A Fine Balance - Susan Johnson


Ex-LAPD Undercover
Jack Morgan, Deputy Sheriff, is back on his home turf where life used to be laid back. The community pot culture was tolerated by local law enforcement so long as everyone understood the rules of engagement.  Keep your head down, your mouth shut, don’t make waves.
But, lately, criminal gangs have moved in and everything’s gone to hell.
So professionally, Jack’s working his ass off to help keep the peace, while personally, he’s pretty much doing the same. His open door policy for the ladies is keeping him busy. He doesn’t go out looking for it, but if some women knocks on his door, he figures it would be rude not to ask her in.
Then one day, as a favor, cause he doesn’t do that shit, he serves an eviction notice.
A red head, with a little boy in her arms, opens the door.
Jack sucks in a breath.
Suddenly, his busy, complicated life becomes incredibly more complicated.


Luis had lived with fear all his life. But this was different. If his brother didn’t come back tonight he’d be on his own. Totally.
He knew the drill by heart. Every step, every instruction etched in his brain. Jorges had seen to that.
If I’m not back by dark–take off.  You know where to go.  Cover your tracks like I taught you.  Then stay put til they stop looking.
Luis had been watching the setting sun slide into the ocean with growing apprehension, his gaze seesawing between the golden glow on the horizon and the dirt trail leading up to the pot field clinging to the mountainside. Please God, help me, he prayed although God had never done much for him. But he was desperate.
Then the last sliver of sun dropped beneath the waves.
It was time.
He came to his feet, picked up his backpack and after a final look at the campsite that had been home for the past six months, Luis Mata, age nine, walked to the small stream running down the mountainside and stepped into the water.


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