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Authors: D. D. Ayres

Force of Attraction

BOOK: Force of Attraction
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Table of Contents

About the Author

Copyright Page


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My husband, Chris, who lives with a writer and still maintains I'm a good deal.



Happy to spotlight those who help make this K-9 series work. I couldn't do it nearly as well without you.

My K-9 law enforcement expert for the entire series, Brad Thompson, a true dog man. He's a twenty-nine-year veteran police officer, former senior handler and instructor/trainer of the FWPD K9 Unit, now investigator with the Fort Worth Police Department. The things I got right I owe to him. The things I got wrong are all on me, or a bit of literary license. Great instructor. Nice guy.

Let me add, the Dog Agility competition as a backdrop for puppy drug mules is purely my imagination at work. Terrific people and wonderful animals participate.

Scott Silverii, Chief of Police of Thibodaux, LA. A veteran law enforcement officer of twenty-plus years, he spent sixteen years in SOG's undercover narcotics task force and SWAT. A PhD, Scott wrote
A Darker Shade of Blue
about SOG culture. Our conversations helped me shape the real-life consequences of a law enforcement agent going undercover, and how and why some never come back. Now he's writing fiction, too. Best of luck.

Richard and Kimberly Wilson of “Peace Bouviers” who own Marko, the dog my fictional Hugo is fashioned after. Their friends, Lee and Dave Young, Ron and Cora Wilkinson, Erica and C.J. Westmoreland, Ana Rodriquez and family, who invited me to a Bouvier Day in the Park. Erica, your photography rocks.

My editor Rose Hilliard. She sees no obstacles, only opportunities to make it better.

My daughter Theresa, who helps me plot when I'm stuck and reads for me.

My daughter-in-law Kimberly, who designed my website.

As always, my agent Denise Marcil. You're the best!




Scott Lucca fumbled in his pocket, looking for change for the pay phone as the twang of a guitar solo wailed through the hazy bar. He was a little buzzed. When liquor got between his head and his heart, he made stupid decisions. That's why he didn't drink to excess anymore. But this was a special occasion. At least he had the presence of mind not to use his cell phone.

He thrust the coins into the pay phone slot and stabbed her number into the keypad.

One ring.
Two. Three.
It was not quite four
, East Coast time. Was she out? Out with someone else?

“Yes?” It was her. One syllable, and he was cradling the phone a little tighter.

A foolish smile tugged his mouth. “Hey. I was just … thinking.” He hadn't thought past the need to hear her voice.

“Who is this?”

He leaned his head against the wall. Who was he? Good question. “I—sorry. Wrong number.”


He halted the receiver halfway to its cradle. Two years since they last spoke, and she still remembered the sound of his voice. That had to count for something. But he had nothing else to offer her.

Gritting his teeth, he completed the hang-up.

“Hey there, handsome. You wanna dance with me?”

He turned toward the voice. A young woman in a cowboy hat and not much else stood beside him with a sly smile.

He smiled back but shook his head. “You deserve better than what's on my mind.”

“Depends on what that is.”

He gave her a slow grin. “My wife.”

Her mouth twisted down. “Your loss.”

“No doubt about it. You have a good evening.”

Scott made his way back to his table without further incident. He was a long way from home, on his way back from drug interdiction training in west Texas. Instead of hightailing it back to D.C., he'd decided to take the scenic route, trading the expediency of interstates for country roads that led through one declining weed-choked Southern town after another. For the most part the drive was boring, and that was the purpose. He needed to think. About his life. Past. Future. Hell, everything!

A thousand miles later, he'd come to no conclusions other than that thinking was overrated.

On the other hand, he still understood physical needs. It was late. He was hungry. That's when he'd passed this roadside inn with a flashing neon sign, promising beer and music. They probably also sold food.

A quick scan of the customers had revealed they were locals, a few still dressed in their uniforms from the chicken plucking plant he'd passed driving in. The air was pungent, thick with the natural humidity of a Southern July night and the heat of bodies packed close together.

He had meant only to stop for a burger. But halfway through his meal, a man with a guitar had stepped up to the lone mike at one end of the room to offer up his version of Al Greene's “Love and Happiness.” It was the song they'd chosen for the first dance at their wedding reception.

He'd heard it probably a hundred times since but it never clutched and clawed at him like this rendition. That's when he remembered. Today should have been their fourth anniversary.

It had been a dumb move but he couldn't help himself. He closed his eyes to let his mind drift back to a time when the mere sight of Nicole Jamieson made his skin catch fire and his dick so hard he had to pause in his stride.

After a few seconds he could almost feel his bride in his arms again. He saw in his mind's eye her lopsided smile of happiness that trembled with the audacity of what they'd just done. Above it all was that look of trust in her wide green gaze.

Her eyes on him. That's all it took. He'd known from that first glance. She did, too. The force of attraction was undeniable. Insoluble. Magnetic. Meant to be.

Maybe that was because she'd kissed him before they had even exchanged a word. In answer to that kiss, he'd dragged her out on the dance floor and hauled her in against him to do a slow grind that left the other patrons of the D.C. law enforcement hangout feeling like maybe they should go home and give the couple some privacy.

Their sixty-day courtship contained every idiotic love cliché in overdrive.

When it went to hell, the explosion had left craters in more lives than their own.

A hailstorm of darker memories had struck him so hard Scott had had to open his eyes to keep from drifting away to the ugly place that he had fought too long and too hard to come back from.

When the song was over, he'd bought a beer, to celebrate his return to the human condition. And then another. Suddenly, making that phone call hadn't seemed like the sorry-ass loser idea it was.

Why the hell did I just let her go?

Scott stared at his empty plate as if it were a Ouija board. Two years later he still didn't have the answer. What he did know was that he didn't deserve Nikki. No surprise there. From that very first night, in the back of his mind, he had known it was just a matter of time before she realized that, too. He had never been able to live up to anyone's expectations, not his family's nor even his own. He simply wished on everything holy that Nikki had discovered that truth about him another way. She deserved so much better than the way it went down.

Scott winced. Nikki not only left him, she had left the D.C. police force. That was a real shock. She was good, had great instincts, and a way with the public he'd never had. She'd have quickly climbed the ranks, if she hadn't wrecked her career by running from him.

So when he'd learned, purely by accident a few months ago, that she had become a Montgomery County, Maryland, police K-9 officer, he'd done a little digging until he came up with an address and phone number for her. He'd told himself he'd never use either. He just needed to know where she was. Just that. Until he could make amends.

Now he'd gone and stirred up a hornet's nest by calling her.


That's all it took, the sound of his name in her voice. The longing had flooded back, nearly bending him double with regret and desire. Things he could—should—do nothing about. Not that that was going to stop him. He owed her. Some things he couldn't change. Other things he was going to try to make up for.

He reached for the fresh beer the bar girl set before him and tried to empty it in a single swallow. It was like swallowing glass. He'd made that call to prove something. He'd learned something else. Something that presented a real danger to his plans.

He was still in love with her.

*   *   *

An hour later, as he crossed the parking lot with the intention of sleeping off the beer in his truck, Scott felt the sudden tingle of approaching danger without even a visual cue.

It came as the distinctive sound of approaching Harleys, identified before seeing the bikes. The pipes were ugly. Loud and percussive, they announced riders whose most gentle thought about the general populace was that they would all go deaf. These were one-percenters.

From one second to the next, Scott went from slightly buzzed to stone-cold sober. Because he knew his life might depend on it.

As a pair of bikers came roaring up the two-lane blacktop out of the darkness, Scott did a quick mental survey of his situation. A pancake holster holding a SIG P239 fit snug in the small of his back. A .38 was strapped above an ankle. A sheathed Ka-Bar strapped to the other. Enough, maybe.

This wasn't his first encounter with bikers on this trip. That's why he was armed with more than a handgun. A cop knew there was always the chance that some criminal out there somewhere would recognize him, and maybe held a grudge. Paranoia was a good state of mind for a cop. It was crucial for a former undercover narc. Tonight he was dressed as a civilian and would act as one, unless provoked to do otherwise.

He didn't make direct eye contact as they rolled to a stop, blocking his way just for the hell of it, but his adrenaline kicked up a notch. Always before they had kept their distance. His peripheral vision gave him the general outline of biker gear, complete with insignias of a gang he knew all too well from his bad old days.

BOOK: Force of Attraction
9.7Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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