Home > Damaged Shadows (Shadows Landing #9)

Damaged Shadows (Shadows Landing #9)
Author: Kathleen Brooks

 

1

 

 

Granger Fox had thought being a sheriff in the small town of Shadows Landing would be a quiet job, an easy job. He was wrong.

Granger wrote on his pad, ignoring the protests coming from the traffic stop.

“I was not speeding.”

“No, you weren’t,” Granger said, agreeing with the driver, a woman in her thirties. She was driving a minivan toward Harper’s Bar. It was ladies’ night and her minivan was packed full of moms ready to have a night off. “You were going so slow that Landry Jr. passed you riding on the back of Bubba the alligator, and both Mr. Gann and Mr. Knoll passed you on their old man scooters. They’re almost ninety years old. And they passed you. Heck, Timmons even went by you on that stupid hoverboard thing of his.” Granger wrote the ticket and handed it to her.

“Obstructing traffic?” she gasped.

“Karen, it’s just a small fine or you can appear in court on this date to contest it,” Granger told her, preparing for what he knew was coming.

“I’m going to do that. I won’t let you get away with this,” Karen spat.

“Go ahead. But know that Mr. Gann and Mr. Knoll love going to traffic court and love it even more when they get called as witnesses.” Granger handed her back her license and registration. “Have a good evening, ladies.” Granger tipped his black cowboy hat and stepped back from the minivan.

“I’d have a good evening if he showed up at the bar tonight and did nasty things to me,” a voice from the back of the minivan said.

“Shut up, Sarah,” Karen snapped before rolling up her window.

Granger fought back a grin and headed for the sidewalk. From the shadows, a small figure appeared. The darkness faded and the white face of a cat appeared first, then a poof of white hair and a big, happy smile. “You’re such a dear, Sheriff. That was the best birthday gift you could ever give me.”

Granger gave the old lady in the cat sweater a wink. “You’re welcome, Miss Mitzy. Your daughter-in-law is a piece of work who can’t drive worth a damn. Yet another reason I am going to be a bachelor forever. Don’t want to get tied down to a woman like that.”

“You’re too good lookin’ a young man to be a bachelor forever. Any man who gives a ticket to an old lady’s mean daughter-in-law every time she comes to town deserves a woman who will spoil him.”

“You spoil me enough, Miss Mitzy.” Granger leaned down and kissed her wrinkled cheek. “Plus, it’s easy to give her a ticket when she somehow managed to cause a traffic jam in our little town. Happy Birthday.”

Miss Mitzy patted his cheek and took off whistling her way merrily down the sidewalk on her way to the knitting club. Now, to the next person to deal with. Granger turned to the young teenager sitting on the curb pouting.

“I told you, no alligator surfing during rush hour,” Granger said to Landry Jr.

Landry rolled his eyes. His father was in the military overseas and his mother was in charge of seven kids. Alone. She didn’t need her eldest son bitten by Bubba the alligator or hit by a car. “Isn’t that an oxymoron? Shadows Landing doesn’t have a rush hour unless Karen holds up traffic.”

Granger wanted to laugh, but he kept his cop face on. He pulled down his aviator glasses and narrowed his eyes at Landry. “Don’t make me call your mom.”

“Ugh,” Landry groaned. “Fine. What’s my punishment?”

“Don’t think of it as a punishment. Think of it as learning to be a gentleman.” Landry’s father, Landry Sr., was a good man. He was just not present in Shadows Landing very often. Here, Landry’s mother, Lydia, had help. A whole townful of people looking out for her kids and helping any way they could. Like now. “You’re going to go across the street and escort every woman headed to the knitting club. Carry their knitting bags, accompany them up the stairs with a smile on your face, and practice your manners.”

“Yes, sir.” Landry got up and began to cross the street only to stop and look back at Granger hopefully. “But it was an awesome alligator surf, right?”

Granger felt his lips twitch. “Hell of a ride. My dashboard camera caught it and I’ll send the video to you and your father. You’ve got his surfing skills. And Landry, meet me at my office as soon as you’re done with the knitting club.”

“Yes, sir.” Landry jogged the rest of the way across the street and stopped to escort Miss Mitzy up the stairs with a smile on his face.

Granger crossed the street, sent the video to both Landry Jr. and Landry Sr., then grabbed the spare clothes from his office. His deputy, Kordell King, was on duty tonight, which worked perfectly since there was something Granger wanted to do. He sent a quick text to make sure it was okay and then headed out to the pit. That’s what they all called the center of the sheriff’s department. His and Kord’s offices, along with two interrogation/conference rooms, lined the back wall and two side walls of the station. The front of the station was closed off by Brenda’s desk. No one could get back to the pit unless they got past Brenda. In the pit, there were desks for the part-time deputies, the file cabinets, and the massive dry-erase board that held the latest Most Wanted posters and cop news.

“Good thing it’s still summer and the sun is still up late,” Kord said, taking in Granger’s change of clothes and handing him a bag. “Lydia dropped this off just now. Are you going to Folly Beach to catch some waves?”

Kord leaned a hip against the corner of Brenda’s now empty desk. She’d gone home thirty minutes earlier. Kord was taller than Granger by an inch. Granger was six feet even but he had twenty pounds on Kord. Kord was crazy fit but built much more like a wide receiver compared to Granger’s thicker build. Granger had played football in college as a running back. He might have gone pro, but . . .

“Sullivan’s Island.”

“I still don’t see what’s so great about surfing. Give me a basketball or football any day compared to sitting on a board with sharks swimming around you.” Kord gave a little shiver and shoved off the desk. “I’m going to go down to the bar and check out this new ladies’ night thing Harper and Kerri have going on.”

“Remember you’re on duty,” Granger called out as Kord opened the door to the lobby.

“Buzz kill,” Kord said with a wink before heading out.

“Sheriff Fox? You wanted to see me?” Landry asked as he came into the lobby as Kord left it. They exchanged high fives as they passed each other.

“Yes, your mom dropped this off for you just a minute ago. Go get changed. You’re coming with me.”

“Where?” Landry asked, pulling a pair of board shorts and a rash guard shirt from a plastic bag.

“You do well enough surfing on alligators, so I thought we should see how you handle real waves. Get changed. We’re going to Sullivan’s Island for a couple of hours.”

Granger saw the way Landry’s eyes lit up. As the eldest of seven siblings, alone time was not something he got a lot of. Granger was surprised when Landry wrapped his arms around him for a quick hug and then ran to the bathroom to change.

Surfing had saved Granger when he’d lost football after the accident. He found solace in battling the waves. He could still feel whole when he rode. The wetsuits, long boardshorts, and rash guards also hid his damaged body. No one asked him why he wasn’t taking off his shirt to swim. No one stared at the jagged scar on his leg if his shorts rode up because lots of them had scars from being smashed against rocks or coral. And now he was going to share it with Landry. The boy needed something of his own. Something to ground him when things got chaotic.

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