Beyond the Ocean's Depths (Not an Average Shifter Romance)

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Chapter 19: A Rock and a Hard Place

TORIN

“Torin, just let me take her with me for the day. She’ll be just fine and can help me around the office.”

Today was not going well at all. I originally planned on taking the day off to stay with Rainie and figure out what she could do for her community service commitment, but dispatch called at 6:30 a.m., reporting a pretty bad boating accident out past the reef and it was all hands on deck. As the Chief of the Marine Patrol Unit, I had to be there.

“Can’t you just take today off, Mom?”

“No. I have a meeting this morning that I have to be at. You’re making way too much of this. I won’t let anything happen to her; you know that!”

I did. I trusted my mother like no one else, and yet I felt like this was some sort of setup. I knew that she and October had talked after the meeting with Mrs. Williams, and they both wanted Rainie to join their little internship program initiative.

Not that the boating accident was their doing, but surely, they must have talked the will of the universe into making things work out in their favor. I had no choice; it was either leave her home alone or send her to work with Mom.

“Alright, you win. But I want you to have tabs on her all day!”

Mom smirked and I could see Rainie’s expression brighten. She was in on it, too! Damned women!

I grabbed my hat and walked out the door, climbing into my truck, slamming the door behind me. It didn’t help matters that I was hiding a huge secret. And no matter how old I was, hiding secrets from my mother always made me feel guilty.

“October Davis is my soul mate!?” I repeated for the hundredth time in my mind, still flabbergasted. I meditated on that little factoid with Onyx yesterday evening before I let him out to go meet up with Gina. And he had the nerve to laugh at me, having known it already. Damn him, too!

Everything made sense now - the erotic dreams of her that began the same night as Onyx’s mating, and my uncontrollable anger towards her from the moment I heard her lovely voice in my mom’s office. Of course, I was angry - I was innately attracted to her, and she was supposed to replace Sandy!

Well, that wasn’t going to happen. Just because a soul mate is available, doesn’t mean you have to take the opportunity, right? People miss their chance to be with their soul mate all the time!

Well, I didn’t know that for sure, but it sounded good at the moment.

Coming into physical contact with her yesterday changed everything though, and my instinctual feelings for her that originally been solely erotic and sexual in nature through my dreams every night since Onyx’s mating, had suddenly turned more nurturing and protective - just from that innocuous and meaningless touch on that bench in the superintendent’s office.

Her shoulder against my arm - and through the fabric of my uniform at that! What would have happened if it were skin on skin!?

Then seeing her reaction to her daughter’s plight was also endearing, even if only on the grounds of being a fellow single parent. I could tell she loved her kid - a lot. And the whole situation with that punk Kyle prompting both girls to punch him, really ticked me off on multiple levels, and not just regarding my own daughter, but October’s as well.

As a father (shifter or not) and a law enforcement officer, I didn’t tolerate unprovoked violence. And if the girls felt threatened by him, well that pissed me off.

But I saw the way Rainie treated Anne and vice versa in the office yesterday, and it made me wonder. Being my flesh and blood in human and dolphin form, did Rainie sense something more about Anne? She’d had other friends, but I’ve never seen her hug one of her other girlfriends before. NEVER! Granted, blood was involved yesterday, but...

And Mom seemed to have an overwhelming trust in October. Did she sense something, too?

“What if they both already know about October and I’m the last one to figure it out!?” I suddenly thought with alarm.

“Well, it’s not going to work. That’s all there is to it!” I told myself over and over all the way to the station. Thankfully, I had an emergency at hand to otherwise preoccupy my mind.

What I didn’t realize at the time was that this emergency would end up being a bigger problem than we’d planned. When I finally arrived at the scene, it was just past 7:30 a.m., and most of my guys were already there - at least the ones who were already on shift when the call came in.

A luxury yacht had run aground on the open-sea side of the reef about a mile out from shore, and was taking on water.

When the first patrol boat had arrived, it all seemed pretty cut and dry. Save the passengers and try to salvage the boat, if possible once the rest of the patrol landed. But when my guys ran the license on the boat, they discovered that it had been reported as stolen a month ago down in Miami.

I arrived just in time for a search of the passengers and a partial search of the sinking boat, which revealed drugs and a whole lot of money. I shook my head as Sergeant Romero opened the window seat in the captain’s cabin to reveal yet another stash of drugs.

Romero whistled, “Jeez, they filled her up with loot!”

I hated cases like this! We didn’t get a lot of drugs and stuff in Navarro Beach, but being close enough to Miami, it wasn’t unheard of. My week was officially shot, as I would be wrapped up in this mess for the next few days, if not longer.

I headed back to shore with the arrested crew to meet up with the County Sheriff’s people, so I could help transfer the five crew members to the Police Department. Since my patrol unit fell under them, I was still on the hook for oversight and for writing the report.

So much for getting Rainie a community service job elsewhere, I sighed, resigning myself to the fact that she was either staying home for the rest of the summer because she wasn’t eligible to go back to the Summer Center for lack of doing community service, or she would do her time at the aquarium with the other two kids - that is if Mom’s boss liked the idea.

Either way I was screwed.

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