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In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.
~Theodore Roosevelt

The Dead Men Series, Book II

Dead Men Seal the Deal

Released February 1, 2016
Purchase on Amazon HERE
© 2016 Jacqui Jacoby, Body Count Productions, Inc.


Dead Men Seal the Deal - book coverDavenport, Oregon
October 12th ...Decades Later...

On the incline bench at the gym, Jason Sullivan anchored his feet and started on his last set of the night. Breathing with the movements, he pushed himself. His first workout of the week, he wanted to start it off right.

His faded Doctor Who T-shirt had a wet mark down the center indicting the hour and a half he put in tonight was worth the effort. Forty-five minutes on the treadmill, he spent the rest of the time on barbells and machines, inching up the weight this round. The whole time he ignored the iPod attached to his bicep and instead listened and watched the people brave enough to hit the gym at this late hour.

It was a surprise how many people patronized the gym at this time of the night.

Jason had a sunlight restriction. Late night was the only time for him. But others, sometimes he watched and wondered why they didn’t hit the place during their lunch time. Women came in almost as much as men, making it a surprising place to pick up dates.

On this particular Monday night, though, the woman he had his eye on was busy on the floor mat. She had been coming in for about three months. New to the area, he suspected from some of the ‘Where do you find...’ questions she had posed to the front desk. He had used the same eavesdropping technique to find out her name was Taylor and judging by the Southern lining her voice, she wasn’t a local girl.

They had smiled at the drinking fountain, said a polite ‘hi’ at the door as they both left at the same time. But, they had yet to have a conversation.

She liked the stair climber over the treadmill, he figured out.

Machines over free weights.

She was heavy into stretching.

He was heavy into watching her stretch.

Asking her out was definitely on his list of things to do, if for nothing more than a cup of coffee after the gym. There was a nice café open this late with premium blend. It would be a good place to start what he hoped might be a friendly relationship.

He watched her without being creepy because creepy wasn’t what he was going for. Dressed down in a black yoga pants and a red shirt proclaiming Trust me, I’m a Lawyer, she had her short, dark blonde hair pulled back into a pony tail.

Finishing up, he gave her one more glance, deciding tonight didn’t seem like the right time. He headed to the men’s locker room to clean up a bit, grabbed his leather jacket and black gym bag. He headed out past the front desk getting a smile from cute Tiffany who did nothing to his pulse. It didn’t stop her from batting her eyelashes at him every time he left or dropping the occasional hint. He said goodnight to her with a smile and hiking his bag up on his shoulder, pushed on the glass door heading into the lighted parking lot. The chill in the air cooled his worked out body, his breathe making only a little fog as he hit the walkway.

Looking up ahead toward his own black Land Rover, he smiled and figured he couldn’t have planned for a better opportunity if he had begged the cosmos for a chance. His car sat three spaces from hers. No cars in between.

Taylor, no last name, stood beside her red Mazda Miata, her arms folded against the damp cold, her lips pursed as she stared at the front tire, driver’s side.

“Problem?” he asked from a respectable distance.

She looked at him and managed a smile in the middle of the night, in the cold. He had a feeling polite had been bred into her at about the same rate as the accent.

“No, sir. Everything is fine.”

He looked at the tire. “Doesn’t look fine. Looks like a long walk home unless you have other plans.”

She released a sigh. “I can call someone for help. Thank you.”

“You have Triple A?”

She shook her head. “No, I never thought to get it.”

“You call for a tow truck now and you could be waiting here in the cold for hours.”

“Thank you for the concern. I can figure it out.”

“Yeah,” Jason smiled. He dropped his bag onto the ground by the front of the car, and pulled off his leather coat. Stepping close, he draped it over her shoulders, smelling her perfume and forcing himself to ignore it.

“We’ll start here,” he said, “and then we’ll figure out where to go from there.”

Indecision lined her face.

“It’s supposed to be in the forties tonight,” he said. “With rain. Want to wait it out or give me the twenty minutes I need to get it done? Put your arms in the coat. You’ll stay warmer.”

He watched her do as he said, pulling the coat tight.

“Do you know where the jack is on this thing?”

She blinked at him.

He suppressed the groan. “Owner’s manual?”

“Oh,” she perked up. “That thing that took up so much space in the glove box?”

He smiled tightly and put his hand out for the keys.

“Nice car,” he said as he searched for the tools he would need. A peek at Google on his phone helped. “Doesn’t seem to match the pearl earrings,” he said.

“Thank you,” she smiled. “I stole it.”

He glanced at her, saw nothing but honesty in the expression and chuckled. “I will hide my keys from you.”

Lug nuts.

A jack.

A rock behind the tire. He got the work done on autopilot while she politely asked about the town. About the weather. About how he liked this gym.

He smiled and let her fill the silence.

“I don’t really know how to say thank you,” she said.

“Name might be a good start.”

She laughed, a sound he liked.

“Oh, I am sorry. That was rude of me. It’s Taylor. Taylor Grant.”

“Hello Taylor Grant,” he smiled as he stared at what he was doing.

“And you are?”

“Jason,” he said.

“Do you have a last name, Jason?”

“It’s Sullivan and if you want to get technical, Patrick goes between the two.”

“You must have someplace to be this late and I am keeping you.”

“I have a house with a video game system I was planning on hitting tonight and five roommates, most of whom are at work. Except for the married couple who are rich so they don’t have to work. They’re probably home fooling around about now. They’re newlyweds so they fool around an awful lot.”

She smiled. “Lucky for them.”

He laughed. “Yeah, we think so.”

Reaching for the hubcap, he placed it back on. He secured the flat into the spare slot and that about wrapped it up.

“I would get the car into a shop as soon as possible and have the spare repaired or a new one ordered.”

“I don’t know where to get that kind of stuff done.”

“Have you done that kind of stuff?” Jason asked, standing straight at the front of the car.

“Not exactly.”

“So you would need help with that kind of project?”

She waved her hand. “Oh, no. I wasn’t suggesting...”

“You can go ahead and suggest. It won’t bother me.”

“It’s just…” she paused. “I’m not dating men.”

He smiled, feeling more disappointed than he should. “Completely acceptable and still worth a tire change.”

She flustered. “Oh, no, that’s not what I meant. I meant I’ve given men up for lent. Only on a more long term basis.”

“So, dinner Saturday night?” He still smiled.

She laughed outright. “No.”

“Friday better for you?”

“I am not going out with you.”

“Why not?”

“It wouldn’t be worth your time and effort. I’ve totally given up sex and I won’t sleep with you, so you would be wasting your time.”

He finished cleaning up the jack, lug and wrench and put it all away.

“I wouldn’t even try. With that accent? Whispering sweet things in my ear in the dark? Would drive me right up the wall and break all my concentration and we would get nowhere.”

“You are an odd man,” she smiled at him.

He stood across from her, his hands covered in grime and let his arms hang by his side. A sink was inside the gym in the men’s room but he didn’t want to take the time away from her to go take care of it. So he wiped his hands on his grey sweat pants.

“Gimme your phone,” he said, holding out his almost clean hand.


“Let me have your phone. For just a minute.”

She reached into her bag and pulled it out, handing it over.

He fiddled with it, entering information then held it up in front of him to take a smiling photo. A second later it played four notes of a song and then stopped. He handed it back.

She checked her contact list and found him entered. Name, phone, address, birthday, e-mail. Twitter, Facebook. He had given her every way she needed to contact him, including his very own ring-tone now set to the Doctor Who theme, and added the photo to boot.

“I know electronics. Not a phone exists I can’t get into.”

“Show off,” she said.

“Usually,” he chuckled. “You want to know how to fix the tire tomorrow, send me a text and I will make some calls. No problem. I can’t go out and help, but I can make the arrangements.”

“Do you pick up all of your dates this way”

“Only the Southern ones. Where do you work?”

“Masters, Jenkins, Seacliff Law Group.”

He nodded. “Explains the shirt.”

She looked down, smiled then turned toward the car door.

“Text about the tire if you need a recommendation. Email if that’s easier and you want to add sweet nothings. Call anytime if you just want midnight starry-eyed talks, as I don’t go to sleep until six a.m., and if you decide yes to Saturday night, use all three and I’ll make sure we have a lot of fun.”

She laughed again. “I don’t even know what to think about you, let alone say.”

“Then say ‘thank you’, I will see you in a few days when you are on the stair climber and maybe next time we are standing together at the drinking fountain, you can smile and say hi.”

“I think I can do that.”

He reached over and picked up his gym bag, putting the long strap over his shoulder.

“Night,” he said without any fanfare, and headed over the three parking spots to his own car. He had it unlocked, the bag tossed into the passenger side and the car started and moving out the driveway in record time. He was well aware the whole time he never asked for his leather jacket back.