Author: Caitlin Ricci, A.J. Marcus
Release Date: April 3, 2017
Format: ePub, Mobi, PDF
Cover Artist: Natasha Snow
Word Count: 14100*
Sex Content: Explicit
Orientation: Bisexual, Gay
An Unexpected Shot
Caitlin Ricci and A.J. Marcus © 2017
All Rights Reserved
I adjusted the sign on my glass office door one more time before stepping through and into the small space. Darius Ware, Private Investigator. That was me. At fifty-two, and a recently retired cop, I had been too bored sitting at home watching the Food Network not to go back to work. Don’t get me wrong, I loved to cook, when I had the time, but I also loved to work. And retirement had hurt in a way I hadn’t expected.
I’d never been good with downtime. Even the thought of it made my skin crawl with the need to do something. On the force, I’d been the one taking point and tackling suspects. I’d probably drawn more fire than anyone else in the department. I’d also taken down more people than anyone else. A desk job wasn’t for me, and so sitting at home on my couch had been akin to torture. I wanted to be busy and active. There was no one that I was close to, no one that I could pass the days away with. I had thought about traveling some after I’d retired, but with no one willing to go with me, I hadn’t wanted to travel alone. I wanted to see places and experience things, but not by myself.
In an effort to save my sanity, I’d gone out and found a small office space in an upscale complex off the financial district. A lawyer occupied the office to one side of me and an accountant to the other. They were quiet men about my age. I’d thought maybe drinks with the guys would be in order at some point, but they’d both snubbed me. I was pretty sure it had to do with the fact I was a PI, and therefore in their eyes, likely below them. It didn’t bother me too much; neither one of them was really the sort of guy I was into, and I had better things to do than just hang out with them.
The thing I loved was being back on the job…in a fashion. It may have been a far cry from my old life as a cop but it was enjoyable. I made my own hours. My desk wasn’t covered in manila envelopes from cases I was looking into, and my coffee machine actually worked. I’d even splurged on one of those ones that made single cups of coffee in a ton of different flavors with the little packs. Until I had clients, I figured I’d enjoy the bit of indulgence. I was ready for anything and looking forward to it, too.
Two months into being a PI, my view of the job had changed dramatically. I’d anticipated looking for missing children. Instead I was investigating cheating spouses, and the news was never good. The money was decent, but I hated charging those crying, raging people money after they’d just found out the person they loved was screwing their neighbor, best friend, or ex. Most often, it was the best friend. I’d grown really distrustful of people after seeing what they were willing to do to the people they were supposed to care about. I’d seen some of that as a cop, but now that I was dealing with it up close and personal, it was harder to ignore.
So when a boy, who couldn’t have been older than twelve, came right into my office and sat himself down in the chair across from my desk, I was intrigued.
“You lost?” I asked. That was the only explanation of why a kid would be in my office.
He shook his head, and his bright-red hair went flying. “Parker Emmanuel Williamson.” He held out his hand for me to shake it, which I did. “I need you to find my parents for me.”
He had my interest, but I also didn’t work for kids. I wanted that one glamorous case where I found a missing kid and got back into the hero spotlight I missed so much since I retired, but actually getting hired by someone Parker’s age wasn’t something I was interested in.
“Y our family know you’re out of school?” It was noon on a Thursday the week before Halloween. This kid should have been in school.
He shrugged. “I left. Can you find my parents or not? You’re a private investigator, aren’t you?”
I probably could find them, or at least try to, if I was willing to work for this kid. Which I wasn’t. All kids being a no-go aside, this one seemed worse than most. He had a cocky attitude that turned me off. “How old are you anyway?” I asked. He didn’t look much over eight.
That surprised me. “You’re small for your age.”
He rolled his eyes. Maybe he was used to hearing that.
“Take out your phone,” I told him. “And unlock it too.”
The kid actually did as he was told and placed it into my outstretched hand. “Are you going to look for clues on it?”
“No. I’m going to call someone to come pick you up.”