Deputy US Marshal Miro Jones has a reputation for being calm and collected under fire. These traits serve him well with his hotshot partner, Ian Doyle, the kind of guy who can start a fight in an empty room. In the past three years of their life-and-death job, they've gone from strangers to professional coworkers to devoted teammates and best friends. Miro’s cultivated blind faith in the man who has his back… faith and something more.
As a marshal and a soldier, Ian’s expected to lead. But the power and control that brings Ian success and fulfillment in the field isn't working anywhere else. Ian’s always resisted all kinds of tied down, but having no home—and no one to come home to—is slowly eating him up inside. Over time, Ian has grudgingly accepted that going anywhere without his partner simply doesn't work. Now Miro just has to convince him that getting tangled up in heartstrings isn't being tied down at all.
All our interactions with suspects ended the same way. I would say, hey, let’s wait for backup or a warrant. I’d mention we didn’t have probable cause, and sometimes I would even go so far as to point out we weren’t armed because it was our damn day off! Not that he ever listened. The chase was always on seconds after I spoke. The fact that he even stopped to listen to me before acting stunned most people who knew us.
“Please,” I would beg him. “Just this once.”
And then I’d get the head tip or the shrug or the grin that crinkled his pale blue eyes in half before he’d explode into action, the velocity of movement utterly breathtaking. Watching him run was a treat; I just wished I wasn’t always following him into the path of whizzing bullets, speeding cars, or flying fists. Since I’d become his partner, the number of scars on my body had doubled.
I considered it a win if I got Ian Doyle to put on a Kevlar vest before he kicked down a door or charged headfirst into the unknown. I saw the looks we got from the other marshals when we returned with bloodied suspects, recaptured felons, or secured witnesses, and over the years they had changed from respect for Ian to sympathy for me.
When I was first partnered with him, some of the other marshals were confused about it. Why was the new guy—me—being partnered with the ex-Special Forces soldier, the Green Beret? How did that make sense? I think they thought I got an unfair advantage and that getting him as a partner was like winning the lottery. I was the newest marshal, low man on the totem pole, so how did I rate Captain America?
What everyone missed was that Ian didn’t come from a police background like most of us. He came from the military and wasn’t versed in proper police procedure or adherence to the letter of the law. As the newest marshal on the team, I was the one who had the book memorized the best, so the supervisory deputy, my boss, assigned me to him. It actually made sense.
Doyle was a nightmare. And while I wasn’t a Boy Scout, in comparison to my “shoot first, ask questions later” partner, I came off as calm and rational.
After the first six months, everyone stopped looking at me with envy and switched to pity. Now, going on three years, marshals in my field office would bring me an ice pack, pass me whatever pharmaceuticals they had in their desks, and even occasionally offer advice. It was always the same.…