When Patricia receives Martin’s message, she forgets writing, book tours, boyfriends, townhouses, or her normal life, and heads straight back home. Home? Fifteen years elapsed since she left the country and yet, as soon as she crosses the border, she feels the melancholy she escaped from return. She arrives too late for Martin, though. A freak work accident the newspapers say. What are the odds of him falling to his death the same week he had called her? She long learned things were never simple with her siblings. Now, she has one dead, one missing to research.
As soon as the damn woman slips away, Chris follows with the A-team in tow. Decades in the police, a chief detective position, two townhouses, and a somewhat newly adopted son are not enough to stop him from travelling to some shack lost in the boondocks in search of the love of his life. When she takes a job at a plastic factory of all places, so does he. As if he’ll let her investigate some jerk’s death without him. He doesn’t know who the fuck Martin is, but he won’t allow her to run to the bastard without stepping in her way. Talk to me, Angel.
I’ve never called Christopher an a*****e, but I’m about to now. “What the heck are you doing here?” My teeth are clenched so tight, I barely get the words out, but the a-hole hears me just fine.
“I got a job. Lift truck driver. The fishing is shit in this weather. I’m waiting for rain.”
I turn on my heels. Do I look like a stupide, idiote, imbécile?
“What are you doing?” he asks less than a minute later, as I’m taking out my anger on a silly waterline. The damn purge valve won’t open. I was wrestling with it while I caught Christopher around the corner of my machine. I’m back to wrestling with it, and despite my fury, the damn thing is not intimidated. Neither is the grinning cop next to me. “Want help with that, Pussycat?”
“Hey, l’anglais,” Michel, one of my lovely mechanic colleagues, yells from the front of the press. “They’re looking for you in the storage room.”
The cop-driver-a-hole next to me grins at me before replying unperturbed, “Give me a couple of minutes. Your guy here asked my help with some shit.” Did he just refer to me as a guy? He’s such an ass.
“Keep the attitude, Officer MacLaren,” I whisper from my hiding point behind the machine, “and they’ll fire your ass before the end of the day.” What am I saying? I don’t give a damn if HR dweeb fires Christopher. Quite the opposite.
The ex-cop of my life hunkers down next to me. “Need help with that lever?”
I put all my weight on the blasted thing. It doesn’t rotate by a hair. That sure showed him. “You could have warned me!” I snap. Between the valve and Christopher, I’m not certain I’ll survive the work shift before losing it.
“Warned you how?”
“Oh, I don’t know. You could have left a message or something!” I grumble without looking at him. That cursed valve should have split and cracked open by now the way I’m looking daggers at it.
“Leaving messages is your thing, Angel of mine.”
I jump back as if he had just slapped me. “Do. Not. Call. Me. Angel.” So I’m a little edgy.
His eyes have narrowed into thin slits. “What the fuck’s going on here, Patricia? What are you trying to prove?”
“I’m not trying to prove anything. I just thought…” What? That I could save Martin? Too late for that. Save Cécile? Save myself? “I’m working here, Big guy. Some of us do work for a living, you know.”
“You write. The rest is just for show. Pretending you’re normal.”
“I think by now we both know I’ll never be normal. What’s your excuse, Christopher?”