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By Lorraine Bartlett

Where there’s smoke…

Katie Bonner, the reluctant supervisor of Artisans Alley within the old fashioned procuring district of Victoria sq., isn't any stranger to ambivalence. issues were going sizzling and heavy with pizza maker Andy Rust—so a lot in order that Katie has moved in over his pizza parlor. yet now that summer’s ushered in a warmth wave, an house above pizza ovens with out an air conditioner is making Katie sizzling and afflicted.

At the peak of the warmth wave, a sad fireplace moves Victoria sq.. wooden U, a small shop promoting wood presents and small furnishings, is destroyed. however the hearth may be a smoke screen—for murder. A physique is located one of the charred wreckage, and the sufferer didn’t die from smoke inhalation. He was once shot. Now—despite making Detective Ray Davenport sizzling below the collar—Katie is decided to smoke out a coldhearted killer…

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Yes are,” the fairer of the 2 acknowledged. Katie prolonged her hand. “Hello, I’m Katie Bonner. I deal with Artisans Alley at the different finish of the sq.. I’m additionally the president of the retailers organization. I’ve come to welcome you to the local. ” “Oh, you’re the person who hates us,” the sandy-haired guy stated and grinned as he shook her hand. Katie’s mouth dropped open in surprise, the hands of her left hand clenching the welcome packet, wrinkling the envelope. “I beg your pardon. ” “For paying for the valuables you’ve had your middle set on for therefore long,” stated the dark-haired guy. He had a marginally of grey at his temples, making him glance distinctive. He provided her his hand, and she or he took it. “I—I…” Katie couldn’t appear to say one other observe. The sandy-haired man’s smile used to be hot. “Hi, I’m Nicholas Farrell—you can name me Nick—and this is often my associate, Don Parsons. ” “I—I…I don’t understand the place you were given the concept I—I…” She couldn’t even deliver herself to copy the four-letter be aware. “Okay, probably hate is a bit powerful. We have been informed, by means of our mutual buddy Seth Landers, you have been disappointed to determine the development get offered out from less than you once more. We ask for forgiveness. yet you need to admit, it's a diamond within the tough. are you able to blame us for desirous to convey this outdated woman again to lifestyles? ” Don acknowledged, looking at fondly on the previous domestic. Katie shook her head. “Would you're keen on to come back via with us now and listen to what we’ve acquired deliberate? ” Nick requested. Katie nodded. She was once starting to suppose like a mime. She definitely wasn’t at her articulate most sensible. Nick held out his hand and she or he took it. “Careful jogging during the backyard. first thing at the record is to do away with all this particles and begin the demo. ” He led her during the tangle of weeds and different detritus littering the small courtyard. “I comprehend you’re an outdated pal of Seth’s,” Katie stated as they fixed the creaky wood steps. Nick’s grin used to be vast. “He used to be my first boyfriend—back after we didn’t be aware of what being boyfriends was once all about—and have been afraid to behave on it besides. He caught up for me, like an important brother. We’ve remained pals a majority of these years. He used to be my top guy at Don’s and my marriage ceremony. ” Seth had stated he’d attended the marriage. He hadn’t stated he’d participated in it. and he or she may possibly determine with Seth appearing like a protecting older brother. She checked out him within the related mild. “Seth tells me that you’re his ally the following in McKinlay Mill,” Nick instructed Katie. She smiled. “I’m flattered. ” Nick produced a collection of glossy new keys from his jacket pocket and inserted one into the deadbolt. He became it, then chosen one other key from the hoop and inserted it into the lockset. “That’s bought to go,” he acknowledged, indicating the deal with. “Maybe the door, too,” Don agreed, “unless our contractor is aware easy methods to make a Dutchman to fix the outlet for an vintage glass doorknob and mortised lock. ” “You sound such as you recognize much approximately construction,” Katie stated. “Don? ” Nick laughed. “He simply watches loads of episodes of This outdated residence. ” “Hey, you do, too! ” Don protested. Katie stifled a grin.

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