The officer took two steps inside the door and Kate dropped the plate of cupcakes all over the kitchen floor. Her eyes were wide and her face tense, her hands trembling.
Column raced to her side. “You okay?”

“Um, yeah.”

He hip-bumped her, the way he used to when they were making dinner or doing dishes together.

“Guess I’m not the only one who’s a klutz tonight.”

“I don’t want to take up too much of your time,” the officer said. “We’ve had a stranger going around town, looking for a man named,” the officer flipped his notebook open, “Tom Stein.”

Kate’s face went psych ward-white, yet she didn’t hesitate. “Never heard of him.”

Colum took her hand in his then looked at Liam and Anna. He already knew the police couldn’t help them if Tom came to town. No restraining order or threat had protected them from Tom before. “Me either. Never heard of him.” Liam cleared his throat, but Colum stood and crossed his arms over his chest. “Who is this guy and why are you asking Kate about him?”

The officer eyed them with a Sherlock gaze. “The man looking for Tom asked about him at a local bar. Ended up in jail after a fight and told me he was here to find Mr. Stein. He also said, and I quote ‘trouble is coming for him.’”

“What kind of trouble and what does this have to do with Kate?” Colum repeated as he nudged Kate to help clean up the cupcakes and cover her fear.

“We managed to get him to admit it’s about drug-running but he clammed up after that. He did say Tom came here looking for Kate Baker.”

The amazing dinner now swirled in his gut. He’d only been around Kate for an hour and the man they’d feared for ten years was already threatening them. With Tom back in Riverbend, Kate would run again. As long as Tom was Kate’s reality, she would only be his fantasy.