Excerpt from The Golden Heist

“Have a seat. Can I get you something to drink? I think there’s still some bad coffee left in the pot in the lunch room.”

            Myles waved off the offer. “No, thanks. I’ve had enough equally bad hospital coffee today to last me. What did you need to see me about? Does this have anything to do with Miss Locke?”

            “Yes, it does.”

            “Let me guess. She has a record.” Myles grinned wryly.

            The detective sighed. “Yes, but not quite the kind of record you might be expecting.”

            Sitting back, he crossed one knee over the other, lacing his fingers together before laying them on his abdomen. “Give it to me.”

            Perching his butt on the edge of his desk, Horner picked up a folder from his desk and opened it. “Her name is Cressa Locke. She goes by the name of ‘Goldie.’”

            “Goldie?” Myles chewed on that for a second. “What was she arrested for?”

            “You ready for this?” The detective read from a list. “Vagrancy. Shoplifting. Petty theft. All misdemeanor charges. No prison time served. The most serious offenses were a couple of drug possession charges, but the amount on her person was so miniscule, she was slapped with a fine and spent a total of six days in the city jail.” Closing the folder, he sat it on his thigh. “That’s minor stuff. This is her first big bust, but I’m not surprised.”

            “How do you figure?”

            “According to Officer Sawings, she confessed that she deliberately broke into your house to steal some expensive jewelry to pawn for a quick buck. Dr. Camptown confirmed she’s a pixie junkie. A dustie. That can only mean she needed the money to get her next fix. The longer she rides that horse, the more addicted she’s going to get, and you know that better than I do. She’ll need more and more money as her body craves more and more of that shit. Which means her crimes are going to ramp up to the point where she could be spending years behind bars, instead of months.”

            “Unless she gets help now to drag that monkey off her back,” Myles remarked.

            Horner nodded. “Only question now is, is she willing to try and shake it, or will she fall off that wagon as soon she’s served her time?”

            “So you think she’ll definitely serve some time in the big house for this?”

            “She’s not your average cat burglar, and this wasn’t a little penny ante theft,” the detective remarked. “This conviction alone, even if her past record isn’t brought to bear in the court, will earn her at least three months to a year.”

            Myles felt his eyes widen as an irrational thought came to him. No, he told himself. You can’t. Don’t do it, you son of a bitch. Don’t do it.

            His brain said one thing, but his conscience overrode it.

            “What if I drop the charges?” he asked.

            Horner’s mouth literally gaped open. “What?”

            “She’s sick, Detective. Are you going to make her go cold turkey in the slammer?”

            “No. Of course not. We’ll see she gets counseling and the medical attention she requires.” Horner frowned. “Please tell me you’re not serious about not pressing charges.”

            Myles sat up straight. “Let me think on it tonight, and tomorrow morning I’ll let you know. But right now I’m seeing a woman who hasn’t quite gone over the edge into a full-blown addiction. I think she can be saved. And if she can be saved, she can be rehabilitated. And that means one less body taking up space in the big house at the taxpayers’ expense.”

            Rising, he held out a hand to the cop. “Thanks for the discussion.”

            “Please. Rethink this,” Horner urged as they shook.

            “I will,” Myles promised. “Trust me. But you have to remember, my oath is to heal, not to harm. And if I turn my back on her after all that’s already happened, how can I look myself in the face next time I use a mirror? How can I call myself a doctor if I decide to let her slide because she wronged me?”

            Horner cast him a curious look. “Tell me I’m wrong, but something tells me you’re going to get more involved than you already are.”

            “I’m already involved, Detective. From the moment I saved her life, I think I already knew I’d have to see it all the way to the end…whatever that may be.”