Extract from - The Dark Side of The Street

The walk to the resort complex where her friend was working out was just far enough for her to make it brisk and cardio healthy. It had become a habit. Whatever she was doing outdoors, she tried to turn that thing into some form of a workout if she could. She didn’t like gyms. Liked nothing better than being in the open. Cutty trained herself to use whatever came to hand and turn it inventively into a training aid. A bench would become a variant for push-ups, a fallen tree she would hop over or used to run astride. So her walk picked up a pace, and she enjoyed the benefit. Poke sat on the coast and prided itself on its welcome. Tourists came from far and wide, and the resort complex was a testament to its appeal. Parker’s gym sat behind a large glass window facing the beach.

Sargent Tamsin Grimes like Sarah was ex-Military, a fellow MP. Different unit, same brigade. Military life had often thrown them together, the way army life does. They served in more than their share of tight spots over the years. Two solid friends who always knew if there was a problem, they could call on each other, no questions asked.

Tamsin was the reason Cutty had come stateside. The email wasn’t too specific. It just said it would be good to catch up, code for trouble. Cutty knew Tamsin, and it sent alarm bells running through her. Tamsin needed help. Something was wrong.

Cutty watched her friend running on the treadmill. Keeping up a steady pace, building her leg strength . The season would start soon enough. Tamsin wanted her place in the Olympic squad. Cutty studied her friend. The nice steady stride, the sheen on her body, the practised rhythm of her breathing.

“Keep it going Sargent, you’re looking good.” Cutty came up alongside.

“Just a couple of laps, then we can go catch up some.” Tamsin smiled big enough to light up summer. “Heck, Captain girl, what took you so long?”

“Oh, you know me… man trouble.”

“Yeah, heard about that. People say he’s real cute. You happy?”

“José? Oh, he’s nice. Easy on the eye. Smart too. Says I know where he is if he’s needed.”

“What no protest? No throwing toys out of the pram?”

“He understood. Didn’t want to let me come alone. Imagine that. He still does not know what I am truly capable of. “

“Son of a gun. You mean you have a man? He’s cute, and he hasn’t put a foot wrong in how long?”

“It’s been a year.”

“A year? Oh my, Captain girl. That one’s a keeper. I’ve got to meet him.” As if for emphasis, Tamsin hit the button on the console and the machine slowed and then stopped. She dismounted and gave her friend a long appraisal. Took in the short curly blonde hair. The healthy glow to her skin and the laughter lines that brought out the deep blue tones in her eyes. “Damn it Cutty. You look great. You’re doing something right.”

“It’s everything. Well, a bit of everything. Mainly the agreeable pace of island life. What about you? Anyone special?”

“Not at the moment. Footloose and fancy free if you’ll forgive the pun?” There was that smile again. “Oh, I get out. I date. But no up till now no one special. You’re lucky. You have something good. Hang on to it.”

“You’ll have to come over when whatever this is is over. You can stay with me, of course, and you can check island life out for yourself. See what you think. Maybe you can meet José.”

“Maybe? You scared of the competition?”

Cutty gave a rueful smile. “Truth is, there’s a bit of a distance thing at the moment.”

“A distance thing?”

“Yes, he is studying for his sergeant’s exams and he attends the Police Academy in Madrid quite a lot. The phone calls and the emails are less frequent. I don’t know, maybe it is just that he is studying and caught up in course work? This trip is a kind of chance for us to have a break. See where we are when we both get back.”

“Ok, I’ll just take a minute in the changing rooms and I’ll be right out. I’m glad you’re here, Cutty.” Cutty nodded, intrigued. What was it that had her friend emailing her? She certainly didn’t look like she was in any kind of trouble? That alone was worrying. Tamsin was usually so straight up about things. She wasn’t talking, at least not here. It was the place. She didn’t feel comfortable, like she was being monitored, maybe followed. “

Good as her word, Tamsin soon re-emerged carrying her holdall, all set to go. “Come on,” she said. “Let’s go catch up. I know just the place.”

“Somewhere nice and friendly.” She said, using their code for somewhere safe to talk.

Tamsin acknowledged with a smile. Her friend was as sharp as ever. “Good to see you, sir.”