Don’t Tell

Stepping into her childhood home was like stepping into another world. She stopped in the living room and shrugged off her coat. Closing her eyes for a moment, she breathed deep, savoring the aroma of fresh baked bread with butter and potato soup, the warmth of the cracking fire, and the overwhelming sense of peace.

That was the best part of coming home – for just a little while, she could put some distance between herself and the real world. She could forget the grieving families, the crimes that seemed more animal than human, the morbid details of her day. It was a brutal job, spending hour after hour studying the worst mankind had to offer. But deep down, she knew she could never do anything else. It was in her blood.

She slipped off her shoulder holster and hung it beside her coat – a normal routine in a family of cops. The door swung open and her dad stepped inside, cheeks red from the cold. The lines in his face seemed deeper than they had this morning. He flashed a tight smile, but it faded quickly.

“Rough day?” She kept her voice low.

He tossed his coat over a chair. “Yeah. Yours?”

She nodded. It was more than just a rough day. She was weary to the bone. “Does it ever get easier?”

He hesitated. “Not really. But some days are easier than others.”

“This definitely wasn’t an easy one.” She sighed.

“Just remember, no matter how bad it was, whatever you do -”

“Don’t tell Mom.” She finished the sentence in a whisper. He smiled – a real smile this time – at their inside joke. Years ago, her mom was nearly hysterical when Savannah decided to follow in her dad’s footsteps as a Nashville homicide detective. Her dad later told her that it would all work out if she followed one rule – no matter how bad things get, don’t tell Mom.

Such a small gesture, but it was enough to know he understood.




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My hands shook as I quietly slipped into the back of the van. The team sat frozen, eyes glued to their screens. No one spoke. I wasn’t sure if their headphones drowned out the noise or if they just didn’t care that I was back. I got the feeling none of them were thrilled to be here. With the fighting and territorial arguments Evan always talked about, I was amazed that this group was able to coalesce into a team, but so far, they were playing nice together.

The door creaked softly as Evan followed me in. I leaned closer to the nearest screen. I couldn’t look at him, not yet. He could read me too well. I didn’t want him to know how shaken up I really felt.

“Do you think he knows you were wired?” His voice was right beside me.

“If he knew I was wired, I’d be dead.” My eyes stayed locked on the screen, studying the GPS map and the little blue arrow moving through it. “He bought it. How’d you get the GPS on his car?”

“We didn’t – Keith hacked the one that’s built in.”

I nodded as if hacking a GPS and tracking a criminal were just normal parts of my life. This whole thing was insane. There were so many reasons I could have been killed tonight. If they had found the wire, if they had caught me spying on them through the crack in the wall when I stepped out of the meeting, if they had seen the surveillance van…there were too many ifs.

Evan put his hand on my shoulder. “Casey?” I reluctantly turned to meet his gaze. That look, those deep brown eyes full of concern – I almost came unglued. “Are you okay?”

I tried to tell him sure, I’m fine, I always risk my life by walking into meetings with murderous crime bosses. But my sarcasm couldn’t cut through the fear settling over me. I nodded. “Sure,” I whispered.




This place gave her the creeps. She shivered as she walked up the stone steps, slick with moisture, and pulled her jacket tighter against the cold mist. It felt so lonely and empty here, like something out of a horror movie. No wonder they chose this for their meeting place.

She studied the shadows as she walked, fighting the urge to reach for her gun. It wouldn’t do any good. It wasn’t there. She was walking into this meeting with nothing – no gun, no wire, no phone. She was completely at their mercy. Alone. Abandoned. She shivered again, but this time it had nothing to do with the frigid air.

There was no other choice. If she didn’t finish this now, years of work would slip away, and the whole group would walk free. Two people had already died during the robberies – how many more would be killed if these men weren’t stopped? She was thankful this case was almost over. Tonight would be the last night of this charade she’d been living. It would all end with their arrests tomorrow. She just hoped it would end with her still breathing.

She reached the door, closing her eyes for a moment and praying for her survival. She raised her hand to knock, but froze at the sound of voices. She strained to hear.

“You’re going to regret it. Bringing her into this was a mistake.”

Watts. That was surprising. He was usually the obedient follower, never questioning Todd’s decisions. What brought this on?

“Then she’s my favorite mistake.”

Todd. Her heart dropped. He was the one she feared most. The way he looked at her turned her stomach. She didn’t have proof, but she suspected he was the one to pull the trigger in both of the group’s murders.

“Something’s not right about this job, Todd. Something bad is gonna happen.”

Todd laughed. “You’re too superstitious. Relax, it’s fine.”

She hesitated a few more seconds, then knocked, focusing on slowing her breathing and slipping deeper into character as she waited. The opening door brought her face to face with a .45 Glock. She didn’t blink. “Expecting someone else?”

Todd smirked, holstering the gun. “Does anything rattle you?”

She hoped he didn’t see her pounding heart or her trembling hands. “In my line of work, it takes a lot more than that.” She stood still as they searched her, trying to keep her mind off what was happening. “Satisfied?” She met Todd’s stare, hoping he didn’t see past her act.

“Ladies first.” He pulled a flashlight from his pocket and used it to point down the dark hallway. “I have a little surprise for you before we start. I think you’ll like it.”

Dread crept into her mind as she started slowly walking. She tried to push it aside. He stepped around her, pushing a door open. Her breath caught in her throat. The third member of Todd’s team lay facedown on the floor. “Congratulations – you’ve been promoted.”



Exciting News!

I got some exciting news last week! A few weeks ago, Steven James, one of my favorite authors, held a flash fiction contest via Facebook and Twitter. The top ten would be published in Splickety magazine, a flash fiction magazine, and the winner would also receive an autographed copy of his newest book.

I was amazed and excited when I was this last week:


It’s very exciting! It may be only 130 characters, but I won a fiction contest, and something I wrote will be published. It gives me a little more courage to chase my dreams…

Too Late?

She lost herself in the dancing flicker of the candlelight, her mind reaching back to a time when everything was right in her life. A smile slowly curved her lips. “Remember the bonfire at Blake’s house?” It was a tradition started by a classmate’s family – a bonfire the night before homecoming, part of a huge party for the entire community. Her smile faded as memories of the bonfire led to memories of the next night.

“Everything changed after that, didn’t it?” He seemed as mesmerized by the fire as she was. “I wish…if I could go back…” He shook his head. He didn’t need to continue. Neither of them needed words to share the guilt of that terrible night – the crash, the flames, the fear, the things that could never be undone.

“Standing there, that night by the fire, with you…that was the last time I really felt safe.” She pulled the worn quilt closer around her shoulders.

“You’re still safe. I’m not going to let anyone hurt you.”

“What are you going to do? There are people out there with guns and who knows what else, and they’re coming for us.” She shook her head. “They already have Faith. It’s just a matter of time until they catch up to us too.”

“We’ll keep running.” He edged closer to the small bit of warmth the candles provided. “We’ll find our way back. We’re just a few hours hike from a town – we can make it.

“That’s what we thought that night…that we could make it. That didn’t turn out so well, did it?”

They sat in silence for a long time. He struggled with questions he wasn’t sure he should ask, questions he’d kept inside so long. Finally, he broke the silence. “Do you ever think about us, wonder if maybe…if we had the chance, if we could try again?” He watched her, desperately hoping to see the same feelings struggling across her face.

“Whatever we had died the night of the accident.” She shook her head.

“Then why are you still wearing the ring?”

She knew exactly what he was talking about, but she couldn’t answer. She reached for the ring, hanging from a slender chain around her neck, fingering it as she had so many times through the years. She knew the answer, but she couldn’t bring herself to say it. “We were kids,” she whispered, her voice choked with emotion. But she wanted to cry out, to tell him that she’d waited all through college, thinking every day that he would call or visit or do something, anything, to let her know they could still be together. Instead, he had stayed silent, and she had given up, lost in a sea of guilt and pain. A hot tear slipped down her cheek.

“I’m so sorry, for everything,” he whispered. “Maybe it’s not too late. Maybe we can still have a second chance.”

One Strange Google Search…

You might do a double-take if you saw my last Google search – but if you come back tomorrow and read my post for Write On Edge, it will all make sense.  What was it?  “How do you pick a handcuff lock with a hair pin?”

First off, let’s just say it’s amazing what you can learn from YouTube.  I was surprised to learn this trick isn’t limited to Hollywood…apparently it’s pretty easy to spring a set of handcuff locks with a hair pin.  Who knew?  Now it’s got my curiosity up – I want to try it for myself.  I don’t think my son’s toy handcuffs with the easy release switch would be much of a challenge, though.  Second, I was amazed at how many people are teaching this online.  I’m not the only curious one.

Thankfully, I have a laptop, so one’s going to see that search result pop up on a family computer.  They might start wondering what crime I’d  committed…or thinking that I need to be committed.  Trust me, this isn’t the only strange search I’ve done since I started writing, it’s just the most recent.  This follows “how long does it take a body to decompose” and “how long does DNA evidence last when exposed to the elements.”  Add to that my obsession with the ID Channel and the police procedural book on my Kindle, and it’s the setup for one of two careers: mystery author or serial killer.

Hmmm…I wonder what other spy movie tricks are actually doable?  I may have to go back to Google…


Something was very wrong.  A chill crept over me as I stood, staring at the strange way the light refracted through the glass…the broken glass of a locked door, in the building where I stood alone.  Or did I?  My heart started pounding as I realized that the break in had occurred recently, within the two hours or so since I had last stood here – which meant those responsible might still be inside.

Adrenaline was suddenly racing through my veins.  The first thought running through my head: call my husband, who was next door, and pray my phone could get in a signal in the huge metal building – at least if someone hit me over the head, he would know I was there.  My second thought – get out.  The only problem was that every door required a key to unlock it from the inside, a key I didn’t have.  There were only two ways out for me, and both were on the other side of the building.  I made a mad dash for the one I had come in through, fear pulsing through my body.

It was a terrifying experience, especially as I raced back out the way I’d come, now seeing the evidence of a break in that I had overlooked – the overturned boxes, the open doors that should have been closed, the lights turned on.  My husband was already in the parking lot, running to meet me as he called 911.  We were both shaken.

The police came quickly, and caught the would-be burglar, empty-handed and still on the property.  He was arrested – so high the police said he’d probably never even remember the events of that afternoon.  The police later found out that I was the one who scared him off – he was in the building as I entered, but ran when he heard me, hiding on the property until his arrest.

He may not remember, but I will never forget.  I’m really good at playing “what if” – a talent that comes in pretty handy when you want to write mysteries, but no so great when you face a terrifying experience.  I’ve played the game a thousand times since that day, thinking through all the nightmares that could have come true.  Even though it happened more than five years ago, I still remember every time I go into that building.

That single event, spanning just a few minutes on an otherwise normal day, changed me.  I’m much more cautious now and aware of my surroundings at all times.  I have a concealed handgun license and routinely carry my gun (a Sig Sauer, in case you’re wondering).  I’m never without my cell phone.  I even went through our entire house once, gun up and ready – yes, just like they do on TV – when I came home from work to find an empty house and the back door standing open.  (Thankfully, that time my kids had just forgotten to check the back door before they left…no burglar.)  And every time I think of it – even after five years – it still gives me chills.