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A Honeybun and Coffee

Author(s): Sam Cheever

Surprised into hiding in a men's room stall at work, Angie Peterson, owner of the Dunk and Run Coffee Shoppe, overhears two men talking about killing someone named Alastair Honeybun. Picturing a frail, helpless old Englishman, Angie rushes to warn him. There’s only one, small problem, Alastair Honeybun is six foot two inches of yummy man, who's perfectly capable of taking care of himself. But when the thugs show up while Angie's still there, they soon figure out they'll need to take care of each other. 

Excerpt


Alastair Honeybun lived in a really nice neighborhood, with beautiful older homes, mature trees in the yard, and perfectly manicured lawns. His house was small, but very elegant in red brick with white and black accents. His yard was cut short and outlined by perfect flower and shrub beds. This didn’t surprise her at all. The image of a white-haired older gentleman who puttered in his yard as a hobby was reinforced in her mind.

She knocked on his door and thought about the fact that he hadn’t really sounded old on the phone. The cold was probably just throwing her off.

A guy with the name of Alastair Honeybun had to be old.

The sound of shrill barking greeted her insistent knocking long before she heard footsteps on the other side of the door. She suddenly felt as if someone was staring at her and waved at the peephole in the door, smiling.

She figured he’d open the door just to find out who the ditz on his doorstep was.

The door finally slid slowly open to reveal a mass of vibrating blankets with close cropped, red hair. The blankets sniffled and shuffled toward her. “Whadya want? I’m not interested whatever it is. I’m dyin’ and I just wanna be left alone.”

A small, black and brown sausage type dog wriggled past the blankets and hopped around excitedly on the small front porch. He barked happily, wagging his entire backend in greeting. The little dog raised himself up on two stubby back legs and put oversized front paws on her knee. Angie reached down to pet the dachshund’s head and tried to peer under the blankets at its owner.

“Hello, I’m Angie Peterson. We spoke on the phone a while ago.”

The blankets gave a jerk and started to turn back into the house. “Go away.”

Angie grabbed the edge of the door before he could get it closed and forced her way into the house. “I’m sorry. I know you must feel like hell and I’m not normally this pushy. But you have to listen to me. I really believe your life is in danger.”

The man in the blankets sneezed and stared at her. Finally he turned back into the house and headed down a long hallway toward the back of the house. “I don’t have the energy to throw you bodily out of the house so if you’ll promise to make me some of that tea you suggested I’ll sit and listen to what you have to say.”

This extended speech ended in a bout of violent coughing that sounded as if Mr. Honeybun was about to spew a spleen. Angie quickly threw the bolt on the front door and followed him. The happy little dog bounced after her down the hall.

When they reached the kitchen the little dachshund flew past her and exited through a flap at the bottom of the back door. She turned the bolt on that door too. Turning to Alastair Honeybun, who was now perched miserably on a chair at the kitchen table, she asked, “Do you have any other doors I should lock?”

The cap of bright red hair was underscored now by blue eyes with a thick fringe of dark red lashes and a pale, sweaty brow. Unlined. Angie did a quick reassessment of the old guy thing.  “What are you some kind of mobile rent a mommy?”

Angie blew out a sigh of frustration. “Humor me.”

He jerked a blanket clad shoulder toward another door across the room. It looked like it probably led to the three car garage she’d noticed as she’d climbed out of her Edge.

Angie walked over and locked that door too. Then she turned back toward the shivering mass of blankets at the table. “Tea?”

The bristly red head nodded toward a long cabinet in the corner of the room. “Pantry.”

Angie moved briskly toward the pantry and dug out two tea bags. Then she looked at him again. “Cups?”

“Over the sink.”

She grabbed one mug that proclaimed, God’s Gift to Discerning Women, and another that said, If it Weren’t for Bad Love I’d Have no Love at all. She arched a brow at the quivering pile of blankets at the table and it shrugged. “What can I tell you, my friends are all a bunch of smart asses.”

Angie shook her head and added water and the tea bags to the two mugs. Then she put them into the microwave and set the timer for six minutes. She busied herself gathering honey, cream, and spoons until the timer on the microwave chimed and then carried the mugs to the table, where she handed the God’s Gift mug to the blankets.

She added honey and cream to both of their cups of tea and handed him his. Pushing aside the blankets just long enough to take a sip of the hot, sweet beverage, Alastair Honeybun smiled at her. “Good. Thanks.”

Angie got a jolt of surprise at the extremely pleasing face that she could almost see between the edges of the blankets. Not old. Not at all. And maybe the mug was right after all. But then she remembered why she was there and, setting down her mug of tea, she leaned across the table toward him. “Mr. Honeybun…”

“Alastair.” He shrugged. “You made me tea and tucked me safely into my house, we’re practically best friends.” He sneezed three times.

She got up and grabbed him a handful of tissues from a box on the counter.

“Danks.” He said, taking them from her, and then he proceeded to make honking noises into the tissues so loud Angie wouldn’t be surprised if the neighbors came pounding on the doors.

“Anyway, I own the Dunk and Run downtown.”

“I dnow, I’b seen you there.”

Angie was surprised that he’d recognized her and she hadn’t recognized him. But then she realized he probably hadn’t been swathed in blankets when he’d been in the shop. “Yes. Well I was using the men’s room this morning…”

He arched a dark red brow at her.

Flipping a hand toward him in a dismissive way she hurried on, “The Ladies was out of order. Anyway, these two men got past my assistant and came into the bathroom. I hid in the stall and heard them talking about killing you.”

This brought both dark red eyebrows flying up. “Dat’s ridigulous!”

Angie shrugged, “I thought so too but they had this.” She pulled the pieced-together sheet of yellow paper with his name on it out of her pocket. She’d taped it together before she left her apartment.

He took the piece of paper with a well-manicured hand that shook just the tiniest little bit as he held the paper up so he could read it. She noticed the hand was tanned and square and sprinkled with dark red hairs. Despite the clean, square nails, it was a very masculine hand. Finally he threw the paper down on the table and picked up his tea again. “That has to be some other Alastair Honeybun.”

Angie just gave him a look.

The blue eyes with the dark red fringe just stared at her over the blankets for a moment and then a sigh emerged from somewhere under the eyes. “Okay, so it’s not a very common name. But why would anybody want to kill me? I’m just a financial planner for god’s sake.”

Angie shrugged. “They seemed to think you saw something you shouldn’t have. Something about a girl?”

Alastair shook his head and sipped his tea, staring down at the small, fragmented piece of paper between them. “I haven’t seen anything except the inside of this house for days. I’ve had the damn flu and then I got a sinus infection.” He sneezed again as if to prove his point.

Angie stood up and walked over to the wall to grab the phone. “You need to call the police. These men were planning on killing you today. They were going to try your office first but then I assume they will come here.”

She offered the phone to him and he stared at it thoughtfully for a moment. Then he took it out of her hand. Angie sat down with a sigh of relief and picked up her tea. She cradled it in her hands, enjoying the warmth the hot mug gave her suddenly cold fingers as he punched numbers into the phone. She sat back and looked around the kitchen as he waited for the police to pick up.

It was a very nice kitchen, filled with very expensive appliances. The floors were covered with wide planks of hardwood in a deep golden color and the countertops were granite. The stove was gas, huge, and looked like something you’d find in a gourmet restaurant. They sat at a small, granite topped table with two chairs in a nook that was surrounded on three sides by a large, arching window that overlooked an expansive back yard. Under the window on all sides was a deep window seat with cushions tossed invitingly in every corner. A folded newspaper with a partially completed cross word puzzle showing and a silver Cross pen lying across it told her that he actually used the window seat.
Imagine that.

Her attention was drawn back to him as he spoke into the phone.

“Allyson. Hi. It’s Alastair. Yes, thank you I amb feeling a bit bedder. No, I dknow I still sound bad. It’s this sinus infection…” He threw Angie a look of frustration, nodding as the woman on the other end appeared to blather on.

Angie frowned at him and put both hands in the air, palms up as if to say, “What gives?” She’d thought he was calling the police.

Alastair nodded at something the woman on the phone apparently said and tried to break in several times and then finally instigated a brutal takeover of the conversation, cutting her off in apparent mid-sentence. “I’m sorry, Allyson, but this is important. I need you to tell me if two men came looking for me today.”

He listened for a minute and then turned to Angie. “What did they look like?”

“One tall, skinny…one fairly short and muscular…one of them cranky, oily, with a ponytail…the other tall, fancies himself a ladies’ man. Yup, got it.” Alastair glanced toward Angie. She nodded. “How long ago?”

He thanked the woman on the phone and hung up. Then he picked up the small piece of paper on the table and stared at it as if it held some vital secret. He’d let the blankets drop to his shoulders as he’d spoken to the woman whom Angie assumed was his secretary. Angie took note of the square jaw that was currently covered in dark red stubble, and long, slightly arched nose. The blankets rested on a very wide set of shoulders that stretched the material of his worn, soft t-shirt in a very nice way. When he bit his bottom lip as he was doing at that moment, two long creases showed up in his stubble covered cheeks. Angie had a serious weakness for dimples.

“They were there?”

He looked up at her, worry had settled in the sexy blue eyes. “About twenty minutes ago.”

Where it had been scary before, but a bit unreal, it all came crashing down on Angie at that moment. She suddenly realized the man sitting before her was in real danger. And sitting there with him, so was she. “Call the police, Alastair. Now!”

He nodded and picked the phone back up just as the little dog started woofing in the back yard and surged through the doggy door to bounce toward the front of the house, barking frantically.

Alastair looked at her and surged to his feet. “Too late.”

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ISBN (Print):
ISBN (Electronic): 978-1-3013093-9-9
Genre: Suspense
Date Published: 09/04/2013
Publisher: Sam Cheever

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