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As promised here is the prologue and first two chapters of COP A FEEL!!!! YAY! It’s the third book in the Handcuffs and Happily Ever Afters series that I write for Kensington. If you enjoy it and feel the aching need to get caught up........you SHOULD read HOW HARD CAN IT BE? (out now) and SIZE MATTERS (out December 19th)
This one has been a freakin’ blast to write. Of course I’m still writing it, so I should probably shut my cake hole. There’s not a cover yet but as soon as it’s ready I’ll show it to you! I’ve seen a rough draft and it’s as rockin’ as all the others! Cop A Feel will be released June 2014.
And now..........a little taste of COP A FEEL.
“Is your name even David?” I asked as I yanked my panties back on.
“Is yours Melanie?” he inquired, buttoning his jeans.
“I asked first,” I countered wondering for the umpteenth time why being an idiot came so easily to me.
We dressed in silence. I glanced around the hotel room and felt the need to do damage. Unsure if I wanted to damage him or myself, I decided to get the hell out before I did something else I would regret.
“You know, I can’t believe I’ve been sleeping with you on and off for a year and I don’t know your real name,” I said as I slipped my gun into its holster on my hip, promising myself I would never lay eyes on his ridiculously gorgeous nude body again.
“Back at ya, Ice.”
“Like your eyes, pretty girl. Icy blue and cold. I figure since you’re not going to tell me your real name, I’ll just give you one that fits.”
“How about I call you, Ass?” I snapped. What in the hell was wrong with me? He didn’t force me to do anything I wasn’t more than willing to do. True, he didn’t give his real name, but neither did I.
“I’ve been called worse,” he chuckled, revealing even white teeth and an orgasm-inducing smile. “When will I see you again?” He adjusted his bulletproof vest and slipped his knife back into his boot.
“Let me think,” I purred, enjoying how my change of tone stopped him in his tracks and piqued his interest. “Never. You will never see me again. I’m not interested and I’m tired of screwing someone I can’t trust to tell me his real name.”
“Turn about is fair play,” he grinned. He checked the safety on his gun and secured it at his hip. “And I think you were pretty interested twenty minutes ago when I made you see Jesus.”
“Oh. My. God. You did not just liken sex with you to a biblical experience,” I sputtered. His ego was bigger than his dick and his dick was nothing to scoff at.
“If the shoe fits…”
Listen, David,” I ground out between clenched teeth. “You’re a decent lay and all, but you’re not that good. I’m turning over a new leaf and I’m done having meaningless sex with asshats.”
“Good luck with that, Ice,” he replied enjoying himself too much for my liking. He beat me to the door and flipped the lock. “I’ll see you around,” he shot back over his shoulder as he walked away.
“Don’t bet on it,” I muttered and grabbed my purse.
“Oh, baby, I’m a gambling man,” he laughed as he disappeared from my sight and hopefully my life.
I slumped down on the sex-destroyed bed and dropped my head into my hands. I had to get my damned life together. Was this all I had to look forward to? Mind blowing sex with assholes not named David? The sex had been biblical, but the after-shame was getting debilitating. I was far better than this. What would my mother think? Or my brother, for that matter? I shuddered at the thought. I was an accomplished woman at the top of my game and I deserved more than I allowed myself to have.
Done. I was done.
I grabbed my handcuffs that had unfortunately been put to very obscene use about a half an hour ago, and left. I considered leaving my non-traceable Go-Phone in the room so there was no chance of another hook-up, but I needed it for work. With one last wistful glance at the sin-bed, I walked out of that room and into my new and improved life.
Three Months Later
The office was small but tidy. My gut clenched in anticipation of the dressing down I was about to receive. I glanced at the organized stacks of paper waiting to be filed sitting neatly next to a pile of romance novels. I grinned and grabbed one; anything to take my mind off my latest major fuck up. I’d been out of the hospital for nearly a month and I was ready to work again. I just needed to take my stern talking to and get on with it. I paged through the book and snorted. Why my boss kept this crap here was a mystery to me. I wondered if he read them.
Romance was for people who believed in fairy tales and I didn’t. Life was real and most people were bad. I skimmed the book and rolled my eyes. Nobody looked that good first thing in the morning and making out without brushing your teeth at seven am was not my idea of a good time. Damn, the sex was pretty good.
Of course, that made me think about not David, the egotistical wonder dick. I hadn’t Go-Phoned him him and he hadn’t Go-Phoned me and since we hadn’t made any other strangers-with-benefits rendezvous, I hadn’t seen him in months. That smarted a little bit, but it was for the best. Great sex was great sex. I could get that anywhere. Although, he’d kind of ruined me. I hadn’t slept with anyone but him in over a year. Whatever. At least he didn’t know that.
I nervously tucked the stiff blonde hair behind my ear. Where in the hell was Steve? I knew I had it coming. I’d blown my cover twice in six months and that didn’t bode well. I’d considered cutting my hair and coloring it before my meeting to show my boss, yet again, how easily I could disguise myself, but I figured a wig would do the trick.
Blonde wasn’t really my color, but the last time I’d gotten an ass-chewing I’d worn a red wig. Men preferred blondes according to Marilyn Monroe and although Steve was gay, I figured being blonde couldn’t hurt.
The ruckus in the hallway yanked me out of my pity party.
“This is ridiculous,” a female voice shrieked. “You’re not a fag. You fathered our two children and slept with me for…”
“Enough,” my boss Steve ground out. “We’re divorced and I am happily re-married. You’re not allowed here and if I have to get a restraining order I will.”
“You can’t marry a man. It’s against God’s will. You’ll burn in hell and you’ll deserve it,” his not so lovely ex-wife hissed.
“Jesus Christ, Helen. You need to leave now before I do something I will regret. Although there’s not much I would regret at the moment.”
“I’ll leave,” she said airily. “But you’ll come back to me. Take this and read it. See the light, Steve. When you do, I’ll be waiting.”
“Don’t hold your breath,” he muttered.
I heard her heels clack down the hall. And that right there was why I would never get married. I’d rather chew glass and swallow it than deal with that kind of bullshit. Not that I’d get a divorce because I’d realized I was gay, but there were myriads of reasons not to be involved with anyone. Ever.
“Sorry about that,” Steve sighed as he entered the office and tossed the Bible she’d obviously given him into the trash. “That was stressful to say the least.”
“Um, are you okay?”
“I’m just dandy.” He grimaced and took a seat behind his desk.
My boss Steve was a great looking man in his late forties. Sandy blonde hair and built like a brick shit-house. An ex-Navy Seal. From what I knew about him, he could kill a man with his bare hands and I was fairly sure he’d been tempted to do just that to his ex-wife. He had two kids that he was devoted to and a husband that he adored. Clearly that didn’t sit well with his ex-wife.
“Sorry you had to hear that,” he said. “That doesn’t belong here.”
“No problem,” I said feeling awful that I was adding to the weight of the world that had very obviously landed on his shoulders. “So, um…you wanted to see me?”
Steve tented his fingers, rested his chin on them and stared at me. I fidgeted with my wig and put the novel back on the edge of his desk. Fuck, why wouldn’t he say something? Never one to let a silence live out its life…I filled it.
“So I know you’re a little unhappy with me at the moment, but I had no choice. Back up was stalled in traffic and the fucker was going to get away. I had to move. He sold to kids,” I said at light speed in an effort to make him see there was no other way. “Three sixteen year olds had already OD’d and he was scheduled to get a shipment that would hook and kill God knows how many others and I …”
“Do you have a death wish?” Steve asked quietly.
Shitballs. Yelling I could take. Yelling I could understand and process. Quiet was bad, really bad.
“It seems to me that you do,” he said and tiredly ran his hands through his hair. “You broke procedure and could have been killed.
“But I wasn’t and I…”
“This time,” Steve interrupted me in a hard voice that shut me up quick. “This time you weren’t killed, by sheer luck…not skill. You blew your cover with a cartel that wants your ass and will stop at nothing to get it.”
“I stopped a thirty million dollar transaction and I won’t apologize,” I told him adjusting my wig that had slipped forward due to the fact I’d forgotten to pin the stupid ugly thing on.
“Show me your stomach.”
Goddamnit, I didn’t have time for this. “My stomach is fine,” I replied, straightening the neat piles on his desk.
“Show me your stomach.”
I heaved a put upon sigh and reluctantly lifted my shirt to reveal an angry jagged red scar. I’d taken a knife to the gut in my latest assignment gone awry. Of course the other guy fared much worse…like six feet under worse. Luckily his knife had missed all my major organs and arteries.
“Jesus Christ, Candace,” he muttered. “That’s it. I won’t go to your funeral young lady.”
“You’re not my dad,” I shot back, worried about where the conversation was headed. He never called me Candace…always Candy or kid or idiot. Not Candace.
“Nope, I’m much worse. I’m your boss.”
“So what are you saying? I’m fired? I’m reassigned? I’m what?” I asked in a voice I didn’t recognize.
“You need a break. You’re too involved; lost your objectivity,” Steve said watching me closely. “The drug dealers and the kids are hitting too close to home.”
He was right and he was wrong; not that I’d admit the right part. I was an undercover DEA agent because my sister had died from a drug overdose when we were little more than kids. My brother Mitch had become an agent first. Needless to say no one was overjoyed when I chose the same profession. My mother’s fear of losing another child had almost debilitated her, but doing nothing had almost destroyed me. It was my way of paying tribute and it fit me. I was good at it. I needed it. I’d had to fight my parents and my brother on my decision. To this day, I felt their disapproval and doubt. It mattered to none of them that I’d been at the top of my recruit class, spoke three languages fluently and had more weapons expertise than even my hotshot big brother.
My boss Steve had been the only one who had believed in me after I’d come out if training. He’d taught me the finer arts of jimmying car doors and disguise. He’d taught me the difference between revenge and justice. He’d been harder than hell on me and I loved and appreciated every moment of it. He’d believed in me and now he didn’t…
“I know I screwed up and I promise you that I…”
“Save it,” he said slapping a folder down on his desk in front of me. “This is your medical report. To say that you’re lucky is an understatement. This…” He pushed the folder toward me angrily. “This is proof of what being emotionally involved can do. It makes you sloppy and useless to me.”
I said nothing. He was right. I was a constant blur of motion. Trying to fill up holes I couldn’t define.
“There is strength in stillness and order. Protocol exists for a reason. Staying centered and uninvolved means you live to see another day,” Steve said pulling out another file.
I know all that,” I insisted. God, if I lost this job I had nothing. Less than nothing.
“Intellectually, maybe,” he conceded. “But you’re a liability to me at the moment and you’re in no shape physically to go undercover.”
“So you’re firing me?”
“Hell no,” Steve chuckled. “You’re one of the best agents I have. Once you’ve healed and gotten your head back on straight, I’ll kick your ass and send you back out.”
I breathed a sigh of relief and my tense body went slack. Fuck, I thought my life was ending. In that moment I understood how much my work defined who I was. Whether that was good or bad I had no clue…it simply was. Certain that sharing my revelation with Steve would be a bad thing, I kept my mouth shut. Difficult, as there was a silence I was tempted to fill.
“So what am I supposed to do?” I asked myself as well as my boss.
“Do you want to go to your parents?”
“God no,” I shouted and then slapped a hand over my mouth.
Steve’s eyes narrowed and he waited. He knew my parents. He knew my brother. Hell, my brother Mitch had been one of his best agents until he fell in luuurrve and got out to become a plain old boring cop.
“If my mom knew about my stomach, she’d lock me in the house and go into a deep depression. I’m twenty-six and I will not go back,” I snapped.
“A family that loves you is not the worst thing in the world,” Steve said in his fatherly tone. I hated the fatherly tone.
“Yeah, well, a family that disapproves of what I do isn’t going to be to excited about a knife wound in my belly. Just sayin’.” I grabbed the silly romance novel and changed the subject. “You read this crap?”
“No, Kevin does,” he laughed.
Kevin, Steve’s partner, was every bit as good looking as Steve. Many straight women had shed real tears upon learning the two men were gay and happily committed. Where Steve was intense and brooding, Kevin was light and joy. They were wonderful parents to Steve’s kids; far better than his religious zealot ex-wife, Helen.
“Well, these books are ridiculous. Happily ever after’s don’t exist,” I snorted.
Steve shook his head sadly. “Ah, you have much to learn, Candy.”
“Give me a break,” I snorted.
“Exactly my plan. You’re going on light duty until the doctors and I deem you ready for the field again.” He opened the folder in his hand and skimmed the contents.
“Light duty? You’re kidding me. Do you want me to file and answer phones?” I asked sarcastically.
“Nope,” he grinned. “I’d like to keep my business. Your social skills leave much to be desired.”
“Social skills are for civilians and fucktards,” I snapped, unfortunately proving his point.
Steve cocked his head to the side and waited for me to bury myself deeper. I was a loose cannon, but I wasn’t stupid. I stayed quiet. Difficult, but possible.
“God help the man who tries to tame you,” he laughed and removed several sheets from the folder.
“No man will ever tame me,” I told him confidently. “Romance is for sissies.”
“How exactly should I take that? As a slur to my manhood or my sexual preference?” he asked, eyebrows raised.
No, I…shit. Um, I meant that it’s, you know…” I mumbled and felt the heat crawl up my neck.
“Candy, you’re missing out on a few things in life. Like a life mainly. I want you to take this light duty time to ease up and live a little. Have some fun for God’s sake.”
I had no freakin’ clue what he was talking about. A life? I had a life. I saved lives. And I had fun. I, um enjoyed tons of things, like…Whatever. This was ridiculous.
“Just give me my pansy-ass light duty assignment and let me get back to work.”
Steve observed me critically for a moment, then went from father mode back to boss mode. “Fine. A dear friend of mine has received some threats on her life. I’m fairly sure they’re innocuous, but Kevin is freaked out and wants protection for her.”
“You want me find and eliminate the threats?” I asked, my expression hopeful. Maybe light duty wouldn’t suck as much as I thought.
“Not exactly,” he said, folding the papers in his hands and placing them inside the romance novel I’d just made fun of. “I want you on her and watching for trouble.”
“You want me to be a bodyguard?” I gasped, unable to hide my shock and dismay. I was an undercover agent for shit’s sake. Not a rent-a-cop babysitter.
“Yep,” Steve said ignoring my stinky attitude. “Sue is a professor and an author. She’s scheduled to headline an author’s convention in a week and I want you on her. Innocuous or not, a threat is a threat.” He handed me the book with a smile.
“Wait, I have to guard a woman named Sue who writes trashy romance novels because someone may or may not want a piece of her?”
“That sounds about right,” he said. “On, and she goes by Shoshanna. Shoshanna Lehump.”
I waited for the punch line, but it didn’t come. Who in the hell would go by the name Shoshanna LeHump? She sounded like a stripper.
“You’re serious,” I said pinching my thighs to keep from laughing just in case he was.
“As a heart attack. Shoshanna married Kevin after her husband died so he could get his green card. They divorced when we met. Shoshanna actually officiated our wedding ceremony. You remember, the one you were invited to, but couldn’t come because you were recovering from being shot in the ass.”
That was a low blow. I hadn’t been shot in the ass by anyone. It was actually quite big of Steve to state it that way. I had shot myself in the ass. I’d been testing a new firearm. The gun had been faulty and the safety was put on backward. Hence, when I put it in my back pocket it went off and I shot myself in the ass.
“I’m a little confused,” I said ignoring his comment about my ass debacle.
“In a round about way, Kevin and I met because of Shoshanna. We owe her.”
“She introduced you guys while she was married to Kevin?”
“No, no,” Steve laughed. “But that does sound like something she would do. She’s our angel because if she hadn’t married Kevin, he would have been deported and we never would have met. She’s the reason my life is full.”
I was so tempted to roll my eyes, but I adored Kevin. And I loved Steve. And they loved each other. Hell, Steve sounded just like my pussy-whipped brother Mitch. He fell in love with Kristy when we were all on a bizarro drug bust that involved Bigfoot. Kristy had nothing to do with the crimes. She was with a crew of loonies searching for Bigfoot and was unknowingly the cover for a nasty drug cartel. At first I didn’t like her, but she proved herself in the end. Of course, it also helped that she didn’t really believe in Bigfoot.
“So what’s with the trashy novel?” I asked as he handed it over.
“Shoshanna wrote it. I would suggest you read it so you get a feel for her. Inside I’ve put a list of potential suspects. You can question them this week before you leave for Wisconsin.”
I looked the list over. Several professors at the U where this Shoshanna gal worked seemed to have rather large issues with either her success as an author or her subject matter. Some old woman named Evangeline O’Hara, who had been blackmailing Shoshanna for stories for what looked like twenty years was also on the list.
“Holy shit,” I muttered. “Here’s your threat. The O’Hara woman has a motive like I’ve never seen.”
“I’d tend to agree if she wasn’t still in jail,” Steve said. “Her calls and mail are monitored.”
“I’ll interview her.”
“Absolutely and the professors at the U. Sue’s one of the foremost profs of Women’s Studies and these jack offs are trying to get her tenure removed.”
“Possibly. More likely closed minded bigotry towards her subject matter.”
“Women’s Studies?” I asked, surprised. “What are they? Dinosaurs?”
“Not what she teaches, what she writes,” he corrected my misassumption.
“What in the hell does she write? Porno?” I laughed.
“Some might refer to it as porno, but it’s technically classified as erotic romance,” Steve said logically.
Again I waited for the punch line. Again it didn’t come.
“So, um…is there anything in the University’s by-laws that make her, um…sex books negate her contract?” I asked. I almost said fuck books. Thank you God that that one hadn’t slipped.
“It’s somewhat vague, but Shoshanna’s lawyers are convinced she’d win and most of the board is backing her,” he said. “But it’s unpleasant and drawing unwanted attention to the University. The longer it goes on the more precarious her position is.”
“I don’t get it. She would win in court. What’s the biggie?”
“The biggie,” Steve smiled at my choice of word, “is that Shoshanna loves the University and would leave before she caused too much trouble and bad press. It would be a sad day for her, the students and academia if that were to happen.”
“Why would someone hurt her then? Wouldn’t it be smarter to just draw it out till she leaves on her own recognizance?”
“Yes and no,” Steve said. “She’s up for several prestigious awards and two of the suspects in particular are up for the same award. I don’t really get it, but apparently in the world of academia the more papers with stars on it you get the more important you seem to be in that strange sub-culture.”
“You think someone would kill or hurt her for that?” I asked memorizing the names for later.
“Doubtful, but I’ve seen stranger.” Steve handed me a card.
“Here’s Shoshanna’s address. You’re expected at dinner tomorrow night. Kevin and I will be there as well as your brother, Kristy, Rena and Jack.”
That sounded like hell to me. To be stuck in a room with a porno writer and three sickeningly in-love couples would be enough to make me tear my own head off. My brother and his fiancé, Kristy, were bad enough, but Rena and Jack, their best friends were down right nauseating.
“I don’t think I can make that,” I hedged, racking my brain for a good excuse.
“You have plans? Cancel them. This is work related and you need to have a good time occasionally.”
“I have a date,” I blurted out, my mouth way ahead of my brain.
“Bring him,” Steve said, waiting for me to cop to lying.
“Well, um…David is a little weird and I’d, you know…rather not subject him to my brother before I know if he really, um…you know.”
“What does this David do?” he asked.
“I think he’s a…banker.”
“I see,” Steve said, seeing entirely too much.
“Fine,” I huffed, pissed at myself for lying and pissed at Steve for making me. “I’ll come. Is Kevin cooking?”
“You bet.” He smiled his first real smile of the meeting. “Shoshanna can’t boil water and Kevin still cooks for her a couple of nights a week.”
“Oh shit,” I muttered. “What about the cartel that wants my ass?”
“Taken care of. Sent two agents to Mexico and ended it.”
Fuck. I hated that. I hated that two people had to risk their lives to cover my fuck up. Maybe Steve was right. I needed to get my head on straight.
“Are they okay?” I asked.
“Yep. Got back today. Hell of a ride. Been down there three months.”
Three months? “Can I thank them?”
“Nope. These guys are deep cover. They don’t exist in any database. Not going to screw with that. Just know it’s taken care of.”
“Right,” I said, more furious than ever with myself. My vengeance against drug dealers had resulted two of Steve’s hard core guys having to go to Mexico and clean up my mess. Not gonna happen again. Ever.
“It’s done Candy,” Steve said recognizing my frustration. “They’re back and fine, but it could have gone any way. I wasn’t planning on this, but shit happens. Remember that next time you want to go Rambo on a job.”
“You have my word,” I promised.
“Good. Now get out of my office. I have work to do. Oh, and by the way,” he smirked, “blonde’s not your color. Stick with your natural brunette. It’s beautiful.”
“Yes Sir.” I gave him a mock salute and left. His chuckle followed me down the hall as I yanked the itchy blonde wig off my head and tossed it in the trash. I’d been living on luck and a prayer…and that stopped today.
The private law enforcement gym was practically empty. It smelled a little musty and the equipment had seen better days, but I loved the place. I’d earned my black belt in karate in this very gym and felt a real sense of peace here that I sometimes had a hard time finding in my daily life. Steve’s implication that I had no life rankled—possibly because it might be true. I just wasn’t sure I was brave enough or cared enough to actually do anything about it.
Scanning the free weights, I settled on the lighter side. My healing knife wound kept me from a full workout, but I was getting stronger everyday. My physical therapist was blown away by my progress. I was just pissed I wasn’t back to full form yet. I dropped my gym bag on the floor and grabbed some five pounders.
“What are you? A pussy?” an unfortunately familiar voice demanded.
Jesus Christ, who in the hell did I fuck over in a former life to have to keep running into the evil lesbian sisters?
“Nope, I had a little mishap at work and have to take it easy. What’s your excuse?” I asked eyeing her appalling choice of workout wear. Both Mrs. C and her sister, Edith, were somewhere in their sixties and tended to favor sequins. Even at the gym.
Edith clad in a shiny gold exercise top cackled and punched her sister in the arm. “Yeah, what’s your excuse, you old dyke?”
Mrs. C grunted and walloped her sister back. I idly wondered if they’d get into an all out brawl. At least they weren’t boring…
“Heard you got stabbed in the gut,” Mrs. C said while she simultaneously smacked her sister in the back of the head. Edith came right back and knocked her sister’s feet out from underneath her.
How in the fuck did they know that? “Well, that seems to be the rumor,” I muttered wondering how long I could take dealing with them before I did damage. Although, that would be an unwise choice on my part considering they had been in Vietnam, Special Forces…four tours. I was fairly sure only a few high placed government officials knew of their existence.
“Yep,” Edith crowed as she helped her sister back to her feet. “But rumor also has it that you put a dick-weed drug dealer six feet under.”
“How in the hell do you guys hear all this stuff?” I asked. The info was classified and didn’t hit the media in any way shape or form. “You two run a knitting store, for God’s sake.”
The just stood there and grinned. A smile pulled at my lips because they looked so ridiculous and they either had no clue or didn’t care. I’d met them on the same drug bust where my brother Mitch had met his fiancé Kristy. They were part of the certifiably insane group of nut jobs searching for Bigfoot. Turns out they were far more than poorly dressed lesbian Sasquatch enthusiasts…they helped save the day by booby trapping the trees with knitted snap traps.
“How is it that you lovely ladies are allowed to work out here?” I asked as I switched to twenty pound weights. I was no pussy. I was a dumb ass.
“Give me those goddamned things,” Edith snapped, yanking the weights from my hands. “You wanna reopen that wound?”
“No,” I huffed, annoyed that my pride had gotten the better of me.
“Anyhoo, we work out here because we’re doing some government contract work here and there and the generous city of Minneapolis has no choice but to let us hone our fine machines in their gym,” Mrs. C said, sliding slowly into the splits. Edith, not one to be outdone…joined her.
Had I entered an alternate universe? I was going to be a bodyguard for a smut writer and these two sparkling limber dingbats were picking off bad guys for the government when they weren’t manning a knitting store?
As I stared at them on the floor, I idly wondered if I could do the splits. Holy hell, I really did need a life.
“So,” Edith grunted, “heard you got quite the cushy assignment.”
“I would truly love to know where you get your info.”
“Not gonna happen.” She gave me a wink.
“Figures,” I muttered. I walked over to the treadmill and prayed our conversation was over.
“You are one lucky chickee,” Mrs. C said rolling out of the splits. “Edith here would give her left boob, it’s the bigger one, to go to the SCREW-Con.”
“I’m sorry, what the hell did you just say?” I asked, sure I’d heard her incorrectly.
“I said Edith’s left boob is bigger than her…”
“Not that part,” I snapped. “The other part.”
“The SCREW-Con.” She cackled at the look of horror on my face. “Society of Contemporary Romance Erotic Writers. Screw. You get it?”
“Yeah, I got it. Now quit fucking with me.” I blew out an exasperated sigh and waited for the punch line…and it never came.
“Sweet baby Jesus in assless chaps, you really didn’t know,” Edith yelled, enjoying my discomfort. I certainly wasn’t a prude, but I had no desire to go to a convention called SCREW.
“Clearly I didn’t.” I put my earbuds in, cranked up the volume on my iPod and turned on the treadmill. This conversation was done. If there was anything else to know, I didn’t want to know it. Despite the fact that Steve was my boss, I was going to rip him a new one for this. Being taken unaware by two sequin wearing lesbians with uneven boobs was not on my schedule today…and apparently being ignored wasn’t on theirs.
“You’ll be body-guarding one of the hottest pieces of ass alive,” Mrs. C informed me while removing my earbuds.
“Sweet baby Moses in leather and a ball gag, I pray daily for Shoshanna LeHump to switch teams and come over to the dyke side,” Edith shouted in full agreement of the sexual magnetism of the infamous LeHump.
Stunned to silence and having no comeback for that one, I stared at them while debating my next move. Taking them down might set me back medically and running meant I really was a pussy. So I tried the next best thing.
“You guys wanna go shoot some stuff? I’m about to implode and I need to find something inanimate to kill.”
“Now your talking sister,” Edith said yanking me off the treadmill and out of the gym.
The gun range was empty. After signing in, the old gals announced that the targets were insulting and had just what we needed to spice it up. They set up targets that made Mel, the owner cringe and threaten to ban us for life. Edith had a couple of words in private with Mel and to my great surprise, he turned a blind eye. Those crazy women set up an old computer, two toasters, a vacuum and a mini-fridge that they just so happened to have in the back of their car. They drew tiny bulls eyes on the appliances and started making wagers. Color me impressed. Maybe these gals weren’t so bad.
“Youth before beauty,” Mrs. C grunted, getting into her zone.
Laughing, I put on my ear protectors and goggles. Holding my Glock in my hand made me go to my calm happy place. I aimed and I fired—over and over and over.
“What the fuck?” Mrs.C gasped. “Guns down.”
We holstered. She walked over to the appliances and whistled.
“What?” Edith shouted, still wearing her hearing protection.
“Clean bulls eye on every one.”
“Clean a bull’s what?” Edith yelled.
“Take your goddamned head gear off and get a look at this shit,” Mrs. C said, squatting down to get a better view.
Both women eyed my handiwork silently, crossed back over to me and stared.
“Do it again,” Mrs. C demanded. “Do it right now.”
“No prob.” I grinned and reloaded. And I did it again—and one more time for good measure.
“Jesus Christ in a corset, you should have sniped with us in Nam,” Mrs. C whispered reverently.
“Wasn’t born yet,” I said enjoying myself for the first time in a while.
“I’ve never seen anything like it. I think I came in my shorts,” Edith added, saluting me.
“Gross,” I groaned backing away.
“Don’t worry yourself,” she cackled. “You’re too young, too skinny and too straight. It’s your shooing that gave me a woody.”
“Guys, enough. I’m a good shot. I’m supposed to be. I’m an undercover DEA agent, for God’s sake.” I rolled my eyes and debated if they needed an anatomy lesson. Although who knew? Maybe they had dicks…
“She the best I’ve ever seen,” Mrs. C muttered.
“Not better than Mag the Hag,” Edith insisted.
Both women dropped to their knees, genuflected and quietly murmured Mag the Hag repeatedly.
Fuck, just when I was beginning to think they were kind of normal.
“Do you think it’s possible?” Edith asked her sister, eyeing me suspiciously.
“Could be,” Mrs. C said rising to her feet.
“Um, guys you’re kind of freakin’ me out here.” Maybe it was time to go. Mrs. C’s iron grip on my arm made escape impossible.
“She died in my arms. She was the best sharp shooter that ever lived.” Edith’s eyes welled with tears making me notice her glittery yellow eye shadow. How had I missed that?
“I’m sorry, I know how it is to lose someone you love.”
“I didn’t love her,” Edith laughed. “I hated her fucking guts, but I admired the hell out of her and would have done her if she was a dyke.”
“Okay, then—gotta go,” I told them removing my goggles and peeling Mrs. C’s claw off my arm.
“Mag the Hag, are you in there?” Mrs. C screeched in to my ear, definitely damaging my hearing.
“What the fuck is wrong with you? You’re insane and a menace to society. Not to mention, your dress sense is vomitous,” I shouted and put my hand to my ear to check for blood.
“It’s her,” Edith said dropping to her knees in front of me.
“Who’s her?” I asked glancing around in alarm.
“You. You’re Mag the Hag reincarnated,” Mrs. C rejoiced trapping me in a bear hug. “God, I’ve missed you, you stinky bitch.”
“I’m not Mag the Hag,” I said, but being wedged in Mrs. C’s armpit it came out a little muffled.
“Of course you are,” Edith tsked and bent to kiss my feet.
“This is the most glorious and fucked up thing to happen in at least three weeks!” Mrs. C claimed, hugging me tighter.
“I really think you ladies need some help,” I squeaked trying to get some air into my squashed lungs.
“I’m gonna call Homer in DC. This will blow his mind,” Edith giggled after she’d finished adoring my feet. “He’ll offer you a job so fast it will make your head spin.”
“Thanks, but no thanks,” I gasped, miraculously breaking away from Mrs. C. “I have a job already and I’m not Madge or who ever you whack-jobs think I am. I’m Candy and you’re bat shit crazy.”
“Exactly what Mag the Hag would have said,” Edith shot back, secure in her debatable sanity that I was their reincarnated buddy.
“Okay then, I’ll just be going.” I grabbed my gun and quickly stowed it away. “I’ll see you guys when hell freezes over and I hope you have an interesting rest of your lives.” I made a run for the door.
“Hell froze over last Tuesday,” Mrs. C shouted joyously as I hustled away. “We’ll see you this weekend. We have a lot of catching up to do. You’ve been dead for years!”
“Not gonna happen,” I muttered as I slammed the door behind me only to be followed by their laughter as I high tailed it out of the building.
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