DeWayne shut the door behind him quietly and got into a low crouch. This was the tricky part—making sure there really was no one home. He was ninety-nine percent certain, but he couldn’t count out the possibility they’d just dropped the dog off to have some alone time.
He made his way over to the wall directly ahead, making silent note of the flat screen television and expensive-looking leather couches. A quick check with the flashlight and he saw the thermostat was off and turned all the way down. They wouldn’t do that in the middle of winter if they were still here. DeWayne had gotten the layout of this apartment off the complex’s website. The guest bedroom was around the corner to his left, the master bedroom was around the corner and down the hall. DeWayne stepped quickly into the guest bedroom and glanced around. No one. But they had a frilly princess bed on the floor that must have been for that dog. Disgusting, but all the more reason for him to be here. These people just had too much and needed someone to take some of it off them. He turned around and crept down the hall toward the master bedroom. There was a painting on the wall just past the door to the main bathroom. He caught a glance of a smiling, bearded dude in a robe with flowing locks in an ornate frame and immediately dismissed it. It was weird, didn’t fit in with the décor. Didn’t seem to—
What the hell?
DeWayne spun and looked back at the painting. As he was passing he could have sworn the eyes of the thing were really locked onto him, swinging from right to left as he went by.
It was staring blindly ahead into the kitchen with a dumb smile on. DeWayne turned and peeked into the bedroom. Bed was made and two pairs of slippers underneath. Nobody home. He whipped out his cell and speed-dialed Mel.
“’lo?” came the gravelly feminine voice.
“I’m in,” he said.
“Don’t know yet. Just stepped in the bedroom.” There was a silver jewelry box on the end of the dresser closest to him that looked like it could fit a bowling ball. DeWayne lifted the lid.
“Yes!” he said.
“Mother-lode. Probably can get a couple thou in this jewelry box alone.”
“Check the bathroom,” Mel said.
“The bathroom. Take a look.”
“I’m a woman, so I know things you don’t. Sometimes we keep valuables in the bathroom too. Make sure to check the bathroom closet.”
“Okay.” DeWayne would have bet she knew a lot of things he didn’t. Mel was at least fifteen years older than him, but she was still sexy as hell. She still wore her wedding ring, but her husband had died last year in prison. DeWayne’s girlfriend was two years younger than him, but she couldn’t come close to Mel. She was all skin and bones, but the older woman was… what was the word? Oh yeah, zaftig. DeWayne had never been one for big words, but when he’d learned what that one meant he’d immediately thought of the older woman.