Ghost Seer Coming April 1! Cover and Excerpt!
The minute he walked through that door, Zach Slade's career, the one he loved, was over.
Who was he kidding? His time as a cop -- a deputy sheriff here in Cottonwood County, Montana -- was already over. Due to a mistake on his part and a crippled foot and ankle. His leg hurt less than the emotional ripping inside him. He thought he could feel the weight of his badge in his jean's pocket, but he couldn't. Only the weight of this last duty.
His gaze slid around the wide marble-floored corridor of the old County Hall that housed the Sheriff's Department. No one around to see his hesitation, how his hand trembled as he put it on the door handle. All the frosted glass and wooden doors were closed.
He shifted his shoulders to release the tension. He was not going to take a desk job, no matter what his boss thought. With a tighter grip on the handle of his cane in his left hand...the same side as his injured leg because he wanted to keep his right hand free for his weapon, he pushed down the cool metal lever and moved from impressive marble to institutional carpet.
"Hey, Zach," the young, brunette, and four month's pregnant dispatcher said.
"Off the crutches!" she enthused.
"Just today. The boss in?"
She grimaced. "He's been waiting for you. You really leaving?"
Zach'd already packed up the stuff he couldn't live without -- precious little -- and donated the rest to a thrift store. He'd sold his 'Vette as soon as the news came he wouldn't be able to drive her since his ankle and foot wouldn't work the clutch. When he'd been bound to a wheelchair. Another pang twisted his insides and he kept it from showing on his face.
Margo looked at him with pity, as if him lapsing into silence was okay instead of answering her question. And Margo would gossip about everything except official police business, and soon he wouldn't be a cop, so he said, "Maybe."
Her forehead wrinkled. "I hope you stay. I like you, Zach."
He raised his brows. "Kind of you to say, plenty don't."
"They're just plain jealous and resentful 'cuz you did so well with the Billings city cops in Yellowstone County. You're one of us, no matter what else anyone says," she huffed.
Zach would have liked to believe her, but didn't. He pulled folded papers from his pocket and put them on her disk. "My recertification to carry a weapon."
"I'll process that for you right away."
Her intercom buzzed, and Sheriff Walder said, "Send Zach in, Margo."
"Of course!" She beamed at Zach and he moved, slower than he'd wanted but balancing with a cane was different than crutches, to the thick oak door of the Sheriff's office and entered.
His boss stood and came around the big, scarred desk and offered his hand, scrutinizing Zach from under heavy, thrusting gray brows. "I was hoping I wouldn't be seeing you yet, that you'd give matters more thought."
Zach had already spent too many stretching-infinite months thinking. He shook his boss's hand.
"How's the ankle and foot?"
"As good as they'll ever be," Zach said, suppressing bitterness, lowering himself to the client chair as smoothly as possible. The bullet had struck his tibia just below the knee, shattering the bone and severing the peroneal nerve. Now he had foot drop and couldn't control the flexing of his left ankle. Couldn't control his own foot! His jaw clenched.
Sheriff Walder went back and sat in a chair that creaked under his big body as soft classical music played in the background. Walder liked that stuff. Atop his polished desk he had a line of manila files -- four. "You do good work, Zach, and I want you to stay."
"Sorry, can't do that."
Walder tapped his forefinger on his desk, his thinking mode. The next gaze he leveled at Zach was intense. "I would have made the same mistake as Lauren and you, Zach."
Anger speared, sharp and brutal, setting off a trail of other little explosions of feelings inside, messing with his head, screwing up his breathing. But he met the Sheriff's eyes.