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Critical Error 23


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“Shall we get you another cup of coffee?”

“I’d love one.”

“Can I add something stronger?”

“No thanks, I don’t drink very often.”

Re-entering the kitchen, Paul poured two coffees and after Eilea added milk, ushered her into the front room.

“Do you prefer any particular kind of music?”

“Mostly, easy listening although I’m not really a fan of heavy metal.  My ear drums just can’t take it.  I guess I’m getting old.”

Paul laughed at the idea. “You look stunning to me.”

“Why, thank you.”

“I mean it.  You’re a beautiful woman.”

He walked to a cupboard she hadn’t noticed, pushed on a panel opening a door to expose a CD player. “I can play music throughout the house or in this room alone.  It’s convenient if I forget and leave the music playing and I want to retire.  I don’t have to walk out here,” he laughed.

“How about a little jazz?”

“Love jazz,”  Eilea confessed.,

“So how did you come to be a police officer?”

Stifling a yawn, he answered, “My father was a private detective.  I guess I got the bug from him.”

“Sorry about that.  It’s not the company, I assure you.  I was called out on a  case last night and I haven’t had a chance to catch up on my sleep.  “It was pretty rough; involved teenagers, a death and it got complicated.  They tried to hide out in a vacant house on the outskirts of town.  We took our positions and waited them out. Still lagging a bit.”

He sat in a chair beside her, silently observing her.  Her skin with that touchably soft look,  shoulder length auburn hair framing spectacularly expressive and beautiful green eyes that were truly stunning.  He wasintrigued.

She was about five foot eight, slender and curvy.  She had an elegant walk, both tall and proud, displaying a  gentle but firm spirit and was obviously strong and intelligent. If she wasn’t fighting men off with a stick, there was something seriously wrong with the men up north or they needed their heads examined.

Although on the surface she appeared calm, her face registered hints of agitation;  it was the dilated pupils, delightful rosebud lips, slightly compressed, rapid breathing that gave her away.  Few would have noticed.  He did, but then he was trained to observe and see.

“I don’t know how you do it.  Every time I hear something awful like that, I feel sick.  I couldn’t do it.”

“You get used to it after a while.  Hardened I guess.”

“In a way, that’s sad, but a reality of the job you do.”

“I’d say you have your own brand of courage, what with this weirdo you’re dealing with.”

“I wouldn’t say that.  I’m hoping that by not giving him the kind of reaction he desires, he’ll lose interest and stop.  Other than slamming the receiver down in his ear, which I’m surprised hasn’t burst his ear drums by now, I don’t really feel I have much recourse.  That isn’t courage, its survival.” She laughed a little nervously.

“At first, I figured it was a version of that old kid’s prank we pulled when we were younger, you know, the old General Electric Gag!?”

“I remember it, even pulled it a few times myself; it seemed funny at the time.”

“The first few times, I laughed it off, then the envelopes started arriving, it didn’t take long before the novelty wore off, and I screamed and called him all kinds of names.”  She hung her head as if ashamed of her actions.

“Are you still feeling a little edgy about all this?”

“Yes, I am.  I will until he’s caught I guess.”

“Officer Morton narrowed the timeline which was a relief.  The letters were all postmarked in Duncan which means he isn’t in Hardy much during the weekend.”

“Interesting!” he remarked thoughtfully.

“I wouldn’t worry so much if it weren’t that I’m nervous about the situation escalating and involving my kids.”

“I understand your concern for the kids, but you count too!”



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