Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Nature of the Beast - Nick and Kathy

    He wasn’t sure exactly where he fit into her life. He was merely the stud in her stable always ready and willing to service her when she returned. The geniuses at work told him to be happy with what he had. The woman every man wanted. His raven-haired beauty had a smile that could melt stone as well as a man’s heart. Thoughts of her filled his days and the pain of wanting her filled his nights; but the pain she caused him was nothing compared to the peace he found in her arms.

   Nick woke with a start; he reached over to Kathy’s side of the bed wanting to recapture some of the previous night’s magic. Her side was cold and empty. His heart skipped a beat, she was gone. Nick made it to the window in time to see her red Ferrari headed down the driveway. Once again she slipped away like a thief in the night stealing pieces of his heart and soul, leaving him a little emptier each time she left. She was gone again, back to the spotlight and the career he had learned to despise. They were a couple of mismatched misfits who seemed unable to get their act together. Maybe their love was nothing more than an illusion, nothing more than a case of over active hormones. He had asked her time and again to trust him but the fear and pain of past betrayals always stood between them. Nick was beyond angry, incensed was more accurate in describing his feelings. An uncontrollable rage was building inside him. He remembered his mother’s words of wisdom. “Take a deep breath and count to ten.” Nick got to five before he lost it. “Damn you, Kathy,” he screamed. His hand balled into a fist and struck out at the only thing in front of him, the wall. “Oh Christ,” he groaned, pulling his throbbing hand from the hole in the wall. He took his bruised hand and ego down to the kitchen for ice and coffee.

Nature of the Beast-Nick and Angie...decisions...decisions

   “Thanks,” Nick said, nodding and smiling. He didn’t realize his intentions were that obvious. Angie walked out of the kitchen, his food in hand; she was already in her street clothes. She was breathtaking and he wanted her. There was something about this place. He felt stronger, more alive than he had in years. It must be all the red meat and fresh air.
   “I’ll see you later, Sheriff, Rose will take care of you. Enjoy your meal.” She put his food down and turned to leave.
   “Do you want to join me?" He didn't know what to do or say. All he knew was he didn't want her to leave. "We could split the burger. Rose said something about a full moon.” Maybe that’s what was wrong with him. Maybe the full moon was making him lose his senses.
   “I’d like that,” she said. She got a plate and poured herself a Coke and rejoined him at the table. He sliced the burger in half and put it on her plate with some of the fruit.
   “Thanks,” she said. They ate in a comfortable silence. Angie cleaned her plate and finished off her Coke. It was refreshing to see a woman eat real food. Nick reached in his pocket for his wallet.
   “Don’t even think about it, sheriff,” Angie insisted.
   “What about a tip? The  service was a little questionable. I never did get a refill on my Coke,” Nick teased.
   “Ha, Ha,” she said, wrinkling that perfect nose of hers at him.
   They waved good bye to Tom and Rose and headed for the park. Veterans Park sat lake side. It was stunning with roses, fruit trees, lilacs and a sandy beach for swimming. Angie led Nick through the park to the waterfront swings. The smell from the flowers was overwhelming. The sun was starting to set, turning the sky a rosy red accentuated by streaks of blue. They sat down and the old swing squeaked and creaked in response.
   “It’s a beautiful night,” Nick said, looking over at Angie.
   “Yeah, we deserve it. We had a terrible winter. They’ve been pretty mild lately and we sure paid for it. We’ll have to get you some clothes for the cold.”
   “Isn’t it a little early to be worried about that?” Nick asked confused.
   “This is Minnesota, it could snow tomorrow.”
   “Yeah, right,” Nick chided.
   “I’m not joking, it could snow tomorrow,” Angie said sternly.
   “Great.” Nick threw himself back on the swing and whacked his head. Angie looked at him and giggled.
   “You’ll get used to it,” she assured him.
   “Somehow I don’t think so,” he replied. The moon was rising and a cool breeze blew off the lake. Angie sucked in her breath with a little shiver. Nick felt the goose bumps as he ran his hand up her arm.
   “Here, take my jacket,” he said, unzipping his jacket.
   “No we can share.” She snuggled into Nick’s open jacket and placed her head on his chest. He put his arms around her and pulled her close. She was warm and smelled sweet, intoxicating, like the flowers that surrounded them. A flock of geese silhouetted in the moonlight honked loudly as they landed just past the fishing dock. It was graceful and serene almost without a sound as they hit the water. This was all so strange to him, overwhelming, beautiful, and peaceful like the place he had found his father. He felt things here, raw and untamed; maybe in dying he had learned how to feel, how to live again. He had a desire that needed to be fulfilled and Angie was the woman who could do it. He put his hand under her chin and looked into her eyes, tiny shards of moonlight danced in their dark blue depths. Angie could see the confusion in his eyes; feel the passion building within him. Her lips parted inviting him to taste. He brushed them lightly and found the sweet spot on her neck. She pulled his head up and kissed him, tongues entwined, tasting, teasing. His hands moved purposefully over her body as though searching for something familiar. A sigh escaped her lips as she lost herself to him. She was his now and there was no turning back.
   “Get a room,” a group of teenagers yelled at the couple. The two separated, both shaken by the intensity of the experience. What was he thinking caught making out like a teenager in public with a woman he barely knew? Angie shivered missing the warmth of his body. Nick took off his coat and wrapped it around her.
   “We should probably get back.” Nick stood and reached out his hand to help her up. Not wanting to break the connection, he pulled her close and kissed her gently. God, how he wanted this woman.
   “I’ll follow you home.” Nick said. After all there was a killer in Brody.
   It was a long tortured night. What he felt for Angie was deep and strong but could there be love to go with the animal lust she stirred in him? Angie was a woman with a passion to match his own. There were so many unanswerable questions. Did his heart still belong to Kathy? He needed closure so he could move on and make a life with a woman who wanted the same simple things he did. 

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Nature of the Beast-The killer

   After the screaming had stopped he drifted back to reality. He was standing over Carol’s motionless form. What he felt staring down at her wasn’t remorse or guilt, it was a kind of relief, as if her death had ever so slightly freed him from his mother’s grasp. He nudged her with his boot; cold dead eyes stared back at him. His insides twisted up and ran outside to throw up. What had he done?
   Carefully he wrapped the body in a sheet from the bed and carried it back to the car. The sky had turned dark from the oncoming storm. Relief may have been the first emotion to race through his twisted mind, but fear was the second.
   A quick trip to the river and it would all be over, he reassured himself, or would it be? He sat in the front seat, sweat beading on his brow, clammy hands clutching the wheel. He headed for the river, secure the darkness would hide him and the coming rains would erase any evidence left behind.
A few miles from the shack was the perfect place to get rid of his guilt. The rivers swift moving current would carry it far down stream and far from him. He drove through the area several times making certain it was clear for the unspeakable thing he was about to do. Nervously, he removed the body from the sheet and carried it to the water’s edge. He pushed it out until the current grabbed it and sent it on its way downstream. He breathed a sigh of relief and headed back to the car. He would burn the sheet and give the car a thorough cleaning. There were only a few shallow boot prints and those would soon be destroyed by the winds and the rain. When the sky opened up, he stood there briefly letting the cold rain wash away his sin.

Nature of the Beast - Minnesota

    Nick hated to fly and the trip, though a pleasant one, only served to wear on his already frazzled nerves. A rental car with GPS was waiting for him at the airport as promised. Nick found out there were more people living in a few blocks of L.A. than in all of Brody. Even the freeways were dwarfed in comparison. He drove for miles with only small patches of civilization among the sea of green. Cows and farm houses dotted the horizon which gave way to dense woods. He pulled over and watched a herd of deer graze in the early spring morning. The herd ate steadily, ignoring his presence. The pregnant does’ sides bulged with their unborn young. It had been a harsh winter with deep snow; only the strong had survived. Nick, too, understood what it meant to be a survivor.
     There was a tranquil beauty that surrounded the northern Minnesota town. There was a crisp freshness to the air that made him inhale deeply. Not even the salty sweetness of the ocean could compare. Spring rains had brought new life to the once bleak landscape and awakened the earth from a long winters sleep. The blood surged through his veins with the promise of rebirth. The spell of the north woods was working its magic.
    The giant oak trees that lined the streets gave Brody a feeling of permanence. The town park where he stopped was bursting with a rainbow of spring colors and scents. He never realized how many shades of green there were, from the towering pines overhead to the lush grass beneath his feet. It seemed like a place of childhood fantasy, carefree and safe. It was hard to believe a killer walked among them, a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Nature of the Beast - Jack

   Time passed slowly, Jack wandered the halls aimlessly, wanting to know but afraid to ask. What he didn’t know couldn’t hurt him. Losing Nick would be more than his battered soul could stand. Strangely, his wandering had taken him to the chapel. Church and God; two things he had given up on since his wife had left him. He had stopped believing in a loving, merciful God, Jack had seen too much over the years. His faith had dried up like an afternoon rain under the sun’s harsh glare. How could God stand by with all the pain and suffering in the world? How could he believe in a God that would allow a wife to break her vows and take his children from him? Jack stood outside the door, wondering if his pleas to a God he had abandoned long ago would be answered.

Nature of the Beast-Nick and Angie and Kathy ... oh my

   Kathy’s knees buckled. She clung tightly to Nick. She looked up at him always amazed that such an incredible man could want her, need her. Even in anger his touch was gentle. She felt her heart breaking because the look in his eyes this time was pity.
   “You’re white as ghost. When’s the last time you ate?” Nick asked angrily already knowing the answer.
    “I don’t know?” she shook her head. For once it was the truth. She didn’t remember the last time she had eaten. All she had thought about was getting to Nick so she could beg his forgiveness, but now pride and fear got in the way.
    “I’m going to take you back to my place and get some food in you. I’ve got to get back here to work. We’ll talk tonight when I get home.” Her heart skipped a beat, he would be coming home to her, just as he always had but this time she’d have to decide the fate of both of them.
    “Okay, you’re the boss,” she said weakly.
    “Wow, you must be sick,” Nick insisted. Where was his wild spitfire that challenged him at every turn?
    Kathy sniffed, blinked her teary eyes and giggled. Nick opened the door and found Angie standing on the other side. He recognized the bag from the cafĂ© and his mouth watered at the thought.
    “Nick, I heard what happened so I brought you some lunch. I figured you wouldn’t be …” Angie stopped mid-sentence. She recognized Kathy from her movies and the tabloid photos.
    “Thanks Angie.” Nick took the bag of food from her hand. There was an uncomfortable silence as Nick fumbled for words.
    Kathy walked out of the office behind Nick.
    “Angie, this is Kathy Tyler.”
    “Kathy, this is Angie Reynolds.” The two women sized each other up, neither comfortable with what they saw.
    “I’ve enjoyed your movies,” she said to Kathy. I’ve enjoyed your boyfriend as well, she wanted to add. Nick had made no mention of her after all this time. What was she doing here now? Angie smiled inwardly when she saw Kathy’s tear streaked face. The tension was so thick between the two of them, it was palpable. Nick didn’t seem like the kind of man who would forgive her sexual indiscretion.
    “Thanks,” Kathy replied.
    “I’m going to run Kathy out to my place. We’ll talk later. We’ve got to go over the parade details. Angie will be crowned Miss Heritage Days Sunday. We’re going to be riding together in the parade.”
    “Congratulations,” Kathy said to Angie. Leave it to Nick to have the home town beauty after him. Competition was the price you paid for possessing a man like him but up until now she’d never felt threatened but there was something different about this one. She looked at him with a hunger.
    “It’s no big deal. I pretty much win every year,” she said smiling proudly.
    Nick was getting uncomfortable as he felt the tension building between the two women. It was an odd situation to say the least. “We’ll talk later, Angie.” He reached out and patted her arm reassuringly.
    “She’s very pretty,” Kathy remarked when they got into the Jeep.
    “I haven’t noticed,” Nick replied fighting back a grin.
    “Liar, it looks like I got here just in time.” She shot Nick a hurt and angry look. Had she arrived in time or had she already lost him?

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There will be more of Nick and Angel in the sequel Ties that Bind.

     Nick’s shooting made the six o’clock news, that was how Angel had kept track of him over the last five years. It was the price he paid for having a celebrity lover. His injury sounded life threatening and the media reported Kathy was flying back from Africa to be at his side. She paced around the room nervously. There so was little time for her to see him. Even if the Hollywood whore wasn’t there yet, she was certain Jack would be.
     They flashed the picture of Nick and Kathy on the red carpet and her breath caught in her throat. His dark wavy hair was the perfect length and the beard she always hated was gone. As incredible as he looked on TV, it was nothing compared to how he looked in person. His smell, his taste were permanently burned into her memory and not even his death could take those from her. Her body ached for his touch and her heart broke at the thought of him dying. There were so many things she wanted to tell him, needed to tell him. She hurried out of the house, Jack Marler and Kathy Tyler be damned. If he was going to die, she was going to see him one last time.
     Angel sat in the chair next to his bed and sobbed softly as she held his hand. He was so pale and still. The only thing that gave her hope was the steady rhythm of his breathing and the monitors at his bed side. She didn’t have much time to spend with him. Jack would be back soon to keep his bedside vigil and it wouldn’t be long before Kathy made her obligatory appearance. She’d never hated anyone in her life more than Kathy Tyler, except for that bastard she called father. Kathy Tyler had ruined her happy life and taken Nick from her. Someday she’d find a way to make her pay.
     Angel pressed his hand to her lips. “I love you.” Bending down she kissed his cheek. She had waited so long to say those words again, it didn’t matter he was unable to hear them. Nick’s hand twitched and his eyes opened; those beautiful eyes that always saw into her soul.
     “Angel,” his voice so faint she could hardly hear.
     He said her name. After all these years he said her name. “I’ll always love you, Nick,” she said louder. He squeezed her hand and closed his eyes. Angel wiped the tears from her face and smiled. He hadn’t forgotten her.

Nature of the Beast

    When the doors open at the Star Light Casino, a serial killer turns it into his hunting ground. The challenge of two unsolved murders and a chance at a fresh start prompts maverick cop Nick Dempsey, to leave L. A. and his actress girlfriend Kathy Tyler behind. This lone wolf must learn to be a team player when he takes the job of sheriff.
    After a one night stand with her ex-husband, Kathy follows Nick to Minnesota.Tempers flare when Kathy arrives in Brody to find Nick has taken a new lover, Angie Reynolds, a beauty nearly half his age. Fearing for Kathy safety Nick moves her into his house. Kathy finds herself a new playmate in Nick's Deputy Ben. Nick and Kathy struggle with their strained relationship as they both date other people.
    As Brody celebrates Heritage Days, Nick has his hands full with a town full  tourists, a serial killer and two angry girlfriends. Victim number three is found alive but lapses into a coma before she can identify her attacker. Deputy Russ Thompson conceals a clue from the crime scene, then struggles with his decision to remain silent about what he found.
    A violent storm descends on Brody putting everyone's nerves on edge. When both women turn up missing, Nick must use all his skills to figure out who the killer is before one of his women becomes the next victim.