By: Chantal Fernando

With the bar now under surveillance, hopefully we catch one of the men involved and can bring him in for questioning. Until then, I’m pushing the media to share Elizabeth’s face. I want everyone to be looking for her, and maybe, hopefully, someone has seen her, so we’ll know in which direction to look. I tap my fingers on my desk impatiently, wondering where my time will be best spent today. Lucky the sheriff is a friend of the family. Because of that, she’s giving me more leeway with this case than she would any other officer.

“Jo,” Travis, my partner, calls out as he approaches my desk. He’s dressed in his uniform, his brown hair spiked up like it usually is. He wipes his brow with his hand. “Fuck, it’s hot outside.”

“I know,” I say, forcing a small smile. “Sorry I couldn’t go with you today. Was everything okay?”

“Yeah,” he says, blue eyes softening. “Any leads on Elizabeth?”

“Not yet,” I say, shoulders hunching. “Time is running out, you know? I just feel like if we don’t find someone ASAP, we never will.”

“Don’t give up just yet,” he says, moving behind me and gently massaging my shoulders. “Her face is all over the news. Someone has to have spotted her at some point.”

I nod, but I don’t feel so confident.

What if I never find her?

Travis has met Elizabeth a few times—he’s basically like family to me. I remember her asking how come I never dated him, because he is a good-looking man. He has a perfect build, a handsome face, and charisma that attracts women by the thousands, but to me he’s just my good friend and partner, someone who I trust inexplicably to have my back and vice versa. I’ve seen how women throw themselves at him, and it amuses me. He’s a good man though, and an even better cop. Yes, he asked me out once, when we first became partners, but I turned him down and now we pretend it never happened.

“That’s what I’m banking on,” I say, standing up and turning to face him. “All right, I need to get shit done. You coming?”

He nods. “Whatever you need, especially if you’re going to meet that hot lawyer chick.”

I laugh at his description of Faye. “You want to die, don’t you?”

“I’m not scared of those fucking bikers,” he mutters, lips tightening to a thin line.

“They’re not scared of you either,” I point out, feeling amused.

“I laugh in the face of danger.”

I stop, eyes widening. “Did you just quote The Lion King?”

He wraps his arm around me and leads me outside. “I’m just playing. I’d never go for a biker chick. Could you imagine? A biker and a cop?”

I have to agree with him on this one. The biker lifestyle is a criminal one; it really is like they live in a world of their own creation. I follow the law, and it’s my job to uphold it. The only cops who associate themselves with bikers are dirty. I’ve never heard of an innocent friendship between the two. Faye seems to be the exception, but even then, I’m wary. Bikers are rebellious and don’t like authority.

We are the authority.

“Sounds like a recipe for disaster,” he adds, shaking his head. Ranger’s too-handsome-for-his-own-good face flashes before my eyes.

I couldn’t agree more.

• • •

Two days later, we hit a lucky break. We get one of the men from the surveillance video in custody, and someone phones in with a sighting of my cousin. It’s everything I hoped for, giving me something to work with. She was spotted about one thousand miles from here, so I’m taking the next flight out. The con? Ranger is coming with me. I don’t know why Faye isn’t; all I was told is that she’s unable to leave at this time.

I don’t really understand why Faye is involved at all, to be honest, but for whatever reason, the feds put her on the case. I have to admit, I’m curious about this woman. Essentially she’s a criminal with a law degree, but the feds think she’s useful to them. Maybe they need her biker contacts and influence. The worst part is now I’m going to be stuck with Ranger, on the flight, in a car . . . we’re pretty much going to be living out of each other’s pockets. I don’t know why I need him anyway. The local police will help, and without his club at his back, just how useful is he? Why is he working on this case? Or any case?

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