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"Petronius!" the visitor said, breezing in. He was a small man, around Pete's height, with curly hair and a goatee.

"Hello, Foster," Pete said without enthusiasm.

Foster looked at starling, who was putting down her revolver and starting to get dressed. He tipped an imaginary hat and said, "Good morning, Miss Starling."

She paused for an instant then continued dressing. Pete made a mental note that he'd have to tell Foster not to call her that. For one thing, she was going by "Katherine" now (though Pete still thought of her as "starling"). Also, more importantly, "Miss Starling" was what their friend Fifteen called her, and it annoyed her that Foster had picked up on this and called her that as well, despite the fact that she didn't like him. In that momentary pause, Pete had seen her glance at her revolver. Pete would have to impress on Foster the fact that, if he annoyed starling enough, she would likely shoot him.

Meanwhile, the visitor had turned his attention to Daphne, who had just turned off the burner under the eggs. He grinned and snapped his fingers, leaning forward. "Here, Daphne!" he called. "Come here, girl."

Daphne dropped to all fours and advanced on him slowly, growling deep in her throat, her teeth bared. Her expression was so fierce, even though she was still nearly naked, that he stood up and took a step back.

Pete hustled across the room and grabbed her collar. "Time to get dressed, Daphne," he said, stroking her head. She glared at Foster again and then padded off into her bedroom, kicking the door closed behind her.

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About Anthony Lee Collins

I write.
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