As a "thank you" to all of my readers, I'd like to share the opening scene of a manuscript I'm currently working on. I'm hoping it will intrigue you. It's yet another story in my Jacob Schmidt (crime/PI) series.
Placing the last grocery bag in his trunk, Jacob turned to look. “Yeah.”
A gentleman approached. “Do you know who I am?” he said, coming to a stop a few feet away.
Jacob sized him up. The guy was huge. Six-five, he estimated, with broad shoulders. Jacob had tipped the scales at a little over two hundred pounds during his college days, but that was twenty years ago. Being only average height and possessing a medium frame, he’d been a good forty pounds overweight at the time. Jacob needed to work himself into shape prior to joining the police academy, so he lost the baggage and maintained a steady body mass ever since then.
Still, the guy probably had seventy-five pounds on him. Even his hands were beefy. They were Kong-sized meat pounders, and Jacob noticed a cluster of calluses as the man rubbed them together. Those hands had obviously seen their fair share of work over the years. Whether it involved manual labor or roughing up people, Jacob couldn’t be sure. Maybe both.
“I’m sorry.” Jacob closed the trunk. “Should I?”
“Mitchell Thompson,” he said.
That name rang a bell. The last name, at least, but not in a good way.
“Any relation to Bill Thompson?” Jacob asked.
“I’m his father.”
“Nice to meet you.”
Jacob extended his hand, but Mitchell didn’t move. His eyes didn’t, either.
“My son may be suspended from school because of you,” Mitchell said.
Jacob lowered his hand, tucking it in his front jeans pocket. “If he’s facing suspension, it’s because of him.”
“Robert and Debby Gilman. Did you head up their investigation?”
“I’m not at liberty to say.”
“But you played a part.”
“Like I said—”
“Yeah,” Mitchell said, moving a step closer. “Client confidentiality. You can’t talk, but I have ways of changing that.”
“Bullying is a serious offence. You of all people should know that schools have a no-tolerance policy. Apparently, grocery store parking lots could use some enforcement, too.”
“I know who you are.”
“Don’t get smart. You think just because you used to be a cop that you can give me a holier-than-thou speech?”
“You approached me.”
“I’m a former Army Ranger, and I don’t—”
“Wow.” Jacob paused. “Thank you for your service.”
“Cut the crap.”
“Just expressing my gratitude.”
“I bet. I don’t like accusations, especially when they involve my son.”
“It’s not an accusation if evidence supports the claim.”
“Sketchy evidence at best, and I doubt proper protocol was followed.”
“Do you know that for a fact? Personally, I would never break any laws. Neither would my partner.” Jacob wanted to take it back. He’d accidentally associated Dinah with the case, and the last thing he needed was her in harm’s way, too.
“Does that include trespassing?”
“We would never step foot on private property, especially school grounds, without permission. That’s one good thing about bullies. They tend to do things in public.”
Mitchell took another step. With a stride as big as his, it didn’t take much to close the gap. Now he was in Jacob’s grill. “I’ve had just about enough of you.”
Jacob stood his ground, putting up a front the best he could. Inside, his heart was sprinting fast enough to beat Usain Bolt in a forty-yard dash.
“Look,” Jacob said. “I get it. No parent wants to admit it when their child does something wrong. I have a son, too.”
It was another mouthful Jacob wanted to have back. He was disclosing too much, and this guy could be a nutcase for all he knew. Fortunately, his words drew a favorable response. Mitchell backed up, and Jacob took a much-needed breath.
A car horn distracted both of them, the source originating behind Jacob. Mitchell stared over Jacob’s shoulder. Jacob turned. A woman sat in the driver’s seat of her car, motioning to someone. The tail end of another vehicle began to creep out a few spaces down from where they were positioned.
He focused on Mitchell again, but only momentarily. Something else caught his eye, this time in the opposite direction, behind Mitchell. The driver was a man in a small sedan. It’s engine revved, and the car sped up. Not gradually. Not someone looking to find a parking spot. Someone with a different purpose. The car kept coming. It continued to accelerate. Twenty yards. Fifteen. Ten.
“Out of the way,” Jacob barked.
“Huh?” Mitchell glanced over his shoulder.
Jacob grabbed Mitchell’s shirt, attempting to pull the massive man to the ground with him. Though Mitchell didn’t budge as much as Jacob had intended, he generated enough momentum for the big body to follow. Both of them collided with the pavement, Mitchell landing on top of Jacob’s leg. Then the sound of metal against metal.