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Book 1 of the Precious Stone Series

M. A. Silver

Copyright © 2018 by M. A. Silver

This novel is a work of fiction. Any references to historical events, real people or real locales are used fictitiously. Other names, characters, places and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination and any resemblance to actual events, locales or persons, living or dead is coincidental.

All rights to reproduction of this work are reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced to a retrieval system or transmitted, in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise) without the permission of the copyright owner. Thank you for respecting the copyright.

For permission or information on foreign, audio or other rights, contact the author.




Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21



This book is dedicated to my parents, both of whom instilled the love of reading in all their children. Papa, Mother… I miss you both so much.

I love you.

I would like to give my heartfelt thanks to Andrea H. You have been there from the beginning of this labor of love and I can never say thank you enough.

Thanks to Tatiana Vila for putting up with me. I love the cover art!


The first time I saw, “Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing” I was probably 9 or 10 years old. Needless to say, I forgot most of the story. I say most, because the one thing that stuck with me was the scene where Jennifer Jones character announces to her family she is in love with an American. As each of her family exit the room, they each take off a piece of Jade and gift it to Han Suyin. Suyin, later explains to her American lover, “We Believe That Jade, If Worn Long Enough, Becomes The Person Who Wears It” and “They have given me something of themselves to take away.” By giving the jade to Suyin, the family is in essence, giving her a part of each of them. It also meant that, she was basically disowned and this was all she would have of them. I have seen the movie many times since that first time, and now love the story of Dr. Han Suyin and Mark Elliott. But still love that scene the most.

My mother gave me my first piece of Jade many years later, and I now have several pieces. Some she wore, some she didn’t. But when I wear those she wore, especially one heavy necklace, I always wear it tucked in, against my chest, on the left side, over my heart. That way, I know she is with me.

What follows is information for entertainment purposes only and taken directly from several internet sites. It is not meant to provide any kind of medical advise. So, if you’re sick or have any of the malaise mentioned below, seek medical help. But maybe take a bit of the metaphysical to heart. I mean, what could it hurt? MAS

Jade is a stone of the heart. As such it is related to the heart chakra and has a beneficial effect on all heart chakra related issues. So, of course, it can attract and enhance love of all kinds. It is also a stone of fidelity and generosity. It is also considered to be good for the physical heart and for emotional balance and stability. It is used in crystal healing for increasing self-reliance. Jade is also very helpful as a stone of abundance. Physically, jade is used in crystal healing for lung problems, kidney problems, immune system weakness, PTSD, and nervous system overwork. Jade is also energized by its color, and relates to those color energies as well.

Chapter 1

What the hell was she thinking? Today was her 57th birthday and all Diana wanted was to be home, dressed in her yoga pants, flip-flops and oversized men’s tee shirt reading a good book, listening to the local classical music station. Instead she had let the “girls” from the office talk her into going to a local club for a celebration party. The music was too loud, the room too warm and the bodies too young. She wasn’t exactly uncomfortable, hell, she spent too much time in her club to be, but she would have to make her get away before too much longer.

What the hell had she been thinking coming out tonight?

The perky blonde waitress, swaying to the bass beat of the overly loud music, reached over Diana’s shoulder to pick up the empty glasses on the high top table and asked if she wanted another drink. Diana looked at the empty glass which still contained a few ice cubes and nodded.

“Yes, tall Soda Water, please.”

She rarely drank anymore and never during the week. Those days were long behind her. Crawling out of bed in the morning, feeling like crap and trying to get through a ten hours work day just didn’t work for her anymore. And while she didn’t have to work her day job tomorrow, she did need to get to her “Pen” early and get the accounting paperwork done and do some ordering for a private party she had booked for Saturday night.

She reached up to make sure her waist length hair was still in the bun she preferred for her day business work hours, pushing the Bobbie-pins deeper into the bun to insure it stayed secure. She couldn’t wait to get home and release the constriction. The back of her head and shoulders ached from the weight of keeping it in the elaborate knot she kept it in most days, not to mention spending ten hours working on her computer. Diana kept thinking she should cut it all off, but it was one of the few guilty pleasures she allowed herself. She loved nothing better than having it brushed.

As she started to bring her hand back down, she felt the fine hairs at the nape of her neck tingle and prick up. Her sixth sense kicked in and she know what it meant. As nonchalantly as possible, she turned, swinging her crossed, nylon clad legs to the side of the tall chair and reached back to pull her wallet from her purse where it rested on the back of her chair. Twisting in her chair allowed her to nonchalantly take a look at the bar, tables and people around and behind her.

There was what looked like a bachelor party going on behind her at the bar, but she didn’t immediately see anyone watching her, but she couldn’t shake the feeling that someone was staring at her. She continued her perusal of the bar until her gaze came to rest on the dark haired, mustached man who seemed to be older, more mature than the others in the group. His eyes snagged hers and didn’t let go. She was used to men and yes, women, staring at her, but not when she was in day attire. On the days she worked at the country club office, she dressed very conservatively. Almost dowdy. Only when night came and she was at the “Pen” did she dress to command attention.

* * *

What the hell was Jake thinking? He had agreed to come to the bachelor party for one of the younger deputies he worked with, but all he wanted was to head home, strip out of his suit and jump into the pool for his nightly swim. Then he wanted to climb into bed and continue the novel he’d started last weekend until his brain was calmed enough to allow him to sleep. The last place he wanted to be was in a club that catered to the twenty-something crowd. The music was too load, the room overly warm and he hadn’t recognized a single song the DJ had played so far. He was getting too old for this shit.

What the hell had he been thinking coming here tonight?

Just as he started to turn to ask the bartender for a soda water, his attention was caught by a woman sitting alone at the high top table that looked to be the center of another party. Balloons, proclaiming “Happy Birthday” were tied to her chair and the woman looked to be almost as uncomfortable as he felt. He watched as the young waitress started clearing the many empty glasses and leaned in to the women, asking, he was sure, if she wanted another drink. She nodded and as the waitress turned to leave, she raised her hand to the back of her head, probably to make sure the bun she wore was secured. Her hand stalled for a second, then started to drop to the table.

It was then he realized that her hair might not be blonde as he thought at first glance, but silver. When she turned to reach for her purse, the lighting from above caught her hair and seemed to throw sparks around her head. And when she turned around, he noted that the hair around her face was completely white… silver. Interesting… Most women colored their hair at the first signs of gray, hell, most men did too now. Jake never understood it. His own thick, coal black hair was heavily laced with grey and was one of his better feature, or so he had been told by his daughter.

When her eyes locked with his, he felt like he‘d been kicked in the chest. He felt the beginning tingle of attraction skitter down his spine, roll around to the front of his gut and lower to lodge somewhere around his groin.

Hmm… Again, interesting. It had been a long time since a woman had peaked his interest. While he couldn’t tell from this distance, he would bet his Harley, her eyes were blue.

From this distance, he could tell she was a beauty. Fresh faced without heavy make up. And her hair was extraordinary. He wondered how long it would be when released from the bun she had it in. Judging from the size of the bun, it would be long and thick. He would love to pull the pins and release her hair and run his fingers though it. Then grab a handful and pull her head back and run his lips down… Whoa! He felt his cock twitch. Down boy! What the hell? He wasn’t some randy teenager. He was pushing 59, and too old to be fantasizing about a woman in a bar he hadn’t met… yet.

Jake dug into his pocket, pulled out his money clip, peeled off a twenty and headed to the DJ booth.

After leaning over the Plexiglas divider and speaking to the DJ, the twenty landed in the cup near the turntables. The kid nodded, smiled and shot Jake two thumbs up.

When the DJ announced he was going to be “slowing’ it down” for a couple of songs, Jake watched as several twenty-something women and a couple of young men returned from the dance floor to silver haired beauty’s table. Before he could make it though the crowd coming off the floor, one of the young men rounded the table and grabbed the silver haired woman’s hand, practically dragging her onto the dance floor. He could tell she was uncomfortable, but laughed good naturedly and went anyway.

As they passed him, he drew a breath and could smell a familiar scent he couldn’t quite place. It was so familiar, pleasant, teasing his memory. Something he hadn’t smelled in many years, but something he associated with good memories.

After a moment of watching, Jake decided he’d had enough as the kid step on her toes, again, and made his way to the mostly empty dance area and tapped the young man on the shoulder. Not expecting an interruption, the couple stopped and he caught the grimace on the woman’s face as the kid stepped on her toes again.

“Mind if I cut in?”

The young man stepped back, relief showing on his face, relinquishing his hold on the woman’s hand.

“No, go for it man.” he said and scuttled back toward the table.

* * *

Diana looked up into the almost black eyes of the mustached man who’d been watching her from the bar and had tapped David on the shoulder. God, he was big. In an instant, she sized him up. Not just tall, but wide shoulders that tapered to a trim waist and long legs. While she didn’t consider herself that small at 5’ 4” the top of her head barely reached his chin and when he took her left hand in his right, his hand seemed to swallow hers. Oh goodness, hands where one of her weaknesses. There was nothing more attractive to her than a man with big hands and his were huge! He placed his left hand on her back to bring her closer into him. That hand seemed to span her whole back from the top of her spine at the base of her neck to the top of her waist. Goose bumps skittered down her arms, raised the fine hairs at the nape of her neck and she felt her nipples start to harden. She looked at her hand in his and placed her free hand on his left shoulder.

He leaned towards her right ear, inhaling the scent he still couldn’t identify and his mustache and five o‘clock bristle scraped her temple as his lips brushed lightly against her ear.

“Happy Birthday” he whispered.

Diana barely restrained the groan, as against her will, her head tilted towards his lips. Oh, my goodness, was the only thing going through her mind. He had the voice of a late night disc jockey. Deep, rumbling… A voice made for the dark of night and hard driving sex.

“Thank you” she replied looking up, gaze locking with his incredibly dark eyes.

Slowly, they started to sway to the sounds of a favorite song of hers. Funny that the DJ would play a Eric Clapton. “Wonderful Tonight” was a beautiful piece, an oft played song on one of the oldies station she favored in her car and the office. It never failed to bring tears to her eyes.

Looking down at her face, Jake realized she was older than he’d first thought. No twenty-something girl here, but a women. Probably in her late forties, maybe even early fifties. Good, now he didn’t feel like he would be robbing the cradle.

“I would have lost.” he murmured to himself.

Her chin came up and she tilted her head to the right. “Lost?” she asked barely loud enough to be heard over the song he‘d asked the DJ to play.

Jake hadn’t realized he’d spoken aloud. “Yeah, I made myself a bet that your eyes were blue. And they are…?

“My drivers license says green” Diana replied with a slight smile. God, he was handsome. And his voice. As the girls in the office would say, “to die for.”

“And what did you bet yourself?” she asked almost coyly.

Coyly? Oh man, Diana hadn’t been coy since she first started training in the lifestyle. What was this man doing to her. She’d loved to flirt when she was younger, but with her business and position, she didn’t have that luxury much anymore.

God, she really was beautiful Jake thought. The way her little chin came up and she tilted her head to the right and the slight smile as she asked her questions brought out the little laugh lines around her eyes. And her voice was what he had heard most of the male contingent at the station call a “bedroom” voice. Deep, feminine, made for sex.

“My Harley” he shrugged.

“Oh, be still my heart!” she sighed, “Handsome, sexy, big hands, beautiful mustache and a Harley to boot!” she grinned up at him, this time with the full blown smile that felt like a punch to his chest and almost knocked him to his knees. Jake felt his cock twitch and start to swell.

Jake chuckled and Diana felt the rumble though her chest. Then he brought his head down to whisper in her ear, “Be still my heart! Beautiful, small hands, ripe body, a sense of humor and loves Harleys to boot!” twisting her reply to suit. Her eyes flew to his when he pulled back and winked. Actually winked at her. Feeling flirtatious, she winked right back at him. He smiled flashing pearly white teeth and his mustache twitched over his beautiful mouth.

“Wicked”, Diana corrected him with a slight toss of her head. His left eyebrows cocked and he gave her a questioning look.

“Wicked sense of humor.” Diana continued. “Or as one of my teachers’ liked to tell me, ‘wicked, warped sense of humor‘.” she explained. “It would occasionally get me into trouble, but I somehow think you can take it.”

He leaned into her ear again and whispered, “I can take it if you can. So don’t hold back from me. Give me everything you’ve got, babe.”

The dual meaning wasn’t lost on Diana. Oh yes, she thought, this man would be ready and most certainly able to take anything she could throw at him. The confidence radiating off him had her willing to bet not much got passed him. She might have to rein herself in until she knew him a bit better. And did she hope she would get to know him better. It had been years, since any man had peaked her interest as quickly as this man was doing. And it had been over ten since she had allowed a man… No, lets not go there tonight.

The DJ segued into another Clapton song, “Tears in Heaven” and Diana pulled her left hand from his hand to reach up and place it on the nape of his neck. She then lowered her right hand to the middle of his chest and stepped in closer. This forced him to place his now free right hand at her waist. The man was solid. Diana’s brows lowered in thought and she tapped her index finger against his chest. Too solid. Sneaking a look around, she noticed that, for most of men in this club, California Casual was the dress code of choice. But this “big man”, along with several of the group he came in with, still had their suit coats or light weight jackets on. Both eyebrows raised up in understanding and the light bulb went on over her head.

“So, tell me Officer, or would that be Detective? How long have you been in law enforcement?”

Damn, she was observant, Jake thought. Since he had come directly from the stationhouse right after shift, he hadn’t taken time to change and still had his Kevlar vest on, his service weapon still in the holster at the back and to the right at his waist covered by his suit coat. As a Captain in charge of detectives, he was required to have his piece on him at all times, on or off duty. When he was home, he kept it in a lock box in a dresser drawer next to his king bed.

“Dang, woman, you are good. But a better question might be, when was I not in law enforcement.” Just then, the DJ changed the music and the volume coming out of the speakers set up around the dance floor caused Jake to grimace. He leaned in, almost having to shout to be heard. “Can we find someplace quieter? This stuff that passes as music is going to rot my brain if I have to listen to it much longer. There’s a coffee shop just up the block. We can talk there.”

Diana had to agree with him. This stuff really would rot the brain. Ah, give me Debussy’s Clair d Lune any day, she thought. Not sure he would be able to hear her, she nodded her agreement. He grabbed her hand and led her from the dance floor. When they got to her table, all talk stopped and all eyes swung to Diana and the big man next to her as he leaned down and in close enough to her ear that his mustache ticked the upper edge. Jake told her he needed to make his excuses and he would meet her by the door. Again, she nodded that she agreed and signaled that said she needed to do the same with the group she’d come with. When Diana turned to the table, several of the young women in the group looked at her with their mouths hanging open and David, fanned himself with both hands mouthing “Hot, hot, hot!” at her. She couldn’t help the huge grin on her face, and felt her face growing warm. Was she blushing? Damn, what was this man doing to her?

These kids all knew her from work. The professional, slightly dowdy, quiet, self confident office manager and right hand to the GM and Board of Directors of one of the most prestigious country clubs in the country. She was more a mother than friend to these kids. And here she was, after two dances, leaving with a man, whose name she didn’t even know. Well, hopefully that would bring her up in their opinion. She grabbed her purse from the chair with the balloons still tied to it, wiggled her fingers to the crowd and yelled to them all to have a good rest of the night and headed for the door. Before she had gone more than ten steps, hoots and hollers went up from the table, along with a few “Go get’em Girlfriend”, and one “Make us proud, Di!”

While Diana was making her excuses at her table, Jake walked up to the young deputy whose bachelor party it was, pounded him on the back, wished him a good night He handed five twenty dollar bills to the bartender with instructions to not let any of them go over the limit. He then quickly made his excuses to the rest of the group and headed for the door. Several of the group had been watching the man who’d earned their respect over the last year and a half and put their heads quickly together. Just as Diana reached where Jake was standing by the door, as one they yelled, “Good night Cap and remember… be safe out there!” Jake lowered his head until his chin touch his chest, shaking his head and laughing quietly to himself. “Be safe out there,“ was how he ended each mornings roll call meeting. Then he grabbed Diana’s hand, and his free hand lifted over his head middle finger held high. The group behind him erupted into roaring laughter.

Chapter 2

Once outside, the noise from the club became nothing more than a bass beat. Standing just out of the way of the front door, Jake spun Diana around, pushed her against the wall and trapped her between his arms.

“Jake” he said lowering his right hand from where it rested near her head and holding it out in front of him.

“Diana” she introduced herself and started to put her right hand in his.

Just before she touched him a spark leaped from her hand to his and shocked him… Literally. But to his credit, he didn’t flinch.

“Oops, sorry about that” Diana apologized as she grasped his offered hand in a strong, professional business like grip. “I seem to hold a lot of electricity this time of the year and tend to shock myself constantly. It usually doesn’t happen when I touch others though.”

He just kept looking at their joined hands. Feeling how right it felt to hold her small dainty hand in his. No, dainty wasn’t quite the word. Small, yes, but he could feel small calluses along the line where the fingers joined her palms and wondered if she gardened. How else would she get calluses there?

“Shocking, isn’t it?” She asked a small smile twitching on her lips as she tried to gain eye contact.

“Shocking, indeed” Jake replied looking up and into her eyes. “What else do you hold a lot of?”

Diana tilted her head up and to the right. “Are you flirting with me Jake?

“Yes, Diana, I’m trying my best… But if you have to ask, then I probably need to up my game. Do you object?” Jake replied.

Tilting her chin up and head to the right again, as if considering his questions, with a quick nod she made up her mind. She looked him square in the eye and answered.

“No, I don’t think I do object. But I thought I would double check.” A deep sigh broke from her lips, and she pouted as if she was heartbroken. “It’s been a long time since I flirted or was flirted with.” She looked up at him and batted her eyes.

Jake smiled at her faux hang dog look. With her hand still in his, he pulled her away from the building and they started down the sidewalk to a local all night coffee shop in the next block. Walking beside her, he couldn’t take his eyes off her.

“Surely it hasn’t been that long. I mean I know today is your birthday, but you aren’t so old that the men your age have forgotten how to flirt. I mean, what are you? Thirty? Thirty five?”

Diana threw back her head and laughed. Not the coy little twitter like some women did to entice a man. A full bodied, full throated laugh. When she was finally able to get herself under control she turned to him.

“Oh my, thank you for that. You’re good for my ego. And is that your way of asking my age, Jake?” Again with the tilt of chin and head. Jake was beginning to recognize it for what it was. Her tell.

“No, ma’am, my mother would box my ears if she knew I asked a lady her age.” He shook his head, and his big body did a mock shiver as he opened his eyes wide, looking innocent and as if trying to gain her compassion.

Then she stopped right in the middle of the side walk under one of the street lamps. He stopped next to her and waited while she turned to him. Good thing it was late and there was no one else about to run them down. Placing one hand on each of his cheeks, her thumbs, over the center of his upper lip, moved outward stroking his mustache. She tilted his head down until she stood looking directly into his eyes.

“There are two things I never lie about Jake… Well, I try my best to never lie, period, because, you see I’m really not very good at it. But the first thing I never lie about, is my age. If you want to know, I will tell you. Today was my 57th birthday. And if you want to know more, I have never been married, I have no children and at this stage of my life, I see no reason for either of those two things to change. While I might not be a virgin, my past relationships have been long term and there hasn’t been anyone in my life for more years than I want to think about. I don’t do casual. Anything else you want to know, all you have to do is ask me. But, you will know when I don‘t want to answer, because I’ll tell you it is either not your business or not something I am comfortable talking about. But, I won‘t lie to you. Now that is probably more information than you wanted, but there it is.”

Not once during her little speech did she break eye contact. After all these years in law enforcement, Jake could spot a lie a mile away, and this woman wasn’t lying to him. Of that he was sure.

He nodded and she let her hands fall back to her side. Before they started walking again, Jake had her hand back in his, fingers entwined. They had gone a half a block in comfortable silence, when this time, Jake stopped them and turned her to face him. Mirroring what she had done, he placed his hands, one on each cheek, his thumbs over her upper lip and stroked outward with each thumb. Her eye lids slowly slid to half mast at the caress and her lips parted slightly, her warm breath caressed his thumbs. Heat pooled in his groin and his cock swelled. God, she was responsive. He waited for her eyes to open fully and meet his.

“I’m 59 years old. I’ve been married and divorced, amicably, had my children and am currently unattached. I‘m monogamous, but I haven’t been a monk. I’ve had all my shots, and won’t bite unless I’m asked to. I am drug and disease free and I will never lie to you or play games. I’m too old for that crap. And while I‘m being completely honest, I am extremely attracted to you and would like nothing better than to take your hair out of that bun you have it in, wrap it around my hands, lay you down and sink my body so deeply into yours, you won’t know where you start and I end… But I am also patient and willing to wait for what I want. And I want you.”

And with that being said, he lowered his head, watching as her eye lids covered those beautiful pale jade green eyes and laid his lips against hers.

Nothing more, just lips meeting in a first, innocent kiss.

When his head lifted, he waited for her eyes to open and noted that their color had changed. No longer pale, they had taken on a more intense, deeper shade of green. He wondered what their color they would be when he first joined his body with hers.

Oh my. Diana was in speechless. Never had a man so quickly touched her heart the way this man just had with his words and his kiss. She quickly shook off the lethargy and tilted her head. Before she could get the words out, she saw his smile.

“Okay, what? Lay it on me…” he said with a light hearted chuckle in his voice when she looked at him quizzically. “When you tilt your head like that, I know you are going to give it to me.”

Diana smiled. She really was going to have to keep her guard up with him.

“Well, you mentioned that you didn’t play games…?” she stepped closer, bracing both hands on his chest and standing on tip toe to bring her lips close to his ear. Using the voice that one of her training Dom’s had described as liquid sex, she lowered her tone and whispered in his ear. “But you see, there are certain games I like to play, Jake. Would those be prohibited?” She pulled back to again, look him in the eye. She was almost demur in her demeanor, her question innocent.

Then, by damn, she grinned and batted her eyes at him and Jake couldn’t help himself. He threw back his head and roared with laughter. It only took a second for Diana to join in and again, hand in hand they again started towards the coffee shop.

Chapter 3

The next morning, Diana slept later than she had in years. Usually her morning started at 3:30 or 4 AM. During the week, she was usually in bed by 8 PM reading or watching TV. So last night, not getting home until almost midnight was unusual for her. On the weekend when the “Pen” was open, she didn’t get home until much later. She didn’t leave until the last member and staff had gone. If she even went home at all. There was a very comfortable couch in her office that has served as her bed more than once. She’ also had a private bathroom with a large shower built from one of the large closets that had been part of the office. On rare occasions, she would leave Mack in charge and head home early. But the “Pen” was her baby and no one could run it the way she could and did. She stretched lazily, feeling her muscles wake up. She looked at the bedside clock and jumped out of bed. She needed to get going. She had a schedule to keep.

She stripped out of her short oversize tee shirt she preferred to sleep in and grabbed a sports bra and yoga pants, threw on clean tee shirt and flip-flops and headed out her bedroom sliding door to the grass back yard. The sun was just starting to clear the mountains in the east. Facing the rising sun, Diana closed her eyes, breathing deeply until she found her center. She stretched up both arms, taking them over head before placing palms together and bringing them down to her chest bowing her head until it touched her middle fingers. Inhale, exhale. Slowly she went through her morning yoga routine. Inhale, exhale. Feeling muscles stretch and heat. Inhale, exhale. Warrior pose. Feeling her mind clear, then empty. For every action, equal and opposite reaction. Down Dog. Inhale, exhale. After an hour, flowing from pose to pose, she opened her eyes and rose from her last position. Savasana. Again, she stretched up both arms, taking them over head before placing palms together and bringing them down to her chest over her heart. She bowed to the east where the sun had breached the top of the mountains and whispered, “Namaste”.

After her morning yoga, she entered her kitchen. She cut a slice of the wheat nut bread she had made earlier that week, popped it into her toaster and filled a cup of water from the instant hot water spigot at the sink for her morning tea. She pulled the tea caddy out of the drawer and filled it with her favorite, Oolong tea before dropping it into her cup. She then reached into the cabinet and pulled the mason jar of raw honey down and scooped out a spoonful and placed it in the tea. She sat at the counter that separated the kitchen from the dinning area and opened her iPad. Checking her email first, not much there. Spam and a few emails. Then on to her favorite “down time/brain” games. When the toast was ready, she stingily spread it with butter and ginger marmalade, grabbed her steeped tea and headed back to the stool to finish playing her “brain” games. Hopefully they would keep her brain sharp. Goodness knows, with Jake in the picture, she would need it in the future.

She put down her cup and wondered. Was Jake going to be in the picture. She’d had a wonderful time with him last night and having him leave her was harder than she’d thought.

* * *

They’d sat in the all night coffee shop, he drinking decaf coffee and she sipping decaf tea due to the lateness of the hour. They had talked about so many subjects. From the local to national political races going on (thank goodness, they‘d agreed on most subjects), to food likes and movies. She found that Jake, like her, had a wicked sense of humor and together they quoted lines from their favorite Mel Brooks films. Good thing there weren’t many people in the coffee shop at that time of night. They would have thought she and Jake were crazy considering how much they laughed and tried to outdo each quote. Crazy, or drunk.

Jake told her how he’d come to be in the bar that night. That normally he didn’t drink more than a beer or two on the weekends, but had gone to the bar for a “bachelor” party for a young deputy. When she asked again how long he had been in law enforcement, he told her the story of when he was young, just out of high school and at loose ends. He’d enlist in the Marines when he was eighteen. His father had been a cop, as was his uncle. He wasn’t sure that was what he wanted, but he knew he didn’t want to go to college directly out of high school. He’d been an okay student and a gifted athlete, even been offered a free ride on a athletic scholarship to USC. He passed that up and instead, had spent time in Iran during the first Gulf war. He had requested MP training when he first enlisted and found he had a knack for reading people and solving puzzles. When he retired from the Marines after twenty years as a Sergeant Major with the MP‘s, he had applied with the Los Angeles PD and been hired. He had spent the next fifteen years raising through the ranks there.

It was a tough job, he told her and up until the last year there, he had really loved what he did. He took the “To Protect and Serve” motto seriously. That was when she saw the shutter drop over his eyes. She’d reached across the table that separated them and took both his hands in hers. He’d looked into her eyes then and the darkness lifted. It didn’t go away totally, but she knew her touch had brought him out of the darkness he might have fallen into. He told her that he had applied with the Riverside County Sheriff department and had come on board there as the head of the detective division. His “age and experience were an asset” he told her with a self deprecating grin. Now he worked with and led a group of young, hot shot detectives who affectionately called him, “Pops” behind his back. He didn’t do a lot of field work anymore. Mainly rode a desk.

Jake leaned back in his seat, but maintained the hold he had on her hands.

“They’re all good men, but so young. I sometimes wonder if I was ever that young. And knowledgeable. I had to struggle just to learn how to use most of the computer stuff and still hunt and peck with two fingers, but these kids were raised with it. Back when I started, we used note pads and pencils. Geez, these kids don’t even know what a pencil is anymore!” he chuckled and shook his head.

That is when he asked her about how she had come to be where she was in her life. Diana really didn’t want to talk about herself right then, so she let a yawn escape and told Jake that was a story for next time.

He’d smiled at her and nodded his head.

“So, there will be a next time. Good, give me your phone.” he ordered and let loose one of her hands to hold his hand out, palm up.

“Dominate little devil aren’t you?” she teased.

“And you love it, don’t you?” he returned.

Oh my, if he only knew. But she didn’t reply. She pulled her other hand free and reached around to where her purse hung on the back of the chair and dug through to find her “personal” phone. She had two phones, one for business and one for every day use. She had to make sure she grabbed the right one. She finally found it in the side pocket and pulled it out, holding it close to her chest. Head tilting, chin up and hitching slightly to the right, grinning, she asked, “You aren’t going to make an international call are you? Because my plan doesn’t cover Canada or Mexico. I learned that the hard way.”

He chuckled and even though they weren‘t touching, she could feel the vibrations to her toes. He really had a wonderful sound about him.

“No, but that’s a story I would like to hear later too. I am going to take your phone number and put it in my phone. Then call you so you’ll have mine in your phone. No excuses that way.”

He took her phone, right swiped and punched a few buttons. He surreptitiously scanned though her phone book. He found her number and adding to his phone. She sure didn’t have many people on her contact menu. He handed the phone back to her and hit the send button on his own phone. Within seconds, her phone rang. The opening strains of Beethoven Fifth. God, would this woman ever stop surprising him?

“Something else we will discuss later. Music. From the Beethoven as your ring tone, I take it you like classical?” he asked.

“Wow, I am totally impressed. Yes, it’s my default ring tone. Not many men, no sorry, let me rephrase that, not many people I know would recognize, much less be able to name the composer. You are an interesting man, Jake…?” She stopped realizing for the first time, she didn’t know his last name. Working in the rarified atmosphere of a country club where the least expensive lots went for upwards of five million dollars, each member was know as Mr. or Mrs. “insert last name here”. And in her business, names were important.

“Connor” he took her right hand in his right hand.

“Nice to meet you Jake Connor. Diana Grene. Pronounced like the color, green, but spelled G R E N E.”

“Grene? Scottish if I‘m not mistaken.” he replied.

“You aren’t mistaken. But a mutt really. But that‘s conversation for another time. I really need to get home. I have things to do tomorrow and it’s going to be a very long day for me.”

“Come out with me this weekend, Diana. Dinner. Lunch, whatever. We can meet if you prefer, someplace quiet and talk more. I really want to get to know you better, Diana.”

Diana felt the heat rise to her cheeks and her heart skip a beat at his intense gaze. “I would love that Jake, but this weekend I have commitments I can‘t get out of. I might be able to get away Sunday afternoon, but tomorrow and Saturday wouldn’t work for me.”

“Sunday, then. Can we meet somewhere for breakfast or brunch?” He didn’t want to wait too long for a second meeting. He was afraid that she would have second thoughts when she got home and figure him for some kind of weirdo.

“I normally go to church Sunday morning for the 8 AM service. But that usually ends by 9:30 and we could meet after that.” she suggested.

“Perfect! I’ll call you to set up a time and place?” Jake smiled and she again noticed how beautiful his mouth was. His mustache made her ache with the urge to run her fingers over it again to feel its softness.

They walked out of the coffee shop and headed back to the club where both had parked their cars. Keeping her hand in his, he noticed she wasn’t one of those women who constantly had to talk. She was a peaceful presence and being with her soothed his body, calmed his mind and soul. He let her lead him to her car and again, she surprised him. He whistled as he looked from her to the car.

“56 or 57?“ He took the key from her hand and unlocked the door before handing her the keys back.

The white 1956 Thunderbird was her pride and joy. He father had bought it when she was in junior high school and had lovingly restored it . After his death she couldn‘t bear to part with it. She didn’t drive it often, but today it seemed to call her to come and play. She had two other cars, but this was her favorite.

“You know your cars. It’s a 56, hard top convertible. I’ve had to rig up a pulley system in my garage for when I want to go… um… topless” she explained tongue in cheek.

He crowded her back against the door, placing both hands on top of the hood to box her in. Leaning in, for the first time letting his body press fully along the length of hers, he whispered in her ear and he felt the shiver she couldn’t restrain.

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