Off Duty (Off #7)

Off Duty (Off #7) by Sawyer Bennett

Book: Off Duty (Off #7) by Sawyer Bennett Read Free Book Online
Authors: Sawyer Bennett
 

Chapter 1
     
    Tim
     
    “What’s
on your agenda today?” Denise asks me as I look out her kitchen
window to the backyard.
    Turning to face my
sister, I see her holding out a cup of coffee toward me. I accept it
gratefully with a smile. “Thought I’d take Sam over to
the Audobon Zoo… spend the day there.”
    “He’ll
love it,” she says, leaning her hip against the counter and
sipping at her own coffee. “I thought we’d go out for
dinner tonight. I should be home around six.”
    “Sounds like a
plan,” I say with a smile, turning my head back toward the
window to watch Sam running around the backyard with Denise’s
golden retriever, Scout. Even though the window is closed, I can hear
his excited, five-year-old giggle as Scout whines at him to throw the
ball in his hand.
    Denise comes up to
stand beside me, gazing out the window. “That boy needs a dog.”
    “Easy for you
to say… living here in the ‘burbs of New Orleans,”
I tell her with a wry grin. “They don’t work so well in
an apartment in Brooklyn.”
    “Maybe a
little dog,” she muses. “One of those ones you can put in
your backpack or something.”
    “Don’t
you even dare suggest that in front of Sam,” I warn, bumping
her shoulder with my own. “I’ll never hear the end of
it.”
    Laughing, Denise
pours the rest of her coffee down the drain and sets the cup in the
sink. She leans over and gives me a kiss on my cheek. “I’ve
got your back, little brother.”
    My arm wraps around
her waist and I pull her in close, giving her a kiss back on her
temple. “It’s good to be here, Denise. Thanks for having
us.”
    “My pleasure,
babe,” she says as she pulls away and grabs her purse from the
kitchen table. “You and Sam are welcome to visit me anytime…
you know that, right?”
    “That I do,”
I say as I turn away from the window and head toward her sliding
glass door, which leads onto the back patio. Opening it up, I call
out, “Sam… come on in and get some breakfast.”
    As is typical of a
boy in the midst of playing with a rambunctious dog, he promptly
ignores me. I watch for a few moments as he throws the ball and Scout
bounds after it. Sam bends over, slaps his hands on his thighs, and
calls, “Come on, boy. Bring me the ball.”
    Smiling to myself, I
put on my sterner parent voice and call out again, “Sam…
inside… now.”
    His head swivels my
way, and it never fails to amaze me how my child can look more
beautiful—more angelic—with every passing moment. He
inherited his mocha-colored skin from me but got his mom’s
hazel green eyes, a combination that I bet will have all the girls
chasing him when he gets older.
    Sam throws the ball
one more time and then starts trotting toward me. He gives me a grin
as he steps onto the patio, showing the large gap where one of his
baby teeth fell out just a week ago on the top. The one beside it is
loose, and he takes great pleasure in showing me how he can wiggle it
back and forth. As a firefighter for the New York Fire Department,
I’ve seen some nasty shit in my work, but for some reason,
loose teeth wig me out completely.
    “Aunt Denise,”
Sam says as he pushes past me and barrels into the kitchen. “Can
we take Scout home with us after our vacation?”
    Denise shoots me a
look that says, I told you so , but then leans over to rub the
top of Sam’s head. “Sorry, baby. But I’d be too
lonely without Scout. He has to stay here with me.”
    Sam’s mouth
turns downward in extreme disappointment, only to turn right back up
into a grin. His eyes light up brightly with an idea, and he turns to
me. “Dad… we should get a dog like Scout when we go back
home. Can we? Huh, can we get a dog?”
    Denise starts
laughing as she heads toward the front door. Calling over her
shoulder, she says, “See you tonight at six. You two have fun
today.”
    I reach into the
cabinet and pull out a bowl, which I place on the table. “Sit,”
I tell Sam as I point to the

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