“Yeah, glad to have put that particular chapter of my life behind me.”
“Were you the terror of the neighbourhood, Nigel?” June asked with a grin.

Page 9

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

“Were you the terror of the neighbourhood, Nigel?” June asked with a grin.

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

It wasn’t characteristic for Nigel to share bits of his home life June surmised and she couldn’t help but feel pleased he’d opened up to her.  His next words surprised her.  “I’m comfortable around you, June.  Not something I’m given to or admitting for that matter.”

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

“No, no I wouldn’t.”

“How could you know that?”

“I’ve studied people since forever.  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.”

“I can’t imagine! It must have been brutal.”

“It was.”

“You took it on.” She spoke her thoughts aloud in wonder.

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?”

“Yeah, part of it.  I needed to step back for a bit. It’s not easy having someone else’s life hanging in the balance knowing your call one way or the other will make the difference.  Most of the time, you make the right call, it works out. Sometimes, it doesn’t. In the overall scheme of things, that’s a cops life, comes with the territory. I felt I needed to take a leave of absence, get myself back on track. The option is there, I can return or continue as I am.  I have to admit the outdoors, the hiking, searching gives me something positive to hold on to.”

“I get that.  I truly do.”

June smiled then scrunched up her face, “I did some research on you once we’d decided who to hire.  You actually own the company, you aren’t a subsidiary.”

Nigel nodded, “That’s true.”

“Pretty risky starting a new company…”

“Not really.  I know what I’m doing, and I only hire the most qualified applicants.  I’ve been involved in search parties before and my rep got around and before long I had a steady stream of clients.”

“Still, it’s not easy getting a new company off the ground.  It takes guts determination effort and giving your all.”

“Most often, yes, but I had a head start because I know people, crossed paths with plenty of individuals who clearly remembered me and there are a variety of agencies that look for assistance.”

“Ever have difficulty with other search groups out there?”

“No, the reality is, unfortunately, there aren’t enough qualified men to keep up.  People get lost more often than you’d think.  Too often searches are called due to inclement weather, time or money and a family either isn’t satisfied or desperately needs closure.”

“You ever found someone you didn’t expect to find?”

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