TITLE: The Watchman
Santa Barbara police officer Claire Hartman had focused her sights on plenty of people, but she’d never once wanted to pull the trigger. Willing? Absolutely. Wanting? Not so much. Jamie Sullivan changed all that— and he wasn’t even within twenty miles of her.
Across the southbound lanes, the ocean shivered in the sinking sun. He waited for her at the police station. Each exit along the Ventura coastline brought her closer to the impending confrontation and she found herself slowing. There was nothing left to say. Too much time had passed.
Anger heated the interior of the unfamiliar detective car and threatened to suffocate her. She ran her hand across the armrest, searching for the window control and cursed that she wasn’t in her patrol car. But she’d spent the afternoon teaching at the academy in Camarillo. The department didn’t like their marked cars going into other jurisdictions. Her fingers finally brushed the right switch. Cold February air seared her nostrils and raised goose bumps on her bare arms.
The message from dispatch replayed in her mind. She’d listened to it four times, each time hoping to hear different words. Jamie Sullivan had stormed back into her life with no notice. Hell, even hurricanes had warnings.
Up ahead, red and blue police lights colored the right shoulder of the freeway. She glanced at her speedometer and tapped the brakes.
She neared the traffic stop and scrutinized the scene, processing the subtle clues that whispered of danger.