The Hacker Pushes Her Luck (Moonchuckle Bay 6)(11)

By: Heather Horrocks

He shook it off and laughed with her. “You’re right. Hold on. I’ll get myself some, and I’ll taste it first. If I keel over, go out for takeout.”

He sat down with another plate. Picking up a forkful of the steaming mixture of egg, potatoes, and sausage, Walter made a mock worried face as he brought it to his lips.

She laughed again and took her own bite. “This is pretty good.”

“But not as good as you can do.”

She shrugged. “Maybe all I know how to cook is omelets.”

“I doubt that, Sugar.”

She liked the way that nickname rolled off his tongue.

They polished off their breakfast. He wouldn’t let her help with the dishes, but they chatted while he did them. He asked questions that she guessed were to help her remember things … reminding her of things he knew about her, Jade Monroe. Nothing struck a chord.

After the dishes were washed, Walter studied her. “Do you want to rest now, or do you feel up to going to the office with me?”

“I’d really like to go in. I’m not sure I’ll remember what to do to help you, but I’d like to give it a try.”

Walter smiled warily. “Only as long as you feel up to it.”

“I’m tougher than I look.” Maybe. How could she know that?

“I’m hoping that putting you in front of a computer will trigger some memories.”

She went to the bedroom to grab her computer bag — a black one that she thought looked kind of ugly — and she wondered why she’d chosen it.

Walter carried the bag for her, locked the door behind them, and they both walked out into the warmth of the sun. It felt wonderful on her skin. She put out her hands and absorbed some rays.

“This probably seems tame compared to your Miami temperatures. Certainly much less humid.”

“I’m from Miami?” She shook her head. “I wish I could remember.”

He touched her arm reassuringly. “It will come back.”

She looked up into his brown eyes and enjoyed the flash of interest she found there. “I hope you’re right.”

He quirked his lips into a smile. “I’m always right.”

“Humble, too, apparently,” she teased. She was a teaser. That felt right.

She heard a meow and spun around.

The neighbor’s white and brown cat streaked across the lawn and circled her again, meowing. She knelt down and murmured to the creature, who wove in and out of reach, letting her pet its fur and then turning and coming back. She looked up at Walter. “What’s its name?”

Walter watched, an indulgent look on his face. “It’s a she. And the owners call her Houdinianna because she’s always getting out of their house.”

“I’ll call you Anna,” she told the cat.

Standing, she watched the cat weave its way gracefully back to her house.

A memory prodded at her brain — The cat was in danger!

“What?” Walter asked, concerned.

“I—” She trailed off. “I don’t know. I almost remembered something. About a cat. A cat in danger.” She tried to remember, but the more she prodded the memory, the more it eluded her. Finally, she sighed. “It’s gone now.”

“We have an underground parking space for the new council office,” Walter told Sugar as he parked in a spot right by the door. A sign announced that this parking place was reserved for the SOC Director.

“You’re the director?” she asked.

He nodded and said, “Wait right there and I’ll get the door.”

When he came around, she climbed out. He put out his arm in an old-fashioned gesture and she slipped her hand around his elbow — in a manner that felt totally natural and oh-so-right. As though she belonged on his arm.

She had a crazy thought. What if she already belonged on some other man’s arm? She wasn’t wearing a ring, and she couldn’t remember anyone, but, hey, she didn’t remember anything.

He put a hand on a scanner and a door opened into the building.

He led her through a hallway, past an office labeled “Director,” and to a room marked “IT Dept.”

Anxiety danced through her belly. She didn’t remember anything remotely IT-ish. But hopefully they’d cut her a little slack because of the accident.