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Weigh In: A Kira Brightwell Short Novel

Weigh In: A Kira Brightwell Short Novel

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Kira Brightwell wishes she could forget her time in high school.

But years after graduation, she finds herself walking the familiar hallways once more—thanks to her former tormentor and current sidekick, Trevor Wright. (Will he ever stop making her life difficult?)

An old friend of his needs help with a problem. The kind only Kira can solve.

...Assuming she can step up to the challenge.

A fun, stand-alone short novel from the Kira Brightwell Quick Cases mystery series.

(This adventure takes place between the Kira Brightwell novels Low Blow and Game Plan.)

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Kira walked down the empty hallways of her old high school. It was late afternoon, and all the students had gone home for the day. Her sneakers made a slight squeak against the linoleum floor. The sound took her back to a time when she had walked these same hallways among a crowd of teenagers, all rushing off to their next class in a tangle of bodies before the bell could ring. The familiar smell of floor wax, mingled with over-applied perfume and cologne, and a faint undercurrent of body odor seemed to hang on the air.

It was strange to be back.

It was even stranger to have Trevor Wright walking beside her.

Her green eyes caught on one particular locker on the long row they passed. The battered metal door was indistinguishable from the countless others surrounding it, but she recognized it instantly. She briefly found herself wondering if it still jammed shut sometimes the way it used to.

“Your locker was over there somewhere, wasn’t it?” Trevor asked as they walked.

Kira nodded.

“I remember—” His chiseled cheekbones flushed. “Well. I mean, I guess I just remember.”

He remembered cornering her there with his jock friends and teasing her, she knew.

To the casual observer, Trevor hadn’t changed much since high school. He still wore the same uniform of khaki shorts and a polo. Of course, the polo had been chosen to match his blue eyes and was snug enough to show off his broad chest and muscled arms to their best advantage. His short, blond curls framed his handsome, tanned features, his lips were ready to stretch in a blinding smile.

In some ways, he was still the same rich, self-absorbed jock Kira had once known and despised. Only now his self-absorption seemed more of a foil for what she had come to realize was a genuine spark of wry humor and even a certain level of intelligence she hadn’t credited him before. She suspected part of it was simply a matter of the two of them getting to know each other better.

That tended to happen when you had saved each other’s life a few times.

But Trevor had changed. He would have never even considered pairing up with someone like Kira to help solve other people’s problems back in high school. The concept would have been completely foreign to him.

That was before his own sister had been abducted.

After rescuing Stephanie, Kira had thought her interactions with Trevor would come to an end. But Trevor had surprised her by hanging around. Through sheer dogged determination, he had managed to worm his way into Kira’s current life as her unasked for sidekick.

Kira liked to think the experience had been good for him. And she privately admitted to herself it might have even been good for her and her best friend and partner in crime, Rob as well.

Both of them had been tormented by Trevor and his cronies in high school—Kira for being an introverted, independent young woman, who wasn’t interested in taking crap from anyone, and Rob for being both Mexican and gay. Kira’s Canadian background hadn’t helped matters either. Insignificant matters in the whole scheme of things—especially in this day and age in a place like California, but in a suburban high school like La Valentia High, everything got blown out of proportion.

Their unlikely relationship with Trevor now brought both high-end connections and some closure—although Rob was more reluctant than Kira to accept the latter.

“Weird, isn’t it?” Trevor said with a shake of his head. “Man, I was really a dick back then.” He gave a rueful shake of his head.

Kira snorted. “No kidding. ‘Dick’ is probably one of the nicer names Rob and I had for you.”

“Not anymore though, right?” Trevor flashed her one of his winning smiles.

Kira raised her hand and tilted it back and forth while she gave him a dubious look.

Trevor gave her a wounded look. “Oh, come on. I’ve been way better since I started teaming up with you. And I’ve helped you, haven’t I? I even got the local press of your back.”

Kira pursed her lips. She hated to admit it, but it was true. Trevor had proven himself useful more than once over the past few months. And she was happy to hear him admit he had been out of line back in high school. Still…

Can’t go feeding that overweening ego of his.

“The only reason I got the bad press in the first place was because some jilted ex-girlfriend of yours got jealous and started spreading stories.”

Trevor raised his hands in mock surrender. “We’ve been over this. Miranda and I only went out a few times. It’s not my fault she went and got all possessive and obsessed. Although I do seem to have that effect on women.” He raised his chin with a smirk and waggled his eyebrows at her.

Kira shook her head, setting her long, dark ponytail swinging against her shoulders. Trevor was impossible.

“Yeah, I’m practically swooning right now,” she said in a dry voice. “I just hope I can keep it together in front of Brent.” She rolled her eyes.

Part of her attempt at humor was an effort to play off her jangling nerves. It was bad enough being back at her old high school with Trevor, but they were there to meet one of his old friends—one who had been eager to join in on Trevor’s regular bullying campaign.

She wondered whether Brent Stevenson had changed.

“Thanks for coming, by the way,” Trevor said as his expression turned serious for a moment. “Brent danced around the subject, but I’m pretty sure he wanted me to bring you.”

“Just remember you owe me. Again.” Kira’s brow furrowed. “What does he want, anyway?”

Trevor shrugged. “No idea. I haven’t talked to the guy in ages. He just called me up out of the blue. But it sounded serious.”

“Great.” Kira didn’t bother to hide her lack of enthusiasm.

Trevor gave her a friendly clap on the shoulder. “Cheer up. It might be something interesting. It’s not like you have any other cases on the go right now.”

Kira resisted the urge to bite her lip.

What Trevor said wasn’t precisely true. She was working on something in secret with Rob—something Trevor didn’t know about. It wasn’t that she didn’t trust him, but whatever she ended up doing next would be dangerous. The fewer people who knew about it, the better.

She and Rob were still trying to hash out all the details to get their ducks in a row. A lot of that work was research, which took time. Rob had the patience for it, something that Kira often lacked.

She was a woman of action. She itched to take control of the situation, but she knew this wasn’t something she should rush into blind. Her years of MMA training, and her experience tracking down bad guys would be no use if she didn’t slow down and think things through this time.

Hence, her openness to accepting a potential case from someone like Brent Stevens.

A distraction would suit her nicely at the moment. Like Trevor, Brent was a son of one of La Valentia’s wealthy families. He had lived a sheltered life in relative luxury. Years had passed since he had tormented her in high school. Now he was married, and even had a daughter of his own.

How much trouble could he have possibly have gotten into?

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