Tag Archive | narcotics

A Walk in the Woods (Serial Short Story Romance, Part 3 of 4)

Image courtesy of papaija2008 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of papaija2008 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Candace gasped for breath, more from Jax’s kiss than from the running. Her heart beat fast more because someone desired her than fear of the danger ahead of them. He released her hand so they could run faster and she was surprised at her stamina given her lack of faithfulness to her morning runs in recent weeks.

Another gunshot rang out, much closer. Jax grabbed her hand and they ducked down. Now they could hear yelling. A man came running their way and Jax pushed her behind him as he waited for the man to pass. As the man came close, Jax jumped out on top of him. The gun the man was holding went off and the bullet whizzed past her right ear. She ducked as she watched them fight. Each punch Jax took, she winced.

It dawned on her that she had planned to walk these woods alone today. What if she had?

She was with a narcotics agent. Had he been here for work?

Nah. He would have been carrying a gun then, wouldn’t he?

Soon the man was unconscious. Jax untied his shoes and used the laces to bind the man’s hands. He stood and looked over to her. “Are you okay?”

She shrugged. “Just another walk in the woods for me. Well, except for the bullet that tried to take out my ear. Other than that I’m fine. You?”

He laughed. He walked over and pulled her into a hug. “I’m sorry. I’m glad you didn’t get hit. I should have told you to stay behind the tree.”

“I probably wouldn’t have listened. I wanted to make sure you were okay and didn’t need my help.”

“And what would you have done to save me?”

Candy looked down and then bent over and brought a sturdy rock up in her palm. “I used to be pretty good at pitching.”

He planted a kiss on her lips, took the rock and dropped it on the ground and pulled her down the path. “Someone else was here and might be injured. I don’t know if it is one of the good guys or bad guys.”

“Maybe you should have taken that man’s gun.”

“Nah, don’t want to mess with fingerprints and I have a suspicion we may not need it. By the way, I never did ask you what you did for a living.”

“You want to talk jobs now? I’m a nurse at Valley View Hospital. I work in the Emergency Room.”

“Perfect! Maybe God had you here today for just this reason. I don’t believe in circumstances at all. But divine appointments, definitely.”

“Why?”

They turned the corner and a man was in a crumpled heap on the ground. “It’s Micky. He’s one of the Narc officers. Crap. He’s been hit.”

“I guess this is my turn to save the world?” She knelt by the man and started to assess his injuries.

Jax stepped aside and motioned her forward. “He’s all yours. Tell me what to do.”

“Call for an ambulance. That would be a good place to start.”

* * *

A half an hour later as the sun was setting and mosquitoes were making a vicious appearance, Jax had waved to his friend Micky as he was driven off in the ambulance. The perp had been arrested and taken to jail and now a police car waited off to one side.

Candace’s kahki shorts were streaked with blood as were her arms and hands in spite of having wiped them off on towels.

“Come on, Sweetheart, let’s get you home and cleaned up.”

“My car?”

“I had them tow it to a repair shop. It’s the least I could do after you saved Mick’s life. Officer Joan Marshall will give you a ride home.”

He watched her frown. “What’s wrong?”

She shrugged. “I was enjoying getting to know you and well, it’s been such a long time since anyone has kissed me.” Her face turned a delightful shade of red. “I guess I’m just sad to see this thing between us be over so soon.”

“Who said anything about it being over?” He placed a kiss on her forehead. “I’ll be calling.”

She smiled. “You will?”

“If I don’t, you know how to find me.” Jax stepped back and headed towards the police car. He helped her in the front seat and closed the door. She rolled down the window as the officer started the squad.

“You’re not coming?”

“I live nearby. I got my laces back.” He pointed down to his shoes. “I’ll jog home. Don’t worry, Candy. You’ll be hearing from me.”

He watched as the car pulled away. If he hadn’t come today, she could have been caught in a drug deal gone south. Nope, it was no coincidence that the girl of his dreams had shown up today and had the spunk to run with him into danger. He grinned to himself as he headed down the road at a steady lope. She would be hearing from him, but their first date would be far from what she expected.

Stay tuned for the final installment tomorrow! 

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A Walk in the Woods (Serial Short Story Romance, Part 2 of 4)

Image courtesy of photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

They continued on the trail in silence for the better part of a mile. Finally Jax spoke. “I’ve been trying to figure out what to ask you, without it sounding like some pick-up line.” He had been impressed that she had kept up a pretty good pace as they hiked the trail through the woods.

“As in—do you come here often?” Candace giggled and he liked the sound of that. “Well, let me answer that one and we’ll see where we go from there. I don’t come here as often as I would like. Life’s just been—I don’t know—stressful. Today I wanted to get out and try to unwind while getting some exercise.”

“Do you mind, Candace, if I ask what’s so stressful? I mean, other than the dead car on the side of the road.”

She nodded. “Well, there is that. Probably time for a newer vehicle but I’ve never had to make that kind of decision on my own before. I’ve been putting it off but now . . . Anyway,” her hand flipped in the air as if whisking away an annoying bug, “I’ve been through a rough year and still haven’t found a good normal for my life.”

“Normal? What would normal look like?” He was genuinely curious.

She shook her head. “That’s part of the problem. I don’t know. I mean, I get up every day and go to work. I go home at night and make dinner, clean up the kitchen and maybe watch some television and then go to bed. I have no hobbies and haven’t even been attending church like I used to. It’s just too hard to go back.”

“Why?”

“Because everyone there knows . . . and while I didn’t really do anything wrong, I just don’t feel like I fit in anymore.”

“I’m confused. What do they know?” He put up a hand to stop her and they faced each other on the path. Her face was pink from exercise and a slight sheen of sweat as plastering her bangs to her forehead. She was cute.

She let out a deep sigh. “My husband was a bit of a gigolo, enjoying the favors of any women he met. He finally decided that he would prefer to not live with the stress of trying to hide that and divorced me. I had no clue until the papers were delivered. We had gotten married at that church, been in small groups, served together . . . to be there alone is tantamount to walking in with a big D plastered across my chest.”

“Now don’t get me wrong, Candace . . .”

“You can call me Candy.” She gave him a small smile as they set off again on the path.

“Okay, Candy. How much of that is just your perception and how much is reality?”

He watched as her nose wrinkled. “I’m not sure.”

“There are other churches if you need to start fresh, pick a different church.”

A loud blast rang through the woods.

“Drop!” Jax hissed as he grabbed Candy and dropped with her to the ground, shielding her with his body. Through the sweat and dirt the scent of apples taunted him and made his mouth water. Focus, Jax!

“Was that a gun I heard?” Candy whispered. She trembled beneath him and he rolled to his side to be able to look at her.

“Are you okay?” He ran a free hand through his hair, having lost his cap when he dropped to the ground.

She nodded her head.

“Good.” He pulled out his phone and called in. “Yeah, Jax here out at Peterson’s preserve. Just heard gunfire.” He paused. “No. I’m with the only other person I’ve observed in the area. There were no cars in the lot when we arrived. We’re both safe for now.” He hung up and sat.

Candace looked at him as she raised herself off the ground to sit with her arms wrapped around her knees. She rocked. “What now?”

“I’m not sure. If it were just me I’d be running toward that area and trying to find out who was shooting, but I’m unarmed and I can’t leave you.”

“But this is your job, right? A cop is never really off-duty, is he?”

He dropped his head and closed his eyes. Lord, what do I do? I can’t endanger Candy, but I came here to do a job . . .

Her hand touched his arm. “Let’s go after them.”

He shook his head. “It’s not safe.”

Candace stood up and put her hands on her hips. “Well, maybe I’m tired of playing it safe.” She turned and headed down the path.

He leapt to his feet, ran up beside her and grabbed her. He halted her progress and stared down at her. He swallowed hard. What was it about this woman? She intrigued him, but they’d only just met. She licked her lips as she gazed up at him, waiting.

Waiting for what?

He bent his head and placed his lips to hers as she gasped in surprise. His arm wrapped around her holding her close and hers snaked up around his neck. Another gunshot rang out in the woods followed by a scream. They broke apart.

“What?” she gasped. But she had a silly smile on her face.

He grinned back. “Let’s go. Run!” He held her hand as they took off in the direction of the gunfire.

Stay tuned for part 3 of 4 tomorrow! 

A Walk in the Woods (Serial Short Story Romance, Part 1 of 4)

Image courtesy of photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The car chugged and jerked before coming to a rolling stop along the side of the road. Pretty pathetic that she even drove to the hiking trail from a mile away. Sigh. She popped open the hood and the odor of roasted nuts filled her senses and made her eyes water and sting. She stepped back and bumped up against a wall of muscle.

She jerked and turned to face a man not much taller than herself. A baseball hat covered his hair and dark eyes were shadowed by the brim, refusing to reveal their color. A short and neatly trimmed beard framed his jaw and lips. Oh, he’s talking. She shook herself as she stepped back.

“Having some car trouble?”

“Yeah, sorry I bumped into you. I didn’t realize anyone else was around.”

He shrugged. “Just jogged here from home to hike a trail. Mind if I take a look?”

Candace shook her head. Do you mind if I take a look? She wanted to slap herself for her silly thoughts. That’s what life was like on the back side of divorce. Her ex-husband had no trouble looking at or touching other women. She watched her erstwhile mechanic as he fiddled with tubes and checked knobs or whatever it was he was doing. His muscled back and arms strained against his t-shirt as he leaned forward. Hmmm, some view. Well, she had come here to take in the beauty of nature, right?

Of course she had intended that to be the flora and fauna and not a man.

He turned to her and wiped his hands on his black shorts. “I’m not sure what the problem is. Were you here to take a hike? If you wouldn’t mind some company, I could take a look and help you later if it won’t start.” He thrust a hand out to her. “I’m Jackson by the way. My friends call me Jax.” His smile was wide showing his pearly whites.

“Candace. So, does that mean we’re friends and you want me to call you Jax?” Her hand was engulfed in his. “How do I even know you’re safe?”

Jax withdrew his hand and pulled out his phone and a badge. Candace knew one eyebrow raised on her face as she looked back to him. “Do you always carry this around with you? How do I know you don’t stalk women out here with this ruse of being in the police force?

He handed her his phone. “Call anyone on there you want and ask them about me.”

She took the phone as she considered him. She scrolled through his numbers but chose instead to dial the police non-emergency number. She had used it enough during the last days of her marriage when things had been difficult but not dangerous.

The man answered the phone. “Hi, I’ve met up with a man who has a badge claiming to work for you. Could you verify if Jackson Bradley is in your department and what his role is?”  She listened as the dispatcher confirmed the identity of the man before her. “Do you know this man personally?” She looked at Jax as he leaned against her car, arms folded across a broad chest, waiting for her. “Thank you, officer. Have a good evening.” She clicked to end the call and handed the phone back to the man in front of her.

“So, you are one of the good guys. I’m sorry to be so suspicious, it’s just—“

“Don’t apologize. You are wise to be careful. It’s a scary world out there. Trust me, I’ve seen firsthand the ugly side of humanity.”

Candace reached into her car to grab her own phone and pocketed her keys in her cargo shorts. She lamented that the one time she came out she was not wearing a more attractive outfit. But then, frumpy was what her hus—ex-husband used to term her. “Let’s go.”

They headed off down the path. “So,” Candace began, “Why narcotics? I bet there’s a story in there somewhere.”

“Do you want the politically correct one or the truth?” He strode by her side with confident steps.

“Both.”

“The PC one is that I want to save the world from the bad guys.”

“And?”

“The truth is, I’ve seen the dark side of drugs when I was a kid and as a teenager a friend got sucked into being a pusher. I stood by feeling helpless to do anything. I tried talking to him. My parents didn’t believe that a good kid like him could be involved. He died of an overdose a week before graduation.”

“Wow. I’m so sorry.”

“Yeah. So am I.” His head dropped as they surged forward into the mulch covered path. Candace’s heart ached for his loss. She also admired him for his desire to do what he had joked about—to save at least the other kids in the this portion of the world, trapped like his friend was. Yup. He was definitely one of the good guys. Her eyes took in one other detail before she focused them forward.

He didn’t wear a wedding ring.

 Stay tuned for day 2 of  4 tomorrow!