Read Deceptions (The Mystical Encounter Series Book 2) Online
Authors: Kimberly Readnour
The sirens faded into the distance while Tanner wearily made his way back to his car. He had lingered, talking with some of the other police officers who were wrapping up documenting the scene. I was more than ready to leave. The day had been long, and it seemed even longer because of how emotionally draining it had been. The beginning of my spring break was off to an awful start. Completely exhausted by day one wasn’t how I had envisioned spending my precious week off.
Tanner stepped aside when the tow truck pulled up. His chin tipped downward and he frowned, holding up his index finger. I smiled weakly and opened the passenger door to his car. Once inside, I was overcome by exhaustion. My head leaned against the headrest, and my eyes involuntarily drifted shut as a yawn escaped.
A door opened, startling me awake. Had I dozed off? I ran my hands over my face and glanced at Tanner. His serious expression caused my heart to dip, and I wondered if something happened to Nicholas.
“Heather, you’re really remarkable,” Tanner said.
Not what I expected. With a shy smile, I shook my head. “No.”
“Heather, I’m serious. You saved that kid's life,” Tanner said solemnly. “If it wasn’t for you, he would’ve died. That’s two people you’ve helped save, in this town alone.” With a shake of his head, he added, “You definitely have a gift.”
Unsure of how to respond, I gaped at him awkwardly.
“Thanks,” I finally said, touched by his sentiment.
“All right, kiddo, let’s get you home.” He started the engine and placed the car into drive.
Home. I was so ready for home. But even though Nicholas was found alive, the question still remained: how did his drug dealing, Bart’s blackmail, and the mayor connect? I glanced at Tanner. He worked his jaw, staring straight ahead. Concentrating on driving? Perhaps, but I wondered if he was trying to piece the connection together as well.
“I need to run to the police station for a minute before taking you home. I’d do it afterwards, but I don’t want to backtrack. Do you mind?” Tanner asked.
The scene of the accident faded in the rearview mirror as Tanner maneuvered his car around the curves. A sigh stuck in my throat, and although I wanted to go straight home, what could I say? If I said no, then wouldn’t I come across as whiney? He lived out of town, so to be fair, it made sense to go to the station first.
“Of course not,” I answered, in a voice that I hoped sounded convincing.
The town’s boundary came into view and I grinned. We were getting closer, even though we still had a stop to make before I could get home. Tanner remained quiet during the ride, and I was glad. The episode left me exhausted, and I wasn’t in the mood for unnecessary chatter. He turned down the road leading to the police station and I stifled a yawn. Those touch–and–go minutes today had fulfilled my adrenaline quota for the year. Talk about one emotional roller–coaster ride for the day. If I could, I’d happily exit early. Thank God the paramedics and firemen arrived when they did, or the outcome could’ve been much worse.
As we drove down the street, I wanted nothing more than for one of those homes to be mine. If I was going straight home, then I could be with Barry within minutes, not in another hour. I wasn’t sure if the sight of Nicholas’s unresponsive body had made me more appreciative of Barry, but it had made me miss him. It seemed ludicrous to miss him; I mean, we see each other every day. But at that moment, all I could think about was his strong arms wrapped around me, bringing me the comfort I’d grown to adore. When he draws me into a hug, the warmth that spreads through me brings a sense of security. After what I’d witnessed today, I could use his safeness.
Luckily, it didn’t take long to arrive at the station.
As we pulled into the parking lot, the place seemed pretty desolate, sans Bart’s police car. I suppose it made sense for the parking lot to be deserted on a Saturday. I studied the one–story red brick building and frowned. The station Detective Tanner worked out of was double the size. The difference between cities, I guess. But I thought our town was populated enough to support something bigger than a box. At least there were a few flowerbeds by the concrete steps in front.
“Okay, I’ll just be a second. You can either stay out here, or go inside with me,” Tanner said, breaking the silence. He slid the gearshift into park and unhooked his seatbelt. “Whatever you want to do.”
“Oh, I’ll stay out here,” I said quickly. If given the choice, entering the police station was the last thing I’d want to do. The day ended on a positive note; I didn’t want to ruin it by spending one minute inside those depressing walls, or take the chance of running into Bart.
With a nod of understanding, Tanner exited the car. I sat there and watched him as he entered through the single glass door. When the door swung closed behind him, the car became suffocating, wrapping around my neck until it choked out my breath. Anxiously, I placed my hand on the door handle and hopped out of my seat. Wanting to get away from the car, I walked over to the concrete steps leading up to the station door and sat.
Unsure of what had brought on my sudden claustrophobia, I sat down and tried to control my breathing. I rested my head in my palms and tried clearing my mind. After a few minutes, my breathing evened out, easing the sudden bout of anxiety. This ping–ponging back and forth between emotions was giving me whiplash.
I straightened back up and stared straight ahead toward the dilapidated buildings that transformed our downtown’s backdrop. Centered between two of those buildings was The Gamer. My lips parted. Was it really just last night when my friends and I were having fun there? It seemed like an eternity ago.
Will things ever even out? Or stay
calm enough so the police wouldn’t need my services. Truthfully, I wanted to be done with all of this and live a normal life, but that couldn’t happen if the police kept calling on my ability to help them solve cases. Maybe I should tell Tanner not to call me anymore—at least for a while, anyway. Even though he had already stated he’d limit his calls, a reminder that I was getting tired of this wouldn’t hurt.
A war raged inside my brain. I had felt elated when Nicholas was found alive, followed by intense fatigue. What was the cost of helping? My help had saved his life, which was enough to keep trying. It’s just…each vision wiped me out afterwards. Bad things happen in the world that can’t be prevented. I could only do so much, and at what price? It was both mentally and physically exhausting. After every vision I incurred, it felt like a chisel had chipped away part of my soul, leaving teeny fragments of myself behind. I feared at some point there wouldn’t be any pieces of me left. I wished this confliction would go away.
I sighed and reached for my phone. The screen lit up, showing a missed message from Barry. He simply asked if everything was going okay. I typed a quick response to tell him that we had found Nicholas. I’d enlighten him with the details later, but other than him being raced to the hospital, I was clueless.
It wasn’t but a few seconds later when his reply came through. “
Good, can’t wait to see you. When will you be home?”
flashed across my screen. The corners of my mouth drew into a smile while typing, “
Not soon enough
.” My fingers hovered over the send button, but I thought that might not be appropriate, so I typed, “
Soon, I’ll call you when I get there.”
“Okay, kiddo, we’re set to go,” Tanner said, pulling me back to reality.
I turned my head toward him and noticed Bart walking behind him. I winced internally as I snapped my head forward.
Why does that guy give me the creeps?
Not wanting to interact with Bart, I stood rather hastily and moved toward Tanner’s car. I tried picking up my pace, hoping to reach it before being forced to say hello to him. Perhaps rude, but the guy freaks me out.
“Heather, job well done,” Bart said, coming up behind me.
Evidently, I hadn’t been fast enough. Before turning around to acknowledge him, he placed his hand on my shoulder and gave it a slight squeeze. I should’ve been repulsed by his touch, but instead everything blacked out as voices invaded my head…
“How much longer before the next batch is ready?” the familiar voice of the police chief asked. He lay sprawled out on the bed with a half–dressed woman straddling him. The tiny room was dingy. A generic dresser and armoire stood against the wall and a recliner that should’ve been retired back in the seventies sat off to the side. A scant amount of light filtered through a crack emphasizing a motel room. A cheap one at that. My pulse quickened as Bart’s hands slid down the woman’s exposed sides while he planted kisses along her neck.
A long skinny arm rose, grabbing the wavy blond hair and tossing it toward the opposite side. A low whimper released as his lips continued to ravish her neck.. “Another week and it will be ready for distribution. The batch looks very promising.” She practically moaned during his constant kisses. I didn’t want to watch. I wanted to stop and turn away, but there wasn’t anywhere for me to turn.
The woman broke away from the police chief and planted kisses of her own down his torso while he repositioned himself. Her hands skimmed along the top of his underwear, sliding them down. Before they slipped completely off, her face raised upward. A slow, seductive smile spread across her face as their eyes interlocked. My breathing sped up as I stared into a very familiar pair of hazel eyes.
The pounding in my heart snapped me back to the present. I stood there panting as Bart walked away. My average sized nines seemed to became clown–sized as I stumbled around, trying to get my bearings. I blinked my eyes repeatedly, trying to maintain my focus.
Oh. My. God
. I had just witnessed the police chief having sex with a woman I’d never met, yet knew oh–so–well.
Incapable of masking the disgust on my face, I lowered my head. If Bart saw me, he’d know something was wrong. Think of something else.
Soft kittens… puppies… anything!
No matter how hard I tried, the image of them together replayed in my brain, failing miserably at neutralizing my expression.
“Wait until we get inside my car. Just keep walking,” Tanner said in a hushed tone.
Quickly, I rushed to the passenger side and opened the door. In an instant, I slid into the seat and slammed the door shut. A disgusted hiss escaped before repeating, “Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God.” With shaking hands, I grabbed the top of my head and squeezed. The driver’s side door opened and Tanner reached for the steering wheel. I glanced over, noticing the tail end of Bart’s squad car driving away. Bile rose in my throat as my stomach retched.
Please don’t throw–up.
“Heather, calm down,” Tanner said in a reassuring tone. “Take a slow, deep breath.”
The smooth texture of his voice kept me grounded as I tried evening out my breaths. This vision was huge. A game changer. How on earth would I ever calm down? I drew a deep breath in and slowly let it out. My stomach settled somewhat, but my heart still raced. I bit my lip and turned toward Tanner.
He sighed. “What exactly did you see?”
“Is the police chief married?” I asked. Did it make a difference if he was married? No, but I wanted to know what kind of sleaze ball this guy actually was.
“Yes…why?” he asked, glancing at me quizzically.
“What does she look like?” I asked, even though I already knew that the woman in my vision wasn’t his wife. I just wanted it confirmed.
“She’s about five–three, short brunette hair. Heather, why are you asking?” The detective’s muscle ticked in his jaw, but I paused a minute before responding.
“I saw him having…” My face reddened as I hesitated. It was hard telling him because I didn’t want to say the word
in front of him. Sex wasn’t a topic I ever talked about, let alone discussed with Detective Tanner. “Let’s just say…” I paused again and then made myself continue. “He was in a compromising position with a woman with long blond hair.”
Tanner’s eyes widened as he choked on a laugh. “Okay,” he said with a shake of his head. “Well, I guess your visions aren’t always G–rated.”
I laughed, releasing some built–up pressure before agreeing, “I guess not.” A small moan escaped before running my hands over my face. “There’s more.”
He threw the car into drive, and started backing out as I explained everything I’d witnessed.
Tanner turned onto the main road by the time I’d finished. His eyes narrowed into slits, staring blankly ahead. He worked his lower jaw, which he always did when he was thinking. I pictured him sorting through the mental files tucked away in his brain. I squeezed my phone, and for the first time noticed the other cars on the street. Perhaps I should’ve waited to tell him when we weren’t driving.
“It appears the blond woman is the one supplying the marijuana, but is it the same supply that Nicholas gets? If so, then how does it get transported to the bar?” he contemplated out loud. “If only I could figure out who the woman is, and location of the bar, then I may have a chance of bringing that bastard down. Did you say the guy Nicholas received the drugs from was named Paul?”
I nodded, closed my eyes, and swallowed hard. The acid in my stomach hadn’t stopped churning since I saw that vision.
Please don’t vomit now
. What made it worse was the fact that I recognized the woman, and although I didn’t want to tell Tanner that, I couldn’t withhold that information. It was too vital. But if I told him, it would be the worst betrayal I had ever committed.
How am I going to face everyone, knowing I was the reason for getting this woman busted? If a tiny shred of doubt existed, I would remain quiet. But the woman was identifiable to me, even though I had yet to meet her—those eyes don’t lie.
Wanting to scream, there was no other choice but to tell him. I looked out my side window and sighed. “Detective, I know who she is.”