Food Truck Hero ~ A Love in the City Romance by Dellani Oakes Part 13

“Oooh, she was so wrong,” she breathed.

I smiled, still holding her hand. Dexterous fingers glided over the smooth skin on top, rasping slightly on the calloused palm. Here was a woman who knew how to use her weapon. Gotta admire that. Massaging gently, I let my fingertips tickle her sensitive palm. Another shiver dashed up and down her spine. I could watch its progress, and did so hungrily. I could imagine her response when we finally got to bed. Wild, untamed….

“Miss Tynan!” the woman’s voice sounded urgent.

Rowena’s eyes flew open and she stood awkwardly. I rose with her, more slowly.

“Yes, Denise. What’s wrong?” She moved to the door with a purpose.

“Something’s going on upstairs. Please.” She beckoned urgently. “I couldn’t find you for ages. Have you been down here all this time?”

“Yes. Sorry. I got carried away.”

The woman’s eyes flickered over to me, since I’d followed Rowena without meaning to. She gave me a once over, raising an interested eyebrow. “I understand.”

“What’s wrong?”

“I’m not sure. Without Bernie, things are falling into disarray. Please.”

I wanted to go with them, but Rowena assured me she could handle it.

“Call for backup,” I murmured as I bid farewell.

She nodded and I could see her mind working. There was no telling what was going on upstairs, but I had a feeling that someone was getting nervous, and things were coming to a head. I had no way of contacting anyone for her, or I would have. I’d probably impede the investigation, rather than help. Besides, my truck wasn’t secure, so I couldn’t leave it, not with all the cash in the drawer. The doors are locked, but the window is wide open. Anyone could climb in. Full of misgivings, I rushed in to prepare for the after school crowd. I could already see them coming.

I made a quick deposit in my safe, and greeted the first kids with a smile. I didn’t see Rowena after five. Concerned, I cleared up and locked down before going in. The guard knew me, having eaten at my truck more than once. I also brought him a free cup of coffee from time to time.

“Sure, go on up. She’s on seventeen. So, you’re dating?”

“Working on it.”

“Good luck!”

“Thanks.” I mashed the elevator button and waited. And waited. It wasn’t moving. “Greg, all the elevators seem to be locked on four.”

“What? They don’t do that until around ten. Hang on.” He went to his phone and called someone else.

Moments later, two armed security guards joined him.

“Keir said that the elevators aren’t moving.”

“Call the cops,” the head of security said.

I’d already headed for the stairs. He tried to stop me, but I kept going. Glad I’m in good shape, I made the seventeen floors fairly quickly. Catching my breath, I listened at the door, waiting to see what I could find out. Everything seemed quiet—way too quiet. I knew there were workers still up there. I hadn’t seen some of them come down. There are a few who always come to the truck, and they hadn’t been by. I also hadn’t seen Rowena. Call me conceited, but I thought she’d be sure to stop by and talk to me, maybe make plans.

I heard voices, soft whimpering and a smack. It didn’t sound like Rowena’s voice that was crying. It sounded like a woman named Lucy, who worked the front desk. She was in her early twenties and fresh out of college.

Moments later, two security men and a cop came up the steps, huffing slightly. Not in as good shape as me, apparently. Though, that’s a hell of a climb for anyone.

“Hear anything?” the cop murmured.

“Woman crying,” I replied the same way. A whisper carries more in an echoing space than a very low voice.

Nodding, he peeped through the glass in the door. He didn’t see anything. I knew that, because I’d done the same. The way the offices were laid out, the stair was set at an angle, recessed slightly. We couldn’t get a good look, without opening the door. The cop and security made a series of gestures which I took to be directions. Wishing like hell I had Jake there to interpret, or to take command, I eased the door open for them. The cop poked his head out, gave a quick look and popped back in.

Holding up four fingers, he indicated the number of bad guys. Four of them, four of us. But I wasn’t armed, nor was I wearing body armor. Oh, to be a cop and not a cook! I had a pocket knife, but it wouldn’t be any damn good, since it wasn’t made for throwing. Besides, I know better than to bring a knife to a gun fight.

The cop pointed at me, then down the stairs. I wanted to back out, protest, but he got very firm with me. “Captain,” he murmured, pointing.

Nodding, I slipped back down the way I’d come. They were maintaining radio silence, was my guess. Good idea, but I hoped they didn’t expect me to come back with instructions. I got to the first floor, and found a clutch of people in the lobby. One had captain’s bars on her collar. Carefully, hands in plain sight, I walked over to her. She was tall, spare, blonde, with icy blue eyes and a stony expression. She looked as if she took this as a personal insult, and maybe she did.

©2021 Dellani Oakes

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