HALF AN HOUR LATER we’re on our way back down Las Vegas Blvd. We went as far as the Four Queens before I turned us around. Johnny No-Good wouldn’t stay in old Vegas where the casinos smell of stale cigarettes and everything is gawdy and overdone. No, he’d be in the center of Sin City. Smack dab in the middle of the short skirts and white powdered noses of the elite and the wannabees.
Fucking wannabee. There’s nothing I hate more than people who want to be something they’re not.
“If you don’t have time, what exactly do you have?”
Pretty, persistent and she possesses a healthy dose of observant. She’s a triple threat. I could keep the walls up, which is mighty enticing and all, but I glance over and see she already knows. Apparently, I’m an open book and she’s been reading me ever since she slipped into the Barracuda.
The joke’s on her. Two can play this game.
“I have a sneaking suspicion you’re trouble,” I say.
A corner of her mouth curves up and her eyebrows raise and drop, but she isn’t surprised.
I follow up with, “I’ll answer your questions if you answer mine.”
She relaxes, draping an arm over the back of my seat. “Fair is fair.”
“I know this isn’t a vacation for you, Little Miss Money-Bags. So, on a scale of one to ten, ten being up to your neck in shit, how much trouble are you in?”
“On who you are. I’d say I’m about a six on your sliding scale, but others might say I’m up to my neck in shit. Since you have a gun in the glove box and a mad gleam in your eye, I guess you’d put me at a seven.”
We’re stuck behind the slowest moving tour bus in all of Vegas, so I maneuver out from behind it. A guy in a black Escalade shows his disapproval by laying on his horn. I’d finger him if I gave a fuck.
“Now, who are you after?”
“My sister, Susannah. Summing it up, she’s an idiot who fell in love with a boy she shouldn’t have and he’s whisked her off to Vegas to do God knows what with her.”
“Aren’t we all idiots who’ve fallen in love?”
A snort escapes me and I roll my eyes. “Love has no place in my world.”
“Are you sure?” There’s the knowing smile again. “Because I distinctly remember something about you with your arse up against a Cadillac.”
Eddie. I tamp down my reflex to snap at her and give a nonchalant shrug.
“And I highly doubt it’s hate that’s driven you all the way to Vegas from . . . Where are you from again?”
“Rector, Arkansas.” She pulls a face as if to say she hasn’t heard of it and I shake my head. “You wouldn’t know it. It’s between Fuck-All and Shit-Heap.”
“A lovely place then?”
“Does this elusive boyfriend of Susie-Q have a name?”
“Yes, but it’s my turn.”
“You’re preoccupation with the rear-view has me concerned. Who are you expecting to find there?”
“No one, honestly. But it could be anyone. Police, mafia hit men, long lost boyfriends, a recent girlfriend. You name it, they all might end up behind us.”
For some reason, this doesn’t surprise or alarm me.