Harlowe stepped up to the edge of the stage. “Enjoy tonight and have fun.”
She hardly got the first strains of One Night out when a young man stumbled through the door, his shirtfront covered in blood as he lurched forward. He missed hitting a table, careened to the stage when Bobo, the bouncer, caught him.
Harlowe stepped down from the stage, tossing the microphone behind her. The mic pinged off the bottom of the stand. Erik, her lounge manager, pushed forward through the crowd that had assembled and knelt down by Harlowe.
“Call 911,” she told him. “I don’t know where he’s injured, there’s so much blood.”
Erik jumped to his feet to do Harlowe’s bidding. “I’d say the man was shot.”
Harlowe looked up at the crowd which had formed around them. “Why don’t you guys go back to your seats while we tend to this young man until an ambulance comes?”
The customers returned to their seats but were aware there was a man bleeding out on the floor of the Starlight Lounge.
Harlowe pressed two fingers against the young man’s throat. If there was a pulse, she couldn’t find it.
What had she done to piss the universe off this time? Penny was always telling her that whatever bad things happened, it was because she had offended the universe and it was her way of punishing Harlowe for the indiscretion.
The crowd’s whispers were low as they looked on. Most of the women had a hand over their mouths, disbelief in their eyes, on their faces. Most were sitting on the edge of their seat. All wondering if the man were dead or alive.
In the distance, she heard sirens. She hoped it was the ambulance coming to the Starlight.
She heard the entryway door open but didn’t look up until a pair of shoes came into her view. She raised her head and stared into the inquisitive eyes of Detective Jake Diamond.
She did her best to ignore the rapid beating of her heart, as the blood rushed through her ears. She tried to smile but he raised one brow as if asking “another body?”
“Seriously, Harlowe? What happened this time?” he asked, a smirk on his mouth.
“It’s not as if I dragged him in here, Jake,” she replied a bit sarcastically. “He practically fell through the door in this condition.”
“Hmm,” was his only response.
“So, he just fell through the door, Harlowe?” he asked. “Didn’t say anything?”
“No,” Harlowe said coolly, crushing the warmth she received from Jake’s touch. “I haven’t checked him over other than feeling for a pulse. I don’t know if he’s been shot or knifed, or even if he’s still alive.”
She heard Jake grunt again and wondered what he was thinking. He was staring down at the body.
“What? Do you know this guy?” she asked, assessing Jake’s mood. “Does he look familiar? One more thing, please don’t question the customers. They were seated well before he stumbled in.”
Jake grunted again, aggravating Harlowe’s already jagged nerves. He circled the body, thoughtfully rubbing his chin in the process. She wished she was a mind reader so she could get into his head to know what his thoughts were.
She went in the opposite direction, caught the heel of her pumps on the sleeve of the guys outstretched arm. Jake jumped over the body to catch her as she fell. They both ended up in a heap on the floor, Jake beneath her to keep her from being hurt.
Harlowe felt the heat from his body, felt his hands at her waist. He was smiling up at her, devilment in his eyes. When he wiggled his brows, she wanted to smack him. Instead she squirmed to get up, embarrassed as hell as she realized most of the customers were watching.
“Let me up, Jake,” she hissed, as the sirens screeched from the parking lot. “The ambulance is here.”
Reluctantly he let her go. “Too bad. I was having fun.”