Amanda Logan sat at the table waiting to be served as she watched the two men sitting at the bar. She'd noticed them right away when she and her girls had first entered Jimmy's bar as one of them, the one with the short hair, had been watching them as they had entered. She could feel him watching; feel his scrutiny. That was one of her many abilities; she could feel people. Literally feel what they were feeling and thinking, especially when they focused on her and hers. She was known as an Empath, but to her she felt more than just one person's feelings. She felt everything; not just what the person was feeling for their self, but what they were feeling for others. And not just one person at a time, she could feel a roomful if she wasn't careful enough to block others.
Most times when men stared at any of her girls, she felt uncomfortable at their feelings as most men were, well men. But this one was different. She didn't feel in the least uncomfortable under his gaze; in fact she felt a tiny thrill at having him look at her. He was different; very different.
But she knew he wasn't interested in her; he was most likely interested in one of her girls. He was young, probably late twenties, although he was older than the other man sitting next to him. He had short dark blonde hair and was very good looking with sharp angular features and a sexy as hell five o'clock shadow going on. And Amanda was willing to bet her life he had green eyes; beautiful deep green soulful eyes. She couldn't see his eyes from this far away, but she knew eyes. That was part of her ability to feel when she was being watched, because it all came down to the eyes. A person couldn't hide his feelings from his eyes for too long; something always came through eventually.
She could also tell just by the vibrations she was getting that the two men were Hunters. Hunters were a breed she knew too well in her life, and normally they were to be avoided at all costs. Mostly. Normally she should be worried at the sight of two Hunters in Jimmy's, but for some strange reason she didn't feel any anxiety. She knew she should be extremely leery that they could be onto her and her daughter Ryon, but for whatever reason she had yet to understand, she didn't feel they were here for them. In fact, she was certain that they were here for the same reason she and Ryon were. A case; their case. They were here about the dead men found in the nearby woods.
Originally, she and Ryon had come to town for a family wedding, but when Amanda got wind of the deaths, she started scouting out the area and she felt that the person responsible was a witch. And not just any witch; she knew it was Eva. She had felt her the instant she'd gotten close to the bar. Eva lived in the woods behind Jimmy's bar and motel. Eva kept to the woods mostly, but had been known to come to town for things and when she did trouble always followed her.
Amanda had gone to her nephew Rick, a cop with the Dallas police department and had him fill her in on the facts of the cases. She knew once she had all the facts that she wasn't dealing with just any witch, she was dealing with a rogue witch. And Eva was a rogue witch; everyone in town knew her as a kook, but Amanda knew different. Amanda knew she couldn't let her get away with murder. She hated witches who used their powers for selfish or evil reasons, but a rogue witch was the worst; they were true evil; a very special kind of evil. They were as evil as the devil himself and they were the ones responsible for the misconception that all witches were devil-worshippers, because to become that evil, they had to sell their soul to the devil himself to attain such power.
That was why Amanda's group was there at the bar, Jimmy's Place. Jimmy Smith was a cousin of Amanda's and he'd told her that all the men had been regulars at his bar and that each had last been seen alive in his bar before they went missing. And it was the woods behind his bar and motel next door, that he also owned, where all the men had been found. The local sheriff had put a couple of deputies in the bar a couple nights a week to watch for anything unusual, but they had come up empty. Frisco, being a fairly small town, there wasn't enough men, time or money to afford to continue doing this for very long, so Jimmy was on is own in watching out for his clientele the best he could.
Jimmy had filled Amanda in on everything he knew about each of the men, but it wasn't much. He hadn't seen what happened to the men when they left his bar, and he said that none of them had met up with anyone inside the bar, so this left Amanda and Ryon with the job of trying to be one step ahead of the witch and scope out which of the male bar patrons fit the witch's type. A total of six men had gone missing and only five had been found so far. The last one was reaching the twenty-four hour mark at which time all of the men were discovered after going missing.
Amanda and Ryon along with Amanda's two nephews, Rick and Dusty, had spent the majority of the day searching the woods for the last man, but they had come up empty. Amanda knew the man had to somehow be found within the next five hours; so that was why she and Ryon were staying close to the bar. This was their second night here and they'd come with the rest of her girls, her family. This last man that went missing yesterday was there while Amanda and Ryon had been in the bar alone last night, but they had not seen anyone with him and Ryon had seen him get in his truck and drive away alone. What's more, Amanda had not felt a witch's presence in the bar or the surrounding area during the evening, which in and of itself was confusing her to no end.
So they'd gone back to their motel room that afternoon where Ryon had worked on their research and notes. Amanda hated research; that was Ryon's thing. Amanda was more about the actual witch hunt. The excitement of doing something physical to stop the one they were hunting helped her to feel like she'd done her job, saving someone also helped her to feel like she wasn't wasting her time in doing this job. They had hunted a lot of different things, but rogue witches were what they hunted best; they knew them; knew what they were capable of. Know they enemy Amanda's mother had always said, and what better enemy to know than witches?
Between Ryon's research and their questioning of Jimmy and other bar patrons, Amanda knew she was hunting a rogue witch who had something against men. A specific type of man; as all the victims were of the same general physical description along with being single and unattached. Which she felt meant that somehow this witch had been hurt by this type of man; maybe a father, brother, boyfriend or possibly a husband. She wasn't sure, but Amanda was positive why the witch was killing. The problem she was having was even though she knew Eva was involved, something was still off. Eva had never been married and had no family that anyone knew of.
This meant that there was something about Eva that she didn't know or there was someone else involved in this with her; and Amanda was also sure that whoever was involved was punishing these men for another reason that wasn't known by the police or anyone else. She was punishing men who all held secrets. Secrets similar to the man sitting at the bar who had been watching her as she entered. These men had all been Hunters.
That was what Amanda got when she looked at the photos of all the men. They all had been tall, with dark blonde to light brown hair and with green eyes and all had been Hunters. For some unknown reason right now, this witch was after a particular type of Hunter and not just because they were Hunters. Amanda hoped that whatever that reason was, that the guy at the bar did not fit that profile, because just looking at him made Amanda worry for him. She was truly worried that he would be next.
Amanda snapped back as she watched Brenda approaching their table with a full tray in her hands. Brenda appeared to be the only waitress working right now, Amanda thought as she watched the woman set her tray down on their table. Amanda took in the fact that currently the only people in the bar besides the two men at the bar and her table full of girls, were a couple at a nearby pool table and another couple at the bar opposite the two men, but she knew Jimmy's would be rockin' in another hour or so. It was the only bar in town.
"Hey, Bren, where's all your help?" Ryon asked the harried looking young woman setting two pitchers of beer on their table along with eight chilled glasses.
"That is the million dollar question. Terri and Beverly both are supposed to be here right now and Lloyd's AWOL too. He's supposed to be running the kitchen tonight. We've got a birthday party coming in later and Dad is beyond pissed right now." Brenda replied as she smiled at her cousins before moving on to clean up a nearby table.
Brenda was Jimmy's oldest and she helped him run the bar while her husband ran the motel. Her mother had died when she was a teenager and she'd helped her father raise her siblings and she'd become involved in the family businesses around the same time. They were very busy most of time what with not only being the only bar in town, but the only motel as well. Sure there was the lodge out off the highway, but it was only open during hunting season, and it currently was closed for remodeling. Amanda couldn't help wondering how did you remodel a hunting lodge? Put up new dead animals and give the wood finish a good polish?
Frisco wasn't a large town, but it did boast a beautiful natural lake and lots of wooded areas for hunting, fishing and camping. The town was rustic in a lot of ways, but they had their signs of civilization here and there. Most of the people who lived here worked here as well, and had all their lives. Most of the people who lived here were also related to Amanda in one way or another. Her father's side of the family boasted quite a few cousins for her as her father was the second oldest of thirteen children.
Amanda looked over at Jimmy standing behind his bar and waved at him. She noticed again that the man at the bar was still casting casual glances at her and her group of girls. He really was very good looking, Amanda would give him that. He had something about him that was drawing her to him. Too bad she wasn't his target of obsession.
"Look, you guys hang loose. I'm gonna go see if Jimmy may need some help tonight. Any of you want to volunteer to help him out?" Amanda asked them, smiling as they all ducked their heads. "Hey, if you help out, I bet he won't say a thing if you drink on the job?" She added as she got up chuckling at all of them.
"Hey, sign me up then!" Sara said laughing now.
"Yeah, me too." Lexie added. "I knew my Hooters gig would come in handy some day!"
Amanda laughed as all of them suddenly volunteered to 'help'. As she headed over to the bar to talk with Jimmy she noticed that he was now talking with the good looking Hunter. She couldn't shake this strong attraction she felt for the man, but he was definitely too young for her, she thought with a twinge of sadness at that. There was no way this guy was even thirty yet and that was a far cry from her forty-three years.
She knew she didn't look her age, but that wasn't the point. Oh well, she thought; she could have used a nice distraction from this case and by the looks of this guy he would definitely be a distraction; but he was a Hunter and she knew better than to ever get mixed up with a Hunter no matter how good looking he was.
In her experience, Hunters didn't understand that there was good and evil in all types of entities, just as in humans. Not all witches were bad, actually it was a very small percentage compared to the many other evils that walked this earth. But Amanda knew from past experience that Hunters never asked questions first before they struck. No; Hunters only complicated things.
"Hey Ryon – that guy at the bar is sure giving Aunt Mandy the eye and he's so hot!" Jennifer said aside to her cousin.
"Yeah, I noticed; and I'm positive mom noticed, too. But knowing her, she probably thinks he's giving one of us the eye; she'd never think in a million years that he could be looking at her. She'll probably find a way to tell him in no uncertain terms to back off and she'll try to put him in his place. Hey, betcha twenty bucks she tells him to back off in less than twenty minutes!" Ryon said taking a drink of her beer and watching her mother approaching the bar.
"You're on!" Jennifer said as the whole table of women turned to watch Amanda and the totally hot guy as he was watching Amanda coming his way.
"Hey Jimmy, where's all your help?" Amanda asked her cousin as she came up to the bar.
"Don't even go there with me girl – Terri and Lloyd ran off to Vegas to get married and Beverly hitched a ride with them. I'm down two waitresses and my best line cook." Jimmy answered as he set a new beer in front of hot guy.
Amanda watched the man as he thanked Jimmy and turned to offer her a brilliant melt her pants off smile.
Oh my God, she thought; she could feel the heat start in the pit of her stomach and head directly south to stop just about where her who-haw started. This man was good. Yes, he was very good; and he knew it. And he was still giving her that damned gorgeous smile. Oh boy, and he does have green eyes; very beautiful deep mossy green eyes.
He may be a Hunter, but Amanda knew he was also definitely a good time just waiting to happen. A very good time. She relaxed a bit thinking he had no idea who she and Ryon were, but she knew he was probably wanting to hook up with one of her girls. No way he was looking at her the way she was thinking about him. She wasn't stupid; she knew guys his age didn't want to hook up with a woman her age. So she decided it would be a good idea for all involved if she stopped him before he made a move on any of her girls. After she talked to Jimmy.
She smiled back at the guy, but turned back to speak to Jimmy. "Okay, look we'll help you out. You go take over the kitchen and I'll have my girls Ryon, Lexie and Sara help Brenda wait tables. If we need more help, I'll have the others jump in."
"Yeah?" Jimmy asked. "That'd be awesome." Then his smile faltered. "Wait a minute – if I take over the kitchen, who's gonna run the bar?" He asked, his hands on his hips as he stared at her.
Amanda gave him her most brightest smile.
"Oh, no. You can't be serious. You are a terrible bartender." He protested. "You give the customer too much booze; you have no idea what rationing even means."
"Hey, I'm a great bartender who doesn't slack off on the booze. I make 'em just like I was taught; by an actual bartender. You remember the one, same guy who taught you, dude. And he always said that customers pay for a drink that's what they get." She said grinning. "Besides I'm not getting paid, so you can come out ahead on letting go of some of the booze; and in about an hour when the customers start pouring in this place, you're really gonna need me."
"I don't mean to interrupt, but I'm thinking if you let her run the bar, you'll sell a lot more drinks, booze or no booze. I know I'd buy whatever she's selling." Hot guy said, smiling that mega-watt grin of his.
Jimmy scoffed at the guy while Amanda offered up her most brilliant melt his brain cells smile just for him. She could play this game too, she thought.
"Yeah, I bet you would, dude." Jimmy said to the guy. "Okay, fine; but try to budge the booze, cuz. I'm on a fixed income." He added, tossing her some aprons for the girls to wait tables.
"Yeah, yeah, cuz." Amanda drawled, muttering to herself. "Fixed income my ass; fixed as in 'fixin' to add to your income." She continued muttering as she gathered up the aprons and had Brenda take them to the girls; then Amanda walked around to the left end of the horseshoe shaped bar and flipped the counter break that let her get access behind the bar.
The whole time Amanda was muttering she missed the expression on Dean's face when he'd heard the two talking.
Cuz? Dean thought. No way, please God, say it ain't so, Dean begged as he watched the woman walk around behind the bar.
AN: Please read and review. I need to know what you think. Thanks so much!