Captain Zenny and the Redemption of Vaughn Riegler
Published by: eXtasy Books
Author : Sari Shepard
Word Count :9541
Publication Date :2017-12-12
Series : #
Heat Level :
Available Formats : Captain Zenny and the Redemption of Vaughn Riegler (epub) , Captain Zenny and the Redemption of Vaughn Riegler (pdf) , Captain Zenny and the Redemption of Vaughn Riegler (prc) , Captain Zenny and the Redemption of Vaughn Riegler (mobi)
- Product Code: 978-1-4874-1500-6
Vaughn could redeem himself if only he could see his precious Lydia one more time.
Detective Vaughn Riegler is facing his first Christmas since Lydia, his wife of twenty-five years, died in a tragic accident. Zenny Stoughton, a vagrant brought in for assaulting Crazy Mary, a local beggar woman.
At the behest of his commanding officer, Vaughn attends a Christmas Eve meeting run by Cal Willis, a counselor who won’t take no for an answer. What Cal has in store is no traditional group session. Vaughn finds himself between dimensions at a reunion of the living and the dead. He listens to admissions of guilt and negligence from beyond the grave and finds the chilling truth behind Zenny’s interaction with Mary.
But the night of redemption is only beginning. Vaughn comes to understand that salvation is a two-way street. Though he feels Lydia owes him no apology, he realizes he may owe one to her—one that will save him from his self-consuming remorse. Christmas is the light of promise, and Lydia’s love is a promise kept.
Detective Vaughn Riegler sat at his desk rubbing his forehead to stave off a headache as he questioned Zenny Stoughton, a local vagrant brought in on suspicion of assault and battery. The Fall River, Massachusetts Police Station was decked out in tattered old holiday decorations that served as little more than a reminder that it was cold outside. Thumping the back of his head against a snowman wall poster, the thin, wiry suspect complained, “Come on, Detective, you’d have arrested me by now if you had anything on me.”
Vaughn huffed and rubbed his eyes, then scrunched his cheek and complained, “I asked a question, Benny…a simple one. Wanna answer it?”
“It’s Zenny, and I already told you, I didn’t push any old lady down.”
“The bartender and one of the patrons both said you bolted out after Mary Marquette left.”
“By patron, I guess you mean the blind guy. As for the little Portagee bartender, she’s been a jerk to me from the day I met her. People shouldn’t be so damn rude to each other…especially so close to Christmas.”
“So why do you hang out at the Broken Spar? Why not go to Lizzie’s or-or—what are you looking at?”
Zenny’s brows dropped as his gaze fixed on Vaughn’s computer monitor. “That woman on your screen saver,” he queried. “She your wife?”
Vaughn pursed his lips and nodded. “Just tell me—”
“This last summer…she was drivin’ on the Old Red Bridge when it let go.”
“You got a good memory. Now, how ‘bout answering my question?”
“I remember seein’ her picture on the news. There was a big memorial…all kindsa’ wreaths and shit. You doin’ okay?”
Vaughn huffed and thumped his fist on the desk. “I’ll ask the questions, Lenny!” he snarled. “You knocked Mary Marquette down out front of the Broken Spar. Why?”
The outburst didn’t seem to faze Zenny. He folded his hands in his lap and leaned forward. “Sorry, Detective,” he offered. “Really…I mean that.”
“It’s not your fault,” he mumbled, leaning back. “I appreciate your condolences, Zenny. Now let’s get back to why we’re here.”
“Look, Crazy Mary…she stole my key ring.”
“She gave them back. The witnesses said—”
“The keys. She gave me back my keys, but she took my key ring.”
“Was a key ring that important to you?”
Zenny’s gaze dropped to his feet as he dug in his pocket. “You might say that,” he answered, handing over the two-inch disk.
Vaughn sighed as he inspected the metal emblem engraved with New Bedford Port Authority. “This some kind of badge?” he asked, handing it back.
“More of a memento. They gave it to me when they let me go.”
Just then, Officer Jillian Francis knocked on the entrance to Vaughn’s cubicle. “Excuse me, Detective,” she interjected. “A Mr. Cal Willis is here.”
“Hey, Jill…Officer Francis,” Vaughn fumbled. “Tell him I don’t have time right now.”
“He’s not here to see you. He’s advocating for Mr. Stoughton.”
“Wow, Detective,” Zenny piped up. “You and me got the same self-help guy.”
“Quiet down, Zenny. He’s a counselor. What you need is a lawyer.”
“Turns out he doesn’t,” Officer Francis replied. “Mary Marquette said if Mr. Stoughton here will buy a rubber band, she won’t press charges.”
Zenny stomped his foot and rolled his eyes. “That’s what started all this. She came over and started mumbling something about redemption and how I needed to buy a rubber band.”
“Looks like she was right,” Vaughn proposed with a note of sarcasm. Reaching for his wallet he added, “I’ll even buy it for you if it’ll keep you outta my hair.”
“Don’t you get it?” Zenny asked. “Redemption can’t be bought. And what the hell do I need a rubber band for?”
“Oh, c’mon. She sells things she finds to buy cigarettes. I may even buy one myself.”
“Good,” Officer Francis sassed as she tossed two red rubber bands on Vaughn’s desk. “She sent one up for you, too. They’re a buck apiece.”
Vaughn sighed and pulled out two dollars. “So red is the color of redemption?”
“Apparently so,” she replied, showing the green band holding her blonde ponytail. “She said I’m already saved.”
“Bet you still paid a buck,” Zenny grumbled, shifting in his seat.
“I gather Mary asked to spend the night,” Vaughn acknowledged, rubbing his forehead again.
“I opened a cell for her. Told her I’d leave her cart in the offload area, but…she insisted her rubber bands stay with her.”
“Tell her Zenny and I wish her a Merry Christmas,” Vaughn replied as he handed her the two bills. “And you have one too, Jill.”
She blinked her dark brown eyes and offered a sympathetic smile. “You too.”
Peering out the window at the snow blowing sideways through the beam of the streetlight, Vaughn couldn’t help but think about the cold, frozen ground beneath it. He bit his lip to stop the tears welling in his eyes. “Zenny,” he offered. “I understand you’ve been sleeping in your car. I can leave another cell door open.”
“I’ll take my chances with the cold,” he answered, stretching the band onto his wrist. “Crazy Mary won’t give me any peace. Can I go?”
Vaughn showed Zenny to the lobby where Cal Willis, a tall, thin, balding man in his sixties, sat tapping at his cell phone with one hand and adjusting his black-rimmed glasses with the other. “I just got these darn things,” Cal complained, his eyes still fixed on the phone. “Seems I need a new prescription already.”
“You should go back to the doctor,” Vaughn griped. “Maybe catch the problem before it becomes—” Stopping short, he rolled his eyes, let out a disgruntled sigh and placed his hands on his hips. “I’m too busy for grief counseling, Cal. Maybe after Christmas. Take care of Zenny here. He ought to keep you busy.”