Rigs looked at the email again. ‘Meet me at the Java Cupid Coffee Shop @ 9:30 tomorrow.' He looked at his watch 09:20. He had ten minutes. He looked around the parking lot noticing the potential for attack. No security cameras, but the lines of sight to the glass front of the building were clear. So while an attack is possible, witnesses could be plentiful. Still with enough cars, not ideal from a security standpoint. This was why he needed a website. So he could help clients like this coffee shop know how to be more secure.
Rigs stepped into Java Cupid Coffee Shop. Stupid name if you asked him, but it was it was a long-time favorite in Mystery Canyon, and it did have the best coffee in town. It had all those frou-frou coffee drinks. Rigs’ choice was large black. That came from all those years in the service.
His time in the Navy made him survey the room carefully, though others would never realize he’d sized them up. He knew who could be a threat and who would likely get in the way if there was a need for action.
As he stepped toward the counter, Rigs identified his target. The woman was prettier than the photo he’d seen on her website. She was already seated and fully focused on her computer. Her concentration concerned him. She needed to be more aware of her surroundings. But then again, she was a civilian woman. He was unable to tell what type of laptop it was as there was a cover with a picture on it. Looked like some sort of a flower was on fire to him.
“Welcome to Java Cupid Coffee Shop, where we heart coffee. How can I serve you today?” Jeb’s smile wasn’t natural. Overly bleached teeth behind a light mocha complexion that didn’t reveal his lineage. Was the young man African-American or Hispanic? Rigs couldn’t determine. The boy looked healthy and vigorous, but not a threat.
Rigs looked at the young man’s name. “Large black coffee, please, Jeb.”
Rigs held his phone up to the credit machine and paid for the drink.
As the barista went to pour his coffee, Rigs turned his attention back to the woman. Lori Melnick, of Melnick Web Design. There had been some sort of tag line, but Rigs couldn’t remember it. It was a needless detail not worth the effort.
Not looking up from her computer, Lori picked up her mug and took a sip. Again, Rigs thought, she should be more aware of her surroundings. But then, maybe he was too aware of them. Well, at least she was seated correctly in the cafe. She was at a table in the corner with her chair facing the room. That made him frown just a bit. He’d be sitting with his back to the room. The table was small. He’d see if they could move to a larger one so he could sit with his back to the wall.
“Here you go.” Jeb was back and holding out a paper cup with a lid.
“Thanks,” Rigs said as he took the cup. He took a sip. It was hot and delicious. Who needed to doctor good coffee up with miscellaneous additives. Give him a hot cup of plain unadulterated java any day.
Walking over to her table, Rigs stood in front of it for a moment waiting for her to notice him. When she didn’t, he cleared his throat. “Ms. Melnick?”
“Oh.” She looked up. “Pardon me. I was concentrating on getting this just right.” She stood and held out her hand. “I’m Lori Melnick. You must be Nelson Peris. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”
“Rigs, ma’am. I go by Rigs, not Nelson.” Rigs took her hand giving it a gentle shake. He was surprised at her firm grip. He figured her to have a weak, limp handshake.
“Fine Rigs, and you can call me Lori. Please, sit, and we’ll discuss your website needs.” Lori began to sit back down.
“Can we move to another table? I can't sit with my back exposed like this. Not and concentrate on our meeting. I’d be waiting for someone to attack. It’ll be distracting.”
“Do you really expect to get attacked at the Java Cupid?”
“Ma'am, I always expect to get attacked. That's what makes me good at what I do. I expect my clients to get attacked and plan for how to minimize and neutralize the threat before it happens.”
“I didn’t think about the table size. This is just where I always sit when I come to Java Cupid to work.” Lori closed the laptop and gathered her papers, phone and coffee cup.
“You picked a good spot. Always sit with your back to the wall, facing the room. But, you were too lost in what you were doing. Someone could have attacked you or stolen your purse or phone, which was lying on the table, without you even realizing it. I stood there for enough time to do just that, and you never noticed me.”
Rigs ignored her embarrassed blush and led the way to a table not far away. It was angled to the wall so both could sit without having their backs to the room. He held the chair for Lori. She looked up at him and smiled as she sat.
Once they were settled with her laptop open and a spiral notebook and pen in hand, Lori said, “So, Rigs, you have a security consulting business and want to develop a web presence.”
“Yeah, that’s right. I was working out of Pueblo. Had a small office there. I was doing a job setting up a security system here in Mystery Canyon and liked the town. I bought an old two-story brick store building down by the river. Remodeled it into my office and gym on the first floor and living space upstairs.”
“You have a personal gym?”
Rigs grinned. “Yeah, doesn’t everybody?” Lori was cute. She looked so flummoxed at the thought of a gym in his house.
“Well, no. I have a membership at Beautiful Body. Don’t go as often as I should.” Lori began fiddling with a strand of pearls she wore around her neck. She cleared her throat. “Well, let’s talk about your website needs and what I can do for you.”
Rigs kept up a routine scan of the coffee shop as they discussed the site he wanted to be developed. There were multiple security issues here. It would be so easy for someone to rob the cash register while the barista was preparing the order. No security cameras, anywhere. He’d recommend placing them to cover the entire coffee shop as well as the bar and grill accessed through a large doorway just to the left of the entrance into the kitchen beside the coffee counter. Also in the parking lot, of course.
“Rigs, you still with me here?” Lori asked.
He turned his attention back to her. Cute thing, really. He could look at her for a long time and not get tired of the view. “Yeah, just surveying the security needs of the place. Pretty lax. I haven’t been in the bar and grill yet so don’t know the possible liabilities that are in there.”
“I thought we were working on your website.”
Rigs noted that Lori took her hands from the keyboard and set them in her lap. She also bent her head to look down.
“Here I was scolding you for not paying attention to your surroundings, and I get distracted by my surroundings and not giving enough concentration to what we’re doing. Sorry, a hazard of the job, and my background.”
“So, what is your background?” Lori looked at him again.
“Navy, twenty-five years, twenty-three as a Seal. I got out four years ago and started this security consulting business. I’ve done pretty well, but want to expand my reach. That’s where you come in. I need a web presence, so they tell me.” Rigs grinned at Lori. “Hey, we’ve been at this for a couple of hours. How about we head into the other room and grab some grub? We can eat and talk about the website, and I can assess the security needs of this place even better.”
He got the response he’d been hoping for. Lori chuckled and agreed.
Remember, Java Footprint book 3 in the series comes out on June 29. You can find the other two books, Java Break #1 by Lynn Donovan and Java Muse #2 by George McVey on Amazon. Here's the series page.
Sign up for Sophie's Newsletter. You'll get Keith's Coming, a Love's Infestation short story for free.
Sophie Dawson has made up stories in her head all her life. It wasn’t until 2011 that she began writing typing them out.
Her first books were all historical fiction romance. They’ve won multiple awards and garnered rave reviews. Now, Sophie is branching out into contemporary romance though she plans to continue writing historical and hopes to add more books in her popular Cottonwood and Stones Creek series.
Sophie lives with her husband and cat on a farm in western Illinois. She’s an avid seamstress and was a professional quilter for a number of years before the writing bug bit. She’s just thankful it’s not fatal.