In the Shadow of the Shield
By Carolyn LaRoche
Carolyn LaRoche grew up in snow country but fled the cold and ice several years ago. She now lives near the beach with her husband, their two boys, two finicky cats and one old dog. When she is not at the baseball field cheering on big hits and home runs, she is busy teaching science to unwilling teenagers.
When a police officer falls, justice must be served.
Donnie Massey was an honest, skilled police officer. That’s probably what got him killed. When his wife Diana watches him die in front of her, the worst part is going to be telling their son, Jackson.
After a year of mourning, Diana decides it’s time to move on with their lives. The first step to getting closure is to visit Donnie’s grave. But when she gets there, she’s not alone…
Good cops are rare. Carter Ryan is one of them.
Mentored by Donnie, Carter is at the grave when his widow shows up. It may not be the best timing, but he needs her help. Carter admits the fallen shield may not have died in the line of duty, but was likely murdered while involved in a secret investigation with deep criminal ties. Diana agrees to aid in unveiling the truth. Donnie deserves that much.
The definition of insanity…
As the two work side by side, a new and delicate romance begins to bloom. But would falling for another cop be the worst mistake of Diana’s life, or the best decision she’s ever made? When the investigation leads them to an underground meth ring, their mission goes from risky to down right perilous.
After a brush with death hits too close to home, will Diana risk loving another cop? Or will their chance at happiness be forever buried in the shadow of the shield?
Writing About Loss
Thank you to Room With Books for allowing me to visit once again with my new release In the Shadow of the Shield, book two of the Secret Lives series. Although this story has a fair share of humor and intrigue as well as a healthy dose of romance, it also deals with some serious emotional ideas. It was an intriguing journey of self-discovery as well as a creation of fiction.
I’ve been married to a police officer for nearly sixteen years. During that time he has worked the night shift for fifteen of those years, only recently having moved to somewhat regular daytime hours. One do the things that always kept me up at night was the fear that something would happen to him while he was on duty and I’d be left to raise our two boys alone. It’s one of those taboo subjects that I only ever dared to broach in the dark, at three in the morning when I hadn’t slept but an hour or two since climbing into bed at eleven. I’ve tried to get a handle on how I would mourn his loss and would I ever give myself permission to fall in love again. Writing In the Shadow of the Shield was sort of an extension of those late night thoughts. Through Diana I was able to explore the sadness and the devastation that comes with unexpected loss. I dabbled in the emotions that followed the loss such as telling their only son his father had died and coming to terms with the circumstances of a line of duty death. Introducing Carter into the story and writing Diana as she slowly gave herself permission to love someone other than Donnie allowed me a peek at what it might be like to experience that sort of emotional conflict. Diana wants to honor her late husband in every way but then Carter comes along and introduces her to the possibility that there is room in her heart to love someone else. Now, I am not entirely sure that I would ever be able to move on the way that Diana does. Losing a spouse under any circumstances is a very personal and excruciating experience. Not having been through what Diana—and so many other spouses—have experienced, I only hope that I was able to do it justice.
They were standing very close. Too close. She could smell that musky soap of his again, and it was all she could do to stay where she was. He sure looked good in that uniform. Too good. She moistened her suddenly dry lips with the tip of her tongue.
“Don’t do that.”
“Lick your lips that way. I have to get back on the road in a minute, and that might make me quit my job so I can see you do that again.”
She giggled like a schoolgirl. “Oh, you can’t do that. Your uniform is half the appeal. Don’t you know, once a badge bunny, always a badge bunny?” She tapped the badge on his chest with one finger. “Badge bunny, huh?”
In one smooth move, his arm slipped around her and his lips pressed to hers in a quick kiss. “I hate to leave, Madam Bunny, but the streets of Virginia Beach are begging to be kept safe.”
“What kind of crime is there in a resort town in the middle of the winter?”
“You’d be surprised. Hookers still got pimps to pay, no matter how cold it is. Crack heads still need a fix, and drive-bys are very popular this time of year. The discerning gangster prefers not to freeze the family jewels to get the weekly quota of shootings in.”
“I suppose that makes sense, since it was this time last year when Donnie got mixed up in that supposed meth case.” No sooner had the words left her mouth that they heard the ringing of a cell phone.
Carter let her go and dug into one of his pockets. “That’s the Louie phone number. A text message.”
“What’s it say?”
“He says he wants a pizza with his Snickers and his Mountain Dew.”
“Hold on. Another message is coming in. It’s a photograph.”
“A photo of what?”
“Hard to tell. It’s pretty dark, but it looks like three people. He says he caught them leaving the house, and they are the same guys he saw the other night.”
“Ask him who they are.” Her heart rate picked up at the thought of a possible lead. “Are they cops?”
Carter tapped out a message and then waited for Louie to reply. “Okay, he says they left and locked the place up tight. He doesn’t know who they are, but he is certain they are the same guys he saw the other night.”
Carter typed in another message, then set the phone down on the counter by his radio. It buzzed almost immediately with a message from Louie, promising to let them know the second the men returned, as long as he could have an extra-large double cheese pie. “All right, as much as I hate to go, I need to get back out on patrol. Lunchtime is over.”
“Lunch time? Was I supposed to be a quickie on your lunch break?”
Carter grabbed his radio and clipped it back on his belt. “Trust me, baby, if that was why I was here, there would be nothing quick about it.”