Creature of Unknown Origin: Together for the Holidays


something considering the fact that he was the brains of our rag-tag crew of assassins — well, the

technical brains. Delia was most definitely in charge of the whole operation, just not the

technological aspect of it . “I guess I’m just grateful to have such wonderful friends and, uh, love

in my life?”

Spencer reached over and grasped my hand under the table. “You’re such a softie.”

“Says the man who renovated his entire home to make me more comfortable here and make

sure I’d stay,” I laughed . “I’m beginning to think it’s Stockholm Syndrome.”

Spencer shook his head, laughing as his hand slipped from mine. He returned to his plate

without another word, but I could see the twinkle in his eye s. He knew exactly what I’d meant by

‘love’, just like I knew what he’d meant by holding my hand .

“That’s cute,” Delia said, helping herself to more casserole, “but I definitely think bei ng

alive trumps friendship and love.”

“Maybe we all need a career change if ‘being alive’ is the thing we’re most grateful for,”

Howie mused . “I mean, what has being guns for hire really gotten us?”

“A twisted sense of humor?” Delia offered.

“Friendship?” I added, setting my plate aside. That was an awful lot of turkey and cranberry

sauce and gravy, and we hadn’t even gotten to dessert yet. I rubbed my stomach absently . Already

the sweet scent of apple pie called out to me like a distant echo of the most delightful dream.

“Love?” Spencer joked.

“No, I’m serious,” Howie insisted. “Things have changed, we’ve changed. Is this ‘ life ’

sustainable anymore?”

At Howie’s words, everyone glanced at each other. Unspoken questions lingered in the air

like an oppressive heat. I sank into my chair. His words didn’t really apply to me, as I’d had a

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