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The Fixer (Professionals #1)
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There are a few things I don’t believe in. Like santa. An honest politician. And gut instincts.
There were a few things I could put my faith to rest in. My team. People f*cking up, and needing my help. And my gut.
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He was going to kill me.
I wasn’t being dramatic. I wasn’t being some weak, pathetic, overreacting, crazy, hysterical woman. That wasn’t me. I was a realist, plain and simple.
And the reality was, he was going to kill me.
It was a long time coming actually.
I had been anticipating the eventuality of it for eight months exactly. Because, the fact of the matter was, I knew plenty about men like him and what happened when they graduated from creep to psychopath. Blame my obsession with true crime TV and books.
And because of that knowledge, I hadn’t been sitting on my hands and waiting to die. I didn’t exactly have the wildest, most amazing life. In fact, it was somewhat lame. But it was mine, and I kind of wanted the chance to have exciting things happen. To do that, I needed to be smart.
First and foremost, I went to the cops.
That was what any well-adjusted woman with my issue did, right? Even if you knew that the NBPD was corrupt as they come. They were supposed to help people in my situation.
I was led past rows of desks manned by men and women who looked utterly miserable dealing with their paperwork, where I was told by a middle-aged detective with a silly, but somehow charming handlebar mustache, and warm green eyes that, he’s sorry, it sucks, but there’s not much he could do. They could, of course, file a restraining order but warned me that more often than not, that tended to escalate to anger. I left the station frustrated, but determined.
The first stop was the pound. Generally a lover of the uber fluffy, pocket-purse type dogs, I had felt trepidation well up as I moved past the rows of outdoor cages where dozens of homeless dogs were living out their days. The descriptors on their doors called them ‘terrier mixes,’ but they weren’t fooling anyone. Everyone knew a Pitbull when they saw one. Sturdy across the chest, wide-headed. There was no mistaking these terrier mixes who had to live their lives in cages with no toys or soft, fluffy beds because the whole species got a bad reputation thanks to a few sour apples. I had a Springer Spaniel as a kid who went rabid. The vet called it ‘Springer rage,’ and it wasn’t uncommon. But people still buy that breed by the dozens. Unfair, their reputation.
But their reputation was exactly why I was walking past them, reading their signs for their personality traits. I wanted something that seemed mean. I walked past the ones happily waggling their tails, jumping up and down at the idea of getting some scratches.
Instead, I zeroed in on the ones that were pacing their enclosures, looking like they were just waiting for an opening to bust out of this joint and make a life for themselves on the street. The ones that looked pissed that I even bothered to be near them.
Sure, I was going to pee myself trying to take care of one the first day or two until we found a rhythm. But if he was scary enough to be a deterrent, then I was going to have to deal with that fear.
It paled in comparison to the fear I was up against to begin with anyway.
I settled on a gray-colored Pitbull named Mackey who had ‘food aggression,’ did not like being on a leash, and was prone to chronic barking. I swear he gave me a look that said, ‘you’re a f’n idiot, lady’ as the guy who worked there leashed him up to go for a walk to do his business as I filled out paperwork claiming I was experienced with difficult dogs.
An hour later, Mackey was in the backseat, casually gnawing at the passenger side headrest, eyes on me the whole time, silently daring me to say something about it.
Which I didn’t.
I drove him home, carefully reaching for the leash, then setting him free in my house to get acquainted with his new surroundings and, let’s face it, destroy some stuff.
Stop number two was the home improvement store. I got locks and deadbolts and those little alarm things you can put on your windows so that if they are pulled open, they scream. I got external motion lights to put around literally every corner of my modest house.
The third stop was the local sporting goods store where I loaded up on steel-toed boots, bats, knives, and pepper spray. Then, for the hell of it, I bought bear repellant as well. It had a longer spray. In my opinion, the further away from him I could remain while defending myself, the better.
Mackey had been true to his promises. He paced. He barked until my nerves felt like they had been shredded by the sound. He lunged at me when I went to put his food down, making me need to preemptively lock him in the bathroom before I started preparing it.