Only a few more weeks to go until you folks get to find out just what is going on! I honestly so excited about this book’s release. I love releasing Stan Brookshire novels because there are so many of you that love our favorite detective and his partner. It makes my day to see so many of you enjoying!
So here is this weeks installment! Enjoy!
Meeting up in the garage a few minutes later, they climbed into Stan’s car and headed out of the garage.
“So where are we headed this time?” Jane asked looking at her watch; it was almost four o’clock. Too early for the dinner rush and just past the late-comers for lunch. Wherever they chose they would most certainly have the place all to themselves, which of course suited them just fine. They liked having the places they ate to themselves.
They drove down the road in their usual silence that they fell into whenever they were working on a particularly rough case, easily loosing themselves in their own thoughts. Neither spoke about where they would head but the car soon took them to their favorite diner on the outskirts of downtown.
Ma & Pa’s Diner was your usual mom and pop shop. A flashback from the 50s and 60s with its checkerboard tiled linoleum flooring and red leather booths. Even the bar stools around the main counter and the jukebox in the one corner were throwbacks from the same era.
Holly, their usual waitress and granddaughter of the original owners immediately came over to them with two large mugs off coffee as soon as they had sat themselves down in their usual booth in the corner near the jukebox.
“Hey guys. How’s things with you today?” she greeted, smiling at them.
“We are about as good as we can be I suppose,” Stan answered as he took a sip of the steaming brew.
“You guys working that case about the bride and groom that came home from their honeymoon only to be -” she started.
“Yeah, unfortunately we are,” Jane confirmed looking down at the open menu before her.
“So sad about them. They seem like such nice people.”
“So strange this world is becoming. I just don’t know what’s gotten into people nowadays. Really I don’t,” she sympathized shaking her head as she pulled out her pad to take their orders. “But I know you guys cannot talk about it so I won’t say anymore.”
“Thanks Holly, you would be one of the ones that we would talk to if we could,” Jane said, smiling up at her.
“Yeah, Jane’s right. You are one of the good people, but unfortunately walls have ears and well if people found out-”
“I know, you don’t have to tell me. Last thing I would want to do is get you guys in trouble. But what I will do is take your orders and feed two of Lake City’s finest.”
“Right. I’ll have the Mega Cheeseburger with fries and a side salad,” Stan ordered closing his menu and passing it to Holly.
“Nice healthy meal there, Stan,” Jane remarked, closing her own menu.
“I have to feed my baby,” Stan said sitting back and sticking out his belly before rubbing it.
Jane groaned and added, “I’ll have the Chicken Ceaser Salad, Holly.”
“Hey, I even got a salad! I am trying, you know.” Stan laughed even though he was trying to look serious.
The women shared a look that only served to make Stan laugh even harder. Holly walked away, shaking her head as she went, leaving Stan to face Jane’s stare alone.
“Aww c’mon, Jane. Rome wasn’t built overnight and there isn’t a chance in hell that you are going to be able to change my eating habits that quickly either. At least I have started eating salads. Before I met you I didn’t know what a salad was.” Of course this wasn’t the case but he had been a different person before he had met Jane.
He had lost his first partner from the Organized Crime Unit the year before he ended up partnered with her. It was during what should have been a routine drug bust that he and his partner had ended up going down in a hail of bullets. Stan had walked away with a few scars, while his partner had never had a chance. He had taken the whole thing rather rough. It wasn’t long after he had left the hospital that he turned to drinking to numb the pain he felt in his heart. From then on his life had slowly spiraled downwards.
So much so that his wife left him and he was transferred out of the organized crime unit and into the homicide department. He went through two other partners in that time before being partnered with Jane. There were those in the department who thought that it would solve their problems as Jane herself was not without stigma. She was the last in a long line of cops from her family, but she was the only female of the group. That made her different.
Her family didn’t approve of it either, but she didn’t listen. Her father refused to talk to her about it and her mother had begged her to change her mind when she said that she was headed to the academy, but still she had not listened. She did, however, grow a large chip on her shoulder in the meantime. It only went downhill for her from then on.
She had something to prove and no one in her department had liked that. She always had to be the best at everything to compensate for the fact that she was a woman and it left the partners she had with a bad feeling about her. She went through her fair share in the few years she had been there before she was paired up with Stan.
Their boss had put them together much to their dismay. Try as they had they had not been able to get the Chief to change his mind about the decisions. So they had been left to their own devices to sort themselves out. It was a matter of work it out or quit. There were no other options for them by that point.
In the end, she had helped him to crawl out of the bottle and he had shown her that there were other ways to prove that she was just as good as the guys on the force without shoving it in their faces. He had even gotten her father to lighten up a bit. Their first year together had been rough but in the end they had ended up better for it all around and now almost four years later were regarded as two of the best detectives in the department. They were the ones other detectives came to for help. It seemed to be nothing short of a miracle the way things had changed for them.
Stan smiled at Holly as she silently came up beside them with their meals and set them in front of them. She left again without saying a word.
Stan looked at his burger and sighed. It was huge and wonderfully topped with large slices of real cheese, but in the end he knew that Jane was right, he needed to start watching what he ate as he wasn’t getting older and heart trouble did run in his family. He picked up his fork and dug into his salad.
Taking a bite of it, he looked up and across the table at Jane who was watching him with interest, her own meal currently being ignored.
“See, I am eating the salad first! Are you happy?” he asked forking another huge bite of the salad and putting it into his mouth.
“I would be happier with you if you weren’t about to smother that delicious looking salad with a big heaping mound of grease right afterwards,” she retorted, finally picking up her fork and starting in on her own salad.
“Hey, at least I went for the salad first,” he defending himself between bites.
“Yeah and if it were Julian here instead of me, you know right well you would have never ordered the salad.”
“That’s is a good point, but since you are here and I did order the salad and am eating it before I eat anything else, can we please refrain from further discussion of my dietary habits?” Stan asked.
Jane was about to answer him with no doubt a sarcastic comment to match his, but was stopped by her cell phone ringing and bouncing around on the table where she had set it when she sat down.
“Trinity,” she answered as she opened it.
Stan watched her expression darken as she listened to the other person on the other end of the line.
“Right. We are on our way,” she said and hung up.
Stan raised an eyebrow.
“It was the Chief. He wants to see us as soon as possible. Not sure why; he just said to get back to the station as soon as possible.”
“Okay, do we have enough time to finish our food at least?”
“Do you want to be the one to tell the Chief that the reason we took so long to get back was that we had to finish our food? You know how he gets when we take too long to get ourselves where he wants us to be.”
“Okay I got ya. Can I at least take one bite of my burger before we go?” Stan asked reaching for it.
“Have another bite of the salad. It’s better for you,” she nagged, pulling his plate out of his reach before he had a chance to grab the burger.
Rather than argue with her, he forked another bite of his salad as she went to take care of their tab before they left. They had a running tab but neither of them liked to use it if they could help it. And unless there was an absolute emergency, they never left without paying something. The few times they had left without paying, they’d had a hard time making good when they came back in as the owners had erased their debt every time, claiming that if coffee shops were allowed to give away free coffees to the members of Lake City’s finest then they were allowed to foot the bill for a meal here and there.
Making their way out the door, many of the regulars smiled and waved as they passed. It was certainly a place where both Stan and Jane felt at home.
But it’s time to see what ole grumpy wants with us now, Stan thought as he started the car and pulled out of the parking lot and headed back downtown to the station.
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