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    sojourn
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

Change of Heart - 8. Chapter 8

This chapter just didn't want to end. Please take a moment to review. Surely there are some of you who object to the use of firearms? Let me know. Anyone object to my poor grammar and punctuation?
I think you get the idea. So leave a review.
Someone said they couldn't leave a review on GA. My email address is sojourn1950@yahoo.com.

The Christmas shopping crowd was in full bloom at WalMart. The parking lot was packed. Jeff just sneered at Paul’s suggestion that he and Maria be let off at the door while Jeff finds a parking spot. After going up and down a couple lot of parking lot rows they lucked out and got one about mid-way down on aisle 14. As soon as he parked Jeff stood on the driver's side step rail and surveyed the lot. Notting nothing suspicious, he ushered his family into the melee of Christmas shoppers.

They had decided that this trip was to re-establish the basics of Paul's wardrobe. That meant four pair of cowboy cut Wranglers, two pair of casual slacks, maybe ten button-down or snap-front shirts, casual shoes, house shoes, running shoes at least another pair of boots, socks, underwear and tee shirts. As Paul ticked off the list out loud, Jeff could see the frustration building in his face.

“Ok, what is your waist size? What's your tee shirt size?”

“30 inches and extra large. Why?”

“You take the cart and grab two pair of jeans and only three shirts. I’ll grab some tee shirts… wait a minute.” Glancing down at Maria, “It's better if we just stick together.”

So they did. Everything went well until the underwear aisle. Paul grabbed a couple of packages of multi-colored boxers in his size and threw them into the cart along with the shirts, jeans and tee shirts he had already chosen. Jeff selected two packages of skimpy, low rise briefs and tossed them into the cart.

A quizzical look, “Are those for you?”

A grin “They're in your size, right?”

A gasp, “I can't wear those. They cover almost nothing!”

A smirk, “And your point is?”

A look of consternation, “They don't even have a fly!”

Maria had been watching this ‘back and forth’ like a tennis match, shifting her head and focus as each man spoke. “Daddy, what's a fly? Do men have bugs on their underwear?”

Looking around, hoping no one would hear him, Paul glared at the again smirking Jeff, turned back to Maria and explained, “No honey, there are no bugs on men's underwear. When talking about underwear, a ‘fly’ is the front opening in men's underwear. Remember, I told you the reason there are urinals in a men’s room because men can pee while standing up.” Thankfully he got a nod so he didn't have to revisit the trauma of explaining urinals. “Well, there's an opening in the front of men's underwear and pants so they can pee standing up. That opening is called a fly.” Fortunately, Maria simply nodded in understanding. Unfortunately for Paul, his embarrassment was compounded by the presence of not only Jeff but also an attentive middle-aged woman who appeared to be enthralled by his explanation. Lurking, well within earshot and obviously interested was a young, handsome, male, sales associate. Paul could feel the heat flushing his face. If only he had kept his mouth shut… but nooo, he had to discuss underwear in front of his five-year-old daughter.

Maria, with all the innocence of youth, turned to Jeff, “Mr. Jeff does your underwear have a fly? Can I see?”

Paul was ecstatic! He wanted to jump straight up and fist-bump the sky! He wanted to kiss his little girl, buy her candy and lollipops and unicorns! Of course, he did none of that. He simply watched as his big, strong, handsome cowboy withered under the intense but patient gaze of his five-year-old inquisitor.

Jeff recovered far too soon for Paul's liking. After only a moment of uncertainty, a momentary look of shock and embarrassment, Jeff knelt down to look his Princess in the eye. “No honey, it is not considered polite for a grown man to show a little girl his underwear.”

“But, I’ve seen Daddy's underwear at home.”

“At home, it's okay to be more relaxed. Do you ever see your Daddy's underwear in public?”

Maria thought about it, then, much to Jeff and Paul's relief, shook her head saying, “uh, uh”.

“Ok then. How about we pay for all this and go to Dairy Queen for hot fudge sundaes?”

Maria squealed with affirmative delight.

The middle-aged woman offered, “I would have paid to see if he had a fly inside those jeans. My husband never does.”

The sales associate mumbled something that sounded like, “I’d pay to ‘get’ inside those jeans.”

Fortunately, Jeff and Maria were already heading for checkout and hadn't heard the remarks. Paul refused to respond to either comment. He simply smiled knowing there was no fly inside those jeans and that he, Paul Wilson, could get inside those jeans pretty much anytime he wanted.

The lines were long and checking out took forever. Hot fudge sundaes, with nuts, did a lot to restore their good mood.

“I got the feeling you weren't familiar with Walmart’s layout. I take it you don't shop there often. Is that because of location or because you don't have too.”

Jeff was caught off guard by Paul's comments. He searched Paul's face for a moment for a hint as to where this was going. Their inane banter had no real direction and was kept at a “G” rating to include Maria. Until Paul brought up Walmart. “I thought a lot about how I feel about Walmart. We’ve never owned any Walmart stock. My family saw too many small ranches ate up by big eastern Japanese conglomerates. Families forced to sell out was not necessarily the conglomerates' fault, but they were ready to take advantage of the situation. Walmart is worse than that. It poses a personal conundrum for me like it does for most people. My family opposed Walmart coming here for a long time. They knew what it would do to small, family-owned businesses. A lot of the empty storefronts in town were not that way before Walmart built here. I like the convenience and lower prices like everyone else. But, after I shop there and pass an empty storefront I feel a twinge of guilt and I think about those ranchers. So, to answer your unasked question, I am not a shopping snob. Just don't ever expect me to be thrilled about going to Walmart. It's easy for me to forget all that negative stuff when I’m with you and our Princess.”

Paul reached over and ran his hand caressingly up and down Jeff's thigh. Jeff wasn't sure how, but he felt like he had dodged a bullet on that one.

While it was still early, they decided to go on over to Joe and Mellie's. As Jeff was pulling into the circular drive Paul noticed three strange vehicles. All three were SUV’s. Two were black Suburbans and the other was a white vehicle he didn't recognize. All vehicles had darkly tinted windows.

Jeff put the Tahoe into park, slapped the steering wheel, chuckled, and said, “He did it! I didn't really think he would but he did it.” The chuckle rolled into a full-scale belly laugh.

Paul was totally confused. Then his eye caught the stylized “T” just forward of the driver’s side door. Looking back at Jeff he asked, “Are you talking about the Tesla?”

Jeff nodded as he fought to regain his composure. “Yes, I’ve been talking to the family about Teslas for the last couple of years. I emailed the Tesla link to Uncle Raymond after I took delivery of my model X. I carefully listed the options, paint, and interior of my car. I explained what I could do with the Tesla app on my iPhone. He told me he would check it out and take a test drive. That was the last I heard from him. He's a die hard Mercedes fan. Except for his 1968 Shelby Mustang convertible, that's his baby. He’s joked about being buried in that thing. At least I think he was joking.”

Instead of heading to the house, Jeff led them to the rear end of the Tesla. Pointing to a badge on the passenger side which show an underlined “P100D”. Jeff chuckled again, “That ol’...” glancing down at Maria, he ended with, “so and so. He got the same interior too.” Facing Paul he explained, “I ordered seven-passenger seating cause the third row folds down and the second row moves forward so you get plenty of storage. It seemed like leaving a room in an apartment unfurnished if I went with only five seats. Have you ever ridden in or driven a Tesla?”

“No, I’ve read about them online and watched youtube videos. I drive a five-year-old Explorer that is still new to me. There a little out of my price range. Have you ever used all seven seats?”

“I carried five coworkers to lunch one day. I preheated the cabin and the individual seats using my phone, from my office. That was certainly appreciated in the middle of a Chicago winter. Opening the doors by remote was interesting to them. But, the falcon wing doors were a big hit, that gave easy access to the third-row seats. But, they were blown away when it parked itself. I was only able to accelerate once but it pushed them back in their seats. They were sure surprised by the sheer power. Plus it's the safest vehicle on the road today.”

Jeff grinned at Paul, “Told Ya’ I’m a big Tesla fan. But, enough car talk. Let's go inside and see what's going on.”

Upon entering the house and just before Jeff could announce their presence, they were confronted by a mountain of a man. He had Eastern European features with dark brown hair and brown eyes. A strong nose that had obviously been broken more than once. An even stronger chin stuck out below thin lips that looked too tight to ever smile. He made Jeff think of a cross between the Incredible Hulk and Lurch… finger snap, finger snap.

With a definite Russian accent, Hulk/Lurch said, “You are expected. They are in the dining room.”

The huge man was about to lead the way when Maria, who had initially grounded herself to her father, stepped forward and demanded, “Who are you?”

Hulk/Lurch’s tough guy facade shattered as he squatted down and extended his hand and replied with a smile, “I am Ilya Orlov, vozlyublennaia.”

Watching cautiously as her tiny hand disappeared into the giant's paw, Maria with a smile, “It's nice to meet you Ilya, I’m Maria." She then asked, "What does ‘voz blue in you’ mean?”

Ilya chuckled, “Vozlyublennaia, means sweetheart in your language.”

“What is your language?”

“I speak several languages, but my language in childhood was Russian. Now we go to meet others, Da? That means yes, in Russian.”

Maria giggled in delight at having made a new and unique friend. With all the confidence in the world, she proudly announced, “Da Ilya, let's go.”

Ilya led the way into the dining room where Joe, sitting at the massive table, was busy viewing something on an iPad. Standing at his shoulder was a man, about 6’ 4” and about 200 pounds. His hair was wavy, dark brown that seemed to have hints of red mixed in. He was dressed pretty much like the other men in jeans and a button-down shirt. The man spoke as he pointed to the tablet, “In real time we’re able to follow his every keystroke on his laptop and every call or text on his cell phone, at work and at home. We have his browser history for the last six months and I don't think he has ever deleted an email. If you equate cleaning up your computers and cellphones to taking out the trash then his house and yard would be overflowing. We have established video surveillance to the point that we will soon know his personal hygiene habits.”

Paul recognized the sexy baritone voice as belonging to Jeff's Uncle Raymond. As he finished speaking, the man looked up and smiled at the new arrivals, with what Paul considered an almost familiar, toothy grin. His brain worked feverishly trying to identify this man that he had likely met before. He certainly would have remembered those piercing green eyes. Then like the madly spinning wheels on a slot machine coming to a halt, his brain recognized the incredibly handsome face. Paul could only mutter, “Oh my god”.

Jeff standing at Paul's side agreed softly, “Yeah, he gets that a lot. He looks just like a young Tom Selleck.” Paul stared blankly at Jeff then back at Jeff's Uncle Raymond, then back to Jeff. Regaining his composure he stared into Jeff's eyes and softly mumbled, “Huh?... Oh… Yeah, he does. I thought for a minute I had seen him somewhere before. That must be it, yeah, Tom Selleck.”

Uncle Raymond had moved around the table and wrapped Jeff in a massive bear hug. “Jeff! It's so good to see you again. What's it been now? Almost six months since I saw you last. I’m so glad you decided to come back home. I was afraid you might end up with that law partner and just stay in Chicago for good.” Then turning to Paul, “And you must be Paul Wilson, veterinarian extraordinaire and the reason Jeff has finally decided to come back home to Texas. Well, as always, Jeff obviously has good taste in men. You're even more handsome than Aunt Mellie led me to believe. I look forward to getting to know you better.”

Then, squatting down he looked Maria in the eye, “You must the talented and beautiful, Princess Maria everyone has been talking about.” Bowing his head he brought her hand to his lips to receive a gentle kiss, much like Jeff had done at their first meeting. Maria, blushing stared wide-eyed at the handsome man. “I am your new Uncle, Uncle Raymond. It's such a pleasure to meet you. Your Uncle Joe and Aunt Mellie have been telling me about you for a long time. You're prettier than any of the pictures they have shown me.” Maria slowly drew her hand to her chest and cupped it as though it had suddenly become something very precious.

Paul, witnessing the exchange, realized his little girl, just like her daddy, was susceptible to smooth talking, good looking, green-eyed men. For the first time, he could see himself cleaning a shotgun while grilling a would-be suitor concerning his intentions regarding Princess Maria. All the while pointing a double-barreled emasculator at the boy's balls. In that scenario, he and Jeff would both be cleaning guns. He tried to remember if he had seen a shotgun alongside the rifles in Jeff’s gun safe. He sighed, oh well, there was still time.

Aunt Mellie came in from the kitchen and after proper greetings asked Maria to come help her with preparations for dinner. Maria was obviously torn between getting to know the charming stranger and her new Russian friend better or helping the cook. Aside from riding and shopping, her favorite grownup activity was helping in the kitchen. Seeing her dilemma, her Daddy urged her with, “Go with Aunt Mellie now, we have business to discuss with these gentlemen.” The decision made for her she followed Aunt Mellie into the kitchen.

Once the ladies had left the room, Uncle Raymond cleared his throat getting everyone’s attention. “Alright everybody let's have a seat. You guys met Ilya, he’s our head of security. For the immediate future, there will be security guards assigned to both houses. Hopefully, they will blend in so as not to be too obvious, consider them a necessary nuisance. These men and women are highly trained professionals each with special forces backgrounds. Listen to their advice, it may save your life or the life of someone you love.”

After waiting a moment for questions, “Now, we’ll talk about the fire. Deputy Lovan has provided our people with copies of pertinent statements from both you guys as well as his observations and through a friend at the fire station he has obtained copies of Bumpkis’ documentation.”

“Bumpkis has made it clear that in his opinion the fire most likely started from faulty wiring. Probably from the front porch light. In spite of Deputy Lovan’s protests, the sheriff has decided to follow the Chief’s lead and not investigate any further. That leaves it to us to investigate this as arson.”

Only after he was sure he had Paul's full attention did he continue, “If this perpetrator was ever brought to trial, I think he could very likely be charged with, though probably not found guilty of, three counts of attempted murder. Since the sheriff has, at present, refused to investigate, I consider it likely that any future attempt by the perpetrator would likely be viewed as an isolated incident.”

“We’ve had our forensic engineering and arson investigation team on site since before daylight. Of course, tire tracks and footprints are out of the question. That team has confirmed the accelerant used was untaxed diesel fuel, commonly referred to as red diesel. That means the fire could have been started by diesel from this ranch or almost any good-sized farm or ranch in Texas. The samples taken indicate the can found at the scene was most likely the source of the accelerant.”

“The fingerprints from the can have been processed through the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System, IAFIS, the FBI’s fingerprint database. The FBI database turned up a match involving seven burglaries, over a period of about six months. These all took place in southern Idaho.”

“The last burglary happened a little over 18 months ago. The burglar was surprised by the homeowner who got knocked unconscious and had his house set on fire. Fortunately, the homeowner regained consciousness and called 911. Having been attacked from behind, the victim couldn't identify his attacker. The police were successful when they checked for fingerprints and were able to tie in the other burglaries. Police have since decided the burglar left the area after the arson and attempted murder both failed. Ilya has sent a man to Idaho to interview each of the burglary victims as well as the attempted murder victim.”

Paul, a little intimated by the scope of the private investigation, halfway raised his hand, “Excuse me sir, but what do you expect to learn by sending someone to Idaho. I mean, since we know, er, uh think he is in this area, wouldn't it make more sense to concentrate on this area?”

“First off, Paul please call me Raymond. In fact, I would be honored if you and Maria called me Uncle Raymond, as Jeff does. I must admit it felt more appropriate when he was about the age of Maria. Actually, I’m only ten years older than he is. We’ve just gotten used to it over the years. Now, it just seems natural.”

“As to your question, I’ll let Ilya answer that. Ilya?”

Turning to Paul, Ilya spoke with his thick Russian accent, “When police investigate a crime they tend to do so with a limited budget and limited perspective. For instance, in this case, did they check for a pattern in the burglaries or just accept them as opportunistic endeavors. Were the victims all at work or engaged in similar activities that let the burglar know the homes would be unoccupied? Were the houses in the same neighborhood or the same socioeconomic strata? Was there possibly a familial or professional connection? It could be as simple as they worked out at the same gym or shopped in the same shops.

“Or there may be a sexual connection? Often times the police take a very macho stand and refuse to consider that perhaps the perpetrator used sex to get to know his victims before burglarizing their homes? Like most straight men, and like all Russians, discussing same-sex encounters in other than the most base and vulgar terms calls into question their own masculinity. They tend to ignore or downplay any gay sex element of a crime unless it is blatantly obvious. So, there is much we can learn about this ‘sukin syn’ in Idaho.”

Without hesitation, Raymond picked up the thread, “While Ilya’s man is checking out the ‘son of a bitch’ in Idaho. His team here has begun questioning ranch employees. Joe has already directed the ranch foreman, Miguel Sanchez, and the acting barn manager, Dick Fenwood to make sure their people cooperate fully and report any suspicious behavior.”

Paul looked confused, then clearly upset, “What do you mean, the acting barn manager?” His accusatory gaze fell on Jeff.

Joe, not understanding the reason for Paul's sudden ire, offered, “Yes, Tom has taken time off to spend Christmas with his sister up in Snowville, Utah. He’ll be back to work on the 27th. Dick Fenwood is filling in for him. You know Dick, Paul. He's been with us for about five years.”

Ilya added, “We verified Mr. Braxton left on his flight the morning of the fire.”

Paul's face flushed red with embarrassment, “I’m sorry. I thought that…”

Suddenly, Jeff saw Paul had been thinking. “Paul, I consider Tom to be a good friend. I’m not happy with him wooing you and Maria. He and I need to have a serious talk, and we will. But, if he leaves this ranch it won't be because of petty jealousy on my part. I hope you love me like I love you. If you do, then how other people feel about either of us is their problem, not ours. We can't control their feelings, only how we react to them.” A slight pause, then, “Okay?”

Paul reached out and gave Jeff’s hand a reassuring squeeze. “You’re wrong, ‘WE’ should have a talk with him. I think he could be a good friend to both of us.”

Joe and Raymond both smiled at the two men’s exchange while Ilya perused his neatly trimmed fingernails. Raymond took up the conversation again, “Paul, we’re going to be asking you some very personal and probing questions about people you may have angered or alienated in the past. Friends, family or ex-lovers you may have intentionally or unintentionally pissed off. Anyone who may have a reason, however slight, to hold a grudge. You don't strike me as a man who looks for trouble so it should be a short list. I’d like you to think about that while you work with Ilya on your LTC. While y’all are playing shoot ‘em up, Joe and I will be grilling Jeff about his wild and crazy life in Chicago.”

Raymond handed Paul an ID card and explained, “LTC, License to Carry. Ilya is among other things a licensed firearms safety instructor. He will get you set up with sidearms and holsters. You will probably notice that issue date indicates you’ve been licensed to carry for almost a year. We figured, if you’re involved in any shooting, it might raise an unwanted red flag if you were newly licensed.”

Before Raymond could dismiss the group, Ilya cleared his throat. Raymond nodded and Ilya spoke, “I am sure you men think only girly men wear jewelry, but from this time you two, Mr. Joe, Miss Mellie, and Maria as well, will be wearing special necklaces. We will be able to track you to within one meter. You will wear them at all...”

Raymond decided to intervene before the boys told Ilya exactly what he could do with his jewelry and his suddenly domineering attitude, “What my well-intentioned friend is trying to say is that our jobs would be made easier if you all agreed to wear noninvasive tracking devices. We have chosen silver crosses on necklaces as the common medium. It's not unusual to see men or women wearing a cross. People who do see them will just assume you are somewhat religious.” Then with a soft smile, “For Maria, we chose something more in keeping with a five-year-old Princess.”

The meeting soon split up. Jeff and Paul drove Ilya to a went along with Paul and Ilya. Under Jeff's direction, Ilya drove them to a spot on the ranch that could safely be used for target practice. Upon arrival, they followed Ilya to the back of the Suburban where he lifted the tailgate, flipped back the carpet cover and revealed a hidden compartment. They watched in awe as a small arsenal was revealed. They would learn there were two M-4 carbines with attached magazines. Two short Kel-Tec KSG, 12 gauge shotguns, with ammo side saddles, two Sig Sauer P320’s semi-automatic handguns as well as two strange looking Chiappa 40DS, 6 shot revolvers. All weapons had red dot aftermarket sights as well as attached flashlights. Each had a round in the chamber. These guns were surrounded by boxes of ammunition.

Ignoring all this firepower Ilya pulled out a small case. Offering it to Paul he said, “Allow me to introduce you to your new best friends.”

Paul's curiosity overcame his hesitation so he took the case and sat it on the floor of the Suburban. Flipping open the catches he lifted the lid to find, he would learn, was a Chiappa Rhino 40 SD, 40 caliber revolver and a Seecamp LWS380 semi-automatic “mouse” pistol. Paul became convinced that whatever Ilya had in mind it was going to change Paul's life drastically.

Thank you for taking your time to read my story. Please take a little more time and leave a review.
Thanks,
Jim

Copyright © 2017 sojourn; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
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I don't know which is hotter Ilya or the gun talk. There were a few grammar errors but I'm not one to judge harshly on that seeing how my stories have a few or more itself. I'm relieved that tom isn't the cause of the fire.

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On 03/09/2017 10:22 AM, Wesley8890 said:

I don't know which is hotter Ilya or the gun talk. There were a few grammar errors but I'm not one to judge harshly on that seeing how my stories have a few or more itself. I'm relieved that tom isn't the cause of the fire.

Yeah, seems they think he is a good guy. I was in the middle of chapter two of your story "Wesley and Shamus". I got a review alert and since I was at an "accepting" place I figured I would check out my review from you. Try as I might I cannot produce one of those stories that are perfectly edited. Most is due to a lack of education. The rest is because I get tired of rereading what I wrote.

Like all my many shortcomings, I have learned to live with it.

Thanks for reviewing,

Jim

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as far as guns go, i'm not a fan. i believe they have a place in our society, but for me i choose not to use them. my son was interested in them from a very early age and said he wanted to shoot one. told him he needed a safety course than i wouldn't object. he waited until he was 22 and went with his aunt (who has a conceled carry permit) to the fire range/gun class. so for those who are responsible gun people i say have fun. within this story, the guns make sense

 

just moggy's 2cents

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On 03/09/2017 12:41 PM, mogwhy said:

as far as guns go, i'm not a fan. i believe they have a place in our society, but for me i choose not to use them. my son was interested in them from a very early age and said he wanted to shoot one. told him he needed a safety course than i wouldn't object. he waited until he was 22 and went with his aunt (who has a conceled carry permit) to the fire range/gun class. so for those who are responsible gun people i say have fun. within this story, the guns make sense

 

just moggy's 2cents

I was taught gun safety at a young age. That allowed a smoother transition to military life. I taught my sons those same principles.

Thanks for taking the time to review,

Jim

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This chapter raises more questions about the Adams family. The discussion with Ilya and Uncle Raymond was a lot more "James Bondish" than I was expecting. Makes me think the Adams are more wealthy and involved in stuff than I realised. I am not much of a gun fan, but I would guess it would be common in rural Texas. It seems appropriate to the story for me. There is still so much I want to know. Can't wait for more. Thanks. Jeff

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Argh ! Men and their guns (boys with their toys) ...

 

I agree with Jeff, this chapter raises more questions than answers. Is the perpetrator a hired gun ? Would the attempted murder be connected to that senior vet ? Or would the story go off in another tangent ? Was Ilya uncomfortable around the couple because of their PDA ? Or did he have other hidden issues, why did he inspect his fingernails ?

 

You have given us a story with a wealth of characters and a very intriguing plot line; the scenery and background have been richly painted, so as readers we should thank you profusely for your effort ! No one could self edit a story to perfection, an editor would help you clear up any minor glitches in no time at all, if you so wish. Please don't sell yourself short Jim, you are doing a really good job !

 

:thankyou:

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Enjoyed the chapter, plus the new faces. Surprised that Paul would think Jeff would fire someone over flirting, makes me think a little less of him.
Not unusual at all in a small town for law enforcement to not rock the boat and go against the fire investigators report. Do wonder how long either will have a job when this family gets through with them.

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On 03/09/2017 02:20 PM, JeffreyL said:

This chapter raises more questions about the Adams family. The discussion with Ilya and Uncle Raymond was a lot more "James Bondish" than I was expecting. Makes me think the Adams are more wealthy and involved in stuff than I realised. I am not much of a gun fan, but I would guess it would be common in rural Texas. It seems appropriate to the story for me. There is still so much I want to know. Can't wait for more. Thanks. Jeff

Thank you Jeff for your reviews. It was difficult to end this chapter, but if I had continued further there would have been another cliffhanger. There is much to be revealed both past and present about the Adams Family... fingersnap...fingersnap.

Thanks again for taking to review. It helps motivate me.

Jim

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On 03/09/2017 02:53 PM, hohochan657 said:

Argh ! Men and their guns (boys with their toys) ...

 

I agree with Jeff, this chapter raises more questions than answers. Is the perpetrator a hired gun ? Would the attempted murder be connected to that senior vet ? Or would the story go off in another tangent ? Was Ilya uncomfortable around the couple because of their PDA ? Or did he have other hidden issues, why did he inspect his fingernails ?

 

You have given us a story with a wealth of characters and a very intriguing plot line; the scenery and background have been richly painted, so as readers we should thank you profusely for your effort ! No one could self edit a story to perfection, an editor would help you clear up any minor glitches in no time at all, if you so wish. Please don't sell yourself short Jim, you are doing a really good job !

 

:thankyou:

Your reviews are always interesting and insightful. Thank you for taking your time to review. I was uncertain as to how this chapter would be received. You are too kind.

Jim

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On 03/09/2017 03:10 PM, centexhairysub said:

Enjoyed the chapter, plus the new faces. Surprised that Paul would think Jeff would fire someone over flirting, makes me think a little less of him.

Not unusual at all in a small town for law enforcement to not rock the boat and go against the fire investigators report. Do wonder how long either will have a job when this family gets through with them.

I think that our guys are still getting to know each other.

As to how Bumpkis and his crew will be dealt with... I suspect the impact will be like an oncoming summer storm. You can disregard the distant rumble of thunder, but you can't really know the power of the storm until the damage has been done.

Thanks again for your reviews. I really look forward to reading what you have to say.

Jim

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I'm thoroughly enjoying this story. The characters, the intrigue and the drama. Not to forget the little Princess.
While I'm not usually in favour of too much firearms, this story warrants it. It's cowboy country after all, and it's more than property that needs protection. I look forward to Bumpkis (appropriate name) and al being dealt with. They won't know what hit them.

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On 03/10/2017 01:21 AM, Terry P said:

I'm thoroughly enjoying this story. The characters, the intrigue and the drama. Not to forget the little Princess.

While I'm not usually in favour of too much firearms, this story warrants it. It's cowboy country after all, and it's more than property that needs protection. I look forward to Bumpkis (appropriate name) and al being dealt with. They won't know what hit them.

Yeah, guns and Texas... not quite pb&j but...

Thanks for taking time to post your reviews Terry, they keep me motivated.

Jim

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Hi there

 

This is really getting interesting, can't wait for how the story evolves. Really good.

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On 03/11/2017 01:03 PM, mikedup said:

Hi there

 

This is really getting interesting, can't wait for how the story evolves. Really good.

Thank you for your reviews. When readers take the time to comment, even to complain I feel motivated. I hope you like how it develops.

Thanks again,

Jim

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Well I shan't criticise your grammar as I suspect mine at present - sharing second bottle of claret with himself at present - but you do tell a good tale.

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On 4/2/2017 at 6:07 PM, bjorde said:

Well I shan't criticise your grammar as I suspect mine at present - sharing second bottle of claret with himself at present - but you do tell a good tale.

I just stumbled across your comment. Please don't think you were being intentionally ignored. I  love the idea of someone reading one of my stories while sipping on a glass or two or more as long as their is no driving involved. As to grammar... I hate it when the flow is interrupted by inept grammar and punctuation. Both of which, I most humbly admit, I am guilty. I do apologize. If you can hold out I get a really good editor before chapter 15. 

Thanks for taking your time to post a comment.

Jim

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Really interesting chapter. I'm convinced that Paul has indeed met Uncle Raymond somewhere in his past. ( The fact that he looks like a young Tom Selek doesn't hurt either) . While I've never had the chance to actually touch a gun, I know people that do. In this case protecting yourself is understandable , while someone like the sheriff ,in this story, probably abuses that privilege to intimidate and feel superior.  Just the vibe I'm picking up.  On to the next chapter in this day of binge reading. ? ( Sorry, I somehow got the fire chief mixed up with the sheriff, I think?)

Edited by Tazzle001
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On 4/16/2017 at 4:21 PM, Tazzle001 said:

Really interesting chapter. I'm convinced that Paul has indeed met Uncle Raymond somewhere in his past. ( The fact that he looks like a young Tom Selek doesn't hurt either) . While I've never had the chance to actually touch a gun, I know people that do. In this case protecting yourself is understandable , while someone like the sheriff ,in this story, probably abuses that privilege to intimidate and feel superior.  Just the vibe I'm picking up.  On to the next chapter in this day of binge reading. ? ( Sorry, I somehow got the fire chief mixed up with the sheriff, I think?)

You are still he only reader to make that connection between Paul and Raymond.  I'm not saying you're right... just hold that thought.?

As to the two baddies, one is a egomaniacal, homophobic sociopath with a badge and a gun and the other is the evolutionary equivalent of stagnant pestilential pond scum noted only for it's ignorance and bigotry. It's not hard to confuse the two. 

Thanks for posting your insightful comments.

Jim

 

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Paul and Uncle Raymond definitely seem to have a history, yet only Paul has a reaction. Maybe Uncle Raymond's extensive dealings with all manner of people gives him an edge in not overtly reacting . If there are any skeletons in the closet , let's hope they're not malign ones. That Maria casually tumbles the Russian titan is priceless and shows that although it appears she has been raised mainly by Daddy , her confidence has never suffered. I'm never comfortable with firearms and hope that the changes Paul senses are not too drastic or damaging . The investigations seem to be proceeding full steam and are heating up... can't put the story down..... damn!!!!!

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You are the only reader to pick up on the impact Uncle Raymond has on Paul. At some point you're going to say... so that's the reason. And that's all I'll say about that.

Jim

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Is uncle Raymond Jeff's brother? I thought Paul 's reaction was due to him recognizing Jeff's looks in the older man. The burglar angle seems like a red herring. Why break into a house where the only asset is a TV? Unless he was looking for drugs (but they would be in the car or the barn, right?) or he was sent by the old vet enemy.

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2 hours ago, Timothy M. said:

Is uncle Raymond Jeff's brother? I thought Paul 's reaction was due to him recognizing Jeff's looks in the older man. The burglar angle seems like a red herring. Why break into a house where the only asset is a TV? Unless he was looking for drugs (but they would be in the car or the barn, right?) or he was sent by the old vet enemy.

Like I said before, I like the way you think. Your suggestions would be appreciated when you catch up on your reading. As to anything in your comment "no comment".

Thanks for posting your comments.

Jim

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Love Ilya - very sexy -- him and Raymond perhaps???? I hope. You didn't mention Raymond being involved or I missed it if you did.

 

Grammar - "They new what it" should be the other knew

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7 hours ago, Jeugie said:

Love Ilya - very sexy -- him and Raymond perhaps???? I hope. You didn't mention Raymond being involved or I missed it if you did.

 

Grammar - "They new what it" should be the other knew

You are somewhat persnickety. Please continue documenting my mistakes. I promise I will correct them soon. I knew someone would discover my ineptitude. Who knew it would be a new reader.😉

Thanks for posting your comments.

Jim

p/s, fixed it. Now, it's just like new. But, you knew it would be.

Jim

Edited by sojourn
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Jim - it's not ineptitude. I was a proof reader for a newspaper when I was younger. The biggest mistake made by writers is proofing their own copy. Our brains being what they are know what it is supposed to say - so our eyes see it correctly rather than what is actually written. We are all guilty of this!

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