Series: Randy Cox, Book One
Author: Liz Faraim
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: 03/28/2023
Heat Level: 2 – Fade to Black Sex
Genre: Contemporary Thriller, contemporary, crime/thriller, lesbian, trans, over 40, warehouse, industrial accident, police, conspiracy, death
“Rowdy” Randy Cox, a woman staring down the barrel of retirement, is a curmudgeonly blue-collar butch lesbian, who has been single for twenty years and is trying to date again.
At the end of a long, exhausting shift, Randy finds her supervisor, Bryant, pinned and near death at the warehouse where they work. Upon the news of his death, she battles to find a balance between the joys of an exciting new relationship and the struggles of processing her supervisor’s unexpected passing.
The manner of her supervisor’s death leaves Randy unsettled and suspicious as she gets sucked into both a criminal investigation led by the police and an administrative investigation conducted by her employer.
As Randy seeks the truth, trust erodes, key friendships are strengthened, and more loss awaits her.
Liz Faraim © 2023
All Rights Reserved
The first rainstorm of the season had drawn me out of my house. Local radio news had said something about a bomb cyclone and an atmospheric river. Either way, the whole area was getting hammered in a way I hadn’t seen in over a decade.
I’d had the wise idea to go out and watch the storm rage instead of sitting on the couch at home waiting for the power to go out. Rain pounded the roof of my truck with a constant rat-a-tat-tat. Massive drops splattered on the roiling surface of Marshtown Strait, and runoff flowed down the boat launch in sheets. Dusk turned to darkness under thick clouds, casting everything in shades of gray.
A lanky great egret tried to take flight from the shoreline, its wings spread wide, but the gusting wind swooped it up and blew it toward the frenzied tides. I leaned back in my driver’s seat, its padding and springs worn down to the point where the seat had a hollow that hugged me, and watched a tattered American flag savagely whip about, the halyard’s counterweight clanging.
Through sideways rain, the shadowy form of a person scrabbled up from the rocks below Archer Point. Sitting forward, I turned on the windshield wipers to get a better look. Sure enough, a tall figure made it up to solid ground and loped along the walking path. The person wore a hooded rain slicker, a familiar orange backpack, and clutched two fishing rods in their hand. They made their way down to the boat launch, passing briefly under an overhead streetlight, before fading to a silhouette at the end of the dock. I wasn’t certain but thought it might be my friend Darcy.
The person, seemingly unbothered by the rain and wind, baited their hook and cast the line out into the void. I settled back into my warm seat and gazed out across the water, spotting the tiny headlight of a train flashing at the base of the hills. My mind wandered around thoughts of a time years ago when I had been caught out on a motorcycle trip during similar conditions.
Looking back at the dock to check on the person who was fishing, all I saw was their orange backpack in a limp pile on the dock.
“Frick,” I grumbled and slapped a faded ballcap on my head.
I pulled the keys out of the ignition and pushed open the door of my truck. The wind ripped it from my fingertips. Hopping out, I fought the wind and slammed the door, then tucked my hands into the front pocket of my hoodie and made my way down the slippery boat launch, eyes squinted against the weather.
At the end of the dock, I leaned over the railing and saw someone sitting in waist-deep water, rubbing their elbow.
“Hey! You all right down there?” I hollered.
They stood up, the water barely up to their knees, and felt around in the murk. Eventually, they came up with a fishing pole. I waited, the deluge soaking through my sweatshirt and jeans, running down the back of my neck and between my shoulder blades.
Rather than trying to climb up the slick wooden pilings, they walked around to the boat ramp and up the pavement. I grabbed their bag and spare pole and jogged back the way I had come. We met up under the streetlight and they took their pole graciously and shrugged into their backpack.
“That you, Darcy?” I asked, wiping water out of my eyes.
At the sound of her name, Darcy raised her eyes and looked at me. “Well, hey, Randy, what’re you doing out in this weather?”
Not wanting to talk about myself, I dodged her question. “I was wondering the same about you. What happened? Are you hurt?”
Darcy heaved a sigh. “My line got caught and I leaned over the railing to try and free it. My shoe slipped and over the side I went. Stupid move. I know better.”
“Dang. The water is so shallow with the tide out right now. You’re lucky you didn’t break your neck.”
She nodded, rubbing at her elbow again.
A train horn echoed. Across the water another headlight cut through the sooty darkness along the tracks. A huge gust of wind nearly blew us both over, sharp rain pelting my cheeks.
“You need a ride?”
She stopped, considering. The back of her jacket hood shifted with a nod. “Yes.”
“Come on, then.”
I strode to my truck and unlocked the passenger side with a good old-fashioned key. I didn’t have one of those cars with automatic locks or a key fob. The door flung open when the wind caught it, and she maneuvered her rods into the cab while I got in on the driver’s side.
Slamming my door, I was grateful to be out of the wind and weather. I fired up the engine and cranked the heater. I cupped my hands in front of one of the dashboard vents for a minute, then took my hat off, turning in my seat.
“Long time, no see, Darce.”
“I suppose it has been a while. Thanks for the ride. Sorry I’m crapping up your seats with low tide sludge.”
She did smell awful. The silt and muck on the bottom of the strait was full of slimy nastiness, and some was still stuck to her rain pants and shoes.
“No problem. You know I’ve had to clean worse off my interior before.”
We both chuckled, remembering other adventures that had stunk up my truck.
Meet the Author
Liz is a recovering workaholic who has mastered multi-tasking, including balancing a day job, solo parenting, writing, and finding some semblance of a social life. In past lives she has been a soldier, a bartender, a shoe salesperson, an assistant museum curator, and even a driving instructor.
Liz lives in the East Bay Area of California, and enjoys exploring nature with her son.
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