Home > Chalk Dirty to Me (Mad CrossFit #3)

Chalk Dirty to Me (Mad CrossFit #3)
Author: Lani Lynn Vale

 


Blurb


Two years ago, Cannel Crow experienced the worst day of her life. She was taken from a supermarket, and forced to spend a year with a man that treated her worse than a neglected, chained up dog.

One year later, she’s saved by a shadow organization that believes the law is a joke, and the only person you can count on is you.

After another year, she finally realizes the law’s limitation firsthand when the man that bought her from human traffickers, and then forced her to comply to his every whim for a year, is given a plea bargain for names of others in the operation.

Knowing that her abuser will spend the rest of his life in the lap of luxury under an assumed name, Cannel spirals.

At least, she begins to.

Then Wilhelm Schultz, call me Will, walks into her narrow world, larger than life, and changes her reality between one breath and the next.

The abrasive, larger, gruff police detective sees the world in black and white. There is right, and there is wrong.

Until he falls for a woman that needs him to see shades of gray.

The second he sees the world like she needs him to, there’s not a single thing on the planet that’ll stop him from fighting for her.

Not even the oath he swore to protect and do no harm.

 

 

CHAPTER 1


The hole in a guitar is traditionally used to store soft cheeses and dried meats which are fed to the drummer when he does a good job.


-Text from Will to Cannel


WILL

 

“So you have the entire summer to yourself, kid free?”

My partner, Brianna, looked at me with such excitement that it was hard not to feel my heartbeat speed up at the sight.

I was a detective for Paris Police Department, and I had a really big fucking problem.

I had a crush on my fucking partner.

A big, flaming crush that was stupid, reckless, and honestly a bit embarrassing.

She was ten years older than me, and I swear to God, she treated me like a child half the time.

But I had a feeling that my feelings were returned.

“I do,” I confirmed. “My nieces are going with my parents for the summer as they cruise around the world in their new luxury RV. I expect to hear from them in about two weeks asking me to come get them.”

“Your parents are good with them, so I doubt that’ll happen,” she disagreed.

I wasn’t so sure.

My parents were good with their grandkids, sure. But the two kids, Petra and Ashlie, my nieces, were wild. They had always been wild.

My parents were partially responsible for that since they spent half the time raising them with me.

Their parents, my sister and her husband, had died in a wreck when they were very young. I’d spent the rest of my time raising them part time with my parents, and used to be my other sister, before she’d decided that it was too much work for her young heart to handle.

That, and my sister, Nivea, found out that it was easier to pick up men without two kids in tow. That was after her time in rehab, of course. Though, that wasn’t to say that she didn’t give me a damn hard time whenever she felt like it.

At least, until I took her to court.

“Where is your head at right now?” Brianna asked.

I grumbled under my breath as I jerked my head toward the hospital entrance. “You ready?”

She rolled her eyes at my evasion, not bothering to hide her irritation.

That was, likely, the reason she hesitated when it came to me and what she felt. We both had our reasons for hiding our feelings, but she was fresh off a failed twenty-year relationship and didn’t like when I didn’t immediately tell her what was wrong.

Not that I blamed her for not liking my caginess.

But I didn’t like the way it felt when she psychoanalyzed me.

I wasn’t broken.

She didn’t need to fix me.

“Who are we talking to again?” she asked.

I looked at my notepad that I’d taken notes on. “Her name is Cannel Cantrell Crow. She’s a nurse in the ICU. She said she would meet us down here by the ER entrance. She said she would be wearing blue scrubs. Tall…”

My breath literally left me at the sight of the woman standing by the ER entrance.

She was tall, all right. But not overly tall. About five foot eight, which was about eight inches shorter than me, and willowy.

But damn if she didn’t know how to fill out a pair of joggers.

At least, I thought they were joggers.

But upon getting closer, I realized that they were scrubs made to fit like joggers.

And the white tennis shoes she was wearing were beautiful against the slice of pale golden skin at her ankle.

As I studied the beautiful woman, I wondered what nationality she was.

I couldn’t place it.

“I’m Greek.”

I blinked, surprised to hear that husky, sexy voice answering the question that I knew for sure I didn’t ask aloud.

My brows lifted as if to say, “Did I ask that?” and she flushed.

“You were looking at me as if you were curious what my nationality was.” She hesitated. “Are you Detective Schultz and Detective Panacherie?”

I swallowed hard and nodded, feeling like I had an apple lodged in my throat.

“That’s us,” Brianna said, sounding miffed. “You are allowed to talk?”

She narrowed her eyes. “I’m always allowed to speak. I just have to worry about HIPAA violations unless you actually have a need for me to talk to you. I can’t just speak about a patient in passing because I feel like it. That breaks the law.”

I could tell that answer pissed Brianna off, and knowing she was about to start acting like a shrew with the poor woman who obviously did her job well, I broke into the silence. “Is there a place that we can speak privately?”

Brianna shifted beside me when she started to realize that Cannel wasn’t going to look or talk to her.

“I’m going to grab some coffee for us.” Brianna touched my shoulder, and I saw the way Cannel’s gaze narrowed on that touch. “Your regular?”

I nodded once, and Brianna disappeared into the hospital to the floor that held the coffee cart.

Cannel gestured toward a picnic table that was in the middle of the courtyard just beyond where we were standing. It was well lit and afforded me a great view of the entire area.

“No offense, but I don’t know you,” she said to me. “If you don’t mind, we’ll have to do it out here. Anything more private, and that will make me uncomfortable.”

I nodded in understanding. “That’s fine.”

She walked to the table, leaving at least four feet of space between us the entire way.

And when we reached the table, she sat down on the opposite side of me, making me smile at her wariness.

“What is it you’d like to ask me, Detective?” she asked in that husky drawl.

I couldn’t tell where her accent was from.

She may appear Greek, but that lovely drawl indicated that she was originally from a Southern state. Like South Carolina, or Mississippi.

“A couple of weeks ago you treated a patient by the name of Hester Greeson. Hester is suspected of killing her husband by poisoning him to death. When we spoke with the family, they told us that there was an altercation that led to the hospitalization of Hester. Can you tell me what went on? Do you know any information? Was she able to talk to you?” I asked.

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