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Fire And Snow
Carlisle Cops #4
Whenever I sit down to write a story I almost always start with the characters. And the character of JD in Fire and Snow was inspired by my good friend Poppy Dennison. Poppy is a good southern girl, and we had been talking on the phone quite a bit because of her recent release of Dogwood Days, and she was telling me about southern boys and the way things were for her. She had me fascinated, so I created Jefferson David, JD. He’s a transplant from the south and I think he’s one of my favorite characters.JD had disappointed his family just by being honest about who he was. Well, there’s a little more to it than that, but I don’t want to give any of the good stuff away. What JD id bring with him when he moved to Carlisle is his big heart and his need to help others. When he helped Fisher, he didn’t expect to find someone special or to open himself to Fisher’s issues. But then his family has plenty of issues of their own and he’s used to them. So when push comes to shove, it’s his heart that tends to guide him and that could lead to a gift he never expected.
Fisher Moreland has been cast out of his family because they can no longer deal with his issues. Fisher is bipolar and living day to day, trying to manage his condition, but he hasn’t always had much control over his life and self-medicated with whatever he could find.
JD Burnside has been cut off from his family because of a scandal back home. He moved to Carlisle, but brought his Southern charm and warmth along with him. When he sees Fisher on a park bench on a winter’s night, he invites Fisher and his friends for a late-night meal.
At first Fisher doesn't know what to make of JD, but he slowly comes out of his shell. And when Fisher’s job is threatened because of a fire, JD’s support and care is more than Fisher ever thought he could expect. But when people from Fisher’s past turn up in town at the center of a resurgent drug epidemic, Fisher knows they could very well sabotage his budding relationship with JD.
Fisher knew it was probably best if he walked back home. It was only going to get colder, but he wanted to sit a little while longer. He knew he was being dumb, but this was the place where he’d met JD, and he was hoping JD might want to talk again or something. He didn’t have his number. He knew he was a police officer, but that was all. They’d met here in the square, so he wanted to see if JD would walk by again.
Another police car passed the square. This one slowed, made the turn at the square, and then the turn behind the square toward the Gingerbread Man bar. Fisher followed it with his eyes, and when the car pulled to a stop, he waited to see if the officer got out. Of course, when he did it wasn’t JD, but Fisher did recognize Red. He figured this was his chance. So he got up and wandered over.
“Fisher?” Red asked as he approached.
“Hi, Red.” He flashed a smile.
“We got a report of someone soliciting. Have you seen anything?” Red asked.
“A guy came through, black kid, asked if I wanted something to make me happy. When I said I didn’t, he moved on.” Fisher spoke softly. “He was missing a front tooth but looked all right otherwise.” Fisher took a step back at Red’s stormy look. “I don’t do none of that anymore,” spilled out of his mouth before he could stop it. “Not that I did a lot, but I was pretty messed up. I told him no, and he walked over toward the side street beside the church.”
“He isn’t going to find any business there,” Red said, then made a call in a police code of some sort. Just as he did, the guy raced out of the alley, tails of his coat flying, with JD on his heels. JD ran like the wind, strides long and fluid. Fisher couldn’t take his eyes off him even as Red got back in the car and drove away, sirens blaring. The noise bounced off the facades of the buildings, echoing from all directions and overlapping until it felt like a drill in Fisher’s head, but he didn’t look away until JD tackled the man to the ground. That was the last he saw because Red’s car pulled up, blocking the view.
Fisher waited and watched the activity in the surrounding area, wondering if he could go over under the guise of seeing what was going on and maybe catch JD’s eye, but he was working, and Fisher wasn’t really interested in the drug dealer seeing him speaking with the police. No use asking for trouble. So he went back to his bench and sat down, the cold instantly seeping through his clothes. Maybe it would be best if he went home, he thought again. He could be alone in his own apartment just as well as he could here, and it was warmer too.
But Fisher stayed where he was anyway and watched the officers as they loaded the man into the back of the police car, which Red drove away. Fisher expected JD to go as well, but he saw him still standing on the sidewalk. JD looked from side to side, then crossed the street at a jog.
“Hi, Fisher,” JD said as he approached.
“Officer,” Fisher said formally, wondering what kind of stop this was. He liked JD; he was a nice guy. But he still wasn’t sure what the deal was, and he’d already learned the hard way that hope could be a dangerous thing.
“What are you doing out here?” JD asked gently. “It’s too cold to be sitting on a bench. You’ll get sick, and then where will you be?”
“I needed to get out of the house.” It sounded lame even to his ears, but he wasn’t going to say he’d been sitting out there hoping to see JD. “I saw you running after that guy. You’re fast.” JD began walking toward the street, and as if JD had a string tied to him, Fisher followed right along. “Isn’t it too cold for you to be out too? Don’t they give you a car or something?”
“Yeah, they do, but I had to catch the suspect, and Red said you could identify him. Said he tried to sell to you.”
Fisher shook his head. “He approached me, but in that way they have that can be denied. Nothing solid, just the usual wink and nudge.”
JD nodded. “He had stuff on him, so we got him for possession.”
“There’s been a lot of activity recently,” Fisher said. He sat on his bench often enough and knew what to look for, so he saw plenty of guys approaching folks, leading them away to make deals, stuff like that. “How late do you work?”
“Late,” JD said, and Fisher nodded, lowering his gaze as they headed along the sidewalk. It took him about two minutes to realize that JD was walking him home.
“You know, I’ll be okay on my own. I’m not anyone that these guys are going to bother with.” He shoved his hands deep into his pockets and positioned them against his body for warmth.
“Why do you say that like that?” JD asked.
Fisher stopped and shrugged. “It’s just the way it is. I’m one of those guys who sits on a bench in the square because he has nothing better to do. People walk by all day. We watch them sometimes, but they don’t see us. Not really. We’re like part of the bench itself. It’s like that to the druggies too. I’m surprised that guy you took down stopped by me today. I’ve seen him before, with his expensive leather coat and gap-toothed grin. He strides through the square like he owns it and never sees anyone. I’m sure you’ve done it too.” Fisher hazarded a glance at JD. “Not that you’ve done anything wrong. It’s not like I’m the most memorable person.”
“I saw you yesterday, twice. So I don’t think I fall into that category.” JD sounded miffed.
“Okay.” He didn’t want to argue, but Fisher knew he was right. He was forgettable and easy to write off and put away. Don’t look at Fisher and he’ll just go away. And that’s what had happened with his family and the people who had once been in his life. They’d stopped looking, and he’d in effect gone away.
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About the author:
Andrew grew up in western Michigan with a father who loved to tell stories and a mother who loved to read them. Since then he has lived throughout the country and traveled throughout the world. He has a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and works in information systems for a large corporation.
Andrew’s hobbies include collecting antiques, gardening, and leaving his dirty dishes anywhere but in the sink (particularly when writing) He considers himself blessed with an accepting family, fantastic friends, and the world’s most supportive and loving partner. Andrew currently lives in beautiful, historic Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
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