Miles to Go by Alex Westmore
- Crime Fiction
- 54,000 Words
Delta Stevens runs the beat on her small 1990’s California town where for the most part things are copacetic. That is, until her partner gets gunned down on a routine call. As he lays dying in her arms, she makes a pledge to do whatever it takes to bring his killer to justice.
On the way to the darker side of law enforcement, she meets Megan, a high class call girl who services men but craves the touch of a woman. And despite their completely different walks of life, Delta soon learns that this humble hooker holds the key to both the investigation and the longings of her own heart.
Now Delta much choose between a promise she made to her partner and her attraction to the one woman who can break through her gritty exterior to love what’s underneath. Love or duty? Life or death? Only Delta can decide.
Read an Excerpt
As the crisp November air slid through the slightly open window, Delta shivered and rolled it all the way up. Usually, she could get by in the California winter with wearing only her long sleeved uniform, but not so this year. Watching Miles crank the heater up, Delta smiled and reached over to the radio, blabbering numbers and codes, to turn down the volume. They hadn’t been called to a scene in over two hours, and the most interesting part of the night had been assisting a paramedic change a flat tire on the ambulance. The cold seemed to deter even the criminal element, and for once, Delta was grateful for the quiet.
Glancing over at Miles, her partner of three years, Delta sighed. He needed a slow night as well. She didn’t know if he was moonlighting, sharing a second honeymoon with Jennifer, or what, but he’d been awfully tired the last few nights. Whatever it was, Miles did not seem his usual cheerful self. Irritable and crabby when he clocked in, he’d started snapping at her for the tiniest of mistakes. Once or twice, she’d caught him napping as she drove. Not usual characteristics of the man who secretly wished he could be Batman when he grew up. His recent lethargy and anxiety worried her.
Looking over at a sleeping Miles, head back against the head rest, mouth slightly open, his trimmed brown moustache twitched in the semidarkness of the car. Delta smiled to herself. It had taken him nearly a year to grow it. When he’d unwrapped the mustache comb she’d bought him, he laughed that deep, throaty laugh that attracted so many women; the perfect match for his chiseled good looks and static blue eyes. The archetypal man in blue, Miles boasted a big barreled chest tapering to a flat stomach and taut waist. He was one of the few cops in their station who wasn’t overweight or under-tall. He looked, to her, strangely like the prototype for the Ken doll, and subsequently attracted more Barbie lookalikes than any other cop on the road. To Delta, that was most definitely one of the bonuses of having such a charmer for a partner.
Returning her gaze to the empty street ahead, a slow spreading frown replaced Delta’s smile. Without question, Miles was one of the few men Delta loved in her life. Of everyone at the station, he had offered his broad shoulders when she and Sandy broke up. When Delta’s father died, Miles and his buddies helped her mother move to a smaller home in a safer neighborhood. Not only one of her best friends, he was also the best cop she’d ever worked with. In their three years together, they’d pulled each other out of tight spots on too many occasions to count. They had always been there for each other. Now it bothered her that she couldn’t figure out where he’d gone.
Pulling down a narrow alley which commonly slept anywhere from six to a dozen homeless, Delta peered through the darkness and, stopping the car, shone her side lamp upon the restless bodies, wearily crawling away from the light like skittering rats. They were alive then, at least; at best, it indicated that none of them had been rolled in the past two hours. They could sleep the remainder of the night in their miserable existence. Delta shook her head sadly, and sighed as she turned off the lamp. If only she could do something more to insure their relative safety.
When she first became a cop, her intention was to take her college degree in Social Science and earn enough money to go to law school. But once she hit the streets, she fell in love with the job. She immediately enjoyed interacting with the diverse individuals on her beat, and loved the energy and vivaciousness of the city at night. Her rapport with merchants and teens alike grew so immensely during her first year her beat soon felt like home. Delta also found it incredibly satisfying to collar a criminal after doing her homework on his patterns, motives, and techniques. She never knew life could be so exciting until she became a cop. After fewer than six weeks on the force, Delta gave up any ideas of law school – a decision she never regretted.
Glancing over at Miles, Delta swerved the car so that it rode on the center reflectors.
“How long have I been asleep?” Miles rubbed his eyes like a child rising from a nap.
Miles groaned. “Don’t start on me again. I’m just not sleeping very well, that’s all.”
Delta shot him a suspicious glance. “Oh? And why is that?”
“Damn it Del, sometimes you’re a worse nag than Jennifer. I’ve just had a lot on my mind lately, and I’m having trouble falling asleep. Period. End of subject.”
In one swift motion, Delta turned into a parking lot, turned the radio off, unhooked her seatbelt, and turned to face Miles before he could utter a single protest.
“That’s not the end of subject. Look, my safety depends on having a partner who is clearheaded enough to make the right decisions. For the past two weeks, you’ve been walking around in a fog. If you’re going to jeopardize my life as well as your own, I at least deserve to know why!”
Bowing his head, Miles stared down at his hands folded neatly in his lap.
Reaching for one of his hands, Delta lightly squeezed it. Like so many men she knew, Miles was more boy than man. Playing the tough guy had never been easy for him.
“Miles, we’ve always been honest with each other. Always. Whatever it is, you know you can talk to me about it.” Delta’s eyes searched his profile, looking for something to clue her into the far recesses of his preoccupied mind.
Slowly, Miles raised his face and forced a grin. “It’s nothing, Del, really. I’m bored. I want Vice. I need more action, and I belong there. I want to do more than ride around all night only to arrive ninety percent of the time after the fact. I want to bust real crimes and real criminals. I get so damned frustrated sometimes.”
“And you think Vice’ll be that much different?”
Miles nodded. “Those guys, they live on the edge. They make things happen. They act, we react. They do, we wait. That’s the difference. I want to experience that difference, Del.”
Delta released his hand and ran her fingertips over the barrel of the shotgun resting securely, muzzle down, next to the radio. They’d had this conversation before; only the last time, she and Miles had busted a crack house for a hundred and sixty pounds of the shit. It had made his month. It also showed how much he wanted to get on Vice.
“Maybe you need a new partner.”
“No way, Del. We’re both being wasted on patrol, and you know it. I want us both to go on to bigger and better things, and if I go, I’m taking you with me.”
Delta laughed. True to his nature, Miles was steadfast in his loyalty—both on and off the job. Early in their partnership, when they were bringing a suspect to the jail, the admitting deputy pulled Miles aside and asked if he’d been able to “bone the dyke.” Miles reached through the opening, grabbed the deputy around the collar, and yanked his face into the glass partition. That was the last time Delta heard any comment about her sexual identity, and the first time she realized how deeply Miles cared for her.
“I’m afraid it doesn’t work that way, partner.” She said. “But we’ll get there soon enough Miles.”
“Bullshit. You don’t get to Vice by putting in the hours. You get there by breaking open a case larger than life. You get there by putting your ass on the line.”
Delta’s eyes narrowed. “Is that what you’re doing? Putting your ass on some line?”
Miles shook his head. “You know me better than that. I’d tell you if I had something ready to nail down.”
“Well, you’re starting to make me nervous.”
Miles leaned back and sighed. “I’m sorry. I know I haven’t exactly been a joy to be around.”
“It’s nothing to do with you and Jen, I hope.”
“Nah, nothing like that.”
Delta heaved a sigh that equaled Miles’s. “Good. I was afraid…you know…because you were so tired . . .”
Miles reached over and laid a hand on Delta’s shoulder. “Not a chance. Besides, the rule is only one divorce per partner per year, remember?”
Delta did not reply.
“How are you doing?” Miles pointed to Delta’s heart.
“Okay, I guess. I’m starting to feel a little lonely. Nights are forever when you sleep alone.”
“Has Sandy tried calling?”
Delta looked out the window at a couple of women crossing the street. Even hearing Sandy’s name stung. “She wanted to go to dinner to talk about buying me out of the house.”
“Did you tell her to go to hell?”
“No. I said that I didn’t want to see her yet. God, Miles, the most frustrating thing is that she’s gone on merrily with her life and I’m still picking up the pieces.”
Gently turning Delta so she was facing him, Miles smiled warmly into her face. “Your problem is that you’re trying to do it all on your own. When’s the last time you went out? I mean really went out?”
“You mean, on a date?”
“That last blind disaster.”
Both of them chuckled at the horror story behind her less than memorable blind date.
“That was almost two months ago. Don’t you think it’s time you spread out a bit? You’re a good looking woman. How do you expect to get anyone’s interest when you stay cloistered away at home or stuck here in a patrol unit?”
Delta painfully remembered returning home because of a stomach flu, and finding her lover in bed with her best friend. Work suddenly became the only real stability in her life; work and Miles. Instantly, all of her friends became suspect, as she discovered who had known about the affair, who took Sandy’s side, and who had, in fact, helped to cover it up. One by one, Delta crossed names off her social calendar until only a small handful remained; of those, three were cops. That left her little by way of a social group outside of her department.
“I’ll make you a deal. I’ll start sleeping nights, if you join the land of the living once more and go out. Deal?”
Looking deeply into Miles’s twinkling eyes, Delta smiled. “It’s a deal. Now can we go catch us some crooks?”
Miles turned the radio back on and cranked up the volume. “Let’s do it.”
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