“Keep talking there, Twinkletoes, I’ll marry your dad and
make you my stepchild.” I glared at three teenage girls who were destined to
grow-up and be a drain on some man’s wallet as they walked past me on their way
to the yellow Volkswagen Beetle.
“God, how manly.”
“I bet she’s single.”
“Hasn’t she ever heard of makeup?”
But seriously, what was up with teenagers these days? I was
a fucking deputy in a fucking uniform and they still had the audacity to give me
“If I ever say, that I want to be a cop, shoot me, will
you?” One of the girls asked her friends.
“They won’t have to, I’ll do it for them,” I said in a low
whisper. The entire time they were cataloging my flaws and their disdain for my
job, I was straddling my sheriff’s motorcycle, while parked in a convenience
store’s parking lot. The owner had been having problems with teenagers coming
in after school harassing his patrons. Case and point.
A loud wolf whistle pierced the air, and I turned to find a
boy hanging out of a truck. I rolled my eyes as the girls started to
“Oh my god, Devin just whistled at you,” one of the girls
“I can’t believe it, does that mean he thinks I’m pretty?”
“Oh, Breezy, of course it does. You’re so pretty,” her
friends reassured her.
“You really think so? I need to lose weight . . .”
I smiled as I watched her twirl one loose strand around a
finger. The only thing missing was her blowing a giant wad of bubble gum. It
was all a little too cliché for me.
The boys in the truck pulled out and the girls got into
their car and chased them. In their pursuit they plowed through an intersection
ignoring a stop sign and cutting off several cars.
I rolled my eyes. Fuck.
Nothing beat the feeling of twisting the throttle, the sun
beating down on my back, or the vibration between my legs. Holy shit, I
couldn’t believe that I just thought that, but it was true. There was just
something about being on a Harley, and I was one of the lucky few who got to
ride to my heart’s content since I not only rode for fun but also rode for
Okay, one thing beat all of that—the adrenaline rush I got
every time I flipped on my lights, which I did a second before I went after the
pale yellow Volkswagen Beetle. Some days, karma was a bitch and others she was
your best friend, kind of like today. Yeah, Karma and I, we go way back.
“Well, hello, ladies, it seems that you were in a hurry.” I
slightly lowered my sunglasses and smirked at three stunned teenagers. “I’m
going to need to see your license and registration.”
“I can’t get a ticket; I’ll be grounded from my car.”
“You probably should have thought about that before you blew
threw the stop sign and cut off those other vehicles.”
“But we came out of the parking lot and turned right. The
stop sign is, like, right there, she already stopped and checked when she came
out,” the blonde explained, obviously acting as the leader of the pack from the
“Number one, that doesn’t matter. You have to stop at every
stop sign. Number two, you didn’t stop at the one in the parking lot either.”
“Just give me the ticket.” The driver turned to her friends.
“I’ll just pay it before anyone knows.”
“I’m actually writing you for two different tickets for
failure to come to a complete stop as well as reckless driving since you cut
off those other cars.” I glanced down at the registration I held in my hands.
“Oh, this isn’t your name on the title of the car.”
“No, it’s my dad’s. He gave me the car for my birthday.”
“I’m going to have to call your parents since it is in his
name.” I glanced down at her driver’s license and bit back a scoff. Breezy
Kidd, yes, that was her fucking name, no shit.
“You can’t do that,” the girl in the passenger seat
demanded. “This is harassment. You are harassing us.”
I leaned down so I was at eye level. “What’s your name?”
“I don’t have to tell you.”
“Umm, actually you do. All three of you have to hand your
IDs over to me.”
The one girl in the back seat complied and passed hers
forward, but the girl in the passenger seat was on my last nerve. “I don’t have
it with me.”
“Here’s the issue. Your friend Breezy is eighteen and has
committed enough traffic violations that I can write her up for illegal right
hand turn, failure to yield right away, careless driving, illegal lane change,
and reckless driving, which is criminal, requires her attendance in front of a
judge, and can cause her car to be impounded. So, either you comply with the
law or the law will not be in your favor.”
Breezy jerked her head and stared at the passenger. “Hand
over your license.”
“I’d listen to your friend. Because if the car is impounded,
I’m going to have to call a squad car to come get you until you present your
ID. We need to make sure you don’t have any warrants or that you aren’t a
minor.” Finally getting through to her, she grabbed her license from her bag
and handed it to me. I looked at the name. Brittany. Why wasn’t I shocked? “Now
I’ll start with you, give me your parent’s phone number,” I said to the driver.
She called her dad and was instantly in tears. Clearly, she knew how to play
him. The girl in the back seat, Mikayla, who’d been the quietest, called her
mom, had tears in her eyes, and even apologized to
me . . . there was hope for the future yet. Brittany called
her mom, and it was clear that the apple didn’t fall far from the tree.
“Mom, Breezey got pulled over. Some female cop.” The girl
paused, and it didn’t take Neil Fucking Armstrong to figure out that they were
bashing me. “Yeah, probably, she looks like she was probably checking us out.
You’re right, that’s probably why she pulled us over. Okay. Love you too,
When all three were done, I’d written Breezy a ticket with
three different citations, and then I let them go. And whoever said that being
cop wasn’t fun?
It was close to quitting time, so I eased into traffic and
headed back toward the stations, but before I got far, my radio crackled with
an incoming a call.
“Orange County, Commercial, Signal twenty-nine, Alpha, 441
I wanted to get home as much as the next person, but I was
only two blocks away, and as much as I hated it, this was part of my job
“Thirteen-seventeen, reference signal twenty-nine commercial
alpha, I’m nearby. Assign it to me.”
“Orange County copies, seventeen thirty-three. Alarm,
Hampton Storage, monitoring company has tried to get in contact with the
property owner. Internal motion sensor has not been triggered.”
“Ten ninety-seven.” I stopped talking after giving dispatch
the code that told them I was on scene. I dismounted my bike and checked the
doors to the main building, which were all locked. I pulled a card out of my
pocket and stuck it through the mail slot, proof that I was here and checked.
The sign said that they closed at six PM, and since it was ten of six, my guess
was that someone cut out early today.
With nothing of note happening out front, I got back on my
bike and slowly drove around toward the back. The alarm was still blaring as I
rounded the corner to find the back gates wide open and two men on Harleys parked
in front of a closed unit.
Even from forty yards away, I could tell that the men were
wearing cuts and not just any cuts, they were members of the Heretics. Orlando
had several biker gangs, many being one percenters. Most of them lived by the
rule: leave us the fuck alone and we will leave you the fuck alone. But not the
Heretics. Nope, they were the bullies. The
I-want-to-start-a-fight-just-because-I-can type. The type of gang that will
kick someone’s ass because they thought it made them look big. When they were
done, their victims were seldom left breathing.
So, I stayed where I was and called into dispatch.
“Thirteen-seventeen, ten fifty-six, Hamptons Storage on
Waterbridge, signal forty-four, expedite, multiple subjects, known signal
zero.” That sounded good, I needed backup because they were people who were
known to be armed and dangerous.
Retreating wasn’t an option, I was a deputy, this was my
job, and the last thing I wanted was to turn my back on known killers.
At that moment, I wished for a car full of snotty teenagers
over these guys, I could handle them. I said a prayer for backup to be nearby
and that they would hurry, and I had just finished it about the same time the
subjects turned in my direction. I could feel their eyes boring into me. Chills
went down my spine, and I flipped my snap on my holster to give my fingers
something to do, my heart thumping as the two riders rode over to me.
They were night and day, the one on the left looked like
Hollywood’s version of scary biker dude. His cut read Sergeant at Arms,
What kind of name was Bladder? He was of medium build, had a
beard that could double as a rat’s nest, chains that hung from his pockets to
his belt loops, and his face was . . . well . . . all I could do was hear Ham’s
voice from The Sandlot. “You know, if my dog were
as ugly as you, I’d shave his butt and tell him to walk backwards.”
The other guy also had a beard, but his was what they called
a groomed beard—like he actually gave a damn if crumbs fell onto his face. He
probably weighed two hundred pounds, and his cut read Candy. I would never
understand where bikers get their names. He was on his bike, so I had to take
that into account, but I would put him at least six feet.
As I continued my mental catalog, I took in his dirty-blond
hair, his muscular arms. I studied the shaped of his face, sloping nose, hooded
eyes, and then froze when I locked on to hazel eyes. Eyes that I still saw in
my dreams. My eyes darted to his upper lip, and I caught myself before I could
lean forward, not to touch him but to get a closer look at the scar there, it
wasn’t as pronounced as the one Liam had when we were kids, but that was
normal, scars faded over time, right?
It was as if I was eight years old again and he had been
reading me Harry Potter. He’d taken me to the park and we both picked sticks to
make into wands. When we got back to his house, he’d grabbed a pocketknife and
had attempted to carve my name into my “wand.” When he tried to smooth the
edges, he pulled back on the blade and lost control and cut his lip. He ended
up getting stitches.
It wasn’t long after that when he left during the night
without saying goodbye, but I knew this was him.
“Liam?” I asked.