Friday, November 30, 2018

Christmas at Sinners Part 2 of 3 by Rolynn Anderson

Christmas at Sinners Part 2, by Rolynn Anderson

Mitch Newton's mood improved as soon as the woman strolled into the bar. Tall and model-slim, she wore a filmy t-shirt, tucked into long, baggy khaki pants. Her carelessly trussed-up hair and casual clothing had Mitch imagining she'd arrived for a quirky photo-shoot. Every single man in Sinners watched her enter the saloon and slip into a chair at the bar, guessing she’d order a chardonnay. When the bartender delivered a highball with an inch of amber liquid in it, Mitch had to smile. She sipped her drink and observed the people in the room by looking into the mirror behind the bar, surprising him further. To say she didn’t belong in Sinners was an understatement; the fact she seemed unfazed by not fitting in intrigued the hell out of him.

Better? Her presence gave him the hope he’d been seeking for hours.

“I was praying for a distraction,” Mitch said, climbing onto a stool two seats away from her. “And you are definitely a distraction, ma’am.”

She said nothing, but waggled her finger at the bartender for water.

“In the Samaritan spirit, I’ll sit here so you don’t get hit on by nineteen guys.” He took a swallow from his bottle of beer. “Don’t suppose you’ve got a room.”

“Nope. No vacancy. Internet and phones are down. I need a tow more than a room. You?”

“Same. I got stuck about a quarter mile down the road.”

“Did you try to get help from the men in this bar?”

“Yup. No luck.” Mitch squinted at her. “There’s more to your story.”

“I’m marooned by the storm.” She stared at him with enormous doe-brown eyes, luminous in the subtle light of the lounge. 

“You going to tell me what else you’re doing here?”

She sipped her drink.

“You’re wearing the wrong shoes. Service grade. Built for kicking a perp in the balls. Your pants are regulation ranger. Bet you have a gun in your sock.”

Her cheeks reddened, charming him. He pointed to her belt. “You’re in the habit of touching the place where your holster should be.”

She glared at him. “As if your ‘tells’ aren’t obvious. It’s plenty warm in here yet you’re wearing a jacket. I presume your gun’s in a shoulder holster.”


She swallowed water and tapped his arm. “Takes one to know one. I’m a new L.E. at Rainier. Low on the totem pole, pulling the holiday shift. Why are you in Ashford on Christmas Eve? You local law? I’m told they’re helping us with our case.”

With the shake of his head he said, “Washington’s my territory. Private Investigator-bounty hunter.”

“Your perp’s in here?”

“Maybe. Told someone he was ‘going to paradise.’ My take was Paradise Road, highway 706. Name’s Freddy Canto, a small-time crim whose bail-jump made his capture worth $10,000. Money I need for my sister's medical bills.

“Noble cause.”

“I heard Canto was hanging out in Enumclaw, heading south to look for easy money and a lay, so that put me at Sinners. I have a fuzzy surveillance pic of the guy, but he’s known to use disguises. I’ve talked to everyone who might fit his description, but I don’t think he’s in this bar, damn it.”

“I’m looking for an armed robber. A 10-32. Maybe an 11-24. He grabbed a couple thou at Mt. Rainier visitor center.”

He nodded, eyes on his beer bottle.

“Is Santa lurking nearby?”

He blinked in surprise. “What?”

“Just think, if you and I are after the same guy and we catch him tonight, Santa says we’re nice.”

Mitch shook his head. “Need the money more than the kudo.”

“Obligations.” She scanned the mirror. “You have a dossier on your man? We could help each other.”

“My perp's medium height and medium build. Barely a southern accent and a right-eye-twitch when he’s tense. Bright fellow and a good actor. Meticulous about changing his look, including clothes, hair, mustache. He’ll wear make-up and he favors old guy disguises.”

“Better intel than I have. My UNSUB wore a mask and a hoodie. Careful not to show anything. He could be most men in this room.”

“Half of the guys here could be Canto.”

“You know his ride…his car make?”

“Nope. What are you looking for?”

“A Camry. Covered in snow somewhere.”

Mitch drew in the strawberry scent of her. Eyes the color of jasper, mesmerizing. Her focus and fearlessness pleased him…and made his gut hurt. “We’re a team, then?”

She smiled for the first time and her face was transformed. Mitch gaped at her beauty, his words gone. Hope gone. He wasn’t a match for this woman.

Her expression morphed to irritated and Mitch swore the temperature around them dropped a few degrees.

“A strategy, Mitch?”

“Uh. I…” What was he thinking? Partnering with a woman like Sable was a pipe dream. 


He struggled to offer a plan.  Any plan. "Uh...I..." Thoughts of her smile helped him find the words. "One by one, you visit the men in this room. Smile first, explain your plight, ask for help.”

“What kind of help?”

Taking a swallow of beer, Mitch said, “You need a bed for tonight.”

Sable jerked back on the stool. “Instead of a tow?”

“You're looking for a conversation starter, not a stopper. Even if they could tow you, not one of these guys is foolish enough to try it until the morning plows come through.”


“Ask for a bed. No strings. Kindness of their hearts. As you beg, you're alert to guilt and disguises.”

She frowned. “And what are you doing while I look for your twitchy, disguised guy? What about my UNSUB?”

Mitch shrugged. “I’ve got a description for my man; might as well start with him. And like you said, we may be looking for the same guy. I’ll sit here, drink my beer, and use the mirror to watch for the reactions of each man you question. My smile isn’t nearly as powerful as yours.”

Sable was quiet.

“Do you need an incentive?”

She scoffed. “I’m a ranger. It’s my job to catch criminals.”

“Let's fatten the pot.”

“With what?”

Mitch grinned as he scrubbed at his forehead. “If we work in tandem, we'll collar a bad guy and snag us a bed for the night.”

Thanks for reading Part 2 of my story. Tomorrow comes the conclusion for "Christmas at Sinners."  


Margo Hoornstra said...

Yep. I am definitely along for this ride. Well done!

Christine DePetrillo said...

Oooooo, can't wait t o see what tomorrow brings! Love it!

Brenda Whiteside said...

Dangerous fun and games. The best kind. I'm kind of nervous for her!

Vonnie Davis said...

Snag US a bed for the night? Bwahaha. Well done, you.

Alicia Dean said...

Interesting...connecting with another law officer. Love the description. The challenge sounds interesting.

Jannine Gallant said...

I have a feeling Sable can handle any man in that bar, including Mitch!

Rolynn Anderson said...

Thanks, Margo. Glad you're still with me.

Rolynn Anderson said...

Thanks, Chris. It's tricky to say enough, but entice with what we don't say.

Rolynn Anderson said...

Brenda, you'll always catch the game-playing. Well done!

Rolynn Anderson said...

Vonnie, a roomful of bed-less men...interesting dynamic!

Rolynn Anderson said...

Alicia, when Sable lost fear, her other emotions intensified. She's good at the 'tells.'

Rolynn Anderson said...

Janinne, this is also her burden. She's lost her 'flight' instinct. I worry about her all the time :-)

remullins said...

Snag us a bed for the night? Hmmm can't wait!

Rolynn Anderson said...

Thanks, RE. Part 3 is a surprise, even to me ;-)

Alison Henderson said...

Wowza, talk about turning up the heat!

Rolynn Anderson said...

The word brazen comes to mind whenever Sable is in the room. She heats up the action wherever she goes!

Diane Burton said...

A bed? No strings attached? Hah. I can't see the guys in that bar being so innocuous. Meeting up with a bounty-hunter is fortuitous. But can she trust him? I'm really intrigued. Now I get to read the end. LOL