Home > Complicated(4)

Author: Kristen Ashley

It was about finding bad guys and making them pay for forcing women, or anyone, to be that damned scared.

But now, Sheriff of McCook County, Nebraska, he didn’t do dick.

If his deputies threw a drunk in the tank, he dried out and they let him go. He screwed up and got behind a wheel, Hix sat in a courtroom months later while their county judge gave him or her a lecture in responsibility and a slap on the wrist, even if that lecture was repeated . . . repeatedly.

This being because that judge was always related one way or another to the drunk.

It just wouldn’t do to make Thanksgiving uncomfortable.

Forget about it with the kids messing around. They were all far more scared of their parents than Hix and his deputies.

Then again, it wasn’t about kids in his county driving new cars, having the latest smartphone, wearing designer clothes and looking to score ecstasy or Rohypnol to better enjoy their night on the town.

If they got in trouble, they might not be home to help work the fields.

So they’d get laid out by Dad, or Mom, in a way that Hix never saw them again unless it was at a school event where they would mind their manners, all “yes, sir,” and “no, ma’am,” and he’d see them open their date’s door so she could get in the car.

He understood it was unhinged that it seemed like he missed crime.

But it wasn’t that.

He missed feeling relevant.

He was forty-two years old but he felt like an ole timer with nothing better to do than flip the sign on the door so it didn’t say Open. It said, Gone fishin’.

There were a good many places to fish in Indiana, and if you wanted to make a thing of it, you’d go up to Wisconsin and get the really good shit.

Hix hated fishing.

He didn’t share that in those parts, or the fact he wasn’t a big fan of hunting either.

He watched his son play football. The school year wore on, he’d watch his son at first base for the school’s baseball team.

He also watched his daughter play volleyball then take a break before soccer season hit.

And his baby he watched dance.

Other than that, now that he no longer had a wife and only had his family every other week, he sat at his desk and listened to his deputies ask him how to deal with Mrs. Schmidt accusing her neighbor, Mr. Christenson, of stealing the tomatoes out of her garden. He worked out at the gym. He hung with his boys at the Outpost to catch a game or three. And he watched a shit ton of TV.

And last Saturday he’d gone to the Dew Drop out on Country Road 65, and he’d listened to Greta sing.

Between sets, after he bought her a drink, they’d chatted.

After she was done, he’d taken her home.

And after that, he’d made love to her.

He hadn’t fucked her.

He’d made love to her.

It started off differently, hot, heavy, wet, desperate.

Then for some reason, it had changed.

No, not for some reason.

He knew the reason.

He’d nipped her ear with his teeth and she’d turned her head, dislodging his mouth, and in the light of the moon, he’d seen her face.

She’d looked turned on. It was hot and he got off on the fact he made her look that way.

But she’d also been smiling.

She liked what he’d done, how it made her feel, all he’d done and how it felt.

But she also just liked him.

And he’d liked that.

He hadn’t had a woman since Hope had told him she wanted him to leave, and when he argued that she was making a massive mistake, for her, their kids, their family, him, them, and she didn’t let up, he’d left. Through a year’s separation, the whole time he thought he’d get her back and he wasn’t going to screw that chance any way he could.

But even if it had only been his hand and a lot of good memories he could make even better in his head, with Greta, no matter how long it had been since he’d been inside a woman, he’d taken it slow. He’d taken his time. And he took them both where he’d been with only one woman in his life.

His wife.

And it had been better than it had ever been with Hope.

Far better.

Beyond anything he knew could happen.

He knew why too.

Because Greta with the great voice, great hair, beautiful face and ample curves knew what she liked too.

But what she liked wasn’t about getting what she wanted.

It was about giving.

And Hix had never had that. Not like that. Not unadulterated. Pure. It being about her getting off on giving to him even as he got off giving to her.

Not once in his marriage. Not once in any relationship.

He gave.

He didn’t get.

Except from his kids and they gave him everything he needed by simply breathing.

He was down with that too. He loved his wife and he was the kind of man that thought that was his job, to pull out all the stops to give his wife what she needed, what she wanted, what made her happy.

He knew no other way mostly because he’d have it no other way.

Until he had it another way.


When Bets called him, Hix realized he was standing just inside the door not moving.


He moved to the swinging half door and swung through it, and as usual with Bets, dealing with her the only way she forced him with her crap to deal with her.

He held her eyes only as long as was necessary to say, “Mornin’.”

He walked down the center aisle between the desks as she replied, “Mornin’. Have a good weekend?”

He walked right past her, muttering, “Yup.”

And he had, for the first time in about a year and three weeks.

Or at least he’d had a good Saturday night.

Until he’d screwed it up.

He went to his office, then to his desk, tossed his phone on it and rounded it, hitting the button to boot up his computer.

His desk was at the side of the room, his back to the wall beyond which were the cells.

He did this because he didn’t want his desk facing the window. It would imply to his deputies he was keeping an eye on them. He also didn’t want his back to the window, not because he didn’t want his back to the door, that window was bulletproof too. Because he didn’t want his deputies to see his computer screen or watch him when he wasn’t aware.

So to the side it was. They had their privacy of a sort, as did he.

He was standing behind the desk, about to sit his ass in his chair, when Bets’s voice came from the door directly opposite him.

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