Chapter 5: Romance


The next day, Jake slumped in his seat at the hotel bar, ignoring the karaoke. The case had gone stone cold; no girl, no more leads, no idea what the heck a cedar spa treatment was. The dismayed detective was about to pack it in when the big break came waltzing in.

Jake couldn't believe his eyes. There she was, Molly Pemberton, in all her glory, being dragged through the lobby by a handsome-looking jerk with one of those cordless phones on his belt. She didn't look happy. Neither did he. Jake shot up and made his way out the door behind them. He could hear pieces of their conversation. The guy was doing most of the talking.

" . . . And then I hear you're whooping it up in some seaside town, like a hippie?" He was steaming.

"The term is 'bohemian,' Steven. It's a different world up here," she protested. "I feel alive and happy in a way I never thought I could be."

Jake realized he felt the same way. He'd been falling head over heels for this corner of California ever since he crossed the Golden Gate. He also realized that Molly was the most beautiful woman he'd ever seen.

Steven clicked his keys and the Tesla silently came to life. So, Molly's got a Silicon Valley boyfriend she's fed up with. That's why she took off. Just then, Steven yelled, "I've got reservations at Osmosis. We're going, and you're coming with me!"

Osmosis? The cedar spa! Jake fired up the Roadmaster. Things were about to get interesting.

He followed the unhappy couple to Freestone and the Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary. Sidestepping the front desk girl, Jake slipped into the back, where Molly was still giving Steven the business near the ponds.

"I'm not going back to the city, not with you, not ever," she cried out.

Jake stepped closer.

"You don't have a choice," Steven threatened. "Your father promised things to me in return for my investment . . ."

That was all Jake needed to hear. In one motion, he walked up, stuck a wingtip shoe behind Steve's left ankle and gave the right shoulder a shove. Steven fell into the water with a satisfying splash. Molly looked up, a smile widening.

"Want to get out of here?" asked Jake, offering his hand.

"Do you own a Tesla?"

"Not a chance, sweetheart."

They both laughed, and Molly took his hand. . . .

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