Fireweed

Second book in the Whiskeyjack triology.

It’s been three months since the previous book ended. Whiskeyjack is poised on the beginning of break-up — that time in spring where snow turns to gumbo mud and everyone stop for a couple of weeks until the roads are again passable.

Only this year, more than the roads are due for a shakeup and, possibly, a breakup.

*****

Dan arrived Thursday, just in time for Dennis’ bachelor party. He found crowds tiring; he’d be exhausted by bedtime.

 In their shared room, Meg settled the cot/bed question by being firmly ensconced on the cot when he returned. He sat on the cot’s edge her to remove his boots, his back pressing into hers. He reeked of barbecued steak, smoke, Scotch, and a sweetish undercurrent.

She turned over. “You stink.”

“I’ll shower.”

“Is that smell what I think it is?”

“Aye, courtesy of Dennis’ cousin from Victoria. Dennis was livid. They almost came to blows.”

The signs at Randall Timbers, Drugs on site are grounds for dismissal, meant it.

“What stopped them?”

“The best man, the other groomsman, and me calmed Dennis down. J. T. and Walt took the cousin outside for a word of prayer.”

John Thomas Arrowsmith was Dan’s former partner; Walt Yates, Dan’s replacement.

“They’d have left it at a warning, but he smart mouthed Walt and ended up in cells. He’ll do community service until Easter morning.”

“Was it hard?” Hard to watch other men do the job he could no longer do?

He shoved his boots under the cot. “A bit, but then, I dinna end up at the detachment listening the prisoner lecture me on Canada’s outdated drug laws.”

He got up and threw a towel over his shoulder. “Cot’s mine. Ye gave up yer room to Terri’s parents. I’ll nae have ye giving up a bed, too.”

She grabbed her pillow, padded across the room, and climbed into the bed. “We’ll trade off. Even steven. Every other night, you get the bed.”

Now, after four nights, their scents were so intermingled on the sheets, they might as well be sleeping together.