Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Wednesday Briefs: The Sheriff #38 (10.1)

Good morning and Happy Hump Day! If it's Wednesday, then it must be time for more flash fiction from the Wednesday Briefers! We're a group of authors who bring you our finest flash fiction every week, 500 to 1000 words, inspired by one of our prompts.

After leaving the diner, Roy takes Dustin by his house, where they find the mayor waiting. Is something wrong? Are they in trouble? Find out in this week's chapter of The Sheriff. Don't forget to visit the other Briefers and see what they've been up to. Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!

The Sheriff #38 (10.1)

Dustin’s first irrational thought was that the mayor’s being there was something to do with him, but he dismissed that idea quickly. It was obvious he had business to discuss with Roy. He hoped it wasn’t anything bad.

“Want me to wait here while you talk to him?” Dustin offered.

“No need for that,” Roy assured him. “Nothing you can’t hear. Let’s see what’s going on.”

They both got out of the truck. The mayor was already heading in their direction. Judging by the big grin on his face, Dustin didn’t think he had any bad news. That was a relief.

The mayor was about five foot six or seven, and his gray eyes sparkled with good humor. Dustin couldn’t help but wonder if his thick black hair was naturally wavy or if he had to use something to get that effect. He had a touch of gray at the temples, but it didn’t really make him look old or anything. He wasn’t near as good looking as Roy, though.

“Hey, Roy, I was just thinking about leaving you a note.” He nodded at Dustin, who nodded back.

“No need now, since we’re here. Let’s go inside.” They followed him inside the house. Dustin noticed Roy didn’t need to unlock his door. He couldn’t imagine doing that at the apartment. Burnham must be a much safer place than Tucker Falls.

“Want a beer or something?” Roy offered.

“Another time,” the mayor said. “Thanks, anyway.”

Roy turned to Dustin. “Want one?”

Dustin shook his head. “I’m good, thanks.”

“Before I forget my manners again,” Roy said with a knowing grin, “Dustin, this is our mayor, His Honor Melvyn T. Callendar.  Melvyn, this is Dustin Johnson.”

The mayor held out his hand and Dustin shook it. “Glad to meet you, Dustin. Any friend of Roy’s is more than welcome in Burnham.”

“Thanks, Mr. Mayor. Nice to meet you too.”

“Shoot, just call me Melvyn. Everyone does.”

“Okay, cool.” How neat it must be to live in a place that was so friendly, Dustin thought. Roy’s a lucky man.

“So, what’s up, Melvyn?”  Roy asked. He waved toward a chair, but the mayor shook his head and remained standing. “Nothing wrong, I hope?”

“Well, I’m afraid Pete Jackson passed on.”

“Damn, sorry to hear that.”

Unsure what to say, Dustin didn’t say anything.

“Pete was our oldest resident,” Roy said softly in explanation to Dustin. “Just turned one hundred a couple months ago.”

“Sorry to hear that,” Dustin said.

“He had a good long life,” the mayor said. “Outlived his wife and both of his children. Didn’t have no other relatives.”

“He was a good guy,” Roy said. “We’ll all miss him.”

“Amen to that.” A moment of silence followed.

“There wasn’t anything suspicious about the way he died, was there?” Roy asked.

“Oh no, not at all. The visiting nurse said she went in to check on him, and he must have passed in his sleep. Very peaceful.”

“Well, that’s good. I thought maybe that’s why you were here. Must be something else, though.”

“A related matter, yeah. I got a call from Pete’s lawyer.”

Roy’s eyebrows arched in surprise. “Already?”

“Apparently, Pete had this all worked out a long time ago,” the mayor explained. “You know where his house is, don’t you?”

“Yeah, sure. Nice little place over on Grover Road. Don’t tell me someone’s already broken in and vandalized it?”

The mayor laughed. He winked at Dustin. “Roy always thinks like a sheriff, doesn’t he? No, no, nothing bad at all, I promise. Roy, how’d you like to have an actual sheriff’s office?”

Dustin glanced up at the handsome sheriff. Roy seemed not only stunned, but speechless.

to be continued

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Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Wednesday Briefs: The Sheriff #37 (9.6)

Good morning and Happy Hump Day! If it's Wednesday, then it must be time for more flash fiction from the Wednesday Briefers! We're a group of authors who bring you our finest flash fiction every week, 500 to 1000 words, inspired by one of our prompts.

As you'll recall, we left Roy and Dustin having lunch with Lee and Marshall. A lot has changed for these four, but more changes may be in store, if these stubborn men ever decide to open their eyes. See what's going on in this week's chapter of The Sheriff. Don't forget to visit the other Briefers and see what they're up to. Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!

The Sheriff #37 (9.6)

After having finished their cake and pronounced it delicious, the four men headed toward the door. Lee extended an invitation to dinner the following night. For both of them.

“You should take him up on that,” Marshall said with a grin. “He’s gonna barbecue.”

Roy patted his stomach. “I never turn down good food, especially not Lee’s que. Guess we’ll see you then.” He held the check for their table in one hand. Lee had tried to claim it when the waitress brought it, but Roy had been too quick for him.

“See you then,” Lee agreed, and he and Marshall took off, leaving Roy and Dustin at the cash register.  Milly rang them up, took Roy’s cash, then returned the change.

“Y’all come back now, y’hear?” she drawled.

“Of course,” Roy said. “Best food in town, ma’am.”

“Don’t ma’am me, Roy Landry.” Milly laughed. “You’re just trying to butter me up so I’ll keep giving you those extra large  portions you’re so fond of.”

“Doesn’t make me stupid, does it?”

“Your food is very good,” Dustin spoke up. “Everything was great.”

“Glad to hear it.” Milly smiled. “You’re always welcome here, any time. My name’s Milly, by the way, since the sheriff here seems to have forgotten his manners.” The wink she gave Roy belied any potential sting in her words.

“I can’t help it if your food makes me sleepy and stupid,” Roy said, unfazed. “Besides, we were just here for breakfast. I forgot to introduce you, that’s all.”

“Nice to meet you, Milly. I’m Dustin.” He held out his hand and Milly took it.

“Likewise,” she said. “Now shoo, I’m sure there’s a crime wave somewhere with your name on it, Sheriff Landry.”

Roy snorted. “I’m sure there isn’t, but we do have to be going. Talk to you later, Mil.”

Leaving the diner, they got back into Roy’s truck. “That woman sure can cook,” he commented. “Good thing, since I’m not so great at that, myself.”

“Neither am I,” Dustin confessed. “I’ve always wanted to learn, but no one ever wanted to take the time to teach me.”

Roy shot him a surprised look. He wouldn’t have figured Dustin to be interested in something like that. Sounded like he’d had a difficult life, all the way around. It was time someone gave him a break. He patted Dustin’s leg, as if trying to impart some kind of comfort through his hand, then took it back and pulled out of the parking lot.

“Maybe between us we can figure out something for dinner. If you want to try, that is.”

“Really?” Dustin’s voice held a note of hope Roy hadn’t heard before. He turned his head to glance at him, and couldn’t help but notice the way his blue eyes lit up, turning his normally sullen look into something almost breathtaking. Roy quickly looked away.

“Really,” he replied. His voice had thickened for no apparent reason, so he coughed to cover it. Once he felt himself on steadier ground, he added, “Let’s run by the house and see what’s in the fridge, then pick up some groceries.”

“Thanks, Roy.”

Just when had Dustin scooted across the seat, close enough that their legs touched? Roy wasn’t sure if the warmth he was feeling was the heat of their bodies being so close, or… He didn’t finish the thought.

“I don’t have any cookbooks or anything,” he warned Dustin.

“No problem. We can look stuff up on my phone. You can find anything on the Internet if you look for it.”

“That’s true too,” Roy conceded.  The next moment thoughts of dinner were forgotten as he pulled up to his house. A familiar vehicle was sitting at the curb. A man leaned against it, looking at his phone. He looked up at their approach.

“Wonder what the mayor’s doing here?” Roy muttered, half to himself, as he threw the truck into park.

to be continued

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Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Wednesday Briefs: The Sheriff #36 (9.5)

Good morning and Happy Hump Day! If it's Wednesday, then it must be time for more flash fiction from the Wednesday Briefers! We're a group of authors who bring you our finest flash fiction every week, 500 to 1000 words, inspired by one of our prompts.

Roy has decided to remove Dustin from harm's way, keep him safe in Burnham until it's time to put the plan to catch Jordan into effect. They run into Lee and Marshall at the diner and have lunch with them. Will things get awkward again? Find out in this week's chapter of The Sheriff. Don't forget to visit the other Briefers and see what they've been up to. Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!

The Sheriff #36 (9.5)

The four men took a booth together back in the corner. Dustin found himself sitting next to Roy on one side, Marshall and Lee across from them. Nobody stared at him, but he knew they had to have questions. Luckily, Roy took the lead. Once they’d placed their orders with the waitress, he explained what was going on, beginning with the burglaries in Tucker Falls, and ending with Jordan’s probable involvement.

“This guy is real bad news,” Roy said. “A real asshole. He needs to be put away for a long long time.”

“Wow,” Marshall said. “That is unreal. Are you okay, Dustin?”

Dustin glanced at Marshall, and what he saw in the other man’s eyes was nothing but compassion. “I’ll be fine,” he said.  “Thanks for asking.”

“No problem, man.”

When Marshall smiled at him, Dustin noted with some surprise that it didn’t affect him the way it had before. That was a relief. He could be friends with Marshall now, and not let the other stuff get between them again. If Marshall was willing, of course. That remained to be seen. And there was Lee to consider too. He didn’t blame the older man for being distrustful of him, he deserved it.

“That’s why I’m keeping Dustin out of Tucker Falls until tomorrow night. Things’ll be better once we get that little jackass behind bars. Him and his stooges.”

“You think maybe they can get him for more than just the computer store?” Dustin wondered. He was afraid Jordan might not get much time for just one robbery, but if they could prove there was more than that…

“Didn’t you say his friends aren’t all that bright?” Roy asked.

Dustin snorted. “That’s a definite understatement.”

“Then it should be easy to get one or both of them to roll on him,” Roy said. He turned to Dustin and gave him a quick wink.

Dustin felt himself go hot and cold at the same time. For one insane moment, he had the crazy impulse to grab Roy and press their lips together. He had to get that man out of his head or this wasn’t going to work.

Luckily, the waitress arrived with their food, and the clatter of dishes and utensils shook him out of his strange mood as everyone settled down to the business of eating.

They conversed as they ate, nothing in particular. Dustin was content to let them talk while he listened. They seemed to comfortable with each other. He wondered how long they’d been friends, and how they’d met. Probably an interesting story there. He’d have to ask Roy about it sometime.

Everything was very tasty. Dustin’s burger was just the way he liked it, with onions and cheese and hot sauce, and mustard for his fries. Denver used to tell him he was weird for doing that, but Dustin said he’d heard of worse. In some place they liked to dip their fries in mayonnaise. Both agreed that was even stranger than mustard.

The waitress came back to take their dirty dishes and get them out of their way. “How’d you boys like some dessert?” she said with a grin. “Milly made some of her chocolate lava cake, and I’m telling you it’s to die for.”

“Lava cake?” Dustin had thought he was full, but his mouth watered at the sound of that.

“Oh man, her cake is to die for,” Marshall all but moaned. He and Lee exchanged glances, and Lee laughed.

“Go ahead, you know you want to.”

“Like you don’t?” Marshall snickered.

Dustin looked up to find Roy’s eyes on him. “What do you say, shall we make it unanimous?”

“Well, it does sound good,” Dustin admitted.

“That’s right, sugar, you know what’s good, don’t you? All righty, boys, be right back with four big hunks of that cake.” She turned and sashayed away.

Dustin couldn’t help but wish this was his real life, and not something temporary, until they got Jordan put away. He could get off on coming to Milly’s Diner to eat, spending time with Marshall and Lee. And most of all, hanging out with Roy, playing deputy to his sheriff.

He stifled a sigh. Might as well enjoy it while he could.

to be continued

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Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Wednesday Briefs: The Sheriff #35 (9.4)

Good morning and Happy Hump Day! If it's Wednesday, then it must be time for more flash fiction from the Wednesday Briefers! We're a group of authors who bring you our finest flash fiction every week, 500 to 1000 words, inspired by one of our prompts.

In an effort to keep Dustin away from Jordan, Roy has invited him to stay with him. He's just being a good lawman, right? Find out more in this week's chapter of The Sheriff. Don't forget to visit the other Briefers and see what they're up to! Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!

The Sheriff #35 (9.4)

What impulse had made him say a few days? This would all be over after tomorrow night, surely. Roy waited in his truck, drumming his fingers against the steering wheel while he waited for Dustin to grab a few things. Better to be safe than sorry. Sometimes shit happened, and you had to be ready for it.


Dustin emerged from the apartment building a few minutes later, clutching a black duffel bag. He slung it behind the seat and climbed in. 

“I really appreciate this, Roy,” he said. “You going to all this trouble.”

“That’s what friends are for,” Roy said.  His admission took him by surprise, but he didn’t take them words back. He considered Dustin to be a friend, and he would protect him no matter what. He was startled to feel Dustin’s hand come to rest on top of his. He froze, trying not to focus on the unexpected warmth of the younger man’s skin.  A second later, Dustin withdrew his hand, Roy threw the truck into gear and drove off.

So why was he so disappointed to lose that brief connection?

The drive back to Burnham was a quiet one. Roy turned on the radio, to cover any awkwardness, filling the silence with country music. By the time they reached the small town, he’d managed to convince himself he was making a mountain out of a mole hill.

“I’m going to do a quick drive around, see what’s up,” he told Dustin. “Then, if everything’s quiet, which I’m sure it is, we can go over to the diner and get some lunch. How does that sound?”

“You mean you’re going to let me go on patrol with you?” Dustin’s voice was filled with excitement and a little disbelief. 

“Well, since you’re already here, it seems the most logical plan.”  Roy chuckled, unable to keep a straight face. He turned toward Dustin and winked, to let him know he was just kidding. Dustin gave him a wide smile in return.

All was peaceful in Burnham, much as Roy had figured it would be. That’s the way he liked it. He had no regrets that he’d followed Lee here, once they’d found Marshall. He’d do it again in a heartbeat.

Speak of the devil. As he was pulling into the diner’s parking lot, he saw Lee’s pickup already there. Both men were just getting out. He glanced quickly at Dustin. Apparently he’d seen them too.
“Would you rather not…” Roy said, trying to be delicate.

“No, that’s cool,” Dustin said. “I mean, if they want to. That’s up to them.”

Roy nodded. “And what do we tell them if we ask why we’re here together?”

Dustin’s answer surprised him. “The truth. I don’t mind them knowing. I know you trust them, and I trust you.”

Roy felt a warmth steal through him at Dustin’s apparent confidence in him. He cleared his throat, trying to rid himself of the unexpected lump that had just lodged there. Dustin’s response was even more surprising since he hadn’t wanted his own cousin to know.

He pulled up beside Lee’s truck. Lee and Marshall had obviously seen them and were waiting for them. Roy and Dustin got out of the truck and quickly covered the distance between them.

“Hey Roy,” Lee said. “Dustin. Didn’t expect to see you two here.”

“Just thought we’d get a bite to eat,” Roy said.

“That’s why we’re here too. Why don’t you guys join us?”

“Sounds good to me. Okay with you, Dustin?”

Dustin nodded. “Sounds real good. I like the food here a lot. And pleasant company is always welcome.”

Lee arched a brow. Roy knew he had some explaining to do. 

“Good to see you, Dustin,” Marshall said.

“You too,” Dustin responded.

The four men headed toward the door. Lee fell into step beside Roy, while Dustin and Marshall brought up the rear. 

“Everything okay?” Lee had dropped his voice, glancing past Roy at the two young men.

“Yes and no,” Roy said. “I’ll give you the scoop over lunch.”

“Sounds like a plan,” Lee said.

to be continued

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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Wednesday Briefs: The Sheriff #34 (9.3)

Good morning and Happy Hump Day! If it's Wednesday, then it must be time for more flash fiction from the Wednesday Briefers! We're a group of authors who bring you our finest flash fiction every week, 500 to 1000 words, inspired by one of our prompts.

Dustin manages to piss off Jordan and he storms out of the computer store. Unfortunately not out of Dustin's life. Roy steps in and gives Dustin a lift. So what now? Find out in this week's chapter of The Sheriff. Don't forget to visit the other Briefers and see what's up with them. Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!

The Sheriff #34 (9.3)

“So what did he say? When does he intend to do this thing?” Roy asked as they drove away from the computer store. “Or has he changed his mind?”

“I wish.” Dustin slumped in the seat. He kept a careful watch on what traffic there was around them. He didn’t want to have Jordan see them together, although he didn’t think that was really likely.  “He said it’s gonna happen tomorrow tonight. After midnight, when I get off. He said he’d be there then.”

“Is he bringing anyone else?”

“I dunno, he didn’t say. It wouldn’t surprise me, though. I think it makes him feel like a big man, having those two idiots who’d do anything he tells them to. Like they were his gang of something.” And didn’t that hit a little too close to home?

Roy fell silent for a moment. “Did he say anything about seeing you in the meantime? Before tomorrow night, I mean?”

Dustin was surprised by the question. He glanced up at Roy, but the lawman’s expression was impossible to read. Handsome but stoic. “Naw, he’s too pissed at me right now, I think. I’m just afraid he’ll change his mind and come looking for me, for a little…” He left the thought unfinished. He didn’t want to admit to Roy what Jordan might be looking for. He didn’t even want to think about having sex with Jordan —not now, not ever.

“Well, then, maybe you should be somewhere he can’t find you,” Roy suggested.

“Easier said than done,” Dustin blurted out without thinking. Not like he had friends he could turn to, not the way his cousin had. He knew if Denver asked, he could count on any one of them—Rye, Slim, Marshall, Lee, even Roy…

Dustin was jerked from his self-pity party when Roy suddenly pulled his truck into a nearby parking lot, turned around, then pulled back on the road, headed in the direction they’d just come from. It didn’t take long for Dustin to figure out where they were going. Damn. Roy was sick of him, he was gonna dump him at home. He didn’t think he could feel any lower than he did at that moment.

He wasn’t about to argue with him, though. And he wasn’t going to try to push his company on him. Those days were over, the times when he tried to force Marshall to be with him. No, he’d learned his lesson on that one. He sat in silence until they reached the apartment building. He was going to ask if Roy was still planning on being there the next night, in case he’d completely changed his mind, and maybe he was on his own, when Roy spoke first.

“Go grab some clothes, enough for a few days, just to be safe.”

What? Why?

“He won’t think to look for you in Burnham,” Roy explained. He threw the truck into park and turned toward Dustin, leaning on the steering wheel as he looked at him. “Hell, I’m willing to bet he doesn’t even know where Burnham is. You can just lie low there until tomorrow.”

Dustin was dumfounded. Why was Roy being so nice to him? Oh yeah, the case he was working on. He’d said he thought Jordan was involved in the other robberies. That would probably look good for him and Sheriff Sinclair both. He needed to not read anything into it.

“You sure?” He was offering Roy the chance to back out. He would understand if he did, no hard feelings. He just had to be sure this was what Roy wanted, for his own sake.

“I said it, I mean it,” Roy affirmed. “By the way, you’re still getting the couch.”

Dustin couldn’t help but smile at that. Despite the somewhat gruff exterior, he knew there was a good heart underneath. One he was learning to appreciate more and more. What a damn shame he was straight. Oh well, couldn’t be helped. He’d just have to take what he could get for now. And right now what he wanted was to stick with Roy as much as possible, even if he knew it would end badly.
Fuck it all, why was life so damn complicated?

to be continued

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Friday, October 13, 2017

Guest Blogger: Cheryl Headford

Please welcome my dear friend and fellow author, Cheryl Headford, who is here to tell us about her new release, Shade's Champion!


Author Name: Cheryl Headford

Book Length 214 Pages

Book Name: Shade’s Champion

Release Date: 15th September 2017



        

Sixteen-year-old Shade has spent years imprisoned in a dark cellar after being snatched off the street as a young child. Events since his release have left him traumatised and desperate to die.

Dory is a lively and engaging seventeen-year-old with mental health issues that make him a slave to his dangerously uncontrollable emotions.

When Shade comes to the secure children's home, Eastbrook, because no one else wants him, the manager appoints Dory as his champion, an appointment Dory takes very seriously indeed.

As friendship turns into something else, something new and exciting, they struggle to find their feet, but every step leads to more complication.

When a spiteful act separates them, it seems their love is doomed before it ever had a chance, but when Dory falls ill, it's up to Shade to pick up the standard and become his champion, although it might already be too late.






Meet The Author 

 

 



Cheryl was born into a poor mining family in the South Wales Valleys. Until she was 16, the toilet was at the bottom of the garden and the bath hung on the wall. Her refrigerator was a stone slab in the pantry and there was a black lead fireplace in the kitchen. They look lovely in a museum but aren’t so much fun to clean.

Cheryl has always been a storyteller. As a child, she’d make up stories for her nieces, nephews and cousin and they’d explore the imaginary worlds she created, in play.

Later in life, Cheryl became the storyteller for a re enactment group who travelled widely, giving a taste of life in the Iron Age. As well as having an opportunity to run around hitting people with a sword, she had an opportunity to tell stories of all kinds, sometimes of her own making, to all kinds of people. The criticism was sometimes harsh, especially from the children, but the reward enormous.

It was here she began to appreciate the power of stories and the primal need to hear them. In ancient times, the wandering bard was the only source of news, and the storyteller the heart of the village, keeping the lore and the magic alive. Although much of the magic has been lost, the stories still provide a link to the part of us that still wants to believe that it’s still there, somewhere.

In present times, Cheryl lives in a terraced house in the valleys with her son and menagerie of three cats, a dog and a dragon. Her daughter has deserted her for the big city, but they’re still close.

Immersed, as always, in the world of fantasy, she maintains a burning desire to share the stories and these days it’s in the form of books which all contain her spark and unique view on life, the universe and everything.


Excerpt
While Richard was talking to Stacey, Emily had sidled up to Shade. She patted his arm, and he looked down at her, a puzzled expression on his face. As Richard glanced up, Shade smiled. It was a different kind of smile than he’d given to Richard. It was sweet and innocent. It took Richard completely by surprise and threw him off balance.

“You’re pretty. Will you kiss me?” Emily said.

Before Richard could open his mouth, Shade shook his head. “You’re a baby. Don’t ask.” Shade’s voice was something of a shock. Firstly, because for some reason Richard hadn’t imagined for a moment he’d speak, and secondly, because it was just like the rest of him—soft, sweet, and blurred.

“I am not a baby. How dare you! Did you hear what he called me, Stace? A baby!”

“You wanna watch what you say, pretty boy,” Stacey said, oozing attitude. “You’re not going to make many friends around here if you go around saying things like that.”

“Stacey, I said that’s enough. Scoot.”

“But—”

“Scoot. Remember, Shade’s new here. He doesn’t know anyone, and he doesn’t know the rules. I’m trusting you, all of you, to make him feel welcome.”

“Oh, I’m sure the boys will make him feel very...welcome.”

With a glare at Shade, the two girls turned and raced away. Shade seemed utterly confused.

“Don’t worry about them. They can be a nightmare, but they’re basically good kids. Just be careful. They’re... They can be a bit too friendly at times.”

Shade frowned, looking even more confused, if that were possible.



 
 


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