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Lynn Lorenz- No Good Deed

Lynn Lorenz- No Good Deed


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Published by: Uchechukwu Obiakor on Mar 14, 2013
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  • CHAPTER 10
  • CHAPTER 11
  • CHAPTER 12
  • CHAPTER 13
  • CHAPTER 14


…I approached the patrol car just past the wrecked vehicle and spotted a man in the backseat. I trotted up to the car and froze, my hand resting on the butt of the semi-automatic on my hip, and looked at him through the window of the cruiser. His hands had been cuffed behind his back and he leaned forward, resting his head on the back of the driver’s seat. Light brown hair, almost wild and unkempt, haloed his head and his lips moved as if he were mumbling. He didn’t have a shirt on. This couldn’t be the same man. I looked around the scene again, but all I spotted were uniforms and medics. He turned his head to look at me. His eyes were blue pools of hurt. Sadness, dismay, and fear swam in them, too, but mostly hurt. He was the most beautiful man I think I’d ever seen. Beautiful, fragile, but sensual. In that instant, I knew he was gay. I stood there staring at him and then tried to make sense of the scene. This had to be the man on the phone because there was no one else present. He’d called for help and now he sat in the back of a cruiser, like he’d been arrested. What the hell was going on? Our gazes locked through the window. His eyebrows furrowed, his head tilted, and I could hear him thinking, Huh, a Chinese cop. He licked his full lips and grimaced at the taste of blood running from the corner of his mouth. Then he lowered his head against the back of the seat again and closed his eyes. I swallowed hard, fighting the insane urge to open the door and drag him out of there…

The Avalon Patrol: The Road To Avea David’s Dilemma My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys



This book is a work of fiction. All names, characters, locations, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination, or have been used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, locales, or events is entirely coincidental. Amber Quill Press, LLC http://www.AmberQuill.com All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be transmitted or reproduced in any form, or by any means, without permission in writing from the publisher, with the exception of brief excerpts used for the purposes of review. Copyright © 2009 by Lynn Lorenz ISBN 978-1-60272-625-3 Cover Art © 2009 Trace Edward Zaber

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Gay. I can say that word now.NO GOOD DEED CHAPTER 1 I’ve had to endure a lot of smart-ass comments about being a Chinese cowboy cop. Trust me…I hate that stale joke more than gun control. an Oriental cowboy cop. the shit about my name would be nothing compared to what I’d get if it were common knowledge I was gay. I could have retired early. It’s probably one of the reasons I never became a detective. Time was. I’d said I was straight and believed 1 . or my personal favorite. as if I were a style of furniture or a rug. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve been asked if I was related to Charlie Chan. Of course. that famous Chinese detective of old B movie fame. But that’s nothing compared to the grief I get over my name—Daniel Chan—and that I’m captain of the Riceland. Texas Police Department.

Not too welldressed. males by preference. I’d been very careful about picking out what I wore. * * * I sat in my pick-up truck parked in the parking lot at Clancy’s Bar and Grill and watched the front door as people entered and left. I figured I looked okay. but they didn’t hang out here or at the other two bars in town. or lined with gold. get free and. My faded blue jeans didn’t have any holes and my size twelve brown Tony Lamas boots looked broken in. More like a switchback filled with potholes. not too loud. and I’d claimed to be bisexual. pitfalls. for most of my adult life. not worn out. Of course. Old habit. Females by necessity. Perfect cowboy attire for a Saturday night. men aren’t supposed to worry about their clothes. being what they are. after over twenty years of having my ass scratched by that wire. but in my line of work. and pain. we keep it on the down low and deep in the closet. Looking down at myself. We know who we are. staking out a place before I went in. but for our mutual protection. Not like I hadn’t been in Clancy’s every Saturday night for the last ten years. Yeah. 2 . my road to sexual truth wasn’t smooth. paved. changed. Then times. Not too scruffy. Recently I’ve had to choose which side to stand on and. I suppose. but I wanted to look good. not that there’d be anyone else but me in the bar who was gay. it feels good to get off it. So had my wife. get proud. Riceland might have had some gays and a few lesbians.NO GOOD DEED it. Black T-shirt neatly tucked into my jeans and a long-sleeved khaki shirt over it. I’ve straddled the barbed wire fence of sexuality. so to speak.

you can carry concealed. Leaning over. Some people find it hard to imagine a cop being best friends with a biker. Oh. happens to be my best friend.NO GOOD DEED Time to go in. Behind the bar was a small kitchen where you could get some of the best burgers and nachos around. We started talking on the side of the road and have been best friends ever since. letting my eyes adjust to the dim lighting. partly because it’s cop-free and mostly because the owner and bartender. replaced by the mouth-watering smell of frying onions on the grill. Clancy’s is my favorite bar. I think that’s a Texas state law. I stopped him on a routine speeding ticket when he was new in town and had just bought the bar. buy a Harley.” and Clancy’s Bar and Grill was no exception. they fired up the barbeque pit outside and served a decent steak and baked potato for ten bucks. 3 . move to Riceland and open Clancy’s. Jeff tells me his biker friends can’t believe his best friend is Chinese and a police captain. I opened the door and stepped inside. Jeff Strauss. I locked my gun in the glove box of the Ford F-150 and got out. I trust him not to mention my sexual preferences. We’ve been friends for almost ten years. That was okay because I knew where the owner kept the shotguns. John Fogarty’s gravel voice singing about being stuck in Lodi blared on the ancient jukebox filled with rock and roll. but it had some great country classics tossed in as well. but Jeff was a high school teacher before he decided to quit teaching. At most bars in Texas. but the smell of stale beer was absent. On Friday nights. but they still asked you not to. there’s a sign reminding you to “Check your gun at the door. There was the usual smoke. Of course.

then licked the foam off his blond moustache. in case I got lucky. The tall one wore dark slacks. Scanning the chessboard. and placed the drink in front of my usual spot at the end of the bar. Jeff looked up and grinned. She looked good 4 .NO GOOD DEED Like Toby Keith says. who just shook his shaved head. I thought about my next move and whether I was hungry enough for a burger. “Nachos. a light blue sweater. Jeff came back. Lawd have mercy!” “Who?” I didn’t turn around to look. and I placed my order. but glanced up at the mirror behind the row of liquor bottles. Any new action?” I grinned at my friend. Jeff looked up as I opened the door and waved me over with his dishrag.” I shrugged and pulled on my drink. “To the left. then made their way to a table. no peppers!” Jeff shouted through the opening behind the bar. The door opened. Carlos. Dan?” Jeff asked as he leaned on the bar and sipped a draft beer. I saluted back and took another sip. no onions. poured a lime and tonic. Two women stood in the door and scanned the room. nodded his head to signal he got the order and waved his spatula at me. then flicked it back onto his shoulder. then wandered down to the other end to serve another patron. “Look what just walked in. no onions or jalapenos. I love this bar. The cook. I’d had a late lunch so I decided on just some nachos. he made his move. meat. Next to it sat a chessboard with the game we’d started a couple of nights ago still set up. “Where the hell do you think you are. At the chessboard. He tossed out a coaster. boy. and her blonde hair hung in loose waves to mid-back. Houston?” “Just asking. “How’s it hanging.

” If you like your women a little on the trashy side. Jeff returned from serving the drinks. if I had a female type. Guess I’ll just eat my nachos and go home. and waited. “Got a light?” She leaned in. But maybe I was wrong.NO GOOD DEED enough to eat and I could see Jeff’s mouth watering. Maybe I’d been all wrong about the ladies being ladies. tight knit dress. this was the girl for you. finally moved a knight. I checked out the other woman. righteous. Not many of the upstanding. I could see the outline of her thong. “Good move. Mine wasn’t too dry either. Jeff came by and grabbed a chip or two between serving the guy at the end of the bar and filling orders from the pool players. Her perfume wafted to my eager nostrils as I inhaled. Jeff. She was my type. God. you gotta love those thongs. I was scraping the bottom of the plate for the last bit of cheese when the woman in the tight dress sidled up next to me. which accented tits a man could smother in and round hips he could hold on to. a platinum blonde with what they call around here “big hair. Riceland had its problems. for damn sure. It crossed my slow-moving mind that she might be a working girl. not yet.” I stared at the chessboard. held her cigarette to glossy purple full lips. There’s nothing like the scent of cheap perfume on a 5 . How did I not spot them? Too long off the vice beat. The nachos arrived and I half-heartedly started to eat. but prostitution wasn’t one of them.” Whether he said it about the game or my plans was unclear. and took one of Jeff’s pawns. Not out in public anyway. “No move yet?” “No. She wore a very short. Christian women around here would wear an outfit like that.

no money required.” “I don’t do badge pussy. I didn’t answer. Are you a cop?” Her east Texas twang was cute. Of course.” I shrugged and continued looking straight ahead. I could tell right away you were an okay guy. “See. and I won’t bother you if you don’t bother me. It’s not that I don’t fuck women. you look like a cop to me.” Good thing I’m a strong man. even for a cop. right?” She leaned her hip against me. still a lot younger than my forty-two years. If it had been the other woman. I do. but men turn me on more. “Don’t. but not so young. so go back to your table. “Well. dang. and squeezed. “Don’t know what 6 . honey. “You do me a favor. it’d been a hell of a long time since I’d been with a woman or a man.” I looked at her face—pretty. put her hand on my leg. She moved her hand slowly toward my crotch. sorry. trying not to encourage her. One who wouldn’t bother a working girl once we had an understanding. “I’m a cop.NO GOOD DEED woman. I had no idea how she’d made me. and soft. my alarms went off. Maybe late twenties. just let her ramble on. “Don’t smoke. However. warm. and I do you”—she paused as her tongue passed over her lips suggestively—“a favor.” I warned and put my hand over hers. that’s right. she’d have been harder to resist. What were a couple of hookers doing in this small town neighborhood bar anyway? She pulled her hand away and pouted at me. It was small. Or anyone but my own hand. Just between friends. Something didn’t feel right.

How much money do you have?” 7 . and they know I’m a cop. “That depends. It’s so sad. “But you got here as soon as you could. “Picked the wrong fork?” he replied.” Her warm breath tickled my ear.NO GOOD DEED you’re missing. Jeff nodded. the choices we make on the road of life.” His eyes lit up and the words “pussy hound” sprung to my mind. I know I’m cute. Know anything about that? Seen them before?” I continued to watch the women in the mirror. What are a couple of hard-working girls doing here in beautiful downtown Riceland? They must’ve gotten lost on their way from Austin to Houston. in a Jet Li sort of way.” Jeff grinned wolfishly. then she could ride me on my bike. I would have been here sooner.” He leaned on the bar. “Those two are hookers. “Still…think I could interest one of them in a ride?” “On your Harley or on you?” “First my bike.” I finished the quote and grinned back. “Hookers? No shit? And you’re more like Jackie Chan. well. casually walked over. but something’s not right.” Jeff took another sip of his beer. “Jeff. wiping down a beer mug in his hand. “Took a wrong turn?” I guessed. her ass jiggling all the way. “Never seen them before tonight. I could suck you dry. come here. well.” We shook our heads. “Oh. as I watched in the mirror. “If I had known there were loose women in Riceland. “Well.” I said. Then she turned on her three-inch fuck-me heels and headed back to the table.” He scratched his chin. yet they’re hitting on me.

” I warned. “Good thing it’s dark in here. “What are two hookers doing at my favorite bar. screaming “cop” from fifty feet. something I never could get into. he’d want to top. non-descript. or any cop? Someone must be bored and have nothing else to do but troll for officers taking free pussy or paying for it. “We’ll finish the game another night. watching the women.” He leaned on the bar. I can wait until then to beat you. and made my way home. Didn’t think I’d need it. she may ask for more money. if she takes a good look at you. three-inch body in shape by lifting weights. Who’d be after me? Just me. Walking to the pickup.NO GOOD DEED “On me? Maybe fifty. and I’m not a bottom. pulled out of the lot. looked around and spotted the white van at the end of the lot. I’d do him. no windows. retrieved my Glock from the glove compartment and placed it on the seat beside me. I backed up. Not waiting around to see what was going on. slid in.” I finished my drink and stood. I can smell dead skunk just as well as the next guy. And besides. I hit the unlock button on my remote. Watch out on your way home. hitting on me? It stinks like day-old road kill.” Jeff nodded as he scooped up the twenty. His stomach gave the phrase “six-pack” its meaning. 8 . Dan. just force of habit.” Jeff nodded his head in agreement. okay?” “Sure. but he’s completely on the straight and narrow and I wouldn’t do anything to fuck up our friendship. Out in the parking lot. I threw a twenty on the bar for the food and drink. Hell. I stopped. Jeff was a good-looking young guy and kept his sixfoot. and I headed to the door. “Well.

I couldn’t remember anything about a sting being set up. With the sprawl of urban growth heading our way. got out of the truck and went inside. you’ll get to my house. past a large parcel of land that was once slated to be a subdivision called The Terraces. Lots of places to party. but it’s paid for. I stretched out on my bed buck naked. Home sweet home. it’s nothing fancy. and as captain. Built from good Texas limestone. but since location is everything. I thought the property would be picked up. be a teenager. parked. but recently were in a slump the coach swore we’d climb out of soon. that’s something I’d know about. and Riceland sat just a little too far away from Houston. with a nice-sized porch across the front. do drugs. If you keep on heading east. The Terraces was started in the boom of the late seventies. it failed before it even got started. I don’t mind. since it’s a great spot for our innocent Riceland youth to get into trouble. past the water tower that proudly proclaims our standing in the high school football championships. The Riceland Raiders had some great years from 2000 to 2004. Less neighbors and less traffic. We patrol it heavily. You know. and have sex. I sighed. the house was dark. My house is just past The Terraces.NO GOOD DEED I live on the east side of Riceland. I got home. 9 . my mind working on why the hookers and why at my bar. They’d only built a few model homes and all that’s left are the paved streets and a few street signs. Other than the porch light. on one-and-a-half acres. After undressing and taking my shower. but it still sits abandoned. but I have city water and a small barn out back.

I just couldn’t figure it out. Not over a couple of twenty-dollar whores and a free fuck. April’s man of the month was a pretty boy-man with pouty lips. the sex was great. unless the hooker had drugs and when the bust came down. And there’s only the mayor over him. I’m three years short of my twenty-five years and have no plans to screw that up. there’s only one answer to that question. Too fucking long. Who hates me that much or am I just being paranoid? Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you. So I pulled out a magazine I’d bought the last time I’d been in Houston. why? What the hell had I done? See. Which led me back to one question… Was someone targeting me? And if they were. He would have worn me out anyway. my boss. How long since I’d had sex with someone? Shit. I could be left holding the shit. he lost his taste for Chinese and stopped taking my calls.NO GOOD DEED Unless it came from higher up. no way. So I circled my wagon back to. Way too young for me. Even that lack of judgment could be swept under the rug. Hookers they could overlook. but after a few times. right? There was nothing to be done about it right now. And there’s no one higher up except Chief of Police Tasket. but I’m not dumb. My last hook-up was about a year ago. 10 . But like they say. what a way to go. but goddamn. I may be stupid. I’d been proud I could keep up with him. but drugs. a hairless body. and bed-tousled dark hair.

and picked up—both men and women—but never had the urge to settle down with one person. None of them seemed right. hooked up. I looked down at the centerfold. kicking myself for having passed up an opportunity for a free blowjob from a pro. tossed the magazine on the bed. and picked up my handy bottle of self-love gel. closed my eyes. What the hell. might as well take care of the one thing I could wrap my hands around.NO GOOD DEED I’ve never been in a long-term relationship. 11 . Now I lay in my bed with a throbbing hard-on. I’ve dated. and thought about the young man in the magazine. I spread some gel on my hand. not even when I was married. whether male or female.

I took my time that week changing into my civvies. Pussy being the number one topic of discussion. no. sports. and pussy. not getting it. football.NO GOOD DEED CHAPTER 2 All that week I’d been casually asking around the station if hookers had approached any of the other officers at a bar. I was getting tired of listening about sex…well. but if they had. Made me proud our men weren’t taking the bait. no one admitted to it. 12 . how to make it purr. At the station. listening to the younger guys talk shop. and sex. They talked about getting it. and I’m sure it frustrated whoever was behind the sting. not really. the talk in the men’s locker room fell into three categories: work. and lots of other bullshit men talk about in locker rooms all over the world.

since that’s who made up most of their clientele. About the fourth day. if you know what I mean. I knew. figuring she was too classy for him. a sergeant. I struck pay dirt. okay?” “Will do. If I warned him. but I’m going through a rough patch at home.” Yeah. I don’t usually fool around. why hadn’t the sergeant been picked up? Married with three kids. “No shit. one of the other bars in Riceland. but if I were you. I tapped him on the shoulder as he walked out to the parking lot to get into his cruiser and start his patrol. You didn’t hear it from me. just like she spotted me. not the other lady. He was positive his animal magnetism had attracted her. I’d stay away from wild women for a while. The sergeant hinted at getting a blowjob in the back seat of his car. Captain? Thanks for the warning. he’d been damn lucky they didn’t bust him. had been bragging about a woman who’d picked him up at the Ice House. it wouldn’t be hard to spot a cop. I pictured Miss Texas Twang as his girl. would the powers that be know I was onto their game? My concern for my fellow cop out-weighed my selfpreservation.” I leaned on the door of the cruiser and kicked the gravel with the toe of my black Justin boots. Of course. In my mind. at the Ice House.” The sergeant looked as if he were running the 13 .NO GOOD DEED Maybe when I’m dead. I hear someone may be watching. Sergeant. “Friendly warning. You know how it is. I figured she’d probably spotted him as a cop a mile away. One of the older men. Had he paid for sex or had she offered it for free? And if someone had been watching. “Spread the word among the men.

and handling domestic disputes for the important people of Riceland were some of the services I handled for the chief. Fixing traffic tickets. members of city council. either. That would be most of the prominent business people. With only three years left. and their kids. I decided to let it go. just like one of my shrinks had taught me. but after twenty-two years of departmental politics. I had plenty of work running the patrols and dealing with those citizens high enough up to warrant my attention. that’s all. and I shook it. Figured I’d have bought it by now at the end of my own gun or some perp’s gun.NO GOOD DEED encounter by in his mind. I went back to my office. rocking the boat was not what I’m about and righteous indignation wasn’t something I could afford. Where the hell was my life going? I took a deep breath and blew it out. 14 . we’re stretched thin as asphalt. I’m second to the chief. their wives. sat down in the swivel chair and leaned back to think. I never thought I’d be this old. it didn’t matter anyway. “You know. but I bit my tongue. five sergeants. two detectives. I wondered why she was interested in me with lots of other guys around. I wanted to ask him what she looked like. I had three lieutenants. They were looking for any calf that strayed. I wasn’t a singled-out target. Let it go. at the time. we cover a large area and like the deputies.” The sergeant held out his hand. Just let my dick do the thinking. On our force. Best not to know. I hate it. and about twenty officers to worry about across three shifts. As captain. I’ve learned to go with the flow. There was no deputy chief due to the miniscule department budget. For now. discreetly pulling them out of bars. Between the Waller County deputies and our department.

in a galaxy far. The kind of town where you knew most of the people on your beat by name. I don’t want to get married. “Danny. They were fourth-generation Chinese Americans. My parents had invited me for lunch and then informed me I would be getting married. “Twenty years old.” my mother said. with good schools. I’ve done business with them for years. Your father and I married right after college and had you two years later. “it’s time. They want the best for their daughter and want her to be an American. with a degree in finance. if not by sight. No more running around. good people. Dad. I’d just finished college.” “But. You’re twenty-four. beautiful. telling her son about his arranged marriage. they didn’t even speak Chinese. 15 . small town values. Riceland was a great place to raise kids.” She sat there.NO GOOD DEED Like me. a long time ago. ready to take my father’s place according to his plan. she’s a beautiful girl. her hair done by the most prestigious hair salon in Houston. My plans? Well. Hell. totally assimilated. There was a lot less crime and fewer drugs. I didn’t really have a plan. I felt as if I were in a foreign movie with really good lip syncing. I don’t even know her.” Dad assured me. so it shocked the hell out of me that they had arranged for me to marry a Chinese girl from Hong Kong. elegant. far away. I was married once. just knew I wanted to be a cop. which meant less chance of getting yourself killed by some gangbanger at a traffic stop. most of our officers had worked for Houston P.D. and drifted over to Riceland’s department. “Dan. most of my officers had families. The Wons are good people. dressed in the latest designer clothes. Unlike me.

she was Chinese. It really grated on me. Or a boyfriend. I didn’t. I’d done what most people now call “experimenting with gender issues” in college. and I never 16 . I need you there.” “No. I have my application in at the academy. she’ll be here in a few days. You can’t afford a wife and family on a policeman’s salary. I have plans. You can’t tell me what to do anymore. can you?” I remember how calm his voice had been. a real China doll. Terrified I’d blurt out the real reason and finally admit it to myself and to them. “No. Still can be when backed into a corner. Dad. She cried. Now. I’d been in some deep denial about which side of the fence I sat on. I’m going to be a cop. My mom begged me.NO GOOD DEED What if I refuse?” I was pissed as hell they thought they could rule my life and stubborn in my youth. I broke down and agreed to meet my future mail order bride. “I’m an adult. Just meet her. furious they still thought they could run my life. and I dug in my heels and kicked like a calf on the end of a rope. I have plans for my life and they don’t involve getting married or working in the business.” He’d been sure once I saw her there wouldn’t be any argument. With the fourth one just opening. I realize now. I refused.” I slammed the door as I left my parents’ River Oaks house. Not at all my type. son. how he’d used that same persuasive tone when I was a little kid asking for something he thought was unreasonable. Up to that point. It’s good money. Then we’ll talk. “Dan. you’re going to run the downtown stores. and there was no way in hell I was going to force that issue with myself or with my father. For one thing. delicate. petite. Mai was beautiful. it wasn’t like I had a girlfriend.

And I never forced myself on her. and used to the finer things. All spelled out. my parents got what they wanted.NO GOOD DEED date within my ethnicity. neither was I. a career in law enforcement. Once I’d joined the academy. became less and less frequent. She never complained we weren’t having sex. I wanted to make my parents happy. Ever. Cut and dry. the small apartment we lived in. I knew it was over. Mai realized she hadn’t married the man she’d been told about. Not that I’d fallen for her. I doubted 17 . I moved into the study and slept on the couch. My father met me for lunch one day about four months after the wedding. She was stuck with a poor rookie cop who could barely make ends meet. feeling obligated.” He looked sick. son. an American husband. After two months. She got what she wanted. until I stopped asking and she looked relieved. “Mai’s complained to her father. straight. and who she didn’t particularly like. “What is it this time?” She complained about a lot of things. doing her duty. the rich son of a prominent Houston businessman soon to take over and reap the riches of the business. Her constantly complaining I hadn’t provided enough wore me down. That’s when what little sex we’d been having dried up. A good. And truthfully. she didn’t have a dick and I do date within my gender. like not enough money to spend. That was the first time I’d battled depression. and she agreed. for another. and my long hours. I hadn’t. and I got what I wanted. It was a business deal. spoke excellent English. She was also educated. I agreed to marry her on the condition I’d be a cop. a married son. I’d been a good son. Just the times when I asked.

” I said in my usual deadpan. I finally twigged to the fact he’d bought my wife and a lot of money had changed hands. And there had to have been some sort of contract between the two businessmen. He wants her back. “Divorces are cheap.” He twisted his napkin in his hands. “So. “You and your career choice.” I still didn’t understand what he was getting at. so it would be easy to walk away. It’s not easy saving twenty-five thousand dollars on a small 18 . Stunned. I wanted out.” His lips were tight and bloodless. Dad.NO GOOD DEED my decision to be a cop. Her father called me. After the divorce.” “Well.” I shrugged. the one thing in my life I’d truly loved. you stupid son-of-a-bitch!” Dad threw down his napkin and stormed out. Dad. I hadn’t realized how close to the truth I’d been with that smart-ass remark. Mai returned to Hong Kong. What was the big deal? “You don’t understand. “She wasn’t cheap. but it took me almost fifteen years. I thought he was going to have a stroke right there in the restaurant. We weren’t in love and hadn’t had kids. I’ll give her one. I became depressed thinking I’d have to go back to my father on my knees begging to be let back into the business just to make everyone but myself happy. This is going to cost me a lot of money. And that breaking a contract costs. I repaid every cent my dad had paid to the Wons. “did you keep her receipt?” It’s one of the only times in my adult life my father almost hit me. She wanted out. I hadn’t wanted to be married in the first place. “He’s asking for a divorce.

My parents had been furious at me for shaming them in the eyes of the Wons. and signed up with Riceland. Mom refused to speak to me for a long time.D. I didn’t come this far alive to be killed a few months before I retire. and it showed at work. they never acknowledged them. despite being a sham. but they cashed them like clockwork. was over. provided by Houston P.NO GOOD DEED town cop’s salary. I’d lied to myself and my family about my sexuality and had to live with the collateral damage. Like I said. My marriage. So I left Houston P. suggested I take control of my life. Moving quickly through the ranks.D. But it had been my first taste of failure. twenty years later and it still hurts to think about Mai. Nothing in my life was right. I’d trashed my life. I was miserable. I’d never really understood that term until then. Adjusting to a new city and dealing with being the only Chinese-American cop on a small town force kept me occupied. That was the first time I almost ate my gun. The pay is good. I guess you could call it losing face. At twenty-four. I received a promotion to captain five years ago.. I don’t think that was what the department had in mind. she wasn’t cheap. who cut their business ties with my dad. Hell. I’d fallen into a deep hole I needed to get out of before it was too late. It was a good move for me. I’ve never really been in love with anyone. My struggle with depression deepened. That had been one rough year. But not being good enough for my parents had been the worst part. 19 . and it’s mostly a desk job. of living a half-lie. I’ve stayed aloof. I mailed them the checks like clockwork. and not being good enough. My therapist. Not losing the love of my life because she was far from that. my family estranged.

but in Riceland. it would all even out and I wouldn’t find myself standing in front of the chief again explaining the overruns. but acted more American than Chinese. so to speak. Off-duty I dressed like a cowboy. the loss of my parents’ respect. People were nice. and instead of a broken accent.NO GOOD DEED I was still a young man. well. I didn’t want them to sign papers and drive me off the lot. all the people I’ve hurt and disappointed. The few women who I dated early on were mostly just taking me out for a test drive. I looked different. 20 . Christ. but cool at first. I had a deep Texas drawl. kicking the tires. Shaking off the growing darkness like a hound shakes off water. I do what most men who don’t drink do—I throw myself into my work. when I start to think of all the ways I’ve fucked up. Hopefully. but not looking to buy. I reached for the nearest stack of papers on my desk. I’m not saying I met with a lot of prejudice. I was college-educated and I think to some degree the uniform helped ease my way to a comfortable acceptance. so I knew going in my love life was going to start looking like the Sahara. the depression threatens to take me. just wanted someone to work my stick. there weren’t too many women interested in me and even fewer men. I had to verify and total time reports and overtime and then reconcile them against the allotted weekly hours given to each shift. And that was fine with me.

taking my queen. mostly because we’ve played so often we know each other’s strategies. I’d say.” He sounded worried. “Good move. The chess game had been dragging on. Jeff came over and made a move. Dan.NO GOOD DEED CHAPTER 3 I sat on my stool at Clancy’s and sipped lime and tonic. I owed Jeff a lot. Not slipping into another depression. “Preoccupied. surveying the board. They’ve been in a few other bars targeting cops from what I’ve heard. I’ve been wondering about those two hookers. How’d I miss that one?” I leaned back. “No. It was check. What’s up? You seem off tonight. are you? I don’t want to have to break into your house again. But 21 . over the years.

I disliked the current His Honor. “Usually. most of all.” “The mayor?” Jeff knew that of all the recent mayors. “Maybe the fish are all too small. Something was missing and I couldn’t put my finger on it.” I rubbed the bridge of my nose. 22 . but I think dogs smell better. blackmail? Police blackmailing police? Doesn’t make any sense. What are they’re waiting for?” I shook my head. In fact. Politicians are not my favorite species.” I shook my head. I hate politics. “Maybe they’re setting up for something bigger? And what I can’t figure out is who’s running this operation?” “Can’t you cops smell each other. you bust him. I haven’t voted in years. looked down at my package. it’s been done. There was something about the man I just didn’t like. they aren’t near pretty enough to attract any customers. I continued from where I left off. or federal. and Jeff rolled his eyes.” He wiped the counter with the rag. “Maybe it’s a new television reality show. and they’re waiting for someone bigger?” Jeff wiped the bar with his rag and moved down the counter to fill an order. like dogs?” Jeff grinned and waved to a group of people who’d just entered the bar. And those girls were the real thing. and when the john pulls out the money. Maybe they’re filming it to use later. and I had no plans on voting. Elections were rolling around this year. “Nah. Cops Meets Girls Gone Bad.” “Wouldn’t you just use your policewomen as bait?” “Nah. city. “Why give out freebies? In a prostitution sting.NO GOOD DEED no one’s been busted. and when Jeff came back. you just offer sex. whether departmental. But. I thought about it some more. “Bigger than me?” I grinned. Mayor Bill Dalton.

She’d dressed nice.” Jeff added. She shrugged. conservative. meeting my gaze in the mirror. He moved off to take an order. Another light blue top that matched her eyes. and I wondered if he was right. not flashy at all. “I’m glad you shot her down. if you’re looking at moving into the big house in Austin.” I said. Kept you out of trouble is my guess.” I was pissed. Simple gold hoops in her ears. knee-length straight skirt. She stood. smoking. My stomach rose up to choke me.” I emptied my glass 23 .” She finished her drink and ran her finger in circles around the rim. I’d heard about the new campaign manager. watching her. Romaine. and walked toward me. and took another sip. Her long blonde hair had been pulled into a twist on the back of her head. sitting at a table against the wall. I didn’t like not being obeyed. She slipped onto the next barstool. The classy hooker had returned. He’s my bet. “I thought I told you and your friend to make yourselves scarce. “You know. That hadn’t happened in a long time. could you afford not to hire the best? I was stewing over that when I glanced into the mirror and blinked. picked up her drink. you have my best interest at heart. I watched her every step of the way.” she said.NO GOOD DEED “Maybe. Watching me. She looked good. very classy. Michael St. what the hell was he doing here in Riceland? We’re not exactly a major city. he brought in a campaign manager from out of town? Dalton’s been looking for a big issue to hang his hat on and make a big stand. Could the mayor afford someone like him? Still. “Right. trying to keep my dick under control. “Hi. If he was so hot. a hot shot from Dallas. Damn.

” Jeff poured her a drink. Her smile dissolved and she looked down at her drink.NO GOOD DEED and waved to Jeff for another. “Baby. I argued with myself.” She put her hand on my thigh. I’d need to take a second job to afford you. Just call me Pavlov. I wanted her. really. “No. but it was unusual and probably expensive. drooling at the bell. Her perfume was so light I could barely catch it. And it had been ages since I’d been laid. I might learn something about the sting. it’s personal. And she knew it. Her teeth were very white and her eyes were ice blue. I stared at her in the mirror. I could swear I thought she was just a pick-up and that I didn’t know she was a professional.” she whispered as she leaned in and flicked my earlobe with her tongue. Why not this once? If I took her home and no money changed hands. I did the math about what she might cost me for an hour. I don’t do badge pussy. “It’s not business.” She smiled at me again. and then moved away to give us privacy. Besides. set me up with my usual. My prick jerked and told me to shut the fuck up and go with it. Preferably naked. Who was I trying to bullshit? I wanted to get laid and I didn’t 24 . but what did she expect from a cop? “No involvement…you don’t even have to know my name. I felt my jeans tighten. I’d like to see you.” I shook my head. “What are you drinking?” “Scotch. figuring she was priced a lot higher than her friend. I felt like a prick for hurting her. I like you. much less a night. most of the time. “Like I told your friend.” Or women. And I don’t get involved with whores.

Leaning against me. and when she came up for air. even more for a fuck. She’d been good. On the street. and spread my legs wider. “Let’s get out of here. his eyebrow raised in question. I still didn’t know her name. I enjoyed the way she rubbed me. if I was anymore ready. she would cost at least a hundred. I wanted to feel someone’s hand on my prick besides my own. Her soft lips surrounded my cock with warmth and her tongue teased its head until I couldn’t help but shoot my load. Her hands were strong. I nodded and headed for the door. either. and her mouth knew just what to do. And she didn’t offer it.NO GOOD DEED care by whom. she stroked my cock through my jeans. I wanted to feel a beautiful body beneath me. I was dry. Didn’t want to know it. Sitting on the stool without moving. Are you ready?” “Baby. She whispered. I tossed the arguments back and forth. rolled over and looked at the enticing woman lying next to me. I forgot what I’d asked myself. with the woman beside me.” I slid off the stool and tossed some money on the bar. I let her slide her hand to my crotch. constantly moving. She’d knelt in front of me while I sat in my recliner with my jeans around my ankles and gave me a blowjob. * * * I woke in the morning. Jeff caught my eye. I’d be done. but since most of the blood in my body was nowhere near my brain. a real professional. her fingers promising more to come. shifted in my seat. her breath teasing my ear. limp and begging her for more. She swallowed my spunk like a pro. 25 .

so I had plenty of time to 26 . I’d like to say I made her come. the way she caressed her breasts. each move designed to drive a man to his limit. I may be stupid. and she reached under the sheet for my semi-hard cock. You’d think. I brushed it behind her ear. She’d let down her hair at some point during the night and now it lay tangled on the pillow. It was all a show. enjoying the way she moved. but I hadn’t. As I watched her get dressed. but I’d be lying again because we just fucked. I watched as she slid up and down my shaft. I was on-duty at two.NO GOOD DEED Later. And I had wanted to do a lot.” I whispered. and climbed on top. she suggested I handcuff her to the bed while I fucked her. I lay back and breathed deeply. Lying on my side. At her firm touch. “Ride me. She took a condom off the diminishing stack on the bedside table. how she fingered her clit. She rode me until I exploded inside her. A strand fell over her face. She’d told me not to bother. so I didn’t. Hell. I’d like to say it was a beautiful experience and that we made glorious love. slipped it on me. if I’d known her name. and I knew it. It was one of my favorite positions. especially to myself. and she was a hooker. though. I stroked one of her surgically enhanced breasts as she slept. I’d have done that before. feeling myself growing rigid again under her practiced fingers. I’d have called it out. and the little noises of pleasure she made. but I don’t like lying. I wasn’t looking for love. I strapped on my watch and checked the time. The idea of having total control over her. not knowing how long it’d be before the next time I got laid. being a cop. She said she enjoyed it. of her surrendering to everything I wanted to do really turned me on. but I’m not dumb enough to fall for a hooker.

and I don’t want to see you in my bar again. Dan. considering what she’d tell me. go right to the top. “They say if there’s a problem. he can take away. But only with good reason. “Who are you and your friend working for?” She smiled and shook her head as she pulled her hand free. Like videos of your officers with hookers. Maybe I should have questioned her when I had her handcuffed to the bed.” “Why? Are they looking for something in particular? Someone?” “Did anyone ever tell you that you ask too many questions?” She unlocked the handcuffs still dangling from the back of my bed and put them in her purse. “Yeah. so you figure it out. “No. Large scale impropriety.” She lit a cigarette and took a drag. “I’m guessing I won’t see you again. He’s appointed by the mayor. “If you wanted to clean house. And a hell of a lot of proof. I can let myself out.” She pulled her hair into a ponytail and twisted a band around it. she sat on the bed and primly kissed my cheek. 27 . It’s in my nature.” “The top?” Chief Tasket. where would you start?” she continued. What the mayor gives. either. “Go on.” I paused. So someone wanted to get rid of him. even have lunch. I’m a cop. reached out and grabbed her wrist.” I said.” “Why no busts? Are my men going to be in the movies?” I released her. “Don’t get up.” She paused. shave and dress. snapping me back to reality.NO GOOD DEED shower. After slipping on her shoes. “You’re a sharp boy. That thought started me off down a new road of fantasy. but didn’t hurt her. “Tell your men to keep their pants zipped.

Bayou City Escorts and a phone number. Stopping by the bed. You were great. Dan. I looked at the card again. She walked to the door and I opened it for her. “In case you change your mind. but instead I left it there. right after picking up the dry cleaning.” I drawled.” I stood and pulled on a pair of sweats.” She pulled out a card and put it on the table next to the bed. After rinsing out the glass and putting it on the drain board. For everything. you’ll know how to reach me. “Stay away from hookers. should have thrown it away.NO GOOD DEED “Thanks.” “I’ll put that on my to-do list. 28 . I closed the door and went to the kitchen. I headed to the bathroom to take a shower and get dressed for work. poured a glass of orange juice and downed it in one long pull. and find yourself someone nice.” I glanced at it without picking it up. I should have torn it up. No names. “Not bad yourself.

but I didn’t bother warning off the few female officers in our department. but then I didn’t expect there to be any. I got the bright idea to get some more answers from my original source. I’d been rehashing it one night and getting nowhere. if I thought about it. and that would require my making a phone call.” I recognized her breathy voice instantly. there may have been one or two…but I really thought the hookers were going after just the men. Although. “Bayou City Escorts. There had been no busts. How much money was being spent on this escapade? It probably takes a lot to set up a major sex scandal. 29 . and I’d discreetly passed the word about the men staying on their best behavior. I guess it wasn’t politically correct.NO GOOD DEED CHAPTER 4 Several days had gone by.

” “As long as you’re paying. And I thought we were such good friends. Dan from Riceland. Like sex. I’d worn her down with my clever banter. From Riceland.” “That’s what I thought. 30 . “You should be worried. What do you want to know?” She sighed.” “Talk is cheap. “Who set it up?” “That information is not available at this time. I’m flattered. it may be because of you.” “Don’t be. “What is happening? Word on the street is the project is over. It’s a cash and carry business.” “No tabs.” “Not because of you.” “Do you take VISA?” “I’ll extend you credit. “It’s Dan.” She paused.” Her tone told me to I’d get nowhere. in fact. “Put it on my tab. Tasket was safe.” “Hello. Thanks for the freebie. and I was glad to help him anyway I could. Information will cost you now.” “Hmm. About the little job you were working here in town.NO GOOD DEED So did my prick. How can I be of service?” “I need information.” “What. “But. that’s for sure.” “It’s never because of me.” I hung up. as I understand.” “Was it a success?” “A dismal failure.” Her voice hardened.” She sounded irritated. just this once. That true?” “True enough. me worry? But it sounds like you’re upset with me.

” I said. I’m sure you’re aware of the trailer at the north end of 31 . thin. they say. reading manpower reports and making payroll numbers balance. Maybe I’d see some action.” I sat down after shaking Haas’ hand. this is Chief Deputy Sheriff Haas. The chief called me into his office to brief me. Hell. I’d like to kick them in the ass. Sometimes I’d like to find those “they” people and shake their hands. Other times. It was business as usual until the chief got a phone call later that week from the Waller County Sheriff concerning an alleged meth lab in the far north part of the city limits that things around the office began to heat up. around thirty-five or forty. He didn’t make the usual Charlie Chan joke. with close-cropped blond hair and ice blue eyes. The chief had never mentioned the sting. and I want you to be our department’s liaison. there was a sheriff’s deputy already seated. I considered him a friend and I owed him. “Captain Chan.NO GOOD DEED He’d been my chief for almost seven years and he was the one who’d pushed for my captaincy. We’re going to have a little joint venture with his department. and I’d wondered if he knew or had been in the dark. I wasn’t completely dead after all. When I arrived. He stood when I entered the room. * * * My shifts were spent getting briefs from my lieutenant and sergeants. “This sounds interesting. I was surprised at my growing excitement. so he was already way ahead with me. “Well. He was a tall man. You’re always the last one to know.

but we’ll need more.” I looked over the report. “Lead on.” “We’d like nothing better. and I knew I’d like working with him.” He smiled again. We’ve suspected it’s being used as a meth lab for some time. Chan.” I just hoped he wouldn’t suggest Chinese. discussed our options.” I suggested. their activity. “Mexican sound good?” he asked. even a law man. He’d done a fine job. “Great. and we took our cues and left. my treat. “Well. “Sounds good.” Chief Tasket stood. but one look at his ring finger said he was married. For a moment. It’s just about dinner time. thorough in its scope and content.” We ate at Maria’s Cantina. There was no way in hell I’d make a move anyway without more evidence than a dinner invitation because here in Texas a man. It’s a start. Just keep me informed. “Let’s go to my office and we can do some preliminary planning. could end up with his ass kicked if he were wrong about it. But let’s do it over dinner. I figured we could all start doing surveillance and then work together on the bust once we have all our ducks in a row. signaling the meeting was over. and known clients. I wondered if he was gay and asking for more than just dinner and discussion.” He handed me a folder. “I’ll let you two gentlemen make the plans.NO GOOD DEED FM 245. Chief Deputy. We’d like to shut it down permanently. How can we be of assistance?” Letting him take the lead was only proper since he’d brought the idea to us. It was well written. like when 32 . “This is our folder on the perps.

There was an ambulance standing by down the road. The doublewide trailer sat at the end of a dirt road. hidden by scrub oaks and brush. Secrecy and silence was of utmost importance. out of sight halfway down the road. the cars parked there. we called our team together and went over our plans. co-coordinating the assault on our radios. * * * All three shifts of both county sheriffs and Riceland P. Haas and I had moved up from where we were stationed behind our vehicles. We finished with coffee and went our separate ways. some at the back door. We scheduled the raid at midday. had been driving past the trailer and taking pictures of the people going in and out. up to the closest truck parked in the front yard. crouched over. it was the quietest time at the trailer. The guard dogs. Once we got enough data for the judge. getting the lay of the land. High activity was during the late evenings and we’d be less likely to have to deal with customers or innocent by-standers. About five deputies and five of my officers. having medical 33 . armed with shotguns and semi-assault rifles and dressed in body armor had been assembled. just in case. building our case and our evidence for a warrant. If one of our people was hit.NO GOOD DEED and how many men it’d take for the bust. I chose a mix of experienced men and women to work with the county sheriff’s deputies for the assault. had been taken care of with meat laced with a sedative. and the men moved into position around the trailer.D. We ran. some at the front and the rest would hang back to pick up any stragglers. Animal control would take them into custody later. two mean looking pit bulls.

I realize how much I miss doing patrol work. Davenport wasn’t injured. peppering the truck. One minute I was safely stationed behind the truck in the front yard and the next I was pulling our wounded man to safety by the back of his Kevlar vest. At times like this. my body tensed. Riding a desk is fine. but patrolling was the reason I joined up in the first place. then I gave the signal to go in. Bullets flew. However.D. He was a small man. but powerful. one of the next men through the door took a bullet in the leg. I loved it. led the charge. Usually. and 34 . Foolishly. There were three men with semi-automatic rifles inside the trailer and we took them by surprise.NO GOOD DEED aid as close as possible would be absolutely critical. not knowing what I’d find there. sweat poured from my armpits and across my back under my body armor as I waited for the signal. kicking in the door and diving inside. The hardest part is to remember to keep breathing. the chances are good for the first man in to get shot. God. He went down just inside the doorway and had to be dragged out while the gun battle raged. One of the deputies dragged him down the steps before returning to the fight. I’m lucky I wasn’t killed. There was nothing like the moment before all hell breaks loose and you catapult yourself into the fray. I wanted to prove something to my men and myself. since he didn’t make a large target framed in the doorway. Sergeant Miles Davenport of Riceland P. I’d get a call. I’ll be the first to admit most cops are addicted to adrenaline and I’m no exception. In the heat of the Texas day. flip on the lights and siren. His size helped. It took me back to my days riding patrol. We watched the trailer for about thirty minutes. and head for the scene.

I heard our men radio the all-clear from inside the trailer. and heads. one of them dove out a rear window and had been apprehended by our men. Haas and I. his face paler than usual. Most of the wounds were superficial and on legs. but because the trailer was raised and our men outside were lying on the ground. it looks like a battlefield.” I replied. tying a bandage around one of my 35 . the other had been found crouching behind a couch in a back room whimpering in terror. We were lucky the place didn’t blow sky high. Flying glass from the windows had hit the officers stationed outside the trailer. From the destroyed trailer. Haas and I stood in the front yard surveying the wreckage.” Haas whispered to me. Some of the men inside the trailer had to be treated for inhalation problems. The bodies of the three thugs were still inside waiting for the forensic unit. most of it glass jars. “Shit. People screamed and yelled. started to do triage. The officers inside the trailer were hit by shattering glass from the lab equipment.NO GOOD DEED windows shattered. even though most of the injuries weren’t life threatening. all followed by a few moments of eerie silence. There were half a dozen men and women laying all over the yard receiving various stages of medical aid and a few throwing up from the chemicals. the stench of the chemicals permeated the air around us. the bullets that tore through the thin siding flew over their heads. along with some of the non-wounded. arms. and we had the operators of the lab in handcuffs. If it hadn’t been for the body armor they were wearing it could have been worse. When the shooting started. We didn’t expect there to be so many hurt. “I never served. Someone called for the EMS guys.

black eye. “Gulf War. since head wounds bleed profusely. The kid says.” was all he said. had gone home after spending a night in the emergency room being treated. The next day. the choking odor of the chemicals. the one shot in the leg. I’d be happy to show my appreciation with a few quiet 36 . and we were all alive. As I climbed down the steps and surveyed our wounded. We’d netted close to quarter of a million in meth and its chemical components. The chief could pin on the medals. The other injured men. all Haas’ deputies. What I saw inside the trailer could only be described as carnage. “Yeah. and torn clothes. the chief personally dropped by my office to congratulate my men and me on a job well done. I burned the scene into my mind. glass. with only a few black eyes to show for it.NO GOOD DEED men’s arms. and another man’s arm was hanging off. Blood was everywhere. They were all heroes. I filled him in on the condition of the officers hurt in the raid. That afternoon. I finished with the triage and followed Haas. and the other cut by flying glass when the windows had been shot out. I visited two of my men in the hospital. One of the men didn’t have a face. What a semiautomatic rifle can do to a human body is horrific. then walked over to one of his deputies and followed him inside the trailer. the other guys were dead. and the underlying stench of shit and urine. cursed. It had been one of the biggest busts in the area. and then turned around and left. but you should see the other guy.” Well. He’d needed stitches in his scalp and had lost a lot of blood. I thought of the old joke where the father looks at his son who’s sporting a broken nose. as far as I was concerned.

He put the magazine in a drawer. too.NO GOOD DEED words. both in college at Texas A & M. sat on his desk. smoking a small cigar and reading last month’s Guns and Ammo magazine. “Chief?” “Come in. Maybe I’d be better off if I did drink. a pat on the back and a written letter of commendation slipped into their files. Immersing myself in my work. Chief Deputy Sheriff Haas did a good job. Instead. Professional portraits of his wife and their two sons. I’d be too drunk to notice how depressed I was. They had to be compiled. Taking almost a full week to put the report together. together with the sheriff’s reports. though. 37 . We live for the adrenaline highs and endure the lows until the next rush. That’s how it is in my line of work. I approached and handed the report across the desk to the chief. since it was a joint operation. four times the paperwork. Captain Chan. Cops are all really just manic-depressives. I made sure all the reports and paperwork on the raid were in order. Got that paperwork?” Chief of Police Oliver Tasket sat with his feet propped up on the desk. picked up the report and skimmed over it. often sinking into depression. It was just a theory of mine. Maybe that’s why so many of us drink. I knocked on the door. Two agencies. His Stetson hung on a six-point antler rack mounted on the wall to the left of his desk. I internalize everything. Maybe if I drank. Over the next day or two. I’d never tested it. and never have. I personally took it down the hall to the chief’s office after I’d faxed a copy to Chief Deputy Sheriff Haas. “Good job. the excitement of the operation lessened and it was back to the usual daily routine. I don’t drink.

“You didn’t get involved. What’s on your mind?” Tasket leaned forward and clasped his hands on the desktop.” He didn’t blink. My mother told me to stay away from that kind of trouble. kept him in line and showing up for all the appointments and appearances he had to make. had given the choice her stamp of approval. “Not at first. but there wasn’t much I could do about it. Dan. “I figured maybe it was the mayor.” Beth was our secretary. He’ll like that. She rode herd on the chief. and I didn’t see a trace of deceit.” I grinned. “How about you?” 38 . Never have.NO GOOD DEED How are the men?” “Everyone is home now and healing. “Sit down. did you?” “No. Tell her to include the mayor. waiting to be asked to stay.” Chief Tasket blew a large cloud of smoke out and sat up. Tasket’s wife. We took a lot of meth off the street that would’ve made it to Houston and Austin. Made us look real good for a Podunk country town. Got wind of it later. Tasket was no fool to employ a married female relative and a pregnant one to boot. Beth was his wife’s niece and six months pregnant. Didn’t like it. “Arrange a date for the commendation ceremony and put it on my schedule with Beth. sir. Chief. Tasket is a straight shooter and a fair man. “Sir.” I paused. did you know about the prostitution sting that was being run here in town? Targeting cops?” Tasket took a long drag on the cigar and then slowly blew out the smoke.” “It was a good bust. Darlene. Chief.” His gaze held mine. “Sure thing.

” He must have heard about my warning the men. But I wasn’t going there.” I left the office feeling as if I had just been scolded by the principal. “Good. mostly at myself. sir. Don’t ask. She’s the one person I’m truly scared of. No. stupid and dumb. he’d be shocked. who else knew? Genetics allowed me to look inscrutable. not stupid. but inside I was cursing up a storm. That was my story and I was sticking to it. 39 . don’t tell works for me. “I also heard you got lucky the other night. “Hell.” “Yes. thanks for keeping our men clean.” Tasket knew about the woman. “It made our department look real good. “Think you’ll be seeing her again?” Tasket puffed on his cigar. So. And I wondered whether she’d been worth the risk. sir. And if he knew. She shoots better than most of my men.” The grin spread across his face. “No. and the day we got married she had ‘Property of Darlene’ tattooed on my prick. you’ve met my wife Darlene. I wondered if she’d set me up. I wondered if they had pictures of us leaving the bar together. He paused. after all. Tasket pursed his lips as he watched me. “Just a lady I met in a bar. they’d watched me after all and it had gotten back to Tasket. but I had been stupid to do it. Heard she was a real looker.” I stood.” I shrugged. “Dan. I sat down in my chair and went over the duty roster for the next month.” If he only knew what my type was. She’d been good. She wasn’t really my type.NO GOOD DEED Tasket shot back.

Chan’s little boy doesn’t know how to kiss ass.” Jeff leaned over the counter opening to the grill and ordered. The good guys won. I was staring at the chessboard. so up on my office wall they went. Good work.” I ignored the question.” I shrugged. it was fun. We’d started a new game that evening and Jeff had opened. was she good?” Jeff grinned at me and sipped his drink. He checks them out every time he comes in my office. “I’m a cowboy. There’s an oath you have to take. like get killed before I retire’?” Like a good friend.” I snorted. I love the rush. and we don’t kiss and tell. When he turned around. “Speaking of rushes. “Another commendation for the wall?” “Yeah. partner.” Jeff poured my drink and handed it to me.NO GOOD DEED * * * “Saw on the news about the bust. but Tasket liked giving them. “Order me a burger. No major injuries.” I raised my glass in a salute. “Sheriff’s men were good to work with. “I’m lucky I wasn’t killed. “Sure.” I hated getting those. I didn’t expect anything less from him. Dan.” 40 . It’s in the code. Spit in your palm and pinky swear. Did she clean out your pipes? Make a man out of you? Put hair on that smooth chest of yours?” Jeff grinned. “Thanks. I guess. and onion rings. I want details. “I can’t help it. You can sleep at night now. all the way. “Come on. That sort of thing. No one could say Mrs.” “What happened to ‘I’m not going to do anything stupid. he threw my own words back at me.

NO GOOD DEED “Cowboy.” I threw him a bone.” He looked wistful. eating always makes me feel less stupid. pension plan.” I shrugged. Woman treats you fine and this is how you repay her?” “She was a whore. sounding very much like my mother.” Even I couldn’t believe my stupidity. Did she ride you bareback? I’ll just bet she was sweet. “Right. eat…you’ll feel better. chewing it slow.” I sipped my drink. “Shit…” The word turned into a low whistle. Jeff.” I took a sip from my drink.” I rubbed my eyes with my fingers. Carlos placed my burger and rings on the counter and hit the bell. “Damn. who believed every problem could be made better with food. I’m just fucking lucky no money changed hands. It really was the best burger around. “No shit? How do you know?” Jeff’s eyes were wide in surprise. “The chief mentioned it to me in passing. Adios. “Yeah. Maybe Jeff and my mother were right because I started to feel better. They don’t go together. “I told her I didn’t want to ever see her in here again. 41 . my ass. I’m a cop.” Jeff advised. “She was professional. you’re cold. shit. They were watching. “Order up!” “Here.” I picked up the burger and took a big bite. “They knew I’d gone with her. then slumped in my seat and ran my hand through my hair. massaging away the headache I’d ended the day with. “Is she coming around again?” Jeff waved to someone coming in the door.

can I have another?’” I bit into one of the rings. drawn-out process. I’d always wonder what the hell was wrong with her!” It was an old joke between us. I happened to know Jeff had several women around the area he dated. Jeff laughed and nodded. There’s lots of paperwork to fill out. man.” Jeff said. when Jeff asked. “You mean.” “Every chance I get. you have to answer. and if she did. ma’am. sometimes when Nature calls. like you?” Always answer a question you don’t want to answer with a question. Not in the area. find a good woman or a man or whatever you’re into these days. I noticed how polite you are. Classes to take. Got to find someone first. but Jeff pounded the bar laughing anyway. I mean. Maybe travel. I’d taken my last bite. “Why don’t you settle down?” I asked him. You know how I hate paperwork. And I always say ‘Thank you. licenses to obtain. but no one woman in particular. I had no one. Dan?” I nearly choked. It’s only polite. It was his turn to squirm. too. Didn’t you want to go to China. using a paper napkin to wipe off my mouth. 42 .NO GOOD DEED “Hey. not out of the area. I looked it up on the Inter-net. Jeff snatched one off my plate and popped it into his mouth. “No. We concentrated on the chess game in silence while I ate. “Yeah. see your roots?” “It’d be nice. “When are you going to settle down. In triplicate.” I shook my head and ate another onion ring. Fishing. It’s a long. Expensive. and retire to that little piece of Hill Country on the Guadalupe River like you’re always talking about. “No woman in her right mind would have me.

NO GOOD DEED “Besides. What’s my dream? Why do I get up every morning? 43 . “She can ride my bitch seat anytime.” I nodded.” “You believe that?” “I do. something to make him get up in the morning. The woman you meet twice a year on the motorcycle trip you take to Big Bend National Park. yes. I love her. but so does her husband. I guess every man had to have a dream.” Jeff smiled with a far-off look in his eyes. Dan. She promised me last time she was going to leave him and ride with me on a permanent basis. remember?” “That’s right. sir. Then it’s her and me and my Harley. that door’ll open and she’ll walk in. I have a thing. One day. I surely do.

D. The dispatcher’s calls ran on the two-way radio in my office. The emergency operator had determined the location.NO GOOD DEED CHAPTER 5 It was a slow afternoon the day my life changed and I had to climb down off that fence. As I listened. Most of the time it was turned down. Like it does so many times. but lately I’d felt the need to be nearer the action than an Excel spreadsheet. whose jurisdiction it fell into and had called the Riceland Police 44 . A call came in that sounded interesting. it was not a change I’d planned. I continued working the numbers and kept one ear on the exchange. working on my usual stack of never-ending paperwork. but that didn’t stop it. I had no idea how interesting this would become and how deeply I would get sucked into it. I was in my office at Riceland P.

“The bastard did it again. “Yes. I pulled on my department issue black jacket and headed toward 45 . that much I could tell.” the other woman said. I’m afraid I’ll lose control and wind up in the ditch. or it could be a jilted lover.” “Sir. I tried to put an identity to the raised voice. a patrol car will be there in just a few minutes. and I heard her speaking into another microphone.” A man’s breathless voice came over the line. distant. the man’s startled curse. wondering myself. where are you. “I’m sending someone right now. What the hell does he want?” His voice cracked like a boy going through puberty. “I need help. A few moments went by before he spoke again.” “Thank you. It usually boils down to either sex or drugs and it’s usually someone you know. I don’t know what it’s called. Our dispatch answered and patched in the call. both the dispatcher and the operator were on the line with a caller. Can you send someone right away?” For the first time. I paused for a moment. glass breaking. exactly?” “On the shortcut between Riceland and 290 heading north. He sounded like he was in his early thirties and trying hard not to panic.” The man’s breath blew into the phone. I heard the sound of gunfire. filled with static. I heard the fear in his voice. then grabbed my Stetson and slid it on.NO GOOD DEED Department. I’m on a rural road and there is a person trying to run me off! He won’t go around and he’s hitting my bumper. Drugs perhaps. That’s the way my cop mind works. I bolted to attention. “Shit! He hit me again. or a jealous girlfriend or wife. Please hurry!” “Sir. “Is there an emergency?” the dispatcher asked. calling for the nearest unit to respond and sending a unit to the scene. Now.

the road that cut through the rice fields to S. where Riceland Memorial was located. I had one ear tuned to the radio.H. Something in that man’s voice told me to get off my ass and go to him. I called in to dispatch. What the hell was going on? Someone had shot the officer who responded to the call? Shit. It was as if he were talking to me. What about the caller? What was he 46 . “He just called in. In fact. The back roads weren’t set up for high speeds. in some spots if you didn’t slow down you’d wind up in the deep ditches that ran alongside the roads. Captain.” I was at least ten minutes out. and they’d get there before I would.NO GOOD DEED the slick-top Crown Victoria waiting in the parking lot. A panicked voice I recognized as the caller shouted. I knew I had sergeants to handle calls so there really was no need for me to go.” I know mine did. and I knew there were other units in the area that would arrive before me. 290 and turned onto it. It had been quiet for too long. “I need an ambulance! Officer down! We need help! Oh. I don’t think I could have explained it. listening for his voice. heading to the scene. It would come from 290. Every officer’s adrenaline must have red lined with those words “officer down. officer down!” My foot pressed harder on the accelerator. I raced down Main Street until I reached the intersection of FM149. The radio was quiet. The dispatcher confirmed the call for the ambulance. either. and my stomach rolled with each silent minute. Lights spinning. but there I was. He’s reached the scene and is out of the car. siren screaming. “What’s the ETA on the cruiser?” My stomach was a tight knot of dread and my hands sweated on the steering wheel. God.

I moved on toward the wrecked car at the other end of the bridge. I looked inside and spotted a worn black leather jacket on the passenger seat. The rear of the wagon was filled with flats of colorful plants. up ahead. Wife. My first duty was to see to my wounded man. Fuck. I recognized him. When I pulled up and parked I could see the EMTs working on one of our officers lying on the ground in the middle of the bridge that spanned the creek. One of the paramedics gave me a thumbs up. Two kids. Two other patrol cars had arrived at the scene before I did and they were blocking both ends of the bridge. indicating he’d be all right. I turned my attention to what was going on around me. One of our patrol officers. but I wasn’t listening to it as I drove too fast and took too many chances on the curves. At last. Hagan’s patrol car was parked behind the Volvo. the strobe of blue and red lights marked the scene. The Volvo’s driver’s side rear window glass had shattered all over the back seat. trouble lights still spinning. The medics ran tubing into his arm and called his stats into the hospital. 47 . I was beginning to wonder if I’d imagined his voice when I approached the patrol car just past the wrecked vehicle and spotted a man in the backseat.NO GOOD DEED doing calling for help on our radio? There was some chatter. I took in the scene. then stopped. Walking toward where the uniforms had gathered. What I didn’t see was the man who’d called this in. A late model Volvo station wagon had parked on the side of the road at the near end of the bridge. Donald Hagan. he’d been with the department almost ten years.

we have the suspect in custody. “Captain Chan. He turned his head to look at me. “Sergeant Lopez. His eyes were blue pools of hurt. and a dead man 48 . Light brown hair. Then he lowered his head against the back of the seat again and closed his eyes. like he’d been arrested. my hand resting on the butt of the semi-automatic on my hip. He didn’t have a shirt on. I looked around the scene again. haloed his head and his lips moved as if he were mumbling. almost wild and unkempt. but sensual. a Chinese cop. dismay. I swallowed hard. tense group. In that instant. fighting the insane urge to open the door and drag him out of there.NO GOOD DEED I trotted up to the car and froze. and I could hear him thinking. I knew he was gay. and fear swam in them. fragile. Instead. but mostly hurt. I stood there staring at him and then tried to make sense of the scene. Huh. He licked his full lips and grimaced at the taste of blood running from the corner of his mouth. but all I spotted were uniforms and medics. His hands had been cuffed behind his back and he leaned forward. what’s going on?” I demanded. What the hell was going on? Our gazes locked through the window. He was the most beautiful man I think I’d ever seen. Beautiful. his head tilted. too. Sadness. and looked at him through the window of the cruiser. His eyebrows furrowed. He’d called for help and now he sat in the back of a cruiser. resting his head on the back of the driver’s seat. I continued to where my officers stood in a tight. This couldn’t be the same man. This had to be the man on the phone because there was no one else present.

“Did you call out Homicide? And the crime scene unit?” I asked. not mine. for a man who planned to ambush a cop?” Could Lopez be that dumb or that bigoted? “I guess. “His shirt. The CSU fell under the coroner’s department. that’s my guess. There’s a jacket on the front seat of his car and the rear is filled with flowers. I lowered my voice. “You never know what these druggies 49 . Lopez was a real hot dog. “Both of them?” I looked back in time to see the car with the man inside reverse and pull away. On their way. Our local funeral home would come out to pick up the body and transport it to the hospital. sir. seeing the problems with it immediately. feeling some light stubble and thought to myself I’d have to shave tomorrow. “Yes. “He wasn’t wearing a shirt. Called the coroner.” The young officer rocked on his feet as he reported to me. I could see he was still flying on the rush of the call. I wasn’t thrilled about him at a personal level. sir. but overall he was a good cop. He’d also made his thoughts about gays in the military and the police force more than clear in the station’s locker room. “Yes. where the city’s morgue and the coroner’s office were located. We marked the casings. He must’ve shot both of them. lights on and siren blaring. A trap.” The sergeant looked tense as he spoke. heading back to the Riceland police station.” I thought about that statement. Hagan’s gun has been fired twice and it looks like the dead man fired his weapon also. don’t you think. “Where is his shirt. That’s odd. a little too eager for my taste. Lopez?” I scratched my chin. but he’d made sergeant under the captain before me. too.NO GOOD DEED here. Meat wagon is coming. sir? What about it?” The sergeant cocked his head to the side.” He shrugged.

Now only part of it showed colors. and steady as a rock. I sat back on my heels as I finished spreading it out and grunted. the rest mottled with dark red blood. a good man.” I squatted down and pulled a pen from my pocket. but didn’t mention anything. My guess is meth. He was babbling and stuttering so badly I couldn’t understand a word. It would be up to my detectives to deal with it and what it might or might not mean to the case. Found it when we started to work on Hagan. but I don’t think it belongs to him.” I said. A bloody lump of fabric lay on the concrete. Officer Morton.” He gave me a sharp nod as if that were enough evidence. “Bring me a large evidence bag. It had been a sunny yellow. “Come see this. I pushed the fabric around trying to unfold it. We sure as hell don’t. Hints of bright yellow showed as I worked. I think your guys might want it. about to point out a few of the problems I saw with his bone-head theory.” I trotted over to the medic kneeling next to Hagan and pointing at the ground. “Captain Chan!” One of the paramedics was waving at me. I pulled on a pair of latex gloves as I waited for him to bring the bag. I recognized the symbol. His shirt. “He doesn’t look like a druggie. He looks like a man who’s witnessed an officer being shot and a man killed. “What is it?” “Well. 50 .” Morton was the second man on the scene. it was being used by the officer to stop the bleeding before he passed out. when I heard my name being called. On the pocket over the chest a rainbow had been embroidered. He fought like a tiger before I got the cuffs on him.NO GOOD DEED will do.

I just couldn’t make it fit. I zipped it shut and handed it back to Morton. blood soaking through it. A semi-automatic. in more ways than one. arms flung out. He looked to be under twenty. If the juvie shot Hagen and the gay guy was in on it. an IV drip hooked into his arm. lay about a foot from his right hand. one in his upper chest.” I pulled off the gloves. the other centered over his heart. black and chrome. and checked on him. Something was missing. so I went back to the gurney where Hagan was now strapped on. “Make sure that gets to the crime scene boys. his face hidden behind the respirator mask. The EMTs had cut away his uniform shirt and removed his Kevlar vest. walked over to the Crown Vic. Next.NO GOOD DEED After putting the bloody shirt in the bag. lying on his back. why was Hagan using the suspect’s shirt to staunch his bleeding? Because Hagan wasn’t using it? The detectives and the CSU guys arrived about that time. His eyes were open and the expression on his face told me his death came as a surprise to him. I stood. but not less than seventeen. We’re going to need it. But at 51 . and I knew the shirt was a key. The bullet had torn into his shoulder and the spot where the arm met his chest sported a thick bandage. Things were under control. A gay man buying flowers and a juvie with a badass gun ambush a cop? The two of them in cahoots? Lopez was wrong. and tossed them into a garbage bag next to my body armor vest. I went to the dead man. popped the trunk. I wondered if he’d ever be able to use that arm again. They were about to put him in the back of the ambulance. He was out. greeted them and happily turned the scene over to them. Two bullet holes.

Leaning against the Crown Vic.” I let him go. load him into the back.NO GOOD DEED least he was alive. but still something was bugging me. and they loaded him in. He got in the car. and then a moment later climbed out and trotted over to me. Don must’ve started his video just as he was making the stop. Both cars were being dusted and gone over and the young female tech. I headed back to my car. It’s still running. leaned against the side of the van and lit a cigarette. sir. with dark brown hair and eyes that don’t miss much and take in more than he spills out. As soon as the CSU guys were done. opened the rear doors.” I followed him to the car. “What’s up?” “We’re in luck. I took Hagan’s good hand and squeezed it. he’d put the stiff in a body bag. I pulled out a towel and wiped off my hand as I watched the crime scene guys work. see?” He pointed to one of the latest video cameras the cruisers were being outfitted with. Morton’s tall and thin. The ambulance drove off and was soon replaced by a sleek black van from the Riceland Mortuary. He knew the drill. Things were winding down. “You’re going to be all right. one of our newest hires. “Captain. took the photos. Don. The man driving parked. so we were lucky Hagan had been 52 . I stared at the blood on my hand from where I’d touched him. Not all of them were installed yet. something you should see. How does a flower-buying gay man become a gun-wielding cop shooter? Officer Morton had been assigned to drive Hagan’s cruiser back to the station. They didn’t need me in the way. and take him to the morgue for the autopsy that would prove beyond a shadow of a doubt he had been killed by a bullet to the heart.

NO GOOD DEED driving one of them. “Good work. Tossing the tape on the seat next to me. I backed up. 53 . Captain. I hustled over to my car. turned the car around. got in. and radioed that I was on my way back. “Pull out the tape and hand it to me. I want to look at this ASAP.” “Sure. Officer.” Morton closed the door and pulled away. and headed to the station.” I held out my hand and took it from him.

What a fucking mess.NO GOOD DEED CHAPTER 6 “Beth. “I thought you’d like to know. I’ll go by to see him when he’s out of recovery. Lopez was still at the scene and no doubt would be 54 . I need to look at a tape. I yanked out a large bottle of antacid tablets. Beth. popped two. Beth came in pushing the cart with a 19-inch color TV on the top shelf and a VCR on the second shelf.” I walked into the common room and found Morton filling out some papers.” “Thanks. and chewed slowly. Pulling open my left hand drawer. I hated having a cop hurt on my watch. A few minutes later. Officer Hagan is in surgery now.” I went into my office and sat at the desk. get me the TV and VCR stand.

I wouldn’t expect him back until later. clinging to the car. and leaned in to speak to the man through the passenger side front window. On the opposite side of the car.NO GOOD DEED busy writing his report and dealing with the detectives.” Just as I thought. Name’s Mark Montgomery and he lives right here in Riceland. I’m at my limit.” I sat in my leather swivel chair and the officer perched on the edge of my desk to watch. Don got out of his car. “I ran the man through the system. The TV came on and the tape started. I want you to watch this tape with me.” Morton stood and brought the coffee he’d been sipping with him. “Here it is. Captain. Montgomery opened his door and struggled to get out. Some of the other guys weren’t so diligent. Captain?” He held up his own cup. I fast forwarded it with the remote and found the place where Hagan had started the tape as he pulled up to Montgomery’s Volvo. The dead guy is Jimmy Ray Ridge…has a juvie rap sheet a mile long. approached the Volvo. he’s been picked up for selling meth. Slipped on the muddy slope. but finally. It was hard to tell his age from the quality of the camera. Not even a traffic ticket.to late-thirties. he made it to the road. 55 .” I slid the tape into the VCR and picked up the remote. thanks. a law-abiding citizen and a drug dealing hoodlum whose lives just happened to cross on a lonely back road.” “Perfect. I figured he was in his mid. Of most recent note. “No. Hagan had been good about using the video. “Want a cup. “Come in here. It was a previous traffic stop. and he’s clean. then he trotted toward the wreck. but from what I’d seen. I grunted.

“He’s not supposed to 56 . I couldn’t tell which. The yellow T-shirt’s long sleeves had been pushed up to his elbows. In the distance. I was sure Hagan was telling the guy he’d have to pop the shooter. I closed my eyes for a second. or to calm himself. a man came into view.” Morton pointed at the screen. Hagan tried to get up. Hagan turned toward him and was shot. Waving his arms. Montgomery looked around. Montgomery ran to him and knelt as Hagan rolled on the ground in pain. “Why’d Don do that?” Morton asked. “Look. Then he pulled his shirt over his head.” I reversed the tape. slender. there’s a gun in his hand. he’s got his hand on Montgomery’s arm. trying to climb up the side of the ditch. folded it up. “Hagan’s talking to him. and rocked back and forth as if trying to decide what to do. eyes closed. It looked like they were talking.” “He’s got Hagan’s gun!” Morton stood up. probably refusing.NO GOOD DEED about five-ten. and focused on the interaction of the cop and the juvie in the background. then he started to help Hagan. He slipped and slid. I froze the tape. and then he pulled the gun out of Hagan’s holster. That was our dead juvie. as if for someone. then pulled himself onto the bridge. but Montgomery held him back. Nice ass. Montgomery shook his head. and used it to stop the bleeding. but muscled. hit play. “Shit. Montgomery hugged himself. Hagan lay on the cement. teeth gritted. His jeans weren’t tight. Montgomery was shaking his head. he headed toward the officer on the bridge. but you could still make out the shape of his butt in them. Look.

hitting the attacker. The officer got out and headed toward the scene at a lope. I bet he’d never been treated like that before. Almost ten minutes went by before the second patrol car appeared on the screen behind the wrecked car. The sergeant had jumped to conclusions and he wasn’t being too picky about how he treated Montgomery.” “I’m right-handed. “Fuck. Every few minutes.” I looked away. Captain. but Montgomery fired again. Montgomery sat back and put down the gun next to him. or check his neck for a pulse.” Lopez fell on Montgomery.” Morton looked down at his left hand as he considered his chances. 57 . but not stopping him.NO GOOD DEED give up his weapon. and slammed him to the ground. all the while rocking and talking. He figured Montgomery would have to shoot the guy if they both were going to make it. He kept advancing. Then he leveled the weapon at Montgomery. I knew exactly how the adrenaline pumped in those situations.” “Did you see his arm? It was useless is my guess. picked him up. After checking on Hagan. but you could tell his was talking. his hand on his holstered gun. I couldn’t tell if he was talking to Hagen or himself. “That’s not me. and waving his gun around. the shooter was pretty far away. Montgomery straightened with both hands on Hagan’s gun. yelling. Sergeant Lopez. not wanting to see. “I guess that was the only choice. it’s Bernie. he went back to applying pressure to the wound. I don’t know if I could shoot with my left. The first shot went off. he’d wipe Hagan’s forehead with his hand.” I started the tape. In the background. and the guy hit his knees and went down.

” I started thinking about the endless legal possibilities a good lawyer could raise with this tape. and hit rewind. “The chief will need to see this. “You’re not going to like this.” I paused. too. stopped the tape. I could see the headlines now…“Riceland Cops Beat Hero.’” “He meant the perp. ‘He said he shot him.” Morton shook his head.” “Where is he?” I felt the acid churning in my stomach.” It was a feeble excuse. it fucked Lopez. sir.” Morton pointed to the screen. He hit his head going in.” “Nicely?” “No. not the officer. “What?” I picked up something on the man’s face. 58 . Lopez twisted Montgomery’s arms around his back and cuffed him. sorry. It cleared Montgomery. and a good lawyer would have a field day. but. “I think he said. We look like pigs. “Where is he?” Morton hesitated. so was the department. And when the officer was fucked. We really fucked up. “Lopez said Montgomery admitted he’d shot Hagan.” “What exactly did Lopez say to you?” I stopped the tape.NO GOOD DEED He tried desperately to escape Lopez. as he came into range of the camera. man. I started the tape again. sir. and he’s a real-life hero. sir. He tried to crawl away from him. Lopez wasn’t too careful. but Lopez put him in a restraining hold and finally got his knee in Montgomery’s back to hold him down. Lopez jerked Montgomery to his feet and led him away to the waiting patrol car. Legal. “We didn’t know. for Christ sake.” “Fuck.” This time I swore out loud. flailing and yelling. “Here I am. “We put him in Barra’s car. sir.

sir. his head on the tabletop facing away from me. no one should be treated this way. For the detectives.” His voice became soft. he’s been doing a lot of yelling. With obvious effort. “Fag?” My chest heaved. on the bridge. “Barra left him cuffed. “Never use that word again. “I don’t care what he did. but I’ve been putting him off.” “He’s not been processed?” What were the men thinking? “No.NO GOOD DEED completely wiping out any benefits of the two antacids I’d just taken. opened the door. sir. Officer Barra. Montgomery sat at the table.” He laughed. It’s not our procedure. asking to use the phone. “Everyone thought he’d shot Hagan. and I must have been blowing steam out my ears because Barra shrank back against the wall. I found the room with Barra standing outside the door. it hit me.” His voice was soft and deep and would have been sexy in another context. understand me?” Barra nodded. and stepped inside the small cinder block room. he raised himself up and looked at me. but I knew it was probably hoarse from the yelling.” “Fuck!” I jumped up and headed to the back of the station where interrogation was located. “Is he in there?” “Yes. he stopped. but when he looked at my expression. “In one of the interrogation rooms. Still. we… Patrolman Barra thought he could wait. somewhere in the 59 . is it?” “No. “I saw you before.” I took a deep breath.” He paused. sir. “Captain!” He pushed off the wall where he’d been leaning. Fucking fag can get a lawyer later.

“Mr. Up close he was younger than I had first thought. opened the cuffs. as if he’d been hurt before. but they were red.” Something told me to tread easy with this man. fascinated. “No. Please. There was a scrape on his cheek and on his chin and dried blood on his throat. He had high cheekbones and the most incredible blue eyes I’d ever seen. Finally. and he stood and turned his back to me. I know you didn’t. but he shied away like a frightened animal. His bare chest was sculpted. “I’d like you to follow me. A soft line of brown hair trailed down his chest to disappear below the waistband of his jeans.” I reached toward him and tried to help him stand. “You don’t think I shot the officer?” His voice told me he didn’t believe me. It’s all been a terrible misunderstanding. Wounded. There was an aura of pain around him. let’s go. then tossed them on the table. and I found it hard to breathe. My gaze stuck on it for a moment. and I can’t say how I sorry I am for the way you’ve been treated.” I stepped back. then I cleared my throat and shifted my gaze to his face. I used the key. You’re not being held. but they were so stiff and sore it was an effort to move them. A small brown birthmark sat just above the flat dark nipple on his left side. and gestured with my hand to the open door. I showed him the key to the cuffs. he just held his arms at his sides and looked down at his wrists. but not overly so. giving him space.” “Where are we going?” He sniffed and licked his parched lips. maybe just thirty-two or three. They weren’t bleeding. 60 . I’m Captain Daniel Chan. Montgomery. He grimaced as he tried to bring his arms around to the front. “The officers made a mistake.NO GOOD DEED solar plexus.

“Would you like to call someone?” I pushed the phone toward him. trying to get on his good side. you should’ve been processed sooner. “Well. It was probably the side Lopez hadn’t slammed into the pavement. technically—” He interrupted me. I’ll admit. “Yes. Montgomery. Mr.” he shot back. I should’ve been allowed one call. “Please. Somehow. “My men told me you were asking to use the phone. He sat stiffly in the chair. opened it. But. but the law doesn’t actually state a time frame for your call.” “Well…I know my rights. take a seat. technically. and called for Beth to bring in a bottle. they’d found out what had happened and now they were doing damage control and making themselves scarce. get you some water. “Sure. Although he tried to control it.” I tried to salvage some shred of dignity for my men. We’ll get you cleaned up.” He nodded and followed me down the corridor. “There isn’t anyone.” 61 . Can I get some water?” He unclenched his fists and laid his hands flat on his thighs. glaring at me. and we’ll get everything straightened out. I could feel it radiating off him. “Oh? What does the law say about how long a person can be left in handcuffs.” I smiled. There was a marked absence of officers.” I went to the door. Captain?” “Normally.NO GOOD DEED “To my office. I’d like to ‘technically’ call my lawyer. his wariness and disbelief had been replaced by anger. By the time he reached my office.

He sat back and looked at me. We already have one man gravely injured. “Yes. “I’ll just bet you wouldn’t like to get involved with a lawyer. “No. “Nothing. Captain. his throat as it moved. “Could you explain to me exactly what you mean?” I needed to be sure before I made a huge mistake. considering what I hoped would be a reasonable position. The news media either. It was a low blow. I watched him drink.” His chin jerked upward. what can we do for you?” I spread my hands out on the table. draining half the bottle before putting it down. Mr. Let’s just say the department would rather not be involved in any legal entanglements due to this unfortunate incident. I broke the seal on the top and put it in front of Montgomery. There was a soft knock on the door and Beth opened it. He was tougher than I gave him credit for. Again. “I’d hoped that wouldn’t be necessary. that wouldn’t be my choice of outcomes.” I stood and took it from her.NO GOOD DEED Check. Mr. It would be a shame to ruin anyone else’s career. then shut the door. but his blue eyes blazed. and I felt awful about using guilt on him. My move. Montgomery? Are you sure?” I wondered what he meant. He picked it up. making it sound as if it had been his fault some stranger decided to attack him or he was responsible for Hagan’s injury. nothing. 62 .” Check. His smile was tight.” He let the threat hang in the air. “Here’s your water. “Nothing.” His eyes met mine. as if it was the most fascinating thing I’d ever seen. Montgomery. costing the department money or its reputation.

and he’ll be recognized for his bravery. I want to go home and try to forget what I did. including his cell phone. “Of course. Captain Chan. “I just want to go home now. I could barely hear him.NO GOOD DEED It was certainly one of the most beautiful. Then I stopped at Beth’s desk and asked that Mr. I headed to my locker. as you said.” His voice was so soft now. Still. I’ll be right back. Game over. He frowned and shook his head. and pulled out a plain white T-shirt hanging from a hook. quickly dialed the combination. Let’s get you cleaned up first. He shook his head. 63 . the only hero out there was Officer Hagan. I found a towel and a washcloth. Montgomery’s belongings. held out his fingers and stared at the blood. I grabbed a little soap and worked up a soft lather. injured trying to help me. Officer Hagan was injured in the line of duty. “For me. Wrapping it in the towel. After soaking the cloth in warm water.” His gaze rested finally on his hands as his shoulders slumped. He licked his lips. “Officer Hagan was. “I don’t want a lawyer or to talk to the media. That’s all I want anyone to know.” His gaze darted away as he checked out one of my diplomas on the wall.” The last part was followed by a long sigh. Just wait for a few minutes.” He smiled tightly at me. I realize there were two heroes on the bridge today. I’d just as soon no one knew about what happened. Check again. it wasn’t my job to…do what I did. “However. Hagan hadn’t been the only one injured. even if it was his job. He wiped his hand on his cheek. to be brought to me. I’ll take you home myself.” I stood and went down the hall to the locker room. “Yes.” His hopeful gaze flicked up to mine and held it. I wondered if the right side had won.

several commendations and a few pictures of me with local dignitaries seemed to interest him. so I babbled a bit. his eyes blaming me for his pain. reading my diplomas and awards. “It’s from the handcuffs. barely hiding a smile. but it seemed vain even to me to have a mirror.” He didn’t believe me for an instant. 64 . Seems I wasn’t the only one with gaydar. Right. “My family wanted me to take over the family business. “Ow. I didn’t know what to say. It’ll stop soon. My bachelor’s degree in Finance from University of Texas at Austin. He glared at me. “You can use the mirror here. it’ll be pretty uncomfortable.” I’m terrible at apologizing—I knew it.” Technically. I bent to pick it up. that hurts like a bitch!” He shook his hands. but until the circulation comes back.” I explained.” He turned to face me.” I closed the door and pointed to the full length mirror attached to the back of the door. “Do you use this often?” He raised an eyebrow at me. I handed him the soapy towel. “Oh. Captain Chan?” He tilted his head.NO GOOD DEED I came back in. and I wasn’t any better this time—but I was going to try really hard to make the best of this situation. but winced and dropped the damp cloth on the floor. He didn’t say a word. but that must have hurt also. just took the cloth from me. but I wanted to be a cop. “Do they know you’re gay. He was on his feet. “The captain before me had it put on the door and I never got around to taking it off. I’d give anything to have been able to fix it. his expression unreadable. “I’m not gay. my Houston police academy diploma.

“Sorry. My dick had certainly woken up and taken notice of the heat coming off the smaller body next to mine. Trying again. I don’t like being touched. but this time he didn’t move away. They say. nostrils flaring. concentrating on the next scrape on his cheek. “Here.” He spoke quietly. some flowery fragrance. 65 . but quivering with fear and ready to bolt at the slightest movement. let me do it. Not really wanting to. but he raised his chin to me. I was putting that theory into practice. holding up the cloth. As I worked the towel over the scrape. bad. Mark. trying to hold still. Silently. I stepped away from him. Bad. He flinched. whoever “they” are. I wiped off the blood on his neck. but he didn’t say anything. I could feel his warm breath on my hand. that scent is the one sense that illicits the most powerful emotions and physical reactions. I could smell the gun’s cordite in his hair and what must have been his shampoo. His forehead came level to my chin. I couldn’t help but glance at his bare chest. He looked up and caught me. Right now.” He nodded. He jerked away like a wild animal. I love how a man smells. and I’m always amazed at how it affects me. The cloth ended up covered in dirt and blood. to keep safe. his musk and his sweat. still glaring at me as I took his chin in my hand. without touching him. but at last his face was clean.NO GOOD DEED I approached him. Can I call you Mark?” “Yes. and I saw a flare of awareness in his eyes. bad idea. When that one was clean. I began to wipe the dirt and blood gently away from the scrape on his forehead. He was the perfect height for me to tuck into my body. Our gazes met again. he studied my face as I worked. I glanced away.

Your department has nothing to worry about.” His heated gaze stabbed me as his chin jutted forward. “Can I go now?” “I’m sure you don’t want to go out dressed like this. Mark?” He nodded. We had a lot to make up for.NO GOOD DEED He cleared his throat gently. “I can’t seem to lift my arms up. and he reluctantly turned back to me.” I held out the shirt to him. he stopped. it was way too big for him and easy to get on. “Thanks. Not at all. “I was going for just that look.” he shot back. He didn’t deserve to be treated like he’d been. The best thing to do for both of us was to walk away from this. “It looks good on you. My word is good. He may have been hurt and angry. but I don’t 66 . There was a bruise on the smooth pale skin of his back. And I knew that wasn’t good.” He turned his back to me. It was a train wreck just waiting to happen. a pointless touch of modesty. Captain Chan. As he tried to raise his arms. My shoulders are locked. I knew I wanted him. Luckily. A gasp caught in his throat.” He blushed and right then.” “Let me help. “Can I speak frankly.” I stepped forward again and helped ease him into the shirt. I brought you a shirt to wear. the shirt scrunched halfway up on his arms. “I’m truly ashamed of the way you were treated. “How does it look?” “Like clean scrapes now.” I smiled. but he was also brave and honorable. with the main casualty being me and the derailment of my career. “You don’t have to be so damn nice to me. probably from where Lopez had put his knee to hold him down. so I didn’t hurt him too much.

“I want you to say this out loud. stepped away from Mark. “Keep going. Alone. we have it all on tape. Mark. and I’m incredibly grateful. trained for it. I held him with one hand and with the other lifted his chin once again. and have a built-in support group to help you get through it. “If I hadn’t killed that man. His eyelids shuttered. God…” He moaned. I knew he would probably never get the image of the man he’d killed out of his mind.” My gaze caught his and held it. “If I hadn’t…k-k-killed that man…” His voice faded.” His breath caught in a gulp and he nodded. and jerked my head at the table. “I k-k-killed…” he stuttered. “Oh. I’m torn. He laid his head on my chest and shuddered. he would have killed the officer and me. “He would have…k-k-killed the officer and…me. either. You saved my officer’s life. I held him gently against me. “His belongings. So you see.” So much pain in those beautiful eyes. It seemed we’d gotten past the no touching rule. and I jumped forward to catch him before he collapsed. “That’s right.” His mouth opened and he stared at us locked in that embrace.” I tried to smile. I cleared my throat. It was self-defense. However. his arms hanging straight at his sides. he swayed. like you asked.” I ordered. It was hard enough to face when you’re a cop. sir.NO GOOD DEED want to see a good man’s career jeopardized. I cursed Hagan for putting a civilian in this position. I knew the agony of living with knowing you’d killed another human being.” The door opened and a young officer stepped in the room. He put the 67 . I do feel a sense of responsibility to you. You’ll be cleared. you don’t stand a chance.

I have lots of plants. I wasn’t ready for the fifth degree just yet. I opened the door. for now. I’d seen that look on her before and it meant she had plenty of questions and she was dying to ask them.NO GOOD DEED plastic bag down and backed out of the room. At Beth’s desk. I headed down Main Street.” Mark had found his voice again and he pulled away from me. I’ll be back later. “Can I go? I just want to go home. tight-lipped. Montgomery home.” “I can arrange for a rental with my insurance agency once I’m home. We passed the town square lined with several little antique 68 . Before the end of the day. He gave me directions to his house. “I’ll make sure you get them. where all the streets had names of trees. We impounded your car as evidence. wiping his eyes the sleeve of the T-shirt. The answers I kept coming up with I really didn’t like. in the opposite direction from my house. I’d have more to contend with than one of my men beating up the man who saved Hagan’s life.” She nodded. I don’t need them. me driving and him staring out the window. It was in the heart of downtown Riceland. “No.” Mark groaned at my weak attempt at humor. “Yes. I stopped. his head cocked to the side. I like that in a guy. Shit. biting his bottom lip. though.” He gave me a quick smile of thanks that lit his face for a moment. he followed me through the station. You’ll get it back after we’ve finished with it. “I’m driving Mr. Maybe tomorrow. twisting his hands together on his lap. shutting the door behind him. We rode in silence at first. I could get my plants from the back of my car? Surely you don’t need them?” He paused.

Captain Chan.” “I’ve used them before. We can trace our family to the late 1880s. I wanted him to keep smiling. “They don’t speak Chinese. “I never met a Chinese cop before. “I understand they’re not so uncommon in China. For a few minutes. “What’s the business?” “They own a string of dry cleaners in Houston. “Almost twenty-five years. I guess I watched too many cop shows when I was little. “You don’t have an accent. You should see them on Go Texan Day for the Houston Livestock and Rodeo. We’re pretty acculturated.” “It’s a very good drawl. where he signaled for me to turn right.” I caught his quick smile.” “You don’t count my Texan drawl? I’m mighty proud of it. “Like I said. and I was ridiculously pleased I’d amused him. We continued down the street for several blocks.” I shrugged.” “My parents are fourth-generation Texans. Were they very disappointed?” “Yeah. he was quiet. but they’re over it now.” He smiled at my joke. and Cherry. it took them over twenty years. Daylight Cleaners. Then. to Elm.” 69 . my parents wanted me to run the family business.” I grinned. the Main Street Diner.” He a slow grin crossed his face. past Oak. and several boutique shops.NO GOOD DEED shops. but I wanted to be a cop. but I caught it and smiled back at him despite my knowledge any encouragement was bad. Probably doing the math and figuring out I was way too old for him. They’ve had box seats for as long as I can remember. Maple.” “How long have you been a policeman?” Mark continued to question me.

” “Did you want children?” “At one time. when I was young and foolish. not a cop.” I assured him. running the siren?” That killer smile was back as he teased me. we never had kids. not on the street. I work mostly on budgets. “Nowadays. “Do you arrest people a lot?” “No. Guess the age difference didn’t scare him off. he was checking me out. “Sorry if I’m being too personal. “That was the best part.” Yep. Eventually. Less dangerous for a man of my age. I used to. “You weren’t. and manage the officers. but not anymore. flashing the lights. He glanced out the window and then turned back to me.” I said wistfully.NO GOOD DEED “I didn’t mean to be rude…” Mark blushed. We weren’t married long enough.” I shrugged.” “It’s all right.” 70 . Slow down. my wife wanted to be married to a rich dry cleaner. Don’t get too excited.” “And now that you’re older?” “No way. “Do you have any kids?” “No.” “Oh…” He paused.” Mark looked sideways at me while I drove. I guess I’m just nervous and need to talk. “Divorced. I’m glad I’m in the office. “Do you miss being on the street? Driving the car. seeing no need to tell him my family bought me a wife. schedules. “Was your divorce a casualty of your job?” “Yes. she married the right man. he interrupted me. I was sure he checked out my ring finger. Just curious. “Are you married?” he asked. Still gazing out the window. I don’t mind—” I tried to sound casual. In the office.

” I stepped in closer. but I thought you’d like it back now. Mark nodded and placed a hand lightly on my chest. with a swing hanging from the rafters. The earth colors on the walls and the furniture were masculine and appealed to me. why do I wake up every day feeling so damn old? We pulled up to the house and parked. The garden beds around the front of the house were bare. I don’t know what I’d expected. The white. We stepped into a large living area. He didn’t move away from me this time. Captain Chan. the earth looking freshly turned. “Come in please.” It was almost a question. I pulled him to me and held him tight. There were four wide steps leading up to a porch on the front. with beautiful wood floors and trim. 71 . one-story. calm and modern. his blue eyes locked on mine for a moment. “Sorry I didn’t wash it.” he said quietly. He handed me the shirt. If that’s true. Lots of hanging baskets of ferns between the columns. wood-sided house was not big. His body trembled.” I reached out and took his chin in my hand to look at the scrapes. He was wearing a navy T-shirt with grey sweats. I nodded and followed him. his head buried in my chest. Mark. knowing it was a mistake. “Make sure you put something on those scrapes. Leaving me standing just inside the front door. He unlocked the door and motioned me inside.NO GOOD DEED “You’re not so old.” Mark opened the door and got out. but not small either. The shutters and trim were painted dark green. Mark disappeared down a hall and then returned a few minutes later. I don’t know if I’ll see you again. “That’s fine. and I’ll change and let you have your shirt back. I liked the way he’d decorated. painted grey. Mark looked up at me.

but those blue eyes were killing me. “Can I call you later. Promise me you’ll find someone to talk to about this. I don’t know if anyone else could’ve done what you did.” I set him away from me. Mark. The door shut behind me. But I knew that wasn’t going to happen. make it all better. You did well. Mark ran his fingers through his hair. I couldn’t let it. 72 . any way he needed. “It’ll be all right.” I wondered if he meant he was already seeing a shrink or if he knew of someone. I have someone. feeling the muscles under the thin cotton shirt. I didn’t want to leave. just to check on you?” I asked as he opened the door for me to leave. and whispered. You were very brave.” “That’s okay.” He tried to smile. “I’ll give you the name of one of the people we use for our men when there’s a shooting.NO GOOD DEED I stroked my hand over his back. I wanted to stay. “Sure.

waiting. “Chief. do you like working here?” “Frequently. I was betting he’d like some Chinese. “Chan! Get in here and shut the door.” Good-bye thirty years. Immediately. there was a note taped to my door to see the Chief. I grabbed the videotape and headed to his office. “Captain Chan. you could have proved it earlier that day by Mark Montgomery and later that same day by yours truly. 73 . Underscored. Well. When I returned to the station.” Tasket’s voice told me he was pissed as hell and hungry to chew some ass. He must have arrived at the department during my drive to Mark’s. In red pen.NO GOOD DEED CHAPTER 7 I’ve heard it said no good deed goes unpunished.” I shut the door and stood before his desk.

“I don’t like having my men shot.” he repeated. “You took him home. Darlene doesn’t like being interrupted on my day off and I don’t know what the hell to say about you kissing suspected killers. I hear this Montgomery has shot one of my men. Chan? First. Especially me. “Sorry. And that my captain had this man in a lip lock. sir. I’ll try harder to look happier. “I took him home. I took him home. and I exhaled.” He drew so hard on the cigar and blew out puffs of smoke I wondered when the Indians were going to arrive.” His eyebrows went up in question.NO GOOD DEED “Doesn’t seem like it. “Where’s the guy?” He spoke slowly. the cigar gripped between two white bloodless lips and looked me up and down. My hand holding the tape was sweating.” He leaned back in his chair. no one likes that Hagan got shot. shit.” I spoke slowly to show I understood him.” He dropped his hand. “First. Obviously. a Field & Stream magazine lay open on an article about Guadalupe bass. but Officer Morton found the video in Hagan’s cruiser had recorded the whole 74 . sir. the men on the scene thought Montgomery shot Hagan. I was still having trouble understanding him. and for a second I thought I might drop it. “What the hell’s going on around here. Maybe I’d ask to borrow it after this was over.” Ah. “Yes. I started to say. I rush in here on my day off and now I find we’ve let him go. enunciating each word carefully so I could understand him. “What guy?” but Tasket put his hand on the Berretta at his hip and gave me a look that said don’t even try it. Second. On the desk.

He finger-massaged his eyes.” “Thank you. he assumed Montgomery had done the shooting.” I prayed that was enough to keep Tasket happy.” “Yes. Sergeant Lopez. He’d become upset. sir. After I watched the tape. ‘To protect and serve.” I held it out to him. Tasket continued to stare at me. do you still have the tape?” “Right here.” “Why was he mad?” “He had been”—I searched for an appropriate word—“manhandled by Lopez. He just lives on the other side of town. and I caught him before he hit the floor. sir. sir. Twice.” “It does say on the side of the car. sir. He sort of collapsed. “I was going to show it to you and to legal as soon as I got back. “I never kissed him.” “I’m glad we could be of assistance. he pulled out a bottle of pain reliever and popped two into his mouth and dry swallowed them.” “Why was he taken into custody?” “The first man. cuffed and left in the interrogation room for 75 . It didn’t take any time at all. Chan. He was pretty mad about the way he was treated. Pulling open a drawer. When he arrived on the scene. sir. Seems Montgomery saved both his life and Hagan’s by shooting the perp. jumped to conclusions. then he leaned back and ran his hand over his face. “Captain. we discovered the truth. About killing the perp.” “Then why was he arrested?” “Technically.” “From taking Montgomery home.’” “Glad you’re paying attention. he was never arrested.NO GOOD DEED incident.” “And third?” Tasket prompted me.

“Chief Tasket. and he never told. Tasket didn’t mention the alleged kiss. and not allowed to make a phone call or have his wounds. he settled in my chair behind my desk and leaned back. and he dressed oldfashioned. a white shirt and a bow tie. “Beth. When it was over. I cued up the tape and we waited for Hastings to arrive. Dan. except for the muttered curses of Tasket as he watched Mark being man-handled. He wasn’t my type and. but they were still at the crime scene. He had the softest looking hands I’d ever seen.” He waved his hand toward the television. ASAP. which our officers inflicted.” After Tasket followed me back to my office. His Texas drawl was soft. We watched the tape mostly in silence. for a lawyer. mine and the officers’ hanging in the balance. but somehow he never sounded like a redneck. I’d never asked.” He picked up his phone and hit a button. I’d always figured he was gay. besides. I thought he had something going on with the guy who ran the local garden center. Art Hastings is a good guy. sat in a chair I’d pulled in from the main office area and crossed his legs. 76 . He’s a small man with red hair flecked with gray. attending a myriad of social functions.” “Shit. I switched it off and stood back.” Art nodded to both of us. tended. sharp blue eyes.NO GOOD DEED almost three hours. The men were waiting for the detectives to get back to question him. Captain Chan. “Let’s watch that video. get Hastings in legal to come to Captain Chan’s office. benefits and speaking engagements. always in chinos. facing the two men. and I thanked whatever God watched out for dumb cops. His picture was always in the society section of the Riceland Reporter. No one had even read him the Miranda. “Let’s see the damage.” I could see Tasket adding up all the bad press in his head and weighing it…with his job.

he opened his eyes and cleared his throat. but he didn’t even flinch. Hopefully. “Mark Montgomery is gay. but I could feel his stare heating my back.” I didn’t want to say what I was going to say. Probably for our sorry asses if this went to court. Art raised an eyebrow. and he listened with his hands together and eyes closed as if praying. Montgomery. “Gentlemen. but we don’t need to advertise our bad behavior. He never raised his voice. “Where is this Mark Montgomery right now?” he asked quietly. We minimize the damage by keeping that as low-key as possible to reduce the media circus. absolutely no cover-ups. most of the scrutiny will be on what happened during the actual attack and not his ill treatment while in our hands and definitely not on his treatment as a gay man. I didn’t dare look at Tasket. gentlemen. The man has great control. we have two options. When I finished. “There’s more. “And this is relevant because?” “Lopez made a comment to me about ‘the fag. “I drove him home about an hour ago.” I met Art’s gaze.” He held up one perfectly manicured finger.” Art shook his head.NO GOOD DEED “Holy shit. That was one thing about Art. we conduct an official above-board inquiry into the shootings and recommend to the grand jury that it was self-defense and that no charges be brought against Mr. My first duty was to the station and its men.” I explained how we’d treated him while in our care to Art. “One. “Second”—his second finger came up—“we do nothing and try 77 . Keep everything on the up-and-up. but everyone in the room needed to know.’” Art winced and then sighed.


to sweep it all under the rug.” Tasket looked hopeful. “I must warn you that, in this case, a mere breath of what happened can explode into a full-fledged media-based investigation, which no one wants. And if Montgomery brings in a lawyer and files suit, which he’d win, I can’t even begin to count the damage it would cause to this department.” He didn’t have to add “and yourselves.” “What’s your recommendation, Art?” Tasket leaned forward in my chair, running his hand through his hair. I have to say one thing for the chief; if he trusts you, he listens. “Option one. Take the high road, do everything by the book and take your lumps.” Art stood and held out his hand. “I’ll take the tape and make a copy for the city attorney. Will you notify your men about what’s coming? Forward me a copy of all the reports. I suggest you give Lopez something more than a slap on the wrist—say, suspension without pay until this is over. A letter in his file. Show good faith that we punish our own. That sort of thing.” He pulled the door shut behind him as he left. Tasket swiveled around in my chair and faced the wall while he was thinking. “I want you to bring Mr. Montgomery back in tomorrow and let the detectives take a statement from him, strictly as an eyewitness. You seem to have established a rapport with him.” He turned back and eyed me, with a small upturn of one side of his mouth. “Keep him happy, Captain. Whatever it takes, make sure he doesn’t have any reason to call a lawyer or the media yelling about us violating his civil rights. “If we can contain him, do the investigation and make it to the grand jury without having this fuck-up explode in our faces, we’ll be home free. You write up the letter for Lopez and put him on leave, Captain. I’m going to the mayor and inform him about the


whole thing, assure him everything will be fine and take my lumps.” “Yes, sir.” Nothing I like better than cleaning up someone else’s crap. It’s why they pay me the big bucks and I have fancy stars on my shoulder. Lopez deserved more, as far as I was concerned, but a good dressing down would do him fine, and hitting a man in the pocketbook was always a good way of bringing home a lesson. He was lucky he wasn’t being fired. If Mark had raised a stink, they would have sacrificed him as sure as the sun comes up in the morning. I was glad I wasn’t in Tasket’s shoes, facing the mayor. “Anything else, Chief?” “I’m counting on you to git-er-done, Captain Chan.” Tasket rose and went back to his office, leaving my chair free at last for me. I sat down, opened the drawer and popped two more antacids. I had already decided not to hit Clancy’s tonight, but leave early and go to the hospital and check on Hagan. What a day. Another few like this one and my hair will turn grey. I had gotten off well, a lot better than I thought I would when Tasket first called me in. Lopez was getting better than he deserved, and the department would survive. The mayor would chew out the Chief, he’d chew me out, and I’d chew out Lopez. It’s true. Shit does flow downhill. * * *

The clock on my bedside table said ten after eleven. I’d been home for about an hour, during which I’d eaten a sandwich and showered. It had been rough at the hospital. Hagan’s wife was a mess, but the doctor said the surgeon had done an excellent job,


and they expected him to get most of the mobility in his arm back with a lot of physical therapy, of course. But he was lucky he was alive. I crawled into bed and lay back on the pillows. I picked up the Bayou Escorts business card and looked at it. Tempting and good for temporary relief, but not really permanently satisfying. Besides, I’ve never paid for sex, if you don’t count my wife, and I told myself I wasn’t starting now. Instead, I put it back down, picked up the phone, punched in directory assistance and asked for Mark Montgomery’s number. It was unlisted. I thought about pulling rank on the operator, but decided to get up and look in my notebook. I usually put it and the rest of the stuff from my pockets, like my keys, in a tray near the front door. I keep my gun on the bedside table and hang my holster on a chair in the kitchen. Padding down the hall in nothing but my boxers, I swung past the kitchen and picked up a bottle of juice. I had guzzled half of it by the time I got back to the bedroom with his number. He answered on the third ring. “Hello?” He still sounded hoarse. “Hello, Mark? It’s Daniel Chan. Captain Chan, from Riceland P.D.” “Oh, yes, hello. How are you?” He sounded pleased to hear from me. “I’m fine. I was calling to check on you, like I said I would.” Hoping that would count for something. “Am I calling too late?” “No, it’s all right. I was still up.” His voice tapered off. “Did you find someone to talk to?” “Yes. I have a doctor I see regularly. I’m seeing her on Monday.” “Having trouble sleeping?”


“Yes, how did you know?” “Been there, myself. It’s going to be rough for a while, you know.” “Oh. You killed someone.” It wasn’t a question. “Yes, in the line of duty.” I hated to admit it, and hated to think about it. “How’d you deal with it, Daniel?” He said my whole name, not just the shortened version. I liked that. My mother calls me Daniel when she is mad at me, but Mark caressed my name. “Talking about it. Knowing there wasn’t anything I could’ve done differently.” I blew out a breath of air, feeling my own frustration, my own regret. “I can’t tell you how many times I replayed it in my mind. If I’d done the right thing, was there any other way it could have gone down. It’ll eat you alive if you let it, Mark. Don’t get into second guessing and what ifs.” “Thanks, I’ll keep that in mind.” He paused, then inhaled. “I was actually thinking about it, running it over in my mind, and I don’t think there was any way it could have come out differently, except for Officer Hagan and me dead.” “Good.” I paused. “I need you to come back in to the station tomorrow so you can be interviewed by the detectives, Mark. It’s strictly a formality, but they need your statement. They’ll be taking one from Hagan as soon as he’s able to give one.” “Oh, okay. What time?” “How about two P.M.?” “Will you be there?” He sounded hopeful. He shouldn’t be. I shouldn’t be, for so many reasons. Our ages, for one. He was involved in the shooting of one of my officers, for two. I was still working on three and four, but in time I was sure I’d come up with something.


“I’m on duty, but I won’t be in the room with you. That’s the detective’s job.” “You’re just the delivery man?” The sarcasm in his voice was clear over the phone line. “That and other things. Do you need a ride?” I remembered his car was still in the impound lot. “Yes, I do. I won’t get the rental until later in the afternoon. Will it look funny, you bringing me in? Is delivery a normal part of your duty or do I pay extra for pick-up?” He was sharp. I enjoyed sparring with him. Too bad. “Part of my responsibility, yes. Also, just part of me. No charge for the pick-up, it’s on the house. I’ll be there at one-forty-five.” There was a long silence and then he sighed. “Mark?” More than I heard it, I felt him fading away. “Sorry, Daniel, I was drifting. I took a pill about twenty minutes ago. Guess it’s kicking in.” “What kind of pill?” I hoped I didn’t let the panic in my voice show. He couldn’t possibly be thinking along those lines, could he? Then I thought back to the condition I was in after my shooting. Maybe he was. “Don’t worry. I take these when I feel a panic attack coming. They relax me. I call them my ‘don’t give a shit’ pills, ’cause that’s how they make me feel…and they make me sleepy.” I could hear his steady breathing on the other end of the line. “Like now.” “I wanted to say, again, how sorry I am about how you were treated. I’m sure you’ve never been treated that way before. It must have been very upsetting.” I was talking just to hear him speak, trying to wring a little more conversation from him before he fell asleep. Grabbing what I could, so to speak. “Don’t worry; I’ve been beaten by the best.” His voice sounded

“What is his name?” “Jeff ‘The Bastard’ Granger. Yessir.” He giggled. It’ll hurt a lot less in the long run. Stay away from me. I wanted to hold him so bad it hurt. so I could know more.” I thought my heart would stop and all my resolve crumbled. “Huntsville. he must have realized our mutual attraction. and I sat up in bed. He was fading fast. I lay back in bed and shook my head. “’Kay. “Mark. I heard the click. It also seemed he had his own set of reasons why this would be a bad idea. beating me up. holding me. “But it’s no good.” At some level. All broken and I can’t be fixed. as if we needed any more. doing the last three years of his twelve.” he murmured. then the dial tone. sighed again and I knew he wouldn’t last much longer.” A long moment later. drifting farther away. What did I think I was looking for? What did I find? I retrieved my 83 .” His voice blurred again. “He beat you?” I tried to keep my voice steady. but pissed. hang up the phone now. “Where is he now?” I felt a prickle on my skin.NO GOOD DEED very groggy. “By who?” “Ex-boyfriend. My curiosity got the better of me. “So do I. I wanted him to keep talking. but his tone was sarcastic. to probe his background. That’s his official title. not sure about what I’d just heard. I’m no good. Daniel.” It was the truth. “Like a champ. the bastard. “I wish you were here. Do us both a favor. It had been wrong of me to take advantage of him like that.” I had intruded enough. I hope he rots in there. “Daniel?” he whispered. Things I knew he’d never tell me if he were wide awake.” He sounded a little more alert now. he was a real man. his speech a little slurred.

I knew he’d been with that prince of a guy. where the worst scars don’t show. either. How to get him and keep him? I had no clue. sadness and hope. At some point in all my crazy reasoning that had become clear. simple domestic violence wouldn’t get you twelve years. that took some real nasty work. Domestic abuse wasn’t just the domain of men and women.” I could deal with that. Shit. had to look at me with those blue eyes filled with hurt. but deep inside. I wanted him. I made a note to run Granger through NCRD. Something so bad it had broken Mark. No. But no. I wanted to rescue him. I’d never really had a long-term relationship and I wasn’t really sure that’s what either of us wanted. he had to tell me he was broken. “Let’s fuck. And this probably wasn’t the right way to do it. What is it with me that I’m such an idiot about matters of the heart? If Mark had simply said. too. Something bothered me. there was plenty of abuse between gay couples. the national criminal research database. I wouldn’t listen to his warning about staying away from him. 84 . I was a goner. and that he’d beaten Mark. as soon as I could.NO GOOD DEED notebook and started scribbling. Jeff Granger. I promised myself to find out what happened. Just like a cop…got to be the fucking hero. Not on the outside.

We talked about the weather.NO GOOD DEED CHAPTER 8 Mark smiled when he opened the front door. just the usual stuff people talk about to fill up uncomfortable silence. Now. Remind me to leave you a big tip. I asked about his gardening. We drove to the station with very little talking.” He pulled the door shut. but when he saw the flats of flowers and his roses from the back of his car. locked it and we left. he positively beamed. 85 . “Oh. what things were. I’m on salary. I’d stopped at the impound lot and picked them up. how to turn on the siren and lights. that’s wonderful! It’ll give me something to do later today. they sat on the porch just to the side of his steps and out of the sun. He asked about the patrol car.” “The management does not allow tipping.

Detective William Fry and Detective Jorge Vargas were two of the best men around and we were lucky to have them in a department as small as ours. but I didn’t want to bring it up. At the department. I leaned against the wall next to the window and flipped on the intercom so I could listen. but instead I slipped into the adjoining room to watch through the two-way glass. I wondered if he would let me touch him again. I had no idea how long this would take and I had lots of work waiting in my in-box. “Okay. No need to step into it with both feet when I could safely sit on my barbed wire fence. seen the video. Clearly. and had been to the hospital earlier this morning to interview Hagan. The door of the interrogation room closed me out and I thought about going back to my desk. he didn’t want them to touch him. but he pulled away and followed behind him. Vargas put out a tape recorder and announced who was present. They’d been at the crime scene yesterday. Montgomery. He told Mark this was merely a routine interview of a witness to the shooting of Officer Hagan.NO GOOD DEED Neither of us did much looking at each other. Vargas tried to lead Mark by the elbow. as if we were both too scared to risk a glance. the time and what they were there for. Since he wasn’t talking about it either. I was in the 86 . “I knew the shortcut was around there somewhere. tell us in your own words what happened. I let it go. gone over the evidence. My mind wandered to the glimpse of his back and chest and that tempting little birthmark before I was pulled back in to reality. I wondered how much of last night’s phone call he remembered.” Vargas said. Mr. I know I was. I introduced him to the two detectives assigned to the case.

I guess I was too busy thinking. I looked back in the rearview mirror. I’ve only lived in Riceland for a couple of months. Montgomery. “You were taking the turn-off…” Vargas reminded him. everyone is so rude nowadays.” “About?” Fry chimed in. “I slowed the Volvo down and pulled into the emergency lane to let the traffic go by. For my front yard.” He sat very upright with his hands clasped in front of him. “Yes. not a reason really. it’s a way of de-stressing. Anyway. I never noticed the car. It made me jump in my seat I was so deep in thought. It’s one of the reasons I moved here. some blue bonnets and some alyssum in different colors. Well. I love gardening.” Vargas encouraged him and shot a look at Fry. twisting a small silver ring on his right hand. I bought some rose starts in buckets and a few flats of spring plants. That’s the first time I noticed him. “Stuff. the universe. Fry shrugged.” He shrugged. “Right. “Go on. It just wasn’t where I thought it was. gardens. “The car was almost behind me when I heard the horn. My life. He hadn’t worn it yesterday. sounding interested.NO GOOD DEED left-hand lane of old Highway 290 and looking for that small sign that says Riceland. There’s no road courtesy. but I’d passed through town and liked it.” “You were alone?” Vargas asked. so when I decided to move I chose Riceland. You know the one? I had taken it just last month when I had to go to Hempstead. but I couldn’t make out the person because the windows were heavily 87 . with an arrow pointing left. so I knew it existed. so I don’t know my way around the back roads yet. Mr. I’d gone out to the little country garden center I’d discovered last spring.

I told them what was happening and where I was and they said they’d send someone right away to help. It was sort of a gentle nudge. I slowed and pulled as far over as I could. no cars. when it suddenly veered and started to pull up beside me. and motioned for the driver to go around.NO GOOD DEED tinted. In the next second. One second nothing. No houses. But whoever it was didn’t take his hand off the horn. You know that road. “I was looking back at the car. but when it came up to the back of my bumper it hit me. Each time harder than the last.” He stopped and took a sip of the bottled water they had given him. There’s just some grass and a huge ditch on either side. “What did you do then?” Vargas asked. There wasn’t any room on that road for me to pull over. The road was deserted.” Both detectives nodded and made noises showing they could understand that. “I grabbed my cell phone and dialed 9-1-1. He pulled up next to me and the passenger window rolled down. I tried to speed up. “I just jammed the accelerator to the floor and lurched ahead.” Mark took a deep breath and exhaled. but it scared the hell out of me. I was getting really scared. the back passenger window blew out. 88 . but his car had more pickup than my old Volvo. “I didn’t know what he wanted. and wham there was glass flying everywhere. “He bumped me a few more times. maybe three. “The car started to pass me. It happened so fast. I was worried if I pulled too far over I’d get stuck in the grass or go into the ditch. That’s when I saw the gun. so I rolled down my window.

When he jerked the wheel hard. “So I put it in drive and shot forward. The bridge is narrow. I took a deep breath. but I slammed on the brakes and the car shot past me. very nice.” Vargas cleared his throat. but the Volvo isn’t in the best of condition. He tried to regain control and put it back on the road. I knew it was too late. forcing it off the road. I tried to put as much distance between us as I could. Like we were playing chicken? Like I’d just let him ram me. I heard the 89 . with the bricks and stones. I suppose it was built back in the days of the WPA. “I suppose I should get a new car. You’ve seen it. I guess he overcompensated on the skid and veered back toward the bridge. The guy slammed on his brakes. That was very important in an interview. but the wheels were stuck in the soft ground. “When he got next to me and we were almost at the bridge.NO GOOD DEED “I guess it was just a reaction. “I saw the old bridge over the little creek up ahead and I decided I needed to do something fast. I kept searching for any signs of police lights. so you avoided him…then what?” Vargas put him back on track.” “Okay. It’s sort of pretty the way the rice fields give way to large oak trees on both banks of the stream. I kept thinking that the cop should be there anytime now. the car veered across the two lanes. without breaking his chain of thought. “Yes.” He stared up at the ceiling. and jerked my wheel hard to the left and smashed into the car. with no leeway on either side. going around him just before he was going to smash into my front. It looks like the stream cuts across the fields for miles in both directions. put his car in reverse and headed toward me. What happened then?” He moved Mark back in line. The person needs to feel relaxed so the flow of the narrative is smooth.

that it wasn’t just a random incident of ‘road rage’?” 90 . driving around. When I looked back the front of the car was crumpled and steam was pouring out from under the hood. Ridge was.” “I’m not into drugs.” He took a deep breath and let it out slowly. I checked myself out to make sure I wasn’t hurt. have you ever seen Jimmy Ray Ridge before?” “Is that…was that his name?” He shook his head. like I might pass out.NO GOOD DEED squealing of the tires and the car hit the concrete side with a huge crash. anywhere?” “No. I realized I was going to hyperventilate if I wasn’t careful. Are you thinking somehow I knew this man and he was trying to kill me on purpose. a known meth addict and dealer. I saw the lights of the patrol car flashing.” “Not in town.” He looked down at his hands. I was so scared. Montgomery. “Meth? Isn’t that a drug. How would I know him?” “This is also a routine question. “I thought I was rescued. never. we want to establish that this wasn’t anything personal between the two of you. “I was shaking so badly I couldn’t let go of the steering wheel. I can’t tell you how relieved I felt to see Officer Hagan. but Mr. What do you know about meth?” His brows scrunched together and he leaned forward.” “Mr. “I pulled over and stopped on the other side of the bridge to wait for the police. I felt lightheaded and dizzy. why?” “Well.” “Personal? He looked pretty young to me. “No. as far as we can tell. like cocaine or heroin?” “Yes. I don’t even drink. Just then.

I guess he was looking for the driver.” He folded his arms and looked irritated. the officer pulled up to your car. When I did get out of the car. but I couldn’t get my seatbelt off. A moment later. the bullet hit him. He searched it for a few seconds. as if he were cold.” “You didn’t think to run away. go back to your car and drive off?” Fry leaned forward his eyes intent on Mark’s face. I realized he didn’t know the man had a gun. Montgomery. “I don’t do drugs and I didn’t know that young man.NO GOOD DEED “We have to be sure of all our facts. I was on the bridge calling to the officer. “Weren’t you afraid of being shot?” Fry asked this time.” Mark hugged himself. He spun around from the impact and hit the pavement.” He shook his head. Mr. He took another sip of the water. Maybe if I had gotten to him sooner things would be different. and I told him I was fine. “I don’t think I was thinking about myself being shot. “The officer got out and ran to my car. “I wonder if I had left…” He let that hang. “I was too late. “So the car crashed.” “Never mind. To warn him. Then what happened?” Vargas tried to regain the momentum of his narrative. He headed toward the other car. “Officer Hagen reached the car and looked inside. I think I shouted at him. wide-eyed. “When I reached him. looking around the car. no! Of course not. “Well. so I tried to get out and tell him. I remember running toward him. I slipped on the grass and then started to follow him across the bridge. I wanted to tell him about the gun. He asked me if I was all right. What next?” Fry interrupted. blood was running from his shoulder and 91 . but he didn’t answer me.” He paused.

and blood on the ground under him. He told me to use the radio on his shoulder and call for help on it. they just push a button and talk into it. That I hoped he was running away. Then what happened?” “I started to stand up.NO GOOD DEED he had one hand over the wound. My jacket was still on the seat in the Volvo. He asked.” He shivered. There was blood all over the right side of his chest and arm.’ It seemed like the pool of blood he was lying in was getting bigger. but he stopped me. “I told him I didn’t know. just great. I was terrified he was going to die. I was afraid he’d passed out. Now! Send an ambulance!’ “By that time he was lying very still.’ He was in a lot of pain and very agitated. the blood was seeping between his fingers. “I leaned over him and looked at the device clipped to his shoulder. You have to call for help. so I shook him and his eyes opened. so I folded my shirt into a pad. I realized I needed to stop the bleeding quickly and that he was becoming shocky. He told me.” Mark looked around at his interviewers. Montgomery. ‘I need help…officer down. “I sat back down and pulled my shirt off over my head. I began to stand to go for help. It hurt him a lot. ‘Where’s the bastard who shot me?’” Mark didn’t stumble over the expletive. So I leaned over him and pushed the button and yelled. Mr. ‘I can’t move my arm. I knelt next to him. unbuttoned his shirt. “You’re doing a great job. but he caught my arm. but his eyes were open and fixed 92 . “He said. ‘It hurts…I’m cold. He closed his eyes then and his body shook. slipped it under where his hand was and applied pressure. I’ve seen them used on TV shows.

NO GOOD DEED on me.” “Officer Hagen pulled me down and told me he couldn’t shoot. “I took the gun from his holster and he told me what to do. then he continued. Mark closed his eyes. He seemed to be hanging in there pretty well. He said. Calling to us. “‘You have to. I didn’t know how to shoot a gun. I told him no. But they didn’t ask him to clarify the statement and let him continue. I knew he’d be to us soon and it’d be too late. He began ranting. Here’s my chance. I couldn’t do it. piggy. I told him to use his left hand.” “What did he say exactly?” Fry leaned forward. I always said I’d die before I’d let anyone hurt me again. or he’ll kill us both.’ he told me.” He took a big breath. It’s all bloody and I can’t get a firm grip. probably wondering what he meant by that.’ He yelled he was going to kill us both. “We heard his voice.’ and ‘You wrecked my ride. ‘I can’t use the other hand. remembering. He told me. said he was right-handed and his arm was useless. “‘Here. held it and then let it out slowly.” He paused and took another drink of water. saying things like ‘I’m coming for you. I’ll never hit him. too.’ I kept telling him no. trying to scramble up onto the roadway. He told me to take his gun. “I looked up and could see the man just reaching the end of the bridge.” The detectives looked at each other.” “Officer Hagan instructed you to take his gun? It wasn’t your idea?” “Right. It was heavy and barely fit in my hand. I didn’t want to do it. So I thought. I can’t shoot worth shit with my left hand. motherfucker. piggy!’ We both were scared then. He told me how to hold it and 93 . Jimmy Ridge.

’” Mark shivered and clasped his hands to keep them from fidgeting. I wouldn’t have known. He bit his bottom lip and twisted the ring around his finger. “It took me a second or so to run down the instructions because I wanted to make sure I did it right. ‘You’re going to pay for busting my car before you die. he was upset over the memory. So I raised the gun. at a point where the ceiling and wall met. he told me to shoot. He yelled. And don’t close your eyes. but Ridge just laughed and told me. fucker?’ I could see where the bullet had hit him because there was blood. motherfucker? I got one. ‘That the best you got. Squeeze the trigger. “Nothing happened…he just stood there. He watched Ridge. He said. ‘You got a gun. too!’ And he pointed the gun at us. and you get to watch. and said. he told me when to shoot. not his head. I wish I’d closed them. Fire twice.” “Officer Hagan told you when to shoot? Right?” Vargas wanted this to be very clear. I wondered why he didn’t fall down.’ I think he was waiting for the guy to raise his gun first because when he did. fucker! But the cop. ‘Shoot him! Shoot him!’” Mark’s eyes teared up. “Yes. to be sure. making his blue eyes even more liquid.” He looked off into space.” 94 . Hagan kept saying. Clearly.NO GOOD DEED how I had to aim at his body. “Hagan was watching the man coming closer. so I took a breath. ‘Get ready. he’s gonna get his right now. and he asked me if I had the gun ready and to do exactly as he told me to. but he took another deep breath and slowly let it out. One shot to the head. “Ridge called out to us again. “I squeezed the trigger and kept my eyes open. aimed and pulled the trigger again. I remembered Hagan said to shoot twice.

” Mark shrugged. but he was on me so fast I couldn’t finish my sentence. so I checked his pulse at the neck and reapplied pressure to the bandage. as if trying to rub away the memory. it was hard to take. I’d have gotten on the ground. shouting. ‘Get down on the ground! Now! On the ground!’ I looked around and wondered who in the world he was talking to.’ but Hagan had fainted. the other cop showed up. ‘Officer. He picked me up by the waistband of my jeans and slammed my face into the ground. but then pulled his hand back. “Next thing I know. “Anyway. the officer knelt with his knee in my back and pulled my hands behind me and put the handcuffs on. I don’t like being touched or…hurt. I sort of lost it. and trying to get away from him. I had this uncontrollable urge to flee. I thought he might have died. There wasn’t as much blood now. it’s over. Still. but I tried to keep up the pressure. He just lay there…twitching…and then he was still. especially from this gentle. “What did he do then?” 95 .’” Fry asked. I was kicking. screaming at him to let me go. fragile man. I didn’t think he meant me. just don’t hurt me. “I said.” Another sip of water. I was sure he didn’t want to hear this. so they knew what was coming. not to hurt me. “I told him. If I had.” He reached out as if to touch Vargas.” He cleared his throat.” His voice dropped to a whisper. “I tried to tell him I’d shot Ridge.NO GOOD DEED He put his face in his hands as he scrubbed them up and down. but they’d seen the tape. for a long time. ‘Don’t hurt me. He licked his lips and took another sip. “He sort of collapsed. He ran up to me. “I get that way ever since…well. Detective Vargas looked across at Fry. please! I’ll do anything you want.

Interested in what he had to say and why Fry had asked about me. I didn’t know why. It’s like a panic attack. He kept putting his hand on his gun.” He reached up and rubbed the bump. “Another officer arrived and called for an ambulance. He helped the first man pull me to my feet. The first cop told the second cop. “That’s about it. and Mark continued. Yelling at me to. I was still handcuffed. ‘He shot Don. I straightened. too. bitter laugh. 96 . I asked repeatedly to use the phone. I wondered if the detectives had picked up on it. I sat in the car for a while.NO GOOD DEED “He kept pressing his knee into my back. “They took me to the car parked across the lane and pushed me into the backseat. Fry nodded at him. he just threw me in the car and slammed the door.” He gave a short.” Vargas and Fry glanced at each other. “No. Let’s put him in the car. Now they were cops. “You know Captain Chan?” Fry asked.’” As the memory of his treatment unfolded. “I think he wanted to shoot me. until they brought me to the station. He yelled at me to lift my legs in and then slammed the door. I know I shouldn’t have resisted. The side of my head hit the door jam and I saw stars. “Did they read you your rights?” Fry asked. but my hackles went up. I think I put my head down on the table and fell asleep. and I just have to get away. but I couldn’t help myself. The next thing I remember was Captain Chan coming in the room. The officer put me in a small room and left me.” He shook his head. ‘Shut the fuck up!’ I tried to get him off. Mark had stopped referring to the men as officers.” He looked up at Fry as if for understanding. No one would answer the door.

Montgomery?” Oh. or maybe unbelieving. mouth open. “That’s all?” Vargas asked as if he didn’t believe Mark. sanitized version of our moment together.” Another look passed between the two men. he let me out of the handcuffs and helped me to clean up. with my hair all messed up. “Are you gay. I never met him before I saw him at the accident. man or woman? Mark sat back. Montgomery.NO GOOD DEED “Well. He stared at me for a while. “Nothing else happened when you were alone with Captain Chan?” Fry sounded surprised. “At the station. He must’ve thought I was crazy. while I was in the car.” Vargas’s voice had taken on a persuasive tone. Mr. we have an eyewitness that claims at one point Chan had his arms around you and you seemed to be trying to pull away from him. I’ve known Bill Fry for a long time. but to 97 . he was very kind and considerate. “Yes. not at all.” He left out the embrace we’d shared and gave a short. How could he work with me for so many years and think I’d force myself on someone. and it shook me to hear those accusations.” He smiled self-consciously. In fact. Mark’s face changed. Why do you ask?” I held my breath. hardened a bit. then he shook his head.” “Mr. we won’t let him hurt you. “Did Captain Chan make advances toward you or try to take advantage of your situation?” Fry seemed to be in charge of this part of the interrogation. no. my face scraped and wearing only my jeans. You can tell us the truth. “I am. shit. what do you mean?” Fry cleared his throat. I didn’t like the direction this was headed. Then he took me home. “No. my hands tightening into fists at the prospect of being outted. “No. that’s all.

and the department wishes to give you their thanks for what you did yesterday. and shook both men’s hands. Mr. the chief had arrived at the station.” He exhaled. Mark stood. I started working on vacation schedules and thinking about taking some time off myself. While they were finishing. trying not to look like I was just caught 98 . Both Fry and Vargas looked relieved at his answer. He was kind enough to let me fall apart on his shoulder. “It wasn’t like that at all. “Thank you.NO GOOD DEED me it sounded smarmy. I owed Mark a thank you. I had some work to do. In the meantime. either. And besides. she would offer to get mine. what I had done. I headed back to my office. Montgomery. I knew when Mark was done he’d find me so I could take him home. too. He told me I wasn’t to blame. both Hagan and I would be dead. Sometime during the interview. I’d lose it. I was casting a line into the Guadalupe when I heard Chief Tasket clearing his throat. but they weren’t half as relieved as I. When Beth felt generous. I looked up from the computer where I’d been staring intently at my screen saver of that exact spot and motioned him in. but that wasn’t often. That if I hadn’t used the gun.” Mark frowned.” Vargas stood and offered his hand. You’ve been very helpful. I could use some time away. I guess it had finally hit me. condescending almost. She took good care of him and didn’t mind getting him his coffee just the way he liked it. My own personal piece of heaven on the Guadalupe was calling to me. maybe being out of town for all of this was best. the shooting…and I sort of collapsed all over him. “Oh. I never ask her. I heard Beth talking to him on the phone and giving him his messages. and if I didn’t use it. that.

Even if he was a cop. We need to be careful about how we handle him.” I shook my head at the image. but he’s a civilian. keep him away from the press and the lawyers. He’s been in there since two. Chief.” “Especially after you did such a fine job settling him down?” He lifted his eyebrows at me. Montgomery?” “Just now. no. I meant. “Vargas and Fry are very thorough.NO GOOD DEED daydreaming. Chan.” I heard a faint intake of breath and looked past the chief to my 99 . Fine detectives.” He looked at me. “No. we’d have his ass in the shrink’s office as soon as possible.” I didn’t mention I had watched. he’s in a delicate mental state.” He grinned at me.” “I agree. Chief. not trained for this possibility. but his eyes were laughing. sir. “Detectives finish up with Mr. “I understand fishing on the Guadalupe is good this time of year. Chan?” “Just thinking about the shooting. give it to him. I don’t know what you did or promised him”—he let that hang—“but whatever it is he wants. “No. Excellent job of damage control. I think. They’ve been briefed. They won’t mess up all the good work you did getting him under control. Don’t worry.” “Delicate state? Is he pregnant?” Now both his eyebrows came up. The dees know what they are doing. he shot and killed a man. by the way. “You worried about something?” “Just hoping there are no mistakes. it’s just that he’s in a very delicate state. We’re counting on you to take care of him. “He needs to be treated with kid gloves.” Good recovery. “Mind somewhere else.

Tasket’s. His mouth and eyes frowned at me. Chan.NO GOOD DEED doorway. Mark stood in it and. Pissed off radiated from all over his body. “Oh” of realization. I didn’t have to guess he wasn’t happy about it. let me explain! It’s not how it looked. wait! Shit!” I jumped to my feet. That was a conversation I didn’t want to have.” Did anyone ever redeem themselves with that line? Amazingly. but I sure didn’t want him leaving like that. It would be a walk of several miles. His hands clenched in fists as his brisk steps took him farther away. then a. He’d taken off walking toward his house. “Damn it!” Tasket’s eyebrows shot up again. disappointment weeping from them. by the look on his face. “We need to talk. I could guess how much of our conversation he had heard. however. I’m sure my reaction must have been clear to the chief because he let out a soft. I’d gotten the message he didn’t like to be touched. And there I was standing in front of him. just over 100 . I rushed from around my desk and started to head after Mark. I looked up and down the street trying to spot Mark. I was getting tired of seeing that look on his face.” So much for being inscrutable and staying safely in the closet. At all. I was very careful not to touch him. Breathing hard and promising myself to start jogging.” followed me down the hall. then he spun on his heels and strode away. he stopped in his tracks and waited for me to catch up. “Mark! Please. hitting my thigh on the desk. not impossible. “Mark. “Goddamn son of a bitch. “Mark! Stop!” I called after him as I ran. He turned to face me. Trotting down the steps of the station.

It would intimidate anyone. I’d deal with Tasket later. “I never meant to trick you into doing something you weren’t comfortable with. “I’m sorry you heard that. I won’t try to stop you. Mark.” “Daniel. He needed honesty. there can be no us.” Although. perhaps more than I wanted him to.” His shoulders slumped. I’m not capable of having a relationship with anyone right now. now I think he does. I took it as a sign to continue. but I do know we’re both interested. too. “I don’t know what’s happening between us. with a semiautomatic on my hip and blocking his way. but fuck it. I told you last night. I do.” I paused. Well. The chief’s first concern is the department. But you don’t understand. “You had me fooled last night. “Look. it used to. I’ll admit in the beginning I was trying to save the department’s name.NO GOOD DEED six feet tall. I believe you when you say you’re concerned about me. “What doesn’t he understand? It sounded like you were just following orders and he was thrilled with your performance. You deserve a raise. Maybe never. The chief doesn’t understand. not humor.” He bit his bottom lip and waited.” He blinked. If you want to talk to a lawyer. this 101 . “Shit. “I’m concerned about you. but closed it.” I could see in his eyes he felt it. “Okay. one hundred and eighty-five pounds. Look. go. I’m not up to it.” His jaw set as he turned blazing blue eyes on me.” I opened my mouth to tell him my salary was capped. if you want to go to the press. still frowning. but not as hard. do it. I really care about how you were treated and how you’re coping with this…this…” I struggled in frustration. Hell.

“Mark. What if she says no? Will you go away and leave me alone?” I couldn’t see his face. I suck at them. Haven’t dated since then. Taking a step backward. “My doctor is a woman. please. and it’s what you want. what do you want from me?” He ran his hand through his hair. I wanted to jump up and down.” I let out my breath and tried a smile. He stepped up to me.” I grasped at any straw I could think of right then. “I want a chance with you. he turned and prepared to leave. I’m not the king of dating or relationships either. I’d like to try. “Yes. His warm fingers caressed the creases in the corner of my eye.” “Try what? I don’t do casual sex.” “It’s a mistake. Just tell me. He paused. but I like 102 . but I’ve never been as attracted to anyone as I am to you. See what he says.” His fists unclenched as he turned to face me. So. if that’s what she says. In fact. I had to know. praying like hell I looked like Jet Li. and nodded once. I haven’t done sex since Jeff. some people call them crow’s feet.” He shook his head. “Talk to your shrink about it. but I was too afraid to move around him. “Then please. so I continued to talk to the back of his head. Are you attracted to me?” I swallowed a huge lump in my throat. “Drive me home. not Jackie Chan. He shook his head. his back to me.NO GOOD DEED inexplicable pull toward each other. You’ll get hurt. but I had an image to uphold. One way or the other. although his blue eyes held a glimmer of hope. Daniel.

I fell into step next to him as we walked to my car. “I like your eyes.NO GOOD DEED laugh lines much better. They are so very brown.” He dropped his hand and started walking back to the station. It was gentle and soothing. 103 . and I didn’t want him to stop.

I could feel myself slipping into a depression over losing a romance that hadn’t even started. For my part.NO GOOD DEED CHAPTER 9 I sat on the barstool at Clancy’s and sipped what was left of my drink. I’d decided Mark was probably right and it would probably turn out badly for me and I’d find myself alone again. “Nothing to talk about. I had left Mark at his house.” My tone was more grumpy than sulky. He said he’d call me with a decision. 104 . I hoped. as usual. Our game was progressing slowly. but willing to speak to his shrink about us. and I was in a terrible mood. “Are you ready to talk?” Jeff appeared in front of me. still mad. Jeff was pouring a couple of drafts for the guys at the pool tables.

how we met and where we wound up. By the end of the story.” I shrugged.” I nodded. and now you’re gay.” He grinned at his unintentional joke. I promised I’d leave him alone if his shrink said to forget it. You know what you’re risking.” “Wow! The bigger they are. And I think I’m going to find out who I am. “Dan. still not daring to hope. “I met this guy. Dan. It’s me.” “Fuck. I think. “I know where I am.” “Damn straight. Spill it. Riceland isn’t exactly the center of the gay universe. but there is a problem. isn’t it? Why are you so down? He’s already taken?” “No.” “And if the doctor gives the go ahead? What will you do then?” “I guess we start dating. “That was a good one. First you’re straight. the faster they fall. Or seeing each other. I don’t know. huh? Doesn’t seem like nothing. buddy? Montrose?” Jeff shook his head at me. he was shaking his head.” I proceeded to tell Jeff about Mark. your best friend. don’t you?” 105 . “Dating? Like going out to dinner at the diner on Main Street? Catching a movie at the local Cineplex? Holding hands? Kissing on the front porch? Where the hell do you think you are.” His earnest voice lured me in and I gave up trying to shut out the world. then you’re bi.NO GOOD DEED “Nothing. huh?” “Yeah. “I know. Whatever Mark wants to do as long as I get to be with him. In a day. “What are you going to do?” “Well. Jeff. if Mark says yes.” He snorted. And fell in love with him. An incredible guy. And you weren’t even trying. you have the worst luck in the love department. “That’s great.” He chuckled.

” He refilled my drink and moved his knight. Jeff. He wants to “talk. don’t you?” He slapped me with the towel hanging over his shoulder. stopped. “And? You want to fuck him. unless it’s what you want to do.” I made the air quotes with my fingers. dancing around behind the bar. pretending he was on a bucking bronco. I glanced in the mirror over the bar. Jeff. “But there’s something about this guy. No need to come out of the closet without a good reason. but chances of that happening were slim and none. Shit. it’s really love? I hope it works out for you.” “Tasket would do that?” “I don’t think so. “Don’t you?” “Oh. “You know that’s not good. I don’t know. and put the towel down.” I rolled my eyes. Tasket already suspects. Guess I’ll find out.” “So.” I shrugged. but I date women. Sure.NO GOOD DEED “I know. 106 . taking my rook.” “Well. I wanted to do everything I could to Mark.” I nodded. I’m attracted to men. cowboy!” Jeff swung his towel around his head. you know. I also hope you don’t get your heart or your ass kicked. He laughed. I surely do. A few of the patrons looked our way. Blushing. Hell. “Yeehaw! Ride ’em. “I don’t know if it’s love. Funny thing is I never really thought I was in the closet.” “No. I do know I want him.” “You can’t be fired for being gay. Jeff raised his eyebrows and leaned closer. but my life can be made miserable.” “I know. “Cut it out. I’ve been married. Yep. Want to protect him and hold him and…” Jeez. Shit. yeah. was I blushing? The heat on my face felt like it. don’t blow it until Mark says yes.

NO GOOD DEED “What if he says no?” he asked. the Bastard. Within a few minutes. you won’t see me then. currently a convict. official title. Jeff Granger. Allen? Not Mark? Sentenced to twelve years in Huntsville on a reduced charge of attempted manslaughter. clicked on the NCRD icon and entered what little info I had into the database and let it search. I had results. 25. I moved to my computer. heading up to the Guadalupe to lick my wounds. “If it’s a no. but no thanks. * * * Monday dragged by. you know where I’ll be. Jeffrey Mark Granger. baby. Texas. either. I figured he was trying to think of a nice way to say Get lost. No word from Mark. “Well. no phone call. flipping through my notebook searching for an address I had written down when I came upon the notes I took that night on the phone with Mark. Ex-boyfriend. Hasta la vista. just stood and put a ten on the bar. His records indicated he had a juvenile 107 . By Wednesday. “But what if you get lucky and spend all that time in bed with him?” He leaned on the bar and rapped on the wood. I was sitting at my desk. Allen Forester.” I didn’t finish my drink. 1999 for attempted murder of his partner. So if you don’t see me for a while. then Tuesday. of Houston. nothing. I was ready to pack my tent and head to the Hill Country. Thanks. I’m taking some vacation time. arrested on March 4.” I let a quick grin cross my face and headed home.

D. I found the case number. Dan. “I had to move to Riceland to make it this far.NO GOOD DEED record also. remember?” He laughed as he teased me. downtown. Who was Allen Forester? Who was Mark Montgomery? I looked through the rest of the data. Waiting inside on the table was a large box. reports by the officers first on the scene. blond hair and a crooked smile. who manages to make everyone look like they’re having the worse day of their lives. We always need good men. I wondered if Mark knew about that. almost. “Want to stay while I go through this?” I asked.” I tried my bit to recruit him. I picked up the phone and called my old contact with Houston P. Even with the best efforts of the police photographer. I can’t. He had reserved a small room for my use. Medical reports. We shook hands at the door to the evidence room. too. Nothing shabby about that. including Granger’s mug shot. but he just laughed and closed the door. It didn’t make sense. Physical evidence in one pile. “No. not being Chinese. photographs in another. I sat. He had blue eyes. He told me he’d have the case file pulled and waiting for me when I got there. opened the box and started to sort the contents. Got some reports to write. Transcripts of the 108 . I set up a time to meet him later that day at Houston P. Not all of us made it to captain. Charming. Dave and I went back a long way. jotted it down and sent the report to the printer. He was a lieutenant in patrol division. Or was it Allen? I sat back in my chair. Jeff Granger looked good. but it was sealed. You could move there. Dave was true to his word. marked with the case number. He was good looking.. but might be harder for you though. where they house the evidence vault. Lieutenant Dave Rapper.D. and I knew I could count on him to help me out.

wrapped a brace around his neck. face down. Doing a sweep of the rooms. I picked the 911 call. and naked. Both officers mentioned how the viciousness of the assault bothered them. The bed was covered in blood and it was evident he had been beaten severely. found bloody footprints around the bed. they identified themselves with no answer. When the ambulance arrived. It would be necessary to know exactly how they’d found him later.NO GOOD DEED 911 call. and a broken piece of wood. He heard nothing more until one of the officers picked up the phone at the scene spoke to him. several dresser drawers 109 . Starting at the beginning. they quickly found the victim in what seemed to be the main bedroom. The dispatcher testified he’d heard nothing clearly except a soft moaning. The Crime Scene Unit had matched the footprints to those of a pair of boots with traces of blood on the soles left in the closet. EMTs checked his vitals. It was only two pages.M. They arrived at approximately five-fifteen A. They did a preliminary evidence search. After about ten minutes. stretched out on the bed. Next were the reports of the officers. The phone. After determining the victim was still alive. had to be pried loose to speak to the dispatcher. Life Flight transported the victim to Hermann Hospital. still clutched in the man’s hand when they entered. Entering. and found the door to the house ajar. they called for an ambulance and took pictures. it stopped. what they guessed had done most of the damage. He sent a unit to investigate. He was unconscious. The call had come in around five in the morning. strapped him to a backboard and took him out. mostly the questions and answers of the dispatcher. It looked like someone had taken clothes.

his legs well built. 110 . I sat back and rubbed my temples. Three hours is a lot of time to get lost in. with two major airports. and he had much longer dark brown hair. not to mention all the major highways leading to different parts of the country. I held my breath as I pulled out the officers’ photos. My stomach turned as I looked at the body on the bloody bed. on the floor. like a runner’s. They put out an APB on him. This just couldn’t be right. After searching through the victim’s papers. What kind of bastard beats half to death the man he’s supposed to love. The techs found traces of blood in the bathroom. His body was perfect. It was determined the perp had beaten the victim and left him for dead. But this might be Mark’s blood. while Mark/Allen lay dying on the bed. I hadn’t realized how tense I had become going over this. Granger had taken a shower and changed his clothes before leaving. and on a towel. they found the name of the boyfriend. yet slender. but it was getting harder. He was face down. Damn. bus stations and trains. Had this happened to Mark or to Allen? I needed to see the photographs to make a positive id. but the CSU guys had estimated the beating took place at least three hours prior to Mark/Allen being found. wanted for questioning. I sat back and wiped the perspiration from my face.NO GOOD DEED were empty and about half the closet had empty hangers. despite seeing blood before. might be his body. Then I came to the pictures of him after the paramedics turned him over. cleaned out his clothes and belongings and fled. where he worked and identified the car he was probably driving. especially in a town as big as Houston. I couldn’t tell from the photos if it was Mark. then calmly packs and leaves? I continued reading.


My heart stopped. Mark’s face, what was left of it, looked back at me. The left side was mottled with dark bruises; both eyes were blackened and swollen shut. There were red thumbprints clearly visible on his neck; Granger had tried to strangle him at one point. Bruises showed dark and angry all over his body, especially in his abdominal region. Blood covered him from his head to his waist and had soaked into the bedding. Both arms had been broken, probably defensive wounds. No wonder the bastard had gotten twelve years. It would have been easy to prove attempted murder. But without Mark’s testimony, they really didn’t have the evidence to arrest Granger. After they had picked him up at a cheap hotel near San Antonio, he denied being there. Said he had left days before the attack and been just driving around, thinking about their relationship. The detectives didn’t believe any of Granger’s stories, and finally, using Mark’s testimony, they arrested and charged him with attempted murder. I searched through the papers and found Mark’s testimony, dated March 15th, almost two weeks after the attack. The investigating officer had taken it in the hospital once Mark had been able to speak. After the surgeries to rebuild his face and having his jaw wired shut, talking wasn’t easy. I took a deep breath, braced myself, and started to read his testimony. Mark had been sleeping. Jeff had been out drinking and came in late. He’d been doing that a lot, ever since Mark had told him he wanted to break up. He hadn’t taken the news well. He turned on the light and started yelling at Mark, calling him a slut, accusing him of sleeping with other men.


Christ. I closed my eyes. All that blood. I didn’t want to know this, did I? Mark tried to reason with him, even pleaded with him. It wasn’t true. There wasn’t anyone else. Other than college and work, Mark spent all his time with Granger, so when could he have done it? Granger wasn’t satisfied. It just made him madder. Granger slapped him several times and started choking him, telling him to confess. When he didn’t, he let go of Mark’s throat, and started to punch Mark in the face. Started to hit him in the stomach, saying if Mark couldn’t be with him, he couldn’t be with anyone. After he finally let Mark go, Granger left the room and returned with a long piece of wood. Mark had tried to get away and hide in the bathroom, but Granger broke down the door and dragged him back to the bed, where he proceeded to hit Mark with the wood like it was baseball bat. Mark said he remembered feeling his jaw shatter, but nothing after that. Nothing until he woke up days later in the hospital. Granger had shattered Mark’s jaw, broken both of Mark’s forearms, his cheek and nose. He’d also sustained three broken ribs on one side, two cracked on the other, and a fractured tibia. Granger had done everything but kill Mark. He had survived on pure willpower alone, I guess. I put down the papers and realized my face was wet. I wiped the tears from my eyes with the sleeve of my uniform, folded my arms and put my head down. That photo of Mark, covered in blood, his face barely recognizable, his body twisted and bruised, had burned into my mind. Broken, he’d said. All broken and couldn’t be fixed. Why did I go out on that call? Why didn’t I just stay at my desk where I


belonged? Why did I have to fall in love with him? Because I needed him, and he needed me. That was the one thing I was sure of. I had no clue how to get past this atrocity, how to take down the walls he’d built to protect himself. Maybe this was too much for me to deal with. Definitely too much for Mark to handle. I had to ask myself, did I have the right to ask that of him? If he felt safe and protected, who was I to change that? If that’s what he needed to survive, I should let him keep his walls. I placed all the evidence back in the box and carried it back to the clerk. I signed it back in, showing him my badge and identification and left. * * *

It had been almost a week with no phone call. I had given up hoping he would call and tried to write it off as for the best. I lay in bed, not able to sleep, tossing and turning. The darkness seemed to grow all around me as I sank into a depression. I replayed the failures of my life, of which there were plenty. Seems I never go over my successes at these times; guess that’s why it’s called depression. I sat up and switched on the lamp. Looked at my gun. I knew it was loaded, knew what it tasted like in my mouth, had felt the cold steel against my teeth. I knew it would just take a second, just a squeeze, and it would all be over. Yeah, I told myself, all over the walls, the bed, and the floor. How long would it take for someone to notice I hadn’t shown up for work? Who would find my body? I hoped it wouldn’t be Jeff. I wondered if Mark would grieve for me. I wondered if it


would confirm to my parents I was the failure they’d always said I was. I looked at the gun again. It was matte black, a Glock 23. It had always felt good in my hand; my grip was always sure. I’d passed the sharpshooter test. Of course, you don’t need to be a sharpshooter when the barrel is in your mouth or against your temple. My eyes traveled to the card. Bayou City Escorts. No names. I closed my eyes and told myself to forget it. It would be a stupid thing to do and dangerous. The sting was over, I argued with myself, so no harm there. I told myself a fuck is better than a bullet, right? But pay for it? Had it come to that? I swore I’d never pay for sex after the fiasco with my wife Mai. Even though while we were together I never knew my father had paid for her, afterward, I looked back on every moment we spent together as bought. I wondered for years if she’d faked every sigh, every moan, everything. It ruined what little memories I had of her and left a bad taste in my mouth. Mark. If he found out, what would he say? Probably nothing because he wouldn’t care. I told myself I was not an animal, so I could control my urges, delay gratification, postpone pleasure. Been doing it for years. However, I’d seen Mark, and he’d awakened long forgotten desires inside me that I’d kept buried. I wanted to be with someone and I remembered how good she’d made me feel. I could stand to feel good, even if it was only for a little while. Even if I had to pay for it.


Not a word from Mark in almost a week. As far as I was concerned, I was as good as dumped. I was beginning to get mad; pissed at him for leaving me hanging. The truth was it hurt. I had put myself out there, and he hurt me and I hated that feeling. Hated feeling vulnerable. Out of control. A failure, again. Christ, I argued with myself, it wasn’t like I was cheating on him, so why did it feel that way? If he never called, would I still feel that way in a month, three months? Probably. There were no strings attached to me yet. I fought against the bit, telling myself I was still my own man and could do as I pleased. So what if I had to pay? She was worth it. I picked up the phone and dialed her number. “Bayou City Escorts. May I help you?” “It’s Dan, from Riceland.” “I didn’t think I’d ever hear from you again. You’re out of credit, so this better be business.” She cut right to the chase. “Business.” I didn’t want her as my girlfriend, and she didn’t want me as anything more than a paying customer. “My business is your pleasure. There or here?” I didn’t want her coming to my house again. “Your place.” “When?” “Tonight.” “I’ll be free at midnight.” She gave me directions to her apartment located in far north Houston, about thirty minutes away from Riceland at this time of night. “I’ll be there.” I stood and pulled on some jeans and a shirt. I opened my dresser, felt under the piles of underwear, pulled out my back-up piece, a small-of-the-back baby Glock in its holster, put it on and wore the shirt over it. Houston could be rough, and I

I wondered if she rented or owned. I had about an hour before I had to be there. They weren’t really apartments. and she answered. A moment later. she was going to cost me some money. He walked briskly down the sidewalk and got into a dark Mercedes. I’d have to stop at the ATM and pull out at least a hundred. I couldn’t deny I was attracted to this beautiful woman. 116 . I felt a pang of jealousy. Now serving number 23. Very upscale. but two-story townhouses. and I was just one of many customers. very expensive. and watched her door. * * * I arrived about thirty minutes ahead of time. of which there were very few in the lot. backed up and pulled away. there was no need of it here. and I wasn’t expecting her to give me the discount rate. but had a baseball hat on. I got in my pick-up and headed toward Houston. High-dollar vehicles filled the parking lot. He was dressed in a nice suit. I guess she appealed to my baser self. I made up my mind to only spend one hour with her and head straight back. Either way. I told myself she was just a whore. This time. Perhaps if she hadn’t been a hooker… I knocked on the door at exactly midnight. Her door opened and a man came out. I locked my gun in the glove box.NO GOOD DEED wasn’t familiar with the neighborhood. I entered the parking lot and found her building. I could tell they cost a lot of money. covering most of his face. She was that good. waiting for midnight to roll around. it came to life. so I checked my wallet. I sat in my Ford F-150.

“What will a hundred get me?” “For you. The black set off the paleness of her skin. and my pants tightened again.’” She reached down and stroked me. I’d feel better. Everything in the place looked expensive. I’ll let you pick. Crazy thoughts ran through my head. completely erect and drooling. She didn’t offer me a drink.” She walked over to a glass-and-chrome bar cart and poured herself a scotch. a deep burgundy. Fuck or suck. her hair was down. If I fucked her. poised and waiting.NO GOOD DEED dressed for business in a black full-length negligee. and my pants tightened. I was Pavlov. She licked my nipples. She slowly unbuttoned my shirt and ran the tips of her fingers across my nipples. I had no doubt it was real mink. but then she knew I didn’t drink. But you can’t cheat on what you don’t have. I knew who I wanted to make love to. “What can I do to you?” she asked. and she pushed me 117 . and below it.” I reminded her as she unzipped my jeans. downed her drink. keep it strictly business. I wondered if someone kept her in all this style or if business was just good. “Just a blowjob. no naked bodies. She let me in and shut the door behind me. Not much touching. beer was chilling in a bucket. and she wore make-up that highlighted the blue of her eyes. “Nothing with me is ‘just. no passionate kissing. but he wasn’t an option. I could see it was well stocked.” She nodded. and led me to the couch. Instantly. I slid them to the floor. “Suck. release my tension. If I just got a blowjob. and I figured it cost close to three grand. It was plush velvet. After tugging on my jeans. It had a robe of the same fabric—silk I think—with an ebony fur trimmed hem. her hand on her hip. it would be like cheating on Mark.

knelt down. she knew what I wanted and how I liked it.” I whispered. and played in the hair at the base of my shaft. She ran her fingers over my stomach. I watched as she opened her mouth. “Suck me. then leaned over and picked up a bottle of love oil and massaged a few drops into her hands. she took me in her wet heat. My dick throbbed and I swallowed hard. After spending one night with her. She slacked off. her lips challenging me. one of those large square ones. repeating that climb again and again until I was begging her and Jesus to release me. her pink tongue making its way around the head of my cock in a long. I put my hands in her hair and roughly brought her face to within inches of my cock. she was worth every dollar I was paying her.NO GOOD DEED onto the couch. traveled lower. At that moment.” I ordered. 118 . She placed a pillow on the floor. bitch. “Make me. but her hands were soft as they glided over my cock. not her hand. Finally.” she dared. pulled my hips toward her. She teased me. Her grip was firm. Must have been all that oil. “That’s right. making me want her. using her hand to stroke me.” Damn right. I leaned back and enjoyed it for a while. but I pulled her closer. I’m your bitch. Her hand continued to stroke me as I watched. Then she got down to business. slow lick that made me shudder. as long as the money lasts. I wanted those lips on me because I knew what they could do. but I had paid for her mouth. bringing me right to the edge. and spread my legs apart. but she just smiled at me. She resisted a little. “Lick me.

My sexual tension had vanished. it would have been easy to walk away. I wondered if. whether I was with him or not. How I would live with myself? I’m an honest cop and proud of it. along with my self-respect. buttoned my shirt. I felt terrible.NO GOOD DEED Fifteen minutes later. I took the low road just to keep from pulling the trigger. in the end. She got off the floor and sat beside me as she readjusted her nightie. Bingo. If Mark had called. I struggled with the guilt and disappointment in myself. wanting it to be Mark. I pulled five twenties from my wallet. If I wasn’t such a pathetic. I had needed some kind of connection. I ran over the excuses in my head. laid them on the table. this was all my life amounted to. I lay back against the couch. spent. weak son-of-a-bitch. Instead.” I slammed the door behind me. “Yeah. “Same time next week?” Her parting shot scored a direct hit as I opened the door. I’m a weak. I wouldn’t have been here. If the hooker hadn’t been so damn good. and headed for the door. stupid old man. I guess I should change that to I was an honest cop. I had taken the easy way out and paid for sex. but none of them was the truth. I had never done that before. all I could think of was how was I going to tell Mark what I had done? I loved Mark. and zipped up my pants. I could have done that myself at home. 119 . and my right hand doesn’t need to be paid a hundred bucks. At that moment. Maybe I was better off dead. I stood. Suddenly. Trying to validate what I’d done. I tried all the cop-outs.

with silver showing at his temples. Mr. No need to tell. and broad-shouldered. I’d never have Mark. smelled and acted like a snake. and waited for him to start talking. the mayor’s new campaign manager. “Captain Chan. but he was already in the doorway.” I extended my hand. I pulled off my clothes. He had dark hair.” I looked up from the spreadsheet of vacation time and struggled to remember that name. I decided I would never tell Mark about the hooker. Romaine. It’s never a good sign when someone closes the door to your office. but he merely looked at it as if I’d washed it in pig shit. “Chan. I needed to stop thinking about Mark.” He took a seat and crossed his legs. crawled into bed. St. Then I laughed at myself.NO GOOD DEED On the drive home. good-looking. “Captain Chan. and fell asleep. “Show him in. Beth was at my office door. not bothering to wait. * * * It must have been a day for unexpected visitors. “So was I.” He closed the door behind Beth.” 120 . Romaine is here to see you. “Mr. St. It came to me in one sinking moment. He looked. folded my hands on my desk. I guess you’re wondering why I’m here.” I said.” I watched him. It usually means they have something to tell you that you don’t want anyone to hear. “I was told you were Chinese. Romaine was well built. St. but I didn’t know how. Feeling more depressed than ever and knowing I’d be back there again next week. I sat. tan.

What’s a finance grad doing working as a police officer?” “Fighting white collar crime?” I shrugged.NO GOOD DEED “Looking to get a ticket fixed?” He glanced around the room. “You’re smart. How many years do you have 121 . warned the other men on the force. Chan. “Means you’re smarter than the average cop.” “Well.” “I’ll be retired by then. Sorry.” He paced around my office. more money. No advanced degree? Does that mean you don’t have any ambition?” “Ambition? Depends on what you’re talking about. I mostly think about fishing. Attain more. I prefer chess. I couldn’t stand all the photographers and parties. more of the good life.” “To go higher. You figured out what was going on with the hookers. “More what?” “More status.” “Don’t play cards much. make enough money for me and I’ve never seen the appeal of status. there might be an opening for chief in the future. “University of Texas? Good school.” His eyes narrowed and he shook his head.” “Maybe it happens before then. then stood and walked over to my diploma on the wall. his hand clenched into a fist.” “I’d like to offer you more.” “I have a good life.” He was counting off on his fingers. On the last item.” “More what? Photographers?” I could tell I was getting to him because he ignored my clever retorts. “You might be forgiven. if you play your cards right. “Oh.” I shrugged and looked inscrutable. and screwed up my plans. “No. “Have you ever thought about being chief of police?” He sat in the chair again.

Hell.” 122 .” “If the position came up. it would cripple the force. would you be interested?” “Only the mayor can make that offer. You could make the short list. “Really? I was pretty sure you were unaware of my existence until recently.” “It could’ve been you. “Even so. shooting the breeze.” He was getting irritated. that’s true. “Three. “Peripheral damage. “I’m thinking the chief might not be around.” I didn’t want that to happen.NO GOOD DEED left?” He sounded like we were old friends. It’s an appointed position.” “Well. but he has to have a list of candidates and listen to his advisors. but I’ll bet you have. I might have to patrol again. Romaine ignored me and continued.” “Do you think Chief Tasket might recommend me?” I grinned hopefully. “Had you thought about who might have replaced Tasket?” “No. The paperwork alone would keep me busy for months. St.” We sat and stared at each other.” Did he think I was stupider than I looked? I laughed and shook my head. I’d hate to have to train some new ones. Romaine finally broke the silence by trying a different tact.” He waved his hand in the air. and I wasn’t aware he was planning on going anywhere. “Did you ever wonder what would have happened if you hadn’t interfered?” “Tasket might be gone. We just got those men trained.” St. along with the reputations and marriages of a lot of our men. “Really? I schedule the vacations. if I’m not mistaken.

would you?” “Are you threatening me.” Tasket didn’t miss much. Why the hell had he bothered to talk to me? Why did he offer me the position? In addition. You wouldn’t want to lose your retirement. those are fighting words. but kept his feet up. shutting the door behind him with a hard bang. Romaine?” “No. He took the hint and left. He put the magazine down. Romaine stood and locked eyes with me. Around here. Mr. of course not.” I stood. “I expect you not to interfere with me again. “Sure. if I offered it to you?” “No. And I have no ambitions. 123 . Things could become very difficult for you. It’s still legal to give a friend advice. isn’t it?” “Well.NO GOOD DEED He paused. just a friendly piece of advice. Then I got up and went to his office. but I have work to do. Chan. “Is that all?” “Would you take it. reading this month’s Fishing World magazine. I tossed back and forth over whether or not to tell Tasket. and it helped Beth was there to keep him informed. could he really deliver it? I didn’t like being threatened—never have—and I especially didn’t like having my pension threatened. I’m retiring in three years to go fishing. Excuse me. remember?” St. I heard you had a visitor. Captain. it was your own fault. leaving him standing there. signaling him it was time to break up this party.” “It usually is. St. I wouldn’t exactly call you a friend. “Chief? Got a minute?” He had his feet up on his desk.” I sat and went back to my work. “If you came to my attention.

” “Thanks. Mr. waiting. I said I was all set to retire.” “You’re a good man. Then I thought about all the time I’d have to spend reading magazines and smoking cigars.” He grinned.” I shrugged. I stood to leave. though. and that I had no ambitions. I messed up things for him.” I sat. “Dan.” “I understand. Chan.” Tasket looked about as worried as I’ve ever seen him. he said. “I feel I have to tell you. “Of course. either. it’s hard to change his mind. “I don’t think he likes me.NO GOOD DEED “Yes. his cigar clenched between his teeth. “He’ll try to hurt you. I can stay away from him.” “True enough.” I suggested.” I shook my head in mock sorrow. “I won’t hold it against you. and he leaned back. “Can we have matching jackets?” Tasket looked hopeful. Chief. “I promised my parents a long time ago I wouldn’t smoke. Sorry. if he can. sir. I don’t usually keep such bad company. “Did you take it?” “No. Romaine offered me your job.” “Takes years of practice.” “Hopefully.” Tasket blew out smoke from between his lips and picked up the magazine he was looking at before I came in. St. He’s not a nice guy. Ruined his plans. Hopefully.” “I don’t think he likes me. sir. 124 .” I assured him. Once a man has it in his head to retire. watch your back. “It was tempting. and he grinned back.” “Did he?” Tasket looked amused.” He nodded solemnly.” “We could start a club.

the kind of thing that cinched in her waist and pushed up her breasts. “What’s your pleasure?” “You. She climbed onto the bed and lay back against a small mountain of cushions. but I assured her it was just a stomach bug. a gen-u-wine whore’s bed. the kind with stiles. Beth called later that morning from the station to check on me. That much was the truth. I wanted to. I was paying for it. it was over before it had begun. She opened the door and let me in.” I walked over to her. I straddled her belly. She told me to keep it to myself and not come back until it was gone. 125 . Her outfit was red silk. I felt more depressed than ever and even called in sick. “Good evening. I’d have her suck me. Fifteen minutes later. I kicked off my shoes and wasted no time getting naked. I wondered if one of them paid to watch or if they were doing a ménage. She wore red three-inch heels with no backs. sucking me. Dan. I had decided on the way over. the kind that they call “fuck me” shoes. A king-size brass bed. I told her I had no idea how long it would take to feel better. stood against the far wall. That night I waited in my pick-up outside her townhouse and watched two men leave. and led her up the stairs to the bedroom. but I wanted to do it differently. I knocked on her door. took the drink out of her hand. The matching bottom was nothing more than a triangle of red silk that barely covered her muff.NO GOOD DEED * * * There had been no call from Mark. There was no use trying to keep my hopes up. The sheets were black silk. Two men at the same time? Kinky. Great for tying someone up.” She smiled and poured herself a scotch.

gulping it down as it rhythmically shot into her mouth. to get my money’s worth. letting me slide over her lips. No kissing. “That’s cheating on Mark. just kept taking me.” I moaned as the last of the tremors ran through my body. a voice whispered. My eyes closed. “Don’t you forget it. When I couldn’t stand it anymore. I looked down and watched her suck me. She reached around and slipped her finger in my backdoor. full lips. wanted her sucking me so bad. you suck dick good. Her hands held my ass and pulled me in tight with each stroke. then I pulled out. I held onto the headboard and thrust slowly.” She smiled up at me. Like the pro she was. I closed my eyes. I wanted this to last. I thrust so hard and fast her head hit the headboard. my thrusts increasing in speed and power. fondling them. Somewhere in the back of my mind. making her take me deep into her throat. and she took me in her mouth. No fucking. I touched the swell of her breasts above the bra. but stopped there. “Christ. setting me off. she pressed against my prostate. either. she never stopped. She worked my cock with her hand while I watched. I moved forward. She took me in hand and started stroking me. my orgasm built and without care for her. I shuddered as she swallowed my jism. No teeth.NO GOOD DEED so I might as well have it my way. Save it for him. just to get myself hot. Keep it out of anyone else.” It’s amazing what you can talk yourself into believing. as I concentrated on how good it felt to slide back and forth over her soft. along with one last thrust. She kept up with me. As I looked down. It was all 126 . I lost control. it was all tongue and lips with her. which is always a turn-on. As if she knew just what it would take.

you don’t know me. I am Mark Montgomery’s psychiatrist. 127 . Cohen. The grand jury would be convening that week. Lowering my mouth to one. but I’ve heard all about you. then settled her steel hard gaze on me. Beth brought the woman to my door and showed her in. For a moment. I thought she might be a lawyer.” she whispered. baby. flicked it with my tongue. and dressed in a business suit. there’s a woman out here who wants to see you. and they certainly didn’t need me to be there. “One more time?” I pulled her top down roughly. * * * I was making up schedules and blocking off the four days at the end of the month I had decided to take to go up to the Hill Country.” My heart beat faster at the thought it could be the hooker. blonde. and what she could possibly be doing here. but Beth had said doctor. she was a pro. How can I help you?” I offered her a seat and she took it. “As long as you’re paying. time to put some distance between Mark and me.” “Send her in. Her nipples were pink and hard. exposing her breasts.” Oh. That Dr. Beth buzzed me.” I tried not to show my relief or confusion. Cohen? I’m Captain Daniel Chan. “Says her name is Doctor Sarah Cohen. She checked out my office over the tops of her glasses. I pulled it into my mouth. “Captain. and caressed the other breast with my hand. Yeah. “Captain Chan.NO GOOD DEED teeth and never reached her eyes. She was tall. “Dr. I needed some time to think.

and Mark will be relieved. “I want to thank you for what you said to him. hands clasped. “Yes.” “Good. I got a call from him the next day and we set up an appointment. If he hadn’t picked up that gun.” I sat at my desk. I have seen him every day since then. There’ll be no charges?” “No. I’m glad. I had mentioned he should talk to someone immediately after the shooting. It was necessary to get the entire story.” She raised her eyebrows and gave me the once-over. That’s good. “In case he didn’t tell you. he and Officer Hagan would be dead. It was exactly the right thing to say.” She seemed to visibly relax.NO GOOD DEED “I understood he was seeing someone.” I didn’t know how to explain what happened because I wasn’t sure myself. relieved to hear the truth from someone other than Mark. Now.” I tried smiling to see if she would respond. The man was high on meth. I cleared my throat and began.” She smiled. she smiled back. Surprisingly. “Good. and we have no doubt his intention was to kill both of them. We had a lot of issues to work through. 128 . “I’m glad he’s getting some help. I became…emotionally attached to Mark in a very short time. We have it all on tape. Had Mark sent a messenger to tell me to get lost? It was too late. I guess I should. “I had no idea about his previous problems. I was about as lost as a person could be.” “It is true. I expect that the district attorney will recommend selfdefense.” “Are you saying you’ve changed your mind and no longer feel that emotional attachment?” Her eyebrows shot up in question. but it wasn’t a very friendly smile. about you. even if it wasn’t true. waiting for this to unfold.

It’s almost painful for him to be touched by a man.” “Good. I know what happened to him that night. He feels completely vulnerable. “I don’t quite understand why you’re here. this makes sex with a man very difficult. Dr. if anything. unsuccessfully. As you can imagine. he tried several times.” 129 . to establish sexual relationships with various men. So when he told me he let you hold him and touch him. or what could be the breakthrough I’ve been waiting for. safety.” “I guess. my feelings have become deeper. then you aren’t going into this blind.” She crossed her legs and leaned forward. They were very frustrating for him. Cohen. You must realize I couldn’t just say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ without meeting you and sounding you out.NO GOOD DEED “No.” I shrugged. At times like these. “I have the grave responsibility of balancing Mark’s mental state with what could be very harmful for him. he feels trapped and the essential ‘flight or fight’ response takes over. and vulnerability. Captain Chan. “Mark has issues with trust. I was completely shocked. The body was willing. he was hit by a major panic attack and had to get away from the man. Each time. but the mind wasn’t. I’ve worked with him for almost ten years.” Into this? My heart beat faster. “Mark wishes to pursue a relationship with you and asked my professional opinion. Can you elaborate?” She sat back and looked me up and down. “Early on in Mark’s case. He doesn’t feel safe in the presence of men. when the moment of truth came. “I must tell you I did some research into his ex-boyfriend Jeff Granger and went over the case.” I paused and took a deep breath.

“I have to choose. especially not a woman. A male authority figure with a phallic symbol of power. there can be only Mark. You should’ve terrified him. He’s been traumatized. “I guess you don’t believe in love at first sight?” “I do. His lover.” “Are you gay?” Her head tilted as she observed me. had been married. even if it isn’t me. near dead Mark. If you see Mark. Doctor.” “We both felt it. No one else.” I ran my hand through my hair. I see. you’re gay. I slept with women. Can you handle that?” She waved her hand 130 .NO GOOD DEED “I want only what’s best for Mark. It amazes me. too. You’re a cop with a gun. either.” “Ah. Yet. I know where she was going. he was drawn to you. “Yes. The one person in the world he loved and trusted the most betrayed him and beat him nearly to death.” She tapped her fingernail against the arm of the chair and then shook her head. yet also very simple to understand. “I don’t get it. No one will see it as anything else. If you’re in a gay relationship. “No. thinking my answer through. but I’d fucked men. Mark is incredibly complicated. I can’t explain it. and I have no intention of doing anything to add to that pain. clung to you even. That’s not an easy thing to get past. Captain. It’s the only explanation for Mark’s behavior. I hesitated.” “Right. waiting for me to finish her sentence.” “Even if it isn’t you?” Her gaze bore into me. He’s been hurt enough. Jeff Granger was Mark’s boyfriend. I’m bisexual. His partner. All I could think of were the photos of a beaten.” “I get that. And taking on a monogamous relationship with a gay man means…” Her eyebrows rose.

you need to say so up front. The doctor watched me.” I nodded. Also. Oh. nothing. not sure if I believed what I was saying. “What do you want from me?” “If I determine that this relationship would not be good for him. so this would be nothing new. you ask how high? Let him lead. one of the things I’ll insist upon is that you come to see me also. ever force him into anything. you stop.” “I know and I can handle it. Cohen.” “I want to do what’s best for him. If you can’t handle that. “During sex. You must do everything he tells you to do. try to keep the gun out of his sight.” I blinked. don’t push him and. I’ll do exactly what he says. I cleared my throat and nodded. either. He needs to feel in control of the situation. if it gets that far—and I have to warn you. Dr. yes. understand?” Her stare told me to believe it. Let him initiate sex. God. his body. like I said before. unless he tells you to. you don’t stand a chance in hell of getting anywhere near him again. If he says stop.NO GOOD DEED to encompass my office. legs.” “Become your client?” I’d talked to lots of shrinks in my time. “All right. “It’s a small town.” “If he seems apprehensive. I’d prefer alone. If he says jump. but when you’re 131 . “I assume you want to have sex with him?” She looked at me over her glasses. Not his arms. it may not—you must never restrain him. back off. never. for God’s sake. “Yes. smiling. and I did. No rough sex.” “And if I give him the go-ahead to pursue this relationship. and continued. you must listen to me carefully.” “If you two do become involved. my face burning as I realized what she was saying. Either with him or alone. I understand you carry it for your job.

Doctor. I care deeply for Mark. Was it a coincidence she was describing the kind of sex I’d been having lately? Sex where I’d been in control. she turned back and said. The rest is up to you and him. At the door.” Shit. “Thank you. Wanted someone to come home to every day. it would be… Well.” We shook hands and she started to leave. I’m sure if I talked to the good doctor about it she’d tell me it was a classic reaction to feeling out of control. With a man. But sex wasn’t what I wanted with Mark. “If this works. I wanted to be tender. to share what was left of my life.” I grinned. if you can open Mark up. And if I didn’t think you were completely honest about your feelings for him. Captain Chan.NO GOOD DEED around him during your off times. keep it hidden.” Dr. I wanted to make love to Mark. let’s just say I’d be forever grateful. That’s why I had seen a hooker. and wanted tenderness in return. “Good. I wanted love. I’d cut you out of his life in a heartbeat. With Mark. You’ll be less intimidating. Cohen stood and held out her hand. no bondage.” 132 . I’ll tell him he can call you. no gun. “Of course. I was agreeing not to do that with Mark. Worship him. No rough stuff.

Have you changed your mind?” “About seeing you? No way. even though I was pretty sure he would give me the okay. but never expected to receive.” He sounded good. I want to see you. I’d been home for about thirty minutes. 133 . “Hi! How have you been?” “I’m good.” “I’m glad. He must have remembered my hours from the last time I called. Try to be with you. Have you decided?” I held my breath. Daniel.NO GOOD DEED CHAPTER 10 Mark called me at eleven the next evening. upbeat. I’m sorry it took so long to get back to you. “Daniel? It’s Mark.” I grinned like a kid on Christmas morning who’d just gotten the present he’d asked Santa for. “Yes. You’ve made my day.

am I?” “Right on time. wrapped in gold foil with a big matching orange bow. I floated through the next day at work. It’s a casual place. in fact. skirting all around the question of when we’d see each other again. my stomach a big flip. I’ve been standing at the door for the last five minutes. it was one of his favorites. I asked him to dinner on Tuesday. “I’m not late. hot orange. I was batting a thousand. our jobs. so I figured it wouldn’t be very threatening. Corny.” He laughed.NO GOOD DEED “How was your day?” We talked for about an hour. I heard you coming up the porch stairs. My dick filled. Agostino’s. and. He told me he’d gone there before. They creak. but he was a gardener. He didn’t have plans. He opened the door before I knocked. My heart did a little thud. so we made arrangements for me to pick him up around seven and we’d go to the little Italian place on Main Street. “Actually. about all sorts of mundane things like the weather. I willed it back to sleep. I stood on his porch. I’m off on Mondays and Tuesdays. knowing meeting him at the door with 134 . so I thought it was a good choice. then decided to get a plant instead. Finally. I guess. Tuesday morning I had the pick-up cleaned at the car wash and dressed as nice as I could without looking like this was our first date. holding the plant and feeling like I was back in high school. I bought a small blooming hibiscus.” He smiled and it transformed his face from good looking to gorgeous. I thought about picking up a small bouquet of flowers for him. Beth even caught me humming.

” he announced. Where was inscrutable when I needed it? “Way too girly for a man like you. we got a table that sat four and sat across 135 . hands shoved in his pants pockets as if he had all day to stand on the porch and chat.NO GOOD DEED a raging hard-on wasn’t a good thing. and I was struck by his beauty and obvious love for his plants as he checked the plant over. We drove to the restaurant. the weather.” He nodded. pulling off a few drooping yellow leaves. But not this color. in fact. “For me?” One eyebrow rose and he leaned against the doorframe. do you?” “A hibiscus? Yes. and then picked up a watering can on a small table next to a wicker loveseat and added some water. Then he stood and brushed off his chinos. I didn’t know if he meant it to be.” I shrugged. and talked about the town. safe things. can we? What will the florist say?” “Yeah. They do great here in Texas. well. both of us smiling like teenagers. “Can’t have you buying flowers for a guy.” I shrugged and held the plant out to him. He moved gracefully. Far too aggressive. “Let’s go. “You don’t have one of these. and tonight I needed to go very slow. At the restaurant. He took it from me and our fingers touched. Mind if I just give it some water and leave it on the porch until I decide where to plant it?” “Sure. I do. I swallowed down my lust and hoped it didn’t show in my eyes. but that brief brush of his fingertips across mine was damned sexy. “I thought flowers were too…girly. neutral things. felt the dirt in the pot with the same fingers that had touched me. “Ready.” So I watched as he put the plant down in a shaded corner.” I backed off the porch and led the way to my truck. Several.

but that was about it. None of them even suspected we were on a date. was a relative newcomer. We were just two guys having dinner. and I tried to keep them interesting. not a lot. none of them were complaints. But tonight it was mostly folks just saying hello. Good thing about a small town is everybody knows you. We had a lot in common. He seemed to take the intrusions well. I told him I could order in a restaurant. which is what I get most of the time. in Europe and Canada. I’m not that popular a fellow. and television. Mark. Now.NO GOOD DEED from each other. since no one at the restaurant was supposed to know we were on a date. at the gas station. but I have been around the town for a long time and have gotten to know a lot of people. He asked if I wanted to go and did I speak Chinese. Mostly stories from my time on patrol. Okay. I’ve found it doesn’t matter. It seemed enough for people. or at least if they did. that’s all. on the other hand. He made all the right encouraging noises in all the right places. On the street. He’d done quite a bit. so I had to introduce Mark as a friend. By nine o’clock. I told him about my land on the Guadalupe. we were eating dessert. We ordered and spent the rest of dinner eating and talking. movies. We were interrupted several times by folks stopping by our table to say hello to me. but it was early. I used databases. We hadn’t even gotten to music. He asked about my experiences with the department. He worked with computers building databases. and he talked about traveling. Lucky for me. in the grocery store. as was proper. they didn’t let it show. I asked if he’d ever thought about going to China. Buddy Macomb and 136 . In uniform or out. Bad thing about a small town is everybody knows you.

” 137 .” I had introduced Mark to him and Marie. I feel a ‘but’ or a ‘however’ coming.” He nodded to Mark. I hope you won’t be mad at me. I went over the records of your assault. “I’m glad. “Mark. Can I stop by sometime after noon?” I figured he wanted to complain about something and had the good sense not to do it in the restaurant.” “Well. Are you trying to tell me you’ve changed your mind?” “Not at all. nothing has changed. They nodded at each other. I read the reports and I’m confused about something. however. that’s just it. “No problem…I don’t go in until two. I just wanted to stop by and see if I could talk to you tomorrow before you go to work.” He looked relieved. see you then. The place had cleared out a bit and no one sat near us. “Dan. Most of his land is wooded. I guess. his eyes on his cup. Then he sighed.” He tensed for a moment. I figured you could clear it up for me. it’s all right. We ordered coffee and continued talking. “That’d be fine. but his wife keeps a few goats that occasionally wander onto my property.” Mark smiled. For me. “No. “Sorry to interrupt. Buddy is a seventy-year-old neighbor of mine with a three-acre tract just down the road. There was. It was bothering me that I knew about it without his permission. but the other day. I figured I needed to tell him I’d been looking into his records.” “No problem. something else bothering me more. You have a right to know who you’re getting involved with. Buddy was a commonsense sort of man and a good neighbor.NO GOOD DEED his wife Marie dropped by the table on their way out.

“Think you’ll get that far.” “This isn’t a pick up. Mark. More closed. I feel like a new person. I’m not. “The man sitting across from you is Mark Montgomery. I started my life over. maybe Mark is stronger in some ways and weaker in others. “Which ways?” He sighed. Cohen. Did it work?” “I suppose. “It’s not like you’re out here. if we continue seeing each other. just my name. either. She felt I needed a clean break from my past. “Just who am I getting involved with. even broke off contact with most of my old friends. I never go out to clubs.” “What are you looking for?” He glanced around the room. Basically.” I caught his gaze and held it. make the scenes. are you?” “No. do you?” 138 . quit my job. and to protect me from Jeff in the future. He laughed.NO GOOD DEED “What would that be?” Mark’s eyes held mine. Until someone catches us making out in my truck?” I grinned. “I don’t know.” “That explains it. Sometimes.” I shook my head. Allen Forester is gone. I didn’t change my insides. Allen Forester or Mark Montgomery?” A slow smile spread across his face.” He shrugged as he played with his coffee cup. “I’m not looking for a hookup. Allen and Mark are basically the same person. I got rid of him about six years ago on advice from Dr. how long do you think that’ll last?” “I don’t know. So I legally changed my name. I guess I’m more wary. and moved to a new part of Houston. don’t pick up or get picked up. I don’t know. “Well.

“But are you ready to take that step?” “If you’re there. He was right. I drove back to his house and parked. you sound like you’re the Black Death. Here was the sticky part 139 . Mark. I’m very attracted to you—I think you know that—but we have to be honest here. ruin your career. I’m gay.NO GOOD DEED “Not tonight. I liked that. Dan. and I can accept that. yes. but you can’t hide those incredible blue eyes. I knew I forgot something. but you need to be realistic about the consequences. Note to self. But I have hopes. and my heart melted as I gazed into his eyes. feeling the pull toward him begin to suck me under.” I nodded. “You may have changed your name.” “Don’t change a thing.” We stared at each other as the silence stretched. not the plague. I know you identify yourself as bi.” He laughed and snapped his fingers. I don’t want to expose you to the town.” He reached out to shake my hand.” “I understand that. “Damn. I paid the tab. He cleared his throat.” “Well. and he didn’t even try to offer to pay. it’s gay. I’m pretty fucked up. He gave me the sweetest smile. spreading plague across the land.” “It’s a deal. It’s the all boys club. I shook it as we grinned at each other. I’d have to take a stand and get off the fence. not for me.” I reached out and put my hand over his for just a moment. destroy friendships…” “Christ. Men always want to fight over the damn check and it’s a pain in the ass. no females allowed. but if we have a relationship. Mark. “Look. change eye color.

Cohen told me. I put my arm on the back of the seat. I remembered what Dr. but I didn’t pull him tight. he leaned in to kiss me. Dr.” I sat back. However. and then he unbuckled his seatbelt and slid across the bench seat toward me. just held him loosely around one shoulder. “Mark. I barely enjoyed it. No pressure. checking to see his reaction. my returning kiss soft. He moved his hands lightly over my chest as he kissed me. giving him room. He looked relaxed but shy. Eventually. Thank you. my 140 . That dog reaction again. he pulled away and smiled at me.” I leaned over and kissed him on the lips. trying to make up his mind. not speaking. devour him. When he flicked his tongue across my lips and opened his mouth. Gentle. It was a sweet. wonderful. I let him control everything.NO GOOD DEED of the evening. I felt my dick sit up and take notice. “Can we just sit for a while?” “Sure. This time. tentative first kiss. “Kiss me. Cohen had me so terrified I’d spook Mark and ruin my chances I was afraid to do more. “I had a great time. smother him with kisses. it became increasingly uncomfortable for me. kept my hands to myself. I could feel his breath on my neck. Daniel. I wanted to climb on top of him. I suppose. I let him make the moves and I stayed neutral. I’m in no rush. I backed off. Our tongues danced.” He put his hand on my arm. I had a wonderful evening. but I kept those desires in check. We must have sat there for fifteen minutes that way. and he laid his head on my shoulder. my other hand on his thigh. Dan. and he smelled incredible.” He chewed his bottom lip a little. Soft.

” Buddy said. walked up to his house. It was a start. “Actually. Dan. got out. and black Roper boots. I’m glad you find me…” His voice trailed off. sorry.NO GOOD DEED pants growing ever tighter as my cock strained against them.” “I feel the same about you. the starched black shirt. and went inside. either. but if this kept on.” He smiled. Right then. I knew I’d blow my chances and my load. “Looks like you got yourself a job. not good. “Can I call you tomorrow?” “Sure. Either way. “Delicious.” 141 .” He nodded. though. shiny leather belt. I’m not sorry.” “Well. “Mark. and he had responded. I had let him make the moves. I felt as if I were on top of the world. The dome light went on. I hadn’t done anything to screw up the evening.” “Great! It might be after work.” He slid back across the seat and opened the door. His eyes had a twinkle in them that let me know old Buddy would be in rare form. exciting. sexy…just let me know when to stop. “She’s gone to town. I take that back. khaki pants. having lunch with her church lady friends. I felt great. * * * The next day I dropped by Buddy’s to find out what he wanted to talk about. I stood at the bottom of the steps with my hat in my hands and inquired after Marie. I need you to stop. He looked my uniform over. I should have known by now that feeling never lasts long.” I hated doing it. Anytime. offering to let me fill in the blanks. work’s been scarce around here. “Oh.

” He spit a warning shot. He put a new wad of Red Man in his cheek. Buddy took aim and launched an arc of tobacco juice off the porch and into his wife’s flower bed. Buddy. Some of the high school kids thought that was funny.NO GOOD DEED “No work for a Chinaman. The flowers where he spit were yellowed and dying. this time close to my boot. and you get on them and they take you places. There was no hope of them standing up against the power of Red Man. I gave him some time to get it going before I asked what this was all about. so he tolerates me. rednecks took all the railroad jobs and there’s no opening at the laundry. Steal a goat and leave it tied up on someone’s lawn or in their room. I’d figured he would tell me about kids speeding on the road or his goats being stolen.” I grinned.” The niceties done. it’s a place where they park airplanes. “I mean an airport around here.” “I don’t think there is an airport around here. it’d be twenty questions. We sat in two wicker rocking chairs that must have been almost as old as Buddy. so I had to take what I could. He’s been my neighbor for years. you dumb fool. I hear.” “Like Intercontinental or Hobby?” I named the two large airports in Houston. what do you know about an airport?” Oh. hoping I’d got the answer right. Observing local courtesy. “Smart-ass. “Dan.” “No.” I scratched my head. He rolled his eyes at me. “A new airport. 142 . “Well. he waved me up onto the porch.

NO GOOD DEED “Maybe a bit smaller. Mostly corporate jets. but it has its share of jets going in and out.” “How do you know about this?” “Couple of the fellas been approached by an out-of-town company looking to buy up land. some still is. just like Riceland and its rice fields.S. Nowadays.” He pronounced the word. The land around it was sugar cane fields. Seems it got run out of Katy for ecological reasons.” He spit again for emphasis.” “That’s right. and commuter hops from the two big airports. this far north seems it’s not so great a problem. that sort 143 . In the years when Imperial Sugar was king. What do you hear. the town grew up around the factory. get permits at city hall. More like the one down in Sugar Land? Seen that one?” Sugar Land was southwest of Houston. “I heard about that. and jet engines. the marigolds didn’t stand a chance. 59 corridor. Makes for great duck and goose hunting. Sugar Land is a suburb of Houston. Something about feathers. private planes. intakes. with new subdivisions springing up along the U. it was Bobby. “ee-co-logical. The flight plans and landing strips were right on the migratory bird route. “Not a word. Well. “Word is there’s going to be a new airport to service the west side of Houston.” Most of the migrating birds from South and Central America stop twice a year at the Katy prairie on their round trip to other areas of our nation. but more west than south. “Birds and planes don’t mix well. You don’t sit at a table for breakfast with the movers and shakers at the Riceland Diner on Main Street five days a week and not pick up some bits of information. Buddy?” If anyone was connected. The airport there is small compared to the two big ones.

if he got questioned about it.” I rocked a while digesting this. It would be a very stressful time for him. or I’d lose the days. I’ll let you know.” I stood. Lunch was waiting for me at the diner. and I wanted to be here for support. I’d still have the days. I had scheduled myself the time off when I thought Mark and I had no future. * * * It was ten days before the grand jury on Hagan’s shooting convened. got in my pickup. 144 . and I was thinking about my four days up in the Hill Country.NO GOOD DEED of thing. I really couldn’t add anything to the conversation. I was not invited. but he was a smart man and knew when to get involved and when not to.” “Same here. Buddy. Tasket had casually let it slip in conversation. tipped my hat. but since it had little to do with me. Well. I think he worked harder at avoiding it than I did. Besides. knowing I’d want to know about the meeting. The city attorney had called and set up an appointment to go over the case with both detectives. but if I hear anything. I don’t know anything about it. In fact. that’s not exactly true. So far. I had to try to switch my time without inconveniencing anyone else. There was no reason I should be. I’d managed to avoid having “the talk” with Tasket. but now I didn’t want to leave him alone. I figured Tasket suspected my involvement with Mark. “Well. then he could honestly say he didn’t have a clue I was seeing Mark or that I was gay. Mark and Chief Tasket. though. but I’d have to work during the trial. and drove to town.

along with all the fixings. Get your ass in there. absolutely not! No press. and swung past my office to say hi. putting two and two together. and got back to business. What was going on between Mark and me was none of Fry’s business. One of them was Mark’s. I told you. An hour later. He sounded really mad. and Fry gave me a look of puzzlement. I hadn’t been to Clancy’s in a while and knew I’d have to make an appearance there soon. Mark gave me a salute as he left. The phone rang. or expect a large. nothing!” 145 . and my gut kicked hard.NO GOOD DEED Mark had called me and let me know about it anyway. Saved by the bell. I answered it. We don’t have that many meeting rooms. It was her subtle way of saying. Mark made a small detour. I went to the door and listened. so they had arranged it with Beth. I wasn’t ready for this. We had been talking almost every night after my shift. Fry and Vargas arrived before the meeting to set up the room. Beth shot me a look and jerked her head in the direction of the commotion. bald biker trying to break down my door in the middle of the night. “No. I nodded and went looking for Mark. both decaf and regular. They wanted the big room. Mark arrived before the others. It occurred to me he might be thinking about that incident when I was found with my arms around Mark. In her capable style. keeper of all things at the station. I heard a door slam and raised voices. and Bill Fry led him to the room. much to Fry’s surprise. just a few small interrogation rooms. Beth had provided bottled water and carafes of coffee. no awards. and one nice-sized conference room. We kept it casual and appropriate for all age levels.

Oh. Romaine pleaded. Chief Tasket. “Mr. and I knew I had to take control in order to salvage something. Montgomery. Mark scanned the hallway looking for an escape and spotted me. drawn by the scent of blood. Romaine. and about four sets of eyebrows rose up. and I knew he’d done the math. “You’re on a first name basis?” Tasket shot me a look of pity. I can’t appear with the mayor and you. the city attorney. I just can’t. Romaine stared at me and a slow. Tell them!” All eyes turned to me. misery in his eyes.” St. I had seen both his flight and fight. Montgomery.” He shook his head and backed against the wall. Clearly. What the hell? How did he get involved in this? “But. John Ball. so I knew what it looked like. St. nothing. Fry’s eyes narrowed.NO GOOD DEED Mark’s voice level increased. he was just about at the “flight or fight” stage. “Well. the snake. Romaine. He turned to Mark. shit-eating grin spread over his face. “No. but that situation would be intolerable for me. yeah. but not to the shouting stage yet. we were going to have a talk. Mark glanced at me. ignoring me. I had no intentions of clarifying it for him. I appreciate your support. and that slime ball St. I’ve spoken to 146 . He stood in the hallway with Chief Tasket. Mr. “Daniel?” Fry asked. why would Captain Chan know about what you can and can’t handle?” St. but couldn’t quite believe the answer. I didn’t like the sound of what little I heard. slithered closer. his lips pursed. “Daniel! Tell these people I can’t do any press! No talks. you’re a hero! Everyone will want to know about this.

“Right. Montgomery. She told me Mark’s taken this very hard. Everyone forgets Mark isn’t a cop and trained for that eventuality.” I stepped in. I knew that sometime later today I’d be seeing him again. Romaine still looked suspicious. “Dr. “His psychiatrist?” St. the less he’s in the spotlight and being reminded of the incident. trying to help me. “All right. no press. Cohen told me he’s having trouble sleeping. “You have a shrink?” “Yes. “Just remember what we talked about. eating.” “And they are?” Ball looked terrified his entire case against Ridge would blow sky high. I don’t think she would recommend Mark be subjected to any additional stress.” Mark nodded his agreement.NO GOOD DEED Mr. Romaine yelped. the better. I took his advice. I nodded. Captain Chan suggested I see someone the day of the incident. She told me of Mark’s fears and concerns. and no appearances. for 147 . “He is extremely upset about killing that young man. St. We can’t use a blithering idiot. Dr.” “Like post-stress syndrome?” Tasket added. The tension started draining from the hallway. God bless him.” I tried to sound casual. Cohen came to see me after meeting with Mr. For now. he’s extremely shaken. He turned to Mark. Montgomery to verify the facts of the incident.” He was so tactful. but relented. At this time. It would be a public relations fiasco. Mr. but Fry was still giving me looks. I wanted to punch his lights out. and dealing with it. Montgomery’s psychiatrist about his condition.

leaving me and John.” I made a show of checking out my chair. I gave him a shrug and went back to my office. “Once again. Fry turned and disappeared into the back of the station.” I used my most deadpan voice and looked inscrutable. Romaine stared at me. With a last look at me.” he said as he stepped in and shut the door. you seem to keep popping up. It’s the kind of publicity you can’t buy! It is very important.” “Sorry. “We are in love and plan to marry. “I didn’t think you’d really want to have him break down standing next to the mayor. John gave me a sharp nod and went down the hall to the front of the building. “I needed him to be at those ceremonies and press events. Montgomery?” His eyes narrowed.” Ball added. Mark nodded and left. looking like he was happy just to get away. What a show that would be. You won’t have to rehash the testimony. The mayor needs him. “Chan.” 148 . I was just sitting down when he showed up in my doorway. seething under his smooth exterior. Not a good look for him. The jury will have your statement and they’ll just be asking clarifying questions.” He spoke between clenched teeth. and you just ruined that for me. Tasket turned and headed into his office. “you have interfered with me.” He waved his arm.” I started to shuffle some papers. “Captain Chan. “Enough of your wit…it wears thin.NO GOOD DEED your appearance on the stand.” “Do I? I thought I had that under control. “Just what is your relationship with Mr. Romaine. my bad. I was doing you a favor. Fry and St.” St.

plain and simple. I had to be careful. as tempting as that offer is. my dance card is full.” “Sorry. With one hand on the knob. St. because snakes are dangerous. so I rose. I got in my patrol car and headed to Clancy’s. There was no reason why Mark and I shouldn’t have a relationship. We had some catching up to 149 .” He jerked the door open. It was close to lunch. though. if he’s as fragile as you say. Mr. I hated the bastard. and I watched as he stalked over to the dark blue Mercedes and got in. “As his shrink says.” He might not believe me.” He showed me his teeth in what could only be his best snake style. He trotted down the front steps. but he seemed to be calming down. Romaine. and I followed him out.” I corrected him. I needed to eat. Cohen. Can I walk you out?” I smiled at him. but I wanted to talk to Jeff even more. It wasn’t my case. I’ll crush you if you fuck with me. I just didn’t want St. A chill raced up my spine as something clicked in the back of my mind. and placed it on my head. right?” He pulled out one of those high-tech gadgets and typed something into it. “I wonder what he’d tell me about Mark…and you. “I’ve got a lunch appointment. I’m sure she’d talk to you if you called and made an appointment. he stopped and turned back. so no rules were being broken.” I hated him speaking Mark’s name. “Dr. He grunted and turned to the door.” “I just might do that. grabbed my Stetson. “That’s right. “Chan. I hated that he’d gotten near Mark. Romaine knowing my business.NO GOOD DEED “Perhaps.

It was after four and the happy hour crowd was just getting started. It’s up to me not to blow it.” He laughed.” I smiled at the memory. “Neither. and I needed his help. “Will we need the Cone of Silence. Dan. “Jeff. it’s only a matter of time. Then I asked Jeff for a favor. I’ll get back to you as soon as I get the info. “Did you get him back before curfew?” “Of course. But we went out to dinner.” “Shit. I put a ten on the bar and left. Sad thing was. I need to talk to you about something. * * * I took the first bite of the burger and chewed slowly. waiting for Jeff to come back from serving a couple of guys at the other end of the bar.” I finished my burger. Cowboys respect a curfew. “But what does that mean?” “That he’s giving me a chance. and St. he was probably right. “No problem. 150 . When I was done. I explained the situation with Mark.” He looked impressed. and he went back to work. Consider it handled. Can we sit over in the corner?” “Man.” We moved over to the corner and sat at a table. the grand jury.” “Part of the code?” I nodded between chewing. “So did you spend your time fishing or fucking?” Jeff was always to the point. this must be some secret shit. if you want to hit the corner. this is ‘read once and eat’ shit.NO GOOD DEED do. Romaine and laid out my suspicions. Dan. Max?” “Yes.

Doctor. I dropped the money in and dialed Cohen’s number. and he’s used to getting his way. Cohen’s office.NO GOOD DEED I had a phone call to make. you may be getting a call from the mayor’s office. ‘Our hero’ and all that. Cohen here. “No. not at all. Don’t let me down. ever. I’m not interested in telling St. and I wanted to make it from a pay phone.” “Oh.” 151 . or vice versa. are you calling to make an appointment?” “No. Doctor.” “Are you embarrassed?” Her voice turned wary. Be careful. Can I help you?” I explained who I was and was put on hold for a few minutes. It’s about Mark and his testimony for the grand jury. He’s not a nice man. I love him. And thank you. that’s not good. He is changing. “Dr.” “I’ll be sure to set him straight. The mayor’s campaign manager is pressuring Mark to do some publicity appearances with the mayor. He wouldn’t think twice about hurting Mark to hurt me. This guy doesn’t like me ’cause seems I’ve been a pain in his side once or twice. coming alive. They had a phone you could sit in your car and talk on. Captain Chan. I suppose. but I needed to let you know.” “That’s what I told him. He may call to confirm it with you.” “I’ll take it under advisement. “Why are you calling me and not Mark?” “Well. Captain. there was some discussion over our relationship. Romaine about Mark and me. I drove down Main until I crossed the FM 149 intersection and pulled into the Diamond Shamrock gas station.” “I don’t plan on it.” “For what?” “For Mark. “Dr. I haven’t seen him like this in…well.” She paused.

that Dan Chan sounded like a real loser. at least. hard knot of fear. Who they’re not seeing. Dan. Ten minutes later. “Dan. And I want you to 152 . unless it’s shut. right. but on the inside. St. I don’t know much about you. “That’s okay. No kids. I parked the car in the station’s lot. you know. not any more.” She hung up. Uncrossed them. Looked at his nails. can we talk?” “Sure. No wife. No girlfriend. my gut was one cold. If they go to church regular. Boy. “Chan. my door is always open. Romaine or Tasket. especially in my time on the Houston force. I’d hate to be him. I guess he had some paperwork to handle.” He swallowed. I’ve seen a lot. Frank. Just work. I don’t know anything about Dan Chan. What their kids are up to. I was him. “I’m a pretty open-minded person. People know each other. just as I’d expected. this is a small town. I wasn’t ready to have this conversation. Oh. “But for the life of me. almost reluctant to go on. Not with Fry.” I really didn’t believe he wanted to know me…well. either. Who they’re seeing.NO GOOD DEED “I hope so. Not yet. I sat with my hands clasped on my desk. only much later. * * * Detective Frank Fry knocked on my door. I might have looked calm. What’s going on in their lives.” His eyes narrowed. waiting for him to compose himself.” He came in and took a seat. other than you’ve been in Riceland for nearly twenty-five years. Crossed his legs. I did the same and pulled out of the gas station.

let’s say I’m bisexual. I have to know or I wouldn’t ask.” No need to tell him everything—my hopes. “Are you a homosexual?” He leaned forward. Just that fast. “Are you seeing Mark Montgomery?” Straight to the point. Mark’s fears. “We’re seeing each other.” I swallowed. for damn sure. did you know Montgomery before this incident?” “No. and as interesting as that might be. chewing the side of his cheek. “Hypothetically. my dreams. did I? He nodded and pushed out of his seat. Back to business. this won’t go any farther. He closed his eyes and groaned. I thought about lying.” “And this…whatever it is between you…happened just that fast?” “Yeah. “What has that got to do with the case?” “Maybe nothing.” I didn’t need to tell him it knocked me on my ass. and wounds. but I need to know in case it does. For a moment. I didn’t think he really wanted to hear it. “Dan. If I were in his shoes. but as investigating detective.” I didn’t smile. dead serious. First time I ever saw him was when he was in the back of the patrol car. He mulled it over. 153 . I had to respect the man.” “So ask. I’d be asking the same damn questions. I could give him a rundown of my shifting sexual identity from my teen years to present.” He was right.” I shrugged. “Is it serious?” “Yes. then he sighed and sat back in his chair. I did not.NO GOOD DEED know. and you know I do. The truth wasn’t funny and neither was exposing myself to Fry.

old man. I wanted Mark.” He stopped at the door.NO GOOD DEED “Thanks for being honest. Instead. 154 .” “Montgomery knows you like pussy.” He shook his head.” I nodded. too?” “Yes. and make it the right one. wanted to be deep inside him.” He extended his hand. “Have you told anyone?” I needed to know what kind of damage control I had to do. Saves me some trouble. “Holy fucking shit.” “Holy shit. was right. so while I am. or the whore. “No. and I’d made an appointment for midnight. Take your pick. Bayou City Escorts was waiting for me. “Bi-sexual? That means you swing both ways? You like dick and pussy?” “Yes. I had a man. But just thinking about her got me aroused. I picked up the phone and dialed. I choose to be with him. but I wasn’t going to show. No swinging the other way.” “Yeah. “Mark?” “Dan! I was just thinking about you. Mark is gay. That was my problem. Not ever.” He sounded breathless. and I shook it. I’m monogamous. still shaking his head.” “Thanks. I appreciate it. Fry left. his voice low and sexy. I can’t see any reason why I would. I’d just never had him. * * * It was eleven. it was me and my hand. And for now. Holy fucking shit.

too. he was just teasing me. yes. I guess I was quiet too long. “There’s no one else. Daniel.” “I’m yours. “Naked? Really?” I was surprised.” “Good. “What you’re wearing. “Who is he?” It was almost a whisper.” “Is that all you were thinking?” “No. I’d be pissed if you were thinking of someone else. this had started because I had been thinking about that whore.” “Good.” “Sure?” “Yes. either. because I don’t like sharing. Mark. and my mole does miss you.” Hell. very sexy.” I closed my eyes and let his words wash over me.NO GOOD DEED “I was thinking about you.” I felt a pang of guilt. I wouldn’t. “Are you in bed?” “Oh. “Really? What were you thinking?” he asked. very suggestive.” “No. Mark. About that mole on your chest. This is killing me. “No. “Good to know. “I want you. in bed and my mole misses you.” 155 . and he picked up on it. I was thinking of you. I usually sleep in boxers. not all.” I reached down and pulled my semi-hard cock out of my boxers just to give it some breathing room. If you were in bed yet. that is.” I laid back and got comfortable.” “I’m naked. I’m sure you wouldn’t like it.” Thinking about what I’d like to do to you.

” “My body would thank you. not frigid. “Long and slow. “Well. “My hand. “Dan. “Then just before you came.” “Are you touching yourself now?” he whispered.” I stroked myself harder. I’d take you in my mouth…” My moaning drowned out his as I released a load all over my belly. Call my name. too. “I’ll take that for a yes.” “Then I’d like to concentrate on making you moan loudly. “Long. It sprang to attention and pointed to the ceiling. the tight circle of my fist flying over the fat head of my dick as I closed my eyes and pictured Mark under me.” “All the way up your shaft. With my tongue. He was sexual. every inch of your body. slow strokes. but he was just frightened about acting on it. I get so hard when I think of you. He got turned on. or fast and hard?” Jesus. yes. “I want to taste you. actually.NO GOOD DEED “You think you’re the only one with a hard-on?” He sounded a little irritated. I had been for some time.” My cock jerked. over the head and back down?” I moaned.” I tapped the head of my now stiff cock. Beg me not to stop. trying to catch my breath.” “Mark…” I picked up the pace. “Do you know what I want to do to you?” “Tell me. Slowly. 156 .” I could hear the smile in his voice. he was making me throb. as I worked. “Yes. My hand is getting tired. after all. “Mark!” I breathed heavily.” Actually.

and slept until morning.NO GOOD DEED “Sweet dreams. Daniel. rolled over on my stomach. tossed them on the floor. 157 . Sweet Jesus.” He chuckled and hung up. I wiped the drying cum off with my boxers.

Sometimes. long time. True to form.NO GOOD DEED CHAPTER 11 Life was good. that’s usually when the bottom drops out and you find yourself dangling over a pit filled with gators. and she was one of the best. you need to have someone run interference for you. I had turned my phone over to Beth to answer so I could finish the next month’s schedule. And the rope you’re holding onto is fraying. and I was hoping she’d use some of them for me. She must have all the excuses for why the chief can’t answer the phone right now in a card catalog. Beth managed to hold everyone at bay while 158 . Business was slow. I was looking forward to my next date with Mark with an eagerness I hadn’t felt in a long. in my line of work is a good thing. Routine and boredom were setting in and getting to feel really comfortable. which. In my experience.

That means a lot of juggling of men.” She looked worried.” he shouted. Dan.” “It’s on television. what’s going on?” “Have you seen the news today?” “T. I can’t stand it. “Beth. “I didn’t leak anything.” Beth came in and motioned for me to come to her desk. Right now. “Boss.” Back to Mark. I can’t believe you gave it to them! How could you do that to me?” His anger rolled across the phone lines.” I hit hold and called to Beth. Let me go see this report. it was almost a month old.? No. but they were touting it as the 159 . It’s bad enough I have to relive it in my mind. more than usual. “Daniel? Is that you?” Mark sounded really tense. we watched the end of the report. I punched the blinking light and picked up the receiver. it’s too much. it’s horrible. Legal has it. Beth knocked on my door and stuck her head in.” I put the phone down and rushed to Beth’s desk. “Mark. “What’s on?” I wasn’t following him at all.V. but seeing it in color. “Baby. “The tape! The shooting!” “What? Which channel?” “The local out of Houston.” “Oh. turn on your set and get the local news. It’s Mark Montgomery. hold on. not since this morning. I was determined not to turn it in late or over budget. I don’t even have the tape. Together. on television. time.NO GOOD DEED I finished the report. Up against the deadline. Right. you better pick up. Breaking news. as if it were something for everyone’s enjoyment. and money. Mark. “Hold on.

a 160 . Let me call you back in a little while. My mind raced through all the possible suspects for the leak. and motioned me in. The anchor ended the segment. I counted to ten. I had bigger problems than telling my boss I was gay. They made it sound like I killed that boy for…for…fun! ‘In cold blood.” I wasn’t sure what I could do. “Figured you’d get around to it sometime. Fuck. I need to see you. He nodded. and then headed to Tasket’s office. Instead. did you see? It’s awful. crying and saying how Mark had cut down her poor son in cold blood and calling for justice. wondering if Mark was a hero or a coldblooded murderer. “Chief. I stopped. Then they cut away to Jimmy Ridge’s mother. “Mark?” “Daniel.” Mark’s voice shook with anger and fear.” I knew what he was talking about. but right then. When I got to St. baby. trying to calm down. since the cat was out of the bag and it was too late to close the barn door. I need to get to the bottom of this. I was furious and wanted to get my hands on him.” Tasket was chewing on an unlit cigar. Jesus! He was going to kill us. Promise.’ they said. it showed the part of the tape where Mark shot Ridge. And having an affair. This couldn’t be worse. put down his Deer Hunter magazine. We watched as the last of the report played. I didn’t see anything about Jimmy shooting Hagan. And no mention of the amount of meth in Ridge’s system.NO GOOD DEED latest from Riceland. Basically. “Look. Romaine. okay?” “Promise?” “I’ll take care of it. I went back to my office to try to calm down Mark.

He took a long drag and slowly blew out a plume of smoke. “We need to place Montgomery under wraps and keep the press from him. “Shit!” Tasket bolted upright. Chan. This is Hagan’s. “Art? It’s Tasket… No. Mark is out of his mind about it. “Find out. If he thinks this will force Montgomery to go public. but other than beat St. not just scared of being killed. But if it looks like he’s mentally unstable. “Someone leaked the tape of the shooting. Montgomery sure did and he about had a cow. snatched up the phone. I watched the tail end. your 161 . “The press is going to be all over this. If he is as fragile as everyone says he is and he snaps. his eyes like both dark barrels of a shotgun. he leveled his gaze at me. all bets are off. But you know who my guess is. As long as he’s rational and coherent.NO GOOD DEED relationship—hell. the end was burning red hot. We’re going to lose the case if Montgomery breaks. there’s no telling what will happen at the grand jury. the sneaky bastard.” I slumped into a chair and ran my hand through my hair. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the chief madder than at that moment. Who leaked it?” Tasket listened and lit his cigar. and dialed a number. and they were calling it murder. It’s on the five o’clock news. It’ll look as if he was crazy all along. but Mr. After three strong pulls. we could be in real mess. he’s greatly underestimated his will. what can I do?” I needed to do something.” “Chief. I didn’t see it. we’re home free. Romaine to a bloody pulp.” After hanging up. I was short on ideas.” He listened again. If the public doesn’t think Montgomery is the hero. He’ll look like the hero he is. He’s gone too far this time. “I want to know as soon as possible. I didn’t know what the hell it was—with Mark.

Romaine’s going to use this to pressure Mark into appearing in public. to help get the mayor reelected. waiting for an answer. I briefly explained what had happened to Mark and how he’d survived being left for dead. Or to Hagan or the department. Tasket leaned back and shook his head when I finished. It doesn’t matter to him what damage he does to Mark. “That’s some man you got there. sir.NO GOOD DEED and my ass on the line here. all business. so you figure it out.” “It didn’t take me long. “St. “My 162 . It would be twins for her and her husband. He’s done a lot to survive. He wasn’t asking. her waddle a little more pronounced.” He called her in to his office.” She left. Like I said before. too.” While Beth was gathering info. chief. St. he’s a smart man and shouldn’t be underestimated.” “Will he cave?” “No way. Romaine. He’s the mayor’s man. She looked enormous to me. I nodded once. unable at that time to speak. no one in his office did it. and I wasn’t telling. sir. right?” I asked bitterly. He looks fragile. but I had enough smarts never to mention it. and the tape is still there. and she listened as he explained what he needed. “Do they know where Mark is? Where he lives?” “Let me get Beth to check on it. Her lips were thin and her jaw set. “As far as Art knows. Dan. He’ll get through this. but he’s tough.” He gave me a grin. Any ideas?” He looked at me. “I’ll get right back to you. He made a copy of the tape and gave it to City Attorney Ball to work with for the case. Beth came back.

We didn’t pass any news vans. down the steps and to my car. and we left.” He looked at the house. Daniel. do you?” I asked as we pulled down the long gravel road that led to my house. “Let’s go. and gave me a tentative smile. As I pulled out onto Main Street. This is good. pulled me inside. and bolted out of the car. “The press is on its way. I made the steps of his porch in one leap and pounded on the door. but his trust in me was terrifying.” 163 . but I slammed on the brakes. “Mark. it’s me.NO GOOD DEED sources say they know who he is and where he lives.” He opened the door and.” Jumping to my feet. so we must have been ahead of the game. “Where are we?” “My house. we were passing The Terraces. I don’t know how much time I beat the news crews by. In fact. “I like it. Dan! Open up. I turned off the trouble lights and drove at the posted speed back through town toward my house with Mark wearing my hat. Ten minutes later. where I can keep you safe. I flew out the door and ran through the station. You don’t mind.” he said. We headed down the steps. parking across the sidewalk. You need to get out of here. I’ve always felt safe with you. “I want you near me. fast!” He was one step ahead of me because he stepped into the front room and came back with an overnight bag and a laptop case. there are several news vans on the way to Mark’s house right now. seeing the look on my face. I lit up my trouble lights and the siren and headed to Mark’s. I tossed his bag in the back seat of the cruiser.

He left the kitchen and started down the hall to the bedrooms. I led the way to the front door and invited him in. but you need to realize. the smallest amount of irritation showing on his face. but we can share. staying with me? I promise I’ll keep my distance. “I said.” I held my hands up in surrender. I wanted to reassure him about my intentions. I just want you safe.” “It’ll be fine. I have to say I do keep a neat house.” “Trying to keep me sane? Afraid I’ll break under the stress?” He looked at me.” He shook his head. I’d tell you. if you don’t mind. even if I had no idea what they were right then other than to keep him safe.” “It’s small. “It’s not small. it’s you.” He looked around as he headed to the kitchen. “Daniel. “This won’t be a problem for you. his eyes narrowing.” I shrugged.” He gave me a reassuring smile. Dan.NO GOOD DEED I pulled under the covered parking spot next to the house. I know you’re strong enough to deal with this.” “We’re going to try to keep you away from the press until it’s time for the grand jury. the chief and the department have a lot riding on your testimony. everything was in its place. Daniel. “If it wasn’t. You need to back up Hagan’s testimony. Since our schedules are so different. “You can have the guest room. “Not me.” 164 . I hate clutter. it’s cozy. it’s fine. it shouldn’t be a problem. and we got out. I shook my head. I only have one bath. trying to decide whose side I was on. no pressure.” “Hagan’s testimony? But you have the tape. He stepped into the house and looked around. but it’s just been me for so long.

But it had two windows that looked out over the back yard. it’s a pretty sight. A big no-no in law enforcement. That isn’t an issue at all. Never give up your gun. The tape could be read differently. Don’t tell anyone where you are. Mark. so that’ll help a lot.” He nodded and slowly shut the dresser drawer. just like what they showed on the news. just for right now. though. this could end his career. Also. Provided he wants to come back. “Make yourself at home. We need both your testimonies. It didn’t take long for him to unpack.NO GOOD DEED “Yes. a dresser with a mirror and a small closet. “You were in danger of being killed and it’s a solid case of self-defense. but if you appear to be unstable in any way. it’s all on tape. We walked back to the front room. “No one’s said anything about you being gay. Dan. Go on back to work. but it’s a pretty flimsy leg to stand on. Without you to back up Hagan. No crazy gay guy stuff. Are you going to be all right here?” “I’m fine.” “But it could be.” I sat down on edge of the bed and watched him unpack. We have the blood work on Ridge and he was flying on meth. couldn’t it?” “Maybe. I have to say.” “Sure?” He nodded and rolled his eyes. Hagan gave you his gun. okay?” “Okay. The small room had a bed. it could be twisted. Will you be home later?” 165 . There’s no clear sound and we can’t hear what Ridge was saying about killing you both.” “I understand.

but needed to see him. my heart pounding so hard I thought he could hear it. you leaked that tape to the press. After ten minutes. She talked on the phone. his door opened and he motioned me inside. just holding on. He pulled away and stretched up to kiss me on the lips. to what do I owe the pleasure of your company?” He sounded so smug. looking me up and down. slipped his arms around my waist above my holster. Taking the stairs two at a time. and put his head on my chest. Behind him was a large painting. “St. “Captain Chan. He tasted so good. Please have a seat. We stood there for a long moment.” She pointed to a section of the wall with four wooden chairs pushed against it. around tenthirty tonight or sooner if I can get away. Romaine. I sat and held my hat on my knee.” * * * I should have headed back to the station. “Yeah. but instead I headed to the courthouse. I wanted more. Romaine will see you shortly. so right. in my arms. “Mr. modern and ugly. I stepped to the door. Romaine’s office on the second floor and told his secretary I didn’t have an appointment. you bastard.NO GOOD DEED Home…it sounded so good when he said it. My cock came to life. “I’ll call when I’m on my way home. He took his seat behind a large glass desk that held only a phone and a computer monitor. pressing against his body in its eagerness. he felt so good. He came to me. and then hung up.” “Call me?” I smiled at him and waited. St. God.” I 166 . I found St.

It had taken every ounce of control not to pull my gun and empty it into the smug bastard.NO GOOD DEED wanted to throttle him as I leaned on the glass. “For now.” “Of course you do…you leaked it. “The day I’m out-classed by a piece of fly shit like you hasn’t arrived.” He shrugged. He’s not a pawn for you to play with.” My eyes narrowed as I stared at him.” I turned and left. I straightened and stared him in the eyes. that sort of thing. a designer brand and probably worth more than I make in a month. 167 . Romaine. “We’ll see about that. I suppose he’ll just have to come out and defend himself. How is that supposed to help the mayor?” It was all I could do not to pull out my gun. he glanced at my hands. contemplating how much time I’d have to do. “I warned you before not to get in my way. St.” He flicked some imaginary lint off the crease in his pants. smearing it with my fingerprints. but that didn’t make a difference to me. Frowning. Stay away from Mark Montgomery. I ate people like you for breakfast in Dallas. Chan. He’s a person.” “Have you finished. It’s running on the news right now. but damn it to hell. There’ll be a press conference. “Chan. he needed killing. It makes Mark look like he killed the man in cold blood. either. I don’t know what you’re talking about. “It works perfectly. Captain Chan?” He folded his hands in his lap and looked at me over his gold-rimmed glasses. He didn’t care who he hurt as long as he got what he wanted. You’re out-classed. And the reputation of the police department will not be destroyed by you. no doubt. Make a statement. the mayor will have to speak. You and the rest of your small town buddies. His suit was.

” I nodded. Don’t tell anyone. just be there. Did they try his house?” “The public affairs department is preparing a statement for me to make in about an hour. Tasket grinned. No one can find him. Can you imagine that?” “How odd. Romaine had been the one who leaked it.” “I’ll come get you when I get the call. sir. You don’t have to speak.” He held up his hands. * * * I knocked on Tasket’s door and he looked up. I realized that maybe I’d been rash in rushing over here. “A reporter called here for a statement. “Don’t tell me. “Maybe I could hold a sign?” “Or we could get you a really important looking hat?” “I like hats. How else will the mayor recognize his next chief of police?” He grinned. you need the face time. Being the smart man he is I was sure he could guess where I’d stashed Mark.” “But as my future successor.NO GOOD DEED As I walked down the marble stairs to the main hall. not even the chief. “He safe?” “Yeah. “I like boots better. St.” “Yes. sir. for now. Care to join me?” “That would be flying in the face of my lack of ambition. I’ll be standing on the front steps of the station.” I admitted.” * * 168 * . But I knew I was right. I had no plans on telling anyone where Mark was.

Luckily. even as he lay wounded. Tasket spoke of Mark Montgomery as a model citizen. and his post-mortem toxicology results. so I wouldn’t have to worry about honing my memory skills. Then the mayor stepped up. which he had memorized in his office just minutes before stepping outside.NO GOOD DEED It was crowded on the small steps of the station.” before he stepped away from the microphone. His Honor Mayor Dalton grinned as he introduced Chief of Police Tasket and stepped aside to let him speak. and makeup people were a small crowd with a life of its own. One reporter had divided into ten by some miracle of television science. technical assistants. I realized there were many unadvertised talents needed for the job of chief of police. I have no ambitions. Romaine. someone who hadn’t run in the face of danger and hailed him as the hero of the hour. like where Mark Montgomery was. Mayor Dalton. The press tried to ask questions of the chief. but he gave them a sharp. Someone had dragged out a podium with the Riceland PD crest on the front. Chief Tasket. He described Hagan as a dedicated officer who. Basically. St. gave a brief rundown of Jimmy Ridge’s arrest record. he ran through the time line of the incident. praising both Hagan and Mark as heroes who narrowly escaped death from a crazed druggie high on meth. City Attorney Ball and I were standing in a loose knot at the top. habitual drug use.” and “You have my statement. It was inspired and it left no doubt to which side law and order was going to take. “No comment. The fair citizens of Riceland. stayed away. The accompanying cameramen. being the sane bunch they are. 169 . saved himself and Montgomery. Tasket recited his script.

Romaine’s voice in an instant. Chan. “I have no idea.” I hung up. By now. I wondered if 170 .” “Right. Where have you hidden him?” His teeth must have been clenched teeth so tight those perfect white caps might break.NO GOOD DEED St. Political sharks. I didn’t speak or pose for pictures. or else. the conference would be on. As I watched. The city attorney told the reporters he would be asking for a decision of self-defense for Mr. Wasn’t he home?” “I warned you. but it seemed that wasn’t going to be the case. Captain. Well. My phone rang and I answered. “Where is who?” “Mark Montgomery. Since I was merely background fluff. I wanted to puke. St. I wanted to stay clear of both of them. “Where is he?” I recognized St. Montgomery. Romaine had to know Mark had disappeared. trying to look calm and collected. and I could tell he was pissed. I figured the mayor and St. I headed for his office. I was pretty sure I wouldn’t like it. Romaine were like two peas in a pod. and with several rows of teeth. Romaine stayed to the side until the very end. Beth pulled out the television again and we watched the conference on the nine o’clock news. always moving. but he caught my eye once or twice. the mayor posed for a photo op with the city attorney and the chief of police. Tasket called saying he wanted me to watch the news. not to fuck with me. Then giving the cameras his most dashing smile. I returned inside the station with the chief and went to my office. it looked like I wouldn’t be able to stay clear of him. Very dangerous. I wondered what he had in mind.

“It’s what got him where he is today. I stopped dead in my tracks.” I nodded my agreement. I could smell dinner. A real dinner cooking. “Darlene is a good cook.” “Thank you.” I said. I considered that a good thing. After all. not very happy. 171 .NO GOOD DEED Mark had caught it. was fresh from a shower. You don’t think I look ten pounds heavier?” “Only where it counts. a tight T-shirt stretched across his chest. Chan.” “No. but. The conference ended and we switched off the set. I wonder why?” Tasket glanced at me over the magazine. “The mayor looked good. His hair. and I went back to my office. “St. Chief. “The camera loves you. Loose. He would have to come to terms with the situation eventually. well. low riding jeans hung on his hips. I couldn’t wait to leave work and go home. He still hadn’t asked me about my relationship with Mark. Its natural curl had found freedom and it fell across both sides of his forehead. for now.” the chief replied as he opened a drawer and pulled out this month’s Guns and Hounds.” Tasket checked out his waistline. When I walked in the door. he’d be testifying before the grand jury in just a day or so. Mark came out of the kitchen as I shut the door. Every one of my forty-two years hit me in the gut. I finished my report and shut down my computer. We grinned at each other. Romaine looks. too. normally parted in the middle and combed back. Did a double take. He looked so young it staggered me. smiling and looking gorgeous. I don’t think he is.

he looked hot.” “Age doesn’t matter to me. “What’s wrong?” “Nothing. “I’m a lot older than you. each step bringing him closer to me. Even his bare feet looked good to me. in his taste. but I did the math. his blue eyes shining. about ten years stood between us. I watched as he crossed the room to me. Now.” He looked up at me.NO GOOD DEED “Like what you see?” he asked as he hooked one thumb in a belt loop and shifted his weight to the side. I needed to adjust my swelling cock. since I did like the way he looked. Daniel. I’m just blown away. 172 .” I kept blinking trying to readjust my fantasies. right?” “Yes. I may be stupid and dumb. Forty-two to be painfully exact. Daniel. I lowered his age by at least five years.” I wiped my forehead and frowned. and I’ve never been into feet. My heart stopped right then and there. the mole is still there. it looks terrific!” He picked up my hesitancy and frowned. “Mark. the way his eyes looked at me. I know I’m not supposed to ask. He was much younger than I had thought. He closed the gap between us and wrapped his arms around my neck.” He smiled. pulling me down to his hungry mouth. Damn. I could get lost in this man. but I at least know when a man that fine asks if you like something. “The mole is still there. I just didn’t like the way it made me feel. but how old…” “I’m thirty-two. the feel of his skin under my hands. either. I held his hips in the lightest of grips. Ouch. you damn well better answer with a resounding “Yes!” I didn’t have to fake it.” He smiled. God. “That’s a relief. “Yes. not even women’s.

But I really need to move at my own speed. it wouldn’t take much. he laughed and ran to the kitchen to catch the pork chops before they burned. I headed to my room to change into something more comfortable than my uniform and holster.” “He’s very photogenic. “Did you see the press conference?” I asked between bites of slightly dry pork chop.” I took his hand. Let’s just see where this goes for now. Hope you don’t mind?” “No. We ate by candlelight. surfed the net. After a quick shower. “Yes. On the evening shift I get in so late that I just have time to eat something and go to bed. I thought the chief handled it well. “I do a lot of reading and gardening.” “I saw you.” I prayed he wasn’t just saying that to make me feel good. “I am not photogenic. 173 .” “So do I.” “You looked good to me. “Honestly. You keep such a tidy house. I hate feeling idle. I figured I’d bring him by and introduce him to Jeff when the grand jury was over. I don’t read much anymore. “I’ll make sure I mess things up for you. Daniel.” He motioned with his fork to the rest of the house.” I didn’t tell him about Clancy’s.” Mark looked up at me from under his lashes. Maybe it’ll convince you to stay. and read one of your books. which book?” “One of your science fictions by Zelazny. How was your day? Were you bored?” “I watched television. there wasn’t much for me to do around here. I like him. I headed back to the kitchen. “That’s all that counts.” He bit his lip.NO GOOD DEED When we finally came up for air. He had set the table and lit two candles.

with the reports on Ridge’s drug use and his meth levels. snuggling next to each other. By the time the grand jury date rolled around. Inside. his story was being slowly usurped by the hero story.NO GOOD DEED “Right. or as I like to call it. 174 . and went to my bed. That’s my speed. locked the doors. He got up very early in the morning. We sat on the couch in the dark with just the glow of the fire. but Dr. Cohen’s voice drowned out my needy self. I was screaming. leaving for his work in Houston around six to beat the traffic. Slow and steady. We didn’t talk. I threw some wood in the fireplace and lit it. he got up. telling me to take it slow and not rush him. the truth. and we were right. We hoped no one would find him. and I used the Crown Vic to get around. I wanted him here with me. It ran on several stations and now. He took my personal truck. usually until around 10 A.” I smiled at him. Sometime around midnight. it looked like there would be no problem getting a no bill on self-defense. kissed me on the cheek and went to his room. I put the fire out. * * * The press conference had good airtime. It felt so right. Mark and I had kept to ourselves. So it was time for something to go wrong. He looked very upset. having dinner together only at home. After dinner. I realized he probably could go back to his house. and then get ready for work. He had his arms around me and his head on my shoulder. Stay with me forever. I came home that night and found Mark sitting on the couch waiting for me.M. and he returned it. My schedule was to sleep late. but I hated to mention it.

She asked about you. During the time I was waiting for you to either tell me to get lost or that you wanted to see me. and anger. I’d lied enough about my sex life in the past and it had never done me a lick of good. and frankly. oh. Seems she knows you pretty well.” Mark’s eyes filled with tears. Daniel?” His fists clenched and his whole body was rigid. but he jumped up and strode away from me across the room. There was no one else.” “Jesus. shit. My stomach dropped like a brick off a high rise. “She said you visited her recently.” I slumped onto the couch. hurt. I had left it sitting on my nightstand. “No one. oh.NO GOOD DEED “Mark. did you use protection? Are you going to give me some 175 . Daniel?” His voice and his eyes accused me. There was no way I could lie my way out of this. “What? What are you talking about?” “That night. I didn’t want to. “Just how many times. what’s wrong?” I tried to sit next to him. It fell on the floor between us. shit. It was time to come clean. “Three.” “Really? Because I called and talked to her. “There was no one else.” “There wasn’t. “I did. Once before I met you. you said you weren’t thinking of anyone else. It was taking so long I assumed you were dumping me. twice after. shit…. “That was before I met you. He must have been in my room cleaning.” “A woman? Who is she?” Mark held up the business card for Bayou City Escorts. then flicked it at me.” I shrugged my shoulders.” Oh.

and saw my future with Mark flying out the window. There must be some reason you kept going back to her. I went after him. opened it and walked out into the night.NO GOOD DEED disease?” “The first time. He turned and headed to the door. Now I could hear the anger. his brow creased. I caught his arm and pulled him around to face me.” His gaze searched mine. The other times we didn’t need it. Still. Are you in love with her?” “No. She gave me a blowjob. I deserved to lose him.” I sighed. I did. especially not the truth. Fuck. I figured he wasn’t really looking for the answers.” Forgetting myself.” Mark blinked back tears. “We had oral sex only. I never touched her. I’d been a fool. You might as well know you aren’t the only one with problems. not just the hurt. I’m subject to depression. yes. “Did you…” “No. no. “It was either her or my gun.” I kicked a rock with my boot and it 176 . “Mark! Stop!” I caught up with him as he strode down my gravel driveway. “What?” “I thought I had lost you. He jerked away and shook his head. “Was she good? Was she worth the money?” He crossed his arms over his chest. Daniel? You had to go to her? Three times. “Please. Thought my chance was over. “A whore. so I didn’t say anything.” “What do you mean. of course not!” “Then why?” He turned away. I grabbed his hand and turned him around again. didn’t need it?” I took a deep breath.

but you have to realize at the time I hadn’t heard from you. Ever.” He sighed. No word. no call.” “You said you wouldn’t hurt me.” He stood there staring at me. He didn’t say a word. It was hard to see his face in the dark. “I don’t even know her name…I didn’t want to know. shape or form. but I felt awful after seeing her. old man. “I meant it.” “I am a stupid.’ It hurt pretty bad. “I know it doesn’t mean anything.” “Did she tell you I didn’t show up for the last one?” “No. Dan. “You have noticed I have a gun?” I patted my Glock.” He bit his lip. Mark. I don’t plan on ever seeing her again. not her. That’s why it was just the blowjob. Can you forgive me?” I held my arms 177 . but I knew there was no way to make it sound right in any way. over my heart. “I guess we both messed up.” It wasn’t coming out right. she told me that you had a standing appointment.” He put his hand on my chest. but that’s all. so I went to her. You left me hanging. “Depression?” “Yeah.” “Daniel. Two weeks. The lights from the house were just bright enough to see by.NO GOOD DEED bounced off into the darkness. Even I could feel it thudding. “I should’ve torn up that card and I know it. I wanted you. but I felt like I was cheating on you. How crazy is that? I didn’t know if I’d ever see you again. The kind where you can’t decide to stick around and see how it all turns out or just be done with it. just kept staring at me. That’s why I didn’t fuck her. Not even a ‘give me some more time. baby. you know. I swear. I couldn’t be with you.

” He took my hand. I took an overdose of my pain meds. his forehead creased. And I hurt so bad.” He choked. “I have to think about this. But each time. I exhaled. the tenderness. He didn’t. in my heart. embarrassed to face my friends. I still loved him. right after it happened.” “Christ. “Sure. She can help you. “Will you give me another chance?” “Yes. he showed me. “Were you really going to use your gun?” He looked up into my eyes. Then I found you. 178 . It saved me. I hurt so goddamn bad. I convinced myself it was my fault he’d beat me. Left me bleeding on the bed we’d made love in for over a year.” “This time? How many times. and his eyes sad as a scolded puppy’s. yeah.” “Luckily. After I came home from the hospital.” “Mark. with all you went through. How fucked up is that? I was ashamed of my feelings. See. I just couldn’t pull the trigger. did you ever…” I let the question hang. and feeling really stupid. “He beat me and nearly killed me. Physically. Left me for fucking dead. but inside. Dan?” He squeezed my hand. “This was the fourth time I’ve been faced with the choice of to be or not to be. I’ve been wondering all these years what it saved me for. I shivered with the touch. And I still loved him. hoping he would come to me.” He brought my hand to his lips and brushed a kiss across my knuckles. Cohen about this.NO GOOD DEED open. this time I didn’t pick it up. it made me so sick I threw it all up. “Yes.” “Promise me you’ll talk to Dr.” He let out a ragged breath.” He was being honest at least. “For a while.” “How close did you get?” “Well.

“It shows him to his best advantage. Mr. leaning over to take a look.” “Let’s just say his bad side is a little short.” was all I could say without losing what was left of my pride. DeMille. found what he was looking for and pushed it in front of me.NO GOOD DEED “I’m so sorry. What do you think?” I scanned through them and pulled one out. Jeff. He to think about whether to ditch me or not. I got a call from Jeff to stop by the bar. and I went to mine. “Great work! You should do this professionally.” “You certainly got his good side. the usual self-flagellation.” I admired the 179 . I sat down. my man. I especially like the lighting. I picked it up and examined it.” There were a few more just like it. He went to his room. and he tossed a manila envelope on the bar.” “Well. “You hit the mother lode. Me? Well.” He fished through the stack. “The play of the light on his hair is inspired. don’t you?” he asked. but his message said he had the info I needed.” “Hmm. holding up his thumb and forefinger.” He snickered and showed me the distance. “I particularly like this one. Definitely short. We walked back to the house holding hands. I opened it and spread the photographs out. * * * A few days before the grand jury convened. He rarely called. everyone has a good side and a bad side. “I like the placement of the subjects.

I’m the best.” “She really is beautiful. At least that’s what all the girls say. “I have some money saved from my summer job. Dan.” I stood and shoved the envelope in my jacket pocket. “After me. “You thought of everything. “Thought you’d need this. Dan.” “These are perfect. “I’ll just bet you spoiled her for other men. all right. Dan. Think I might make myself an appointment. “Thanks for everything.” He grinned. don’t mind if I do. too.” “She’s a bad habit. “The ride’s on me.” “Can she handle me?” Jeff grinned and looked down at his package. I raised my eyebrows.” “She’s spoiled. then picked it up. Jeff.” “Well.” I grinned back.” I looked through the photos one last time and then slid them back into the envelope. “What do you recommend?” “It depends on what you’re looking for. “Is she worth the money?” “Yep. you’ll be a walk in the park.” He snapped it and put it in his pocket.NO GOOD DEED photo.” I felt I should warn him. 180 . Inside was a photographic copy of a lease agreement. and I left. the bulge was indeed impressive.” I laid a hundred-dollar bill on the counter. Jeff pulled out another envelope. Jeff eyed it. that’s just the way I am.” “Thanks.” He wiggled his moustache in glee.

He’s one of the town’s movers and shakers. mashed potatoes. how are you?” It was Bert Farrell. I was in the middle of a plate of meatloaf. it leaves three empty seats to be occupied by people who feel the need to discuss their neighbor’s loud music or the dogs that escape their yards and take a dump in the rosebushes. and he’s sold most of the homes here in town. and had increased sales. If I sit at a table. Bert Sr. “Dan. The end seat only leaves one empty.NO GOOD DEED CHAPTER 12 I usually sit at the end of the counter when I’m at the Riceland Diner for lunch. He inherited the business from his daddy. and I stand a better chance of finishing my lunch uninterrupted. He even picked 181 .. and gravy with a side of greens when I felt someone slid into the seat next to me. the owner of Riceland Real Estate.

of course.. it was easier to leave it parked. we haven’t seen you in quite a while. How’s business?” “Couldn’t be better. jingled when I opened it. at least behind Bert Sr. after working the diner like a candidate for political office. There was no need to move my truck.” “Great. I drive Main Street every day.’s wife ever knew. he finally left.” “Do we? About what?” I cut a piece of meatloaf and put it in my mouth.” He leaned in and lowered his voice. Judith Moore.NO GOOD DEED up a choice piece of property for himself now and then. If Bert Sr. thinking about my property.” He slid off the stool and. “Why. We shook hands. And I enjoyed the stroll. Riceland’s own Donald Trump. Could he mean that? “Bet you get tired of talking about property all day. she never let on. paid and walked down Main Street two blocks to his office. huh. she was the woman behind the man. if the rumors are right. You meet people and see things you wouldn’t if you were driving.” He looked at me like I was crazy. Well. Bert?” “No. “Property. “We need to talk. Captain Chan. “Just fine.” 182 . It was like that today. The door to Riceland Real Estate. established in 1968. I noticed a few new stores and said hello to some folks I hadn’t seen in a while. and the secretary. but without the bad hair. Bert. see you then. looked up at me over her reading glasses.” I chewed slowly. when he was alive. “Can you stop by my office before you go to back to work?” “Sure. She was in her sixties and had worked for Bert Sr. but there’s something about walking a street that puts you at another level. I’m glad I ran into you. I finished my meal.

Very motivated and very generous. I got the call to come over and handle it for the chief. “Not since that kid broke your plate glass window. He was about my age. I sat across the large mahogany desk from Bert Jr. The window was safety glass so luckily the kid wasn’t hurt. “I had nightmares about seeing that kid come through the glass for weeks!” “I’ll bet. grey-blond hair and a tan I suspected was artificially generated.” A few minutes later. “Dan. with my hat balanced on my knee.” “Can I help you with something?” Chitchat done. I have an interested buyer. The next day. the window was replaced and the map was hanging right back where it belonged. Bert Jr. 183 . is a VIP. expecting me to be impressed. I’ll get right to the point.” A teenager on a bike had careened out of control and smashed into the window. But it had scared the hell out of Judith. it was back to business. I’ve had an offer for your property.NO GOOD DEED She smiled and I glimpsed some of the beauty she must have possessed in her younger days. There was a map of Riceland hanging in that window. Very generous.” He leaned back nodding. His teeth were brilliant against his skin. asked me to drop by.” “Sure. only outshone by the Rolex on his wrist. with thick. with little pins that showed where all their listed properties were located. “Well. I’ll let him know you’re here. “Well. since Bert Jr.” “An offer? I didn’t realize I’d put it up for sale.” I sat back and waited for the explanation.

I don’t do business with people I don’t know. “Sure. “Well. I’m not interested. seeing my anger. be reasonable. But for now.” “Who is it?” I pressed him. why not?” “Has this got anything to do with the airport?” Bert practically choked on his own spit. Dan. are they thinking they’re going to put an airport at The Terraces? Right next to my property?” I was getting mad.” “Investors? Interested in Riceland?” Something in the back of my mind tried to make its way to the front. “It’s an opportunity of a lifetime. Shit. but I needed to control myself. Then it came to me. Lots of empty land. “I can tell you it’s a group of investors. He stuttered. “Yes. It doesn’t feel right…feels shady.” He looked nervous.” “Dan. Your property is only worth about fifty thousand and the house about seventy on the market right now.” I shrugged.” I smiled and stood. let me know. “Bert.NO GOOD DEED “Who is this generous person?” “Well. “How’d you know about the airport?” “Small town. I can be so slow sometimes. But the offer from this consortium is over two-hundred-and-fifty!” 184 . and we can talk. and his eyes nervously glanced to the semi-automatic on my hip. I had a gun and Bert didn’t. A thought raised its horrible head. “But can’t we at least talk? Don’t you want to know how much they’re offering?” “No. Dan. Bert. my property butted up to The Terraces. when you are. I’m not at liberty to say.” He took a deep breath. After all.

and hit the play button. I want names.” I turned and left. This could be my lucky day. Don’t spoil this for me. but I want to know who is behind this consortium. There might be a way this might actually work out for me. I stood in front of the window. I was a goner anyway.NO GOOD DEED Her eyes glittered as I’m sure he counted his percentage. staring at the map. For a while. so mine was probably only gravy. I was going to sell it anyway. I’ll wait to see what Buddy is going to do. “Don’t wait up for me. I was a goner.” he said at the end. saying the city attorney had invited him to dinner this evening to discuss the testimony for the grand jury the next day and Mark might not be there when I got in. The eternal optimist in me thought. Names. I couldn’t live next to an airport. Dan. The Terraces land would be more than enough for the airport. As I made my way back to the truck.” he begged me. We may be late. I laughed. pulled a notebook out. * * * My message light was on when I reached my office and I sat. clenching my hands so hard they hurt. nodding to Judith on my way out. please. I sat back. I was careful not to slam the door. Don’t tell him until I’ve talked to him. I shook them 185 . I lived out there because it was quiet and isolated. “Fine. Bert. But it was my gravy. “Does Buddy Macomb know about this? Have they offered him money for his property?” If Buddy sold out. He must have had some big money riding on this if they were offering me twice what my land was worth. “He was next on my list. Mark had left a message.

Romaine as far as I could throw him.” “You’ve been at the restaurant for two hours waiting on him?” Wait. His machinations had forced Mark out of his home and into hiding. I 186 . I didn’t trust St. Romaine was at the top of the list of members. that couldn’t be right. knowing with Ball’s busy schedule there could be several reasons.” Silence. what’s up?” I wanted to sound cool. “How did you get there?” Mark cleared his throat. The phone rang and I was surprised to hear Mark’s voice on the other end. I needed to confirm my suspicions about the so-called consortium and St. “St. I logged on to the computer and started Googling. I’ll admit I hated St. he’d threatened my retirement and had offered me the chief of police position. And worst of all. Romaine.” He sounded a little strained.A. Romaine picked me up.A.NO GOOD DEED out and wondered why they would be sitting around after ten at night talking about the case. but just hearing his voice sent me into thoughts better left until we were alone. had arranged to pick Mark up. * * * At nine o’clock. I was wrapping up my work. I shook it off. “I don’t have my car and I want to leave. baby. it’s me.?” “He couldn’t make it. Then. “Can you come get me?” “Where are you? Aren’t you supposed to be with the C. “Daniel. He’d pressed Mark to do the publicity stuff after he’d refused to do it. The C. Besides. “Hi. planning to go to Clancy’s to have a late dinner since I’d worked through what would have been my regularly scheduled dinner. At first.

is he bothering you? Coming on to you?” I started packing up my desk. Romaine was. Romaine worked for. I warned him to stay away from you. They were a throwback to the old steak houses—a large booth. “Mark. and St.” For a second. He led me to the back as my stomach knotted into a tight ball of burning gas. Very elegant and wonderful for those romantic moments when you don’t want the world to intrude. Romaine wanted their meeting to be and why? I made it to the Lone Star in record time.A. since I was still in my uniform. “Just come.NO GOOD DEED thought Ball would meet us here. I stood in the foyer and asked the man at the reservations desk where St. Romaine’s interest in Mark was anything more than professional. in a small private room in the back. then it clicked and every warning bell I’d ever possessed went off. St. I shoved my computer into my case and bolted for my cruiser. 187 . was equipped with several small and large meeting rooms for private parties. surrounded on three sides by wall and on the open side a thick red velvet curtain blocked out most sound. Romaine had booked one of the private booths. The Lone Star. but he never showed. Christ. what the hell was going on? The C. I didn’t understand what he was saying. I’d never thought St.” He hung up. but he’s one of us. Riceland’s finest steak house.” “That bastard. shutting down my computer. I’m at the Lone Star Steak House.” “You’re not going to believe this. Just how private had St. I knew exactly what Mark was talking about. The booth had its own lighting and a call button for the waiter. Romaine were in this together? Who else? Most likely the mayor because that’s who St. I let him assume it was official business.

Michael. Romaine by his first name? I wanted to jerk Mark out of the booth and drag him out of there. I stepped to the curtain and pulled the cord to the small bell that signaled the presence of the waiter. Romaine’s smooth voice replied.” He was smooth. St. I got them as his gaze bore into me. The waiter pulled open the curtain for me. Now. then 188 . screaming. but since I didn’t really know what was going on. “I don’t think that’ll be necessary. He reached out and took Mark’s arm. “What is he doing here?” He turned to Mark and his eyes narrowed.” Michael? Did he just call St. St. or at least. His eyes told me he was grateful if not happy to see me. I would rather have thrown open the curtain and struck with the element of surprise.” St. not really close. “Come in. Mr. I stood to the side and waited. but too close for my comfort. wanting nothing more than to slice off his hand for touching my man. we got snake eyes. “I called Daniel to pick me up. Romaine.” Mark started to leave. “Good evening. his gaze dropping to St.” His smug smile fell as he saw me. Romaine’s eyes narrowed.NO GOOD DEED In the past. becoming hard and cold. with no trace of the snake he was in his voice. it was a badge of honor to claim you had made love on the plush bench seat behind those curtains. I tensed. and I stepped in. Mark sat next to him…well. I’d certainly have brought you home. I often wondered how many of Riceland’s debutantes had lost their virginity in those booths. Mine! Mine! Mine! “That wasn’t necessary. Mark froze. Romaine’s hand.

” He passed the envelope to me. then pass them to Mark. Something told me I was the bird. He opened it. St. with brushed nickel clasps. the color called cordovan. Romaine my best “I’m gonna kill you” stare. Romaine leaned back and brought out his briefcase from under the table. I have something to show you. “Chan. “No. If not.” Now the bastard’s eyes glittered with anticipation. St. Romaine flashed him a smile. and it made me sick to see the desire in his eyes.NO GOOD DEED flicking up to me.” I tossed it back to him. “I don’t play games.” 189 . I held the envelope in my hands and gave St. This means. He gave me a small nod to tell me it was all right. We’re going to play a game. “Join us. Chan. He is a handsome man. perhaps after seeing these you’ll change your mind about what I told you. Mark. you take the option of Dare. That their personal desires might come into play. That some might not have his best interests in mind.” “Michael. pulled out an envelope and morphed from a snake to the cat with the canary in its mouth. but now is the perfect time. now is perfect. “I was just telling Mark he should be careful who he puts his trust in. Mark. Romaine. If you select Truth.” St. “Mark. isn’t he.” Mark looked uncomfortable. “Don’t you? Afraid of what might be in here?” I had an idea and it wasn’t good. St. “No. “I was saving this for later. I didn’t answer. take a look and then decide. Romaine continued. It was fine leather. I believe it’s called Truth or Dare. can we do this later?” Mark sounded tired. I took a seat on the opposite edge of the booth from Mark. Truth or Dare. to keep cool. I decide whether to show them to him. Chan?” He gazed at Mark.

The best I could hope for was that Mark hated St. I saw a hint of a smile on his lips. Then he looked at them again. I was my putting money on the table. I wanted to push St. He shuffled through them. Mark took them from me. and foolish. dumb. My head rested on the back of the seat and my hands grasped the arm of the couch. She knelt in front of me with her back to the camera. her kissing my neck at my truck. my eyes closed. but I looked as if I was really enjoying it. I couldn’t even meet his eyes. you couldn’t really see what she was doing to me. It drove me and 190 . The third time he went over them. I swallowed rage. The seventh was of me zipping up my pants and in the last. Michael. giving me head. The next was about the same. I’d been stupid. Romaine. stick my Glock in his mouth. Truth or Dare? Nothing but God’s grace could save me now and I didn’t really believe He cared much about me at this moment. I had. Well. and it almost came back up. and I caught it in mid-air. more than he hated me. Another set of me going into her townhouse. St. going into my house. I opened the clasp and pulled out the photos—eight photographs of me and the hooker. but he could prove I’d paid her. The shots had to have been taken from somewhere inside the room. leaving the bar together. I was fucked. Sick to my stomach. his eyes worried. Not only did he have me with the hooker. Romaine had warned me. My stomach fell out as I saw what was on the next few. and I hadn’t even been kissed. They’d set me up and I’d allowed it to happen. I swallowed hard to keep from puking and passed the photos to Mark. and empty my clip into him.NO GOOD DEED He tossed it back to me. Romaine up against the wall.

“Are you fucking her. why are you bi-boys so interested in a fag like me? Running out of money? She’s a sure thing. “You never did tell me if she was good. and certainly willing. “I’m sorry. “I’m leaving. St. Romaine waved his hand. why are you interested in me? Please don’t tell me you’ve fallen in love at first sight. “With a beautiful woman like her. “I…I find you attractive…” he stuttered. “How did you get these?” “They came into my possession from a friend.” His voice dripped with sarcasm.” He glanced at both of us. Worth the money. Romaine and it smacked him in the face. Daniel. you 191 .” St. Mark slid out of the booth. I can see why you’d pay money for her. I wasn’t going to win.” I looked into his eyes. No option for dare. He smiled slowly and turned to St. Romaine.NO GOOD DEED St. No problems. For either of you.” I felt the bottom drop out from under me. tall. no complications. too? My.” “She was good. I’m not. I was expecting the same thing. total disgust twisting his handsome features. Romaine had lost his grin and was looking very tightlipped. “She’s beautiful. Romaine crazy. but with one look at Mark’s disbelief.” He sighed. opened his mouth to continue. tell me to fuck myself. but neither was he. So not like me.” He gave me a look that shrunk me down to a puddle of spit on the ground. she certainly gets around! Don’t tell me…she’s doing the entire city council and the mayor. “You can shove these up your ass. and leave an opening for whatever he had planned for Mark.” He tossed the envelope at St.” What else could I say? It was over. “Blonde. Worth every dollar I paid. and no names. Truth. He’d expected Mark to explode. he shut it. Mark put the photos back into the envelope. no hang-ups. “Michael.

I’d need only one bullet. She is worth the money. Chan. Back to normal. empty. Michael. Chan. I’m happy. I parked in the driveway and sat in the car holding my gun for a long time. You won’t get him now. It was full. but I stayed under control. All I kept thinking was what a pathetic asshole I was and that I should just face it—my life sucked. Romaine recovered and laughed. Pressing the cold barrel against my temple. Of course. “You can keep the photos. he turned and strode to the front of the restaurant. Besides. I checked the clip. The drive home was excruciating. 192 . As a souvenir. I closed my eyes. Was alone really so bad? Better than dead? I glanced at my house. He turned to me. I kicked myself in the ass all the way there. Lately. Romaine and me alone.” St. I stood and faced him. You ruined the only good thing to ever happen to me. When I arrived. leaving Michael St. but it won’t be yours. Why did I ruin the first real relationship I’d ever had? What was wrong with me? I had a choice to make. “By the way.” His lip curled up in a sneer and he pushed the envelope toward me. selfish bastard. I had been so excited to go home knowing Mark was waiting for me there.” “Mark might find another shoulder to cry on. “Looks like your plan blew up in your face.NO GOOD DEED conniving. didn’t pick up the photos. which of us hurt him the most? He may need a shoulder to cry on later. “As long as you don’t get him. either get over it or end it. I shoved the magazine back in and raised it.” He paused. and you were right. you bastard.” With that.” It was hard to resist the urge to do him bodily harm. Now it was dark. her name is Luna. and left. a confused look on his face.

laid my head in his lap. stretched. I holstered my weapon and got out. every moment. hung it on a chair and emptied my pockets onto the small table by the door. “You are. every kiss. In the end. “What are you doing here? I thought you’d gone home.” He shrugged. It was soft at first. He stroked my head as he listened to me promise to always love him. “I did. I’m not ashamed to admit I crawled on my knees to him. he took my head in his hands. to never hurt him. “Later tonight.NO GOOD DEED If I pulled the trigger. sucking it gently. When I ran out of words. but he interrupted 193 . At last. I wound up here. After I let myself in the front door.” I started to assure him. St.” He leaned down and kissed me.” His gaze never left me. I want to hear you say I was worth it. but then I felt his tongue asking to be let into my mouth. my head buried in his lap. He woke.” I slumped on the couch across from him. I took off my holster. and to be a better man. lifted it up and looked in my eyes. and every touch. He would have destroyed my chances with Mark and destroyed me in the bargain. my hatred of him overcame my hatred for myself. Romaine won. and wrapped my arms around his waist like a child clinging to his mother as I begged for him to take me back. “Seems when I told the cabbie to take me home. but all that came out was the choked sob of his name. I was halfway into the darkened room before I noticed the soft glow of a fire burning. I opened and pulled him in. Mark…. letting him comforting me. I opened my mouth to speak. I just held him. and stared at me. Mark was asleep in the chair next to the fireplace.

I know you mean every word. I almost lost it. He pressed his stiff cock into me. I was his plaything. Caressing my skin. but it was nothing compared to totally surrendering my self and my body to him. hungry kisses. but we were lying on the floor. When he slowly dragged his tongue across my chest from one nipple to the other. lying naked and erect before him. Nothing he did was rushed as he took his time. I want to earn it. I had thought it was an incredible turn-on to have total control. since my brain’s blood flow diverted to my dick. I fought to keep from grabbing his ass and my dick strained against my trousers with each new attack of his mouth. savoring me. he moved his kisses to my chest. Long. my forehead. He pulled my pants and boxers down and stripped them off me. so when you do say it. removed my boots. He lost himself in pleasuring me. while he remained fully clothed. and my eyelids. making me harden beneath him.NO GOOD DEED me. and each time he’d make me 194 . Cohen’s advice in my mind. Mark lay on top of me as we kissed. He rubbed against me as he kissed my face. deep. “No. moving small brushes of his lips down my neck. sending shivers of delight down my spine. Before. licking and biting me softly around my sides and stomach. allowing my grey matter just enough oxygen to function. I could barely keep Dr. He sucked them each in turn and kissed his way toward my stomach. Then he returned to kiss me again. His hands found my pants and he unzipped them. His hands made short work of the buttons on my uniform shirt and he pulled it off.” I don’t know how. He moved away. I craved his skin next to mine. but I had to let him make the decisions and be in charge. and stripped off my socks.

Mark pulled two pillows off the couch. lapping at the fat head. His fingers made ever smaller circles in the black hair around my erection. “Now. lick. His breath raced across the sensitive skin of my cock. Intense pleasure shot through me. I could see everything he did to me. and my hips arched into the air in pleasure. “Shhh. as his tongue traveled up the length of my throbbing dick. ending back at the tip as he teased me over and over with those slow licks. I forced my eyes open to watch his lips slide up and down my shaft in slow motion as he took his time. letting his teeth drag gently over the head. But he didn’t. He smiled. baby. placing them behind my head and shoulders to raise me up. I let go of what little reserve I had left and let him know how he pleased me with my voice and my body. sending shivers and 195 . and bite was there for me to rejoice in. Every kiss. all in good time. Unable to keep it bottled inside me. and my balls pulled tight. then down. powerful and hard. It was perfect. He took his time traveling back down the length of my body with his tongue. pushing myself deep into his throat as I moved from moans to cries of pleasure. coming close. warm and sweet as he blew air out. and rose up on his arms so he was in perfect position to take me in his mouth. He finally took me in his mouth. please. but not touching. He stretched out on his belly.” he whispered in my ear.NO GOOD DEED moan it would challenge him to do it again. “Please. you can watch. He moved closer and the tip of his tongue touched my leaking tip. touch me. satisfied with his work. He sucked me as his mouth reached the head of my cock. love. I moaned.” I begged him.” He moved closer to the base of my shaft with his tongue as his hands spread my legs for him to lie between my thighs.

His fingers. worked those muscles. “Not yet. as my desire to come built inside my balls. his lips. Not one goddamn thing. He broke the rhythm to slide slowly down over me. I begged him each time to let me come. or should I watch you shoot into the air and then lick it off your beautiful cock?” He dove down the length of my shaft. I wanted to worship his mouth.” He backed off. one moment begging him to stop and the next begging him to keep going. It was such exquisite torture. He set up a rhythm of long. His hands reached under me and held each cheek of my ass for him to massage as he sucked me. He might not have been sexually active in years. and his amazing tongue.” I moaned. his mouth swallowing me deep in his throat. and I thrust up to meet him. “Jesus. then dived down again. not able to form a coherent sentence to answer him. I want to come. I’d been holding back long enough and wanted to shoot my load down his throat so much I could scream. slow strokes that I matched with my hips. 196 . He pleasured me. He smiled at me and whispered. but it was his mouth I was in love with. as time seemed to slow to a wondrous crawl. only to have him take me to the edge again and again. “Should I swallow your cum. please. powerful and seductive. He quickly pulled away until he kissed the very tip. “Should I let you come?” “Yes. and I fell away from the edge of that cliff. thick and raspy from the sex and the strain. but he hadn’t forgotten exactly what to do. But each time he denied me.” My voice sounded strange to me.NO GOOD DEED shudders up and down my body.

backing off to watch the last three. I watched him watching me come as a final ripple of pleasure shook my body. their warmth on my naked skin sealed my love for him deep inside me. sucking it with gentle pulls. He continued to suck me harder and harder as he jerked me off. At last. finished. worth all I have. “Now you can tell me. As his tears spilled. No longer able to hold back. you make me come so hard…” He did both. but I’d swallowed it. My spunk shot straight into the air. twisting and pumping. I give it all to you. Salty. I exploded.NO GOOD DEED “I’ll take that as ‘whatever you want. and we watched the fire without speaking 197 . he swallowed the first few shots. Then he kissed me and tried to take it back. his eyes slits. His tongue searched my mouth. Our tongues touched as I sucked it from the tip of his tongue and. he allowed me this time to fall over that sweet damned cliff. As I watched. muffled sob. Was I worth it?” He watched me. oh. “God. he licked my cock clean. catching the last white bead on the end of his tongue. Take everything. found nothing.” “You’re the first man I’ve touched like this since the assault. Oh. he licked his lips. “Mark. He climbed my body to lie on top of me and offered me the drop. He let me go. suck me. my creamy cum on his tongue. slightly bitter and still warm. God. He lay in my arms.’” He picked up the pace and one of his hands encircled my shaft. God. his eyes filled with tears and he uttered a lone. for the first time. Mark. Mark. calling out his name.” As he laid his head on my chest. yes. and I fell back against the pillows. settling on my tongue. tasted my own cum. only to drip down my cock. near boneless.

Bacon. My beard had finally come out and I needed a shave. even row. My shield was there. on the other hand. genetics being what they are. looked rough. 198 . and a crisp blue-andwhite striped tie. He’d combed his hair back. It was seven A. but I thought I’d wait for him in the hall outside. but here he’d placed them in a neat. I pulled on a T-shirt and went to the kitchen. a white shirt. I just lay in bed enjoying the feeling of home. that ride my epaulets laid out for me. It was perfect. * * * The next morning I woke to the smells of breakfast. The entire suit set off his eyes.M. I headed to the bathroom. I fell into it. I’d fallen into a deep sleep. too. I usually just put them in a pile. too. I shave every two to three days. In mere moments. Mark wore navy slacks. I found all my insignia from my uniform shirt. Usually. denoting my rank. I had the day off and planned to be there for him as moral support. I’d taken them for granted. I. For a while. taming those wild waves that made me crazy. When I finally got out of bed and pulled on some boxers. eggs and coffee. toast. but Mark saw the pride in them. and left me. They wouldn’t let me in the courtroom. On the counter. I loved him even more for it. and he pulled the covers up. Mark had my RPD collar pins and my six stars.NO GOOD DEED until it burned down. He looked wonderful. When the fire was out. conservative. yet it didn’t look too upscale. kissed me. he pulled me to my feet and led me to bed.. and Mark’s day testifying in front of the grand jury would start at nine.

” I liked the way this was sounding. at first I was furious at you. So I decided if I wanted you. Why?” His smile grew and he sat back.NO GOOD DEED I sat at the table and stared at the food piled up on the platter. But I started studying the pictures. nothing more. but you still came home to me. I’m my own worst enemy.” He nodded. It was her doing everything. “But even though those photos didn’t destroy me. But you? You weren’t doing anything. “Yeah. Besides.” I dug in. and if I was. We ate in silence for a while. last night when you saw those photos…” I shook my head. I had to fight you for you. Her going down on you. “Yes. I could be arrested. “Well. I did leave you hanging. my career just 199 . can’t they?” I sat back and ran my hands over my eyes. “Mark. I was just expecting a very hungry man. Her kissing you. wrapping an arm behind his chair. they can destroy you. Prostitution is illegal. and you assumed the worse. The question that had bothered me since last night finally got the better of me. to perform it and to pay for it. “I’ll try to do you proud. The ones of the sex are merely embarrassing. It was just sexual release. just letting it happen. I can’t blame you for trying to find comfort in someone else’s arms. It’s the one of my paying money that’s the problem. “No. “They were bad. so I nodded. “I can see by the amount we must be expecting guests?” I teased him. They’re bad. “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” I chuckled. “I figured it was like you’d told me. encouraging him to continue. That was my fault.” Mark informed me.” He smiled slyly.

pulling him to me. “Trust me. Romaine won’t do anything with those pictures. do you have something on Michael?” I just shrugged. St. Just let me worry about it. Never underestimate your opponent.” “He won’t. I always say. let me get dressed and we’ll go to the courthouse. Now.” He must have heard something in my voice because his eyes narrowed as he stared at me. You have enough to handle today. St.” Mark sat lost in thought. “In chess. and I got up and knelt at his side. Nothing you did caused this. And it’s not your fault. St. Romaine and I have been butting heads for a while.NO GOOD DEED might be over. strategy is everything. “Don’t worry about it.” He cocked his head at me and laughed. it won’t go that far.” “But all he has to do is send them anonymously to the chief and the mayor. I’m may be as dumb as I look.” “But. Romaine underestimated me. but I’m not half as stupid. baby. your job…” “Well. “Daniel.” 200 .

so hello was about it for conversation. It was a good moment. St. We’d been warned about talking to each other. Mark glared at him. but Bill is a good guy and said his hellos. 201 . Michael St. Let him choke. The bailiff called them in before Mark. The jury hadn’t convened yet. when Mark and I saw Bill Fry. I guess to establish their roles and verify their reports. sitting farther down on the other side of the hallway. Earlier. Romaine slipped into the courtroom. His partner Detective Vargas showed up about fifteen minutes later and sat with him.NO GOOD DEED CHAPTER 13 At the courthouse. so most of the players were out in the hall waiting. He moved off. Romaine nearly choked when he walked up and saw me sitting with Mark on the bench outside the courtroom. it was an awkward moment. and I gave him my best shit-eating grin.

When they broke for lunch. minus his holster and weapon. I’m not sure.NO GOOD DEED We stood and greeted Officer Hagan when he arrived with his wife at his side. He wore his uniform. However. since the police department kept it as evidence. although his wife’s expression looked doubtful. He couldn’t give any details. There was not much I could add. I knew the stats—the percentage of cops that don’t return after being shot is high compared to those who do return. too. I was just there to support Mark. something he hadn’t been able to do until then. Mark and I ate lunch at the diner. It would still be several months before the doctor released him to return to full duty. The grand jury is usually restricted to the pertinent persons. he assured me that was still his plan. so I couldn’t even go in. but I hoped she’d offer a little prayer for Mark. Chief Tasket came out with Mark and let me know things were going well. They called Hagan’s name. since it’s just a block away 202 .” Mark stood. opened her Bible and began reading. His wife took a seat across the hall. I’d wait on that and see if he still felt the same when the time came. the officer stepped out. If it had been going south. but he looked in good spirits. Thirty minutes later. His arm was in a sling. but his manner seemed relaxed. and that was fine by me. Mark shook his hand and Hagan and his wife thanked Mark for saving his life. “Mark Montgomery. I hoped all he had to do was confirm the evidence and Hagan’s testimony. I think he would have given me a sign of some sort. No one asked me to give any testimony. gave me a smile. and went inside to give his testimony. Maybe she was praying. stiffened his back and shoulders. I sat in the hall on a long wooden bench and waited.

but it feels so permanent. Mark was given a verdict of self-defense and it was decided Ridge was solely responsible for his fate. Once lunch was done. He got all his recommendations. We would still see each other as much as we could. He stepped inside and took the bag from me. “I don’t know why. I have to admit.NO GOOD DEED from the courthouse. Mark and I drove back to my place. and Mark to the courtroom. come on.” He rubbed the bridge of his nose. that it would be best if he went back to his own home. We had decided. I’d thought it might take a few days. There had been no surprises. from what Mark and Hagan said about the city attorney that Ball handled it like a pro. we made this decision together. At the end of the day. just as the C. It’s just that this is harder than I thought it would be. We walked there and sat at a small table.” “I know. “I hate this. had told him it would.A. ordering the daily special. Daniel.” He shook his head. Cohen’s help. the testimony had upheld Hagan’s story. He was relaxed and told me it was going well. where he went to his room to pack his things. baby. I hadn’t expected it to be over so quickly. Cohen thinks this is the best way. and the jury left satisfied it had upheld justice. me to the bench. and watched him open his front door. we returned. I wondered if he would miss me as much as I knew I was going to miss him. remember? I don’t like it either. holding his overnight bag. “Mark. just not have the temptation of sleeping in the same house. but Dr.” 203 . I want to do what’s right for you. with Dr. I stood there. but it seemed the jury was pretty clear on the issues.

“Yes. The first song started playing.” and I considered my next move in our perpetual chess game. so I ordered and sat back. with a guy like Mark. as permanent as living together can be. savoring the onions. You’re stuck with me. “Yes. “Yes. juicy burger with grilled onions. you’re just crazy. He’s home free.NO GOOD DEED “Well. I had a hankering for a big. If he doesn’t pass my inspection. walked to the jukebox and fed a dollar into the slot. we both agreed it’d be best for right now. it’s not. “Thinking of making it permanent?” Jeff leaned forward and raised his eyebrow. 38 Special’s “Hold On Loosely. you’ll have to throw him back.” I slid off the barstool. I sat on my stool. I needed some cheering up and there’s nothing like your best friend to deride you into a better mood.” 204 . I selected my three songs and walked back to my seat. I drove to over to Clancy’s to see Jeff. Maybe after work on Friday I’ll bring him here. it did. grinning like a bobcat. “You getting used to having someone around?” “It’s easy to do. If you think I’m going to go away.” I chewed. “I guess that means the jury thing went well?” Jeff poured me my usual.” He smiled and kissed me goodnight. Jeff came over with my burger and put it in front of me. “You take Mark back home?” Jeff asked. when am I going to meet him?” “Real soon. Well.” I frowned.” “You better. for some time now.” “Finally! Well.” “Stuck is good.

“Saw Bert Jr. “You taking it?” I waved away a fly with my hat.” “As-is.” “And they gave you a gun? Is it loaded?” “Nope.” “A fortune is what they’re offering. says it’s an ‘as-is’ deal. “Seem like the folks who made the offer don’t care much about such things. yeah?” “Got an offer for my property.” I grinned and patted my chest. I finished my burger and headed home. the other day.” “Really? For your place? In its condition? Do they know about the busted gate on the goat pen?” I poked him about Marie’s escaping goats.” “Well. I got the bullet in my pocket. huh? That’s good. “Daniel. sizing up my uniform. you still working?” “Yep.” 205 . Jeff. planning to make a trip downtown. * * * The next day I was in my truck. Funny thing about that. Buddy spit tobacco juice in a perfect arc to the side and tilted back his hat.” “Well.” Buddy scratched himself. I was waiting on you. when Buddy Macomb’s truck pulled down my drive. now.” “Oh. It’d cost you a fortune to fix that gate. We stopped our cabs nose-to-nose and got out. they haven’t fired me yet. The formalities done. the way your luck runs…” He laughed. He looked me up and down.NO GOOD DEED “He’s not part of the ‘catch and release’ program. “Just waiting to see if you were taking yours. Bert Jr.

’s 206 .” He nodded and headed back to his truck. and pulled to the side so he could turn around. right next to the airport. They want to develop it into a business zone. Bunch of lawyers. backed up. Bert Jr.” Buddy shook his head. “I guess our land is just icing on the cake. Buddy spit again. “All I can tell you is they’re out of Dallas. I followed him out the gate and down the road into town. seems the other side is county land. restaurants. “Some sort of consortium.” He grinned. “Thanks. Dan. and word is city council held firm on not selling it. Hotels.” He shivered. put together this big deal.” “Pennies. knows himself. is what I’m hearing. He says they paid pennies on the dollar for it.” “I don’t think Bert Jr. I don’t like that. but where else can I go? Marie wouldn’t want to leave the town— it’s been our home for all our lives—but I hate to pass up the money. He pulled off and parked near Bert Jr. Daniel. “I don’t want to live next to an airport. “What’s the talk at the diner?” Here is where the real info would come out. Dan. for an airport.” “I told him no deal until I knew who it was. huh?” “Seems pretty cheap. It’d really help us out. You’ve given me an idea. and our kids. fast food. You couldn’t put much past Buddy. was real tight-mouthed about it. Gloria in city hall says The Terraces has been bought by this gang.” “Isn’t there somewhere else in town you could live? Somewhere maybe Marie has always had her eye on?” Buddy thought for a moment before his face lit up.NO GOOD DEED We both laughed.” “Well. I got in the F-150.

plus she told me you kept coming back for more. yet another unexpected visit?” “You didn’t expect me? Funny. You put her up to it. I had a good hunch who the consortium was. well.” “Oh. but was that enough for me? I made my way down Main and parked in an open spot in front of the court building. Do you know the penalty for prostitution. let’s get down to business. do we have business?” He tried to sound innocent. Michael. It made me mad. But so worth it. but I put that thought to the side and counted money instead. Chan. There were two hundred and fifty thousand reasons to forget about who was doing the deal. eight embarrassing reasons.” He sneered. Michael. or at least its head consorter. I’d have thought you had eight good reasons to expect me to drop by. And he was right. All the talk about my being made police chief and the moves on Mark…the photos. “No one dragged you there. at the time I didn’t see you protesting.” This time. you hypocrite. You didn’t go to all that trouble to set me up for nothing. wasn’t it?” “What deal?” He sat back and crossed his legs.” “Well. “Cut the act. He saw me immediately this time. It was all to back up the big deal.” I laughed. Time to lay my 207 . “Yes. I guess you pulled a fast one on me. “Now. “Well. Romaine. don’t you agree?” “You’d know. I wondered if he had as big a set of balls as he pretended to have. Daniel?” “Yeah.NO GOOD DEED office as I continued on to the station. I guess somewhere I had made up my mind to sell. I headed up stairs to find St. We had some business to finish. I closed the door to his office.

He doesn’t need me to tell him you’re a snake. I had the photos in my briefcase. “He’s smart. But showing them to Mark? That was a real piece of work. I’ll just bet he’d be some tasty action. offer to buy me out.” “So you set up the hookers. You thought once I found out it was you I’d never sell since my opinion of you was so low.” “No wonder he didn’t seem so upset. Then you brought out the photos. he didn’t trust me. we were told you and he loved your privacy down that dirt road. it was a spur of the moment idea.NO GOOD DEED cards on the table. “Kill two birds. That’s why you had to have some leverage. you bastard. knowing I’d be afraid you’d show them to the chief and the mayor and I’d sign the deal. would he?” “No.” He became very serious. about The Terraces property and yours and Buddy’s. You were there. You had Bert Jr. some push. to be exact.” “Yes.” 208 . How long did it take you to think of that?” “Actually. right?” “He wouldn’t let you near him.” “I’d already told him. I warned you not to fuck with me.” He shrugged. And you did. I am a mean bastard. I could tell he didn’t trust me. Am I right? Were you fucking him before I showed him the pictures? I hope I didn’t ruin it for you. Chan.” “Too bad. hoping to catch me. All the other crap was just to piss me off because you’re a mean bastard. so to speak. and I meant it. “When we first approached Bert Jr. he was there. He told me you and Buddy Macomb would be hard sells. “The airport. even after I told him about your exploits with Luna. Career-wrecking photos.” He sounded surprised his ruse hadn’t worked with Mark.

don’t sell. “Exactly.” He waved me away like a fly.’s. Chan?” He narrowed his eyes at me. My sources say the sale of that land was blocked in city council.NO GOOD DEED “No. “That map of his is to scale.” I smiled crookedly at him.” I raised my eyebrows. I thought at first. why bother with me and Buddy. you didn’t ruin it. One of those migratory ones that stop over in Katy for a break before heading north. Now.” Michael glared at me and shifted in his chair. but it’s county land and not for sale.” “Really. “So. So important you created this 209 . “Our combined little old five acres is just enough to make that and then some. “So that makes our property very. “A little bird. By nearly two-hundred-fifty feet. you see. The Terraces property is too short. since our properties only total about five acres? However. Guess what I found? Seems anyway you measure it.” “There’s land on the other side of The Terraces. the sex that night was really hot. “What was the matter? Couldn’t get Luna to snag a couple of the councilmen? Maybe she’d have better luck with some of the councilwomen?” “Who told you that. an airport runway that can accommodate charter and commercial small jets needs to be at least a thousand feet. when I was at Bert Jr. He swallowed hard. So I made sure I took a good long look. One inch equals one thousand feet. In fact.” I grinned. very important. “Yes. I don’t need you.” He waved his hand to dismiss the idea. I remembered the map of Riceland he has hanging in his window…the one with all his properties for sale posted on it. I’m sure that is interesting to someone…” He looked at his manicured nails.

for all I care.” I laughed. He turned red. I wondered if his asshole was as tight. “How much?” he managed to get out between those clenched teeth. you don’t get the runway. “And now?” “And now. and he caved. is I’m three years from retirement and was already planning to leave. I thought. If I had you. How much money is there tied up in this deal? Do you think your partners would appreciate you blowing a hundred-million dollar deal over a lousy half-million?” 210 . I’d have taken the money.” “Funny thing. It was that easy.” I smiled at him and picked imaginary lint from my uniform. So I offered him more money than he’d ever seen before. It looked good on him. If he went. “I want five hundred thousand. I knew he’d go.” I leaned forward on his desk.NO GOOD DEED whole prostitution sting ruse just to get to me. And Buddy gets three-hundredfifty thousand. You could have bought me out before you started all this crap. I figured this was his furious look.” “Forget it. wanted to know who was fronting the project. well. especially if you knew who was behind it. Live with planes. I figured you’d go. I don’t think I’ll be doing that. from the top of the collar of his imported handmade Italian shirt to the roots of his grey-blond hair. Michael. You’d fight me. and that means you don’t get the airport. I knew you wouldn’t just take the money.” “No. If I don’t sell. He looked shocked and then recovered quickly. My property is between The Terraces’ and Buddy’s. “What did you do to Buddy?” “That old man! What a hick! I didn’t need him. Old prick dug in his heels. two-hundred-fifty thousand just doesn’t seem to be enough.

looking like a boy of maybe fourteen. while the boy was going down on Luna. fists clenched and eyes shooting daggers at me. “Do you know the penalty for sex with a minor. Michael. how’d you get those?” “Same way as you. Mr.” I shrugged. the real deal. Michael was giving it to the boy. “I’ll try the county land again before I pay you the extra money!” “I thought you’d say that. Romaine and his mistress Luna. “What’s that?” “This time. I call it illegal in all fifty states. “You son-of-a-bitch. which from personal experience I put in the merely embarrassing category. St. Michael. bare-assed naked. He turned it upside down and spilled the contents on the table. I’m going to show you my cards for free. Kinky. and Luna were having a fucking session. the money-makers. Romaine and a young male. He caught it and stared at me. Especially considering the size of his prick. who was on his hands and knees. were engaged in some good old-fashioned butt fucking. He recoiled and jumped to his feet. So I brought you something to help win you over. In about seven of the photos.” I tossed him the envelope. some people would call it. we aren’t going to play Truth or Dare. 211 .NO GOOD DEED “You bastard!” He was practically spitting. That kind of kinky that could ruin a man with ambitions. Michael.” I reached into my jacket and pulled out an envelope. Spread across his desk was a folded piece of paper and a dozen photos of St. Michael St. It was the other five that were the jackpot.

I will arrest you for having homosexual sex with a minor. with your name on it.” He gritted his teeth. you can keep the pictures for your scrapbook. This is your only warning. personally engaged in sex with her. “Are you blackmailing me?” “Take your hands off me. “After which. prostitution ring?” His eyes narrowed. I waited.” My voice was cold and steady.NO GOOD DEED Romaine?” “You bastard!” St. enlisted her to entrap prominent members of the city of Riceland. I reminded myself to thank Jeff properly. and had her procure young boys for you. Our faces were inches apart. I want the papers drawn up tomorrow.” I opened his door and left. I wondered if he’d like a new Harley. running a prostitution ring. frowning. “How much?” His voice wavered. “Five hundred thousand. attempted blackmail. and assaulting an officer of the law. I wanted to pull my Glock so bad my hand itched.” Michael sat heavily in one of the chairs and put his head in his hands. and my gaze bore into his. Oh. “What do you mean. Romaine dashed around the table and grabbed the front of my shirt in both his fists. then released me and stepped back. but he never lifted his head. 212 . Tell Bert Jr. taking my time to walk down the stairs and to my car. I’ll just bet if she was put on the stand she’d tell us all about how you set her up in business. I’ll be in to sign them around three. I had all the time in the world to enjoy this moment. see that folded piece of paper? That’s a copy of the lease for Luna’s townhouse. “Well.

” “Sure.” I recognized his voice. I wanted to call you. Then I went back over my records and remembered that evidence box you had me pull. “Jeff Granger? That’s 213 . * * * Back at work. that sort of thing. I was planning how to tackle packing up all my worldly goods when the phone rang. my vacation days gone. Bert Jr.NO GOOD DEED * * * The next day.” “Well. What’s up?” “A name came up. told me Buddy was coming in to sign the next day. and you know we get the latest felon releases here? They have to tell their parole officers where they live. It was familiar. I walked into Bert Jr. check in on a regular basis. one Marie had always longed to live in. I had thirty days to vacate my property. right on schedule. how’ve you been? I want to thank you again for setting up seeing that evidence for me. just three blocks from their church and two blocks from the diner. He’d be three-hundred-fifty thousand dollars richer. right off of Main Street Square. It was in the nicest old neighborhood in Riceland. Dave. After he bought the new house. Bert told me Buddy had already picked out a new house in the heart of town. “Dan. it’s Dave…Dave Rapper. I was going over some stuff.’s office on Main and signed the papers. but I couldn’t place it. They’d transfer the money to my account by close of business that day. “Dave. he’d still have around two hundred thousand left to play with.” I got a slow sinking feeling in my gut.

That shooting made the papers here in Houston. well. He didn’t report into his parole officer last month. Dan.” 214 . Is he in Houston?” He must be. Dave Rapper always had good instincts. Shit. I didn’t think you’d seen it. so the officer filed a warrant. I couldn’t trust it not to crack. “Well.” My worst nightmare. he doesn’t know Mark’s new name or where he’s living.” “Will do. “Let me know if you catch him. “Three months ago. there’s another thing.” “When was that. My hands shook. Shit. Dan.” Mark would be safe.” Shit. The paper that came over my desk is for parole jumping. “Thanks for letting me know. And Granger’s not at his last known address. “Yeah. Dave. “Was there a picture. “Yeah. Mark Montgomery and you going down the steps of the courthouse the day of the grand jury. Last page of the local crime section. that’s just it. that’s why he was such a good cop. Let us know if he shows up there.” He sounded worried. I told myself. “Why would he? As far as I know.NO GOOD DEED who you’re talking about?” “Yeah. Seems he got out of Huntsville on early release for time spent and good behavior.” All the moisture in my mouth dried up and I had to take a swig of cold coffee to speak. Dave?” My heart beat in my chest so hard I thought he could hear it over the phone. Dave?” My voice came out in a whisper. if his name came up in Dave’s territory. I heard the papers shuffle on the other end. but the Chronicle carried an article about the shooting and the grand jury.

” She tapped his pencil nervously on his notebook. both sets of photos. * * * I sat on the sofa opposite Dr. St. What are the chances?” “I don’t know. and lastly about Granger. Dan. and I went to the bathroom down the hall from my office and splashed cold water on my face. “I don’t have to tell you what it would mean if Granger found Mark and didn’t have asking Mark’s forgiveness on his mind. she sat back and the look in her eyes was not good. the airport deal.” “Keep Montgomery safe.” He hung up. Thanks for the warning. “No. even at ninety-nine-to-one against him reading that day’s paper and that article. I had to make a decision. I waited. or tell Mark and have him living in terror for who knows how long? I went back to my office and dialed the good doctor’s number. She said she’d see me later that afternoon. 215 .NO GOOD DEED “Shit. Even she looked scared. Romaine. I still don’t like the odds. “But it doesn’t mean Granger reads the paper. Fifty-fifty? Hell. Keep the news about Granger to myself and risk him catching Mark unaware. When I finished.” “No. thinking. I don’t think after over ten years in jail he’s going to be ready to thank Mark. Cohen’s chair and spilled my guts.” “I intend to. Told her everything: about Luna.” He paused.” She sat quietly. the set-up.” “Yeah. it was something I was getting good at. Dave.

I couldn’t decide if it was creepy having Cohen know about our sexual escapades. and not in control?” She gave me a piercing.” She smiled knowingly. “It was an incredible turn-on for me.NO GOOD DEED “We tell Mark. I might need some backup from a higher source. Cohen held up her hand and nodded. and it was good.” “It was good for him. I thought for a moment before I told her the truth.” Dr. Really hot. or exciting. “And you’ve come too far with Mark to have that happen. He has to know to stay safe. I was getting used to that look from her. Mark was really sexy. it would be another betrayal. He had total control of me. I nodded thanks and headed out the door.” I think I blushed. Cohen leaned forward. If he finds out we kept it from him. “The way Mark tells it. to feel in control. “Did Mark tell you…” I started. vulnerable. truth-demanding stare over her glasses.” She grinned and patted my knee. “That’s good. * * * I decided I needed to tell the chief about this latest turn of events.” “That’s good? Just that’s good?” Now she laughed at me. I can’t tell you how much that one experience with you has helped him. very hot. you were pretty hot yourself. let’s just say I’m looking forward to more experimenting. “Well.” She sighed. too. 216 . “So how did you like being naked.

“His place is right in town. really not looking forward to being the bearer of bad news. He’s been missing for about a month. “Couldn’t you hide him again?” the chief suggested. I guess so. he was safer in the long run at his own place.” “No and it gets worse. “Git-er-done.NO GOOD DEED “Chief. When I tell him about Granger. and it’s too far out of the way for a patrol to make passes of any frequency. Dan.” “Why don’t you move in there? For the time being. It’s very secluded at my place.” I shrugged. “Yes.” I didn’t want to tell the chief about selling my property yet. that’s what I said. “When are you telling him?” He looked at me pointedly. but it was better than nothing. but that’s going to cost in man hours and overtime.” I leaned back.” And with those words he sent me on my 217 .” “Shit. Skipped parole and there’s a warrant out on him. including a photograph of Mark and me on the steps of the courthouse. I’ll talk to him about it. “Now’s as good a time as any.” “Want me to post a man at his place?” “Yeah. That’s not good. got a minute?” He put down his Texas Highways magazine and waved me in. “What’s up?” “Seems Mark’s ex is loose.” “Shit!” “Funny. As much as I wanted Mark with me. He was in Houston when the Chronicle ran an article about the shooting. How about just have all the guys pass by during their shifts?” It wasn’t as good as a man on-site.” “That’s a good idea. but he’d be even in a more vulnerable spot.

” He slumped onto the couch. “Oh. there’s no way to tell if Granger even saw it. “But? What else.” I tried to reassure him.” Something in my tone alerted him to more bad news.NO GOOD DEED way. along with a photo. and he came to the door. I rang the bell. or if he recognized you after all these years.” “But until then. During that time. He’s not at his last known address. Of course. and if anyone stumbles across him.” He seemed to be taking it well. the police don’t know where he is. there was the television news story about the shooting. Dan? I know you too well. * * * I found Mark at home just sitting down to dinner. I need to talk to you. “I can’t do this 218 . and they’ve lost track of him. shit. Daniel. Daniel?” We sat on the couch in his living room. “Right. “Mark.” He froze and his entire body became taut.” I guess the look on my face must have warned him something was very wrong because he turned pale. My heart skipped a beat knowing I could have been Granger and just walked up and rung the doorbell. He nodded for me to continue. They have papers out on him.” “He’s been out of jail for over three months. and the Chronicle ran your story. “I just got word today. Jeff Granger has been released from Huntsville early. Mark would have opened the door to him without even knowing. “What’s wrong. and I took his hand. they’ll pick him up and back to prison he’ll go. “He’s skipped out on his parole officer.


again. I can’t face him.” I moved closer to him and put my arm around his shoulders. “What can I do for you, Mark? Name it.” He stared off into space for a few minutes and then sighed. “Did you talk to Dr. Cohen?” “Yes.” “What did she say?” “To tell you, not to keep you in the dark.” “Thank you for that, Daniel. Knowing is bad, but not to know would have been…worse, I suppose.” He gave me a weak smile. “At least, I’ll be prepared if he shows up here.” “Mark, the chief is going to have a man on each shift patrol in town pass by your house like clockwork.” “But for how long, Dan? You can’t keep it up forever. At some point, I’ll have to be on my own.” “True, but we’ll catch him soon. For now, let us help you.” He nodded. “Missing for a month? Do you think he’s coming here? Maybe he just ran away?” He bit his bottom lip in worry. “I don’t know, baby.” I gathered myself. “Mark, what if I moved in with you for the time being? Just to keep you safe?” He smiled at me. “I always feel safe with you, Daniel.” He thought about it. “Sure, why not? You can use the guest room. I have two full baths. How soon can you move in?” “Say the word, and I’m here.” I kissed his hand. “Tonight, then.” “I’ll get my stuff for tonight, and the rest tomorrow. Is that all right?” He nodded. We kissed, and I left. I radioed in to have the patrols start right away passing by his house. An hour later, I stood in his guest room, putting some clothes in


a drawer. My shaving kit was already in the second bathroom, and he’d brought me fresh towels and soap. I undressed and took a shower. A fresh uniform was hanging in the closet and my gun was hanging on a chair in my room. I slipped into a pair of pajama bottoms and a T-shirt and went to find Mark. He was reading a book in his living room. There was soft music playing. I looked over his bookcases filled with books, picked an Asimov sci-fi, and settled next to him on the couch. We read until midnight and then headed to bed. He went to his room; I went to mine. Still, I was content just to be in the same house as him again. I could wait, I told myself.



I had promised I’d come by the bar and bring Mark to meet Jeff. It was Friday night and Clancy’s would be grilling steaks for dinner. It wasn’t my day off, so we couldn’t go until after work, but that was fine because they didn’t stop cooking steaks until midnight. Mark said it was too late for him to eat that heavy, so we decided to split a steak and a potato. Luckily, he likes his potatoes loaded, just like me. I told him I’d meet him there around ten-thirty, after changing at the station. We’d save some time if I didn’t have to go to his house and change. I didn’t like letting Mark drive by himself, but he’d been doing it all week without incident as he went to and from work and around town. It just bothered me that it was so late at night.


When I arrived, I spotted his car in the lot, and a rush of relief that he’d made it here safely warmed me. The crowd outside was thick with folks hanging around the huge black barbeque parked just to the side of the bar. Carlos was manning the tongs, cooking steaks to order. The pit was one of those immense things, built from a steel barrel, cut, and welded so the bottom half held the wood or charcoal and the hinged top served as a cover. The grill spread across the length of the barrel and there must have been twenty good-sized rib-eyes sizzling away. The smell was wonderful. Inside, the crowd was just as thick, all the pool tables were in play, and tables were at a premium. I usually sat at the bar, and I’d told Mark to just go in and wait there for me. I weaved my way through the crowd, saying hello, and dodging plates full of steak and potato. Remarkably, I managed to remain unstained by passing food and drink. I found Mark sitting in my seat at the end of the bar, talking to Jeff, and sipping a drink. “Hi, Mark. Were you waiting long?” “Well, to tell the truth, I got bored sitting around at home, so I came early. I’ve been here since nine.” Mark held out his arms in a shrug. “Great. Hope it wasn’t too boring?” “Oh, Jeff’s been keeping me entertained.” He grinned at Jeff, and Jeff winked. “Oh, really? What has Jeff been telling you?” Best friend or no, some of Jeff’s stories about me I’m not sure I want told. Especially not to my boyfriend. “Stories.” He winked back at his co-conspirator Jeff. “Stories?” My voice encouraged his to tell me more details.


“About you.” I groaned and gave Jeff a look that said we’d be talking later. “After listening to him, do you still want to see me?” I jerked my head in Jeff’s direction. “Especially after listening to him,” he teased. “Don’t worry, Dan. I tried to make you look good. It wasn’t easy, though. I may have lied a bit, but I’m sure it was nothing you couldn’t live up to,” Jeff said in a stage whisper. “Thanks, if a cowboy can’t count on his partner, who can he count on?” “His horse?” Jeff asked. “Ain’t got a horse.” “Well, you may be out of luck then.” Jeff and Mark laughed. “What are you drinking?” I asked Mark as Jeff brought me my usual tonic and lime. “Diet Coke. Are you hungry? Ready for dinner?” “Sure, starved. You?” “Yep.” He nodded and started to get down off the stool. “If you stay here and hold our places, I’ll go get it. How do you like yours?” “Medium and the potato all the way.” “Same as me.” I nodded. I turned and made my way back through the crowd. Business was really booming and I noticed Jeff had brought out the extra tables, so seating was tight. Every seat at the bar had an butt in it. I’d have to stand at the end just to be next to Mark as we shared the food. I was glad he was having a good time. Clancy’s was like a second home to me, and it would be awful if he had hated it. But he was enjoying the music and even talking to some of the other

too. Mark was gone.NO GOOD DEED people.or three-year lease. When I got to the bar. Maybe Mark would think it was too soon for that. His jacket still hung on the back of the stool and his drink rested in its spot. I said. “Pardon me. I was thinking about what I’d do when my month at the house ran out. so I signaled Jeff over. He looked good. forced to find somewhere permanent to move. and we bumped into each other trying to maneuver through the opening. He didn’t say anything except. Carlos handed me the plate with my steak on it and I went to pick up the potato and fixings at a nearby table. Brown T-shirt. extra plate in hand. made my way to the grill and gave Carlos my order. I got nervous. He wore a baseball cap pulled low over his head. I headed back inside. heading for the grill. a two-year lease may be too long. so I was thinking I’d ask Bert Jr. plain brown belt. There really weren’t any apartment buildings around. maybe get a two. to find me a small house to rent in town. I saw him get up and head that way. I settled on a one-year lease. Then I thought about Mark. After about ten minutes.” 224 . Not without some sort of permanent agreement between us. if things went well. I hoped not. I couldn’t stay at Mark’s forever. Fully loaded. A guy came in the door. blue jeans and a blue jean jacket.” I nodded. faded blue jeans and scuffed brown boots. I sat on the stool and waited for him. figuring he’d gone to the gents. I guess. The cool air hit me as I stepped outside. A lightweight black jean jacket hung across the back of his stool. “Did you see where Mark went?” “To the bathroom. “Excuse me” or something.


“He’s been gone a while, and the food’s getting cold.” “Lines are long back there.” Jeff motioned with his head toward the bathrooms. There wasn’t anything to do but wait. I glanced up into the mirror, spotted Mark making his way back and let out my breath in relief. He waited as I slid off the seat and he climbed up. We divided the steak—him giving me the lion’s share of it—and half of the potato and we dug in. We talked a little, but mostly we chewed and smiled at each other like a pair of starry-eyed teenagers. Thank God, the place was so packed no one paid any attention to us. We spent the next hour or so talking with each other, Jeff, and the occasional person who came up to me to say hello. Mark hung back, quiet, until I introduced him as a friend, then he smiled, shook hands, and listened to the names of people he would probably forget before the evening was out. At midnight, I was ready to head home. I had work on Saturday at two in the afternoon and needed some sleep. “Are you ready to go?” I asked him, leaning in close to his ear so he could hear me above the noise. “Sure.” He nodded and started to get off the stool, taking the last sip of his Diet Coke. He glanced into the mirror, did a double take, and froze. The glass slipped from his hand and shattered as it hit the floor. He stared, mouth open, at the mirror. “Mark, what’s wrong?” I turned back and saw only a crowd of people behind us. “Mark?” My eyes then focused on the man wearing the baseball hat. The same man I’d bumped into earlier. He and Mark were locked in a staring contest in the mirror’s reflection. I turned to toward the guy and caught a small movement, a


flash of metal off the barrel of a gun. It was camouflage-colored, so making it very hard to see in the dim light. He held it discreetly at waist height, pointed at Mark. I grabbed Mark and threw him to the floor as the first shot hit the bar where he’d been standing. Splintering wood went flying. A woman screamed, piercing the noise of the bar. Mark, on his hands and knees, scrambled around the end of the bar and out of the way. I reached for my weapon, but it wasn’t there. I wasn’t in uniform and I’d left my Glock locked in my truck’s glove box. Jeff dropped what he was doing and headed our way. I stood in front of the bar, facing Granger. The rest of the patrons had frozen when the shot went off, but now, a moment later, they fled in blind panic, screaming and getting as far away from the man with the gun as they could. A mass of them crowded the door attempting to escape, knocking over tables and chairs in their panic. “Dan!” Jeff shouted. “He’s got a gun, watch out!” I shouted back. The man raised the gun and searched for Mark. “Allen, you can’t get away from me!” His voice was hard, cold, and deadly. “Come out here, you fucker. We have some unfinished business.” Jeff, at the middle of the bar, reached under the counter. When his hands came up, he had a shotgun in them. “Dan!” he called to me as he tossed it in the air. I twisted, caught the shotgun, swung it around, and had it cocked and pointed at Granger in one fluid motion. “Mark, stay down!” I shouted. “Put the gun down,” Jeff ordered, holding the second shotgun.


By now, the crowd had vanished. Granger didn’t move, much less put down his weapon. “You owe me, you little cocksucker! Eleven years,” he yelled. “Put down the gun, or I’ll shoot!” I warned him, leaving off the “I’m the police” part. No reason to give him an excuse to shoot me. Seems he didn’t need an excuse. I saw the muzzle flash in the dim light of the bar. Heard the sound. The bullet hit me in the chest like a Mack truck and slammed me against the counter. I couldn’t breathe, but I pulled the trigger as I slid to the floor. The double blast of the shotgun blew Granger backward, scattering food, tables and chairs. I’d never been shot before, but it doesn’t take an idiot to figure out that it hurts. This idiot just didn’t know how much it could hurt. I couldn’t catch my breath or fill my lungs with air. My chest was being crushed like it was clamped in a vise. I looked down, amazed at how fast the blood spread over my shirt. It was like in the movies or your dreams where everything moves in slow motion, then your focus blurs and everything narrows down to what’s right in front of you. Jeff appeared, calling my name. I gasped and tried to speak, but from the look on his face, I don’t think I got anything out. The blood filling my throat and mouth made it impossible. I closed my eyes and thought, You only had three more years, you stupid, dumb fool. Last thing I remember hearing was Mark saying my name. * * *

I recall bits and pieces of the next few days. I was in and out of


consciousness, most of the time poked and prodded by nurses. I do remember Mark’s voice, and once I think I saw Jeff. He still had that same look on his face. Like his best friend had died. When I finally came around long enough for it to count as awake, Chief Tasket was sitting in the chair next to me, his unlit cigar clenched in his teeth and reading a Cosmopolitan. I had to blink twice. “It was the only one I could find.” He shrugged, reading my expression. “Water.” I could barely speak. My head hurt and breathing was almost impossible. Tasket got up and poured some water into a plastic cup, put a straw in it and held it for me to sip. After two swallows, I’d had enough. “Did you take the test?” I asked softly. A plastic tube fed something into my arm from a bag suspended from a hook. Monitors beeped. Green numbers glowed on machines whose purpose I had no idea about. “Yes, seems I am not as supportive of Darlene as I should be.” He looked disappointed, but then he grinned. “But I scored high on the sexual satisfaction portion!” “Of course. Didn’t doubt it.” “Never doubt it, Chan.” He put the magazine down and leaned forward. “How are you feeling?” “Like I’ve been rode hard and put up wet.” I closed my eyes. “How long have I been out?” “Three days. One day in surgery and two in intensive care. They just moved you in here this morning.” “Oh. What’s the damage?” I opened one eye and looked at him.


He hadn’t shaved, in maybe two days or so. “Not bad. The bullet hit your lung. They took you into surgery and stopped the bleeding. It cracked a rib going out the other side. We thought we’d lost you in the ambulance.” “Lost me? Like?” I don’t remember any bright lights or tunnels. “Yeah, like.” Tasket’s eyebrows rose and fell. “It hurts to breath. My ribs…” The screaming pain was gone, just a steady ache now. Oxygen fed through a tube in my nose, but it didn’t feel like it was enough. “The doctor says they will for a while. I pulled Lieutenant Chambers in to cover for you. He and Walters will spit your shift. Don’t be in any hurry to get back, Dan.” “I wasn’t planning on it. I think I’ll just lie here for a long time.” I tried a weak smile. I had to know. “Granger?” “You nailed that bastard, Dan, with both barrels.” “I wasn’t sure…” I looked away. I’d killed before, but I didn’t think I’d be losing sleep over this one. “He’s awake?” Mark asked as he came through the door. He leaned over and kissed my cheek. I think it healed me; at least it healed my heart. My lung would have to take care of itself. “Hi, baby.” I tried to wave, but my arm felt disconnected from my body. Must have been the pain meds. Mark took my hand and gave it a squeeze. I could feel that. “I love you, Daniel.” His eyes were all worried, but his voice sounded sweet to me. “I love you, too.” Tasket rolled his eyes and stood. “That is my cue to leave. Mark, he’s all yours.” He reached out and squeezed my arm once. “I’ll be back in a few days, Dan. Let me know if you need

I don’t think there was a single place on my body that didn’t hurt.” Mark greeted me with the good news the next morning. So I walked and walked. The nurses were brutal. but they cracked the whip and said if I could get my bodily functions working again I’d be able to go home. if that’s okay with you. Mark walked with me. Now. “Tomorrow. My throat was very sore. Right then. “Shh. ready to swing my legs over the side of the bed. “Great! Let’s go!” I sat up. Get some rest.” He leaned over and kissed the back of my hand. Jeff walked with me. So you’re coming to my house. that was pain. My chest still hurt. “You look so good to me. pushing my IV along. I walked by myself. too. and trying not to flash anyone in the hall.” 230 . The nurses were nothing compared to the pulmonary therapy guy. But the promise of going home was what really got me motivated. * * * The next day they had me up and walking. Two days later. the doctor wants to release you tomorrow.” And he left. then smiled.” I whispered. Twice a day he would bring a machine into my room and make me breathe. “And strictly on bed rest and your breathing therapy has to continue for a while.” He shook his head. the walking paid off. I closed my eyes and drifted off.NO GOOD DEED anything. Mark sat in the chair. he said. “Daniel.

I would need to be packing up my house and moving soon. You aren’t capable.” “I was thinking I’d get Bert Jr. they’d be tender for a little longer. and we’ll move some of it to my house and put the rest in storage. “You can’t possibly move by then. I saw the department’s doctor and he agreed I could return to 231 . I guess. He warned me about being careful of my ribs. Daniel.” He leaned over and kissed me long and deep. I didn’t want to force myself on you. Two months after the shooting. He lectured me. “I wasn’t sure you’d want me underfoot. I’ll get it all boxed up. “Sure. “You won’t be underfoot. And I want to take care of you. and. Mark. I want to give you as much room and time as you need.” I held his hand. told me I was lucky I had such good lungs because there was no smoke damage to slow the healing. I sat back in bed and told Mark about my housing situation. I didn’t mention the money. selfish bastard that I am.” He sounded disappointed.NO GOOD DEED I hadn’t told him about selling my house and if my calculations were correct. my doctor finally gave me the okay to go back to work. Dan. I have that extra bedroom and I really don’t need that much time. All my body functions seemed to be working now. you need your own place. making my dick twitch to life.” “Rent?” He bit his bottom lip. * * * You heal slower when you’re older. I was thrilled. to find me a house to rent.

no drug busts. wanted to fuck him. Mark was watching some show about gardening on the home improvement channel and he kissed me good night. The night before I was scheduled to go back to work. I could definitely get used to this. 232 . I was going over them by the light of my bedside lamp when I heard a light knock on the door. “Come in. I still lived with Mark. I usually slept late. but I was there when he got home from work each day and we had the entire evenings together. Mark. hated what you coughed up worse. Our times together were good. but his well-being was more important to me than my own needs. Mostly we kissed. giving Mark space. wanted to take his cock in my mouth. Is everything all right?” I dropped the papers on the floor next to the bed. fantastic really. and I wanted him so much I could drive my fist through a wall. while he jerked himself off. but I wanted to touch him. but he wasn’t ready. and definitely no dodging any more bullets. held each other and when the stars were right. The breathing therapy had been the toughest thing I’d ever done in my life. giving up my regular up-half-the-night schedule and adopting his sleep-all-night schedule. so I followed his lead. I turned in early. I hated the stuff you sucked into your lungs. he blessed me with the beauty and talent of his mouth and tongue. No car chases. and we slept in separate rooms. I loved him. I let him initiate any sexual activity as the mood took him. I tried to be a good boy. And every bit of it hurt like a son of a bitch. My wound had healed over.NO GOOD DEED light desk duty. and I’d finished the therapy for my lung. Tasket had dropped by earlier in the week with the latest reports so I could get up to speed at work.

Together. I leaned over and took his nipple in my mouth without asking. I inhaled deeply. Daniel. about the same diameter. I thought my heart would stop and I held my breath. Usually we made our form of love on the couch or on the living room floor. I ached to touch him skin to skin. “Hell. Then he slipped into my bed and snuggled next to me. we caressed it through the cotton fabric of his briefs as I learned the width and length of it. “Touch me. trying not to pressure or insist. He reached down. to see what my fingers felt. worrying his bottom lip.NO GOOD DEED He slipped into the room wearing only boxers. After one long kiss that left us both breathless. Fresh and clean. I laid back to let his fingers work their magic. he pulled on my hand. I want to feel your fingers on my skin. letting them lightly graze each hard nub. I took a chance and boldly my fingers found his nipple as I lay on my side. he arched into my mouth as he 233 . softly and slowly. I just don’t know how I’m going to get to sleep. “Do you mind?” he asked. He smelled good. the one I dreamed about at night and I couldn’t stop myself. across my chest and ending in teasing circles around my nipples. Smaller than mine. his head resting on my bare chest. or as deep as I could these days without coughing. “I think I know.” He smiled shyly.” I ran it over his chest. took my hand. He’d never come to my bed before.” I pulled him closer to me. and brought it to his swollen cock. I spotted his mole. like after a shower. no. Instead of pulling away. his fingers tracing the muscles in my arms. Our tongues found each other and we took turns sucking them. I kissed him.

We were going to blend our 234 . he stroked me with his hand. This was the moment I’d waited so patiently for and I could see in his eyes. “I want you. I sucked one as I caressed the other. I caught glimpses of them. and it was thick. “I want you. “Yes. He reached down and found me. and he dragged them down and off. to his mouth. Where our bodies met had heated. to his throat. covered in sparse brown hair. “I want you. they hung like tempting figs. hard and straining to get free of my boxers.” It was the most beautiful one I’d ever seen. kicked out of his boxers. I raised my hips. control the kiss.” He kissed me. this time letting me push my tongue inside. your cock’s so beautiful.” He pushed me flat on my back. He pulled on them. and moaning as he worked himself off on me. Mark. As we kissed. control what we did. then straddled me at my waist. The taste of his skin was delicious and warm.” he whispered. Daniel. Do you trust me?” It was time. Large. I craved them. dark with blood and leaking just for me. letting me discover his mouth.NO GOOD DEED moaned. feel it in the hard pounding of his heartbeat—he wanted it too. hear it in his breath. baby. lingering there for a while. A stray thought entered my mind. His cock strained upward to touch his belly as I just stared at it. He ground his cock into me. thrusting. I kissed his mole and made my way back to his face. pushing. He rubbed it against my belly and the heat of his balls resting on my skin warmed me. “God. He lowered himself to my body to kiss me hungrily as my hands ran down his back to his ass and I squeezed his soft bottom. too.

ripe. I squirted some on my fingers of one hand. checking for any discomfort or pain. and you used condoms. I’d had regular six-month check-ups through the department. they’d tested me for all of it in the hospital. his hips thrusting as he fucked my hand. Make love to me. I formed a tight circle and let him push and drag himself through it as fast or as slow as he needed it. Dan. Mark writhed on the bed. I touched his face. I want this. filled with juice and ready to burst. got the love lube from the nightstand.” He shook his head. He uttered the most perfect moans I’d ever heard. Daniel. sure there might be one or two condoms still in there. “I want to feel you inside me. I fondled them. and I knew Mark hadn’t been with anyone in years. “I haven’t been with anyone. we need protection. I’d dreamed of this moment and I knew just what to do. yet firm. but he stopped me. “Are you sure?” “Yeah. and used the other hand to touch Mark’s cock. Deep. They were soft. I started to reach for the nightstand. and popped the top. I obeyed. Besides. “Play with my balls. “Baby. God. Sure as I’m ever going to be.” “But…” I searched his eyes.” Oh. gave them a squeeze as I watched his reaction to everything I did to him. feel you come in me.” he ordered. I rolled over.NO GOOD DEED bodies in the ultimate union. right?” I knew I was free of any STDs or HIV. 235 .

“Oh. I ran one lubed finger from his balls to his sweet puckered ass and he pushed down.” Beads of pre-cum dotted the head of his cock. It was so tight.NO GOOD DEED throaty. It slipped inside as Mark gave a cry. bent at the knee to give me access to his body. I opened and took him in my mouth. I pulled his cock to my mouth. then added another finger to stretch him. My dick ached. he was so fucking eager.” he whimpered. “More. Inhaled. almost purrs of delight. He groaned. then nodded to me. waiting. I eased my finger into his channel. Dan. Mark. Musky. gentle. I bobbed up and down. holding me in place as if afraid to let me move again. My pre-cum leaked down the side of my dick. He spread his legs wide. kept fucking himself on my fingers. but kept pushing. “I need to taste you. burying my nose in the soft brown hair that surrounded his cock.” He panted. then pushed in as he bore down on my finger. 236 . Damn. it’s been so long.” I kept working my fingers inside him. So ready. thrusting his dick at me. I froze. I needed to bury it inside him. sucking the length of him. I worked it in and out. Mark groaned and arched. God. “Not yet. coating it with the best all-natural lube. I need you now. “Dan!” Mark writhed. “Now. with the other hand. but he shuddered. gritted his teeth. Dan. I painted the tight rose of his ass with the lube. pushing against me again. Sweet. but. I lapped at them. chest reaching for the ceiling. but determined to capture his essence.” His hands fisted the sheets as his body arched.

“Fuck. Rode him like a fucking stallion rides a mare. and he claimed my heart. twice. Mark wrapped his hands around my arms. on the third time. signaling his hunger. God. I pulled out and pushed in. and that he was all mine. God.” His voice caught in a strangled sob. and breached him. supporting my weight on my arms and pushed deeper. until my balls rested against his body. letting me know I could really fuck him. I claimed Mark’s body that night. Like a man takes his mate and claims his lover. “Oh. a long continuous moan as he thrust in a matched rhythm to my sucking. It’s so good. Mark was glorious to watch. each little sound and moan of pleasure let me know he truly enjoyed making love to me. “Yes. I want to be inside you. put the head of my dick against his opening. I moved closer to him. Daniel. “Wait for me. I pulled off him with a pop and pulled out my fingers. that he felt safe and loved. slamming into me. “Fuck me. and I fell into those beautiful blue eyes. that he wasn’t afraid anymore. it’s so good. each movement. harder!” he cried out. letting his ass eat my cock. ready to spill. Mark met my thrust with his body.” He groaned and shuddered. once. I leaned over him.” His hands fisted the sheets. Our gazes locked.NO GOOD DEED I deep throated him a few times. and I pummeled him.” Mark captured my gaze with his. trust and love burning in his eyes. I can’t hold off much longer. “Gonna come.” “Hurry. Mark. until he was singing. I couldn’t believe it. Just that thought made my balls pull tight. We both froze. And I did. yes. baby. I’m gonna 237 . I was inside him at last. Oh.

My balls slammed up. Holding him. his channel pulsed around my shaft and it sent me over the edge. baby. he let it slip from his grasp. Danny? I liked it. He howled and hot cum sprayed our bellies as his balls unloaded. that’s when you learn who your friends are. “I love you. Damn. Panting.” We lay that way for a long time. my dick swelled and then the explosion rocked me as I emptied into Mark. 238 . cum smeared on our bellies and chest. but I was one lucky bastard. my arm under my head. when disaster strikes. “I want to be like this forever with you.” “How about we house hunt together. I kissed his throat and the words slipped out. Mark. we stared into each other’s eyes. soft and tender. with a last sigh of pleasure. It had been unbelievable. Who’ll stand by you through thick and thin. Just pick it out. huh?” “Okay. * * * You know.” he whispered. naked bodies pressed together. Liked the way he said it. okay? Buy it together. With each shot. “I’ll buy a house for you. Danny. “I love you. staring up at the ceiling.” “You don’t even have a house. Move in with me. How can I move in with you?” He laughed. I may be stupid.” I pulled him tight to me and lay back.NO GOOD DEED come.” I shifted my angle and nailed his gland. My cock grew limp and.

or even to Riceland to see me. If we saw each other. it was at their River Oaks home for the holidays or we’d meet at a restaurant. greeting them and calling out to me in the living room. They had never been to my house before. through learning the truth of your sexuality. short. clipped conversations about my work. he was still Buddy. Jeff came by at least twice a week. and Mom’s health. sending their well wishes for my speedy return and even dropping by.NO GOOD DEED through illness. Marie never looked happier and Buddy… Well. had dropped by to check if I needed anything in the way of real estate. Buddy and Marie Macomb had dropped by to see me several times and on their last visit had told me all about their new house. Dad’s work.” I walked into the foyer and my mom hugged me tightly. but I suppose whatever thoughts he had about gays disappeared when I told him price was no object. “Daniel. I wasn’t sure about the look he gave me. Dad looked old. your parents are here. it didn’t seem to care. the guys at the station had been great. But the visit that really threw me for a loop was the one from my parents. while Mark was at work. Bert Jr. a lot 239 . Seems as if I wouldn’t have to tell anyone about Mark. Dad shook my hand. fighting back tears. Over the last few weeks. I’d already heard from Tasket that the cat was out of the closet. Flowers arrived from different people. and I’d had a steady stream of visitors. and I told him I’d be looking for a house to share with Mark. And remarkably. since the town already knew. and we’d play chess and just shoot the shit. Mostly we talked on the phone. Mark had answered the door.

In their sixties.” My mother and Mark smiled at each other. I think my mom must have had some work done because she looked great. “I love Mark. It was a good visit. 240 . Mom made Mark promise to bring me to Houston for a visit. They liked Mark. Then Mark went to the kitchen to make tea. disappearing discreetly to give us time alone. I introduced them to Mark and told them he was my partner.” “And I love Dan. and nameplate. it worked in my favor. “I always wondered. they stared at me. “He’s the one. I got Mark and my parents. as usual.” Our gazes caught and held. As they were leaving. “If it makes you happy…” Mom said. Dad told me he was proud of me. * * * I buttoned up my black uniform shirt and pinned on my badge.” I took a deep breath and let it out. This time. both were alive and kicking.NO GOOD DEED greyer than the last time I saw him. At first.” “Are you sure?” Mom asked. then my dad broke the awkward silence. That explains Mai. “It does. They say a brush with near death can either bring people together or tear them apart. I hadn’t heard that since I’d graduated college. Mark had left them laid out on the bathroom counter for me and had put my captain’s stars on the shoulder epaulets of the shirt. We sat in the living room.

picked up my hat. Dominant. I strapped on my holster. pinning him with my body to the wall. Truth was.NO GOOD DEED Running my fingers through my short-cropped hair. my thigh pressed between his legs. Thankful to be alive. I hadn’t been this happy in a long. Hagan was back at work. “Captain Chan?” Mark leaned against the wall. at least. Thankful to have a small town concerned about me. Rested. then slipped out the door. That hadn’t happened in a very long time. My hat fell to the floor. and headed to the door. 241 . He grabbed my ass and held on. A small zing of adrenaline coursed through me and my body hummed in anticipation. First days back are always hard and this was no exception.” “Clancy’s at ten?” he whispered. “I’ll be there. “Yes?” “Love you. and took his mouth in a hard kiss. I’d been determined I wouldn’t be one of those cops who didn’t go back after being shot. So damn thankful I had Mark. After all. Of course.” I fell on him. put my Stetson on my head. Demanding. “Love you.” I nodded. wearing nothing but a smile. Goddamn. long time. I broke the kiss and gazed down into his beautiful blue eyes. it just rocked me when he did that now. I figured I looked pretty good. just a little thinner. Maybe never. his lips swollen from my kiss. I was excited to go back. as we rubbed our bodies together one last time.” “I’ll be waiting at the bar. Mark melted into me.

There were payrolls. schedules. time reports to complete and the men on my shift to ride herd on. 242 .NO GOOD DEED My desk and chair waited for me.

just west of Houston. two teens and a neurotic dog. and hasn’t stopped writing yet. graduating with a B. attended the University of New Orleans as an English major. His father has Alzheimer’s and each day is a . She started writing as a young teen. Texas. Lorenz lives in Katy. with her husband. Originally from New Orleans.LYNN LORENZ Ms.com. David’s Dilemma is the first of her books with Amber Quill’s Amber Allure line. angsty poetry and short stories. available at AmberAllure. * * * Don’t miss David’s Dilemma by Lynn Lorenz. and she plans on releasing more with them. she’s had gay men in her life since high school. She put down her paintbrush and picked up a pen just three years ago. but switched to Fine Art. He loses his life.lynnlorenz.com! When David’s father moves in.A. Find out more about Lynn at www. so writing gay romance came naturally for her. David loses more than his study. Although previously published.

Through phone calls. bigoted attitudes about David’s lifestyle. but a best friend. he wants commitment and forever. they begin a friendship and share the moments in their days. and the fear that his father will wander off or burn down the house while David’s at work. now is not the right time to meet a man. But as their friendship and attraction turns into the love. David’s coping with his father and Travis’s struggle with his job as a cop. A rebound romance is not what Travis is looking for. until the situation becomes something that neither David or Travis ever expected… . But when his father does wander off. With David’s life in turmoil. friends and neighbors pushes David out of his circle of support and into a world of loneliness. His father’s blunt.struggle for both of them. Both men realize what they really need at this point in their lives is not a lover. And definitely not the time to try to have a romantic relationship. repeated conversations. Just coming off a nasty break up with his much younger lover. David turns to the local police for help. Travis struggles with his attraction to David. and he meets Detective Travis Hart. David’s father spirals deeper into a disease that robs him of memory and replaces it with fear and delusions. Travis’s life is not much better.


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