A Fine Line
By- Jeanine Binder
Genre- Contemporary/Romantic Suspense
Undercover narcotics. Lori had no clue how dirty this business really was until Dr. Leigh Matthews walked into his life, late-night in an emergency room. She was blonde, beautiful, and intelligent – to Lori’s amazement she was just as happy with him and his job as he was. His father’s financial success meant nothing to her. She was a bright ray of sunshine in an otherwise dismal world.
But as Lori prepares to bring down the largest drug operation in the county, can their love survive the stress of his long absences, the dangers of his job, as well as ultimate betrayal? Can they keep their relationship alive and well when the whole world turns upside down?
About the Author-
Jeanine Binder grew up in a small town in California on the outskirts of Palm Springs, where the Hollywood celebrities liked to vacation. After thirty years, she packed up, moved to Arkansas where she still lives today. Writing has always been a passion and hoping the next twenty years will bring many enjoyable books for others to read.
Social Media Links-
The parts with Lori and Leigh - something soft and mellow. Alan Parsons, Herb Alpert, Tangerine Dream.
The parts with Lori interacting as Adrian Martin - more speed. Aerosmith, Rolling Stones, Rage Against the Machine (maybe)
The end - playing “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac..
It was absolutely not his day.
It had started with an early morning phone call from his ex-wife, Melissa. She’d been ranting about how her alimony check was late this month – which was not unusual. It was always two or three days late each month. And, with that statement, came a complete dissertation of what she was unable to do based on the fact said check was late. Lori – his real name was Taylor; no one except his father ever called him that – had sat on his bed, half asleep, listening to her voice rise and fall as she doggedly made her points. He tried to interrupt numerous times but she continued, unimpeded with her tirade. She had been determined to say what she wanted before Lori ever got a word in. On and on it went –more of her normal drama. Something Lori could care less about.
Lori Winslow was a sheriff’s deputy with the Special Investigations Division for San Diego County, California. He was thirty-five years old, six-foot tall, hazel eyes, and light brown hair which hung to his shoulders. His father adamantly was not a fan of his job – he was a high raking CEO of an investment firm and had expected his only son to follow in his footsteps. His father was very vocal in his disapproval of his son’s choice of careers and always brought it up as a conversation point on the rare occasions they saw each other. Lori had absolutely no interest in corporate politics and instead had applied to the sheriff’s academy when he was twenty-one. He became a plain clothes deputy after six years and now worked in narcotics. It wasn’t unusual for him to go undercover in the drug world, which was why he looked like something left over from the hippie days of the sixties.
He was currently single and thoroughly despised any kind of interaction with his ex-wife. Their three year mistake had turned into a total of nine years of his having to put up with her crap. They had this argument pretty much the same time every month. She told him last month she was engaged and would be getting married in the next few weeks, which meant his alimony responsibility would be coming to an end. He was glad to hear it – he didn’t think he should have to pay it in the first place. He had no involvement of when she received her monthly check – the finance people at the station pulled it out of his paycheck every two weeks before he ever saw it and he reminded her of this fact, yet again. Not to mention she had gotten a fairly hefty settlement off the financial trust he had from his father – she should’ve still had it as a backup but Lori knew she spent money like she thought it grew on trees. And she lived paycheck-to-paycheck, waiting in suspense every month for the next check to arrive. He suggested once she get a job – novel idea - but all his suggestion did was cause her to lose her temper and scream at him at the top of her lungs, over the phone, about how insensitive he was.
He’d hung up on her before she could continue and decided to forgo sleep, even though it had only been four hours since he had crawled into bed. He’d gone to take a shower and the hot water wouldn’t come on; instead the water had been ice cold, making a shower impossible. Lori had called the apartment manager who said he’d get a repairman over sometime that day. After at least shaving and putting on clean clothes, he grabbed the gym bag in the corner of the bedroom. He rarely got to the gym but kept a change of clothes and toiletries in the bag - he could shower at work. He then had gone outside to where his work truck was parked; Lori had two vehicles – a beat-up fifteen-year-old truck he used for work and a newer BMW. When he’d gotten to the truck, the back left tire was flat and the spare had been flat as well. The BMW was kept in a storage shed offsite – he didn’t want someone taking a baseball bat to it as he didn’t live in the best of neighborhoods and everyone knew he was a cop - so he’d had to call his partner, Mike, to take him to get his tires fixed. That took the better part of two hours out of his morning.
The day had only gotten steadily worse. Two of the drug dealers he’d worked for three weeks to arrest got let back out on the street due to a legal snafu. His patience level was starting to thin – it was irritating the amount of work which went into a good, solid arrest, only for the lawyers to screw it up so the perps ended up back out on the street. But his lieutenant had called him into his office and dumped a case on him which the uniformed deputies had been working. It was in the worst part of San Diego County and Lori had wanted to howl at being handed the case. He preferred to work up on in the northern part of the county, in Oceanside or Vista – he hated anything between Carlsbad and La Jolla, a thirty mile stretch. Mostly what you got down there were surfers and other partying teenagers on the beach with illegal booze and marijuana. Wasn’t worth the effort it took to police the area – he left that for the uniforms. Lori preferred serious undercover work; he wanted to fix the problem not bandage the symptoms.
Lastly, just as he thought there was nothing else which could seriously annoy him for the day, he was now sitting on a gurney in the hospital emergency room - a lead pipe had been smashed into his ribs by the drug group he had arrested earlier in the evening. He’d seen the pipe coming at him, tried to get out of the way, but the kid got a good hit squarely across his chest. All fifteen people were arrested, so it was a good bust, but it felt like someone was standing on his chest, playing hopscotch. His superior insisted – to be truthful, he’d had to make it a direct order – for Lori to have an x-ray taken, otherwise, he would have just gone home and dealt with it. He was good at dissembling in front of his boss but Stan wasn’t taking ‘no’ for an answer this time. Getting the x-ray taken had been excruciatingly painful as the technician had laid him flat on the table –he found it was much easier to deal with the pain sitting up.
Lori (Taylor) Winslow - Thirty five, brown hair, hazel eyes, 6ft tall. Driven, down on relationships due to a bad previous marriage and alimony he’s had to pay for 9 years. Comes from a well-to-do family - father is CEO of a major investment company - but Lori wants nothing to do with it. He joins the Sheriff’s department at twenty-one (youngest age you can go to the academy) which infuriates his father - straining their relationship. Quiet - not obnoxiously partying every weekend off - dedicated to his job.
Leigh Matthews - Thirty four, blonde hair, blue eyes. Youngest child of a successful country music singer; mother died when she was four. To be something in a family of 5 - the rest over-achieving boys - she went to medical school, top of her class - came home to practice medicine and is now the Director or Emergency medicine at the hospital. Almost unheard of for a woman to have that position - and especially not one that young.
Mike Parker - (don’t go into the particulars of age, looks) - Lori’s partner on the narcotics squad. Lives pay-check to pay-check with a wife that is petrified he is going to die on the job and causes him undue stress about it.
Rafael Montoya - Forty five, black hair, black eyes, 5ft 10 - he has spent his life on the streets of Caracus, Venezuela. Coming to America, he has become the leading drug organization in all of San Diego county - his lieutenants, including his younger brother, Genero - have the entire county locked up.
Stan Jamison - Fifty nine, tall. He is the Lieutenant in the narcotics squad. He has worked his way up the chain in the past forty years - from a uniformed officer to now Lieutenant of the narcotics squad - actively bucking for captain. He is very set in how he wants things done - has one officer on his squad that give him headaches - the rest is just police politics.
Marco Melchori - Sixty five, Italian - owner of The Crow’s Nest bar in Oceanside. Came to America to make a new life and send money home.