To Bedevil A Beauty (Southern Sanctuary - Book 5)

BOOK: To Bedevil A Beauty (Southern Sanctuary - Book 5)
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To Bedevil A
Beauty

 

 

 

Southern Sanctuary
– Book Five

 

 

Jane Cousins

 

 

 

 

Copyright©2014. 
All rights reserved by the author.  Do not copy or re-distribute.

 

This
is a work of fiction. 

 

Front
cover design; Fiona Jayde

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With
love to my Beryl.
 
May everyone be
blessed with such an inspirational grandmother; who is always there for them,
always interested and loves you unreservedly.
 
Where ever you are now Nana (hopefully front row centre at the big bingo
hall in the sky) I’m sure you are completely chuffed that I’ve named my heroine
in your honour. It’s the least I could do.

 

 
 

Prologue

 

Ramsey
Hughes scowled across the dimly lit room at his police department appointed
therapist. This was his twenty-second visit to the head shrink, and if he
hadn’t been
certifiable
prior to
commencing treatment, he was pretty sure he was ticking all the right boxes
now.

Who
wouldn’t be strait-jacket material following six months with nothing to do but
stare at four blank apartment walls and attend the shrink’s office every second
Tuesday?  Waiting, with ever growing impatience, to be cleared to return
to active duty.

What
were his superiors thinking?  So what if he’d been undercover for two
years. Big fricking deal, it was what he’d trained for.  Okay, so he’d
been living and breathing the role of a leg breaking thug for a syndicate of
lower than low scumbags running drugs, women and illegal gambling dens. 
It had been exhausting - yes, but thanks to him, every one of those fuckers was
now doing hard time behind bars.

You
would think he’d be a hero.  You’d think the powers-that-be would want to
put one of their best undercover agents back to work ASAFP. 

Lord
knows, there were plenty more assholes out there believing they were above the
law and perfectly happy to rain down misery on those around them to make a
quick buck selling drugs, pimping women, stealing, extortion, fraud… the list
was endless.  He knew better than anyone, he’d lived in that world for the
last two years, not to mention the five years prior to that.
 
Three of them spent undercover with a
motorcycle gang and two years working on the Perth docks, tracking and
eventually cracking an international trafficking ring involving teenage girls.

He
wasn’t stupid or naïve enough to think that when he finished up in Sydney and
returned to Melbourne he’d swan right into another undercover gig.
 
There was paperwork still to complete on the
last job and even if another assignment was waiting in the wings, he knew from
experience that a top notch new identity took time to establish, even for the
wonder-kids in the police tech department.
  
He’d been working on the assumption that he was in for two weeks of desk
duty, three at the outside.  What he hadn’t been expecting, was for his
superiors to despatch him to a head shrink for
evaluation

The
fall-out from that first fifty minute session of pure unadulterated hell had
resulted in his new carefree life of indefinite leave, with pay.
 
Under strict instructions to get a life and
keep seeing the shrink until he was deemed fit to return to duty. 

Get
a life?  The fact that he’d never had much of one was of the reasons
they’d chosen him for undercover work in the first place.
 
No family, no ties, only a few friends, who
hadn’t been all that concerned when he’d dropped off the map.  

The
other big reason they’d assigned him undercover work was the fact that he
looked like the complete antithesis of a cop.  No one looking at him would
think
cop
in a million years.  At
6.4ft he hulked over everyone around him.  But there was more to him than
just his sheer size, there was the speed and stealth in which he moved his
broad muscular frame.  Ramsey had been told too many times to count that
no one as big as him should be able to move so lightly on their feet. 
Though few would admit publically, it wasn’t just Ramsey’s hulking frame that
triggered their innate flight or fight response, what disturbed them the most
was the state of absolute stillness he could obtain. Sinking into the shadows.
Making you forget he was even in the room, until he moved, then wham, he scared
the living bejesus out of you.

For
all his adult life Ramsey had been very aware of his impact upon those around
him.
 
How men instinctively flinched and
backed away from him and how women held their breath in fear as he passed
by.  Reacting not just to his size but to his penetrating dark grey eyes
and many would say ‘cruel’ face, with his blunt jaw and slightly crooked
nose. 

Most
people looking at him noticed the eyes first, and then would quickly transfer
their attention to the two white long parallel scars that travelled down the
left side of his jawline and throat, where it looked as if someone had
attempted and failed to behead him… twice. 

It
probably didn’t help matters that his shaggy mane of uncontrollable brown hair
fell into his eyes and scraped the top of his collar.  He was tempted to
shave it all off, but he knew that without hair he looked even more psycho
killer murderer on the loose, men and women actually physically cowering in
fear when he entered a room.  Great for when you’re undercover, acting as
a leg breaker.  Not so great when you’re trying to prove to some head
shrink that you are sane and normal. 

Worse,
Ramsey knew that even when he was relaxed and fairly happy with the world, for
some reason it didn’t translate to his face.  He’d overheard more than one
whispered comment that he looked like any moment he was going to hulk out and
go for someone’s throat.  Even when he was smiling and laughing, those
around him tended to inhale sharply and take a deep collective watchful breath,
except for little kids.  Little kids adored him. If there was a toddler
running around wild, they were generally headed in his direction, much to the
consternation of their - in chase mode, oft times screaming - parents.

Maybe
he should reconsider doing something about his hair, like letting a
professional clean up his hack and chop job for one thing.
 
Probably a pointless exercise, nothing else
he’d done since his return to Melbourne seemed to convince the doctor that he
was a normal, fun loving guy, who just wanted the all clear so he could get
back to his job of impersonating the scum of the earth.

But
whatever he was selling, shrink dude was definitely not buying. Not the crappy
two bedroom apartment he’d taken a lease out on.  Not the fact that he
shaved every day, despite the damn scars that made everyone stare his
way.  Not the fact that he arrived promptly for every one of the twenty-two
head shrink sessions thus far. 

Perhaps
the problem lay with his clothes.
 
With
his massive frame it was hard to find suits within his budget to fit, and let’s
face it, he really wasn’t a suit kind of guy. Give him jeans, a t-shirt and
motorcycle boots any day of the week.  So it might be the clothes the
shrink was having an issue with, but frick, he’d like to see the Head Doc find
comfortable shoes if he had feet the size Ramsey did.

Nah,
it would be nice to think that a wardrobe makeover was all it would take to set
him free of this regularly scheduled slice of hell but Ramsey was getting the
distinct feeling that communication was the shrink’s main gripe when it came to
him… or for that matter, his lack of it. 

Ramsey
had always had a hard time communicating with others, mainly because no one
ever expected anything witty or intelligent to come out of the mouth of a guy
who looked like he would be perfectly cast in every after-school movie as thug
number one. 

Besides,
in his chosen career, silence, was effectively golden.  When he was
working undercover, his scum bag bosses wanted silent, threatening,
yes-men.  They didn’t want to engage in a discussion on string theory or
listen to his opinion that Eddie Izzard’s Deathstar canteen skit was the funniest
thing… ever.   Ramsey had learnt very early on in his career to
keep his mouth shut, watch and observe. That didn’t mean he didn’t have
opinions or a dry sense of humour, he just wasn’t used to vocalising any of
those thoughts.  And when he did make the effort… well, it generally ended
badly. 

Case
in point, his first session with the shrink.  His opening joke about the
far reaching effect on the Gregorian calendar, if the medical community’s
insistence that an hour was actually made up of fifty minutes grew to be a
widespread belief, had fallen - ding-dong, the witch is dead - flat.  In
fact, the shrink had actually flinched away, as if he believed Ramsey was about
to go on a rampage because he wasn’t getting his money’s worth for the session.

Which
bought him to session twenty-two. Sitting frozen on the sofa, trying to look as
non-threatening as possible, keeping his voice soft and low as he answered in
short sentences every question the shrink asked.  No sudden moves, no
going off script and trying to develop a rapport with a guy who - for all his
training - had a blind spot when it came to associating size and width with
intelligence and control. 

Head
down, play the game and he knew he’d make it out the other side.
 
He always had in the past.

Except
this session, it was the shrink who’d gone off script.
 
Inviting a colleague to sit in on their
session.  She was one of those cool, calm, elegant older ladies. Late 60’s
probably, fit and stylish in a peach coloured dress and complimentary cream
scarf tied around her throat.  She had sleek grey hair, flipped up at the
edges, a confident friendly smile and warm brown eyes that caught the light
strangely, making it look as if little gold sparks were flaring occasionally in
their depths. 

Ramsey
fought to clear the scowl from his face, remember non-threatening. How had the
woman introduced herself?  Alma… that’s right… Alma Richart, but not
Doctor Alma Richart.
 
Maybe she was one
of those progressive ones, who didn’t like to shove their titles down a
patient’s throat.  Hmm, she was a new and interesting variable, but as
yet, besides introducing herself, she’d said nothing, letting El Hefe shrink do
all the talking. 

The
only reaction Alma had made so far was to laugh, when he’d relayed that he’d
been unable to follow through on the doctor’s suggestion that he join a pottery
class because when he’d turned up at the local community centre they’d
automatically directed him to the self-defence class.
 
When he’d returned to reception to rectify
the mistake it was to find the person manning the desk had locked all the doors
and turned out all the lights.  Alma had laughed in further merriment when
he shared that he guessed the person manning the door must have presumed he was
there volunteering as the attack dummy.  El Hefe shrink hadn’t even
cracked a smile, just scowled and made a quick decisive note on his clipboard
instead. 

For
fuck sake Ramsey, he reprimanded himself.
 
Quit it with the wise cracks.
 
Remember, short answers, and keep hand gestures to a minimum.
 
El Hefe shrink was a flincher and he was
going to give himself whip lash if he kept reacting every time Ramsey so much
as made a move to scratch his nose. 

The
rest of the session had crawled onwards in the usual sombre fashion,
replicating the previous twenty-one sessions.  When his ‘hour’ was up,
Ramsey had gratefully gotten to his feet, tamping down on the urge to roll his
eyes as his shrink cowered for a split second.  His colleague Alma, didn’t
appear to be intimidated by his size or the quickness of his movements,
standing up also, she offered him a genuine warm smile and a handshake. 

He
never did learn exactly why she’d been present for his session and being the
curious type he couldn’t help but use the heel of his boot to ever so
discreetly slow the progress of the door closing behind him. 

“As
you just witnessed, Detective Hughes has a long recovery road in front of him
before I can clear him to go back to work undercover.  Don’t you agree Mrs
Richart?”

“No,
I’d say the exact opposite actually.  Now that I’ve met him, I’d say that
Detective Hughes is absolutely perfect for my needs.”

“I
really think you should reconsider-”

The
rest of El Hefe shrink’s words were cut off as the door came to a complete
close.  Damn, he knew the shrink had it in for him… long road to recovery
his ass. Recovery from what?  And what did Alma Richart mean when she said
he was perfect for her needs?  Distracted he hauled out his vibrating
mobile phone and answered the blocked call.

“Hughes.”

“Hughes,
Randall Browning here.”

Why
did that name sound familiar?  Someone he’d worked with?  Someone he
knew?  “I’m sorry, who?”

“Randall
Browning… Police Commissioner.”

Gulp,
he knew the name was familiar, but Browning was like his boss’s, boss’s, boss’s
boss.  He realised he’d yet to make any response, pull yourself together
man, this could be about a job.  “Sir, do you have some undercover work
for me?”

“Not
exactly.  Have you heard of the Southern Sanctuary?”

BOOK: To Bedevil A Beauty (Southern Sanctuary - Book 5)
13.98Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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