Authors: LR Potter
A Slater Vance Novel
By LR Potter
Copyright 2013 LR Potter
This book is a work of fiction. The
names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the writer’s imagination
or have been used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any
resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locales, or
organizations is entirely coincidental.
for your personal enjoyment only. This
be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book
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Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
Cover Art By:
Photos used with permission by
If silence had a color, it would be
white: monochrome, neutral, and indistinct. There is nothing here. Tranquil
serenity wraps its silky bonds around me and slides me into a peaceful abyss.
It’s odd, but silence isn’t really quiet; I thought it would be. There’s
actually a steady cadence to silence like the buzzing of a dysfunctional
florescent light. It reminds me of the buzzing of hundreds of little bees, and
it seems to encompass my ear cavities. The resonance of them and the
reverberation is such that I can actually hear my heart pounding in my head and
the blood swooshing through my veins.
Looking down, I find the silence
incomprehensible as there is so much activity going on beneath me: police cars
with their lights flashing; fire trucks and ambulances; men and women in
uniform scurrying about; and traffic backed up as far as the eye can see. There
should be noise, I should be able to hear them, but I don’t. The scene is
prosaic, reticence, and frozen in time, seemingly far removed from myself.
In a nanosecond, my silent, frozen
world is brutally torn away as I gasp loudly and try to jerk upright. In just
that small sliver of time I’m thrust from my world of silent white to the
impossibly loud world of painful reds, yellows, and oranges. Pain is
everywhere. My head is exploding, every nerve ending in my body is screaming,
and try as I might, I can’t pull in enough air. I feel someone persistently
pressing on my chest, making it impossible to breathe. I want to beg them to
stop. There is noise and confusion coming at me from every direction. It’s
loud, so very loud. I long now for the silence of just a few moments ago. My eyes
dart around, looking for someone familiar, someone to hold onto, but find no
one. I want to focus in on one person, but can’t force my eyes to remain
connected for any reasonable space of time. My heart is pounding in my chest,
causing it to hurt further. I hear the indistinct voice of the person above me,
I see his lips move, but can’t make out his words, there’s too much noise, too
I want to
shout at them.
Please help me.
Then a thought, so vague I almost miss its
significance, flitters through my mind. There’s something I should remember,
something important. Something so important, in fact, it’s life-altering… but
what? I struggle through the cobwebbed recesses of my mind and feel panic race
through me, when, suddenly, like cylinders in a lock, it clicks. Struggling to
focus again on the person above me, I whisper, “Pet, my Pet...”
Slowly, very slowly, like the smoke
from an extinguished candle, the colors begin to waver and shimmer, swirling to
change again. I feel what momentary control I had over my mind fade away. The
colors go from painful reds, yellows, and oranges to the more soothing colors
of maroons and grays and then finally blessed black… obscure, ambiguous
The noise levels of the
hospital rise in incremental decibels as the day moves forward in time. The
woman lying in the hospital bed with the lower half of her dark hair splayed
across the pillow could tell the time of day just by those levels. From the
sounds pulsing around her, she now knew it to be close to nine o’clock. This
was the time of day when breakfast had already been served, the trays
retrieved, and visitors passed her door on their way to visit their loved ones.
The time of day when the scent of flowers could, at times,
She longed to swallow,
but found the motion extremely painful since her breathing tube had been
removed. Her body was stiff and she longed to shift and ease her discomfort,
but any movement caused agonizing shafts of pain to shoot through her body. Her
head was bandaged and throbbed with every beat of her heart. Her casted right
leg and left arm synchronized their sharp stabs of pain in conjunction with her
head. She knew if she could just hold on, the nurse would be by any minute now
to administer her pain medication. She longed for the nothingness the
medication provided. She didn’t want to think or be aware. She just wanted to
drift along until her next dose was given.
“Good morning. How are
you feeling this morning?”
The woman in the bed
slowly and carefully turned her bandaged head to face Bonnie, her daytime
nurse. While Bonnie’s disposition was always pleasant and efficient, her
appearance always gave the woman lying in the bed pause. The nurse used a very
heavy hand when applying her royal pink blush and sky-blue eye shadow. Being
that Bonnie had to be close to fifty and at least fifty pounds overweight, the
overall effect made her more suitable for the circus than a hospital.
“Good morning, Bonnie,”
“It was noticed you
didn’t eat much breakfast. You know it’s the most important meal of the day,”
Nurse Bonnie reprimanded.
“I know. I’m sorry. It
hurts to swallow.”
“Well, you’re not going
to begin feeling better if you don’t build up your strength. Promise me you’ll
try to finish your lunch. Okay?”
Licking her dry lips, the
woman murmured her assurance. “I’ll try.”
She would have promised
Nurse Bonnie anything to hasten her morning dose of medication. She let out a
huge sigh of relief as she watched her slide the medication into the IV. She
listened with half an ear to Nurse Bonnie prattling on as she began to count in
her head. She knew once she got to forty-eight, her bones would become
weightless and her eyelids heavy…
forty-six, forty-seven, forty-eight
The silence of the clear,
star-filled night was broken only by the steady lapping of the water as it
slapped gently against the boats, and the steady
of the night-vision camera. Slater Vance adjusted
the long-range lens to capture the couple framed in the small porthole of the
yacht anchored in the furthest slip of the Charleston Bay Harbor Marina. Moving
the camera to the left, Slater clicked a picture of the boat’s name,
. Through the high-powered
lens, he watched as the silver-haired man bent the back of his high-priced
‘date’ over his arm in order to make her breasts more accessible to his mouth.
Even from this distance, Slater could tell the woman’s extremely large
attributes were manmade and not bestowed by Mother Nature.
With a shake of his head,
Slater continued to depress the button on the camera. It never ceased to amaze
him that those who were the most likely to be caught – and had the most to lose
– thought they were the most invincible. The man was a senator, for God’s sake.
Slater smirked at the thought. These types of cases were the bread and butter
Usually, when someone came to him
with a suspicion of this kind, they already knew the answers to their
questions. From this point, it was just a matter of how much money would change
hands in order to stem the tide of negative publicity.
Setting the camera on the
seat next to him, Slater reached into his pants pocket to retrieve his
vibrating phone. Glancing at the display, he smothered a groan.
Great, just great
Apparently, this problem wasn’t going to resolve itself.
a good time, can I call you back?”
After a long pause, Celia
replied, “That’s what you said the last time I called. But you never called
back.” Another long pause ensued before she continued, “Did I do something
With a sigh, he answered,
“Listen, Celia, it’s not…”
“Are you kidding me with
that? Is that the very best you can come up with? You’re damned right it’s you
and not me, you selfish son-of-a-bitch.”
“I never made any
promises to you, Celia. I told you upfront what I was after.”
never met anyone as coldhearted as you. What happened? Did everything good in
your family go to your brother?”
For most people, this
would be the point when tempers would flare, but for Slater Vance – who thrived
on confrontation and had little to no regard for women – all he felt was a mild
irritation. Celia didn’t matter enough to him to warrant any serious emotion.
“You’re getting yourself
all worked up over nothing. I was very clear from the very beginning that I
wasn’t looking for a relationship. It’s not my fault if you didn’t believe me
or thought you could eventually change my mind.”
Slater thumbed the gold
band on his left hand before cringing and rolling his green eyes when he heard
the sob on the other end of the phone.
“Listen, Celia, you’re a
nice girl. Go out there and find some nice boy. But it can’t… and won’t be…
me,” he ended in an emphatic soft tone.
“I hope you rot in hell,
Slater blew out a breath
as the call was disconnected. Well, hopefully that would be the end of that.
Too bad, Celia was seriously hot – a little young and dense – but hot. Putting
the titillating Celia McCloud out of his mind, he reached back over and
reclaimed his camera. He grinned as he watched the senator indulge in the
paid-for dalliance, and thought,
damn bad indeed
Father Tucker Vance
strolled through the hospital, giving a friendly wave and smile to all those he
passed. While others in his profession detested hospital visits, he found them
to be an essential part of what he did and who he was. Those encased within
these walls were suffering and needful.
While some required
strenuous prayer, most just needed a word of kindness to help instill hope and
Tucker Vance had been born to do this profession. He’d known from
an early age what his calling was, and at the age of thirty-seven, it had never
Glancing at his watch, he
found he’d timed his visit perfectly. Quietly, he slipped into Room 307 and
took the seat next to the sleeping dark-haired woman. While the priest didn’t
know exactly how old the woman was, he assumed her to be around thirty. She was
pretty by the world’s standards and had a nice smile. But the Father thought
her spirit was her best quality. Gently, he lifted her cold hand within his
warm ones and closed his eyes in prayer, his rosary beads dangling from between
their clasped hands. Within just a few minutes, he felt the woman’s hand jerk a
little within his as she woke.
Finishing his prayers, he
opened his eyes to find her watching him with a small smile on her lips. He
returned her smile with a huge one of his own.
In her now-familiar raspy
voice, she whispered, “Father.”
“Have you been here
long?” she rasped.
“No, barely long enough
to get my prayers in. I’ll have to start coming earlier,” he grinned.
She returned his grin
without making a reply.
“You’re looking better
With a strained smile
belying her words, she whispered, “I’m feeling better also, Father.”
“Hey, I think we know
each well enough now for you to call me Tuck, don’t you?”
She gave him a quizzical
“Short for Tucker… Tucker
Vance,” he laughed at her confusion.
He saw her lips begin to
“Go ahead,” he said,
rolling his eyes, “everyone either thinks it or says it.”
“Friar Tuck,” she
“Yeah, Friar Tuck. I would
go into a different profession, but I don’t know who’d take this old,
broken-down preacher man.”
She smiled at the
sandy-haired man with the sparkling green eyes. She enjoyed his visits – looked
forward to them, in fact. He made her feel calm. He made her feel as if
everything wrong in her life could somehow be made right. While she didn’t
think she was particularly religious, she’d swear she could see the countenance
glowing around him. This wasn’t only what he did; this was truly what he was.