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Another Hot “Pounded By…” Book!
By Sara Gordon
Artwork by Moira Nelligar
Copyright 2015 Sara Gordon
~~ All characters in this book are over 18. ~~
“There she is again!”
Buck turned away from the football game he’d been halfheartedly watching, and glanced up at the security monitors. They were switching views all over the mall, touching on every secured exit, hallway, and the vast common areas that housed several food courts and dozens of kiosks. It didn’t take long for the view to shift back around to the south entrance, and then he saw what Flynn had. A small figure was peering forlornly through the wide double doors, and shivering as she surveyed the warmly lit building interior.
She wasn’t dressed for the brutal winter weather; her coat was thin, and she wasn’t wearing a hat. Long brunette hair flew wildly around her shoulders as an errant gust of icy wind whipped around the corner. She clasped her arms more tightly around her ribs, and vigorously rubbed them.
“Tommy said she was hanging around this afternoon, too,” Flynn offered from over his shoulder. “He figures she’s a runaway. Kept a close eye on her to make sure she didn’t steal anything.”
If she had, she’d have been detained and jailed, so Buck merely nodded. “You chased her away last time, right? Guess that means it’s my turn.”
Generally he approved of the mall’s policy to turn away vagrants, but the onset of a fierce blizzard changed things. He hated having to tell the usual crowd of homeless vets they had to move on. By now he knew most of them by name, and simply waved them toward the last exit he’d patrolled. That would give them a good two hours’ worth of shelter before Flynn or he had to make their rounds again. They understood his reluctance, so they always obeyed without giving him any grief.
Tommy had warned them about the approaching storm, so they’d scattered like lemmings, bound for the area’s various homeless shelters. This poor kid apparently hadn’t gotten the memo.
“Good thing our fridge is stocked, ’cause we’re probably going to be stuck here for two or three days until it ends. But she’s gonna freeze to death if she stays out there,” Buck muttered, and hated the security badge clipped to his belt.
“We could bring her in here.”
Buck started to shake his head in reflexive denial, but then a thoughtful look crossed his dark face. “We’ll probably get fired if anyone finds out, but there’s no reason anyone has to know. We can sleep in shifts to make sure she doesn’t go wandering around.”
“Mr. Golden won’t fire us for saving her life.” Flynn said it confidently, and hoped it was true. “It’d be bad publicity for the mall if her body was found outside afterwards.”
“We can’t let that happen.” Buck squared his jaw and rose to his feet. “Okay, I’ll go down and get her. Open mic?”
It was standard policy for them to key their microphones when they were patrolling, just in case they ran into trouble. “Absolutely,” Flynn nodded. “And I’ll watch the monitors until you get back here.”
Buck hurried from their small office, rode the service elevator down to the ground floor, and made his cautious way through the silent hallways. He wasn’t really in any danger, but you just never knew what might happen. Kids had stayed hidden in store dressing rooms before, then snuck out after midnight to prowl and pocket anything they could find. It hadn’t happened yet on his watch, but there was a first time for everything. He stayed alert so it didn’t happen to him.
Out of long habit, he chatted with Flynn as he strode along, interspersing his automatic ‘all clear’ assurances with more personal comments. “I sure hope she isn’t a total dog,” he added just before turning down the final hallway and approaching the wide glass doors.
“That’d be just our luck,” Flynn chuckled through his compact earbud. “Okay, buddy, I see you in the monitors. She’s moved off to the right, behind the trash cans. Open the door slowly so you don’t startle her.”