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Kaleidoscope

By:Kristen Ashley

shoulders again and pulled his woman around Deck.

She wrapped an arm around McFarland’s waist but still twisted to wave at Deck and give him another smile with dimple as she walked away.

Deck stood on the relatively busy sidewalk and watched McFarland load Emme up in a big, red, flash, totally pimped out, my-dick-is-small GMC Sierra.

Another reason to go to dinner with Emme. That was, find out what the fuck she was doing with that asshole.

He turned away, burying how seeing Emme again made him feel as he moved down the wooden planks toward the police station. All that shit went down a long time ago. It was over. He was over it. Finally. After nine years.

And the bottom line truth of it was, in the end he’d eventually learned that the biggest thing he lost in all that was Emme.

So, thinking on it, it didn’t suck that maybe he could get her back.

He pushed into the police station, shoved his sunglasses back on his head and moved to the reception desk seeing the receptionist eyeing him.

The instant he stopped in front of her, before he could introduce himself, she stated, “You’re Jacob Decker.”

He wasn’t surprised. There were men that were hard to describe. Deck, a few words, people would know him from two blocks away.

“I am,” he confirmed.

“Mick and the others are waiting on you,” she informed him, eyes going up, down, up and stopping every once in a while to get a better look at something, his hips, his shoulders, his hair.

This also didn’t surprise him. Women did this often. At six foot four, there was a lot of him to take in. It wasn’t lost on him that most of it, women liked looking at. And, if he liked who was looking, he didn’t hesitate to use this to his advantage.

“Just go on around the counter, back down the hall, second door to the left. You want coffee, keep goin’, get yourself some and backtrack,” she finished.

He nodded, muttered, “Thanks,” and moved.

He didn’t bother with coffee. He had the means to have the finer things in life and therefore accepted nothing less. And from experience he knew police station coffee was far from the best. Deck ground his coffee fresh first thing in the morning. He bought it on the Internet. It cost a fucking whack. And it was worth it.

He went to the second door to the left. It was closed. He gave a sharp rap on it with his knuckles and entered when he heard the call,

The gang was all there, as Chace had told him it would be.

Mick Shaughnessy, captain of the Gnaw Bone Police Department, standing by his desk.

Jeff Jessup, one of Gnaw Bones’ detectives, standing by the window.

Henry Gibbons, captain of the Carnal Police Department, leaning on a table across the messy office.

Carole Weatherspoon, captain of the Chantelle Police Department, standing close to Gibbons, arms crossed on her chest.

Kenton Douglas, County Sheriff, standing shoulders against the wall.

And last, Chace Keaton, Deck’s best friend since school and a Carnal detective.

It was Chace Deck was watching as he closed the door behind him, and he was watching Chace because he knew the man well and he didn’t like the look on his face.

But it was Shaughnessy who spoke first, taking Deck’s attention.

“May be rude but I’ll start by welcoming you to this meetin’ but statin’ plain, I don’t like it.”

“Mick,” Chace murmured.

Deck ignored his friend and informed Mick honestly, “I’m a big fan of statin’ shit plain.”

“Good, then I’ll state it plainer,” Mick went on. “We talk this through with you, you take this contract, Kent deputizes you, you are not a maverick. Chace suggested your services and I looked into you, found nothin’. No man’s got nothin’ but a fully paid truck, a fully paid house, a credit card with no balance, taxes fair and square and a load of cash in the bank. Makes me nervous.”

“I see that,” Deck allowed, not annoyed by the check—he’d expect nothing less—but he said no more.

“So, before we talk this through with you, you know that if you take this on, you do this by the book. You’re deputized, you report, you take orders and I’ll repeat, you don’t go maverick,” Mick continued, and Deck drew in breath.

Then he stated it plain.

“My understanding of this meet is, if I wanna take this on, and seein’ if I do, my usual charges will need to be significantly discounted considering you can’t afford to pay them as I charge them, it’ll need to be somethin’ I really wanna do. And you got a reputation I admire, Shaughnessy, so I hope you take no offense but I don’t take orders. I work a case how I feel it needs to be worked. I report what I feel is necessary. And last, I only do maverick.”

Mick looked to the room and announced, “This isn’t startin’ good.”

“Why don’t we lay it out, see what Deck thinks and get the other shit sorted if it’s somethin’ he wants to do?” Chace suggested, moving to a wide whiteboard set at an angle in the corner.

No one said anything. Deck settled in but Chace’s eyes came to him.

“You’re gonna see somethin’ you might not like on this board that probably will make Mick’s warnings moot seein’ as I figure you are not gonna want this case. I would have told you about it sooner, but if I did, you might not have come in, and, respect Mick,” Chace glanced at Shaughnessy before he looked back to Deck, “with what happened a few days ago, we need you.”

With that, he flipped the whiteboard and Deck’s eyes scanned it.

Half a second later, his body froze solid.

This was because there was a picture of the man he just met on the street, top center of the whiteboard, his name in red marker written under the picture, “Boss” under his name. Coming off his picture were a variety of red, black and blue lines that led to smaller pictures with names and other information. And last, the reason he knew Chace knew Deck would not like what he saw was the blue line that led from McFarland’s picture down to the bottom right corner where there were two pictures.

One, a c

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