TSP: Cold Case Files 1 “Everything Burns”

An online serial featuring Detective Jarrod Foster and Dr. Haldyn Harris, head of forensics for the Finley Creek: Texas State Police post.

Chief Marshall had assigned one of the few men he fully trusted to the task of finding the answers that had plagued the Finley Creek: TSP for fifty years. Now Detective Foster had to search through hundreds of open cold cases to see where police corruption might have played a part.

To do that, he had to partner up with the one woman in the entire TSP post that just got under his skin and drove him crazy.

Haldyn Harris knew Foster was up to more than he’d said. And she didn’t trust the misanthropic anachronism one bit. But Elliot Marshall was someone she did trust. And Haldyn would do her job.

But she’d keep an eye on Foster while she did it…

Join Jarrod and Haldyn as they search for the answers in the old cases that Bennett Russell almost destroyed, along with other recurring characters and some new!

 

Chapter 1.       Chapter 2.       Chapter 3.         Chapter 4.           Chapter 5.

 

Jarrod Andrew Foster was a complete and total butthead.

Haldyn Harris kept that thought to herself as she listened to the chief of the Finley Creek post of the TSP, Elliot Marshall, as he informed her and Detective Foster about how the two of them would be joint heads of the new Cold Case division.

She would be responsible for the entire process of evidence collection and storage, for supervising her own team in both Forensics and Cold Cases. And she would report to the one detective in the entire force that she had never liked.

Great.

Detective Foster shot her a look. He wasn’t any happier about working with her than she was him.

They’d tangled in her evidence locker a few times before. Jarrod was a throw-back to the caveman era of police work. He was extremely skeptical of anything science related. The man didn’t even use his internal email address. He’d rather just show up in her lab demanding his results.

Sometimes before she’d even had a chance to run the tests.

He seemed to think the entire Forensics division of Finley Creek’s Texas State Police existed just to serve his needs.

Especially the computer forensic department. That’s where Haldyn’s first love was. She’d taken over the head of the division after Bennett Russell, a former supervisor, had destroyed the first lab and nearly killed two of her colleagues.

They’d both retired from the TSP after that, Bennett had died, and Theresa had quit. That left Haldyn as the tech with the most seniority. She’d been running the lab ever since.

Foster used to come in all the time. Every single day, to see her colleagues that had retired after they’d been injured in the bombing. Rumor and speculation had been that he had a thing for those two women. Or his former partner, Mel. He’d been linked with her, before she’d married the billionaire who owned the hotel nearby.

Haldyn knew those were just rumors. For one thing, Brynna and Gabby had not been interested in Jarrod Foster that way. They had told her so themselves. Foster was their friend.

And for another, Jarrod Foster hated women. It was in the way he looked at them.

Well, he hated women who weren’t Brynna, Gabby, and Mel, anyway.

He’d actually yelled at Haldyn once. When her tests hadn’t gone the way he’d expected them to.

But forensics wasn’t like that. The science was the science. Whether the human element liked that or not.

“Dr. Harris? Is that good for you?”

“I’m sorry, can you repeat that?” she asked. She hadn’t been paying attention. This was definitely going to change everything.

Jarrod Foster was the last detective she wanted to work with. And he knew it.

***

Jarrod Foster bit back a smirk when the woman sitting next to him sent him a pissed off look. The good doctor was not going to like this at all. He’d known it for the last week. Something about him just rubbed her the wrong way. Disrupted her safe little orderly world that she insisted on in the forensics lab.

She drove him nuts with that.

She shouldn’t have. She wasn’t exactly the first forensics geek to be that way, and he’d always had an easy time working around Brynna and Gabby’s little quirks. But Dr. Harris’s quirks got under his skin and…irritated him. Completely.

Elliot sent him a look. He and the chief were friends, but not extremely close. But Jarrod had mentioned his reservations about Dr. Harris to the other man before. Elliot had overruled him.

Dr. Harris had the best record of anyone in the forensics department. Ever.

And she was above reproach, apparently. Not that that surprised him. Everything was nice and orderly and rigid in Haldyn Harris’s insulated little world.

He bet she even undressed to a set routine every night. And sex? Precise and methodical and bland. That would be Dr. Harris.

He winced internally when he thought about it.

Jarrod stared at her, making no bones about it. For the first time, he actually looked closer. The hair was a light strawberry blond. At first he thought she looked washed out, but on closer inspection the hair was mostly blond, with just a little bit of red. No doubt it was natural. Harris wouldn’t see any point in dying her hair for vanity’s sake. The woman wasn’t vain at all.

He’d thought she was plain. Until this very moment he’d thought she was a bit on the nerdy, plain side.

It shocked the hell out of him to see that he was wrong. She usually pulled her hair back; most women in the forensics lab did. Half the time he’d seen her, she’d been dressed in paper coveralls. Today, she’d come from testifying and was dressed in a nice blue shirt that made her eyes brighter blue than he had ever noticed before. She was actually wearing make up but it was subtle. Highlighting the big eyes and the sweetly curved lips. And she’d covered up the freckles.

He’d noticed the freckles before.

She shifted and crossed her legs, sending silk stockings sliding over each other.

Dr. Harris’s skirt rode up a little and she adjusted it while she spoke with Elliot.

She wore heels. Not ridiculous heels, she was tall enough she didn’t need them, but for the first time, Jarrod realized she wasn’t an automaton.

Haldyn Harris might actually be a real, flesh-and-blood woman. Why hadn’t he ever noticed before?

 CHAPTER 2.