Home > Say You're Sorry (Morgan Dane #1)(8)

Say You're Sorry (Morgan Dane #1)(8)
Author: Melinda Leigh

“We’re friends, right?” He dropped her hand. He had no right to start something he couldn’t finish. If he wanted to keep her in his life, he shouldn’t screw up their friendship.

Morgan’s phone rang, breaking the tension between them. “It’s Tessa’s friend, Felicity. I hope she knows something.”

Chapter Five

Morgan rubbed her hand, still warm from Lance’s touch. It was nice to know she wasn’t dead, but the prick of interest made her uncomfortable, clearly a reaction she wasn’t ready to explore.

She’d intended to look for Tessa alone, but she hadn’t protested when her grandfather suggested she call Lance. The fact was that she felt much safer with him. But tonight, he was acting . . . different.


It must be her imagination. Like he’d said. They were friends, and friends helped each other. That was all there was to it. Her discomfort had nothing to do with the way all six feet two inches of him filled out his cargos and T-shirt, the way his blue eyes always seemed to be focused on her, or the fact that she genuinely liked his personality more than his blond buffness.

But how did she reconcile her attraction to Lance while John was still in her heart?

The love ballad playing softly on the radio wasn’t helping. She reached forward and turned off the radio to answer the call. “Hi, is this Felicity?”

“Yes,” the girl whispered.

“This is Morgan Dane. I called about Tessa.”

“Tess babysits for you,” the girl said in a soft voice that sounded as if she was trying not to be heard.

“Yes. She does. I’m looking for her. I know you already told her grandmother you haven’t seen her, but I’m really worried. Is there anything you can tell me that might help me find her?”

“You have to promise not to tell my parents.”

“I won’t tell anyone unless I absolutely have to.” Morgan wouldn’t lie. A teenager’s trust was as fragile as a bird’s egg. Once broken, it was impossible to repair.

Felicity paused, seeming to weigh Morgan’s answer. “There was a party last night.”

“Was Tessa there?”

“Yeah,” Felicity admitted.

“Where was the party?”

“Out at the lake.”

“Did you go with Tessa?” Morgan asked.

“No. She came in her own car, but she was with her boyfriend.”

“I didn’t know Tessa had a boyfriend.”

“She was keeping it quiet,” Felicity said. “She said her grandparents wouldn’t like him.”

“Who is this boy?”

“Nick. His last name starts with a Z. You know him. Tessa met him at your house.”

“Nick Zabrowski?” Morgan asked, surprised. Nick had never mentioned he was dating Tessa, and Morgan saw him several times a week.

“That’s him.”

“Why wouldn’t Tessa’s grandparents approve of Tessa dating Nick?” Morgan liked Nick very much. He was a hard worker. He graduated from high school two years before and had started his own landscaping company. He was kind as well as ambitious. How many young men would read a little girl a story or take time out of his evenings to play chess with an elderly neighbor?

“He didn’t go to college so he’s not good enough for them.”

“How long was Tessa seeing Nick?”

“About a month,” Felicity said.

How many times in the past month had Tessa claimed to be babysitting for Morgan when she was actually with Nick?

“Tell me about the party.”

“The party sucked. Tessa and Nick had a big fight and broke up. Tessa was still there when I left. I haven’t seen her since.”

“Tessa wasn’t at school today?” Morgan should have asked the Palmers if they’d called the high school.

“We had the day off for a teacher in-service day,” Felicity whispered. “I have to go.”

“Thanks. Let me know if you remember anything else.”

Felicity ended the call.

“Felicity says Tessa went to a party at the lake with Nick Zabrowski last night.” Morgan summed up the conversation for Lance.

“Isn’t that the kid who lives across the street from you?”

“Yes. I don’t understand why the Palmers wouldn’t like him.” Morgan put her phone back into her tote.

“Fighting with guardians and lying about a boy isn’t too unusual for an eighteen-year-old.” Lance turned the Jeep around. “She probably found another friend to stay with last night.”

“I hope.”

The lake wasn’t far away. Lance drove past the gazebo and picnic areas, then turned off the main road onto a dirt and grass lane. The local teenagers liked to hang out in a spot that wasn’t part of the public area. A footpath connected the park with the clearing. But it was faster to take the service road the kids used.

Morgan grabbed the handle on the top of the door as the Jeep bounced along. It was nearly two a.m. before they drove into the clearing at the edge of the lake. Their headlights swept across trees, dark water—and a white Honda Accord parked near the bank.

Morgan pointed. “There’s her car. It would be wonderful if she just went home with a friend.”

Lance stopped the Jeep, and they got out. Wings flapped overhead and a high-pitched squeak almost made Morgan jump back into the SUV.

“Was that a bat?” Morgan pulled her flashlight out of her tote.

“Probably.” Lance leaned back into the Jeep for a flashlight of his own and switched it on.

“Are you armed?”


Morgan stepped closer. She was an independent, professional woman, but bugs and bats were not on her list of favorite things. “I should have brought my gun.”

Lance chuckled. “I promise to shoot any bats that attack us.”

“I’m going to hold you to that.”

The soil was sandy, and in the center of the clear area, generations of kids had dug out a pit for bonfires. Lance played his beam across the pit, full of ashes and scorched wood. Empty water bottles, beer cans, and fast food takeout bags littered the area.

“Doesn’t matter how many times the police run the kids out of here.” Lance stood next to her. “They always come back.”

Morgan spotted more litter at the water’s edge. “Were we this messy and inconsiderate?”

“I don’t remember being interested in food when we were out here.” Lance paused. “I do remember making out in the back of my car.”

“I’ll bet you do.” Morgan shone the flashlight on his face.

His grin was too wide. “I’ll bet you remember steaming up my car windows too.”

“I admit nothing.” But yes, she did. “Your ego doesn’t need feeding.” She poked his arm. “Your head will get bigger than your muscles.”

He wiggled an eyebrow. “You noticed my muscles.”

With an amused snort, she shifted the light back to the ground, turning her attention—and hopefully Lance’s as well—back to Tessa’s car. Alarm pricked along the skin on her arms. “Her tires are flat.”

“All of them?” Lance shone his flashlight on the white sedan.


They approached the car. Lance leaned over to look more closely into the interior. “It’s empty.”

The woods were thick and dark. Could Tessa have decided to walk home and gotten lost? Or maybe she’d gone home with one of the other kids. Wouldn’t be the first time kids covered for a friend with their parents or the police.

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