Teague McMurtry is a loyal friend. So when Aileen calls asking him to look for their friend, Nadeya, he can’t say no. Nadeya taught him everything he knows about survival. She is dangerous and damaged, having seen her fiancé murdered. She’s spent the last few years tracking down the men who killed him, seeking justice—or, at least, vengeance. When a body turns up on the beach, identical to a man Nadeya said she was looking for, suspicion targets her.
Tired of constantly being on the defensive, Teague intends to confront Quartermain and the others at the condo where they are staying. He and Nadeya head up to Daytona and take a room in the same condo. Once she learns Teague’s plans, Nadeya discourages the direct approach. She knows he can take Quartermain, but the other two are far more dangerous. She and Joel think baiting the bad guys is not only inappropriate, it’s crazy with a side of stupid. Still not liking it, Teague tells them he’s going for a walk on the beach.
Joel rose as his cousin walked by. “I’m going too.”
“I won’t do anything crazy!”
“Yeah, well I want to go for a walk too.”
Teague couldn’t think of a good argument against, so he agreed. They walked down the stairs, heading to the beach.
“He’s right down there,” Teague said with a groan. “Within reach!”
“No! Dammit, Teague. Don’t make me drop you.”
“Like you even could,” was the disgusted reply.
Joel moved quickly, grabbing Teague’s arm. He tugged, spun and dropped, pulling Teague to his knees. Another move bought his cousin to the ground. Stunned, Teague lay on his belly. After a moment, he tapped out and Joel released him.
“You aren’t Superman,” Joel said.
“So, folks keep tellin’ me.” Teague rolled his head and shoulders rubbing his neck with a hand.
“Did I make my point?”
“Yeah. Shut up.”
Joel’s face fell, discouraged that Teague hadn’t really acknowledged his ability to take him down or taken his warning seriously. Teague noticed his cousin’s mute disappointment.
“I’m sorry. This gets to me. I don’t do waiting well.”
Joel clapped his hand on Teague’s shoulder. “Come on, I’ll buy you a beer.”
They went to the cabana by the pool. Taking stools, they ordered their beers and sipped them thoughtfully.
“We’re going at this sideways,” Joel mused. “You can’t go at them balls out with both barrels. They want that.”
“So, what do we do? I hate waiting. I waited on Mac and damn near got us both killed. They picked the time and place and were far stronger than I anticipated.”
“You didn’t know he was the enemy. This time, we know the players. We are at a home field advantage.”
“Not saying you should.”
“Go home. Have a beer. Take your lady to bed.”
“Exactly.” Joel raised his beer at Teague.
“I don’t get it.”
“Do nothing. Go home. Relax. Let them come to you. No hiding, no running.” He shrugged. “Simple.”
Teague grinned. Taking Joel’s head in both hands, he planted a kiss on his cousin’s brow.
“You’re a genius.” Teague ruffled Joel’s hair.
“Been told that.” He rubbed at his head to smooth his waves back into submission.
“Let’s go home.”
© 2015 Dellani Oakes