Excerpt: The Place of Refuge – Chapter 1 -3



Curled up on his left side, Teddy snored. He had dropped the tough-guy front he showed the world, and she saw the little boy he had once been. That wasn’t something she could afford to consider, not if she wanted to keep her focus on putting him in prison.

But sometimes she couldn’t avoid thinking about it. Everyone she met in this new life, every dealer, user, enforcer, or hooker, had been a child. The difference was, she never saw them sleeping.

She slid out of bed and stood naked on the small patch of floor. She usually slept naked anyway, and Teddy wouldn’t have had it any other way last night.

Outside was still darkness, but the usual rapid island transition to daylight would come any minute. Jessie picked Teddy’s T-shirt up from the floor and pulled it over her head. She stooped again and found her cell phone in the tangle of her clothes. She headed down the narrow hallway to the door of the trailer.

Jessie climbed down to the ground and took a seat in one of the plastic chairs under the awning that Teddy had attached to his trailer. She speed-dialed another number from her contacts. Tedeschi had warned her about storing numbers from her real life, but she could trust her mother to give nothing away. Not that Mom was especially protective of her daughter. Mom never told anybody anything.

She would be up at this early hour. It came with owning a restaurant.

“Mom, it’s Jessie.”


“Tell me about Mexico.”


“Because I’m going.”


“You know why.”

“It’s a big country.”

“I have a name and a location. Nogales. That’s the last information you have, right?”

“Twenty years ago.”

“Well, somebody named Hosea is there, and he sounds right. I can’t afford to miss the chance.”

“Why do you care after all this time?”

“I never stopped caring. But like you said, Mexico is a big country. I couldn’t search it all, but Nogales, maybe I can.”

The daylight was complete. Soon Teddy would start rolling around in bed. He would lose the battle against the daylight, and he would want her there when he awoke.

“I’ll tell you how it goes,” said Jessie.

She ended the call, before her mother could ruin it with something along the lines

of, “Whatever.”