Page 50 of Starlit Skies

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“Please don’t call me ma’am,” she said with a scowl. “And I don’t care if you’re on duty or not. This is my way of thanking you for the unenviable task of standing guard all night. Now come on, you can’t tell me you’re not hungry.”

Nash hid a smirk. It’d take a stronger man than Newman to resist Skylar’s cooking. And that determined look on her face. In the ensuing silence, they both heard the young constable’s stomach declare loudly that he was indeed hungry.

Skylar smiled at him. “See. I’m always right.”

Newman finally conceded, stepping forward and accepting the plate of food. “Thank you. But I’ll eat this outside, if that’s okay.”

Nash watched the young man retreat out to the porch. Willow might do a drive-by at any moment, and Nash knew the last thing the young constable would want, was to be caught not doing his job correctly.

“Here’s yours.” She placed Nash’s plate on the coffee table and went back to the kitchen to retrieve her own plate and two cups of coffee. His stomach nearly turned itself inside out at the smell assaulting his nostrils, and he remembered that they hadn’t had a chance to finish Skylar’s meal from last night, after they got distracted by the dancing. And the bedroom.

Nash shoveled a forkful of egg into his mouth. “Holy shit.” He stared up at Skylar, who gave him a secretive smile. “These are fucking fantastic.”

“Can’t beat fresh, homemade hollandaise sauce,” she said, taking a seat and tucking into her own eggs.

“If this is the sort of food you serve up to the guests at Stormcloud, it’s no wonder they rave about you.”

Skylar opened her mouth and looked as if she were about to say something, then changed her mind and said, “Thanks, Nash. I’m glad you like it.”

They ate in companionable silence until both their plates were completely clean. It was nice to see Skylar enjoy her own cooking. He’d already noticed she enjoyed eating, enjoyed food. He’d watched her devour her meal the night they’d spent at the Shangri La Hotel in Cairns.

“What’s on the schedule for today?” Skylar asked, shooting him an expectant look. That’s right, he’d almost forgotten she was practically hyperactive. Ever since he’d known Skylar, she’d always been on the move, flitting around her kitchen, orderingher staff around. And if she wasn’t cooking, then she was out in her garden, pruning, or weeding, or planting. Her mother, Daniella, seemed to have some of the same tendencies.

Skylar’s mind was constantly on, thinking, dissecting, coming up with the next new plan. How was he supposed to get her to sit still for the next three days? Because they were effectively under house arrest. Supposed to keep a low profile and stay out of sight so that Robinson could do his job.

There was one thing Nash could think of that would keep them entertained. He glanced down the hallway toward the bedroom. He’d be quite happy to spend the next three days in bed with Skylar. Would she go for that plan?

Before he could formulate a reply, there was a knock at the door. “Come in,” he said.

Constable Schroeder pushed open the door. “Morning,” she said brightly. “Just letting you know, I’m taking over from Newman.”

“Morning, Sally,” Skylar replied. When had these two got on a first-name basis? “Would you like some eggs Benedict? I can make some more, it’s easy enough to do.”

Schroeder hesitated. “Is that what Newman is raving about? He said he’s just had the best eggs he’s ever tasted.”

“Sure is.” Skylar beamed.

“Yes, please. As long as it’s no trouble.”

“No trouble at all.” Skylar picked up their empty plates and went back to the kitchen. “I was just asking Nash what the plan is for today?”

Schroeder looked a little confused and Nash felt an absurd sense of relief that it wasn’t just him in the firing line now. “Ah, it’s much the same as yesterday,” she replied, looking at him for confirmation. “You need to sit tight until Robinson and his crew tell you it’s safe.”

Skylar looked up sharply. “You mean stay cooped up in here all day?” She banged the metal bowl down on countertop. “Can I at least take a trip out to Stormcloud to check on my staff? Make sure everything is running smoothly?”

“I strongly advise against that,” Schroeder replied. “You’re supposed to be keeping under the radar. Stay at home and stay safe. Protocol states that all requests need to be passed by Robinson, anyway.”

Nash grimaced and glanced at Skylar. How was she going to react to the wordprotocoltoday?

She made a sound of annoyance and glared at Nash. Why was he getting the look? This wasn’t his fault. But she didn’t seem ready to storm out of the house, like she had yesterday.

“Well, then, I’ll have to make some calls.” Skylar said, whisking the sauce with a frustrated twist of her wrist. “I’ll need to finalize the menu for the next week. Order in supplies. I hope Julie is okay with taking up all my slack. I should talk to Daniella.” Her last comment was said almost under her breath, meant more for herself than anyone else.

Schroeder glanced at Nash and gave a little shrug, as if unsure how to answer that. “I’ll be outside if you need me.”

“I’ll bring your food out in a second,” Skylar said, with an absent-minded wave. “Wait.” She stepped around the counter. “Can I at least go to the supermarket again? If I’m going to be cooped up here all day, then I may as well make myself useful.”

Nash wanted to tell her not to worry about it. To take it easy. But that wasn’t Skylar’s way. She needed to feel productive. To stay in motion, almost like a shark—if they stopped moving, they died.