murder as they get closer to becoming a couple.
Thank you for your generous support.


Chapter 45
St. Louis Chapter 19 part 2

By barbara.wilkey

I want to wish all my fan a very blessed Christmas filled with friends and family.

It's Wednesday late afternoon. McKenzie and Logan have known each other 8 days. LOL


Ending of Previous Post:

"She thinks I should discuss it with you. She said you're a good listener."

"Hmm, wonder why she'd say that."

"Maybe because the time she threw Simon out of the house, you listened and told her to discuss it with Simon, and it saved their marriage."

"Well, I think they talked and realized how much they loved each other and saved their own marriage. I had nothing to do with it." Logan reached over and put his hand on hers. "But if you ever need somebody to listen, I'm available."

"I know. Sometimes, it's just a feeling, and I can't put it into words." McKenzie stared in the side mirror. "Logan, that SUV behind us. I think it's the same one at the warehouse and it went by when Jose was shot. Its license plate starts with an ST-365." She took out her phone and took a picture through the mirror. "I hope this works. I can't see the last two numbers." After she finished, she added, "I'm calling Bill."

"That plate fits the one I saw. Now we have the additional numbers."


TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 19 PART 2

Once the groceries were inside the house, McKenzie plopped on the couch, hung her head, and held it in her hands. "I really can't go anywhere, can I? Bill hasn't got back to me. I hope he figures out who owns that SUV."

Logan moved Arlo aside and sat beside her. "So do I. They seem to know every time you leave the house."

She avoided eye contact. "What do they want from me? I have no idea what this is about." Tears welled and threatened to roll down her cheeks. She wiped them with the back of her hand. "I'm not going to do this." She stood and paced. "If I could figure out who they are and what they want, I could stop it." Her eyes met Logan's. "I honestly have no idea who wants to harm me."

Logan stepped closerand took her hands in his. "I'm guessing it has something to do with Megan's murder. It seems to be when it all started."

"I know, but why? What do they have in common? Who or what am I getting too close to? We have nothing."

"All we have is a bunch of questions with no answers."

Still holding onto one of Logan's hands and led him into the den. They faced the bulletin board she'd made containing the information they had and pointed to the outstanding questions. "One of these must be important, but which one?"

Reaching out and pointing to Sidney Park's name, Logan said, "My money rests on him. He would have access to the same information we have. Whoever is threatening you seems to be one step ahead of us."

"You're probably right, but how can we prove it? Since he's a police officer, we'd need to catch him in the act. Why would he have Megan killed? I'm sure he didn't do it himself." McKenzie took out her cell phone. "I'm calling Mitch. I have an idea."

After it rang a few times, she asked, "Mitch, is Sidney Parks married?" She listened, and then continued, "Does he have any children?" Again, she listened. "Just looking for motive." She laughed. "Yes, I have an idea. We found a pregnancy kit in Megan's apartment. Still don't know if she's pregnant. You haven't heard when they're releasing the autopsy report have you?" She listened again. "So they're promising it to us the beginning of next week. I still would like to know why it's taking so long. Anyway, if she thought she could be pregnant and Parks was the possible father and she told him, it could be motive. It would mess with his marriage, wouldn't it?"

She hung up and faced Logan. "I'm sure you heard. Parks has two young children and a third on the way. If he was having an affair with Megan, and she told him about the possible baby, that would be motive." She wrote it down and added it to the board.

"I can't believe my sister would be involved with a married man."

"He may not have told her that he was married."

Logan tilted his head. "That's possible and makes a little sense." He glanced at his watch. "I'd better get busy on dinner."

"Remember, I'm helping."

He studied her for a few minutes and chuckled. "You can make the salad."

*****
As they put dinner in a box, a knocked sounded at the door. Arlo beat Logan to it.

He bent over and petted the barking dog. "Hey, it's okay." He opened the door. "Hello. Mark, right?"

"Yes." He attempted to look around Logan. "Is Mac here?"

"I'll get her." Logan turned. "It's your friend from the gym, Mark."

McKenzie walked over to the door. "Hello, come in."

He did and saw the box of food. "Am I interrupting something?"

She pointed to the box. "One of my friends just got out of the hospital, and we're taking him and his wife dinner."

Mark glanced at Logan. "Sorry, I didn't know you were a couple."

At the same time, Logan and McKenzie said, "We're not."

Pink tinged McKenzie's cheeks. "We just spend a lot of time together. We're working on a case."

"I see. I came by to see if you'd like to go to dinner tomorrow night?"

Logan cleared his throat.

McKenzie glanced at him. "I really can't. I'm sure you saw all the security outside. I'm basically being held hostage in my house."

"You're going out tonight."

"You're correct, but my entourage of security will follow."

Mark chuckled. "It seems like it's impossible to get a date with you." He eyed Logan. "Have you had a date with her?"

Logan grinned. "I have not."

Her eyebrows crunched together. "Logan and I are friends. That's all. He'll be returning to Fort Bragg in a few weeks."

Turning toward the door, Mark said, "I guess I'll try another time." He eyed McKenzie. "Any idea when you'll be free?"

"As soon as I solve this case, but it isn't moving very fast. I keep hitting roadblocks. I'm sure you'll be able to read about it in the newspaper when it's solved. It's pretty big."

"Okay. I'll see you then." Mark left.

McKenzie faced Logan. "Why do people assume we're a couple?"

"No clue. Ready to leave?"


Please enjoy Alan Jackson singing "Let It Be Christmas."





Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou local name for St. Louis
Simon Knight and Sheila Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician. Sheila's his wife.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league
baseball team.
Yadi What Cardinal fans call Tadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez his wife is Lucy Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.
Kate Hartford Megan Nelson's friend they taught middle school
together.
Donny Carlton A man Megan Nelson dated.
Mitch Gardner St. Louis Police Department detective who has
partnered with McKenzie's dad.
Ivan Smart A bad guy
Peter and Nancy Nelson Logan's parents
Sidney Parks works for the St. Louis Police Detective with the drug unit.
Mack and Helen Morgan McKenzie's parents - both deceased
Gus Piper McKenzie's abusive grandfather - deceased
Austin Bryant an old boyfriend - McKenzie broke up with him because he's a jerk.
Joshua Davis so far a nobody, but is a neighbor to Donny Carlton
Mark Young an acquaintance of McKenzie, a state trooper, and will become important much later in the novel

Author Notes Thank you google image of a confusing bulletin board. I really appreciate your help. This post is a little under 900 words. Logan and McKenzie continue their search for Megan's murder as they get closer to becoming a couple.
Thank you for your generous support.


Chapter 46
St. Louis Chapter 20 part 1

By barbara.wilkey

I want to wish all my fans a very blessed New Year. My prayer is that 2020 only brings you happiness.

It's Wednesday evening. McKenzie and Logan have known each other 8 days. LOL


Ending of Previous Post:

Mark chuckled. "It seems like it's impossible to get a date with you." He eyed Logan. "Have you had a date with her?"

Logan grinned. "I have not."

Her eyebrows crunched together. "Logan and I are friends. That's all. He'll be returning to Fort Bragg in a few weeks."

Turning toward the door, Mark said, "I guess I'll try another time." He eyed McKenzie. "Any idea when you'll be free?"

"As soon as I solve this case, but it isn't moving very fast. I keep hitting roadblocks. I'm sure you'll be able to read about it in the newspaper when it's solved. It's pretty big."

"Okay. I'll see you then." Mark left.

McKenzie faced Logan. "Why do people assume we're a couple?"

"No clue. Ready to leave?"

TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 20 PART 1

Logan parked in Jose's driveway as McKenzie scanned the police detail parking around the area. "I'm getting tired of being followed."

Opening the car door for her, Logan grinned. "I'm sure they're getting tired of following you. It's pretty boring."

"I guess you're right." She held out her hands. "Let me help." Logan handed her the salad and the French bread. "I can carry more."

He lifted the box. "I got this."

"You just want to show off your bulging muscles. I've got you figured out."

"Really?"

"You feel Mark's competition."

Logan shook his head. "What are you talking about?" He studied her for a moment. "Why would I think that?"

Jose opened the door and laughed. "I heard you two arguing all the way inside. I don't need a doorbell." He glanced at his wife. "They go at it like this all day."

Lucy hugged McKenzie and took the bread and salad from her. "I know. I witnessed it at the hospital. Just like an old married couple. What are you arguing about this time?"

"Logan wouldn't let me carry the box because he was trying to impress me with his bulging muscles."

Jose grinned. "So you noticed he has bulging muscles?"

McKenzie's cheeks tinged pink. "I never said that."

Grinning and shaking his head, Logan asked, "Where do you want me to put this?" After setting the box down, he added, "Dinner should still be hot. Do you want to eat now or warm it up later? Either way, we can continue to tease Mac."

Poking his arm, McKenzie said, "You don't need to continue teasing me."

Lucy took some plates from the cupboard. "Let's eat now."

Logan began setting dinner on the table. He smiled as he watched McKenzie's cheeks continue turning various shades of pink to crimson. When he finished, he walked over and put his arm around her waist. "It's okay."

Jose walked over to Lucy and put his uninjured arm around her and said, "See, I told you they were a couple. There's evidence."

"We are NOT a couple." McKenzie sighed. "I don't know why people keep insisting we are." She faced Logan, put her arms around him, and kissed him. The kiss lingered as Logan returned it. "Now are you happy? We're a couple."

Kissing her cheek, Logan grinned. "I'm happy." He glanced at Jose and Lucy as he winked. "How about you two?"

Lucy pointed to the chairs. "Let's sit."

McKenzie stared at her feet. "Logan, I'm...
"
When she hesitated, Logan took her hand. "It's okay. Let's eat." He led her to the table.

"Sorry."

Jose sat. "I've finally lived long enough to witness Mac's spunk get the best of her. Thank you, Logan."

Holding up his hands, Logan said, "I did nothing except receive a kiss. A very nice kiss, I might add."

"Pass the salad, please," interrupted McKenzie. As she accepted the salad from Lucy, she replied, "Thank you."

After McKenzie passed Logan the salad, he asked, "Jose, how's the shoulder, and when can you go back to work?"

"I'm okay. I'll go back tomorrow, but I'm restricted to desk duty for close to a month." He paused. "Anyway, I can help you guys? While I'm there, I can be a spy at headquarters."

McKenzie's eyes widened. "I almost forgot. I could use George Whitney's phone number. We want to make it off Megan's phone records." After Jose, searched his phone and gave her the number, she continued, "Thanks. I'm pretty sure Sidney Parks is behind a lot of this, but I can't come close to proving it. His name shows up more than any other."

She chewed on her lower lip. "But you'd need to be really careful. If he's guilty, he's also the one behind Monday evening's shooting. I'm sure he has people working for him. We don't know who we can trust at the police department." She spooned some casserole on her plate.

Logan set his fork down. "Mac's right. If we're right, he's dangerous."

As they continued eating and talking, the doorbell rang. Jose stood. "I wonder who that could be. Excuse me." He left.

"Hello, Detective Parks. Welcome. We just sat down to eat. A few friends brought dinner over. Would you like to join us?"

McKenzie started coughing.

Logan touched her arm. "You all right?"

She whispered, "Yes, what's he doing here?"

"Good question."

Sidney answered Jose's question, "Thank you, but I'm on my way home. My wife has already reminded me twice that dinner's ready. She and the kids are waiting. I heard you're returning tomorrow. I just wanted to see how you're doing. Wanted to make sure you weren't trying to come back too soon."

"Thanks for checking. I'm restricted to paperwork for at least a month."

"Is there anything I can do for you or your beautiful wife?"

"No. We're both fine. Again, thank you for asking."

Parks stepped into the dining room and waved. "Hello. Nice to see you again."

The three people at the table smiled and greeted him.

Lucy stood. "Are you sure you wouldn't like to join us? There's plenty of food."

"No, thank you. I really do need to get home. My family's waiting." He turned and walked toward the door. "Enjoy your meal. It looks good. Major Nelson, you must be a great cook."

After he left, Logan got up and stood at the side of the window. Once he was sure Parks left the area, he came back to the table. "He's gone."

McKenzie took out her phone. "Bill, Sidney Parks just left Jose's house. He didn't actually threaten him, but he did overtly. Can you make sure Lucy's safe? It wouldn't hurt to make sure Jose has somebody too." She listened. "Of course, Logan and I will be careful going home. We won't be late." Again, she listened. "I'll call when we get home." She blushed. "Yes, Logan's still spending the night." After she hung up, she glared at Jose. "On the couch."

Jose laughed. "I didn't say a word."

"You didn't have to. Your eyes said plenty."

"Mac, do you really think it's necessary I have security?" asked Lucy.

"I do. I don't think it was a coincidence that he showed up here, discussed his wife and kids, and mentioned how beautiful you were." McKenzie paused, "You are beautiful, but he made a point of saying it." She turned toward Logan. "We have a leak. Remember, earlier this afternoon, I called Mitch and asked about Parks' family."

"Are you sure Mitch can be trusted?" Logan took a sip of water. "Positive?"

"I trust him with my life. Dad and he worked together for years." She thought for a minute. "How did he know you cooked this? How did he or they know we were going to be at the Tin Roof? I had assumed we were followed. That hit would've had to been planned in advance."

Jose pointed his fork. "I hadn't thought about it, but you're right."

"Nobody knew we were going except the three of us, Bill, and Mitch." McKenzie took out her phone and called Bill again. "Can you get a hold of a bud detector? I think my home's been bugged." She proceeded to explain why she thought that. After she listened for a while she added, "The house is vacant when we take the dogs for a run." Again, she listened. "Logan got a backpack for Arlo, so he goes too." Silence. "Thank you, Bill. I'll let you know when we leave."

Logan's eyebrows rose. "Well?"

"He'll bring one by when we get home. Having my house bugged would explain how Parks is always one step ahead of us."

McKenzie took a slow drink of water. "Joshua Davis." She titled her head and paused. "We never really questioned him about anything that happened on the Sunday Donnie disappeared. Did he have any visitors? If so, who? How long were they there? Did they leave together? We need to do a background check on him." She took out her phone and called Mitch. After she discussed what she wanted, she continued, "Logan and I will talk with him tomorrow."



Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou local name for St. Louis
Simon Knight and Sheila Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician. Sheila's his wife.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league
baseball team.
Yadi What Cardinal fans call Tadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez his wife is Lucy Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.
Kate Hartford Megan Nelson's friend they taught middle school
together.
Donny Carlton A man Megan Nelson dated.
Mitch Gardner St. Louis Police Department detective who has
partnered with McKenzie's dad.
Ivan Smart A bad guy
Peter and Nancy Nelson Logan's parents
Sidney Parks works for the St. Louis Police Detective with the drug unit.
Mack and Helen Morgan McKenzie's parents - both deceased
Gus Piper McKenzie's abusive grandfather - deceased
Austin Bryant an old boyfriend - McKenzie broke up with him because he's a jerk.
Joshua Davis so far a nobody, but is a neighbor to Donny Carlton
Mark Young an acquaintance of McKenzie, a state trooper, and will become important much later in the novel

Author Notes Thank you google photo of a kissing couple. I really appreciate your help. This post is a little under 1400 words. I hope you don't mind the length. Logan and McKenzie continue their search for Megan's murder as they get closer to becoming a couple.
Thank you for your generous support.


Chapter 47
St. Louis Chapter 20 part 2

By barbara.wilkey

It's Wednesday evening. McKenzie and Logan have known each other 8 days. LOL


Ending of Previous Post:

"Nobody knew we were going except the three of us, Bill, and Mitch." McKenzie took out her phone and called Bill again. "Can you get a hold of a bug detector? I think my home's been bugged." She proceeded to explain why she thought that. After she listened for a while she added, "The house is vacant when we take the dogs for a run." Again, she listened. "Logan got a backpack for Arlo, so he goes too." Silence. "Thank you, Bill. I'll let you know when we leave."

Logan's eyebrows rose. "Well?"

"He'll bring one by when we get home. Having my house bugged would explain how Parks is always one step ahead of us."

McKenzie took a slow drink of water. "Joshua Davis." She tilted her head and paused. "We never really questioned him about anything that happened on the Sunday Donnie disappeared. Did he have any visitors? If so, who? How long were they there? Did they leave together? We need to do a background check on him." She took out her phone and called Mitch. After she discussed what she wanted, she continued, "Logan and I will talk with him tomorrow."

TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 20 PART 2

*****
The couple walked up the sidewalk as McKenzie said, "I had fun tonight. We need to do this more often."

Logan touched his lips. "I agree. I could..."

"Don't even go there," interrupted McKenzie. "I never should have kissed you. I'm sorry."

He winked. "I'm not complaining."

At the door, McKenzie inserted the key.

Logan reached across and opened it, but paused, faced her, and kissed her. "Now we're even."

When she gulped, he grinned, and then she touched her lips. "You planned that, didn't you?"

"Not really, it just happened."

Bill walked up behind them. "Are you two going inside or necking on the front porch all night?"

With her hands on her hips, McKenzie said, "We are NOT necking."

"Could've fooled me," teased Bill.

"Logan, explain to him what happened."

"I enjoyed it, myself."

"Thanks for nothing." McKenzie put her finger to her lips and whispered, "Did you bring it? Did Parks go straight home?"

Bill raised the Wireless Signal Detector Wand. He pointed to the vibrate button and whispered, "Use this." He held his breath for a moment. "No, he didn't. He met some buddies at a bar."

"So much for going home to a nice family dinner." McKenzie stepped inside. "Let's do this."

First they walked into the makeshift den, and it started vibrating. McKenzie moved the device until it indicated exactly where the bug was located. Logan searched the area until he found it and removed it. They did the same in the living room and kitchen. They found a device hidden in each room. Finally, they went upstairs to the bedroom and the bathroom. A device was found in the bedroom.

Logan took the four devices and went outside. Bill and McKenzie re-scanned the house to make sure every one was found. Two more were found.

McKenzie took them outside and handed them to Logan. Again, they repeated the scan. No more devices were found.

Still in the house, Bill handed McKenzie the wand. "Keep this in a safe place until this is over. They may try it again. I'm taking the bugs with me and locking them in my safe. They'll be great evidence. We'll check for fingerprints and see where and who bought them." He hugged McKenzie. "Stay safe."

"I will. You be safe going home. Parks is out to get all of us."

"I know." Bill walked outside and took the six devices from Logan. Logan watched until Bill drove away.

When Logan walked back inside, he saw McKenzie sitting on the couch. She looked up at him. "Logan, what's wrong?"

"I have a bad feeling. Something isn't right."

"Like what?"

"I don't know." He moved Arlo aside and sat beside her. "How you doing?"

"Lousy. Every discussion we've had has been over heard. I've shared some private thoughts with you. Now, everybody knows them. They're public knowledge."

Logan took her hand and caressed it. "I doubt they've gone public, but you're right they weren't kept private. I doubt Parks found them very interesting."

"You're probably right, but I feel violated. McKenzie stood. "I'm tired. I'm going to bed. Maybe things will look better tomorrow. See you then."

"Good night." He paused. "I was going to take the dogs for a run at first light, but I'm worried about going. You'll be left alone, sleeping."

"I'll be fine. There's an entire police force outside." She walked toward the stairs.

"Wait." Logan paused until she turned. "When I leave, I'll have a couple of guys come in. I didn't want you to be scared if you came downstairs and saw two strange men in your house." He grinned. "It might not be safe for them."

"You're right. It wouldn't. Good night."

*****
McKenzie went through her nighttime routine and put on the over-sized T-shirt she slept in. As she lay in bed, she heard walking downstairs. Logan must be having problems settling down. I wonder what's bothering him. She rolled over. He's probably still hurting over his sister's death. I know I would. Then add all the additional problems we're having. No wonder he can't sleep.

A few hours later, McKenzie woke up and listened. She still heard footstep coming from downstairs. Logan, hasn't fallen asleep, yet. That's strange. I'd better check.

She walked partway downstairs. "Logan, are you all right? What's wrong?"

He glanced at her. "Why aren't you asleep?"

"You're pacing."

"I know but I'm not making that much noise."

She continued down the stairs. "I'm worried about you." She put her hand on his arm. "What's bothering you?"

"I can't shake the feeling that something bad has or will happen." He studied her hand touching him. "There's no sense in us both going without sleep. Go on to bed." He gave her a quick hug. "Good night. When you don't get sleep, you're grumpy in the morning," he teased. He watched her walk toward the stairs and sighed.

Before McKenzie got to the top of the stairs, somebody knocked on the door. She turned. "Logan, this can't be good."

"I'll get it. Go back upstairs."

He drew his weapon. "Mitch? What are you doing here?" He paused. "What's happened?" He put his gun away.

Mitch walked inside. "Nobody's hurt, but Bill's car exploded."

"NO!" screamed McKenzie as the tears streamed down her cheeks and she ran down the stairs.

Mitch waited for her to join them. "Joanie needed him to stop at a drug store on the way home. While inside, the car blew up. If he wouldn't have stopped, ..."

Logan took her in his arms.




Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou local name for St. Louis
Simon Knight and Sheila Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician. Sheila's his wife.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league
baseball team.
Yadi What Cardinal fans call Tadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez his wife is Lucy Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.
Kate Hartford Megan Nelson's friend they taught middle school
together.
Donny Carlton A man Megan Nelson dated.
Mitch Gardner St. Louis Police Department detective who has
partnered with McKenzie's dad.
Ivan Smart A bad guy
Peter and Nancy Nelson Logan's parents
Sidney Parks works for the St. Louis Police Detective with the drug unit.
Mack and Helen Morgan McKenzie's parents - both deceased
Gus Piper McKenzie's abusive grandfather - deceased
Austin Bryant an old boyfriend - McKenzie broke up with him because he's a jerk.
Joshua Davis so far a nobody, but is a neighbor to Donny Carlton
Mark Young an acquaintance of McKenzie, a state trooper, and will become important much later in the novel

Author Notes Thank you google imagines of a photo to show how small a listening device can be. I really appreciate your help. This post is a little under 1000 words. I hope you don't mind the length. Logan and McKenzie continue their search for Megan's murder as they get closer to becoming a couple.
Thank you for your generous support.


Chapter 48
St. Louis Chapter 20 part 3

By barbara.wilkey

It's very early Thursday morning, probably around 1:00 A.M. McKenzie and Logan have known each other 9 days. LOL


Ending of Previous Post:

She walked partway downstairs. "Logan, are you all right? What's wrong?"

He glanced at her. "Why aren't you asleep?"

"You're pacing."

"I know but I'm not making that much noise."

She continued down the stairs. "I'm worried about you." She put her hand on his arm. "What's bothering you?"

"I can't shake the feeling that something bad has or will happen." He studied her hand touching him. "There's no sense in us both going without sleep. Go on to bed." He gave her a quick hug. "Good night. When you don't get sleep, you're grumpy in the morning," he teased. He watched her walk toward the stairs and sighed.

Before McKenzie got to the top of the stairs, somebody knocked on the door. She turned. "Logan, this can't be good."

"I'll get it. Go back upstairs."

He drew his weapon. "Mitch? What are you doing here?" He paused. "What's happened?" He put his gun away.

Mitch walked inside. "Nobody's hurt, but Bill's car exploded."

"NO!" screamed McKenzie as the tears streamed down her cheeks and she ran down the stairs.

Mitch waited for her to join them. "Joanie needed him to stop at a drug store on the way home. While inside, the car blew up. If he wouldn't have stopped, ..."

Logan took her in his arms.

TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 20 PART 3

"Was something wrong with the car, or-" Logan hesitated, "was there a bomb?"

"The fire marshal's initial opinion is a bomb. He said we'd get the preliminary report in the morning. The final, in a few days, maybe a week."

McKenzie headed toward the door. "I need to see Bill."

Logan grabbed her arm. "Wait. There are at least two problems with that. The obvious, you aren't dressed. The second, whoever did this is expecting you to show up. He'd know how close you and Bill are."

"Logan's right. Whoever did this is waiting for you." Mitch put his hand over his heart. "It causes this old man's heart to be faster." He grinned. "As cute as you are in that nightshirt, it would cause the men working crime scene to concentrate on you and not on the task at hand. Besides Bill's shook up, but he's fine. Call him."

McKenzie searched her body for her phone. "It's upstairs." She turned.

Logan offered his phone, punched in his security code, and Bill's number. "Here."

Taking the phone, she asked, "Bill, are you all right?" She listened a few moments. "Yes, I promise we'll stay safe and won't go anywhere until you get here tomorrow. We'll talk then." She hung up and handed Logan the phone. "Thank you."

"Well?"

"He says he's fine. We've lost the bug evidence."

"Figures."

Mitch's eyes widened. "What bugs?"

"We couldn't figure out how these guys, or more precisely Parks, was always one step ahead of us. Tonight, we found six bugs planted." She turned with her arms spread out. "Six bugs planted in my home. Can you believe it?"

He took her in his arms. "Mac, I'm sorry. I wish your dad was still with us."

"So do I. He'd know exactly what to do."

"You seem pretty sure it's Parks. Do you have any evidence?"

McKenzie stepped back. "Only circumstantial. Follow me." She led Mitch to the den and showed him the bulletin board.

Logan proceeded to explain the notes while McKenzie wrote down what happened tonight at Jose's, Donny's neighbor, the bugs, and Bill's car blowing up. She added them.

Mitch stood back and read. "Wow! He is the one common denominator. Everything points to him. Why would he have Megan murdered?"

McKenzie pointed to the right. "Here are our theories. The most likely, so far, is the possible pregnancy. Tonight, he made a point of telling us about the happy family he needed to get home to, but he didn't go straight home. This was after I called you and asked about if he was married."

"I see." Mitch answered his ringing phone. After he hung up, he said, "I need to leave." He kissed McKenzie's cheek. "Please don't take any chances."

She glanced at Logan. "I won't. Besides he won't let me."

Mitch grinned. "For that I'm grateful." He shook Logan's hand. "I'm glad you're here." He walked to the door and glanced at his watch. "I'll drop by later today."

Logan shut, locked the door, and studied McKenzie sitting on the couch. "Want to talk?" He sat beside her.

"Not really." Her eyes met his. "I want this to be over."

He put his arm around her. "So do I?"

The silence continued as she cuddled into his chest and fell into a restless sleep.

Logan reached over, grabbed an afghan, and covered McKenzie. If we're going to continue these late night rendezvous, she needs to wear more night clothes. How do I approach that with her?



Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou local name for St. Louis
Simon Knight and Sheila Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician. Sheila's his wife.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league
baseball team.
Yadi What Cardinal fans call Tadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez his wife is Lucy Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.
Kate Hartford Megan Nelson's friend they taught middle school
together.
Donny Carlton A man Megan Nelson dated.
Mitch Gardner St. Louis Police Department detective who has
partnered with McKenzie's dad.
Ivan Smart A bad guy
Peter and Nancy Nelson Logan's parents
Sidney Parks works for the St. Louis Police Detective with the drug unit.
Mack and Helen Morgan McKenzie's parents - both deceased
Gus Piper McKenzie's abusive grandfather - deceased
Austin Bryant an old boyfriend - McKenzie broke up with him because he's a jerk.
Joshua Davis so far a nobody, but is a neighbor to Donny Carlton
Mark Young an acquaintance of McKenzie, a state trooper, and will become important much later in the novel

Author Notes Thank you google imagines of a photo of an over-sized T-shirt Mac might sleep in. I really appreciate your help. This post is a little under 600. Logan and McKenzie continue their search for Megan's murder as they get closer to becoming a couple.
Thank you for your generous support.


Chapter 49
St. Louis Chapter 21 part 1

By barbara.wilkey

It's very early Thursday morning, probably around 1:00 A.M. McKenzie and Logan have known each other 9 days. LOL


Ending of Previous Post:

Logan shut, locked the door, and studied McKenzie sitting on the couch. "Want to talk?" He sat beside her.

"Not really." Her eyes met his. "I want this to be over."

He put his arm around her. "So do I?"

The silence continued as she cuddled into his chest and fell into a restless sleep.

Logan reached over, grabbed an afghan, and covered McKenzie. If we're going to continue these late night rendezvous, she needs to wear more night clothes. How do I approach that with her?

TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 21 PART 1

A few hours later, McKenzie awoke. "Logan?"

He patted her arm. "I'm here."

She sighed. "Good."

"How are you doing this morning?"

"Horrible. Did you really expect any different?"

"No." He hesitated. "Feel like coffee or going back to sleep? I doubt we need to be up early today. We won't get any information until later."

"Coffee." She stood and stretched. "And you're probably right."

Logan gulped as he noticed her T-shirt rise higher on her thighs. I need to address this, but how?

McKenzie tilted her head. "Is something wrong?"

He gulped. "Nothing other than life is getting very dangerous around here." In more ways than the obvious. He went toward the kitchen. "I'll start coffee."

"I'm going upstairs. Don't worry if I'm not back immediately. I might be awhile."

"Why would I worry?"

"It's what you do."

Logan shook his head while he watched her walk up the staircase. And you, young lady, give me plenty of reasons to worry.

*****
Logan drank coffee and studied the bulletin board in the den while McKenzie was upstairs. He paused when he heard, "Were you worrying?"

"Nope, you gave me fair warning that you might be awhile."

McKenzie pointed to his cup. "How many have you already had?"

He held it up. "This is my third. I'll make a fresh pot. Ready for breakfast?"

"Maybe, but I'm really not in the mood for a traditional breakfast." McKenzie glanced at her watch. "Do you do brunch?"

"I can. Any suggestions?" He opened, scanned the cupboards, and then did the same for the refrigerator. After pausing to think, he asked, "How hungry are you? What I'm thinking may take a while." When she crinkled up her nose, he quickly cut up some fruit and cheese. "Nibble on this, and your brunch will be ready in about an hour."

She took a bite of apple. "I don't want you to go to a lot of trouble."

He took out a mixing bowl. "I have nothing better to do. We're stuck here until we hear from Mitch or Bill. I might as well stay busy."

"True, but..." She took a deep breath. "Tonight, I need to follow Mr. Whitmore. It's Thursday."

Logan brought over the coffee pot. "Fresh and hot." He poured her a cup. "Can you postpone it until next week? Maybe things will settle down by then. Besides, I've waited this long, I can wait another week for your list of what you're looking for in a husband."

Ignoring his comment, she continued, "Probably, but how would it look?"

"Like you're busy."

"Right. Too busy to do the job. I don't want that image." She smiled.

"I understand." He measured flour. "Talk with Mitch or Bill. Maybe they'll have a solution. I know you like donuts. There's no yeast, how about cake donuts?"

Her eyes twinkled. "You can do that. I haven't had donuts in forever."

He chuckled. "It may seem like eternity, but I'm pretty sure it's only been a couple of days."

"Can I help?"

"You can. After I mix the batter, you can press out the donuts and fry them. I'll make the breakfast pizza."

"Great, two of my favorites in one meal."

"Nutrition isn't your strong point, is it? I'll make both of these as healthy as I can." He studied the mixing bowl. "There's no hope for donuts."

*****
A little over an hour and a half later, McKenzie rubbed her stomach. "This was really good. Thank you."

"You're welcome. I'm glad you liked it."

They both turned their heads at a knock on the door. Logan stood. "I'll get it."

"I can answer my own door. It's probably Mitch or Bill. Even if it's not, I can take care of myself."

"I don't doubt that." Logan opened the door and offered his hand. "Hello, how you doing?"

Bill shook it. "By the sounds of things in here, better than you are." He chuckled.

McKenzie ran to him and threw her arms around his neck. "Bill, you're all right."

"Of course, I am. I was inside the drugstore when the car blew. Just a little shaken."

Logan asked, "Do they know what caused the explosion, yet?"

"They're pretty sure it was a car bomb but no clear evidence yet."

McKenzie's hands were firmly on her hips. "But no evidence to the contrary either."

"True." Bill walked farther inside and looked around. "Looks like you just finished eating."

Walking over to get a cup, Logan said, "I bet you could use some coffee and something to eat. There's plenty left. Let me fix you a plate."

Bill sat. "That would be nice. We need to talk."

As McKenzie sat beside Bill, Logan fixed him a plate. After Logan sat, Bill said, "I want you off this case. It's too dangerous." When she opened her mouth, he added, "It's not up for discussion."

"You can order me all you want, but I'm not stopping until I discover who murdered Megan. I accepted a down-payment for my services and signed a contract. I'll stay with this job until it's finished. I'm not a quitter."

Logan forcibly set down his cup. Coffee splashed onto the table. His voice remained calm as he said, "Under the circumstances, I'm sure my parents won't mind. They wouldn't willingly put you in danger."

"I'm sure they wouldn't mind, but I would." She glared at Bill. "By the way, I'm pulling surveillance for Mrs. Whitmore tonight, also."

"McKenzie Joanne Morgan..."

"It won't change anything even though you used my full name," she interrupted. "The outcome will be the same. I'm doing it with or without your help. Logan can come if he wants to, but I'm doing the jobs I was hired to do. I'm also going to interview Donny's neighbor within the next couple of days."

When Bill looked to Logan for help, Logan raised his hands chest high and then placed them on the table. "Her mind's set. I doubt we'll change it."

Bill's eyes pleaded with her. "Would your dad approve? Would he want you to risk your safety like this?"

"Dad taught me to follow through with what I started, that I should never quit."

Closing his eyes, Bill took a deep breath, released it, and then lifted his coffee cup to get a drink, but it was empty.

Logan got up and refilled it. "Try this."

Bill took a long drink. "Thank you." He paused and then touched her hand. "Mac, please."

"You're like family to me. You've been in my life since my earliest memories. You and Joanie have been the uncle and aunt I never had." She got up and hugged him. "But you know me. I can't quit. I need to follow this through. If I quit now, it'll haunt me the rest of my life. Please help me follow this through." She kissed his cheek. "Please."

Bill, again, looked at Logan for help.

Logan nodded. "I'll do my best to keep her safe. I promise. She's grown on me, too." McKenzie gave him a questioning gaze, and then he added, "A discussion for another time."

Bill emptied his coffee cup with one long swig. Reluctantly he said, "I'm in." He placed a phone call. "Mitch will be here in few minutes.

Logan stood. "Then I'd better make more coffee."




Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou local name for St. Louis
Simon Knight and Sheila Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician. Sheila's his wife.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league
baseball team.
Yadi What Cardinal fans call Tadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez his wife is Lucy Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.
Kate Hartford Megan Nelson's friend they taught middle school
together.
Donny Carlton A man Megan Nelson dated.
Mitch Gardner St. Louis Police Department detective who has
partnered with McKenzie's dad.
Ivan Smart A bad guy
Peter and Nancy Nelson Logan's parents
Sidney Parks works for the St. Louis Police Detective with the drug unit.
Mack and Helen Morgan McKenzie's parents - both deceased
Gus Piper McKenzie's abusive grandfather - deceased
Austin Bryant an old boyfriend - McKenzie broke up with him because he's a jerk.
Joshua Davis so far a nobody, but is a neighbor to Donny Carlton
Mark Young an acquaintance of McKenzie, a state trooper, and will become important much later in the novel

Author Notes Thank you google imagines of a photo of coffee splattering. I'm sure Logan is frustrated with Mac. I wonder how he keeps from getting angry. I really appreciate your help. This post is a little over 1200 words. I hope you don't mind the length. Logan and McKenzie continue their search for Megan's murder as they get closer to becoming a couple.
Thank you for your generous support.


Chapter 50
St. Louis Chapter 21 part 2

By barbara.wilkey

It's early Thursday afternoon. McKenzie and Logan have known each other 9 days. LOL


Ending of Previous Post:

Closing his eyes, Bill took a deep breath, released it, and then lifted his coffee cup to get a drink, but it was empty.

Logan got up and refilled it. "Try this."

Bill took a long drink. "Thank you." He paused and then touched her hand. "Mac, please."

"You're like family to me. You've been in my life since my earliest memories. You and Joanie have been the uncle and aunt I never had." She got up and hugged him. "But you know me. I can't quit. I need to follow this through. If I quit now, it'll haunt me the rest of my life. Please help me follow this through." She kissed his cheek. "Please."

Bill, again, looked at Logan for help.

Logan nodded. "I'll do my best to keep her safe. I promise. She's grown on me, too." McKenzie gave him a questioning gaze, and then he added, "A discussion for another time."

Bill emptied his coffee cup with one long swig. Reluctantly he said, "I'm in." He placed a phone call. "Mitch will be here in a few minutes.

Logan stood. "Then I'd better make more coffee."

TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 21 PART 2

Within an hour, Mitch sat at the table with them. He first attempted to convince McKenzie to reconsider working on Megan's case.

Finally, McKenzie said, "Do any of you actually believe if I quit this case everything will be forgotten and my life will go back to normal?" She stared into each person's eyes, before continuing, "Of course not. For whatever reason, Parks believes I know something that I don't know. That will only change, when we figure out what he's afraid I know."

Logan's hands surrounded his cup. "She's right, you know?" After both Bill and Mitch nodded, he continued, "Now, how are we going to keep her safe?" He stood. "I've had too much coffee." He grabbed a water bottle from the refrigerator. "Anybody else want one?"

McKenzie nodded. "I'll take one."

Bill sighed. "I guess I might as well go along with it. I want to go on record that I disagree." He took a deep breath. "Okay, before you get in your car, I want your car searched for bombs or any tampering, and not by you. Do you understand?"

She saluted him. "Yes, Sir."

He shook his head. "Mack should have taken you across his knee more often."

Logan grinned. "Do you really think that would have made a difference?"

Mitch chuckled. "I don't. How about you, Bill?"

Frowning Bill continued, "No, but that's beside the point." He sipped coffee while he thought. "When you're away tonight, two men will be inside your home, one down here and one upstairs."

"Arlo and Edger can take care of the inside. Strangers don't need to be in my house. How do we know they don't work for Parks? They could plant more bugs."

Mitch wrote down a note. "I got this. I'll hand pick the men. Hell, I'll do it myself."

Bill looked at each person sitting at the table. "I like that idea. Anybody have any ideas for tonight's actual surveillance?"

"Logan and I can handle it. We did before," offered McKenzie.

Bill's hand hit the table with a thud. "That's not going to happen. I will NOT allow you two to be sitting ducks in some dark alley."

Logan nodded. "I've been in some tight situations before and can handle it. If it was only me, I'd do it," his eyes met McKenzie's, "I won't risk your safety. We need to come up with a better plan." He shook his head. "The risk-matrix is too high."

McKenzie's lips formed a pout.

Logan shook his head. That cute pout won't work this time. You're too important to me. I bet you had your dad wrapped around his little finger, probably his entire hand.

"All I can come up with is to make sure there's a large and visible police presence."

McKenzie tilted her head. "Bill, really? The idea of surveillance to watch without the mark knowing you're there. With a large and visible police presence the mark will know we're watching. You know that."

"Okay, maybe not the best idea I've ever had, but it's all I can come with right now."

Logan stood. "I'm not used to sitting this long." He walked around with all eyes on him. "Mac, do you think Whitmore will go to the same gentlemen's club in East St. Louis?" After she answered, he continued, "We can have some men stationed at Whitmore's home while we wait for him and then we can have some men in place at the club. We can have some unmarked cars follow us to the spot. They can then hang around or leave. Anybody, who enters that area, will have one of those unannounced searches, maybe searching for drunk drivers or something like that. Police do it off-and-on so nobody will question it."

Mitch patted Logan on the back. "Great idea. Mac, agree?"

"I'll agree with that. The problem will be pulling it off without Parks knowing about it in advance."

Bill looked at his ringing phone. "It can wait. I think we can come up with enough honest cops to do it. I can pull some investigators from my office to fill in some spots."

McKenzie tapped the table. "There's a couple more issues that need to be looked into. Has anybody checked for security cameras around the Tin Roof on the night Jose got shot? Has that fallen through the cracks? What were the results of the crime scene at Donny's house? The burner phone we found at Buder Park, did its number match any on Megan's call record? I need to interview Donny's neighbor, Joshua Davis."

Bill wrote all her questions down. "We will find out. All of those are good questions. You already should have had answers."

As Bill and Mitch prepared to leave, McKenzie said, "We'll make one stop before we go to Whitmore's house. We need to get snacks for surveillance." She pointed to Logan. "He's really into junk food." She laughed.

Logan put his arm around her. "One of us is, that's for sure."


Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou local name for St. Louis
Simon Knight and Sheila Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician. Sheila's his wife.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league
baseball team.
Yadi What Cardinal fans call Tadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez his wife is Lucy Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.
Kate Hartford Megan Nelson's friend they taught middle school
together.
Donny Carlton A man Megan Nelson dated.
Mitch Gardner St. Louis Police Department detective who has
partnered with McKenzie's dad.
Ivan Smart A bad guy
Peter and Nancy Nelson Logan's parents
Sidney Parks works for the St. Louis Police Detective with the drug unit.
Mack and Helen Morgan McKenzie's parents - both deceased
Gus Piper McKenzie's abusive grandfather - deceased
Austin Bryant an old boyfriend - McKenzie broke up with him because he's a jerk.
Joshua Davis so far a nobody, but is a neighbor to Donny Carlton
Mark Young an acquaintance of McKenzie, a state trooper, and will become important much later in the novel

Author Notes Thank you google imagines of an imagine of people sitting around a table talking. It's not exactly what I wanted, but the best I could come up with. I really appreciate your help. This post is a little under 900 words. Logan and McKenzie continue their search for Megan's murder as they get closer to becoming a couple.
Thank you for your generous support.


Chapter 51
St. Louis Chapter 21 part 3

By barbara.wilkey

It's Thursday evening. McKenzie and Logan have known each other 9 days. LOL


Ending of Previous Post:

Logan stood. "I'm not used to sitting this long." He walked around with all eyes on him. "Mac, do you think Whitmore will go to the same gentlemen's club in East St. Louis?" After she answered, he continued, "We can have some men stationed at Whitmore's home while we wait for him and then we can have some men in place at the club. We can have some unmarked cars follow us to the spot. They can then hang around or leave. Anybody, who enters that area, will have one of those unannounced searches, maybe searching for drunk drivers or something like that. Police do it off-and-on so nobody will question it."

Mitch patted Logan on the back. "Great idea. Mac, agree?"

"I'll agree with that. The problem will be pulling it off without Parks knowing about it in advance."

Bill looked at his ringing phone. "It can wait. I think we can come up with enough honest cops to do it. I can pull some investigators from my office to fill in some spots."

McKenzie tapped the table. "There's a couple more issues that need to be looked into. Has anybody checked for security cameras around the Tin Roof on the night Jose got shot? Has that fallen through the cracks? What were the results of the crime scene at Donny's house? The burner phone we found at Buder Park, did its number match any on Megan's call record? I need to interview Donny's neighbor, Joshua Davis."

Bill wrote all her questions down. "We will find out. All of those are good questions. You already should have had answers."

As Bill and Mitch prepared to leave, McKenzie said, "We'll make one stop before we go to Whitmore's house. We need to get snacks for surveillance." She pointed to Logan. "He's really into junk food." She laughed.

Logan put his arm around her. "One of us is, that's for sure."

TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 21 PART 3

McKenzie walked down the stairs and scanned the kitchen. "I'm glad you fixed a large brunch. Dinner was easy, leftovers." She swallowed. "Ready?"

Logan took her hand. "You sure about this? It's not too late to call it off."

He watched McKenzie take a deep breath before she nodded. "I need to do it for me."

"Let's do it then. I have your back." He opened the front door. "They just finished with the car. You want to drive or me?"

"You. It worked the last time."

Inside the car, a voice sounded. "Just doing a check. Are you both wired?"

"Yes Bill, we're good." McKenzie scrunched her eyebrows together. "This is getting ridiculous. When's the last time you did your own work? A District Attorney has hired help to do this."

"I never had my daughter in danger before."

'Thud!' She slammed back in her seat.

Logan touched her arm. "You okay?"

McKenzie whispered, "Bill never called me his daughter before."

He backed out of the parking slot. "You might be surprised how many people love you?"

"What do you mean by that?"

"Nothing." He paused. "Isn't that the convenient station up ahead? Same as last week or do you have a special request?"

"Yes, but I'm hungry for Twizzlers. Please add them to the list. Don't forget the donuts."

Logan's eyes widen as he studied her. "You've got to be kidding." When she didn't answer, he continued, "A lot or a little?"

"Watch the road, and a lot. Twizzlers make me smile."

"Twizzlers, it is." He parked the car. "Hey, Bill, I'm going inside for Twizzlers."

Bill laughed. "I heard. Get the lady her Twizzlers, but don't forget the donuts."

"Are you making fun of me?"

Logan shut the car door, as Bill asked, "Is she displaying that cute pout of hers?"

"Sure is."

"I do not pout."

Both men said at the same time, "Wanna bet?"

Mitch added, "That pout would melt her daddy's heart. It has served her well."

Logan picked up two bags of Twizzlers. That pout works on me too.

"Mitch, when did you join us?" asked McKenzie. "And you're wrong, by the way. Logan, don't forget the chips."

"I'm correct. I watched you prefect it as you grew into a wonderful young lady. I'm here with Bill, but I'm leaving for your place as we speak. Bye."

"I watched her prefect it, too." Bill laughed. "Hey Logan, have you fallen prey to it?"

"I'm staying out of this."

Bill chuckled. "Probably a wise choice."

Logan put three bags in the back seat and got in the car, as McKenzie asked, "Did they have Twizzlers?"

"Yes, I got two bags. Can you wait or do you want them now?"

She licked her lips. "I can wait."

He chuckled. "Are you sure?"

*****
At the Whitmore house, McKenzie checked her phone. "It's exactly seven o'clock, and here comes Mr. Whitmore. I'd love to ask him why he leaves at exactly the same time. Any ideas?"

"Not a one. Unless he's that precise in everything he does. Maybe he's OCD. His wife would know."

"I'll remember to ask her. Hey Bill, we're following him."

"I got you. I forgot to mention, I had a GPS placed on this rental in case we lost you."

"Whatever!" McKenzie thought a moment. "You know if Parks finds out about it, he can hack into it and track us too. He's probably already placed one on it."

"We checked, he did, and we removed it. We'll be sure to disable this one after tonight."

"I guess Parks left nothing to chance." There was silence as they followed Mr. Whitmore. Before long, McKenzie said, "He's going the exact same route to the exact same place."

Logan nodded. "He sure is."

"I'd like to know what the attraction is. There must be a reason he comes here every Thursday at the same time."

Bill joined the conversation, "Don't get any ideas about going in there. It's too dangerous."

"GRRR," responded McKenzie. "I really need to know what he's doing."

Logan tapped the steering wheel. "I have an idea. Bill, are there any young men in plain clothes?"

"Yes, a few." He paused a moment. "Great idea. Mac, we'll send Harris in to observe Whitmore. He can report to you exactly what Whitmore does. Nobody will suspect him. He's a regular looking fellow. I'll make the arrangements."

A few moments later, Bill said, "See the guy entering?" After they both acknowledged it, he continued, "That's Harris."

McKenzie stretched in the seat. "Now we wait and watch. You know I really miss my Super Bee."

Logan reached back and grabbed a sack. "Here's your bag of Twizzlers." He handed it to her. "I know you do. It won't be long before you can retrieve it from Bill's garage. He watched her take a bite of a Twizzler stick. "Now, tell me your idea of a perfect husband."

"But earlier you said you could wait a week or so."

"That was an attempt to convince you to postpone this for a week or so. It didn't work. So now, a deal's a deal. You can't back out. We're here, so talk. I've already given you my qualities of a perfect wife. The agreement was you'd tell me your qualities the next night we pulled surveillance. I've waited almost a week. Start talking."

McKenzie sighed. "Bill, I'm sure you will find this boring."

"I think it'll be interesting. Let me get a cup of coffee before you begin."

"Logan, please..." Her eyes pleaded with him. "Not with Bill listening. I'll do it another time. How about once we're back home? I promise."



Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou local name for St. Louis
Simon Knight and Sheila Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician. Sheila's his wife.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league
baseball team.
Yadi What Cardinal fans call Tadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez his wife is Lucy Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.
Kate Hartford Megan Nelson's friend they taught middle school
together.
Donny Carlton A man Megan Nelson dated.
Mitch Gardner St. Louis Police Department detective who has
partnered with McKenzie's dad.
Ivan Smart A bad guy
Peter and Nancy Nelson Logan's parents
Sidney Parks works for the St. Louis Police Detective with the drug unit.
Mack and Helen Morgan McKenzie's parents - both deceased
Gus Piper McKenzie's abusive grandfather - deceased
Austin Bryant an old boyfriend - McKenzie broke up with him because he's a jerk.
Joshua Davis so far a nobody, but is a neighbor to Donny Carlton
Mark Young an acquaintance of McKenzie, a state trooper, and will become important much later in the novel

Author Notes Thank you google imagines of a photo of some Twizzlers. This morning before church I changes some order of sentences. I hope I didn't make the understanding worse. I really appreciate your help. This post is a little under 1000 words. Logan and McKenzie continue their search for Megan's murder as they get closer to becoming a couple.
Thank you for your generous support.


Chapter 52
St. Louis Chapter 22 part 1

By barbara.wilkey

It's Thursday evening. McKenzie and Logan have known each other 9 days. I'm happy to have received a review that stated McKenzie and Logan have only known each other for 9 days and thought they might be moving too fast. Most of my reviews state they need to move faster and don't understand what's taking them so long. I agree it's only been 9 days. They have plenty of time.


Ending of Previous Post:

McKenzie stretched in the seat. "Now we wait and watch. You know I really miss my Super Bee."

Logan reached back and grabbed a sack. "Here's your bag of Twizzlers." He handed it to her. "I know you do. It won't be long before you can retrieve it from Bill's garage." He watched her take a bite of a Twizzler stick. "Now, tell me your idea of a perfect husband."

"But earlier you said you could wait a week or so."

"That was an attempt to convince you to postpone this for a week or so. It didn't work. So now, a deal's a deal. You can't back out. We're here, so talk. I've already given you my qualities of a perfect wife. The agreement was you'd tell me your qualities the next night we pulled surveillance. I've waited almost a week. Start talking."

McKenzie sighed. "Bill, I'm sure you will find this boring."

"I think it'll be interesting. Let me get a cup of coffee before you begin."

"Logan, please..." Her eyes pleaded with him. "Not with Bill listening. I'll do it another time. How about once we're back home? I promise."

TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 22 PART 1

After a silence, Bill said, "Okay Mac, I'll turn the volume down. If you need anything, yell loudly. I'll watch the game."

"What's the score?" asked McKenzie.

"Cards are up by three."

"You've stalled long enough." Logan took a bite of Twizzler. "I'd forgotten how good these are."

McKenzie hesitated and then spoke quietly, "I think the most important quality would be someone who loves me for who I am. He wouldn't be threatened because I'm independent or can take care of myself. I guess that would fall under self-confident, but not cross over to cocky. There's a fine line between the two. I don't want him too full of himself. If he was, he wouldn't be thoughtful. I'd want him to care about my feelings or at least consider how I'd feel about things."

"I'm sure being able to cook would be high on your list," teased Logan.

"Ha, ha, very funny. I'm sure we could figure something out. I've managed this long without knowing how to cook." She thought for a moment. "Dependability would be important. I'd want to feel secure with him; comfortable. Also, I'd have to trust him. That's really important."

She tapped a Twizzler stick against her lips. "Faithfulness would be important. I want to be the only woman he desires. When he's around other women, I want to know he'll always come home to me."

Logan raised his hand. "Question: Men often acknowledge attractive women. They can't miss them. It's in our DNA."

"True, and in our society women are everywhere and in every occupation. But I believe there's a difference in acknowledging an attractive woman and desiring to jump in bed with her."

He grinned. "There is."

"I think this is part of moral integrity which is also very important. If he truly loves me, then he wouldn't want anybody else. I believe there's a difference in lust and love. I want a man in love with me. Not hot for my body."

I think I can innocently fit in last night's T-shirt. He focused on looking out the windshield. "I need to address something." He released a deep breath. "Last night's T-shirt..." She tilted her head, as he continued, "The one you sleep in."

Her eyes widened. "Where are you going with this?"

Logan interlocked his hands and stretched them before he answered, "You know that nightshirt you wore last night? Well, it was very seductive. Can you wear something else in case you need to come downstairs in the middle of the night?"

Silence.

"I-I-I didn't know," she whispered. "I didn't mean to. I'm sorry."

Logan reached over and took her hand. "I'm not accusing you of anything. I know it was an accident. I thought maybe you'd want to know."

"I do. I'll make the correction. Why didn't you say something last night?"

"It didn't fit into any conversation. So much happened."

Her hand covered her mouth. "And I fell asleep with you holding me on the couch. I'm so sorry."

"Why do you think you woke up covered?"

She gulped. "Thank you."

"Continue with your list."

"Intelligent, kind, a good listener, balanced, and have a sense of humor. I'm done." McKenzie stared out the passenger window.

"Another question."

"I don't think I can take any more questions or comments."

"This one should be easy. "What do you mean by balanced?"

"A man who can do it all. He can prioritize his job, family, friends, and a relationship. Now, I'm done."

"Mac, look at me." She turned but avoided eye contact. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said anything."

"And suffer in silence?"

He grinned. "I was uncomfortable, but I can't honestly say I suffered."

I'm sorry. I'm not that kind of female."

"I know. It was an accident."

"Excuse me, you two," interrupted Bill. "You'll need to take this conversation up later. Mr. Whitmore just left. Are you following him to his next stop?"

"Yes, he usually goes straight home," answered McKenzie. She stared at Logan and whispered, "I'm really sorry."

He squeezed her hand. "I know. Quit apologizing."

Silence.

After Whitmore returned home, Bill said, "Harris will be stopping by once you're safely home."

"Sounds good. Thank you, Bill. I think we can take it from here. Go home to Joanie. Give her a hug from me."

"Sure will. But Mac, I'm staying until you're safely inside your house." Bill heard McKenzie start to answer so he continued, "It won't do any good to argue. I'm listening until I hear Arlo bark."

She sighed.

"I heard that, young lady," replied Bill.

Logan chuckled.

*****
Once inside McKenzie's townhouse, she headed straight for the stairs. "I'm turning in for the night."

Logan watched. "I'm surprised, you're not going to let the dogs out or wait on Harris? I'll write down everything he says." He turned. "I'll let the boys out."

After the dogs were outside, McKenzie said, "Logan?"

He faced her. "I know something's bothering you and this time, for once, I actually know what. How can I make it better?"

"You can't."

"Let's talk it out. You mentioned on your perfect husband list that you want him to be a good listener." He paused. "For that to happen, you need to be a good talker."

"I am a good talker."

"About your feelings. How's a guy supposed to know, guess?" He sat on the couch and patted a spot for her to sit. After she did, he said, "Now would be a perfect time to tell me what you're feeling. Or do you want me to guess?"

Silence.

"Okay," said Logan. "I'm guessing you feel embarrassed."

"I'm not embarrassed," interrupted McKenzie. "I'm more humiliated or ashamed. It should never have happened. I should've been more careful. Since we've met you've been a gentleman. Thank you for that. I acted like a floozy."

"Now, I know where you're coming from. To start with you've never been a floozy around me." He held up one finger. "Well that one time you went out with Jose and played pool to try to trip up Whitney was pretty close, but you were undercover."

McKenzie gave a partial grin. "I did look pretty raunchy. You're right."

"Good, that got a smile. What happened last night was completely different, and you have no reason to feel ashamed or anything else. I know it was an accident. You meant nothing by it. If I knew you were going to be this upset over it, I never would've mentioned it."

"You had every right to say something." She studied her hands in her lap before she continued, "I don't want you to think of me as-" she stopped.

"As what?"

"As a tease."

Logan put arms around her. "I would never consider you a tease. You're far from that." He turned as somebody knocked on the door. "I'm guessing that's Harris." He got up to answer. "Stay..."

"I know, stay put."

Logan grinned. "You're a trip." He continued toward the door. "Come in, Harris. Mac's in the living room."

After everybody was seated, McKenzie asked, "What did Mr. Whitmore do inside?"

"You're not going to believe this," began Harris. "He sat at a table by himself and nursed the same beer for three hours."

"Who'd he speak to?" asked Logan.

"Nobody. He was literally alone all night. He just stared at the stage."

"What was happening on the stage?"

Both Logan and Harris gave her wide-eyed looks and said, "Really?"

"I've never been in a place like that. How would I know?"

Logan grinned. "Yes Harris, exactly what was the stage act?"

"Four naked women pole dancing."

"Oh!" replied McKenzie. "He stared at that for three hours? That doesn't make sense."

"They did take breaks. New women came on and danced. They repeated that process over and over again. He did a a variety of women. If that's all your questions, I'll get on home."

"Thank you. Good night."

Logan stood. "I'll walk you to the door."

When Logan returned, McKenzie asked, "Why would he sit there and stare at naked women pole dancing for three hours? That's strange. I think I need to speak with some of the ladies who work there. There has to be more going on."

"It does seem a little strange to sit there for three hours and do nothing. When you plan on going back?"

"I'm thinking tomorrow, maybe around five or six, before they get busy. What do you think?"

"Probably a good idea. I'm going with you."

McKenzie stood. "I never thought you wouldn't. I'm just wondering if Bill, Mitch and the gang will be going too." She paused. "I'm going to bed. Good night."

"See you in the morning."




Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou local name for St. Louis
Simon Knight and Sheila Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician. Sheila's his wife.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league
baseball team.
Yadi What Cardinal fans call Tadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
George Whitney A former boyfriend of Megan, early suspect in her murger.
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez his wife is Lucy Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.
Kate Hartford Megan Nelson's friend they taught middle school
together.
Donny Carlton A man Megan Nelson dated.
Mitch Gardner St. Louis Police Department detective who has
partnered with McKenzie's dad.
Ivan Smart A bad guy
Peter and Nancy Nelson Logan's parents
Sidney Parks works for the St. Louis Police Detective with the drug unit.
Mack and Helen Morgan McKenzie's parents - both deceased
Gus Piper McKenzie's abusive grandfather - deceased
Austin Bryant an old boyfriend - McKenzie broke up with him because he's a jerk.
Joshua Davis so far a nobody, but is a neighbor to Donny Carlton
Mark Young an acquaintance of McKenzie, a state trooper, and will become important much later in the novel

Author Notes Thank you google imagines of a photo of a possible nightshirt McKenzie might have worn. I really appreciate your help. This post is a little under 1500 words. I hope you don't mind the length. Logan and McKenzie continue their search for Megan's murder as they get closer to becoming a couple.
Thank you for your generous support.


Chapter 53
St. Louis Chapter 22 part 2

By barbara.wilkey

I'm happy to announce that 'Under Siege on the Rockin' A' is finally published. You can find it on Amazon.com. You probably don't recognize the title, it's the story about Soni's ranch set in Texas.

It's very late Thursday night. McKenzie and Logan have known each other 9 days.


Ending of Previous Post:


When Logan returned, McKenzie asked, "Why would he sit there and stare at naked women pole dancing for three hours? That's strange. I think I need to speak with some of the ladies who work there. There has to be more going on."

"It does seem a little strange to sit there for three hours and do nothing. When you plan on going back?"

"I'm thinking tomorrow, maybe around five or six, before they get busy. What do you think?"

"Probably a good idea. I'm going with you."

McKenzie stood. "I never thought you wouldn't. I'm just wondering if Bill, Mitch and the gang will be going too." She paused. "I'm going to bed. Good night."

"See you in the morning."


TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 22 PART 2

McKenzie woke up and glanced at her alarm clock. "It's only three-twenty." She rolled over, sat up, and scanned around the room. Why's the light on downstairs? Maybe Logan forgot to turn it off. She laid back down. That's impossible. He wouldn't forget anything. He probably checked and rechecked all the doors and lights three or four times. I wonder what's wrong. She got out of bed and started toward the stairs. "Whoa!" She went back to her dresser, grabbed a pair of pajama bottoms, and put them on. I won't make that mistake twice.

At the bottom of the stairs, she searched the area. Where's Logan? She finally called, "Logan?"

"I'm in here. Why are you up?"

McKenzie walked into the den and saw him sitting and studying the bulletin board. "I woke up and saw the light on. Don't you ever sleep?"

"Not really. I'm one of those people who can get by with three or four hours of sleep. Once in a while I sleep a full night." He glanced at her clothes. "Thank you for making the correction. I appreciate it."

"Not a problem. I didn't realize how short the T-shirt was until you mentioned it."

"I understand. When you reached up to hug Mitch, I caught myself wishing it would rise only a quarter inch higher. I turned away."

"I appreciate that." McKenzie walked over and patted his arm. "You're one of the good guys." His eyes met hers, and he grinned. She asked, "Have you solved our problem?"

He chuckled. "The only thing I'm sure of is Mr. Whitmore's case has nothing to do with this one."

Laughing, McKenzie said, "I agree. I think Mr. Whitmore has a whole set of different problems." She pointed to Donny's name. "We've always assumed the father to Megan's possible baby is Parks, what if it's Donny? Does that change anything?"

"I can't imagine my sister..."

"You can't imagine her dating him. We already know she did." McKenzie watched Logan take a drink of a light brown liquid. "What's that?"

Logan held it out to her. "It's iced tea. Want to test it?" After she shook her head no, he said, "Bill filled me in on your grandfather. He also mentioned how your high school best friend died. I promise never to drink around you. I understand why it makes you uncomfortable."

"Bill talks too much." She hesitated. "But thank you. I appreciate it."

Silence.

After a while, McKenzie pointed to Megan's name. "I have an idea. What if your sister was innocently at a bar dancing and having fun? Parks was there and noticed many different men vying for her attention. He observed her over a period of time and maybe even planted some weed on her."

"Where you going with this?"

She took his hand. "Be patient. Okay, he caught her with weed so pretended to arrest her. She became upset because she knew it could cost her the teaching position, so he agreed to make the charges go away if she became an informant." She paused. "Now, he points her to the men his drug team have had under surveillance. She befriends them and gets enough information on them for him to arrest them and their dealer."

"Why?

"To make his arrest and conviction numbers look good or maybe he's dealing and wants to be the only dealer in this area. Maybe he protects them from arrest and has them pay protection money." After a brief moment, she continued, "Now, maybe Megan gets a little uncomfortable doing this. Maybe her conscience starts bothering her, so Parks sweet talks her, takes her to nice restaurants and they basically become lovers."

"He uses her."

"Yep, so she'll continue to do his dirty work. Fast forward to the time period she was murdered. Maybe somehow Donny found out about it and approached Parks. Or maybe Donny refused to pay up. Anyway, Parks killed him. Then Megan worried about being pregnant told Parks and he killed her. Or something like that. Maybe Megan witnessed Parks kill Donny. Anyway, this theory could work."

"It makes sense. How do we prove it?"

"That's the hard part. I have no idea. Maybe we need to figure out who does Parks' dirty work. I'm sure he doesn't. Also maybe we need to look into Park's financial situation." She yawned and stretched.

"You need to get back to bed." Logan grinned. "Or are you cuddling beside me on the couch and falling asleep again?"

"I don't cuddle beside you. I sit beside you. There's a difference."

"I'm sure there is but I just don't see it in this case," he teased."

McKenzie turned sharply. "I'm going to bed."

Logan laughed as he tapped his right arm. "Good night. If you struggle sleeping, my arm's available."

"Whatever!"





Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou local name for St. Louis
Simon Knight and Sheila Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician. Sheila's his wife.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league
baseball team.
Yadi What Cardinal fans call Tadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
George Whitney A former boyfriend of Megan, early suspect in her murger.
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez his wife is Lucy Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.
Kate Hartford Megan Nelson's friend they taught middle school
together.
Donny Carlton A man Megan Nelson dated.
Mitch Gardner St. Louis Police Department detective who has
partnered with McKenzie's dad.
Ivan Smart A bad guy
Peter and Nancy Nelson Logan's parents
Sidney Parks works for the St. Louis Police Detective with the drug unit.
Mack and Helen Morgan McKenzie's parents - both deceased
Gus Piper McKenzie's abusive grandfather - deceased
Austin Bryant an old boyfriend - McKenzie broke up with him because he's a jerk.
Joshua Davis so far a nobody, but is a neighbor to Donny Carlton
Mark Young an acquaintance of McKenzie, a state trooper, and will become important much later in the novel

Author Notes Thank you google imagines for an idea of what McKenzie's bulletin board may look like. I really appreciate your help. This post is a little over 800 words. Logan and McKenzie continue their search for Megan's murder as they get closer to becoming a couple.
Thank you for your generous support.


Chapter 54
St. Louis Chapter 23 part 1

By barbara.wilkey

I'm happy to announce that 'Under Siege on the Rockin' A' is finally published. You can find it on Amazon.com. You probably don't recognize the title, it's the story about Soni's ranch set in Texas.

It's early Friday morning. McKenzie and Logan have known each other 10 days.


Ending of Previous Post:

"You need to get back to bed." Logan grinned. "Or are you cuddling beside me on the couch and falling asleep again?"

"I don't cuddle beside you. I sit beside you. There's a difference."

"I'm sure there is but I just don't see it in this case," he teased."

McKenzie turned sharply. "I'm going to bed."

Logan laughed as he tapped his right arm. "Good night. If you struggle sleeping, my arm's available."

"Whatever!"

TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 23 PART 1

When McKenzie walked into the room the following morning, Logan glanced up from his phone. "How'd you sleep?"

"Fine. What are you doing?"

"I got a text from my first sergeant. One of my young private's got into some trouble last night and he wants to know how I want to handle it."

"How many days have you been here?"

"Ten, why?"

"It's gone by fast, yet I feel like I've known you forever?"

"I guess you're right. Is that good or bad?"

"Not sure. Do you have coffee ready?"

Logan stood and shoved the phone into a pocket. "Of course. I'll get you a cup."

"You don't need to. I can. I can't cook, but I can pour coffee."

Arlo ran to the front door and barked while wagging his tail.

Laughing, Logan asked, "What does that mean?"

"He knows who's at the door and likes them. The bark is because he's so excited he can't contain himself."

"I'd better get to the door, so I'm ready." Logan opened the door before the knock sounded. "Good morning, Bill. There's a fresh pot of coffee ready."

McKenzie went over and hugged him. "Howdy. I've gotten to see you almost every day. I like that. What do I owe this visit to?"

"I just wanted to check and see what's on your agenda today. Is that okay?"

"Yes, but you could have done that by telephone." McKenzie cocked her head. "Am I right?"

"Yes, but Joanie's worried about your safety. She'll make me sleep on the couch if I don't physically check on you at least twice a day."

"I don't believe a word your saying. Try again."

"Joanie is worried about you, but..." Bill paused, "so am I." He hugged her again and then pointed toward Logan. "I need to make sure this guy is taking good care of you."

"I think it's more like I'm taking care of him."

Logan grinned and shook his head. "Bill, have you had breakfast? I'm about ready to fix it."

"Wait, its Friday." McKenzie's eyes widened. "We haven't been to the gym."

"I figured you weren't going. You've already had your coffee and you're in street clothes."

"But it's Friday. I always go to the gym on Friday."

Bill laughed. "This is priceless. When you woke up, did you forget it was Friday?"

McKenzie plopped down on the couch. "My whole life is screwed up. I used to have a schedule."

Patting her back, Bill offered, "I'm sure it'll get back normal. Once this case is solved, things will be fine."

"I hope you're right." McKenzie studied Logan. I doubt anything will ever be the same again.

"I'd like to know what you have planned for today." Bill accepted coffee from Logan. "Thank you, and your original question. I'm eating breakfast with your dad this morning. It's our monthly breakfast date."

"Say hello to him for me. Mac, what's on our schedule?"

"Since we're not going to the gym..." she hesitated, "can we go for a walk, maybe around a park or something? I need some exercise." She looked at Logan. "Did you..."

"Yes, the boys went on their run," interrupted Logan. He mixed eggs together. "Omelets okay?

McKenzie nodded. "Bill, about the walk?"

"I'll see what I can do. What else?

"I need to talk with Mrs. Whitmore. I should do it in person. Also about five or six this afternoon, I want to go back to that strip joint and speak with some of the staff. I want to see what Whitmore does besides sit and stare. I guess I'd better wait to talk with his wife until I meet with the staff members. I'll call his wife later this morning, update her, and set up a meeting for Monday."

"So I need to make arrangements for a walk and a trip to the strip joint." Bill took out this phone. "Any stops for groceries or anything?"

She pointed at Logan. "Talk with Betty Crocker. That's his department."

Logan studied McKenzie for a few moments. "Yes, a trip to the grocery store is in order. I think I'll fix something special for dinner. We can do that after the walk."

"What time for the walk?" asked Bill.

"I'm deferring to the chef. Logan?"

"Breakfast will be ready in maybe fifteen minutes. Another forty-five to eat and clean up. Say about an hour. Mac, will you be ready then?"

After she nodded, Bill asked, "Which park?"

"Is it possible to leave the city?"

Bill sighed. "Mac, what's on your mind?"

"I'd like to go to the Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center. It's in Kirkwood."

Bill eyed Logan. Once Logan nodded, Bill said, "I'll see what I can do." He made a phone call and then said, "It's a go." He put his phone away. "I'd better get to the restaurant." He hugged Mac. "Stay safe." He shook Logan's hand as he patted his arm.

When Bill started to say something, Logan said, "Don't worry, I got this."






Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou local name for St. Louis
Simon Knight and Sheila Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician. Sheila's his wife.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league
baseball team.
Yadi What Cardinal fans call Tadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
George Whitney A former boyfriend of Megan, early suspect in her murger.
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez his wife is Lucy Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.
Kate Hartford Megan Nelson's friend they taught middle school
together.
Donny Carlton A man Megan Nelson dated.
Mitch Gardner St. Louis Police Department detective who has
partnered with McKenzie's dad.
Ivan Smart A bad guy
Peter and Nancy Nelson Logan's parents
Sidney Parks works for the St. Louis Police Detective with the drug unit.
Mack and Helen Morgan McKenzie's parents - both deceased
Gus Piper McKenzie's abusive grandfather - deceased
Austin Bryant an old boyfriend - McKenzie broke up with him because he's a jerk.
Joshua Davis so far a nobody, but is a neighbor to Donny Carlton
Mark Young an acquaintance of McKenzie, a state trooper, and will become important much later in the novel



Author Notes Thank you google imagines for a photo of the Powder Conservation Park in Kirkwood. Its a suburb of St. Louis. I really appreciate your help. This post is a little over 800 words. Logan and McKenzie continue their search for Megan's murder as they get closer to becoming a couple.
Thank you for your generous support.


Chapter 55
St. Louis Chapter 23 part 2

By barbara.wilkey

I'm happy to announce that 'Under Siege on the Rockin' A' is finally published. You can find it on Amazon.com. You probably don't recognize the title. Maybe this will refresh your memory.
Sonsee-array 'Soni' Adler inherited the Rockin' A ranch from her father. Flying her helicopter home from Laredo she discovers a mysterious injured man, Jim Burn, and brings him home for medical attention. He refuses a doctor, so Soni calls her grandfather, a Lipan Apache medicine man, Kuruk, to heal him back to health. Soni finds herself in the middle of three battles during this novel.
First, I-10 runs through the Rockin' A. Numerous drug cartels battle
over ownership of this territory. This ranch is the battleground.
The second problem: somebody attempts to forcibly take the ranch
from her. The ranch's ownership comes into play.
Finally, the mysterious Jim Burns: who is he? Who does he work for? What part does he play with all of this?
Siege of the Rockin' A weaves together an irresistible tale of romance
through history, Apache beliefs, and events taken from today's
headlines. Readers will be enthralled from the first page to the last.


It's Friday afternoon. McKenzie and Logan have known each other 10 days.

Ending of Previous Post:

"What time for the walk?" asked Bill.

"I'm deferring to the chef. Logan?"

"Breakfast will be ready in maybe fifteen minutes. Another forty-five to eat and clean up. Say about an hour. Mac, will you be ready then?"

After she nodded, Bill asked, "Which park?"

"Is it possible to leave the city?"

Bill sighed. "Mac, what's on your mind?"

"I'd like to go to the Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center. It's in Kirkwood."

Bill eyed Logan. Once Logan nodded, Bill said, "I'll see what I can do." He made a phone call and then said, "It's a go." He put his phone away. "I'd better get to the restaurant." He hugged Mac. "Stay safe." He shook Logan's hand as he patted his arm.

When Bill started to say something, Logan said, "Don't worry, I got this."

TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 23 PART 2


Logan and McKenzie chose a challenging trail. As they climbed one of the steeper bluffs, McKenzie stopped. "Logan, I feel we're being followed." She glanced around. "And not by the men Bill has shadowing us."

"You're right. They picked us up about a half mile back."

"Why didn't you tell me?"

"So far there hasn't been a need."

"Do you think our detail knows?"

"I hope so, but I really don't know." Logan answered his phone, spoke, and hung up. "The tape from the Irish Pub's ready. We'll pick it up before we go to the grocery store."

"What tape and what should we do?"

"Continue. The only thing happening is they're getting a good workout." He took her hand. "It'll be all right." After a pause, he continued, "I asked the pub owner if he has a surveillance camera. He did and got us the tape."

McKenzie eyes widened. "I hadn't even considered a surveillance camera. Good idea. I guess you're right. They aren't bothering us."

*****
Back at McKenzie's townhouse, she sighed. "We were followed all the way back here. What do they want? What is their purpose?"

"I don't know. Maybe they just want to intimidate you, or for some reason they want to know what you're doing? That I don't understand. I guess they want to make sure you don't learn something. But what?" He started putting groceries away. "After we finish this, we can watch the tape."

They both sat on the couch as McKenzie downloaded the CD in her computer. "It's almost finished. Ready?" She took a deep breath. "I hope we discover something new."

After they watched a few minutes, Logan pointed. "Right there pause it." He waited then added, "He put something in your drink."

"He sure did. I'm positive I've never seen him before." After a few moments, McKenzie said, "And there's the second guy. I don't know him either."

The two men sat at a table. "What are they doing? They're just sitting there."

"They're waiting for the drug to work." He pointed. "Who are they talking to?"

"I know him. I've seen him before. But where?" She thought for a moment and then clapped her hands. "He's the guy who tried to pick me up outside the coffee shop. Remember?"

"You're right. He is. You were lucky that day."

She chewed on her lower lip as her eyes met his. "I'm lucky you came to my rescue."

"I'm sure you could've taken him."

"We don't know if he had a gun, knife, or syringe."

"There's more. Keep watching."

"Here you come." McKenzie watched Logan lift her. "I was really out of it, wasn't I? I didn't even move."

"You were."

"Thank you. Sorry, I was difficult."

He pecked her cheek. "It was understandable. You didn't know me or what was going on. I'm just glad I was there." The tape ended. "Play it again. I'm sure we missed some things. I didn't catch where these two went."

"Logan, look. Who's this? He's watching pretty close." McKenzie pointed to a face looking through the large, front window.

"I don't know. But he seems pretty interested in what I'm doing. I don't remember anybody standing there when I walked out the door."

McKenzie played with the image. "I'll see if I can make it any clearer." Frustrated she said, "I can't do anything with it. If Bill comes by tonight, I'll ask if he can take it to the lab. Maybe they can clear it up."

"Can you make a copy? I don't like the idea of handing over our only copy."

"I'll save it to my computer."

"You can, but also save it to a drive or the cloud. If somebody steals your computer, we've lost it."

She got up. "I'll get a flash drive and save it to that too. I'll put that in the safe." When she returned, she said, "You're scaring me."

"Sorry. I didn't mean too. I don't know the guy, I've never met him. I've only got a glimpse of him the night Jose was shot, but my gut tells me it's Sidney Parks checking to see the outcome of kidnapping you. If I'm right, he'll do anything to get a hold of this tape."

"I don't know him myself. I might have met him years ago, but I don't remember. I've only heard his name."

Logan glanced at his watch. "It's almost five. About ready to go to your first strip joint?"

"You're teasing me again."

"Guilty."

She held up the device and the original. "Let me put them in the safe and shut down the computer."

"Good idea."

After everything was secured, McKenzie took out her phone. When Bill answered, she said, "We're ready for the gentlemen's club." She listened. "We got the security tape from the Pub. It's in a safe place. Can you take it to the lab and see if they can get a clear picture of this one man?" She hung up. "It's taken care of. As soon as they clear the car, we're ready."

Within a half an hour, they left for East St. Louis. Once there, McKenzie took a deep breath. "Let's do this."

Logan glanced around to make sure the security detail caught up before he put his hand on the small of her back. "I'm right behind you."

They walked in and then McKenzie showed her P.I. identification and asked to speak with the manager. They waited about fifteen minutes before a handsome man in his early thirties greeted them.

He gave McKenzie a once over. "If you ever decide to give up your present occupation, I'll give you a job working for me. I can guarantee you'll make at least double what you're making and probably more."

"Thank you, but I'm happy with what I'm doing. What I'd like is some information from your staff. There's a man in his mid-forties who comes in every Thursday evening about seven-twenty-five. He sits alone at one of these tables."

"You must be talking about Leon Whitmore."

"I am. I'd like to talk with anybody who can give me information about him. It seems strange he just sits there. I'd like to know his story."

"He's not breaking any laws, so I'm guessing his wife would like to know. Am I right?"

"You are. Wouldn't you like to save a marriage?"

He grinned. "For you cute thing, I'd do whatever you like. Who's the chump you're with?"

"A friend."

"Whatever." He headed toward a table. "This is Leon's favorite table. Have a seat, and I'll send some girls over."

They followed. After they sat, McKenzie asked, "Is it safe to sit here?"

Logan grinned. "Probably not the most sanitary thing you ever sat on, but it's okay. You got a job offer out of this."

She slapped his arm. "Hush."

A few minutes later, three young women walked over. A tall, slender blonde offered her hand and said, "I'm Daisy." She pointed to a brunette, "This is Delilah and the next to her is Buttercup. How can we help?"

"I'm Mac Morgan, and I'd like to know how well you know Leon Whitmore?"

"Not really well. He's a sweet man. We've tried to engage him in activities." She winked. "If you know what I mean, but he can't perform."

McKenzie wrinkled her nose. "Can't perform?" She turned and watched Delilah stare at Logan licking her lips.

"Most of the time he can't get it up. When he does, it lasts maybe twenty seconds. I think he comes here hoping one of the times he'll actually have success."

"Has anybody suggested he go to a doctor?" McKenzie's gaze followed Delilah to a pole where she began dancing and motioning for Logan to move closer.

"That's not our job. We just service the willing and able."

As Delilah returned and whispered in Logan's ear, he said, "Sorry Ma'am. I'm not interested."

McKenzie stood. "I think I've got all the information I need. Thank you." She touched Logan's hand. "Ready?"

As he nodded, Delilah said, "Big guy, please return. I'll service you for free."

Logan and McKenzie continued toward the door.

"I think Delilah has a thing for you. If I'm not mistaken, she tried to seduce you," she teased. "Did it work?"

Logan faced her. "What do you think?"

"Thank you for putting up with it. As always you were a gentleman."

He put his arm around her, pulled her close, and kissed her cheek. "About a week ago, I described what I was looking for in a wife. Did Delilah have any of those qualities?" When McKenzie answered no, Logan continued, "You're right. If you haven't noticed, I am old-fashioned type of guy."

At the car, they both paused. Logan was the first to speak, "Was the car guarded?"

"It was supposed to be. How do we know?"

Logan knelt. "I'll do my own search."

McKenzie joined him.

A few moments later, two plain clothes officers jogged over to them. "We were standing in the shade." The taller one pointed to the tree. "Nobody came near the car. It's safe."

"You sure?" asked Logan. "That tree's a few hundred feet away."

"I'm sure, but we'll help check it."

On the way home, McKenzie glanced at her phone. "It's getting late. Want to stop and get something or order delivery?"

"How about a pizza? I'll make a salad? What's your favorite?"

"Pepperoni or Italian sausage. What's yours?"

"Sausage, onions, mushrooms."

McKenzie took out her phone. "It'll take us another thirty minutes to get home. I'll have them deliver it in, what forty-five minutes?" After Logan nodded, she ordered an X-large sausage, onion, and mushroom pizza."

When McKenzie hung up, Logan teased, "An X-large? What were you thinking?"

"How hungry I am."




Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou local name for St. Louis
Simon Knight and Sheila Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician. Sheila's his wife.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league
baseball team.
Yadi What Cardinal fans call Tadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
George Whitney A former boyfriend of Megan, early suspect in her murger.
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez his wife is Lucy Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.
Kate Hartford Megan Nelson's friend they taught middle school
together.
Donny Carlton A man Megan Nelson dated.
Mitch Gardner St. Louis Police Department detective who has
partnered with McKenzie's dad.
Ivan Smart A bad guy
Peter and Nancy Nelson Logan's parents
Sidney Parks works for the St. Louis Police Detective with the drug unit.
Mack and Helen Morgan McKenzie's parents - both deceased
Gus Piper McKenzie's abusive grandfather - deceased
Austin Bryant an old boyfriend - McKenzie broke up with him because he's a jerk.
Joshua Davis so far a nobody, but is a neighbor to Donny Carlton
Mark Young an acquaintance of McKenzie, a state trooper, and will become important much later in the novel

Author Notes Thank you google imagines for a photo of sausage, onion, and mushroom pizza. Before church this morning, I made some major changes in this post. I hope I didn't mess it up. I really appreciate your help. This post is a little over 1600 words. I hope you don't mind the length. Logan and McKenzie continue their search for Megan's murder as they get closer to becoming a couple.
Thank you for your generous support.


Chapter 56
St. Louis Chapter 24 part 1

By barbara.wilkey

I'm happy to announce that 'Under Siege on the Rockin' A' is finally published. You can find it on Amazon.com. You probably don't recognize the title. Maybe this will refresh your memory.
Sonsee-array 'Soni' Adler inherited the Rockin' A ranch from her father. Flying her helicopter home from Laredo she discovers a mysterious injured man, Jim Burn, and brings him home for medical attention. He refuses a doctor, so Soni calls her grandfather, a Lipan Apache medicine man, Kuruk, to heal him back to health. Soni finds herself in the middle of three battles during this novel.
First, I-10 runs through the Rockin' A. Numerous drug cartels battle
over ownership of this territory. This ranch is the battleground.
The second problem: somebody attempts to forcibly take the ranch
from her. The ranch's ownership comes into play.
Finally, the mysterious Jim Burns: who is he? Who does he work for? What part does he play with all of this?
Siege of the Rockin' A weaves together an irresistible tale of romance
through history, Apache beliefs, and events taken from today's
headlines. Readers will be enthralled from the first page to the last.


It's very early Saturday morning. McKenzie and Logan have known each other 11 days.

Ending of Previous Post:

On the way home, McKenzie glanced at her phone. "It's getting late. Want to stop and get something or order delivery?"

"How about a pizza? I'll make a salad? What's your favorite?"

"Pepperoni or Italian sausage. What's yours?"

"Sausage, onions, mushrooms."

McKenzie took out her phone. "It'll take us another thirty minutes to get home. I'll have them deliver it in, what forty-five minutes?" After Logan nodded, she ordered an X-large sausage, onion, and mushroom pizza."

When McKenzie hung up, Logan teased, "An X-large? What were you thinking?"

"How hungry I am."

TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 24 PART 1

McKenzie tossed and turned, slept a little here and a little there. Finally, about three-fifty she climbed out of bed, put on some pajama bottoms, and walked halfway down the stairs. She sat and watched Logan do one armed push-ups. So that's how he maintains those muscles. She continued to watch.

Arlo ran up to Logan and licked his face.

"Hey little buddy, what's wrong? You want out?"

Arlo ran to the stairs, wagging his tail.

Logan stood and followed him. "I see I have a voyeur." He offered his hand to help her up. "Can't sleep?"

She accepted it. "Not really. What's your excuse?"

"I don't require a lot of sleep, remember?"

Edger lumbered up to him with his leash in his mouth.

"You have my dogs spoiled rotten. I'm never getting up at this hour to run with them."

"I'll tell you what. Why don't you sit beside me on the couch? Maybe you'll fall back to sleep. After you do, I'll go for a run with the dogs. Deal?"

They walked over to the couch and sat.

"Sounds good." She laid her head against his arm. "How far do you run?"

"Seven to ten miles, depending on the day."

"So, my five miles is wimpy?"

"Not really, it was a good workout." He put his arm around her and kissed the top of her head. "Go back to sleep."

"You did your workout and then ran with me, didn't you?"

"Guilty as charged. Good night."

"Logan?"

He put his finger to her lips. "Shh." He grinned. I've learned how grumpy you can be without sleep. "We'll talk in the morning."

After she fell asleep, he covered her and kissed her forehead. "I'll be back before you wake up."

*****
When Logan and the dogs returned from their run, he let them outside, made a pot of coffee, and then went upstairs to shower. He was back downstairs before McKenzie woke up and poured himself a large cup of black coffee and then sat beside her.

About seven o'clock, McKenzie stirred. "Good morning." Logan set down his phone. "Ready to start your day?"

"I thought you were going for a run?"

"We did, didn't we guys?"

"You're talking to my dogs, again."

"Ready for coffee, or you want to wait a little while?

"I'll get ready and then come back for it."

"I'll have a fresh pot by then. Today's clean house day, right?"

"It is. I'll start laundry when I come down. You can add stuff if you want to."

"I've been keeping up with it in the mornings."

"Figures."

*****
Around noon most of the housework was finished, and during lunch McKenzie asked, "Did you think Delilah was pretty?"

"Is that what kept you from sleeping last night?"

"Not really. In case you haven't noticed, there's been a lot going on."

"I noticed. That's why your question surprised me. There's a lot more to worry about than that."

McKenzie tilted her head. "Did you?"

"No, I didn't find her attractive."

"Why not? Her figure was almost perfect. Everything about her was perfect."

Logan took a drink of water. "She was made up. Her make-up was caked on. I'm betting her figure was bought. I prefer more natural beauty, someone like you."

Her eyebrows rose. "What?"

"You heard me. I think you're much prettier than she'll ever be. I'm not the only man who thinks that. Every time we go someplace, I've noticed how the men stare at you. They're envious that I'm with you. That's real beauty."

"But..."

"But, nothing," interrupted Logan. "Finish your lunch. We need to do a grocery list." He paused. "Think we can go shopping tomorrow? Since we ordered pizza last night, I still have your special dinner to make."

Ignoring what he just said, McKenzie asked, "Do you really think I'm pretty?"

He got up, walked over to her, cupped her face in his hands, and stared into her eyes. "Yes, I do."

Both heads turned as somebody knocked on the door.



Another question::: I am working on a title for the novel I finished about the Shana and Anderson. The title I'm leaning toward is 'Love's Kosher Quandry'. Unfortunately, my husband says it sounds like I'm ordering a kosher hotdog from a convenient gas station. What do you all think?

Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou local name for St. Louis
Simon Knight and Sheila Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician. Sheila's his wife.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league
baseball team.
Yadi What Cardinal fans call Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
George Whitney A former boyfriend of Megan, early suspect in her murger.
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez his wife is Lucy Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.
Kate Hartford Megan Nelson's friend they taught middle school
together.
Donny Carlton A man Megan Nelson dated.
Mitch Gardner St. Louis Police Department detective who has
partnered with McKenzie's dad.
Ivan Smart A bad guy
Peter and Nancy Nelson Logan's parents
Sidney Parks works for the St. Louis Police Detective with the drug unit.
Mack and Helen Morgan McKenzie's parents - both deceased
Gus Piper McKenzie's abusive grandfather - deceased
Austin Bryant an old boyfriend - McKenzie broke up with him because he's a jerk.
Joshua Davis so far a nobody, but is a neighbor to Donny Carlton
Mark Young an acquaintance of McKenzie, a state trooper, and will become important much later in the novel

Author Notes Thank you google imagines for a photo Edger and Arlo. I really appreciate your help. This post is a little under 700 words. Logan and McKenzie continue their search for Megan's murder as they get closer to becoming a couple.
Thank you for your generous support.


Chapter 57
St. Louis Chapter 24 part 2

By barbara.wilkey

I'm happy to announce that 'Under Siege on the Rockin' A' is finally published. You can find it on Amazon.com. You probably don't recognize the title.

It's Saturday afternoon. McKenzie and Logan have known each other 11 days.

Ending of Previous Post:


"No, I didn't find her attractive."

"Why not? Her figure was almost perfect. Everything about her was perfect."

Logan took a drink of water. "She was made up. Her make-up was caked on. I'm betting her figure was bought. I prefer more natural beauty, someone like you."

Her eyebrows rose. "What?"

"You heard me. I think you're much prettier than she'll ever be. I'm not the only man who thinks that. Every time we go someplace, I've noticed how the men stare at you. They're envious that I'm with you. That's real beauty."

"But..."

"But, nothing," interrupted Logan. "Finish your lunch. We need to do a grocery list." He paused. "Think we can go shopping tomorrow? Since we ordered pizza last night, I still have your special dinner to make."

Ignoring what he just said, McKenzie asked, "Do you really think I'm pretty?"

He got up, walked over to her, cupped her face in his hands, and stared into her eyes. "Yes, I do."

Both heads turned as somebody knocked on the door.


TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 24 PART 2

Logan greeted Mitch at the door. "By the look on your face, I'd say this isn't good."

"It's not." Mitch walked into the room. "Have any coffee ready? I could use about four cups."

"I just made a fresh pot." Logan poured a large mug. "What's going on?"

McKenzie stood. "It's not Bill, is it?"

He put his arm around her and squeezed. "He's fine." His gaze averted to Logan. "I heard that yesterday you stopped by the Irish Pub where Mac was drugged, and he gave you a surveillance tape."

"We did. Why?" asked Logan.

"When the cleaning crew came in early this morning, they found him on the floor."

McKenzie's hand covered her mouth. "Is he alive?"

"He is, but badly beaten. He said they wanted to know what you wanted."

Logan sighed. "Can he identify them?"

"Nope. They wore masks. Where's the tape?"

She pointed to the den. "In my safe. We made a few copies so we could give Bill the original. He hasn't come by. I'm sure he'll be by later. There's a man peering in the window. We think its Parks but can't tell for sure. We're hoping the lab can clear up the image."

When a knock sounded at the door, Mitch said, "That's probably Bill. He was close behind." Mitch went to the door.

Bill entered and hugged McKenzie. "You need to be extra cautious. Whoever this is has upped their game." He acknowledged Logan with a nod. "We need to make a list of everybody who's important to both of you so we can ensure their safety."

Logan removed his phone. "I'll call Simon and then my parents."

McKenzie did the same. "I've got Jose."

Mitch and Bill sat around the table, drank coffee, and discussed logistics.

When McKenzie and Logan returned, Logan said, "Mom and Dad thought about taking a vacation, but they're still waiting for Megan's body to be released. Simon's sending Sheila and the kids to her parent's outside the city. He's staying in case he's needed. He says his gut tells him he will." He answered Mitch and Bill's raised eyebrows. "He served with me. He can handle himself."

"Jose's sending his wife to her parents in Puerto Rico," offered McKenzie. "He's staying too." She went toward the den. "I'll get that disc." When she returned, she handed it to Bill. "This is the original. I thought it would be easier to clean up. We want the guy peering through the window. We think its Parks, but don't know for sure. Maybe the lab can do face recognition on the other three. One of the men approached me outside a coffee shop a few days ago."

"We'll see if the lab can work their magic. I'll make sure nothing happens to this. I don't want another fiasco, like the bugs."

McKenzie studied her feet. "Bill, I'd like to visit --, I don't even know his name."

Mitch offered, "Patrick O'Malley."

"I'd like to visit Mr. O'Malley in the hospital. He shouldn't have been beaten because of me. It's not right. I need to tell him that."

Bill put his hand over hers. "It's not your fault. I don't think today would be a good day. How about tomorrow."

"Thank you." She got up, walked toward the backdoor. "The dogs need out. I'm going with them."

The three men nodded.

*****

After McKenzie was out of hearing range, Bill asked, "How's she doing?"

Logan ran his hand through his military cut hair. "About like you'd expect. She's holding it together unless she's alone. She has this need to be tough. She doesn't want anybody to see any weakness in her."

Mitch said, "She looks tired. How's she sleeping?"

"She's not. A few hours at a time here and there." Logan glanced toward the back door. "She's probably crying and doesn't want either of you to know it."

Bill stood. "You've figured her out pretty good. I'll talk with her."

Logan came up beside him. "No offense, Bill, but I've been with her through this. We've become pretty close. Let me go."

"She's letting you see her vulnerable?" After Logan nodded, Bill continued, "She never showed any emotion after her parents were murdered. I always thought everything would come out at once." He thought for a minute. "If she's allowing you in-" he sighed, "she cares about you, a lot. Don't hurt her."

"I'm not planning on it." Logan walked outside.

*****

When McKenzie heard the door shut, she glanced at Logan and quickly dried her eyes. "I'm not crying."

"I know." Logan walked closer to her. "Mitch and Bill are worried."

She wiped her damp cheek. "I'm surprised Bill's not out here."

He pulled her into a hug. "I talked him into letting me come."

"Thank you." She cuddled in and was silent for a few moments. "I'm not crying."

"I know, but if you felt like it, it would be okay."

"People are in danger because of me, and I don't even know why. Maybe I need to go to Parks and turn myself in." Logan stepped back and glared at her as she continued, "I can't allow anybody else to be hurt." Tears tumbled down her cheeks.

"I won't allow you do to that. It's not the answer. Together we'll figure this out."

She clung to him tighter. "I hope so."

He kissed the top her head. So do I.

*****


After Bill and Mitch left, McKenzie sat on the couch with a dog on each side.

Logan stood in the doorway and fingered a coin, tossing it in the air. "A penny for your thoughts."

She reached up and caught it. "I seriously doubt you'd want to know my thoughts. They're random and all over the place."

He sat in a chair. "Try me." He watched her. "What's the first thing on your mind?"

"I'm wondering how I got in this mess. I'm wondering if there's any way I can solve your sister's murder. I'm wondering if any more people are going to be harmed because of me." McKenzie's eyes met his. "I'm wondering what am I going to do when you go back to Fort Bragg?" She bit her bottom lip. "I'm going to miss you -- a lot."

Logan moved Edger aside, "Sorry, big guy." He took her hand in his. "I'm going to miss you a lot too. You've become very important to me." Hearing a knock, he glanced at the door. "Hmm? I wonder who this is."

After he answered, a man asked, "Are you Major Logan Nelson?" When he said he was, the man continued, "I have a special delivery letter for you. Please sign here."

Logan signed. When he turned around, McKenzie stood behind him. "What was that about? Is it from your unit?"

"I don't know. I doubt it's from them. There's no return address."

Logan walked to the kitchen and set the envelope on the table. "Before I open it, I'll start the potatoes. They take a while to bake."

McKenzie sat at the table and fingered it. "It's not good, is it?"

"Probably not. I can't imagine anything good showing up special delivery on a Saturday. If it was good, we'd already know about it." He sat across from her. "Hand it over." He opened it and began to read silently.

"Are you going to share?"

"If I have a choice, no I'm not."

"Logan? Does it concern me? Will it affect me?"

He passed her the letter. "I don't have a choice, do I?"

Her eyes met his. "I guess not." Her hands trembled as she unfolded and read it, Leave now, or receive the same fate as your sister. Tears entered her eyes as she got her computer.

"What are you doing?"

"Making you a reservation on the next flight to Fort Bragg."


Another question::: I am working on a title for the novel I finished about the Shana and Anderson. I'm still working on an acceptable title. LOL. My new choices are: 'Shana's Quandary' or Shana's Protector'. Any thoughts?/B>

Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou local name for St. Louis
Simon Knight and Sheila Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician. Sheila's his wife.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league
baseball team.
Yadi What Cardinal fans call Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
George Whitney A former boyfriend of Megan, early suspect in her murger.
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez his wife is Lucy Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.
Kate Hartford Megan Nelson's friend they taught middle school
together.
Donny Carlton A man Megan Nelson dated.
Mitch Gardner St. Louis Police Department detective who has
partnered with McKenzie's dad.
Ivan Smart A bad guy
Peter and Nancy Nelson Logan's parents
Sidney Parks works for the St. Louis Police Detective with the drug unit.
Mack and Helen Morgan McKenzie's parents - both deceased
Gus Piper McKenzie's abusive grandfather - deceased
Austin Bryant an old boyfriend - McKenzie broke up with him because he's a jerk.
Joshua Davis so far a nobody, but is a neighbor to Donny Carlton
Mark Young an acquaintance of McKenzie, a state trooper, and will become important much later in the novel

Author Notes Thank you google imagines for a photo 'SPECIAL DELIVERY. I really appreciate your help. This post is a little over 1300 words. I hope you don't mind the length. Logan and McKenzie continue their search for Megan's murder as they get closer to becoming a couple.
Thank you for your generous support.


Chapter 58
St. Louis Chapter 24 part 3

By barbara.wilkey

It's Saturday evening. McKenzie and Logan have known each other 11 days.

Ending of Previous Post:

"I'm wondering how I got in this mess. I'm wondering if there's any way I can solve your sister's murder. I'm wondering if any more people are going to be harmed because of me." McKenzie's eyes met his. "I'm wondering what am I going to do when you go back to Fort Bragg?" She bit her bottom lip. "I'm going to miss you -- a lot."

Logan moved Edger aside, "Sorry, big guy." He took her hand in his. "I'm going to miss you a lot too. You've become very important to me." Hearing a knock, he glanced at the door. "Hmm? I wonder who this is."

After he answered, a man asked, "Are you Major Logan Nelson?" When he said he was, the man continued, "I have a special delivery letter for you. Please sign here."

Logan signed. When he turned around, McKenzie stood behind him. "What was that about? Is it from your unit?"

"I don't know. I doubt it's from them. There's no return address."

Logan walked to the kitchen and set the envelope on the table. "Before I open it, I'll start the potatoes. They take a while to bake."

McKenzie sat at the table and fingered it. "It's not good, is it?"

"Probably not. I can't imagine anything good showing up special delivery on a Saturday. If it was good, we'd already know about it." He sat across from her. "Hand it over." He opened it and began to read silently.

"Are you going to share?"

"If I have a choice, no I'm not."

"Logan? Does it concern me? Will it affect me?"

He passed her the letter. "I don't have a choice, do I?"

Her eyes met his. "I guess not." Her hands trembled as she unfolded and read it, Leave now, or receive the same fate as your sister. Tears entered her eyes as she got her computer.

"What are you doing?"

"Making you a reservation on the next flight to Fort Bragg."

TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 24 PART 3

Logan reached over and closed the computer. "I'm not going anywhere."

"You're not staying here." McKenzie wiped a tear rolling down her cheek. "I..." she struggled to get the words out, "I can't be responsible for anything happening to you."

He got up and offered her a hand. "Come here." He held her and kissed her forehead. "I'm not leaving you to fight this by yourself. You're stuck with me."

"Why risk your safety?"

"I've grown very fond of you in the past eleven days. Can we leave it at that?"

McKenzie nodded. "Okay, but we need to tell Bill or Mitch. They need to get a hold of the delivery service and find out who mailed this letter. There might be a trail." She wiped tears as she took out her phone and called Bill.

Logan took her phone. "Let me talk to him." After he explained the situation to Bill and passed McKenzie back her phone, he said, "Bill will be here first thing in the morning." He paused. "Is it all right, if I start dinner or do you have other plans?"

McKenzie glanced toward the stairs. "Unless you need my help, I think I'll go to my room."

"I can handle it." He checked his watch. "Everything should be ready in about an hour and half. The twice baked potatoes take a while."

On her way upstairs, McKenzie said over her shoulder, "If there's anything I can help with, call."

*****

Almost an hour later, McKenzie entered the kitchen. "Everything smells good."

Logan glanced up from mixing the potatoes and noticed her sweatpants and T-shirt. I'm glad she's comfortable. I'm hoping tonight helps her relax.

She noticed the already set table. "I was going to ask if I get the plates and silverware, but I see you have everything under control. Is there anything I can do?"

He pointed to a chair. "You can have a seat and visit with me. Can I get you something to drink? I made fresh lemonade." He held out his hand. "First, give me your phone."

Handing it to him, she asked, "Why?"

"Because I'm going to do everything I can to help you relax." Logan handed her a filled glass.

She took a sip and sat. "This is good." She continued watching Logan finish dinner.

*****

McKenzie took a bite of the grilled steak and set her fork down. "Why did you go through so much trouble? This is really nice. It's great, but you didn't need to do this much."

Logan took a drink. "I feel you've been under a lot of stress and I thought maybe a nice dinner and some quiet time would help you relax. Nothing work related tonight. Deal?" He held up his hand for her to slap.

She did. "Deal."

After a few moments of silence, McKenzie, said, "Since you're willing to risk your life for me, I feel I need to know you a little better."

Logan's eyes widened. "Oh really?" He took a bite and then continued, "Okay, what would you like to know?"

Thinking for a few moments, she said, "I'll start with easy questions. What's your favorite color?"

"Glad you're not tasking my brain. Before I answer, you also have to answer the same questions." After she agreed, he continued, "Blue, and I'd guess your favorite is light blue. Am I right?"

"How did you know that?" McKenzie snapped, "Why have you been in my bedroom?"

"I've carried you to bed a few times. I've used the shower after working out. As far as I know, the only shower you have is upstairs. Do you have another one?"

"I don't." With a deep sigh, she said, "Of course, you've been in my room. I should've known that. Sorry."

"Not a problem. What else would you like to know?"

"What do you do to relax?"

"Work-out and watch baseball or really any sports. How about you? You can't say work-out. I've already claimed it."

"Then I'll have to say play with my dogs and watch the Cardinals."

"There has to be something else. What else do you like to do?"

McKenzie scanned the room. "I don't know." Logan encouraged her to continue so she added, "I like listening to music. I enjoy dancing, but really haven't been in years."

"We danced a few nights ago."

"True, but with Jose getting shot, it didn't really have a good ending, did it?"

"It didn't, but we can change that. Would you like that?"

She tilted her head. "Maybe, but I doubt that could happen." She set her fork down. "This was good, but I'm full. I can't eat another bite."

Logan reached over and took her plate. "Take a break while I take care of the dishes."

McKenzie stood. "Our agreement was you cook, and I do the dishes."

"Not tonight. I've got this. You're supposed to relax." Logan grinned. "Now get." He continued with the dishes.

*****

When the dishes were done, Logan walked into the den and saw McKenzie sitting cross-legged on top of the desk staring at the bulletin board. "I thought we weren't going to think about work tonight."

"I feel I'm close to solving Megan's murder. I'm just missing one little piece that ties it all together."

He held out his hand for her to take. "Come on, let's dance."

With raised eyebrows, she took his hand. "Dance?"

"I have it set up. I just need a partner." Once in the living room, Logan turned on the radio. "I Googled dance music. If you don't like the channel, tell me and I'll find something else."

McKenzie grinned as she scanned the living room. "I like your creative dance floor."

Logan bowed. "May I have this dance?"

"Yes, you may, kind sir."

After the first dance, McKenzie's gaze met Logan's eyes. "Thank you for tonight. You were right. I needed this."

"You're welcome. I'll always do what I can."

She moved closer as they danced. "I know."

The dancing continued throughout the evening. Eventually, McKenzie rested her head against Logan's chest. "You're..."

"Comfortable," interrupted Logan as he kissed the top of her head. "You've mentioned it before."

McKenzie looked up and stared into his eyes. Their gaze continued, as their bodies swayed to the music. Slowly their lips met. The kiss lingered. A second kiss followed.

She stepped back and whispered, "I need to go to my room."

Logan nodded and watched her walk up the stairs.

As Logan petted Edger's head, he said, "I wonder if I messed up. What do you think, big guy? You know her better than me." He faced the back door. "Come on. I'll let you two out."

Thank you Brad Paisley. Maybe Logan and McKenzie danced to something like this.





Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou local name for St. Louis
Simon Knight and Sheila Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician. Sheila's his wife.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league
baseball team.
Yadi What Cardinal fans call Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
George Whitney A former boyfriend of Megan, early suspect in her murger.
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez his wife is Lucy Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.
Kate Hartford Megan Nelson's friend they taught middle school
together.
Donny Carlton A man Megan Nelson dated.
Mitch Gardner St. Louis Police Department detective who has
partnered with McKenzie's dad.
Ivan Smart A bad guy
Peter and Nancy Nelson Logan's parents
Sidney Parks works for the St. Louis Police Detective with the drug unit.
Mack and Helen Morgan McKenzie's parents - both deceased
Gus Piper McKenzie's abusive grandfather - deceased
Austin Bryant an old boyfriend - McKenzie broke up with him because he's a jerk.
Joshua Davis so far a nobody, but is a neighbor to Donny Carlton
Mark Young an acquaintance of McKenzie, a state trooper, and will become important much later in the novel

Author Notes Thank you google imagines for a silhouette of a couple dancing. I really appreciate your help. This post is a little over 1,100 words. I hope you don't mind the length. Logan and McKenzie continue their search for Megan's murder as they get closer to becoming a couple.
Thank you for your generous support.


Chapter 59
St. Louis Chapter 25 part 1

By barbara.wilkey

It's Sunday morning. McKenzie and Logan have known each other 12 days.

Ending of Previous Post:

The dancing continued throughout the evening. Eventually, McKenzie rested her head against Logan's chest. "You're..."

"Comfortable," interrupted Logan as he kissed the top of her head. "You've mentioned it before."

McKenzie looked up and stared into his eyes. Their gaze continued, as their bodies swayed to the music. Slowly their lips met. The kiss lingered. A second kiss followed.

She stepped back and whispered, "I need to go to my room."

Logan nodded and watched her walk up the stairs.

As Logan petted Edger's head, he said, "I wonder if I messed up. What do you think, big guy? You know her better than me." He faced the back door. "Come on. I'll let you two out."


TODAY'S POST:


ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 25 PART 1

Early the following morning, Logan returned from his run with the dogs. On his way to the shower, he glanced in McKenzie's room and grinned. It looks like she slept well. That's good. She needed it. He showered and returned downstairs.

After his second cup of coffee, Logan answered the door and greeted Bill. "What are you doing here this early on a Sunday morning? Mac's not up yet."

"I wanted to speak with you." Bill accepted the offered coffee. "Thank you." Taking a few sips of the hot liquid, he continued, "I needed that. First, can I see the message you received?"

Logan retrieved the paper and handed it to Bill. "Hopefully you can find out who sent it or maybe some fingerprints."

Bill carefully handled the paper. "I'm hoping so, too." He took another sip. "There's no way I can convince you not to jog until we figure out who's doing this, is there?"

Refilling his coffee cup, Logan took a long drink. "I feel we already know who's in charge. That would be Sidney Parks." His eyes met Bill's. "I understand we can't prove it, yet. As for me not jogging, that's not an option."

McKenzie joined the two men and kissed Bill's cheek. "Let me get this straight. I can't jog in the mornings, but it's acceptable for Logan. Why? Parks has made a threat against him. Are we talking a double standard?"

Bill went over to get more coffee. "Mac, would you like a cup?" After she acknowledged she would, he poured her one then continued, "I don't want either of you jogging so you need to argue this with each other."

Logan studied McKenzie before he attempted to reason with her. "Because I'm in the military, I'm required to remain in shape, even on leave. I don't have any warning when I might be deployed. I could get a call within the next ten minutes or tomorrow that I need to leave. The safety of my team and myself could depend on me remaining in shape."

"I understand that. I'm not in the military, but my safety and the safety of anyone I work with depends on me staying in shape."

Bill's gaze alternated between Logan and McKenzie. "You both have made very good points, and I do understand."

"I have been in many more dangerous cities than St. Louis, Missouri. North Korea, Western Africa, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, many South American countries, and Afghanistan. Not to mention secret missions I'm not allowed to discuss."

McKenzie released a deep sigh. "I'm going to lose this argument, aren't I?"

Patting her hand, Bill said, "I'm afraid so, Honey."

"Then can I at least have some breakfast?"

Logan chuckled. "That I can take care of. What do you feel like?"

"Surprise me." She turned, walked to a closet, and opened a door.

Both men watched her walk away. Bill whispered, "What's going on? She's never given in that easy on anything in her entire life."

"I have no idea," answered Logan. He set a skillet on the stove as he continued to watch McKenzie.

Finally Bill asked, "What are you looking for?"

She held up a box. "I found it. Mom's hobby was needlepoint. I figured I need a new occupation. Maybe if I practice enough I can do needlepoint and sell it at a craft store. Do you think it'll be a safe enough occupation for me? I do need an income. My bills need to be paid." Her gaze alternated between the two men.

"My office will continue with you on the payroll. You're still my go to detective when I need one."

"If I'm not allowed to do my job, I won't be of any use, will I? I won't accept pity income."

Logan stepped in front of Bill and whispered to him, "I got this." He took the box from her and set it on the floor. "I have an idea for today. We'll eat breakfast and then go to the hospital." He glanced at Bill before he continued, "While I finish breakfast, you can set up an appointment with Mrs. Whitmore and give her the information you've discovered. After that, we can go to the gym." He took her hand. "Since Vince won't be available, can you still use the JKD mats?" When she nodded, he said, "Good. I happen to be an instructor. We can work-out and then spar. That will keep you in top condition. Deal?"

"I think that'll work. I doubt I should meet with Mrs. Whitmore on a Sunday. I can set up that for tomorrow." McKenzie faced Bill. "Can we at least do that? We've done it before."

"I'll agree to that." Bill walked over to McKenzie. "I need to stop by the office." He held up the message Logan had received. "I want this in the safe and then tomorrow I'll hand it over to the lab. Joanie's waiting for me." He glanced at his watch. "I need to hurry. She hates to be late for church." He kissed McKenzie's cheek. "See you probably later today. Tomorrow morning for sure. What time you going to the hospital?"

Logan pointed to McKenzie. "Any idea?"

"I was thinking about one o'clock. It would probably be the best."

"I'll make sure there are plenty of back-ups. See you two later." Bill left.

Logan went into the kitchen. "I'll get breakfast started. Any preference?"

"Anything will be fine." McKenzie chewed on her bottom lip. "Thank you for last night."

"I'm sure until this mess ends, we'll need a few more special nights. What do you think?"

"I agree." She turned. "I'll be in the den if you need me." Soon she yelled to Logan, "Tomorrow, I need to check with Mitch about Megan's texts."

"I would think he'd have them any day."



Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou local name for St. Louis
Simon Knight and Sheila Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician. Sheila's his wife.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league
baseball team.
Yadi What Cardinal fans call Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
George Whitney A former boyfriend of Megan, early suspect in her murger.
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez his wife is Lucy Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.
Kate Hartford Megan Nelson's friend they taught middle school
together.
Donny Carlton A man Megan Nelson dated.
Mitch Gardner St. Louis Police Department detective who has
partnered with McKenzie's dad.
Ivan Smart A bad guy
Peter and Nancy Nelson Logan's parents
Sidney Parks works for the St. Louis Police Detective with the drug unit.
Mack and Helen Morgan McKenzie's parents - both deceased
Gus Piper McKenzie's abusive grandfather - deceased
Austin Bryant an old boyfriend - McKenzie broke up with him because he's a jerk.
Joshua Davis so far a nobody, but is a neighbor to Donny Carlton
Mark Young an acquaintance of McKenzie, a state trooper, and will become important much later in the novel

Author Notes Thank you google imagines for the photo of needlepoint. I really appreciate your help. This post is a little under 1,000 words. I hope you don't mind the length. Logan and McKenzie continue their search for Megan's murder as they get closer to becoming a couple.
Thank you for your generous support.


Chapter 60
St. Louis Chapter 25 part 2

By barbara.wilkey

It's Sunday afternoon. McKenzie and Logan have known each other 12 days.

Ending of Previous Post:

"If I'm not allowed to do my job, I won't be of any use, will I? I won't accept pity income."

Logan stepped in front of Bill and whispered to him, "I got this." He took the box from her and set it on the floor. "I have an idea for today. We'll eat breakfast and then go to the hospital." He glanced at Bill before he continued, "While I finish breakfast, you can set up an appointment with Mrs. Whitmore and give her the information you've discovered. After that, we can go to the gym." He took her hand. "Since Vince won't be available, can you still use the JKD mats?" When she nodded, he said, "Good. I happen to be an instructor. We can work-out and then spar. That will keep you in top condition. Deal?"

"I think that'll work. I doubt I should meet with Mrs. Whitmore on a Sunday. I can set up that for tomorrow." McKenzie faced Bill. "Can we at least do that? We've done it before."

"I'll agree to that." Bill walked over to McKenzie. "I need to stop by the office." He held up the message Logan had received. "I want this in the safe and then tomorrow I'll hand it over to the lab. Joanie's waiting for me." He glanced at his watch. "I need to hurry. She hates to be late for church." He kissed McKenzie's cheek. "See you probably later today. Tomorrow morning for sure. What time you going to the hospital?"

"I was thinking about one o'clock. It would probably be the best."

"I'll make sure there are plenty of back-ups. See you two later." Bill left.

Logan went into the kitchen. "I'll get breakfast started. Any preference?"

"Anything will be fine." McKenzie chewed on her bottom lip. "Thank you for last night."

"I'm sure until this mess ends, we'll need a few more special nights. What do you think?"

"I agree." She turned. "I'll be in the den if you need me." Soon she yelled to Logan, "Tomorrow, I need to check with Mitch about Megan's texts."

"I would think he'd have them any day."

TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 25 PART 2

About one-fifteen P.M. Logan and McKenzie cleared police security and knocked on Patrick O'Malley's hospital door. He leaned forward and offered his hand. "Major Nelson, come in. I see you have a lassie with you."

Logan put his hand on the small of McKenzie's back. "I do. Mr. O'Malley, I'd like you to meet McKenzie Morgan." After they shook hands, Logan continued, "We heard what happened and wanted to let you know how sorry we are that you got caught up in this mess."

McKenzie stepped closer. "I am so sorry this happened. What did they want?"

"They wanted to see the surveillance tape I gave your friend. I refused." He motioned to his bandages. "You can see where it went from there. I never did give them the tape."

Logan said, "Thank you, we appreciate that. We handed the tape over to the police. Their lab is trying to identify the man outside watching through the window. Do you have any idea who did this?"

Patrick shook his head. "Nope. They wore masks. Just three chicken goons. Only one of them spoke. My guts tells me the other two were the two who drugged you, but I can't prove it."

"If we can get these guys in a line-up, could you identify the voice?" Logan paused. "The tape gives clear pictures of the two men who drugged Mac. We asked for facial recognition, but don't have an answer, yet."

He nodded. "I think I'd recognize his voice." He reached out to take McKenzie's hand. "I'm sorry you got drugged in my establishment. It was busy that night, and I wasn't paying attention to what happened. I'm glad your friend arrived when he did. I hate thinking about what could have happened to you. It's my responsibility to keep customers safe in my business. I'm sorry."

"It was my fault. I should've paid more attention to my drink. I knew better, but got careless. I don't blame you. It's my fault." She took Logan's hand and her eyes met his. "I'm glad he came to my rescue too."

Logan put his arm around her shoulders and gave a gentle squeeze but addressed Patrick, "Is there anything you need?"

"Yes. Catch these guys and make sure they pay."

McKenzie smiled. "We intend to do just that, right Logan?"

He nodded. "That we do."

As the doctor entered, all turned toward him. Logan nodded. "I guess we need to leave. We'll come by tomorrow and see how you're doing."

"Good. I hope you'll have news about these goons."

"So do I." McKenzie accepted Logan's offered hand. "Good bye. We'll be by tomorrow."

*****
At the gym and after having changed into workout clothes, Logan asked, "Treadmill or mats first?"

"Treadmill. I want to run off some frustration."

Logan grinned. "I want you to. I don't want you taking your frustration out on me."

On the treadmill, McKenzie started with a slow walk. After a few minutes, she pressed the button to speed it up and then stopped. "You kissed me last night."

"I did, twice."

She restarted with a slow jog. "Why?"

"Because I wanted to."

McKenzie was at a full run. "I guess that's as good a reason as any."

Logan chuckled. "I guess so."

After about forty-five minutes of running, McKenzie slowed the treadmill. "Do you plan on kissing me again?"

"Probably, if the occasion arises."

"Okay." She stopped her treadmill and stretched. "Ready for the mat?"

"Give me a minute." He grabbed two bottles of water and handed one to her. "You need to hydrate first."

On the mat they faced each other and bowed. Logan nodded for McKenzie to begin. She did, and he followed her with blocks and threw some jabs and kicks.

After a few minutes, he held up his hand to stop. "Let me show you something." He did a move with a kick and jab. "Try that. I think it would be more effective."

As she attempted the kick, he watched.

He moved beside her. "Do you mind?" When she indicated it would be all right to touch her body, he continued, "Okay jab, and then kick." He followed her jab, and as she kicked he slightly adjusted the angle of her kick. "Feel the difference?"

"I do. It feels more powerful." She tried again. "Like this?"

"You got it." He moved in front of her. "Let's restart."

After another thirty minutes they finished, drank more water, and went in the respective locker rooms to shower and change.

Logan was the first to finish and was drinking water while he waited. He noticed Mark Young watching him, and their eyes met.

Mark walked over. "Are you waiting for Mac?"

Nodding Logan said, "We just finished a workout."

He glanced out the window. "I see her security issues haven't improved any. How's she taking it?"

Logan grinned. "How do you think she's taking it?"

"Probably not good."

"You're right. At times, she does okay, then there are other times-" Logan quieted as McKenzie walked out of the locker room.

Mark leaned over and pecked her cheek. "Have a nice workout?"

"I did. How are you doing?"

"Good. I saw your friend hanging around and came over to talk with him."

She hooked her arm through Logan's. "I can't seem to get rid of him. He just keeps hanging around."

Pointing out the window, Mark said, "It's probably a good thing right now."

"I guess you're right."

Mark checked his watch. "I'd better get started. I need to be on duty in two hours. It's good to see you again." He headed toward the free weights.

Logan's eyes met McKenzie's as he asked, "Ready?"

She hesitated as she felt a tingle up her spine when he placed his hand on the small of her back. She took a drink of water. "I am now."

*****
As Logan and McKenzie walked up the sidewalk to her front steps, she said, "Something's wrong. I can feel it."

"I do too." He pushed her behind him, as he drew his weapon. He slowly opened the door.






Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou local name for St. Louis
Simon Knight and Sheila Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician. Sheila's his wife.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league
baseball team.
Yadi What Cardinal fans call Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
George Whitney A former boyfriend of Megan, early suspect in her murger.
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez his wife is Lucy Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.
Kate Hartford Megan Nelson's friend they taught middle school
together.
Donny Carlton A man Megan Nelson dated.
Mitch Gardner St. Louis Police Department detective who has
partnered with McKenzie's dad.
Ivan Smart A bad guy
Peter and Nancy Nelson Logan's parents
Sidney Parks works for the St. Louis Police Detective with the drug unit.
Mack and Helen Morgan McKenzie's parents - both deceased
Gus Piper McKenzie's abusive grandfather - deceased
Austin Bryant an old boyfriend - McKenzie broke up with him because he's a jerk.
Joshua Davis so far a nobody, but is a neighbor to Donny Carlton
Mark Young an acquaintance of McKenzie, a state trooper, and will become important much late

Author Notes Thank you google imagines for an image of a JKD stance. I really appreciate your help. This post is a little over 1,000 words. I hope you don't mind the length. Logan and McKenzie continue their search for Megan's murder as they get closer to becoming a couple.
Thank you for your generous support.


Chapter 61
St. Louis Chapter 25 part 3

By barbara.wilkey

It's Sunday afternoon. McKenzie and Logan have known each other 12 days.

Ending of Previous Post:

Logan's eyes met McKenzie's as he asked, "Ready?"

She hesitated as she felt a tingle up her spine when he placed his hand on the small of her back. She took a drink of water. "I am now."

*****
As Logan and McKenzie walked up the sidewalk to her front steps, she said, "Something's wrong. I can feel it."

"I do too." He pushed her behind him, as he drew his weapon. He slowly opened the door.

TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 26 PART 3

Logan stepped inside, shoved an end table aside, and began clearing each room.

McKenzie screamed. Edger lay motionless beside the dining room table. She pushed an upside down chair and a couch cushion aside to get to him.

Hearing her scream, two officers ran inside and scanned the room. "What happened?"

Putting his gun away Logan said, "That's what I'd like to know. Who was on duty? Look at this place. They had access to this place for quite a while to make this much of a mess. How did this happen?" He knelt beside McKenzie and petted Edger.

She pointed to the syringe. "They must have used that. We need to see if they can get prints off it." Logan went into the den and returned with a glove which she carefully used to remove the syringe." She reached over and set it on a chair. "I'll wait and give it to Bill. I know he'll be here soon." Then she tilted her head. "Where's Arlo?"

One of the officers followed the sounds of scratching and whining to the laundry room door. "In here."

The barking Dachshund ran up to her.

She petted him. "I'm sorry they did that to you." Her eyes met Logan's. "They tranquilized Edger, didn't they?" After he nodded, she continued, "Will he be all right?"

"I don't know. Do veterinarians work on Sunday? He probably needs one."

"None that I know of."

Logan took out his phone. "I have an idea." He made a phone call. After he put the phone away, he said, "Simon's on his way."

"Does he know anything about dogs?"

"I have no idea. This brute is as large as some people. Any better idea?"

Shaking her head, tears rolled down her cheeks. She laid her head on Edger's side. "He's breathing, but it's shallow."

Bill and Joanie rushed in. Bill asked, "What happened?"

Logan stood. "That's what we'd like to know. I thought there was a police detail watching this place." He released a deep breath. "I'd say somebody broke in and was searching for something. We haven't had a chance to check to see what's missing. Edger's in pretty bad shape. I have a friend coming to see if he can help." He pointed to the syringe setting on the chair. "When you leave, take that with you. It's the syringe we found in Edger."

Joanie knelt beside McKenzie and put her arm around her. "He'll be fine. He's strong and healthy."

It wasn't long before Simon entered carrying his black bag. He hugged McKenzie and then asked her to move aside so he could get close to the furry patient. "I need somebody to research vital signs for Rottweilers. It's not something I have memorized."

Joanie took out her cell phone. "I'm on it."

McKenzie picked up a couch cushion from the floor. "They sure made a mess in here." She set it in it's place and sat. Her head was in her hands.

Logan added an additional cushion and sat beside her. "Where do you think all these files and papers came from?'' When she shrugged, he took her in his arms and kissed the top of her head. "He'll be fine. I know it."

Joanie and Simon repeated numbers back and forth. Bill talked with the police detail about how this happened and how they were going to ensure it wouldn't happen again. He also assigned someone to take crime scene photos of the entire apartment. Logan continued to comfort McKenzie. Arlo lay beside his large buddy, his head resting on Edger's front paw.

Simon handed McKenzie a vial of blood. "Keep this in the fridge, take it to your vet tomorrow, and see what Edger was given. If I take the sample to my lab, we could get a reading but a vet would give a more accurate one."

After she nodded, he continued, "I think he'll be fine, but I can't be sure. I've never worked on a dog before. His heart sounds strong. His breathing is weak, but that's probably due to the tranquilizer. I'd say watch him through the night." He paused. "There are a few emergency vet clinics around the city. We could help you lift him and take him in."

Bill knelt to McKenzie's level. "What do you want to do? I know emergency vets are expensive. Don't worry about the cost. I'll cover it."

McKenzie studied her large dog lying on the floor. When his front paw twitched, she looked at Simon, who said, "That's a good thing."

She glanced at Logan, and he added, "We can keep him here. If he shows signs of getting worse, we'll take him in."

"How will we know if he gets worse?"

Simon held out his stethoscope. "I'm staying and checking on him every twenty to thirty minutes. More often if his symptoms worsen." He nodded at Logan. "Buddy, you'd better make a large pot of coffee."

Logan stood. "I'm on it."

Joanie sat beside McKenzie. "I'm here if you need me."

"There's no reason for you and Bill to stay. Somebody should get some sleep."

Bill petted the dog. "Mac, I remember when this guy was a puppy. He was a bag of bones. Joanie and I were here celebrating your birthday when your parents gave him to you."

"I remember that. I got him for my twenty-fifth birthday." She glanced toward Logan and got up. She walked over to him and waited until he poured water into the coffee maker.

He turned and their eyes met. He drew her into a hug and directed her head to his chest. "I'm here."

She cuddled in.

Later that night, everybody sat around the table and drank coffee. Edger remained stable and his paws twitched once in a while.

The night drew longer, talk quieted as people continued with their own thoughts. Joanie sat straighter and glanced around. "Where's Mac?"

Logan stood and pointed. "She's with Edger." As she slept beside her buddy, her hand rested on his side. Logan took an afghan and covered her.

Bill stood beside Logan and placed his hand on his shoulder. "When her parents died, she withdrew from everybody. Her only friends were the dogs. She felt she was all alone. It took a long time before she let Joanie and me in. She's still guarded, even with us." His eyes met Logan's. "She seems to trust you."

"At times she does. She'll let her guard down briefly, then that wall returns."







Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou local name for St. Louis
Simon Knight and Sheila Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician. Sheila's his wife.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league
baseball team.
Yadi What Cardinal fans call Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
George Whitney A former boyfriend of Megan, early suspect in her murger.
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez his wife is Lucy Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.
Kate Hartford Megan Nelson's friend they taught middle school
together.
Donny Carlton A man Megan Nelson dated.
Mitch Gardner St. Louis Police Department detective who has
partnered with McKenzie's dad.
Ivan Smart A bad guy
Peter and Nancy Nelson Logan's parents
Sidney Parks works for the St. Louis Police Detective with the drug unit.
Mack and Helen Morgan McKenzie's parents - both deceased
Gus Piper McKenzie's abusive grandfather - deceased
Austin Bryant an old boyfriend - McKenzie broke up with him because he's a jerk.
Joshua Davis so far a nobody, but is a neighbor to Donny Carlton
Mark Young an acquaintance of McKenzie, a state trooper, and will become important much late

Author Notes Thank you google imagines for an image of a Rottweiler. I really appreciate your help. This post is a little under 1,000 words. Logan and McKenzie continue their search for Megan's murder as they get closer to becoming a couple.
Thank you for your generous support.
I finished this novel during summer break of 2019. I just checked I have about 22 more posts until it ends.


Chapter 62
St. Louis Chapter 26 part 1

By barbara.wilkey

It's Monday morning. McKenzie and Logan have known each other 13 days.

Ending of Previous Post:

The night drew longer, talk quieted as people continued with their own thoughts. Joanie sat straighter and glanced around. "Where's Mac?"

Logan stood and pointed. "She's with Edger." As she slept beside her buddy, her hand rested on his side. Logan took an afghan and covered her.

Bill stood beside Logan and placed his hand on his shoulder. "When her parents died, she withdrew from everybody. Her only friends were the dogs. She felt she was all alone. It took a long time before she let Joanie and me in. She's still guarded, even with us." His eyes met Logan's. "She seems to trust you."

"At times she does. She'll let her guard down briefly, then that wall returns."


TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 26 PART 1

Early Monday morning, Edger briefly raised his head and then laid it down. As McKenzie hugged his huge neck, his tail wagged back-and-forth three times. "I'm happy to see you too."

She stood and glanced at her watch. "His vet clinic will open at seven-thirty. We'll leave in fifteen minutes."

Bill held up his phone. "I know we've contaminated the crime scene, but I'm calling a unit in anyway. They can check off our finger prints. Maybe they can find something. When you leave, I'll take Joanie home and go to my office. I'll make copies of the crime scene photos so the police will have their own."

Simon answered a knock at the door and welcomed Jose and Mitch.

Jose walked up and hugged McKenzie. "I just heard or I'd have been here earlier. I'm sorry. How's the big guy?"

"He's holding his own. I'm taking him to the vet in a few minutes."

Mitch went behind Jose, hugged, and added a kiss to McKenzie's cheek. "I just heard. Why was this kept so secretive?"

Bill eyed Edger. "He was our top priority." After Mitch nodded, Bill continued, "A crime scene unit will be here shortly." He held up a camera. "We have photos and," he used his arm to point to the people standing around, "these are the only people who touched anything. We stayed in these two rooms and the bathroom upstairs. The officer who took pictures went into every room. It seems every room was ransacked. Not sure what they were looking for."

"I'll stay and make sure they're thorough."

McKenzie started to lift Edger. "It's time."

Logan moved her aside. "He's too heavy. I'll carry him."

"He's only 145 pounds. I can do it."

"I'm sure you can, but I'm doing it. It's not up for a discussion." Logan lifted the large dog. "Are you coming?"

McKenzie lips formed a pout as she sighed but followed.

Jose and Simon surrounded the couple as they walked to the car.

At the car, Logan said, "Mac, my keys are in my right jeans' pocket. You drive. I'll hold him."

She hesitated. "But?"

Logan stood and waited. "Just get them."

After the car was unlocked, Simon opened the back passenger door. "We're going too. Need to make sure this guy arrives safely at the vet's office."

*****

At the clinic, Edger was immediately taken to a room and placed on an examination table.

Simon handed the blood vial to the vet attendant. "This was taken within an hour of when we found him. I'm pretty sure a tranquilizer was used, but it needs to be analyzed."

The young lady took the sample. "Dr. White will be in shortly."

The three men paced, while McKenzie soothed Edger.

McKenzie turned toward Logan. "What's taking him so long?"

He walked over and slipped his arm around her waist. "It's only been a few minutes. Be patient. Big Guy's doing fine. He's slowly coming around."

She leaned her head against his chest. "I pray you're right."

A few minutes later the veterinarian entered the room. After he was told what happened, he said, "His blood showed a large dose of acepromazine. It's mainly a horse tranquilizer. Let me examine him before I give a prognosis."

McKenzie wrung her hands and chewed on her lower lip as she watched Dr. White examine her buddy.

Again, Logan put his arm around her. "He'll be fine."

Her eyes met his, and she nodded.

The doctor placed his stethoscope around his neck and smiled. "He'll make a full recovery. He's in perfect health. He'll have a few days of not eating and diarrhea. But sure to push water so he doesn't get dehydrated." He looked at McKenzie. "Who carried this brute in?"

She pointed to Logan. "He did."

"Good. I'm not sure I could lift him onto this table. He's a giant."

Edger lifted his head and attempted to get up.

Dr. White placed his hand on the dog's side. "Whoa, Big Guy. So you think you can stand." He looked at Logan. "I guess we set him on the floor and see if he can do it."

Logan petted Edger a few times and spoke softly to him before he lifted him off the table. He carefully set him on the floor making sure his legs could support his weight before he let go.

Edger stood.

McKenzie knelt in front of him and hugged his thick neck. He licked her face.

The veterinarian handed his assistant a clipboard and nodded. "This will have a happy ending." The three men shook the doctor's hand and thanked him. He said, "I see this dog's important to more people than just Ms. Morgan." He grinned. "It looks like he can walk out himself. Who has his leash?"

Logan petted Edger's head. "He doesn't like leashes. He usually carries his own but was in no shape to get it this morning. He'll listen to Mac."

Dr. White's eyes widened. "There are other dogs and cats out there."

McKenzie stood. "It won't be a problem for him." She tapped her side, and Edger came to her and nuzzled his head into the palm of her hand.

Shaking his head the doctor said, "Okay." He watched them leave the room and go to the front desk. Edger sat beside McKenzie as she paid and then followed her out the door.

At the car, Jose asked, "Where's this guy going to sit?"

Logan laughed. "Where ever he wants to."

McKenzie pointed. "Edger, wait." He sat. "Simon, sit up front. Jose, go over the other side. I'll put him in the middle and sit on this side. It'll work, really it will." She paused. "Unless the diarrhea starts." She giggled.

The three men stared at her.




Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou local name for St. Louis
Simon Knight and Sheila Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician. Sheila's his wife.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league
baseball team.
Yadi What Cardinal fans call Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
George Whitney A former boyfriend of Megan, early suspect in her murger.
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez his wife is Lucy Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.
Kate Hartford Megan Nelson's friend they taught middle school
together.
Donny Carlton A man Megan Nelson dated.
Mitch Gardner St. Louis Police Department detective who has
partnered with McKenzie's dad.
Ivan Smart A bad guy
Peter and Nancy Nelson Logan's parents
Sidney Parks works for the St. Louis Police Detective with the drug unit.
Mack and Helen Morgan McKenzie's parents - both deceased
Gus Piper McKenzie's abusive grandfather - deceased
Austin Bryant an old boyfriend - McKenzie broke up with him because he's a jerk.
Joshua Davis so far a nobody, but is a neighbor to Donny Carlton
Mark Young an acquaintance of McKenzie, a state trooper, and will become important much late

Author Notes Thank you google imagines for an image of a Rottweiler. Edger's taking front seat right now. He's not out of danger, yet. I really appreciate your help. This post is a little under 1,000 words. Logan and McKenzie continue their search for Megan's murder as they get closer to becoming a couple.
I finished this novel during summer break of 2019. I just checked I have about 21 more posts until it ends. Since I am now attempting to teach first grade from home, I edit each post daily, but I still don't get it right. I appreciate all of your help. Thank you for your generous support.


Chapter 63
St. Louis Chapter 26 part 2

By barbara.wilkey

It's Monday morning. McKenzie and Logan have known each other 13 days.

Ending of Previous Post:

At the car, Jose asked, "Where's this guy going to sit?"

Logan laughed. "Where ever he wants to."

McKenzie pointed. "Edger, wait." He sat. "Simon, sit up front. Jose, go over the other side. I'll put him in the middle and sit on this side. It'll work, really it will." She paused. "Unless the diarrhea starts." She giggled.

The three men stared at her.

TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 26 PART 2

After they returned to McKenzie's townhouse, she said, "I'm surprised Jose and Simon stayed so long."

"They're worried about you and Edger. You and Sheila are becoming friends. She would've been here, if Simon didn't send her and the boys to her parents."

"That's probably true." She surveyed the mess in the living room. "Well, I guess I'd better start cleaning up." She paused. "We should recheck for bugs. Do you think the people who did this planted more bugs?"

Logan stood beside her. "Good question. I'll check. I've heard the upstairs is just as bad. Why don't you start in your room? I'll check for bugs and then start down here. You can join me when you're finished."

With a sigh, McKenzie said, "Sounds like a plan." As she walked by the den, she noticed the notes she had penned to the bulletin board were ripped down and torn into small pieces. "I see they didn't like my planning board."

Walking up to her, he put his arm around her waist. "Might as well get the bad news over."

"You mean there's something worse than what they did to Edger?"

He took her hand and led her to the desk. "Depends how you look at it." He pointed to a message written in red paint across her desk. It read 'YOU'RE DEAD!'

Her eyes widened. "I guess we're much closer than we think we are. We have whoever it is scared."

"I'd say you're right."

She turned to leave. "I'm going upstairs."

That's strange. I expected more of a reaction. Hmm. Something's wrong. Now, what do I do? He stood on the bottom step and stared up the stairs.

After he scanned the downstairs room for bugs and found one in the den, he went upstairs and scanned that area. No bugs were found. He paused at McKenzie's bedroom door. "I found one in the den. I'll give it to Bill when we see him. I'll get started on the living room."

Logan was partway down the stairs, when Edger went to the back door and barked.

He rushed over and opened the door. "I guess you're demanding to go out." He watched the dog rush outside. "I didn't know you could move that fast."

McKenzie ran down stairs. "Edger, is he all right?"

"He's fine. He needed out, now."

"Dr. White said..."

"I remember." Logan paused a moment. "You all right?"

"Why wouldn't I be?"

"Just for starters, your house was broken into and somebody threatened to kill you. I could go on and make an entire laundry list of reasons, but I'll stop there." Logan took her hand. "Is there anything I can do?"

She stood in front of him. "I could use a hug."

Logan opened his arms. "You don't need to ask. You can have all the hugs you want." He drew her closer to his chest. "Better?" As she nodded, he kissed the top of her head. "Good."

They stood like that for a few minutes. McKenzie backed away. "I forgot Mrs. Whitmore. What time is it?"

He checked. "It's eleven-thirty. What time did you set the appointment?"
"One-thirty."

"Good, you have time for lunch. I'll get started."

"I can't leave Edger alone in the house, and it's too hot outside. I always meant to get a doggy door. I guess it's too late now." McKenzie answered her ringing phone. "Hello, Bill." She listened and then filled him in on Edger's vet appointment and the newly found bug. "I've got a problem. I have an appointment with Mrs. Whitmore." She listened again. "Yes, she has the husband who frequents the strip joint. Anyway, one of the side-effects of the tranquilizer is diarrhea." She paused. "Thank you so much. I appreciate the help." She put her phone away. "Joanie will be over to babysit Edger."

"See, there are plenty of people who are ready to help. You just need to let them."

"It's been my experience that people are usually a disappointment. I'm the only person I can count on." McKenzie walked upstairs.

*****
A little after noon, Joanie opened the front door. "Edger's babysitter's reporting for duty."

McKenzie went to her and hugged her. "Thank you for doing this. I'd already had this appointment set up."

"Not a problem. Edger and I go way back." Joanie smiled. "I knew him when he only weighed about fifteen pounds."

"True." McKenzie giggled.

Logan tilted his head. "You mean this guy was actually small once?"

Both ladies nodded. McKenzie added, "And he was an adorable baby."

As Logan and McKenzie prepared to leave, she said, "Do you mind staying a little longer? We told Mr. O'Malley we'd stop by the hospital to check on him. It shouldn't take long."

Joanie poured a cup of coffee. "Not a problem. I got this." She petted Edger. "Come on, big guy. You can help me with my Sudoku."

Logan shook his head. "No, he can't. He's a dog." He glanced at McKenzie. "He can't, can he?"

She took his hand. "I'll never tell. Let's go."

*****
After McKenzie and Logan left the Whitmore house, he asked, "How does it feel to have possibly saved a marriage?"

"It feels good. I wouldn't want to be Mr. Whitmore when he's confronted. He's gone to great lengths to keep his problem from his wife. It would've been so much easier to have had open communication from the beginning."

"True." Logan paused and faced McKenzie. "At the risk of upsetting you, you could be a little more open with your feelings."

She swallowed. "I don't know what you're talking about. I'm open."


Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou local name for St. Louis
Simon Knight and Sheila Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician. Sheila's his wife.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league
baseball team.
Yadi What Cardinal fans call Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
George Whitney A former boyfriend of Megan, early suspect in her murger.
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez his wife is Lucy Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.
Kate Hartford Megan Nelson's friend they taught middle school
together.
Donny Carlton A man Megan Nelson dated.
Mitch Gardner St. Louis Police Department detective who has
partnered with McKenzie's dad.
Ivan Smart A bad guy
Peter and Nancy Nelson Logan's parents
Sidney Parks works for the St. Louis Police Detective with the drug unit.
Mack and Helen Morgan McKenzie's parents - both deceased
Gus Piper McKenzie's abusive grandfather - deceased
Austin Bryant an old boyfriend - McKenzie broke up with him because he's a jerk.
Joshua Davis so far a nobody, but is a neighbor to Donny Carlton
Mark Young an acquaintance of McKenzie, a state trooper, and will become important much late

Author Notes Thank you google imagines for a photo of a burglarized den. I really appreciate your help. This post is a little under 1,000 words. Logan and McKenzie continue their search for Megan's murder as they get closer to becoming a couple.
Since I'm now attempting to teach first grade from home, I edit each post daily, but I still don't get it right. I appreciate all of your help. Thank you for your generous support.


Chapter 64
St. Louis Chapter 26 part 3

By barbara.wilkey

It's Monday evening. McKenzie and Logan have known each other 13 days.

There's still quite a bit left to this novel, but next weeks' post will begin to guide us to the ending.

Ending of Previous Post:

After McKenzie and Logan left the Whitmore house, he asked, "How does it feel to have possibly saved a marriage?"

"It feels good. I wouldn't want to be Mr. Whitmore when he's confronted. He's gone to great lengths to keep his problem from his wife. It would've been so much easier to have had open communication from the beginning."

"True." Logan paused and faced McKenzie. "At the risk of upsetting you, you could be a little more open with your feelings."

She swallowed. "I don't know what you're talking about. I'm open."

TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 26 PART 3

When Logan and McKenzie finished visiting Mr. O'Malley and Joanie had gone home, they continued cleaning up the ransacked apartment.

McKenzie replaced three drawers and their contents, and then put her hands on her hips. "I wish they'd hurry and arrest whoever did this. After I beat his butt for what he did to Edger, I'd make him clean up this mess."

Logan grinned. "I'm sure you would."

Once everything was back in its place, they sat on the couch, and Logan pointed at the TV. "The Cards aren't on tonight. It's the All-Star break. I think the Homerun Derby's on."

"You're right." She studied the entrance to the den. "I guess I'll redo my planning board. Any ideas how to get the painted message off my desk?"

"Not really, maybe sanding and refinishing the top. I'm not sure how deep the paint went into the wood. Tomorrow we'll stop by a hardware store. Let's get started on redoing the notes." Logan's head turned when he heard a knock on the door. "I wonder who's here." Once he opened it, he said, "Bill, what brings you by?"

Bill held up a file. "I have good and bad news."

McKenzie hugged him. "Please the good news first. I don't think I can handle any more bad news."

Petting Edger, Bill continued, "I'm glad to see you're doing well. It seems before this guy was tranquilized, he got a bite of one of the vandals."

As McKenzie petted the large dog, her eyes widened. "Really? Good boy. So we can identify one of them. Who is it? Is he arrested? I want to spend time alone with him."

Holding up a hand, Bill said, "Whoa. You know the system doesn't work that fast. We have blood drops mixed with dog saliva. So far that's all we know. It'll take time." He paused. "That's the good news." He pointed to the table. "Have a seat. Now for the bad news."

Logan and McKenzie sat, as did Bill. McKenzie hung her head, holding it in her hands. "I don't think I can take any more bad news today. To be honest, I'm almost at my limit."

Taking her hand, Logan cupped it in his and leaned his head so it touched hers. "I'm here. Lean on me."

Bill eyed McKenzie and then glanced at Logan. After Logan nodded, he continued, "I'll start with the really bad news. These men got inside your home because there was a new officer working. I feel he was planted by Parks but can't prove it. Anyway, he's been reassigned."

Logan ran his hand through his military-cut hair. "How are we going to ensure this doesn't happen again?"

"That's the problem. I can't guarantee it. We can only try and stay as alert as possible. That's one of the reasons I want Logan here all the time."

As Logan patted her hand, their eyes met, but he asked Bill, "Okay, what's next?"

"It seems John Benson..."

"I've heard the name, but refresh my memory," interrupted Logan.

"He's the man who murdered my parents. He laundered drug money for the 49 BAD Bloods street gang." McKenzie chewed on her lower lip. "He's dead. So far we haven't seen any evidence of gang involvement. What's he got to do with this mess?"

"Before he died, he contacted his lawyer because he wanted to set up a meeting with you. He was ready to discuss a deal. He wanted to reveal the identity of whoever hired him to murder your dad."

"What? I thought he acted alone. He never contacted me."

"You're right. He was murdered in prison before that meeting happened. He had contacted his lawyer, but once he died, there was no reason to continue with the meeting."

"Okay, we're exactly where we were, right?" asked McKenzie. "Nowhere."

"Not really. He was worried about his safety so he mailed documents to his lawyer."

Logan's eyes met Bill's. "Great. Set up an appointment."

"Can't. The lawyer was murdered a week-and-a-half ago."

"I'm guessing there's more or you wouldn't be here to tell me you have nothing. Right, Uncle Bill?"

Bill grinned. "You haven't called me Uncle Bill for quite a while. I like it." He licked his lips. "His office was ransacked, but I guess they didn't find the papers because they showed up on my desk this afternoon."

"Quit spoon feeding me and get to the point."

"My dear, remember the poker game Mitch wanted you to play in?"

"Sure what does that have to do with anything?"

"I'm really glad Logan and I were so against it. Ivan Smart was the man Benson was laundering money for. It seems your dad had a hunch and was digging further than just money laundering and was getting close to Smart. That's the real reason your parents were murdered."

"Did Mitch know any of this?" asked Logan. "Could he have been setting Mac up?"

"No way. I've worked with Mitch for years. He's good people. I'm sure he knows nothing. But if it gets out that he's started an investigation on Smart, his life could be in danger. After I leave here, I'm having dinner with him and filling him in."

McKenzie started pacing. "Let me get this straight. Benson was ready to rat out Smart, so he was murdered, and then so was his lawyer. This file ended up on your desk. Smart thinks somehow part of this information got back to me. Maybe I got a hold of Dad's old files and put two-and-two together, and he wants me out of the way. So now he's after me. Do I understand this?"

"Sure sounds like it. But it does seem strange that this file just showed up," said Logan.

"Maybe not. When the lawyer's family cleaned out his home desk they found a safe-deposit key. Inside that box they found the file. They thought it looked important so turned it over to the District Attorney's office; me."

"But I had my heart set on Sidney Parks being behind this. Doesn't this clear him, and what about Megan's murder? I guess they're nowhere close to being related." McKenzie slumped down in the chair. "Grrr. I thought I had this figured out."

Bill tapped the table. "Don't be so sure you're wrong. Somebody working for the department has to be protecting Smart. Smart wouldn't have access to set up the various things that's happened. It could still be Parks."

"I guess you're right." She fingered the placemat. "I was sure Megan's death had something to do with this. I'm back to square one."

"Again, maybe not. That evidence still points to Parks." He took a file out of his briefcase. "A copy of Megan's text messages. She mentions a Sidney by name. No proof it's Parks, yet, and he used a burner phone. We're still checking the burner phone you found. It could be one of his. I'm working on identifying where this phone was bought and then maybe we can get a clue by who."

McKenzie accepted the papers. "Since the Cardinals aren't on, I now have something to do besides redo my planning board."

Bill glanced at his watch, then stood, and grinned. "I'm late for my dinner with Mitch. Happy reading. Logan, I don't want to get your hopes up, but I heard your sister's autopsy report and body will be released sometime tomorrow."

Logan sighed. "Finally. Have you seen the report?"

"Not yet. I'll bring it by as soon as I do."

"Thank you. I'll walk you to the door."

McKenzie curled up on the couch and began reading Megan's text messages.

When Logan returned, she offered him the first page. "Ready to read?"

"I'll fix dinner. I think I'd rather read them by myself, if it's all right."

"It is. I understand."




Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou local name for St. Louis
Simon Knight and Sheila Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician. Sheila's his wife.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league
baseball team.
Yadi What Cardinal fans call Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
George Whitney A former boyfriend of Megan, early suspect in her murger.
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez his wife is Lucy Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.
Kate Hartford Megan Nelson's friend they taught middle school
together.
Donny Carlton A man Megan Nelson dated.
Mitch Gardner St. Louis Police Department detective who has
partnered with McKenzie's dad.
Ivan Smart A bad guy
Peter and Nancy Nelson Logan's parents
Sidney Parks works for the St. Louis Police Detective with the drug unit.
Mack and Helen Morgan McKenzie's parents - both deceased
Gus Piper McKenzie's abusive grandfather - deceased
Austin Bryant an old boyfriend - McKenzie broke up with him because he's a jerk.
Joshua Davis so far a nobody, but is a neighbor to Donny Carlton
Mark Young an acquaintance of McKenzie, a state trooper, and will become important much late

Author Notes Thank you google imagines for a photo of a female texting. It's not exactly what I wanted, but it's the best I could find. I really appreciate your help. This post is a little under 1,300 words. Logan and McKenzie continue their search for Megan's murder as they get closer to becoming a couple.
Since I'm now attempting to teach first grade from home, I edit each post daily, but I still don't get it right. I appreciate all of your help. Thank you for your generous support.


Chapter 65
St. Louis Chapter 27 part 1

By barbara.wilkey

It's Tueday morning. McKenzie and Logan have known each other 14 days.

Ending of Previous Post:

"Again, maybe not. That evidence still points to Parks." He took a file out of his briefcase. "A copy of Megan's text messages. She mentions a Sidney by name. No proof it's Parks, yet, and he used a burner phone. We're still checking the burner phone you found. It could be one of his. I'm working on identifying where this phone was bought and then maybe we can get a clue by whom."

McKenzie accepted the papers. "Since the Cardinals aren't on, I now have something to do besides redo my planning board."

Bill glanced at his watch, then stood, and grinned. "I'm late for my dinner with Mitch. Happy reading. Logan, I don't want to get your hopes up, but I heard your sister's autopsy report and the body will be released sometime tomorrow."

Logan sighed. "Finally. Have you seen the report?"

"Not yet. I'll bring it by as soon as I do."

"Thank you. I'll walk you to the door."

McKenzie curled up on the couch and began reading Megan's text messages.

When Logan returned, she offered him the first page. "Ready to read?"

"I'll fix dinner. I think I'd rather read them by myself, if it's all right."

"It is. I understand."

TODAY'S POST:

When McKenzie woke up, she sniffed the air turning her head. "Do I smell coffee?"

Logan sat beside her. "Good morning, sleepy head."

McKenzie glanced at the papers surrounding her. "I guess I fell asleep reading this." Her eyebrows crunched together. "I slept on the couch. That's your bed. Where'd you sleep?"

"On the floor."

"NO! Why didn't you wake me or carry me to bed?"

"I've slept in a lot worse places than your floor. Besides, you looked extremely cute." He showed her a photo he'd taken on his phone. "Isn't that the cutest picture you've ever seen?"

"No, let me have that."

He raised his hand out of her reach. "No way! I'm keeping it. Did you find anything we didn't already know?" He walked into the kitchen area.

"Just confirmed what we've suspected. Megan thought she was pregnant and told Sidney. Whoever that might be."

Logan returned and handed her a cup of coffee. "How did he react?"

She took a sip. "Thank you. Funny thing is he never commented. I'm thinking there are only two answers; either he's happy, or upset. I don't see any other possibilities. How would you feel if your girlfriend told you she could be pregnant?"

"Good question. For one thing, I would've made sure something like that didn't happen."

"The only birth control that's one hundred percent is abstinence."

Logan stared at McKenzie. "I know that." He took a drink of coffee and then continued, "What I'm saying is before I found myself in that situation I'd be in love with her and just waiting for the wedding. It wouldn't be a surprise."

"Understood. I'm not surprised that you'd plan things out." She handed him the file. "Your turn." She took a long drink of coffee and then stood. "I'm taking a shower. Happy reading. Let me know if you see anything I didn't see. Another set of eyes is always good." Before she left, she leaned over and hugged him. "Thank you for being you."

"Who else could I be?" Logan watched her go upstairs, petted Arlo, and then Edger. "I guess I'm finally accepted. What do you guys think?"

*****
When McKenzie returned, she saw Logan setting the table. He looked up and asked, "Ready for breakfast?"

McKenzie sat. "Actually, I'm starving." She paused. "Did I understand Bill correctly? Ivan Smart is the man who ordered a hit on my parents and is now after me?"

Logan dished some eggs onto her plate. "That's what I understood."

"I still feel Parks is behind this. I guess we need to look for a connection between him and Smart. There has to be one." She took a bite of eggs. "Did you get very far with the text messages?"

He set his fork on his plate. "Do you guys, females, really text that stuff to each other?"

"What stuff?"

"About men's butts in jeans? Things like that."

"I guess some do. I can promise you that I never have. I rarely text anything." She took a sip of coffee. "Don't tell me you guys don't. I've seen the way you look at women. You practically undress them with your eyes."

"Some men, but not all."

"You're telling me you don't appreciate a pretty woman? What about Delilah?"

"I never gave her a single thought." He grinned. "I'll admit that the first time I met you I thought you were a looker. But I never dissected your body parts. I just thought they fit together in a nice package."

McKenzie wadded up her napkin and tossed it at him. "You're horrible."

"I'm a man." His head turned at a knock on the door. "It's probably Bill. I'll get it."

When Bill sat at the table, he asked, "Did you learn anything from Megan's text messages?"

McKenzie's eyes twinkled. "Yes, that Sidney has a nice butt, and she enjoyed looking at it in jeans." Bill's eyes widened, so she continued, "So I guess I need to get a good look at Parks' butt and see if it looks good in jeans, then we know he's our man."

"Okay, Mac. I was starting to worry about you. Now it's official, I'm concerned about you. The stress is getting to you." He glanced at Logan. "How long has she been like this?"

Logan chuckled. "Since she woke up. She fell asleep reading the texts on the couch. I think it's from lack of sleep."

"Don't blame me. You're the one who brought up body parts."

Bill held up a file. "I don't even want to know. I have Megan's autopsy report." He handed it to McKenzie.

She opened the file. "Pregnant? Drugs?"

"Neither. There are no surprises. She died instantly from a gunshot, so she didn't suffer."

Logan sighed. "That's a good thing."

McKenzie chewed on her lower lip. "Sorry Logan, but I need to know. Was she sexually molested?"

"No. It seems she knew her attacker. There are no defensive wounds."

"That fits with our theory that Parks killed her. We just need to prove motive."

"What motives are you looking at?" asked Bill.

She held up two fingers. "Same as before. First, Megan thought she was pregnant, so mentioned it to Sidney. Who we think is Sidney Parks. He's a married man, so Megan pregnant with his child wouldn't be good. Besides his wife is also pregnant. Also Megan either saw him kill Donny or found out he did and confronted him. We know Megan was in some sort of relationship with Donny. Of course, we need to prove he murdered Donny. Donny was running a meth lab out of his house. We think Parks wanted him to pay protection money. When Donny wouldn't pay or threatened to turn him in, he had to permanently shut him up. Of course there's always a third option that we have no clue what's going on."

"Your ideas are possible. We just need proof. They found the amphetamine, GHB, at Donny's house. He was making it and it had the same formula used on you. So there's another connection." Bill's eyes met Logan's. "They're releasing Megan's body to the funeral home about three-thirty today. I'm sure you'll want to be there with your parents."

"I do. Can you set that up?"

"I'll make sure a team stays with both of you and nothing at all happens here today."

"No." McKenzie shook her head. "I won't be going." She put her hand on Logan's. "This needs to be only immediate family. You and your parents need to grieve privately. I won't be going."

"But..."

"You only want me to go out of sense of duty to me," interrupted McKenzie. "I'll be fine. What could possibly go wrong?"


Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou local name for St. Louis
Simon Knight and Sheila Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician. Sheila's his wife.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league
baseball team.
Yadi What Cardinal fans call Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
George Whitney A former boyfriend of Megan, early suspect in her murger.
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez his wife is Lucy Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.
Kate Hartford Megan Nelson's friend they taught middle school
together.
Donny Carlton A man Megan Nelson dated.
Mitch Gardner St. Louis Police Department detective who has
partnered with McKenzie's dad.
Ivan Smart A bad guy
Peter and Nancy Nelson Logan's parents
Sidney Parks works for the St. Louis Police Detective with the drug unit.
Mack and Helen Morgan McKenzie's parents - both deceased
Gus Piper McKenzie's abusive grandfather - deceased
Austin Bryant an old boyfriend - McKenzie broke up with him because he's a jerk.
Joshua Davis so far a nobody, but is a neighbor to Donny Carlton
Mark Young an acquaintance of McKenzie, a state trooper, and will become important much late

Author Notes Thank you google imagines for a photo of a male's rear end. I really appreciate your help. This post is a little over 1,100 words. Logan and McKenzie continue their search for Megan's murder as they get closer to becoming a couple.
Yesterday, I made some major changes in this post. I hope I didn't make it worse. I appreciate all of your help. Thank you for your generous support.


Chapter 66
St. Louis Chapter 27 part 2

By barbara.wilkey

It's Tuesday afternoon. McKenzie and Logan have known each other 14 days.

Ending of Previous Post:

"That fits with our theory that Parks killed her. We just need to prove motive."

"What motives are you looking at?" asked Bill.

She held up two fingers. "Same as before. First, Megan thought she was pregnant, so mentioned it to Sidney. Who we think is Sidney Parks. He's a married man, so Megan pregnant with his child wouldn't be good. Besides his wife is also pregnant. Also Megan either saw him kill Donny or found out he did and confronted him. We know Megan was in some sort of relationship with Donny. Of course, we need to prove he murdered Donny. Donny was running a meth lab out of his house. We think Parks wanted him to pay protection money. When Donny wouldn't pay or threatened to turn him in, he had to permanently shut him up. Of course there's always a third option that we have no clue what's going on."

"Your ideas are possible. We just need proof. They found the amphetamine, GHB, at Donny's house. He was making it and it had the same formula used on you. So there's another connection." Bill's eyes met Logan's. "They're releasing Megan's body to the funeral home about three-thirty today. I'm sure you'll want to be there with your parents."

"I do. Can you set that up?"

"I'll make sure a team stays with both of you and nothing at all happens here today."

"No." McKenzie shook her head. "I won't be going." She put her hand on Logan's. "This needs to be only immediate family. You and your parents need to grieve privately. I won't be going."

"But..."

"You only want me to go out of sense of duty to me," interrupted McKenzie. "I'll be fine. What could possibly go wrong?"


TODAY'S POST:

As Logan prepared to meet with his parents at the funeral home, he touched McKenzie's arm. "Are you sure you're going to be okay? My gut's sending me all sorts of warnings and it's rarely wrong."

"I'll be fine. You don't feel good about this because of the decisions your family needs to make about your sister's funeral. Nobody would have good feelings."

"I'd feel better if you'd come along."

"No. Your family needs privacy. I'd be an outsider." She leaned over and gave him a hug. "You need to do this by yourself." Running her hand along his arm, she said, "And you need to leave, or you're going to be late."

Logan drew her into a hug and kissed her.

*****
McKenzie stood at the door and watched him leave. He's kissed me three times. I wonder if there'll be a fourth. I hope so. She placed a phone call. "Hello, Joanie, they're releasing Megan's body today. Logan's busy with his family. I'd like to surprise him with a home cooked meal. Any suggestions?" After listening for a while, she said, "I don't know if he likes fish. He's never fixed it. I think anything else is safe."

She fingered a piece of paper. "Okay, I'll do the chicken and pasta. Can you bring by the recipe? I'll need to go grocery shopping. I'll talk with Bill about that." She listened a minute. "I appreciate the help, but you don't need to go to that much trouble." Again, she listened. "Okay, I'll see you in about an hour and a half."

*****
Later that afternoon, Joanie arrived with the recipe and groceries. "I bought some zucchini and yellow squash. I thought they'd make a good side dish." She handed McKenzie the recipe. "Read this and see if you have any questions."

After reading, McKenzie said, "It seems pretty self-explanatory. But you won't be busy later, will you? I might need help."

"Silly, I'm free all day, but I'm sure you can do this. You're a smart, resourceful, young lady." Joanie chewed on her bottom lip. "It seems you and that hunky man are getting closer. Am I right?"

McKenzie's cheeks tinged pink. "I guess it's safe to say we're friends. At least we're not at each other's throats anymore."

"By your blushed cheeks, I'd say there's more to it than that."

"Are you forgetting in a few weeks, exactly sixteen days, he'll go back to Fort Bragg?"

Joanie laughed. "But you're not counting or worried about him leaving, are you?"

"Of course not. Why would I?" McKenzie walked away.

"What time do you expect Logan to return?"

"Megan's body was supposed to arrive at the funeral home at three-thirty. I'm guessing it'll take a couple of hours to make all the funeral plans; maybe five-thirty or sixish? What do you think?"

"I agree. Have this ready about five-forty-five. It will hold for a little while." Joanie scanned the area. "I'll leave. If you need anything, I'm only a phone call away and will be right over. Even if you just want to talk about Logan and your relationship." She grinned.

"We're not in a relationship."

Joanie walked out the door but laughed and called over her shoulder. "Of course not. Keep telling yourself that, but nobody believes it. Not even you."

*****
Around five-o'clock, McKenzie heated a pan of water for the pasta. "Okay, when you boil, I'll add the noodles. How hard can that be?"

She added four tablespoons of olive oil to a skillet. "Now, I'll stir fry some mushrooms. This cooking isn't hard. I'm rocking it."

After straining the pasta and removing the mushrooms, McKenzie put the chicken breast in the skillet. "They're sticking. How do I tell if they're done? It doesn't say how long." She called Joanie. "The chicken's sticking to the pan and how long do I cook it? How do I know if it's done?"

Picking up the olive oil, McKenzie said, "Of course, I added the oil. Wait, did I? Or did I forget? I don't know. Please come and help." She listened. "Oh, put all the oil in at once. Thank you. I'll see you in a few minutes."

When both dogs barked, McKenzie looked up and turned off the stove. "What's wrong with you two?" She petted Arlo. "Did you see a butterfly and upset Edger? Okay, I'll let you guys out." She opened the door and waved at the officers patrolling the backyard. "They're useless. They couldn't even protect poor Edger Sunday."

As she scraped the chicken from the bottom of the skillet, she heard the backdoor open. "Edger, you're good but you haven't learned to let yourself back in, have you?" She glanced at the door and went into JKD stance.

As soon as the hooded man reached her, she began fighting him. A second and third man appeared and surrounded her. A fourth man came from nowhere. I can't get to my gun. Where's the police?

After hits to her jaw and kicks to her stomach, McKenzie collapsed to the floor in a bloody and unconscious heap.




Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou local name for St. Louis
Simon Knight and Sheila Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician. Sheila's his wife.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league
baseball team.
Yadi What Cardinal fans call Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
George Whitney A former boyfriend of Megan, early suspect in her murger.
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez his wife is Lucy Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.
Kate Hartford Megan Nelson's friend they taught middle school
together.
Donny Carlton A man Megan Nelson dated.
Mitch Gardner St. Louis Police Department detective who has
partnered with McKenzie's dad.
Ivan Smart A bad guy
Peter and Nancy Nelson Logan's parents
Sidney Parks works for the St. Louis Police Detective with the drug unit.
Mack and Helen Morgan McKenzie's parents - both deceased
Gus Piper McKenzie's abusive grandfather - deceased
Austin Bryant an old boyfriend - McKenzie broke up with him because he's a jerk.
Joshua Davis so far a nobody, but is a neighbor to Donny Carlton
Mark Young an acquaintance of McKenzie, a state trooper, and will become important much late

Author Notes Thank you google imagines for a photo of a home invader. I really appreciate your help. This post is a little over 800. Logan and McKenzie continue their search for Megan's murder as they get closer to becoming a couple.

I appreciate all of your help. Thank you for your generous support.


Chapter 67
St. Louis Chapter 27 part 3

By barbara.wilkey

It's Tuesday afternoon. McKenzie and Logan have known each other 14 days.

Ending of Previous Post:

When both dogs barked, McKenzie looked up and turned off the stove. "What's wrong with you two?" She petted Arlo. "Did you see a butterfly and upset Edger? Okay, I'll let you guys out." She opened the door and waved at the officers patrolling the backyard. "They're useless. They couldn't even protect poor Edger Sunday."

As she scraped the chicken from the bottom of the skillet, she heard the backdoor open. "Edger, you're good but you haven't learned to let yourself back in, have you?" She glanced at the door and went into JKD stance.

As soon as the hooded man reached her, she began fighting him. A second and third man appeared and surrounded her. A fourth man came from nowhere. I can't get to my gun. Where's the police?

After hits to her jaw and kicks to her stomach, McKenzie collapsed to the floor in a bloody and unconscious heap.

TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 28 PART 3

As Joanie pulled into a parking space, she heard an explosion, saw black smoke rising from the back yard, and watched the police detail run toward it. She grabbed her phone and called Bill. "Something's wrong at Mac's! Get here now!" She ducked low in the car seat, raised her phone to the window, and took pictures, as she whispered, "Four hooded man are kidnapping her. Should I follow?"

"No! Where's the detail?"

"In the back. Something exploded."

"It was a diversion." Bill paused. "On second thought, follow the best you can. I need to know where they're headed. I'm calling for backup on another line. Stay back, but let me know the direction they're going and what they're driving?"

"They're driving a white van."

"Make and model? Approximate year?"

"I don't know. It has four doors and it's white. It's fairly new." She snapped a photograph. "I'm sending a photo."

"Good thinking. I hope you get a picture of the license plate. What direction did they head?"

"They took Russell Ave to I-55. They just turned onto I-44 ramp."
Bill paused. "I'm getting another call. Just a minute." Silence, then he continued, "Edger's been shot. Where's his vet?"

"Dr. White's office, four blocks west of Mac's apartment. I don't remember the street name. Turn left on the first intersection from her house and go straight. It's on the right."

"An officer's taking him. We'll have helicopters in the air in a few minutes. I'm betting they're trying to get out of the city."

"Traffic is getting really heavy. I'm struggling to keep eyes on."

"Turn around and come home. We've got cars at I-64 and I-70. I sent the photos out, one showed part of the plate. Helicopters are in the air. Good job. I'm on my way to Mac's."

"I'll meet you there."

When Joanie pulled into a parking slot, she saw her husband already standing on the sidewalk. She joined him. "Have you heard anything about Mac or Edger?"

"Edger's in surgery. He should be okay. Nothing about Mac." He glanced toward the apartment. The crime scene team is doing their thing." He pointed to blood drops on the sidewalk. "I'm guessing those are Mac's."

"She looked in bad shape when I saw her." She showed Bill the photos she had taken. "I know they're not great but they're all I could get. Has anybody notified Logan?"

"No. He's where he should be right now. He'll find out soon enough." Bill glanced toward the parking area. "Like right now."

Logan came running up. "What happened? Where's Mac?" When he heard Arlo barking, he knelt down and picked up the small dog and then studied the moisture on his fur. "Why's there blood on him? Why's he outside unattended?"

"I'm guessing the blood's Edger's. He was shot."

"Is Mac with him? I'll join her. She may need support." He turned to leave.

Bill placed his hand on Logan's arm. "Mac's not with him. She's been kidnapped."

Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou local name for St. Louis
Simon Knight and Sheila Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician. Sheila's his wife.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league
baseball team.
Yadi What Cardinal fans call Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
George Whitney A former boyfriend of Megan, early suspect in her murger.
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez his wife is Lucy Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.
Kate Hartford Megan Nelson's friend they taught middle school
together.
Donny Carlton A man Megan Nelson dated.
Mitch Gardner St. Louis Police Department detective who has
partnered with McKenzie's dad.
Ivan Smart A bad guy
Peter and Nancy Nelson Logan's parents
Sidney Parks works for the St. Louis Police Detective with the drug unit.
Mack and Helen Morgan McKenzie's parents - both deceased
Gus Piper McKenzie's abusive grandfather - deceased
Austin Bryant an old boyfriend - McKenzie broke up with him because he's a jerk.
Joshua Davis so far a nobody, but is a neighbor to Donny Carlton
Mark Young an acquaintance of McKenzie, a state trooper, and will become important much late

Author Notes Thank you google imagines for a photo of blood drops on a sidewalk. I really appreciate your help. This post is a little over 500. Logan and McKenzie continue their search for Megan's murder as they get closer to becoming a couple.


Chapter 68
St. Louis Chapter 28 part 1

By barbara.wilkey

It's Tuesday afternoon. McKenzie and Logan have known each other 14 days.

Ending of Previous Post:

Logan came running up. "What happened? Where's Mac?" When he heard Arlo barking, he knelt down and picked up the small dog and then studied the moisture on his fur. "Why's there blood on him? Why's he outside unattended?"

"I'm guessing the blood's Edger's. He was shot."

"Is Mac with him? I'll join her. She may need support." He turned to leave.

Bill placed his hand on Logan's arm. "Mac's not with him. She's been kidnapped."



TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 29 PART 1

Logan closed his eyes and inhaled deeply. After he released it, he asked, "How'd this happen? There should have been a police detail surrounding the house."

"The evidence says they shot Edger, came in the backdoor, grabbed Mac, set off a diversion, and then carried her out the front door."

"So they walked right out the front door carrying Mac and nobody did anything?"

Bill chewed on his bottom lip. "It seems so. The diversion sent everybody to the back." He showed Logan the photos Joanie had taken. "They're not good but it's all we have."

Logan wiped his mouth. "My gut told me not to leave her alone. I didn't listen. This is on me. How we getting her back?"

"We were able to follow the van onto I-70, but lost them in traffic."

With his hands on his head, Logan turned a complete circle. "I'm on my own. I'll get her back." He jogged to the townhouse door and called, "How much longer before we can come in?"

"We're almost finished. Just a few more minutes," came an answer.

Bill followed. "I can't allow you to do this."

"I'm your best chance at getting Mac safely back and that's if she's still alive. Extractions are my specialty. Let me do my job." He left Bill standing and over his shoulder said, "What you can do is make sure Edger's safe. Mac will need him when she returns."

When the Crime Scene team left the house, Logan scanned the area. "It seems everything took place in the kitchen area." He lifted the skillet. "They even took time to cook a meal?"

Joanie peeked around Bill. "Mac was going to surprise you with a home cooked meal."

Logan nodded. "I'm sure it would've been good." He made a phone call, "Simon, can you meet me at Mac's? Something's come up." Logan paced while he waited for his buddy to arrive.

When Simon knocked on the door, Joanie let him in. He walked into the kitchen and scanned the area. "What happened?"

"While I was at the funeral home, Mac was kidnapped. Will you help me get her back?"

He glanced at Bill. "Sure. Do we have any authority here?"

Logan glared at Bill. "Can you take care of that little issue?"

Bill nodded. "I'll pull a few strings and call in some favors."

"Do we know where she's being kept?" asked Simon.

Bill answered, "Last spotting was on I-70 about mile marker 181. The traffic got heavy and we lost them."

Simon tilted his head. "I'm thinking out loud here, but along I-70 are frontage roads and off them are small country roads. Some of them gravel or dirt and sparsely traveled."

Bill watched Joanie as she cleaned up the kitchen. "It would take forever to check all those areas."

Logan's eyes widened. "We don't have forever. What if we had some help? Mac has a friend. He's with the state patrol. What's his name?" He thought. "Mark. Last name, come-on, what is it?" After a silence, he shouted, "Young! Mark Young. I've met him a few times. He's been trying to get a date with Mac for quite a while. He'd help. They patrol the highway and would know if any unusual activity suddenly showed up on those roads or any abandoned buildings had lights on. Bottom-line; they'd know what looks out of place. That would at least narrow it down."

Bill took out his phone. "I'll make a call and get his contact information."

Jose knocked and then walked in the front door. "I came to check on Mac." His eyes widened. "What's going on?"

Logan shook his hand and filled him in. "Mac was kidnapped this afternoon." He watched Jose's face pale, before he continued, "We could use another body, and you're on the injured reserve list."

"Mac's my friend too. I love her like a sister."

"I know."

Simon patted Jose's shoulder. "We have a job for you. We're just not sure what it is, or what we're doing ourselves. We're in the planning phase. Your brain is more than welcome." He turned to Logan. "You want another body?" After Logan nodded, he continued, "Trey Walker's in K.C."

"Kansas City? That close?" When Simon nodded, Logan asked, "You think he'd want to get involved? Do you have contact info?"

"I know he would and yes I do."

"Call him, but let him know this could be classified as slightly illegal. Also have him bring any fire power he has. We may find ourselves short."

With his phone in hand, Simon nodded. "When have our missions ever been completely legal?"

Bill covered his ears. "I don't want to know about it."

Logan's eyes met his. "Then you'd better leave."

*****
It took a few hours but the team was finally assembled. Logan, Bill, Simon, Trey, and Jose sat around the table, drank coffee, and waited for Mark Young to contact them.

Eventually Logan jumped up and answered a knock on the door. "Mark, hello. Please come in. I want you to meet a few friends."

Mark glanced around at the men sitting at the table. "Where's Mac?"

Logan pointed to an empty chair. "Have a seat. That's why we've contacted you. Mac's been kidnapped."

Stopping in his tracks, his eyes met Logan's and his jaw set. "I thought you were some big hero and going to keep her safe."

Bill stood. "Mark, it's not Logan's fault. He was at the funeral home with his family, where he should have been. We have some crooked officers on our force. It seems no matter how careful I was they managed to get on her security detail. I'm guilty of Mac's kidnapping, not Logan."

Mark offered his hand to Logan. "Sorry." After Logan took the hand, and they shook, Mark scanned the room. "I heard the noisy little dog when I walked in. Where's the big guy?"

After a sigh, Logan said, "He took a bullet. He's spending tonight at the vet's office."

Bill spoke up. "Tomorrow they'll both come home with me until Mac's safely back."

"You sure?" asked Logan. "I'm used to watching them."

"You're going to be too busy rescuing Mac. Joanie needs something to keep her busy. Mac was like a daughter to her -- us." Bill wiped his eye. "You'd better fill Mark in on his job."

After they sat, Logan explained how highway patrol officers know the area better than anybody, and they would know about any unusual traffic on the country roads.

After Mark agreed to ask all of the state troopers, who patrolled that area of I-70 to be on the lookout for suspicious traffic or activity, he left. He was also told the details of Mac's kidnapping were to be kept secret.

Bill went to his office, as the four men waited for location information, the men drank coffee and discussed possible tactics to rescue Mac.

Logan was making a fresh pot of coffee, when Simon walked up to him. "Buddy, you might want to sit this one out. It's way too personal."

"There's no way I'm sitting out. If I'd have followed my gut, this never would've happened. She's in danger because of me. I wasn't there for her."

"It's obvious you have feelings for he. No...you're in love with her. You know as well as I do when we go on missions like this there's no room for emotions. I doubt you'll be able to separate the two this time."

Staring into this buddy's eyes, Logan said, "I don't have a choice. I know Mac. She's waiting for me to find her."

Simon patted his back. "Okay. I have your back."

"I know." Logan hesitated. "And I'm not in...."

"You are in love with her and don't deny it. I know you too well," interrupted Simon.

Trey chuckled. "Man, I've never met her and know you're in love with her. It's that obvious."

Jose hoisted his coffee cup. "I know her very well, and have just recently met Logan. Just so you know Mac's in love with Logan, but is just as stubborn about admitting it as he is."

"Coffee's ready. Who wants more?" Logan brought the pot over as he answered his phone. "Bill, any news?" He listened. "Yes, we'll need transportation and probably a few more weapons. Sure, we'll meet you there. Can you text me the address?"

Simon held his cup up for a refill. "What did Bill want?"

"He's found us wheels and some weapons. He's pretty sure at least one member of the security detail is feeding information back to whoever's in charge. He wants us to come to him. I'm suggesting separately. We might be followed. This is a completely secret mission. Only us, Bill and Mark know about it."

Trey looked over the edge of his coffee cup. "Can Mark be trusted?"

Logan sipped coffee as he thought. "I don't really know him. I've talked to him a few times. He wants a relationship with Mac and sees me as a threat."

"Are you a threat?" asked Trey.

"That's a good question. I don't know. If you knew Mac, you'd know she has her own mind and no problems loudly voicing it." Logan shook his head. "I think he cares enough for Mac that he'd do anything to help."

Jose set his coffee cup down. "I agree with Logan. If Mac wanted to date Mark, she would've made sure it happened. She didn't." He grinned. "She's as stubborn and feisty as they come."

Trey grinned. "I can't wait to meet this one. Logan, I think you've met your match."

Simon raised his cup. "I've met her and agree. He has." He glanced around the room. "What time do we leave and where do we go?"

Logan pointed to a text. "I'll send this to each of you. I think it'll cause less suspicion if Simon and Trey leave first. Maybe in fifteen minutes. Jose and I'll leave what? Twenty minutes after that. I don't want it to look like we're meeting up someplace. I'm sure we're being watched."

Plopping his cup down, Trey said, "I can't drink another drop of this. I need food. Maybe on the way we can get some take out."

Shaking his head, Logan said, "I'm sorry. I've been a bad host. Food is the farthest thing from my mind." He chuckled. "Mac would find that funny."

"I'd say she'd think it's hilarious. I think she's called you Betty Crocker a few times, right?" asked Jose.

"She has."

Trey stretched legs out. "You, Betty Crocker? I've got to hear this story."

Simon stood. "Later. It's time for us to leave. Let's just say Mac does a lot of amazing things but cooking isn't one of them. If Logan wants to eat, he cooks." Trey started to speak, but Simon continued, "I promise food on the way." He faced Logan. "See you in a little while."

Trey and Simon left.

Jose's eyes met Logan's, as he said, "I know you're hurting. It didn't enter my head, but when you went to the funeral home, I should've come and stayed with Mac. I'm sorry."

"I tried to get her to go with me, but she insisted it should be family only. I should've forced her to come."

"I'm sure you've learned by now you can't force Mac to do anything. I just hope her stubbornness doesn't get her killed this time."

Logan closed his eyes. "Me too."



Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou local name for St. Louis
Simon Knight and Sheila Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician. Sheila's his wife.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league
baseball team.
Yadi What Cardinal fans call Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
George Whitney A former boyfriend of Megan, early suspect in her murder.
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez his wife is Lucy Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.
Kate Hartford Megan Nelson's friend they taught middle school
together.
Donny Carlton A man Megan Nelson dated.
Mitch Gardner St. Louis Police Department detective who has
partnered with McKenzie's dad.
Ivan Smart A bad guy
Peter and Nancy Nelson Logan's parents
Sidney Parks works for the St. Louis Police Detective with the drug unit.
Mack and Helen Morgan McKenzie's parents - both deceased
Gus Piper McKenzie's abusive grandfather - deceased
Austin Bryant an old boyfriend - McKenzie broke up with him because he's a jerk.
Joshua Davis so far a nobody, but is a neighbor to Donny Carlton
Mark Young an acquaintance of McKenzie, a state trooper, and will become important much late

Author Notes Thank you google imagines for a photo of the two dogs. I had searched for something else and couldn't find what I was looking for, so went with the dogs. I ended up adding next week's post yesterday. I hope its not too long. This post is a little over 1900 words. I really appreciate your help. Logan and McKenzie continue their search for Megan's murder as they get closer to becoming a couple.


Chapter 69
St. Louis Chapter 29 part 2

By barbara.wilkey

It's Tuesday afternoon. McKenzie and Logan have known each other 14 days.

Ending of Previous Post:

Simon stood. "Later. It's time for us to leave. Let's just say Mac does a lot of amazing things but cooking isn't one of them. If Logan wants to eat, he cooks." Trey started to speak, but Simon continued, "I promise food on the way." He faced Logan. "See you in a little while."

Trey and Simon left.

Jose's eyes met Logan's, as he said, "I know you're hurting. It didn't enter my head, but when you went to the funeral home, I should've come and stayed with Mac. I'm sorry."

"I tried to get her to go with me, but she insisted it should be family only. I should've forced her to come."

"I'm sure you've learned by now you can't force Mac to do anything. I just hope her stubbornness doesn't get her killed this time."

Logan closed his eyes. "Me too."

TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 29 PART 2

Once everyone arrived at a warehouse, Bill opened the padlocked door. "Inside are an unmarked van and enough fire power to take down a small country."

Walking over to a counter, Logan held up a device. "What's this?"

"Cameras. I want each of you to wear body cameras. That way if anything comes into question, we have documentation."

The men nodded, but Trey teased, "Sure glad we didn't have to wear this while on active duty."

Simon used his finger to cross his lips. "Shh, the D.A, doesn't want to hear things like that."

"We'll do whatever's necessary to get Mac back," added Logan. "That being said, we'll try not to kill her captors so we can find who's in charge."

"I expect that." Bill held up another device. "These are communication devices. I need constant communication in case I have to legally cover your butts. Understand?" He stepped away and answered his phone. "Good." He hung up. "We have a possible site."

"Finally! This waiting has been frustrating." Logan checked his watch. "I say we hit it at O-three-hundred hours. What about you guys?"

Simon started to speak, but paused, then continued, "I say closer to O-five-thirty hours. The reason-we don't have night vision googles and it'll still be dark. We might need the predawn light."

Logan nodded. "You're right. We all in agreement?" After everybody agreed, he said, "Okay, I've sort of planned this out. But I need your brains. Mine isn't fully functional. Please add things I'm missing. Jose, you'll drive and stay with the van. Your job is communication. You make sure we aren't missing anything. If needed, make sure the ambulance arrives and..." he glanced at Bill, "the helicopter gives us reports of any incoming vehicles or men. We don't want additional surprises, especially since we don't know what to expect."

"We need to be ready in case there are additional hostages. We have no clue what's there," added Simon. "We also don't have any idea how many are guarding her."

"Or how well armed they are." Trey held up an automatic weapon. "They're probably armed with these."

Bill pointed to bullet proof vests. "I hope you won't need these, but just in case."

Logan agreed, "I hope we don't either. I know it's hot, but everybody wears them. Got it?" He paused, "Simon and Trey, we need to be ready for anything. We've been in enough extraction missions that we'll know how to proceed." He scanned the area. "At O-five hundred hours tomorrow, we'll meet here. When we leave in a few minutes, Trey, you go home with Simon. Jose, come home with me, hang around a while, then leave."

"You want me to pick you up in the morning?" asked Jose.

"No. I'm usually followed. That's the reason I drove around in high traffic areas before we came here. I wanted to make sure we lost anybody following." Logan released a deep breath. "I'll go for a run, as usual. About six miles from the apartment is a gas station/convenience store. I usually go in and buy water. I'll do it again but this time I'll sneak out the back employee door and meet you three blocks to the right. I think that'll confuse my detail. What do you think?"

Jose grinned. "It confused me. Won't they think it's suspicious you're running that early?"

"My first run is usually that time of day or earlier." Logan chuckled. "They hate it too." He paused. "I really don't want any communication from now on. I feel, no I'm sure we're being watched. Ask all questions now or hold them until tomorrow when we meet again."

Silence.

Trey said, "Logan, I feel it's appropriate to say our prayer. We can reflect on it tonight."

Simon nodded in agreement, as Logan addressed Bill's questioning look, "The Special Forces Prayer. It's said before every mission. It was written in 1961 by Army Chaplin, John Stevey. He was assigned to the Green Berets stationed at Fort Bragg. They were due to ship out to Vietnam, to Laos to be precise, to train soldiers. The commanding officer was General William Yarborough. He wanted Stevey to write a prayer that would remind the men at all times of the spiritual nature of their mission. We've kept that tradition."

Bill nodded, "Go ahead."

The men bowed their heads and said in unison,
" ALMIGHTY GOD, WHO IS THE AUTHOR OF
LIBERTY AND THE CHAMPION OF THE
OPPRESSED, HEAR OUR PRAYER.

WE, THE MEN OF SPECIAL FORCES,
ACKNOWLEDGE OUR DEPENDENCE UPON THEE
IN THE PRESERVATION OF HUMAN FREEDOM.

GO WITH US AS WE SEEK TO DEFEND THE
DEFENSELESS AND TO FREE THE ENSLAVED.

MAY WE EVER REMEMBER OUR NATION, WHOSE
MOTTO IS "IN GOD WE TRUST," EXPECTS THAT
WE SHALL ACQUIT OURSELVES WITH HONOR,
THAT WE MAY NEVER BRING SHAME UPON OUR
FAITH, OUR FAMILIES, OUR FELLOW MEN.

GRANT US WISDOM FROM THE MIND, COURAGE
FROM THE HEART, STRENGTH FROM THE
ARM, AND PROTECTION BY THE HAND.

IT IS FOR THEE THAT WE DO BATTLE, AND TO
THEE BELONGS THE VICTOR'S CROWN.
FOR THINE IS THE KINGDOM, AND THE POWER
AND GLORY, FOREVER.

AMEN
"

Silence followed as each man reflected on their own thoughts.

After a few moments, Logan said, "Stay safe. We'll meet here tomorrow." He tapped each man's shoulder as they left.

*****
As he parked at the townhouse, Logan said, "Jose, do you have any kind of a duffle bag in your car?" After he nodded, Logan continued, "Good. Bring it inside. We'll need it."

Once inside, Logan walked over to the kitchen. "You have to be hungry. I'll fix us something and then refill your bag."

"What goes in the bag?" asked Jose.

"Clothes. When you pick me up from the convenience store, I'll be in workout clothes. Not suitable for a rescue mission."

Jose laughed. "I hadn't thought of that." He paused. "I know you and Mac have gotten close." He waited for a reaction. When he didn't get one, he continued, "I love Mac too, in a different way. I'm a safe person if you need to talk about it."

Logan studied him, started to speak, and then turned away.

"I don't understand how you can remain emotionless. If this was Lucy, it'd be tearing me up inside. It is now, because Mac means a lot to me. She's a close friend. Is it part of your training?"

Setting a plate of sandwiches and a salad on the table, Logan sat. "I hope this is all right." His eyes met Jose's. "To be honest, I'm a mess inside. Yes, my training has taught me to remain emotionless. This is the first time it's failed me. I'm not sure how to handle it. I'm used to always being in control."

*****
After Jose left, Logan cleaned the kitchen and then paced the room. It sure it quiet around here. He walked over to the refrigerator and glanced through things Mac had hung on it. He dialed a phone number. "Hello Joanie, it's Logan. I hope you don't mind me calling. Mac had your number lying around."

"Not at all. What can I do for you?"

"I was wondering how Edger is?"

"He's fine. Dr. White said he'd make a full recovery. I think he misses Mac. He looks sad."

"I'm sure he does. They were very close. I don't hear Arlo barking. Is he okay?"

"He's also especially quiet. I think both dogs really miss her." Joanie paused. "I have a feeling they aren't the only ones who miss her. How are you doing?"

"Fine."

"No, you're not. I can tell by your voice. Would you like me to come over?"

"No!" he yelled. "Sorry. I didn't mean it like it sounded. I don't want you put in danger. You're safer at home."

"You know you're not responsible for Mac getting kidnapped, right?"

"My gut told me something was wrong. I tried to get her to come with me."

"We both know how stubborn she can be. This time it put her in danger, and that's not your fault."

"I'd better go. Thank you for telling me how the dogs are doing."

"Logan, wait." Joanie hushed. "I know you have feelings for Mac. Her feelings for you are just as strong. She was preparing a special dinner for you. You know her adversity for cooking, but she wanted to and was looking forward to doing it for you. What does that tell you?"

He chuckled. "That she was really tired of doing dishes."

"Logan, you're smarter than that."

"I understand what you're saying."

"I hope so. I feel in my gut Mac will be all right, and you'll get to her in time." Joanie silenced. "Bill just walked in the door. I'm betting he wants dinner. If you need to talk, please call."

"Good night." After Logan hung up, he sat on the couch and channel surfed. There's nothing on. The Cards aren't playing. Tonight's the All-Star game. I don't feel like watching. He turned off the TV but continued to stare at the blank screen.

After a few minutes, he took out his phone and searched for a number. "Hello Colonel Paige, its Major Nelson." A few niceties were exchanged before he got to the point. "I was wondering if you still have friends at Scott Airforce Base." Silence. "Good. The reason I'm calling is I need a drone to fly over a specific area." Silence. "Yes, Sir, tomorrow at O-five-thirty. I'll text you the coordinates." Again silence. "I need to know how many warm bodies are there."

Logan cleared his throat during the silence. "Sir, you might be better off not knowing what I'm doing, but I can assure you the District Attorney's office has blessed off on it." A long pause. "Thank you, Sir. Once you get the okay, I'll send the coordinates." After a long sigh, he put the phone away. Hopefully he can pull that off. It would be good to know how many people we're dealing with. I don't have a sniper handy.


Please help!!! Should the Special Forces prayer be included or just mention it happened. I have played with that area for months. Please let me know what you think. I trust my reviewers opinion. Below is more information for you. Thank you.



Chaplin Stevey said the General requested that it be a prayer that would appeal to all the men, whatever their faith and that it should be short enough that the men could carry it as a wallet sized card. To comply with that request the prayer makes no mention of Christ and has since been carried in the wallets -- and the hearts -- of Special Forces soldiers, and their family and friends, ever since.

The Special Forces prayer is also a part of a majestic stained glass window in the JFK Memorial Chapel at Fort Bragg and is included in the specially issued bibles that the soldiers carry. It is also, with the army's full blessing, featured on a number of merchandise items that are sold to support Special Forces soldiers and their families.





Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou local name for St. Louis
Simon Knight and Sheila Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician. Sheila's his wife.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league
baseball team.
Yadi What Cardinal fans call Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
George Whitney A former boyfriend of Megan, early suspect in her murder.
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez his wife is Lucy Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.
Kate Hartford Megan Nelson's friend they taught middle school
together.
Donny Carlton A man Megan Nelson dated.
Mitch Gardner St. Louis Police Department detective who has
partnered with McKenzie's dad.
Ivan Smart A bad guy
Peter and Nancy Nelson Logan's parents
Sidney Parks works for the St. Louis Police Detective with the drug unit.
Mack and Helen Morgan McKenzie's parents - both deceased
Gus Piper McKenzie's abusive grandfather - deceased
Austin Bryant an old boyfriend - McKenzie broke up with him because he's a jerk.
Joshua Davis so far a nobody, but is a neighbor to Donny Carlton
Mark Young an acquaintance of McKenzie, a state trooper, and will become important much late

Author Notes Thank you google imagines for a photo of a special forces extraction. This post is a little under 1700 words. I really appreciate your help. Logan and McKenzie continue their search for Megan's murder as they get closer to becoming a couple.


Chapter 70
St. Louis Chapter 30 part 1

By barbara.wilkey

It's Wednesday afternoon. McKenzie and Logan have known each other 15 days.

Ending of Previous Post:

After a few minutes, he took out his phone and searched for a number. "Hello Colonel Paige, its Major Nelson." A few niceties were exchanged before he got to the point. "I was wondering if you still have friends at Scott Airforce Base." Silence. "Good. The reason I'm calling is I need a drone to fly over a specific area." Silence. "Yes, Sir, tomorrow at O-five-thirty. I'll text you the coordinates." Again silence. "I need to know how many warm bodies are there."

Logan cleared his throat during the silence. "Sir, you might be better off not knowing what I'm doing, but I can assure you the District Attorney's office has blessed off on it." A long pause. "Thank you, Sir. Once you get the okay, I'll send the coordinates." After a long sigh, he put the phone away. Hopefully he can pull that off. It would be good to know how many people we're dealing with. I don't have a sniper handy.

TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 30 PART 1

The following morning, Logan finished stretching before opening the front door. Okay, men act predicable. When they started jogging behind him, he grinned. They always do.

At the gas station/convenience store, Logan bought a bottle of water, slowly drank it, and then sneaked out the back door. He waited a few moments, making sure he wasn't followed.

After meeting up with Jose, he asked, "Did you get any sleep?"

"What do you think?"

"Only a little, if any."

"You're right. How about you?"

"Exactly none. I did coordinate with someone and got us a little help. I'll fill you in when I tell the others. No sense repeating the story."

At the warehouse, Logan handed Simon a piece of paper and a map. "Here are the coordinates of the abandoned farmhouse. You and Trey recheck them to make sure I didn't make any mistakes. Scott Airforce base will send over a drone in about," he checked his watch, "thirty-five minutes."

Trey grinned. "How'd you manage that?"

Logan chuckled. "It's who you know."

Simon shook his head. "Or maybe it's a 'rank has its privileges' thing. How much did you have to tell the colonel?"

"I told him he didn't really want to know but assured him it's legal."

Bill patted his back. "So you stretched the truth."

"Only a little." Logan pointed at the paper and map. "Finish checking that and then gear up." He grabbed his clothes from Jose's bag. "I'm changing. We don't have a lot of time."

Within a few minutes, the coordinates were checked and found to be correct. They checked the weapons, ammunition, and settled inside the van.

Logan took time to look each man in the eyes before he said, "We ready?" He waited for each affirmative answer before he nodded to Bill, and said, "We'll bring back Mac, alive."

They left the warehouse and headed toward I-70."

As Jose parked the van about a half mile from the farmhouse, Logan received a text: 'Three not moving warm bodies in sitting positions upstairs in a left room. One not moving warm body lying in a far right room. Downstairs three moving bodies. Outside four moving bodies. Two in front, two in back.'

Logan replied to the text then said, "It looks like there are three hostages inside besides Mac. All being held upstairs. A total of seven guards; three inside and four on the perimeter. Not bad odds. Let's get this over with."

The three men moved quickly and silently until the farmhouse came into sight. Logan held up his hand to stop the men.

They huddled together as Logan whispered, "I want the outside guards silently subdued. Make sure the silencers are in place in case you need to use guns. If the men inside are notified, they might kill the hostages."

Trey asked, "Any suggestions?"

Logan held up his knife. "But only if necessary. We need them alive. If possible, restrain and gag."

Both men nodded.

Moving a few yards closer, Logan motioned for Simon to go right and Trey to move left. He'd continue straight.

Simon was the first to speak, "One man silenced."

Next Logan spoke, "Second man taken care of. Trey?"

Moments later, Trey said, "Third."

Simon added, "Sorry Logan, one dead. He came up behind Trey with a cocked AK47. It was him or Trey."

"Good choice. Meet me in the front. We'll go in together." As he waited for the other two, Logan said, "Bill, are you catching this?"

"Yes, good job. I saw the man aiming at Trey. I prayed Simon got there in time."

The three stood in front of the house. Simon pointed and whispered, "Should we walk through the front door?"

Logan grinned. "Why not? Only Special Forces style. Who wants to kick the door down?"

Trey chuckled. "I'm the biggest. Let me. I haven't had this much fun in a long time."

Nodding Logan said, "Let's go."

With a loud thud and well-practiced precision the three entered, and came under automatic rifle fire. Minutes later, the rescuers were victorious.

After the downstairs was cleared, Logan said, "Hopefully only one or two are wounded. Simon, do what you can. Jose, we didn't forget you. Has the helicopter checked in?"

"Yes, so far no traffic. I'm guessing you want some ambulances. How many?"

Logan looked at Simon, who held up two fingers and then aimed his rifle toward the stairs. Logan reported, "So far, four need to be arrested, one dead, and two injured. Trey and I are on our way upstairs. Get that taken care of. Wait, we know of four hostages. Add that to the list."

The two men went into the left room. Three terrified young female hostages were found bound in the corner of a dark and dusty room.

Trey knelt beside the three girls. "We're the good guys. You're safe." He took bolt-cutters and freed them. "Medical help's on the way. I'll help you downstairs." He watched Logan clear other rooms, and then said, "Bill, I have three young ladies; two in their late teens, one maybe fifteen, if that old. They're scared but okay and able to walk. No sign of Mac. Logan's still searching." He pointed to a door, "Logan, try there."

Logan opened the door and covered his nose from the stench of vomit, stale whiskey, and bodily fluids. McKenzie lay in a rumpled bloody heap on the floor unconscious. He yelled, "I found her. Not good. Simon!"

"Coming!" answered Simon.

Removing his flack vest, Logan took off his shirt and covered Mac. Nobody needs to see you like this.

Simon knelt beside Logan. "Move aside, let me tend to her." He checked her vitals. "She's alive." He glanced at Logan. "Get your vest back on. We're not home yet."

Logan moved aside, but held her hand.

Jose announced, "Ambulances are ten minutes out."

Bill asked, "Simon, does she have ten minutes?"

"She does. She's unconscious. Her vitals are weak but steady. From the looks of things, I'd say they forced whiskey down her; probably to keep her under control. She's been beaten. She has bruising, cuts, a lot of blood, not sure if she has any broken bones. Her clothes are torn."

After taking a deep breath, Bill asked, "Was she..."

"I can't tell," interrupted Simon. "After an exam, the doctor'll have to answer that."

Trey yelled, "First ambulance is here. Is Mac ready to travel? The rest are stable and can wait."

Two EMT men, lifted her on the gurney, and carried her to the ambulance.

Logan climbed in after her.

"Sir..."

His glare told them he would not take no for an answer.

The young worker pointed. "Move over there, so we can do our job."

Logan nodded, moved, but continued to hold her hand.



Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou local name for St. Louis
Simon Knight and Sheila Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician. Sheila's his wife.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league
baseball team.
Yadi What Cardinal fans call Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
George Whitney A former boyfriend of Megan, early suspect in her murder.
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez his wife is Lucy Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.
Kate Hartford Megan Nelson's friend they taught middle school
together.
Donny Carlton A man Megan Nelson dated.
Mitch Gardner St. Louis Police Department detective who has
partnered with McKenzie's dad.
Ivan Smart A bad guy
Peter and Nancy Nelson Logan's parents
Sidney Parks works for the St. Louis Police Detective with the drug unit.
Mack and Helen Morgan McKenzie's parents - both deceased
Gus Piper McKenzie's abusive grandfather - deceased
Austin Bryant an old boyfriend - McKenzie broke up with him because he's a jerk.
Joshua Davis so far a nobody, but is a neighbor to Donny Carlton
Mark Young an acquaintance of McKenzie, a state trooper, and will become important much late

Author Notes Thank you google imagines for a photo of a drone image. This post has a little over 1,100 words. Logan and McKenzie continue their search for Megan's murder as they get closer to becoming a couple.

The Special Forces poem will remain in, unless the editor take it out. Only one person voted against it.


Chapter 71
St. Louis Chapter 30 part 2

By barbara.wilkey

It's Wednesday afternoon. McKenzie and Logan have known each other 15 days.

Ending of Previous Post:

Jose announced, "Ambulances are ten minutes out."

Bill asked, "Simon, does she have ten minutes?"

"She does. She's unconscious. Her vitals are weak but steady. From the looks of things, I'd say they forced whiskey down her; probably to keep her under control. She's been beaten. She has bruising, cuts, a lot of blood, not sure if she has any broken bones. Her clothes are torn."

After taking a deep breath, Bill asked, "Was she..."

"I can't tell," interrupted Simon. "After an exam, the doctor'll have to answer that."

Trey yelled, "First ambulance is here. Is Mac ready to travel? The rest are stable and can wait."

Two EMT men, lifted her on the gurney, and carried her to the ambulance.

Logan climbed in after her.

"Sir..."

His glare told them he would not take no for an answer.

The young worker pointed. "Move over there, so we can do our job."

Logan nodded, moved, but continued to hold her hand.


TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 30 PART 2


Bill walked up to Logan who stood in the ER waiting room and asked, "They won't let you in? Any news, yet?"

Logan shook his head. "She's in pretty bad shape. I'm guessing at a minimum alcohol poisoning. No idea what else happened."

Pointing to the waiting area chairs, Bill said, "Let's have a seat. All we can do right now is pray. Mac's strong. She'll make it."

A few minutes later the ER doctor walked out. "You're here with Ms. Morgan, right?" He offered Logan his hand. "I'm Dr. Gray."

Logan stood and accepted the hand. "Yes, I brought her in. Can we see her?"

"Not yet. Can I ask what happened?"

Bill stood, identified himself, and showed his badge, before he said, "Mac, Ms. Morgan was kidnapped, and Logan and his team rescued her. I was kept abreast during the entire rescue as it unfolded. We really don't know what happened while she was held captive."

Bill released a deep breath. "Until we speak with her, all we know is what the scene tells us. The preliminary findings are that whiskey was forced down her and by her injuries she was beaten. A crime scene unit is processing the house where she was held. There were three other females held with her and they were also brought in. Officers are taking their statements as we speak. We'll need all the evidence collected from Ms. Morgan and her clothes."

"The nurses are working on that now, as well as cleaning her up." Dr. Gray turned. "I need to get back."

After he left, Logan continued, "Who's taking the statements?"

"Jose, Simon, and Mitch. I completely trust them.

"Where's Trey?"

"He's interviewing the suspects."

Logan's eyes twinkled. "I wish I was a fly on that wall. Are you sure that's a good choice?"

"I don't know him as well as you do, but it's seemed like a good idea at the time." Bill grinned.

"His tactics may be suspect, but he'll get results. I'm not sure they'll hold up in court. The officers at the police department won't allow him to..."

"Who said they were at the police department?" interrupted Bill.

"You've converted to our side."

"I'll admit if this was left up to the PD, I'd probably never see Mac again, and three innocent young girls were rescued in the process. I'm just glad I'm on your side."

Simon came up behind them. "Logan, how you holding up?"

"How do you think?"

"You look terrible."

"Did you get any useful information?" asked Bill as he watched Logan stare at the ER door.

"These girls were held captive anywhere from three weeks to a few days ago. Mac was the newest. It seems they were waiting for transportation across the US. We've stumbled into a human trafficking ring."

Logan studied Bill. "So the information you got from Benson's lawyer's paperwork seems legit?"

Bill sighed. "It looks like it. All we need from Trey is a name."

Then Dr. Gray returned. "After we pump her stomach, we're assigning her a room. Once she's settled you can see her."

Simon chewed on his lower lip. "I know I'm overstepping but I have a vested interest and need to check. Have you started an IV for hydration?"

"We have. Maybe in about an hour and a half you can see her. If you want to leave for a little while, you won't miss anything."

Logan studied the waiting room. "I don't plan on going anywhere." He scanned the area. "I could use a cup of coffee."

Bill nodded. "I'll get some. Simon, how about you?"

As Logan and Simon sat and watched Bill walk away, Simon said, "Mac's like a daughter to him."

"She is." He hesitated. "She means a lot to all of us. I'm guessing she has alcohol poisoning. What's the dangers?"

"During recovery she may experience a headache, stomach cramps, nausea, anxiety, and tremors. It's important she stays hydrated."

"Are any long term effects possible?"

Simon shook his head. "For Mac probably not. If she was a long time drinker, definitely. But from what you've mentioned before, this is her first time drinking anything, so I'd say no."

"So you're saying she should make a complete recovery?"

"I'm not saying that. We don't know everything she went through. She might have some emotional issues. We don't know if she was sexually molested. Her clothes were in pretty bad shape. We don't know how badly she was beaten. Does she have any broken bones? We can't rush to any conclusions." Simon hushed, and then added, "At a minimum she's going to need your love and support. Just be there for her."

Logan nodded. "I plan to."











I can't keep the title 'St. Louis' when I'm ready to publish. I only have 10 more posts left. I've been playing with titles and the idea that's sticking in my brain is something like: 'Life's a puzzle' or something with puzzle pieces in it. HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LOL





Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou local name for St. Louis
Simon Knight and Sheila Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician. Sheila's his wife.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league
baseball team.
Yadi What Cardinal fans call Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
George Whitney A former boyfriend of Megan, early suspect in her murder.
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez his wife is Lucy Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.
Kate Hartford Megan Nelson's friend they taught middle school
together.
Donny Carlton A man Megan Nelson dated.
Mitch Gardner St. Louis Police Department detective who has
partnered with McKenzie's dad.
Ivan Smart A bad guy
Peter and Nancy Nelson Logan's parents
Sidney Parks works for the St. Louis Police Detective with the drug unit.
Mack and Helen Morgan McKenzie's parents - both deceased
Gus Piper McKenzie's abusive grandfather - deceased
Austin Bryant an old boyfriend - McKenzie broke up with him because he's a jerk.
Joshua Davis so far a nobody, but is a neighbor to Donny Carlton
Mark Young an acquaintance of McKenzie, a state trooper, and will become important much later
Dr. Gray McKenzie's doctor

Author Notes Thank you google imagines for a photo of Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis. This post has a little under 800 words. I changed two sections as I posted. I hope I didn't make it worse. Logan struggles with McKenzie's injuries as they continue their search for Megan's murder as they get closer to becoming a couple.


Chapter 72
St. Louis Chapter 31 part 1

By barbara.wilkey

It's Wednesday afternoon. McKenzie and Logan have known each other 15 days.

Ending of Previous Post:

As Logan and Simon sat and watched Bill walk away, Simon said, "Mac's like a daughter to him."

"She is." He hesitated. "She means a lot to all of us. I'm guessing she has alcohol poisoning. What's the dangers?"

"During recovery she may experience a headache, stomach cramps, nausea, anxiety, and tremors. It's important she stays hydrated."

"Are any long term effects possible?"

Simon shook his head. "For Mac probably not. If she had been a long time drinker, definitely. But from what you've mentioned before, this is her first time drinking anything, so I'd say no."

"So you're saying she should make a complete recovery?"

"I'm not saying that. We don't know everything she went through. She might have some emotional issues. We don't know if she was sexually molested. Her clothes were in pretty bad shape. We don't know how badly she was beaten. Does she have any broken bones? We can't rush to any conclusions." Simon hushed, and then added, "At a minimum she's going to need your love and support. Just be there for her."

Logan nodded. "I plan to."

TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 31 PART 1

Early that afternoon Dr. Gray allowed Bill and Logan inside Mac's room. Both men sat in silence and stared at her unconscious body. Logan held her hand as he answered his ringing cell. "Trey, I'll put you on speaker. Bill's with me."

"How's Mac?" After Trey was filled in on her condition, he continued, "I interrogated each man separately. All four named Ivan Smart as the ring leader. Three of them stated there's a silent partner but had no idea who. One of the three is pretty sure he's with the police department, but that hasn't been verified. Two of them said he was really important and doesn't like getting his hands dirty. Do you have any idea who this might be? The fourth one had no idea about anything."

Logan released a deep breath. "Mac and I feel that man is Sidney Parks, but we can't prove it. A Sidney's name has come up but there's no proof they're the same person. It's just our hunch. We're waiting on the identification of a man looking in an Irish Pub's window the night she was drugged."

"How long ago did we turn in that tape?" asked Bill.

"We got it Friday. So really they didn't start working on it until Monday." Logan counted on his fingers. "That's three days counting today."

Bill took out his phone. "I'll see where they are with it." After he put his phone away, he said, "We might have it later this afternoon, but in the morning for sure. Thank you Trey, you did a good job."

"What do you want me to do with these guys?" asked Trey. "I can keep them here a while longer if you want me too."

Bill tapped his hands on the chair's arm rest. "Nobody in the PD knows about this situation. I've kept it under wraps. Let me think about the best way to handle it. I'll let you know." He waited for Logan to put his phone away before he asked, "Any suggestions on how to handle it?"

After few moments, Logan said, "I guess I'd go straight to the police commissioner. Tell him what you suspect and then go from there. I'm hoping he's somebody you can trust. Do you have a good working relationship with him?"

"I think so. I'm pretty sure he can be trusted. If things go well, he could okay us arresting Smart. Maybe Smart will give up Parks. We need to do this without Parks knowing anything." Bill took out his phone. "I'll call the commissioner's office and set up an appointment."

"I'd suggest him coming here, that way he could see first-hand what these people are capable of. It would also help if we had any security footage of Jose being shot outside the Tin Roof. Has anybody found anything, yet?"

"Good idea. While I check on both, see if there's anyway Trey can join us. I think he needs to be here. He can add first-hand knowledge of what the suspects said. Maybe send Mitch to guard them."

*****
Late that afternoon the police commissioner, Samuel Conley, opened McKenzie's hospital door and offered his hand. "Bill, it's nice to see you again." He glanced toward McKenzie, studied her, and then closed his eyes as he released a deep breath. "One of the victims?" After Bill nodded, he continued, "Can we go someplace to talk privately? We need to arrest these guys."

Bill stood. "Yes, sir." He glanced at Logan. "I feel you need to be part of this discussion."

Logan glanced at his hand holding McKenzie's. "Okay. Somebody needs to stay with her."

Trey stood outside the opened door. "I will. When I'm needed, we can switch places."

The police commissioner, Bill, and Logan went across the hall to a vacant room. They discussed the history leading up to McKenzie's kidnapping and rescue.

As the discussion moved to the possibility of a connection with Megan Nelson's murder, screams and cries were heard from McKenzie's room.

Logan rushed in with his weapon readied.

As tears rolled down McKenzie's face, she yelled, "Don't touch me. Get out!"

Nodding for Trey to leave, Logan put his gun away and sat on the edge of the bed.

A nurse entered with a syringe. "I have a sedative. It'll help."

McKenzie screamed. "No! No drugs!"

Grabbing McKenzie's hand so she couldn't yank out the IV's, Logan said, "Give me a chance to calm her down. If I can't, then give her the sedative. Fair enough?"

"The nurse paused, glanced at her watch, and said, "I'll give you five minutes." She left.

"Mac, it's okay. The nurse and Trey have left." She still attempted to tug out the IV's, as Logan added, "You need to keep these in. You're dehydrated because of the ingested alcohol."

"I'll drink water."

"This is better because it's faster, it has electrolytes, and you're also nauseated. You'll struggle keeping water down."

McKenzie took a deep breath and slightly relaxed. Her eyes met his. "You found me, didn't you?" He nodded, and she continued, "I knew you would. I knew I'd be okay because you wouldn't stop until you rescued me."

Logan swallowed. "May I?" She nodded and he put his arm around her. "You ingested a lot of whiskey. Do you remember what happened?"

She nodded. "Some. I was fixing you dinner and the dogs started barking. I let them out and went back to the stove." She glanced up at him. "It's the last time I'll ever cook. If I hadn't been in the kitchen, I would've probably been in the den and had access to my gun."

"I understand how cooking can be dangerous. What happened after you let the dogs out?"

"I heard the back door open. I figured Edger had figured out how to open it." She stared into space and closed her eyes. "A hooded man came in. I fought him, but two more came in; one on each side of me. I held my own, but a fourth man came in. I was knocked unconscious." Tears welled. "I'm sorry. I couldn't fight four men."

He used his thumb to dry a tear. "It's okay. Nobody expected you to." He kissed her forehead. "What's the next thing you remember?"

"I was chained to a wall in an old house. I think it was abandoned." McKenzie shook her head. "I don't know where it was. There were three other females with me. Are they all right?"

"Yes, we rescued them too. You were held in an old farm house off I-70, outside the city toward Columbia."

"Thank you." She took a deep breath and cuddled closer to him. "A man came in and started kicking me. I tried to fight back."

"Can you identify him?"

She shook her head. "No. The light was dim. He was a silhouette." She touched the inside of her right wrist. "He did have a tatt, here. It was a red five pointed star with the number forty-nine below it."

"Did he speak?"

"Not really but gave hand signals to somebody off to the right of me. I couldn't see the other person. I'm guessing he was a member of the Forty-nine BAD Bloods street gang. I have information on them in a file. Benson laundered money for them."

"When did they start pouring whiskey down you?"

"After I kicked the guy in the gonads."

"I can understand you wanting to do it."

"Probably not one of my wisest decisions, was it?"

"I wasn't there so I can't answer."

"Thank you for not making a judgement." Logan nodded, and she continued, "One guy pried my mouth open and another poured a bottle of whiskey down me. I spit as much of it out as I could. That only made them angrier. I don't remember much after that, only a few sounds, but nothing intelligible. They did this repeatedly."

"What happened when you woke up just now?"

"That man stood over me." McKenzie touched her forearm. "He touched me here, like this."

"That man's a buddy of mine. He helped me rescue you. His name's Trey Walker. How did he scare you?"

McKenzie closed her eyes. "My eyes aren't focusing very well. I'm sort of in a fog. He resembled Grandpa." Logan held her tighter as she continued, "When I was fourteen, I was awakened by him climbing on top of me. I screamed." She shook her head. "I tried to push him away but he put his mouth over mine. I tried to scream, but it was muffled."

"Where were your parents?"

"They had to work late. I had a bad cold so went on to bed."

Logan bit his bottom lip. "Did he molest you?"

Shaking her head, she said, "No. I heard Mom scream and then he fell on me. Blood was all over."

"Your mom stabbed him?"

"Yes, she ended years of him molesting young girls."

Wow, her mom killed Gus and was not only beaten but sexually molested by him her entire life. That explains a lot. The newspaper said blunt force trauma killed him, but he was stabbed. Logan continued to tightly hold McKenzie. "Mac, can I ask Trey to come in so you can meet him? I won't do it unless you're comfortable."

She nodded, so Logan began to stand, but she grabbed his hand. "Don't leave. I'm not ready."

He kissed her forehead. "I'm not going anywhere."

"Can you hold me?"

"You don't need to ask." Logan half sat and half laid on the bed, holding McKenzie as she fell back to sleep.




Update on the title issue. A reviewer recommended 'Missing Pieces'. I like it. Any suggestions????





Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou local name for St. Louis
Simon Knight and Sheila Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician. Sheila's his wife.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league
baseball team.
Yadi What Cardinal fans call Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
George Whitney A former boyfriend of Megan, early suspect in her murder.
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez his wife is Lucy Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.
Kate Hartford Megan Nelson's friend they taught middle school
together.
Donny Carlton A man Megan Nelson dated.
Mitch Gardner St. Louis Police Department detective who has
partnered with McKenzie's dad.
Ivan Smart A bad guy
Peter and Nancy Nelson Logan's parents
Sidney Parks works for the St. Louis Police Detective with the drug unit.
Mack and Helen Morgan McKenzie's parents - both deceased
Gus Piper McKenzie's abusive grandfather - deceased
Austin Bryant an old boyfriend - McKenzie broke up with him because he's a jerk.
Joshua Davis so far a nobody, but is a neighbor to Donny Carlton
Mark Young an acquaintance of McKenzie, a state trooper, and will become important much later
Trey Walker former Army buddy and now retired, lives in Kansas City and helped rescue McKenzie
Dr. Gray McKenzie's doctor

Author Notes Thank you google imagines for a photo of Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis. This post has a little over 1600 words. I hope the length doesn't bother you. Logan struggles with McKenzie's injuries as they continue their search for Megan's murder as they get closer to becoming a couple.


Chapter 73
St. Louis Chapter 31 part 2

By barbara.wilkey

It's Wednesday late afternoon. McKenzie and Logan have known each other 15 days.

Ending of Previous Post:

Wow, her mom killed Gus and was not only beaten but sexually molested by him her entire life. That explains a lot. The newspaper said blunt force trauma killed him, but he was stabbed. Logan continued to tightly hold McKenzie. "Mac, can I ask Trey to come in so you can meet him? I won't do it unless you're comfortable."

She nodded, so Logan began to stand, but she grabbed his hand. "Don't leave. I'm not ready."

He kissed her forehead. "I'm not going anywhere."

"Can you hold me?"

"You don't need to ask." Logan half sat and half laid on the bed, holding McKenzie as she fell back to sleep.


TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 31 PART 2

Later that afternoon, Bill walked into McKenzie's hospital room and grinned. As Logan started to rise, Bill whispered, "Don't get up on my account, but you don't look very comfortable."

"It seems to help her sleep. I'll do whatever's necessary for Mac."

"I understand. Ivan Smart is being arrested as we speak. I got permission from Conley for Trey to interrogate him."

"Trey will get results. I'm not sure his methods are kosher."

Bill chuckled. "He said the same thing, but Conley blessed off on it. He muttered something about it might be the only way to get to the truth. I gave him a few guidelines to make sure the confession will hold up in court. I'm hoping he'll name the man-in-charge."

"You mean Sidney Parks?" asked Logan.

"Exactly." Bill paused. "How's Mac?"

"Under the circumstances, better than most."

"Was she able to remember anything?"

"Not really."

"I heard her screaming. Did she give any information that was helpful?"

"Just a bad dream."

"I thought with all of your training you'd be better at lying."

Logan avoided eye contact. "You're right, but I'm sure if she wanted it known, she would've already told you. If it was anything that would help us now, I'd definitely tell you." He released a deep breath. "I'm not sure she was aware she told me."

"Understood." Bill started to leave, but stopped and asked, "Is it one of those things if I knew, I'd be required to act?"

Logan nodded.

"I'll be back later. Joanie wants to come by. I'm not sure Mac's up for visitors."

"She's not. Maybe tomorrow."

"Text me when you need a break. I'll sit with her. Can I bring you anything? Coffee?"

"I'm fine, but thanks."

Bill started to say something but turned and left.

*****
Early evening Dr. Gray entered the room. Logan stood. "I'm glad you're here. I'd like to ask some questions."

Dr. Gray tapped the chart he held. "I'll answer what I can." He lifted a paper and read.

"What's Mac's diagnosis? How badly was she beaten? Does she have any broken bones?" Logan glanced at her. "I guess that's a stupid question. If she did, she'd have a cast on." He chewed on his lower lip. "Was she sexually molested?"

"To ease your mind, it doesn't appear Ms. Morgan was sexually molested." Dr. Gray nodded when Logan released a deep breath, and then continued, "I can tell you're relieved. Next question, yes you're correct. She has no broken bones. We did a full body x-ray to make sure. There might be a few mini fractures. Later I want to recheck those areas."

"She's in good physical shape. She has a pretty tough work-out routine."

"I can tell." Dr. Gray rechecked the numbers. "Now for the big question; she has alcohol poisoning. Her alcohol blood level was 0.23%. If she was a regular drinker, it'd simply mean serious intoxication, but since this is her first experience with alcohol it puts her in danger. I have her on anti-seizure medication and we're hydrating her. I'm hoping to avoid problems. We pumped her stomach to get out as much as possible. Tomorrow I'll check her liver for damage. I doubt there'll be any, since she's not a drinker, but one can never be too careful."

Logan chewed on his lip as he listened.

Dr. Gray continued, "I know you're keeping a close eye on her. We're monitoring her at the nurses' desk. If you notice anything, please go ahead and let them know. It could indicate cardiac arrest. She probably needed your extra body heat beside her. Her core body temp is 94.2 degrees."

"Another symptom of alcohol poisoning?" asked Logan.

The doctor nodded. "It is." He glanced at her. "Her cuts have been cleaned so no infections should occur, but there's always a danger. This young lady's very lucky you found her."

"I'm making sure she's never at-risk, again."

"From the comments I overheard. There was nothing you could've done to stop it."

"There's always more one can do." Logan shoved his hands inside his jeans pockets. "Do you need me to leave so you can examine her?"

"I do. Why don't you get a cup of coffee?"

"I'll wait outside the door."

****
Logan sat, hunched over, and studied his hands when he heard, "Logan, how's McKenzie?" He glanced up and saw his mom and dad coming toward him. "She'll live, but still in some danger."

His dad replied, "Bill has been keeping us updated."

"Good. Sorry, I haven't called. I've been busy."

"Bill said you haven't left her side." Peter patted his son's back.

"I haven't. The doctor's with her now." Logan studied his mother. "Mom, something's bothering you. What?"

"They're cremating Megan tomorrow."

Logan ran his hands through his hair. "Mom, I can't leave Mac right now."

"I understand."

Trey walked up. "I overheard. Logan, go. Your parents need you. You need to be there. I'll stay with Mac."

"Remember her reaction the last time she woke up?"

"Simon, Jose, and I have this. You can introduce me before you leave. Simon said his wife has a doctor's appointment tomorrow. Maybe Sheila can stay. Between the three of us, we got this. Bill won't be far either. His wife will help too. You need to be with your family."

Logan took Nancy's hand. "What time?"

"It's scheduled first thing in the morning, eight o'clock."

"I'll be there." He faced Trey. "Whatever happens, don't leave her alone. I don't trust the yokels they have guarding her room. I'd feel a lot better with people knowing I'm right beside her. So if I have to leave her, even for a couple hours - let's keep it just between the six of us, okay?" He paused.

"Got it." Trey nodded.

Logan rose as the doctor left McKenzie's room. "Any change?"

Dr. Gray shook his head. "Not really. I don't expect any until tomorrow." He grinned. "Her body temp rose to 95.0. I think your body heat helped. Keep it up."



Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou local name for St. Louis
Simon Knight and Sheila Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician. Sheila's his wife.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league
baseball team.
Yadi What Cardinal fans call Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
George Whitney A former boyfriend of Megan, early suspect in her murder.
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez his wife is Lucy Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.
Kate Hartford Megan Nelson's friend they taught middle school
together.
Donny Carlton A man Megan Nelson dated.
Mitch Gardner St. Louis Police Department detective who has
partnered with McKenzie's dad.
Ivan Smart A bad guy
Peter and Nancy Nelson Logan's parents
Sidney Parks works for the St. Louis Police Detective with the drug unit.
Mack and Helen Morgan McKenzie's parents - both deceased
Gus Piper McKenzie's abusive grandfather - deceased
Austin Bryant an old boyfriend - McKenzie broke up with him because he's a jerk.
Joshua Davis so far a nobody, but is a neighbor to Donny Carlton
Mark Young an acquaintance of McKenzie, a state trooper, and will become important much later
Trey Walker former Army buddy and now retired, lives in Kansas City and helped rescue McKenzie
Dr. Gray McKenzie's doctor

Author Notes Thank you google imagines for a photo of Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis. This post has a little under a 1000 words. Logan struggles with McKenzie's injuries as the search continues for Megan's murderer. They get closer to becoming a couple.


Chapter 74
St. Louis Chapter 32 part 1

By barbara.wilkey

It's Thursday morning. McKenzie and Logan have known each other 16 days.

Ending of Previous Post:

"I haven't. The doctor's with her now." Logan studied his mother. "Mom, something's bothering you. What?"

"They're cremating Megan tomorrow."

Logan ran his hands through his hair. "Mom, I can't leave Mac right now."

"I understand."

Trey walked up. "I overheard. Logan, go. Your parents need you. You need to be there. I'll stay with Mac."

"Remember her reaction the last time she woke up?"

"Simon, Jose, and I have this. You can introduce me before you leave. Simon said his wife has a doctor's appointment tomorrow. Maybe Sheila can stay. Between the three of us, we got this. Bill won't be far either. His wife will help too. You need to be with your family."

Logan took Nancy's hand. "What time?"

"It's scheduled first thing in the morning, eight o'clock."

"I'll be there." He faced Trey. "Whatever happens, don't leave her alone. I don't trust the yokels they have guarding her room. I'd feel a lot better with people knowing I'm right beside her. So if I have to leave her, even for a couple hours - let's keep it just between the six of us, okay?" He paused.

"Got it." Trey nodded.

Logan rose as the doctor left McKenzie's room. "Any change?"

Dr. Gray shook his head. "Not really. I don't expect any until tomorrow." He grinned. "Her body temp rose to 95.0. I think your body heat helped. Keep it up."

TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 32 PART 1

Early the following morning, Simon, Trey, Jose, and Bill repeatedly assured Logan the four of them would remain with McKenzie until he returned.

Logan stared at Mac. "I wish she'd wake up. I need to introduce Trey as one of us. I don't want her scared again."

Bill patted him on the back. "I'll be here. Once in a while, Mac actually listens to me. Joanie will be by around eleven o'clock."

Simon offered, "Sheila will be here close to ten."

McKenzie stirred as her eye lids fluttered. "Logan?"

"I'm here." He held her hand. "Feeling any better?"

Bill touched her arm. "They're cremating Logan's sister today. He needs to be there."

Logan glared at him. "We'll talk later." Bill knows better than to hit Mac with that first thing in her condition. What was he thinking? Obviously he wasn't. He caressed McKenzie's hand. "I'll be back as soon as possible. Simon, Jose, Bill and my friend Trey will remain in the room with you. I'd like you to meet him."

She cautiously nodded. "If you trust him..."

"I do," interrupted Logan. After Trey moved closer, Logan introduced him.

Trey's eyes met McKenzie's. "I'm sorry I hovered over you yesterday. I should've realized a strange man in the room when you woke up wouldn't be good, especially after everything you've been through. Please accept my apology."

McKenzie swallowed, but offered her hand. "Logan said you served with him." When he accepted it, she continued, "I'm sorry I reacted the way I did. I understand you helped rescue me."

"I was part of the team. I'm glad I could be of service."

She inhaled slowly, before she released it. "If Logan trusted you, then I do too. I understand you'll be in the room with everybody else."

"I will, but if you'd prefer I remained outside the door, I'll do that. I understand you don't know me."

"It's okay." Her eyes met Logan's. "My eyes are struggling focusing."

"According to your doctor that's a side effect of alcohol poisoning."

McKenzie nodded. "When do you have to leave?"

He checked his watch. "In about five minutes."

"Okay."

Logan kissed her. "I'll return as soon as possible. I promise."

She reached up and touched her lips. "Thank you. I needed that." She drifted back to sleep.

Jose teased, "I knew you were a couple. Now I have evidence."

"Whatever. Just don't leave this room." Logan opened the door. "I'll be back ASAP."

*****
The men watched McKenzie sleep and whispered to each other. Their heads turned when the door opened.

Simon walked over and kissed his wife. "I'm glad you made it safely. What time's your doctor's appointment?"

Sheila checked to make sure the door shut. "Two o'clock. I sent Dad home. I'll call him when I'm finished. I didn't want him waiting around all day." She smiled. "Besides the boys were a handful this morning. Mom may need back-up."

Trey gave Sheila a hug. "Good to see you again. I can make sure you get home safely. I'm sure they're watching this room. Let me know when you need to leave for your appointment and I'll walk you there. They'll expect Simon to be your escort." He chuckled. "I might confuse them."

McKenzie whispered, "Did I hear Sheila's voice?"

Simon walked to her. "You did."

Sheila leaned over and hugged her. "I couldn't stay away. I have a check-up this afternoon, so it was a good excuse to come early. How you feeling?"

McKenzie touched Sheila's arm. "I don't want you here. Being around me puts you in danger. You need to leave. I hope they don't know you're here. Bill, get her out of here." Tears rolled down her cheeks. "Leave!" She rolled over.

Sitting on her bed, Sheila placed her hand on McKenzie's shoulder. "I'm your friend and I care about you. I'm not going anywhere. You need me and these four men are going to make sure both of us are safe."

"But you have to think about your baby."

Sheila placed McKenzie's hand on her stomach. "Feel that. Junior says he needs to be here and can't wait to meet you."

Trey slapped Simon on the back. "You're not naming number three Junior, are you? Come on, you need a more original name than that."

Sheila smiled at Trey. "Don't worry. I won't let him. Although, we haven't agreed on a name."

"I feel the baby." McKenzie grinned. "That was a hard kick. I've never felt a baby kick before." Her eyes met Sheila's. "You know him?"

"You mean Trey?" After McKenzie nodded, Sheila continued, "Yes, Simon, Logan, and him were inseparable in the Army. He's good people. I trust him with my life. He's going to make sure I make it safely back to my parents."

"Okay." She leaned back in bed.

"I'll sit beside you. Why don't you get some rest?"

McKenzie nodded and fell back to sleep.

After Sheila was sure McKenzie was asleep, she glanced at Simon. "She looks terrible. Are you positive she's going to be okay?"

"The main problem is the alcohol poisoning. The bruising and swelling just look bad but will heal over time." Simon grinned. "She'll be back to her gorgeous self in no time.

Jose stepped closer. "She's one tough lady. She'll come through this. Besides she has all of us praying and sending love."

Bill tapped Jose's shoulder. "You're right. Don't forget Logan's love."

Trey teased, "I never thought a female would get to him. She sure has."
Bill chuckled. "He was smitten from the beginning."

Jose added, "I'm not sure what smitten means but Logan fell hook, line, and sinker."

Simon put his arm around Sheila. "Just let him hear you say it. He'll disagree."

Sheila touched her husband's hand. "I think even Logan will admit it now. This must have scared him."

The four men said, "It did."




Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou local name for St. Louis
Simon Knight and Sheila Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician. Sheila's his wife.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league
baseball team.
Yadi What Cardinal fans call Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
George Whitney A former boyfriend of Megan, early suspect in her murder.
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez his wife is Lucy Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.
Kate Hartford Megan Nelson's friend they taught middle school
together.
Donny Carlton A man Megan Nelson dated.
Mitch Gardner St. Louis Police Department detective who has
partnered with McKenzie's dad.
Ivan Smart A bad guy
Peter and Nancy Nelson Logan's parents
Sidney Parks works for the St. Louis Police Detective with the drug unit.
Mack and Helen Morgan McKenzie's parents - both deceased
Gus Piper McKenzie's abusive grandfather - deceased
Austin Bryant an old boyfriend - McKenzie broke up with him because he's a jerk.
Joshua Davis so far a nobody, but is a neighbor to Donny Carlton
Mark Young an acquaintance of McKenzie, a state trooper, and will become important much later
Trey Walker former Army buddy and now retired, lives in Kansas City and helped rescue McKenzie
Dr. Gray McKenzie's doctor

Author Notes Thank you google imagines for a photo of Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis. This post has a little under a 1000 words. Again, I want to thank you for all of your help and support. Logan struggles with McKenzie's injuries as the search continues for Megan's murderer. They get closer to becoming a couple.


Chapter 75
St. Louis Chapter 32 part 2

By barbara.wilkey

It's Thursday morning. McKenzie and Logan have known each other 16 days.

Ending of Previous Post:

After Sheila was sure McKenzie was asleep, she glanced at Simon. "She looks terrible. Are you positive she's going to be okay?"

"The main problem is the alcohol poisoning. The bruising and swelling just look bad but will heal over time." Simon grinned. "She'll be back to her gorgeous self in no time."

Jose stepped closer. "She's one tough lady. She'll come through this. Besides she has all of us praying and sending love."

Bill tapped Jose's shoulder. "You're right. Don't forget Logan's love."

Trey teased, "I never thought a female would get to him. She sure has."

Bill chuckled. "He was smitten from the beginning."

Jose added, "I'm not sure what smitten means but Logan fell hook, line, and sinker."

Simon put his arm around Sheila. "Just let him hear you say it. He'll disagree."

Sheila touched her husband's hand. "I think even Logan will admit it now. This must have scared him."

The four men said, "It did."

TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 32 PART 2

Joanie walked in, went straight to McKenzie's bed, and studied her. "Bill, get the men who did this and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law."

He put his arm around his wife and squeezed. "We all are. We have Smart arrested. Trey will interrogate him, but we need Trey here right now and then he's going to make sure Sheila gets safely home. Maybe tomorrow Smart will be eager to talk." He glanced at Trey. "What do you think?"

"I was thinking of interrupting his sleep, maybe one-thirty or two in the morning. I know he's sweating. His absence will cause his gang to worry about what he's saying. His life's in danger. I'm glad they don't know where we're keeping him. They'd probably put a hit on him in lock-up. Maybe even by Parks himself."

Joanie stepped away from the bed and said, "Bill, talk with the doctor. As soon as Mac wakes up, I want to clean her up. She'll feel better after a shower." She glanced at Sheila. "Are you up for helping?"

She nodded. "Of course, I normally chase two little boys around all day."

"Bill, find the doctor."

Before long Bill entered with Dr. Gray by his side. After introductions were made, the doctor asked, "What's this I hear about Ms. Morgan needing a shower?"

Joanie answered, "She'll feel better after it. I understand her diagnosis is alcohol poisoning. I'm sure the IV's can be removed for a little while; thirty minutes at the most."

Dr. Gray eyed Sheila. "Ms. Morgan won't be steady on her feet and will need a lot of help. In your condition, it won't be safe for you to bear much of her weight."

Sheila opened her arms. "There's a room full of strong men. Helping McKenzie to the bathroom won't be a problem. Joanie and I can take it from there."

Joanie added, "We'll let you know when she's awake. You can remove the IV's then."

The doctor grinned at the men. "You guys don't have a chance with these two, do you?"

Jose nodded. "And Mac makes these two look like angels."

When Dr. Gray left, they continued to visit and watch McKenzie.

*****
About an hour later, Bill answered his ringing phone. "Logan, what's going on?" He listened and then asked, "You want me to send Trey and Jose?" Again, silence. "Okay, we won't let anybody in the room. I'm placing a chair under the door knob. Keep us posted." Before he made a phone call, he asked, "You three armed?"

After they indicated they were, the three men hovered around Bill while the two women watched.

Once his phone was put away, Bill said, "Logan went outside the crematorium to get some fresh air and spotted the black SUV pulling up alongside two other suspicious vehicles. He went inside and ordered everybody away from the windows and put the place on lock-down. I've sent some trusted officers, but it seems they're in for trouble. He wanted to make sure we're on guard."

Trey rechecked his weapon. "Sure Logan doesn't need me?"

"He made a point in saying you three needed to remain with Mac. He's sure he can handle it."

Simon released a deep breath. "He can, but prayer helps."

Everyone said a silent prayer.

After the prayer, Bill added, "I feel we're getting close to ending this and they're afraid. Since Smart's in custody they're worried. I wonder how much he knows."

Trey shoved up his shirt sleeves. "I'm betting a lot. I think he's the big guys' go-to man."

"Hopefully, you're right." Bill turned his head when he heard McKenzie stirring. He put his finger to his lips, ending the conversation. "Hello Sleepyhead, I see you're awake. Joanie has a shower planned. You feel up to it?"

"Really?" McKenzie pointed to the IV's. "What about these?"

"We got permission to remove them." Joanie eyed the chair bracing the door.

Simon nodded. "I got this." He picked up the room phone and buzzed the nurses' desk. After talking softly, he hung up. "I have permission to remove the IV's. The shower's a go. I'll replace them afterward." He carefully removed the IV and flushed the line. "Okay, Mac, you ready?"

She nodded and attempted to sit up. She closed her eyes. "Things aren't working like they used to."

Simon put his arm across her back. "That's why I'm here, and so are the rest of guys. We'll help you to the bathroom, and Sheila and Joanie will take it from there. While you're in there, we'll get someone in here to change your bedding and get a fresh gown. Sound good?"

She nodded. "Let's do this."

Simon and Trey helped her to her feet. As they led her to the bathroom, Bill held the hospital gown closed in the back. They remained with her until she was stable and held a bar. Eventually, Joanie sent them from the room.

McKenzie saw herself in a small wall mirror, and tears crept from her eyes. "I look horrible."

Joanie hugged her. "Sweetheart, this is only temporary. The cuts, bruising, and swelling will heal quickly. There won't be any scarring. Let's get you in the shower."

Sheila reached in and set the water temperature. "Okay, we're ready."

She and Joanie carefully removed the gown and silently their eyes made contact being shocked at the amount of the bruising on McKenzie's body.

*****
After the shower, Joanie slightly opened the door and asked Bill to hand her the clean gown.

Once McKenzie was presentable, Simon and Trey helped her back to bed. Simon restarted the IV's, and Joanie adjusted the blanket. She fell quickly asleep.

When everything was quiet, Sheila went to Simon and hugged him. Tears streamed down her cheeks.

He kissed the top of her head. "What's wrong?"

"You have no idea how much of her body's covered with bruises. The big black ugly ones. The ones that hurt a lot." She cuddled into her husband's arms.

"I do." Simon whispered, "I was with Logan when he removed his shirt and covered her, so nobody would see her."

Bill studied Joanie. "You all right?"

"No. These people are animals and don't deserve to be around society."

"We're doing our best to bring them to justice and stop their activity."

Jose released a deep breath. "Unfortunately, more will take their place."

Trey stepped closer to McKenzie and studied her. "I think I'll stick around and help out. I see my services could be helpful. Since I left the Army, I've been trying to figure out where I belong. Now, I know."

Simon chuckled. "Being the strong arm type you are."

"When Logan goes back to Fort Bragg, he'll need somebody he can trust to keep an eye on this one. She seems to get into a lot of trouble. At least until he marries her."

All heads turned when they heard banging on the door. "What's going on?"

Jose removed the chair. "We were ordered not to let in any riffraff."

Logan went straight to McKenzie and kissed her cheek. "I'm not riffraff. I'm the one who made the order. How is she?"

Simon answered, "She holding her own. She's pretty worn out. Joanie and Sheila helped her to a shower."

"Thank you. She looks better. I'm sure she'll feel better."

Bill's eyes met Logan's as he asked, "What happened?"

"At least five men followed me to the crematorium."

Simon chewed his lower lip. "Was anybody hurt?"

"Not inside. I took out three men. The rest were arrested." He glanced at Bill. "How much paperwork will I need to do?"

"Probably only a little, if any." Bill removed his cell phone. "Any idea where they took the others? I don't want them at lock-up. They need to be with the rest of the guys we've arrested."

Logan took out his phone. "I need to check with Mitch. I want to know who owns that black SUV. It's a pain."

Jose touched his wounded shoulder. "Tell me about it."



Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou local name for St. Louis
Simon Knight and Sheila Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician. Sheila's his wife.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league
baseball team.
Yadi What Cardinal fans call Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
George Whitney A former boyfriend of Megan, early suspect in her murder.
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez his wife is Lucy Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.
Kate Hartford Megan Nelson's friend they taught middle school
together.
Donny Carlton A man Megan Nelson dated.
Mitch Gardner St. Louis Police Department detective who has
partnered with McKenzie's dad.
Ivan Smart A bad guy
Peter and Nancy Nelson Logan's parents
Sidney Parks works for the St. Louis Police Detective with the drug unit.
Mack and Helen Morgan McKenzie's parents - both deceased
Gus Piper McKenzie's abusive grandfather - deceased
Austin Bryant an old boyfriend - McKenzie broke up with him because he's a jerk.
Joshua Davis so far a nobody, but is a neighbor to Donny Carlton
Mark Young an acquaintance of McKenzie, a state trooper, and will become important much later
Trey Walker former Army buddy and now retired, lives in Kansas City and helped rescue McKenzie
Dr. Gray McKenzie's doctor

Author Notes Thank you google imagines for a photo of Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis. This post has a little over 1350 words. Again, I want to thank you for all of your help and support. Logan struggles with McKenzie's injuries as the search continues for Megan's murderer. They get closer to becoming a couple.


Chapter 76
St. Louis Chapter 33 part 1

By barbara.wilkey

It's Friday morning. McKenzie and Logan have known each other 17 days.
After today's post and three more McKenzie will finally get out of the hospital. I promise. There are six posts left until the end.




Ending of Previous Post:

Bill's eyes met Logan's as he asked, "What happened?"

"At lease five men followed me to the crematorium."

Simon chewed his lower lip. "Was anybody hurt?"

"Not inside. I took out three men. The rest were arrested." He glanced at Bill. "How much paperwork will I need to do?"

"Probably only a little, if any." Bill removed his cell phone. "Any idea where they took the others? I don't want them at lock-up. They need to be with the rest of the guys we've arrested."

Logan took out his phone. "I need to check with Mitch. I want to know who owns that black SUV. It's a pain."

Jose touched his wounded shoulder. "Tell me about it."


TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 33 PART 1

As McKenzie stirred, Trey walked to her. "Good morning. Feeling any better?"

"I think so." She scanned the room and saw Logan, Simon, and Jose asleep in various chairs. "You got stuck watching me?"

"Not really. I just got here. I had a few things that needed taken care of. I don't require hardly any sleep."

"I thought Logan didn't need much sleep."

"He doesn't. I'm betting he's exhausted."

"Probably." McKenzie paused. "How well do you know him?"

"Very well. We served together for over eight years." He tapped his left leg. "This forced me out of the military or we'd still be together."

McKenzie's eyes widened. "What happened?"

Trey raised his left pant leg, revealing an artificial leg.

She used both hands and covered her mouth. "Sorry. I shouldn't have asked."

"No problem. We were deployed. I can't say where, and came under heavy fire. A grenade exploded nearby and took my leg." Trey chuckled. "Go figure. The army requires a soldier have two good legs." He pointed to Logan. "He saved my life that day."

McKenzie wiped a tear threatening to escape. "He seems to do that a lot, doesn't he?"

Trey leaned over and hugged her. "I hope you didn't mind." He took a deep breath. "That he does."

Logan shook his head. "Who does what?"

"Nothing. Mac and I were just talking."

"Good. I hoped you'd become friends." Logan glanced around the room as his buddies were walking up.

Scanning the area, McKenzie asked, "Is Sheila safely at her parents?"

Trey pretended to check it off his imaginary list. "She is, and I made sure of it myself. I'm positive we weren't followed. I asked about the baby too. The doctor said he/she is doing well."

Logan offered, "Bill and Joanie went home. So you're stuck with us."

"I know you have no place to be, but don't the others need to report to work?"

Logan grinned. "Bill has taken care of Jose. You know what? I'm not sure about Simon. I should probably ask when he wakes up."

"Any idea when the doctor's making rounds. I'm sure I'm ready to go home. I bet Edger and Arlo miss me. Who's letting them out and feeding them?"

Bill walked through the door. "They're staying at our house. Joanie's spoiling them rotten and thinking about getting a dog." He studied Logan.

McKenzie tilted her head. "What are you two not telling me?"

Sitting on the bed beside her, Logan took her hand. "When you were kidnapped, Edger was shot. The vet said he'll make a full recovery. Joanie reports he's doing great, except he's worried about you."

She tossed the blankets aside. "He needs me."

Logan held her arm and recovered her. "Right now you need to stay put and listen to the doctor."

"You're ordering me around. I don't like it."

"I know you don't, but this time I have back-up. Gentlemen, please tell this patient she needs to remain in bed until the doctor clears her."

The four men stepped closer, as Bill said, "He's right, and we're staying until you can leave."

"I'm pretty sure three of you need to be at work."

Simon grinned. "I plead the fifth."

"I'm not buying it. How many days have you missed because of me?"

He counted on his fingers. "Wednesday through Friday, three days. I'm good."

Her glare switched to Jose. "Have you missed the same amount?"

"Nope, Bill moved me to his office. I'm on duty. Rank has its privileges."

"Trey, are you from the St. Louis area?"

"Nope, K.C. Before you asked, I was doing nothing but watching game shows. This is a lot more interesting. I'm thinking about staying. You could use a body guard."

"I'm capable of taking care of myself, but thank you anyway."

Trey's eyes scanned her hospital bed. "I can tell." He paused. "I've heard you're feisty."

Bill chuckled. "I think we actually said stubborn."

Jose added, "I think we said 'has a mind-of-her-own'."

The men laughed.

McKenzie exhaled a deep breath as her eyes met Logan's. "Aren't you going to chime in?"

He grinned. "I didn't hear a thing."

Patting him on the back, Bill said, "Wise man."

As Dr. Gray walked in, McKenzie immediately said, "I'm feeling better. I'm ready to be released. I'm sure you can get the paperwork completed by lunch."

His eyes met Logan's. "I see what you mean." He walked to McKenzie. "This isn't my first rodeo, and I'm in charge. I doubt you'll be released today or even tomorrow. I'm glad your shower improved your health. I need to recheck a few fractured bones. I've ordered a MRI. I also want to check your liver and make sure there's no damage."

"If you know my bones are fractured, why do you need additional information?"

"With you being held in a small closet, I didn't want to risk additional trauma. So I didn't order a MRI right away. I feel you're up to being in a closed space. I want to get a better look at a couple of those fractures. The two I want a better look at are part of your rib cage. It wouldn't hurt to recheck the cheek bone either. I didn't like the looks of it."

"I don't have a choice, do I?"

"Nope, you don't." The doctor glanced at the men. "Gentlemen, could you please wait in the hallway? I need to examine the patient."

The five men left the room.




Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou local name for St. Louis
Simon Knight and Sheila Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician. Sheila's his wife.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league
baseball team.
Yadi What Cardinal fans call Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
George Whitney A former boyfriend of Megan, early suspect in her murder.
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez his wife is Lucy Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.
Kate Hartford Megan Nelson's friend they taught middle school
together.
Donny Carlton A man Megan Nelson dated.
Mitch Gardner St. Louis Police Department detective who has
partnered with McKenzie's dad.
Ivan Smart A bad guy
Peter and Nancy Nelson Logan's parents
Sidney Parks works for the St. Louis Police Detective with the drug unit.
Mack and Helen Morgan McKenzie's parents - both deceased
Gus Piper McKenzie's abusive grandfather - deceased
Austin Bryant an old boyfriend - McKenzie broke up with him because he's a jerk.
Joshua Davis so far a nobody, but is a neighbor to Donny Carlton
Mark Young an acquaintance of McKenzie, a state trooper, and will become important much later
Trey Walker former Army buddy and now retired, lives in Kansas City and helped rescue McKenzie
Dr. Gray McKenzie's doctor

Author Notes Thank you google imagines for a photo of Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis. This post has a little over 900 words. I finished this novel months ago. Last week, I edited this post daily and as I posted still made numerous changes. I hope I didn't make it worse. Again, I want to thank you for all of your help and support. Logan struggles with McKenzie's injuries as the search continues for Megan's murderer. They get closer to becoming a couple and discovering who killed Megan.


Chapter 77
St. Louis Chapter 33 part 2

By barbara.wilkey

It's Friday morning. McKenzie and Logan have known each other 17 days.
There are five posts left until the end.



Ending of Previous Post:

As Dr. Gray walked in, McKenzie immediately said, "I'm feeling better. I'm ready to be released. I'm sure you can get the paperwork completed by lunch."

His eyes met Logan's. "I see what you mean." He walked to McKenzie. "This isn't my first rodeo, and I'm in charge. I doubt you'll be released today or even tomorrow. I'm glad your shower improved your health. I need to recheck a few fractured bones. I've ordered a MRI. I also want to check your liver and make sure there's no damage."

"If you know my bones are fractured, why do you need additional information?"

"With you being held in a small closet, I didn't want to risk additional trauma. So I didn't order a MRI right away. I feel you're up to being in a closed space. I want to get a better look at a couple of those fractures. The two I want a better look at are part of your rib cage. It wouldn't hurt to recheck the cheek bone either. I didn't like the looks of it."

"I don't have a choice, do I?"

"Nope, you don't." The doctor glanced at the men. "Gentlemen, could you please wait in the hallway? I need to examine the patient."

The five men left the room.


TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 33 PART 2

After the doctor left, the men returned and McKenzie napped until lunchtime. As a nutrition staff member brought in McKenzie's lunch, Dr. Gray followed and addressed the situation, "I think you're ready for solid foods. We'll see how your stomach accepts it. If you need anything, call the nurse. I'll return this later this afternoon and check."

As she picked at lunch, she hesitated, but finally asked, "Where are we at with the case?"

Logan patted Trey's back. "This guy interrogated the men who kidnapped you. Share what you discovered. I know she'll have questions." He grinned. "She always does."

Trey waited until Logan sat on the bed beside McKenzie and took her hand, before he said, "All four men named Ivan Smart."

McKenzie closed her eyes. "Wait. Ivan Smart. I know that name. Just a minute it's coming to me. My brain isn't fully functional yet." She paused. "Jim Benson named Ivan Smart as the man who hired him to murder my parents."

"He is." Logan motioned for Trey to continue.

"Three of the men said there was a man above Smart who didn't like getting his hands dirty. One of them said he worked for the PD."

McKenzie tossed the blankets to the side. "We have a lead. I need to get to work.

"Wait a minute." Logan recovered her. "You're not going anywhere until Dr. Gray releases you." He grinned.

"Grrr." She leaned back in bed. "You're frustrating. I can't solve crimes from here."

Bill grinned. "Mac, we're a step ahead of you. During the night, Trey interrogated Smart."

McKenzie's eyes met Trey's. "When you came in this morning, that's where you came from."

He nodded. "Right."

All heads turned as a knock sounded on the door. Logan answered, "Mark, come in. I'm guessing you want to check on our patient."

"I do." Mark went over and hugged McKenzie. "I'm glad to see you're all right."

Logan pointed at Mark. "This man helped us discover where they'd taken you. Highway Patrol Officers know what's different in their area. His information led us straight to the farmhouse." He offered Mark his hand. "We rescued three other girls held captive. They've been reunited with their parents."

Mark accepted the handshake. "From now on we're going to be more aware of our areas and report anything out of the ordinary."

Jose grinned. "That'll be a huge help. I'm glad we can work together."

After glancing at each man, Mark looked at McKenzie. "I see you're well taken car of. As soon as you're up to it, I look forward to meeting you at the gym."

"I do too, but I have a feeling it won't be anytime soon."

He kissed her cheek. "I still look forward to it."

As Mark left, he said, "Please take care of her."

They replied, "We will."

Trey walked over to McKenzie and grinned. "Do you capture every man's heart you meet?"

She frowned. "I have no clue what you're talking about."

Bill chuckled. "She's being honest. She doesn't, but to answer your question, yes, she does. Right, Logan?"

Logan shrugged his shoulders. "How should I know?"

The men laughed.

McKenzie pointed to the chair beside her bed. "Trey, back to the important stuff. What did you learn from Ivan Smart? Did he give up Parks?"

Trey sat. "He named Sidney Parks as the ring leader." He glanced at Bill. "Where are we at with his arrest?"

"We're moving slowly. We don't want to make any mistakes. We have people checking his finances to see if there's anything. For the next few days he's under surveillance."

Logan stood. "No! The more time we give that rat the more innocent people he'll hurt. He knows we're on to him. He had Mac drugged and her house bugged. He blew up your car. Jose was shot. Mac was kidnapped. I was shot at while my sister was cremated. I don't want to keep adding to this list. He knows Smart's missing. The more time we give him the more time he has to destroy evidence. He needs to be arrested now."

McKenzie's eyes met Bill's. "I agree with Logan. The more time we give him the better chance he has of escaping.

All heads turned when they heard a knock on the door.

Bill opened the door. "Peter, Nancy what brings you here?" He shook Peters hand and gave Nancy a hug.

Logan kissed Nancy's cheek. "Mom, what's going on?"

She walked to McKenzie's bed. "Good afternoon, McKenzie. We're sorry this happened. Peter has something for you." She glanced at her husband.

Peter offered McKenzie an envelope. "We want you to have this."

Accepting it, McKenzie's eyes widened. "What's this?"

Peter held her hand. "It's the rest of the money we owe you."

"I can't accept it. I haven't solved the case yet. I won't stop until I get justice for Megan."

Nancy leaned over and hugged her. "Finding out who murdered our daughter won't bring her back. Look at what they've done to you. Next time it might be worse. We were shot at while Megan was being cremated." She dabbed her eyes. "We can't take losing anyone else. Your dad was one of Peter's best friends. Our son loves you. We're sorry we brought you into this."

McKenzie looked at Logan as tears welled. "Please explain why I have to finish what I've started."

Nancy leaned over and kissed McKenzie's cheek. "It won't do any good. Our mind's made up. Peter let's go."

The room was silent as they left.



Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou local name for St. Louis
Simon Knight and Sheila Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician. Sheila's his wife.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league
baseball team.
Yadi What Cardinal fans call Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
George Whitney A former boyfriend of Megan, early suspect in her murder.
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez his wife is Lucy Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.
Kate Hartford Megan Nelson's friend they taught middle school
together.
Donny Carlton A man Megan Nelson dated.
Mitch Gardner St. Louis Police Department detective who has
partnered with McKenzie's dad.
Ivan Smart A bad guy
Peter and Nancy Nelson Logan's parents
Sidney Parks works for the St. Louis Police Detective with the drug unit.
Mack and Helen Morgan McKenzie's parents - both deceased
Gus Piper McKenzie's abusive grandfather - deceased
Austin Bryant an old boyfriend - McKenzie broke up with him because he's a jerk.
Joshua Davis so far a nobody, but is a neighbor to Donny Carlton
Mark Young an acquaintance of McKenzie, a state trooper, and will become important much later
Trey Walker former Army buddy and now retired, lives in Kansas City and helped rescue McKenzie
Dr. Gray McKenzie's doctor

Author Notes Thank you google imagines for a photo of what Arlo and Edger might look like. It has absolutely nothing to do with the post. I got tired of Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis. This post has a little over 900 words. I finished this novel months ago. There's a sentence in this post I've rewritten every day. I hope somebody gives me help with it. Again, I want to thank you for all of your help and support. Logan struggles with McKenzie's injuries as the search continues for Megan's murderer. They get closer to becoming a couple and discovering who killed Megan.

TEACHERS START BACK TO SCHOOL WEDNESDAY. THE KIDS, SORT OF RETURN THE 17TH, BUT IT WILL BE ON-LINE TEACHING SUPPOSEDLY UNTIL SEPTEMBER 8TH, THEN PARENTS WILL HAVE A CHOICE TO SEND KIDS TO SCHOOL OR ON-LINE LEARNING. PLEASE PRAY FOR THE OPENING UP OF THE SCHOOLS. THERE'S NO RIGHT ANSWER RIGHT NOW.


Chapter 78
St. Louis Chapter 33 part 3

By barbara.wilkey

It's Friday morning. McKenzie and Logan have known each other 17 days.
There are four posts left until the end.


Ending of Previous Post:

Accepting it, McKenzie's eyes widened. "What's this?"

Peter held her hand. "It's the rest of the money we owe you."

"I can't accept it. I haven't solved the case yet. I won't stop until I get justice for Megan."

Nancy leaned over and hugged her. "Finding out who murdered our daughter won't bring her back. Look at what they've done to you. Next time it might be worse. We were shot at while Megan was being cremated." She dabbed her eyes. "We can't take losing anyone else. Your dad was one of Peter's best friends. Our son loves you. We're sorry we brought you into this."

McKenzie looked at Logan as tears welled. "Please explain why I have to finish what I've started."

Nancy leaned over and kissed McKenzie's cheek. "It won't do any good. Our mind's made up. Peter let's go."

The room was silent as they left.

TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 33 PART 3

Before long another knock sounded at the door. As Jose answered, he said, "Today, this is Grand Central Station." He jumped to attention and saluted. "Commissioner Conley."

Bill walked over and offered his hand. "What brings you here on a Friday afternoon?"

Conley accepted the hand. "In a few minutes, Mitch Gardner will join us." He scanned the room and chuckled. "I guess this will have to do for a war room."

He walked over and held out his hand for McKenzie. "Ms. Morgan, I presume. I knew your dad. He was a good man. I actually remember meeting you as a child. You've grown up. I've heard good things about your work. Sorry meeting you again has to be under these circumstances. I've kept abreast of your progress and understand you're healing quickly. Thank you for discovering this cover-up."

She pulled the blankets closer to her neck and accepted his hand. "I only wish I was on the streets to see it to an end."

"That's why we're waiting for Det. Gardner. He's got more information for us. I'm sure an arrest can be made before this day ends."

McKenzie exhaled a deep breath. "I sure hope so." She paused. "Logan, since I ate solid food for lunch is there any way you could get me a couple donuts?"

He shook his head. "That was random. I'm pretty sure donuts aren't on your approved list. The way you picked at your lunch didn't go unnoticed. I doubt you're ready for donuts."

Jose teased, "I have feeling it's either donut withdrawal or maybe nervous anticipation of waiting to see what Mitch has to say."

Simon chuckled. "It's got to be nerves. Donut withdrawal isn't a real thing."

Bill and Logan chimed in, "With Mac it is."

A knock on the door caused everybody to stare at it. Bill was the first to answer. "Mitch, glad you're here. We were discussing donut withdrawal."

Mitch grinned. "I'm glad to hear Mac's feeling better.

Jose pointed to a chair. "Have a seat and fill us in. The anticipation is killing us."

"Who's watching those scoundrels?" interrupted Trey. "Do I need to be there?"

Mitch shook his head. "No." He glanced at the commissioner. "I found a few police officers I felt we could trust."

Conley nodded. "Please continue."

"I'll begin with the news we've all waited for. Ivan Smart named Sidney Parks as the ring leader." Mitch took out a tape recorder. "Trey had the good sense to record his interrogation, making sure it'll hold up in court."

As they listened to the interrogation, Logan slapped Trey on the back and whispered, "Good thinking."

McKenzie held her hands together as she listened. At the end, she closed her eyes and whispered, "Thank God, we got him."

Mitch turned it off. "Now, for additional news. The elusive black SUV. Well, it belongs to Fredrick Simpson."

Logan's eyes widened as he glanced at McKenzie. "That name never came up, did it?"

As she shook her head, Mitch continued, "You're right it didn't. Mr. Simpson has been dead for almost twelve years."

Simon offered, "It would be impossible for him to register a new SUV then, wouldn't it? Who'd it really belong too?"

With a grin, Mitch said, "Fredrick Simpson is Sidney Parks' maternal grandfather. He illegally registered it and loaned it out for his dirty work." He glanced at the commissioner. "We're launching an audit on the vehicle registration office."

Logan asked, "Any idea who the man looking in the Irish Pub window was?"

"Yep, as you guessed, Sidney Parks." Mitch's eyes met McKenzie's. "Sweetheart, we got him."

"Great. Only we still don't have him for Megan's murder. He's probably guilty of ordering Donnie's murder, too."

"You're right, Mac." Mitch flipped through a notebook. "We discovered he has a secret apartment downtown. We're hoping it gives us more answers." He answered his phone, listened, and hung up. "Parks is in custody."

Tears welled in McKenzie's eyes.

Logan walked to her. "Why the tears? It's almost over." He hugged her.

"These are happy tears." She cuddled into his chest. "We did it."

Commissioner Conley stood. "It's time for me to get back to work. Good work."

*****
After everybody relished in their thoughts for a while, Trey asked, "Does anybody know of any reasonably priced apartments? I'm definitely staying. It feels great being part of this. I like helping people."

Bill nodded. "I could use your talents in my office. You and Mac can work together. You'll make good partners."

"Sounds good. I have my GI bill left. I think I'll look into getting my P.I. license."

Logan offered his hand. "Buddy, I like that. When I go back to Bragg, it'll be good knowing Mac's taken care of."

McKenzie voice rose, "Wait a minute. Everybody's making decisions for me. I don't need taken care of." She glared at Logan. "I can take care of myself. I'm not something you can pass off to Goodwill when you're finished."

"That's not what I meant."

Cringing at each movement, McKenzie rolled away from Logan and the rest of the men.

Each man patted Logan on the back and wished him luck as they left.

"Mac, you misunderstood what I said." Logan paused. She's crying, and it's more than tears. He walked to the other side of the bed. "Mac, I didn't mean to hurt you. Please, let's talk this out."

"You can leave now. You've passed me off to your friend."

"I didn't pass you off to anybody." He took her hand, but she yanked it away. He knelt to her level. "Please. These past two weeks; I've come to care about you, a lot. I thought the feelings were mutual."

She pulled the covers over her head.

Logan heard her continue to cry. "I'm sorry I hurt you. That wasn't my intention." He paused. "I have to go back to Fort Bragg in..." He counted, "a little over ten days. I hate the idea of leaving you. I need to know you're safe. You have a dangerous job. I won't be able to do my job knowing you could be in danger. I can't lose you. I know you work close with Jose. Why couldn't you add Trey?" He thought. "I didn't mean that I wanted you and Trey to be a couple."

She lowered the blanket. "Like the couple we're not."

"Not like that. I don't want you and Trey to become the couple we are." As McKenzie stared at him, Logan continued, "Yes, I just admitted we're a couple." He moved closer and held her. "While you were kidnapped, I realized how much I care for you. I couldn't stand the thought of not seeing you again."




Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou local name for St. Louis
Simon Knight and Sheila Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician. Sheila's his wife.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league
baseball team.
Yadi What Cardinal fans call Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
George Whitney A former boyfriend of Megan, early suspect in her murder.
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez his wife is Lucy Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.
Kate Hartford Megan Nelson's friend they taught middle school
together.
Donny Carlton A man Megan Nelson dated.
Mitch Gardner St. Louis Police Department detective who has
partnered with McKenzie's dad.
Ivan Smart A bad guy
Peter and Nancy Nelson Logan's parents
Sidney Parks works for the St. Louis Police Detective with the drug unit.
Mack and Helen Morgan McKenzie's parents - both deceased
Gus Piper McKenzie's abusive grandfather - deceased
Austin Bryant an old boyfriend - McKenzie broke up with him because he's a jerk.
Joshua Davis so far a nobody, but is a neighbor to Donny Carlton
Mark Young an acquaintance of McKenzie, a state trooper, and will become important much later
Trey Walker former Army buddy and now retired, lives in Kansas City and helped rescue McKenzie
Dr. Gray McKenzie's doctor
Commissioner Conley St. Louis Police Commissioner.


Author Notes Thank you google imagines for a photo of 'BREAKING NEWS'. This post has a little over 1100 words. Although this novel has been finished for months, this past week I've put in twelve hour days and haven't been able to read this post daily to check for errors. It has been edited repeatedly, but I make many mistakes. Again, I want to thank you for all of your help and support. Logan struggles with McKenzie's injuries as the search continues for Megan's murderer. They get closer to becoming a couple and discovering who killed Megan.

THE KIDS, SORT OF RETURN THE 17TH, BUT IT WILL BE ON-LINE TEACHING SUPPOSEDLY UNTIL SEPTEMBER 8TH, THEN PARENTS WILL HAVE A CHOICE TO SEND KIDS TO SCHOOL OR ON-LINE LEARNING. PLEASE PRAY FOR THE OPENING UP OF THE SCHOOLS. THERE'S NO RIGHT ANSWER RIGHT NOW.


Chapter 79
St. Louis Chapter 34 part 1

By barbara.wilkey

It's Saturday morning. McKenzie and Logan have known each other 18 days.
There are three posts left until the end.


Ending of Previous Post:

"Mac, you misunderstood what I said." Logan paused. She's crying, and it's more than tears. He walked to the other side of the bed. "Mac, I didn't mean to hurt you. Please, let's talk this out."

"You can leave now. You've passed me off to your friend."

"I didn't pass you off to anybody." He took her hand, but she yanked it away. He knelt to her level. "Please. These past two weeks; I've come to care about you, a lot. I thought the feelings were mutual."

She pulled the covers over her head.

Logan heard her continue to cry. "I'm sorry I hurt you. That wasn't my intention." He paused. "I have to go back to Fort Bragg in..." He counted, "a little over ten days. I hate the idea of leaving you. I need to know you're safe. You have a dangerous job. I won't be able to do my job knowing you could be in danger. I can't lose you. I know you work close with Jose. Why couldn't you add Trey?" He thought. "I didn't mean that I wanted you and Trey to be a couple."

She lowered the blanket. "Like the couple we're not."

"Not like that. I don't want you and Trey to become the couple we are." As McKenzie stared at him, Logan continued, "Yes, I just admitted we're a couple." He moved closer and held her. "While you were kidnapped, I realized how much I care for you. I couldn't stand the thought of not seeing you again."

TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 34 PART 1

Dr. Gray came into the room as McKenzie finished her breakfast. "You're holding down solid food. How do you feel about a few tests? If they come back as I feel they will, you should be home in time for dinner."

Her eyes twinkled. "Really?"

"Yes, really. You'll be under a lot of restrictions and I am going to hold Major Nelson responsible for making sure you follow them."

McKenzie glanced at Logan. "You shouldn't give him any authority. He tends to let a little power go to his head."

The doctor glanced at Logan and shook his head. "In a few minutes, someone'll come in to transport you to imagining." His eyes met Logan's. "You can follow. I understand you're concerned about security."

*****
Back inside the room, McKenzie jumped at every noise.

Logan chuckled. "It'll be a few hours before Dr. Gray comes back with the test results. It doesn't happen instantly. Just relax." He answered his ringing phone. "Hi, Mitch. Of course, Mac's here. Where else would she be." He handed her the phone.

"Guess what? I'll probably be home before dinner." She listened. "What other good news do you have?" Again she listened and then jumped up a little in bed, but paused and held her ribs. "Really? Great! There's more?" After she listened, she handed Logan the phone.

Taking the phone, Logan eyed her. "Are you going to leave me in suspense? What's the news?"

"Megan's phone was discovered in Parks' secret apartment. The Buder Park burner phone was connected to Parks too. That number was a frequent number on Megan's phone records. We have him on Megan's murder. I just hope we can prove his motive."

Logan's eyebrows rose. "Maybe Bill needs to send Trey to have a chat with him."

"Do I want to ask about Trey's methods?"

"Probably not. But they're effective."

"Right now, that's all that's important."

*****
A little after lunch, Dr. Gray came into the room.

McKenzie stared at him. "Well?"

He flipped through a few papers and held them up. "It looks like." He paused. After she released a deep breath, he continued, "These are your discharge papers."

"Yes!" She started to stand, but grabbed her ribs.

Dr. Gray grinned. "You're going to need to keep those ribs taped for probably a month and a half. I'll see you back here in a week." He glanced around the room. "You're going to need some help getting dressed. Do you want me to send in a nurse or can Major Nelson help?"

She eyed Logan. "You'd better send a nurse in."

Logan nodded. "Good idea."

After the doctor left, McKenzie released a deep breath. "I don't think our relationship has progressed to the..."

"You don't need to say another word. I understand and agree."

Moments later, Joanie walked in with a duffle bag. "I understand you get to go home. I brought some clothes. I was told the clothes you wore in are now evidence."

McKenzie's eyes twinkled. "I do, and thank you." She tilted her head. "Do you know how to tape ribs?"

"Not really, but I'm a fast learner." Joanie opened the bag.

Logan headed toward the door. "That's my clue to wait outside."



Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou local name for St. Louis
Simon Knight and Sheila Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician. Sheila's his wife.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league
baseball team.
Yadi What Cardinal fans call Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
George Whitney A former boyfriend of Megan, early suspect in her murder.
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez his wife is Lucy Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.
Kate Hartford Megan Nelson's friend they taught middle school
together.
Donny Carlton A man Megan Nelson dated.
Mitch Gardner St. Louis Police Department detective who has
partnered with McKenzie's dad.
Ivan Smart A bad guy
Peter and Nancy Nelson Logan's parents
Sidney Parks works for the St. Louis Police Detective with the drug unit.
Mack and Helen Morgan McKenzie's parents - both deceased
Gus Piper McKenzie's abusive grandfather - deceased
Austin Bryant an old boyfriend - McKenzie broke up with him because he's a jerk.
Joshua Davis so far a nobody, but is a neighbor to Donny Carlton
Mark Young an acquaintance of McKenzie, a state trooper, and will become important much later
Trey Walker former Army buddy and now retired, lives in Kansas City and helped rescue McKenzie
Dr. Gray McKenzie's doctor
Commissioner Conley St. Louis Police Commissioner.


Author Notes Thank you google imagines for a photo of donuts. I decided they're Mac's favorite so why not. This post has a little over 550 words. Although this novel has been finished for months, these past two weeks I've put in twelve hour days and haven't been able to read this post daily to check for errors. It has been edited repeatedly, but I make many mistakes. Again, I want to thank you for all of your help and support. Logan struggles with McKenzie's injuries as the search continues for Megan's murderer. They get closer to becoming a couple and discovering who killed Megan.

THE KIDS, SORT OF RETURN THE 17TH, BUT IT WILL BE ON-LINE TEACHING SUPPOSEDLY UNTIL SEPTEMBER 8TH, THEN PARENTS WILL HAVE A CHOICE TO SEND KIDS TO SCHOOL OR ON-LINE LEARNING. PLEASE PRAY FOR THE OPENING UP OF THE SCHOOLS. THERE'S NO RIGHT ANSWER RIGHT.


Chapter 80
St. Louis Chapter 34 part

By barbara.wilkey

It's Saturday morning. McKenzie and Logan have known each other 18 days.
There are two posts left until the end.


Ending of Previous Post:


Dr. Gray grinned. "You're going to need to keep those ribs taped for probably a month and a half. I'll see you back here in a week." He glanced around the room. "You're going to need some help getting dressed. Do you want me to send in a nurse or can Major Nelson help?"

She eyed Logan. "You'd better send a nurse in."

Logan nodded. "Good idea."

After the doctor left, McKenzie released a deep breath. "I don't think our relationship has progressed to the..."

"You don't need to say another word. I understand and agree."

Moments later, Joanie walked in with a duffle bag. "I understand you get to go home. I brought some clothes. I was told the clothes you wore in are now evidence."

McKenzie's eyes twinkled. "I do, and thank you." She tilted her head. "Do you know how to tape ribs?"

"Not really, but I'm a fast learner." Joanie opened the bag.

Logan headed toward the door. "That's my clue to wait outside."

TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 34 PART 2

Logan parked outside McKenzie's townhouse. "We're here. I'm sure you're happy to be home."

"I am. Joanie said they'll bring my boys by later this evening. She thought they might be too excited to see me first thing."

"She's probably right. Big Guy could accidentally knock you over. You're not steady on your feet."

McKenzie scanned the area. "I wonder when the police detail can get back to their usual job and my life can get back to normal."

"Probably after Bill feels the threat to you is completely over. There could be some retaliation issues headed your direction."

"I guess you're right." McKenzie stared out the window toward her house and released a deep breath.

Logan took her hand. "What's wrong?"

Tears welled in her eyes. "I was attacked in my own home. I wasn't able to protect myself."

He reached over and put his arms around her. "There's no way you could fight off four men. Nobody could."

"I bet you could. I need to work harder on my JKD."

"I'm a JKD trainer and keep my skills sharp. I don't believe I could beat four skilled men." Logan kissed her forehead. "Hopefully, you or I will never have to find out." Moments passed. "Are you ready to go inside?" After she nodded, Logan got out of the car and opened her door.

As she hesitated, Logan knelt to her level. "What's wrong? I need you to talk to me. I can't read your mind."

McKenzie wiped tears from her cheeks. "I'm afraid to go in my own house."

"Understandable. I'll be by your side." Logan raised his shirt. "I'm armed. I promise I won't let anybody hurt you."

She put her arms around his neck and held tight. He returned the hold for as long as she needed it.

Moments later she said, "Okay, I can do this." As she proceeded to get out of the car, she cringed and held her ribs.

Logan reached in and helped her. "I'll carry you inside."

"If you do that, you won't be able to get to your gun."

"True." He grinned. "Do you really think I'll need it?"

"Probably not, but..."

"But nothing," interrupted Logan. He kissed her cheek. "Let's get inside. It's hot out here."

Logan set her down beside the couch with her feet on the floor. "Do you want to see if the Cardinals are on?"

She stared at the kitchen. "I was in there fixing you dinner."

"Joanie told me. What were you fixing?"

"Something with chicken and pasta. I don't remember for sure. The recipe's lying around somewhere. Who cleaned up the mess?"

"Joannie." Logan kept an eye on her. He clicked off his ringing phone.

"Don't you need to get that? It might be important."

"You're the most important person in my life right now."

McKenzie studied him for a moment. "I believe you. I really do believe you."

"Good because it's true."

"You didn't leave my hospital room, did you?"

"Only when I had to, but I made sure somebody was there to protect you."

"Thank you for that."

He walked to her, took her face in his hands, and kissed her. "You're very important to me."

Their next kiss was interrupted by a knock on the door.

Before Logan could answer, Arlo barked.

McKenzie smiled. "My boys are back."

Joanie opened the door. "I hope you're ready. They sure are."

Logan snatched Arlo up. "I don't think you should bend over to his level. I'll hold him."

She hugged on the short dog as her hand rubbed Edger's large head. "Let me sit so I can get a better look at Edger's wound. Is it healing all right?"

Joanie petted his head. "Dr. White says he's doing great. He goes back the week after next for a check-up."

Bill held a large box. "I've been forgotten and I have dinner. Where should I put this?"

Logan set Arlo down and came to Bill's aid. "Sorry, I wasn't paying attention. Thank you for dinner. I had planned on cooking."

"Don't thank me. I don't cook, only grill. It's all Joanie's doing." Bill's eyes met McKenzie's. "I heard there may be a donut or two for dessert."

"Ymmmm."

Logan shook his head and grinned. "Why do you encourage her?" He checked the boxes. "There's enough for an Army here."

Joanie glanced at him. "I wasn't sure how many guys would be here."

"Only us. We thought the trip home might wear her out, so didn't want to overdo."

A rap on the door sounded and in walked Simon, Jose, and Trey.

Simon answered the questioning look. "We couldn't stay away. We needed to make sure Mac made it home safely."

Logan's eyes widened. "And you didn't think I could handle getting her home?"

Jose interjected, "I knew you could, but they forced me to come." When Logan tilted his head, Jose continued, "Really, they did."

Logan sat on a stool. "I can see you three are trouble." Then he quickly got up. "Mac, let me help you sit. Do you want to sit on the couch or would a chair be better?"

She studied the couch. "I want to sit on the couch, but I'm afraid it sits too low and I'll have problems getting up." She searched the chairs and pointed. "I think that chair will work."

He put his arm around her waist and walked her to the chair. She sat, and then he asked, "You comfortable?" After she nodded, he pulled a chair closer and sat.

Edger lumbered over to his master. McKenzie examined his wound and hugged his neck. "I'm so sorry this happened to you. I know you were trying to help me."

Trey petted the dog's head. "Logan, think you can procure a bullet proof vest for him. Our service dogs have them, so I know they make them."

"I'll see what I can do." He nodded toward McKenzie. "I'll make sure I get him one. Then Arlo can tease him about it."

"What?" asked Bill.

"Edger teases Arlo about the jogging backpack Logan puts him in, so Arlo can tease Edger about a flack vest." McKenzie continued to pet her dogs.

Joanie walked toward the kitchen. "I think we need an early dinner. We don't want Mac getting too tired. After dinner, I'll help her get ready for bed."

Logan nodded. "I agree." He turned off his ringing phone.

Trey whispered to Logan, "What's going on? Is it important?"

"It's the unit. I'll contact them once Mac's upstairs."




Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou local name for St. Louis
Simon Knight and Sheila Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician. Sheila's his wife.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league
baseball team.
Yadi What Cardinal fans call Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
George Whitney A former boyfriend of Megan, early suspect in her murder.
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez his wife is Lucy Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.
Kate Hartford Megan Nelson's friend they taught middle school
together.
Donny Carlton A man Megan Nelson dated.
Mitch Gardner St. Louis Police Department detective who has
partnered with McKenzie's dad.
Ivan Smart A bad guy
Peter and Nancy Nelson Logan's parents
Sidney Parks works for the St. Louis Police Detective with the drug unit.
Mack and Helen Morgan McKenzie's parents - both deceased
Gus Piper McKenzie's abusive grandfather - deceased
Austin Bryant an old boyfriend - McKenzie broke up with him because he's a jerk.
Joshua Davis so far a nobody, but is a neighbor to Donny Carlton
Mark Young an acquaintance of McKenzie, a state trooper, and will become important much later
Trey Walker former Army buddy and now retired, lives in Kansas City and helped rescue McKenzie
Dr. Gray McKenzie's doctor
Commissioner Conley St. Louis Police Commissioner.



Author Notes Thank you google imagines for a photo of McKenzie's dogs, or what they could look like. This post has a little over 1000 words. Although this novel has been finished for months, these past two weeks I've put in twelve hour days and haven't been able to read this post daily to check for errors. It has been edited repeatedly, but I make many mistakes. Again, I want to thank you for all of your help and support. Logan struggles with McKenzie's injuries as the search continues for Megan's murderer. They get closer to becoming a couple and discovering who killed Megan.

Kids may be returning early. The on-line teaching isn't working for first grade. The school board meets Tuesday to decide. Please pray for the situation.


Chapter 81
St. Louis Chapter 35 part 1

By barbara.wilkey

I know many of you knew CHARLES LUCAS, a western story writer on this site. He died peacefully Friday afternoon around 3:00.

It's Sunday morning. McKenzie and Logan have known each other 19 days.
There is one post left until the end.


Ending of Previous Post:

Joanie walked toward the kitchen. "I think we need an early dinner. We don't want Mac getting too tired. After dinner, I'll help her get ready for bed."

Logan nodded. "I agree." He turned off his ringing phone.

Trey whispered to Logan, "What's going on? Is it important?"

"It's the unit. I'll contact them once Mac's upstairs."



TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 35 PART 1

McKenzie's hands clenched the banister as she stepped down the first step and inhaled a deep breath.

Logan glanced up. "Why didn't you call for help? What are you doing up so early?"

She held up the bottom to a set of pajamas. "Sorry. I couldn't figure how to get these on."

"There's a blanket on the couch. It'll work until Joanie arrives." Logan picked her up, set her on the couch, and then covered her.

Silence continued.

"What's the elephant in the room? Did Parks get away? What were you two whispering about?"

Trey set his coffee cup by the sink. "Good Morning, Mac. Logan, I'll leave you two alone. I'll be back later."

McKenzie watched Trey leave, and then her eyes met Logan's. "What's going on? You're scaring me."

"Remember when I told you I could be called back at any time?"

"NO!" McKenzie did the math. "We have, no you have eleven days of leave left."

He sat beside her and cupped her hands in his. "My unit leaves in forty-eight hours. I need to be with them. I fly to Bragg first thing in the morning."

"This can't be happening. We need more time together." Tears rolled down her cheeks.

He dried her damp cheeks with his palm. "I'm sure you know how I feel about you. You're beautiful, young, smart, and independent. You're everything I want in a woman. But you need to continue with your life. I don't want you to put your life on hold, waiting for my return." He paused. "I could be gone weeks, months, or a year or more. I may not return. I don't know anything about this mission and won't until I'm en-route."

"Logan, I hate it when you make decisions for me. This is my decision. I'm the one who decides if you're worth waiting for." She leaned over and kissed him. The kiss lingered and two more followed.

"You're not going to make this easy, are you?" Logan stood and took out his phone. "I've already spoken with Trey. He'll stay with you. I'm going to my parents."

"You're staying here until you leave. We have almost a day that we can be together."

"Our emotions are high. If I stay, things might happen that we could regret later. I don't want any regrets from our time together. I care way too much for you to allow that to happen."

As Logan walked toward his bag, McKenzie put her hand on the back of the couch, one on the arm, and attempted to push up. She screamed in pain.

Logan rushed to her. "What are you doing?"

He put his arms around her and held her.

"Coming to you." Her arms went around his neck. "I know we need more time together, but I already know I love you. I can't let you walk out of my life like this. I won't allow it to happen."

He kissed her. "Trey's waiting outside. I'll leave once he's inside. He'll take over for me. I've given him instructions."

Tears rolled heavier down her cheeks. "So I was just a job to you? What do you call them 'a mission'?"

"Don't say that. You know how much you mean to me. I don't want to hurt you."

"You're hurting me by what you're doing now. Why can't we enjoy our time together?"

As their eyes met, tears well in Logan's.

Trey walked in. "Sorry. I thought you were ready for me."

"I am." Logan drew McKenzie close, kissed her again, and then left.

"Logan, no!" McKenzie cried.

Trey held her.



Please note, Logan has never told McKenzie he loves her.






Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou local name for St. Louis
Simon Knight and Sheila Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician. Sheila's his wife.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league
baseball team.
Yadi What Cardinal fans call Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
George Whitney A former boyfriend of Megan, early suspect in her murder.
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez his wife is Lucy Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.
Kate Hartford Megan Nelson's friend they taught middle school
together.
Donny Carlton A man Megan Nelson dated.
Mitch Gardner St. Louis Police Department detective who has
partnered with McKenzie's dad.
Ivan Smart A bad guy
Peter and Nancy Nelson Logan's parents
Sidney Parks works for the St. Louis Police Detective with the drug unit.
Mack and Helen Morgan McKenzie's parents - both deceased
Gus Piper McKenzie's abusive grandfather - deceased
Austin Bryant an old boyfriend - McKenzie broke up with him because he's a jerk.
Joshua Davis so far a nobody, but is a neighbor to Donny Carlton
Mark Young an acquaintance of McKenzie, a state trooper, and will become important much later
Trey Walker former Army buddy and now retired, lives in Kansas City and helped rescue McKenzie
Dr. Gray McKenzie's doctor
Commissioner Conley St. Louis Police Commissioner.


Author Notes Thank you google imagines for an image of a broken heart. This post has a little under 700 words. Although this novel has been finished for months, these past two weeks I've put in twelve hour days and haven't been able to read this post daily to check for errors. It has been edited repeatedly, but I make many mistakes. I made changes today. I hope I didn't make it worse. Again, I want to thank you for all of your help and support.

Kids return Monday. We had close to 5000 students not able to connect to the Internet so virtual learning didn't happen for them.
We have almost 46000 students in the school district. Please pray for the situation.


Chapter 82
St. Louis Chapter 35 part 2

By barbara.wilkey

It's early Monday morning. McKenzie and Logan have known each other 20 days.

Sorry for the tardy post. I went to visit my son for the weekend. It's his first time away from home.


Ending of Previous Post:

As Logan walked toward his bag, McKenzie put her hand on the back of the couch, one on the arm, and attempted to push up. She screamed in pain.

Logan rushed to her. "What are you doing?"

He put his arms around her and held her.

"Coming to you." Her arms went around his neck. "I know we need more time together, but I already know I love you. I can't let you walk out of my life like this. I won't allow it to happen."

He kissed her. "Trey's waiting outside. I'll leave once he's inside. He'll take over for me. I've given him instructions."

Tears rolled heavier down her cheeks. "So I was just a job to you? What do you call them 'a mission'?"

"Don't say that. You know how much you mean to me. I don't want to hurt you."

"You're hurting me by what you're doing now. Why can't we enjoy the rest of our time together?"

As their eyes met, tears well in Logan's.

Trey walked in. "Sorry. I thought you were ready for me."

"I am." Logan drew McKenzie close, kissed her again, and then left.

"Logan, no!" McKenzie cried.

Trey held her.

TODAY'S POST:

ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 35 PART 2

As the sun rose the following morning, Logan and his parents waited at the airport. He hugged his mom. "I'll contact you as soon as I can. I don't have any idea how soon that'll be."

"Do you want me to contact McKenzie after you call?"

Peter hugged his son. "Of course, not. He'll contact her on his own. Right, son?"

When Logan heard the boarding call, he glanced at the door. "I guess I'd better go."

As he gave his mom one last hug, she handed him something small. "I like McKenzie and more importantly, I like her for you. I think you'll need this." She nodded toward three people standing off to the right side.

Logan turned and glared at his two friends, Trey and Simon. "I'll deal with you two later. I need to board." He attempted to walk passed them.

Trey stepped in front of him. "Permission to speak freely, Sir?"

Logan shook his head. "When has rank ever stopped you? Go ahead and say what you want to say. You'd better be fast. I need to board."

"Logan, I know you follow your gut and it's usually right, but this time either your gut's wrong or you're not listening to it."

McKenzie stepped forward. "Logan, I love you with all my heart. It's my choice to say good bye to you in my way. If these guys can tell me when you return, I'll be here. If I can greet you at Fort Bragg when your plane touches down, I'll do that. It's my choice to wait. You can't deprive me of that. You are the one true love of my life. When I told you my idea of a perfect husband, you met every criteria and more. I won't allow you to walk out of my life without a fight."

Logan swallowed hard. "I see that." He walked over to her, and they kissed. "You never did listen very well."

"I listened. I just disagreed." She kissed him.

"When I described my perfect wife, I described every trait in you that I admire." He fingered what his mom had given him. He glanced at his parents and saw joy in their eyes. He knelt on one knee. "McKenzie Joanne Morgan, will you marry me?"

She jumped and grabbed her ribs. "Ouch! Yes!"

He stood and kissed her. "Thank you for not listening." He paused. "Just don't make a habit of it."

"That's not going to happen."

They kissed again.

"I know." He held her left hand. "I hope you like this ring. You're the fifth future bride to wear it. It's been passed down from first born son to first born son." He glanced up as the final boarding warning sounded. "While I'm gone plan the wedding. We'll get married as soon as I return. I need to leave."

"I love this ring. I love you. As soon as you return, we'll work on the sixth son to pass the ring down to."

Logan kissed her and shook his head. "You're a trip. You know that?"

"You've mentioned it before." Tears welled in her eyes. "Please be safe."

He saluted her. "Will do."

Logan started through the gate, dropped his bag, and ran back to McKenzie. His kiss lingered. "I love you more than I thought possible."

As he boarded, tears welled in his eyes.

THE END











Characters:

McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou local name for St. Louis
Simon Knight and Sheila Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician. Sheila's his wife.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league
baseball team.
Yadi What Cardinal fans call Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
George Whitney A former boyfriend of Megan, early suspect in her murder.
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez his wife is Lucy Chicago Police Department undercover police
department.
Kate Hartford Megan Nelson's friend they taught middle school
together.
Donny Carlton A man Megan Nelson dated.
Mitch Gardner St. Louis Police Department detective who has
partnered with McKenzie's dad.
Ivan Smart A bad guy
Peter and Nancy Nelson Logan's parents
Sidney Parks works for the St. Louis Police Detective with the drug unit.
Mack and Helen Morgan McKenzie's parents - both deceased
Gus Piper McKenzie's abusive grandfather - deceased
Austin Bryant an old boyfriend - McKenzie broke up with him because he's a jerk.
Joshua Davis so far a nobody, but is a neighbor to Donny Carlton
Mark Young an acquaintance of McKenzie, a state trooper, and will become important much later
Trey Walker former Army buddy and now retired, lives in Kansas City and helped rescue McKenzie
Dr. Gray McKenzie's doctor
Commissioner Conley St. Louis Police Commissioner.


Author Notes Thank you google imagines for an image of a broken heart. This post has a little over 500 words. I haven't been able to read this post daily to check for errors. It has been edited repeatedly, but I make many mistakes. I made changes today. I hope I didn't make it worse. Again, I want to thank you for all of your help and support.

Please pray for our children.


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