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Ring Girl: A Kira Brightwell Short Story

Ring Girl: A Kira Brightwell Short Story

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Enemies since high school… Kira and Trevor never expected to end up solving cases together.

Trevor knows that Kira does most of the solving, but he likes to think his raw charm and charisma count for something...

And when the opportunity to prove himself as more than a stunningly handsome sidekick falls into his lap in the form of a beautiful client, how can he possibly refuse?

A short story misadventure of Kira and Trevor 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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Amazing the difference a few months can make.

Trevor Wright shook his head to himself as he dried the sweat from his face and neck with a fluffy towel, stitched with the emblem of the La Valentia Golf Club in gold thread. He inhaled the faint scent of fabric softener before looking up to wave his tennis racket at Craig Masterson in farewell.

Despite its name, the golf club was really more of a country club, with a full set of amenities, including a tennis court, pool, and spa area in addition to the sprawling golf green. Only the wealthiest citizens of the suburban California town owned permanent memberships there, Trevor’s father among them.

Trevor suspected Craig was happy to make his escape to the locker room. If their match had taken place at the beginning of the year, Craig would be paying up by now to cover his loss.

Back then, Trevor had gambled on just about anything as a matter of course. Tennis matches, golf rounds, sports games on TV…

Private poker games.

It was the latter that had gotten him into trouble. With nothing else to keep him occupied in the years since graduating from high school, Trevor had gotten his thrills from his wins and losses.

His friends didn’t mind placing reasonable bets with him away from the poker table. But most of them had a family or career to keep their own gambling in check.

Trevor had no such boundaries. He was the indolent son of a wealthy real estate magnate. His father was hardly ever around. He was always at the office or flying off to make one deal or another in his private jet while Trevor and his teenage sister stayed at home. Trevor knew he could fritter away his considerable monthly allowance without any consequences.

…Until things had gone too far.

Unlike his friends, the people Trevor played poker with had fewer scruples. Some of them even had criminal backgrounds. Their pockets were often as deep as his were, and their tolerance for risk just as high. And if Trevor overextended himself, Ace Kendrick was always good for a loan…

But even Ace had limits. When Trevor’s debt had climbed to seven figures, Ace had finally put his foot down. Trevor had to pay up.

Or else.

Trevor didn’t dare go to his father to ask for the money directly. He was mortified by the mess he had gotten himself into.

So he and Ace hatched a plan to kidnap Trevor’s sister.

It had been a fake abduction, of course. Trevor would never dream of putting Stephanie in any real danger. He just needed to use her for leverage to get his father to pay the ransom that would cover his debt. A simple plan.

Then Steph had been abducted for real.

Trevor’s nightmare had started in earnest then. And even though he had eventually gotten his sister back safe and sound, it was something he never forgot.

He hadn’t gambled on anything since.

Whenever the temptation reared its ugly head, he remembered how he had felt when he had discovered his sister was really gone. If his friends thought it strange he no longer made bets with them, he just shrugged it off.

Still, at times like this—fresh off a winning game—he couldn’t help thinking…

“Trevor Wright?” a female voice asked.

Trevor raised his head from his towel and blinked. A young woman stood before him. He judged she was roughly his own age, or perhaps a couple of years younger. He flashed her his trademark smile as he looked her over.

“That’s me.”

She wasn’t as curvy as he would like. In fact, she was a bit on the thin side, but her dark-washed jeans and cutoff T-shirt fit her well. Both were designer make. Long, honey-blond hair trailed over her slim shoulders in waves.

“I was hoping to find you here,” she said. She looked up at him with a pair of large, brown eyes from under long lashes. Her lips twitched in a smile of her own.

Trevor lowered the towel and drew back his broad shoulders as he straightened. Too bad he wasn’t wearing his usual blue polo. It really brought out his eyes. But the white one he wore now was equally flattering in terms of cut, and showed less sweat. He could feel it hugging his muscled torso. He ran a casual hand through his short, blond curls to make sure they weren’t too disheveled.

“And who might you be?” he asked with a coy quirk of his eyebrow. “I’ve never seen you around here before. And I’m sure I would remember if I had.”

She smiled again—a full smile. For a moment, Trevor was distracted by her dimples.

“I’m Amber.” She reached out to shake his hand.

“Nice to meet you, Amber.” Trevor held her hand a moment longer than was strictly necessary, which made her flush in a most appealing way. “What can I do for you?”

Amber lowered her hand and caught her lower lip between her teeth for a moment before speaking. “I was hoping you could help me with something. I’ve read about you in the papers—about how you help people who are in trouble.”

Trevor blinked again.

Yes, he had been featured a few times now in the local news. But Kira was the one who usually took the headline—not that she asked for it. She was the one who had found and rescued Stephanie, and he had dogged Kira’s steps ever since. Not for the publicity (even though it was gratifying), but to give his relatively empty life a sense of purpose.

Despite his and Kira Brightwell’s disagreeable past, they had become wary friends over the past few months. But no matter how hard Trevor tried to help Kira, he knew he only rated a sidekick at best, which was how the media portrayed him.

“Are you in trouble?” he asked, trying to feel out the situation.

Why track him down here at the golf club when she could contact Kira—the lead of the whole problem-solving operation—directly?

Amber lowered her head. Her long hair fell forward to frame her face.“Yes.” She took a deep breath before looking up again. “Someone’s watching me. All the time, everywhere I go, I can feel them. I’ve never been able to catch them though.”

“You have a stalker?”

Amber nodded. “That’s why I came to find you here. I had to make sure whoever it is doesn’t know I’m trying to get help.” Her head turned as she sent a wary look over her shoulder.

That made a little more sense, Trevor supposed. Kira’s base of operations was her apartment, and she pretty much only went out to either work on a case, or go to the gym. The only way for Amber to track Kira down without being noticed would be to somehow bump into her ‘by accident.’

Trevor frowned. “And you have no idea who it is that’s following you.”

Amber’s face fell. “No. Look, I know it sounds crazy, but I just can’t take this anymore. I know someone’s watching me.” She shot Trevor a pleading look with those big, brown eyes of hers. “Can you help me?”

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