Overkil

By: Amy Saunders

(The Belinda & Bennett Mysteries, Book Four)



Chapter 1





If Belinda had known how exciting a home surveillance system could be, she would’ve installed one forever ago. She smiled and waved at the corner of the living room while Bennett hunched over a laptop at the dining room table on the other side of the room by the front windows. The shades blocked the heat from the sun on that July morning, the sheer white curtains fluttering from the AC vents on the floor.

“I’m sure this is exactly what your next house intruder will do,” Bennett said dryly before telling Kyle via walkie-talkie to connect the camera in the upstairs hallway. He wasn’t kidding when he said next house intruder. They’d already dealt with one, hence the camera installation.

“Is it working?” Belinda leaned in front of him, tucking a piece of blonde hair behind her ear. She grinned at the image of her and Bennett at the dining room table. “It’s working!”

“Connected,” Kyle’s static-ridden voice said through the walkie-talkie. In the blink of an eye, an image of the upstairs hallway filled another square on the computer screen. Kyle stood back and gave them a peace sign. Belinda clapped. “Take that, suckers!” she said to no one in particular.

Bennett just shook his head. “Let’s hope you don’t actually need these, and that it’s just going to be a lot of boring footage of an empty hallway.”

The living room camera shifted to the right and a gray and white bundle of fur appeared squeezed behind the media cabinet. “There’s Poseidon!” Belinda pointed. “I’d wondered where he disappeared to.” They could just make out his light gray back slowly rising and falling. Belinda rolled her eyes. “Typical. Just so long as he didn’t chew the wires again.”

Bennett raised his arms high, stretching his back. “That’s it. Everything’s working. You’ve got coverage in here, upstairs, in the kitchen, and right outside the side door and garage for now.” The chair screeched on the hardwood floor as he pushed back from the table to stand. “We’ll get the rest of the outside cameras up soon so you have a full three-sixty view of your property.”

“I can actually watch the grass grow.” Belinda stood on her toes to wrap her arms around his neck, kissing him gently on the lips. “Thank you, pooh bear,” she said. Bennett jerked his head back and frowned. “What? You’ve given me stank eye for everything else I’ve tried. I’m running out of options.”

“There’s one perfectly good option any time you wish to use it.”

“What’s that?”

“My name.”

Belinda wrinkled her nose. “That’s no fun. We’re dating. We need cutesy pet names.”

“Pretty sure we don’t.”

“Pretty sure we do.” Belinda followed him into the kitchen, where Bennett stopped in front of the coffee pot to refill his mug. Kyle clopped down the stairs across from the kitchen and threw open the fridge door. “Kyle, tell him we need cute terms of endearment for each other. And we just ate.”

Her twin brother stared into the fridge. They were currently renting that house together from their grandmother. That could change, but Belinda was sick of moving and perfectly happy to stay put as long as her grandmother behaved, and she had since their last conversation about Bennett. At that moment, her grandmother wasn’t even in Portside, vacationing on the Vineyard with one of her other daughters.

Kyle said in a shrill falsetto, “You need cute terms of endearment for each other, and we just ate.”

Belinda kicked his leg. No help at all. And heaven help her if she sounded like that! “The just ate part was for you.”

“I’m hungry.” He slammed the door and finally acknowledged them. “I think you should stick with Bennett.”

“Why?”

“Look at that face.” Kyle took a step in Bennett’s direction, holding out his hand like he was about to cup Bennett’s chin. Belinda obeyed and took a moment to observe Bennett’s square jaw, tight lips, and gray eyes. “What else could you possibly imagine calling him? Ben? Benny? Ett?”