A couple of teens making out after wandering away from parental supervision. They begged my men not to turn them in and they agreed if the two immediately headed back to their parents’ camp.”

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“Why who or what did they find?”

“A couple of teens making out after wandering away from parental supervision. They begged my men not to turn them in and they agreed if the two immediately headed back to their parents’ camp.”

June couldn’t help but smile at the hormonal hijinks they’d undoubtedly witnessed. “Those were the days alright.”

“Yeah, glad to have put that particular chapter of my life behind me.”

“Were you the terror of the neighbourhood, Nigel?”

“Not quite, I think that honour goes to one of my older brothers.” He laughed aloud recalling the stream of beautiful women his brother had brought home.

Although it wasn’t characteristic of Nigel to share bits of his home life he felt comfortable enough to do so with June and told her so. “I’m not given to sharing my personal life with many but it feels right with you, June.”

“I have one of those faces,” she smiled, “you’d be surprised.”

“No, no I wouldn’t.”

“How could you know that?”

“I study people. I get a pretty good sense of who they are and what they’re capable of within minutes.”

“You ever wrong?”

His silence had her turning her head to stare at him. “Yeah, once.”

She waited to see if he would explain. “It was a case I was working on. I had the perp pegged as malicious but not violent. I was wrong. Dead wrong.”

“What happened?”

“He murdered his wife and kid. Came back when the heat died down and slaughtered them.”

“That must have been horrible.”

“It was brutal.”

“You took it on.”

He sighed, “Yeah, it took me a long time to come to terms with.”

“You couldn’t have known, Nigel. It’s impossible to gauge everyone’s instincts and actions a hundred percent and he was obviously very good at hiding who he was.”

“Yeah, but I should have known. My gut told me one thing, the superiors another. I went against my gut and didn’t follow up.”

“That’s not on you. That’s on them!” June reached across and lay a hand on his arm. “You can only do so much.”

“My heart and mind are divided on that score.”

“You’re still beating yourself up over it?”

“Sometimes, in the dead of night, the picture comes back and haunts me.”

“Is that why you aren’t on the force anymore?”

“Part of it. Life and death are the nature of being a cop. It’s not an everyday occurrence, but it happens. I signed on to make a difference and this one hit me hard so I took a leave of absence. I could go back or continue as I am. I have to admit the outdoors, the hiking, the searching has an allure and gives me something positive to hold on to.”

“I get that. I truly do.”

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