Mitch Wilder knows his days are numbered. And all because of one man. Things start to turn for the worse when Ontario Provincial Police Detective Neil Cleary starts to dig into Mitch's life. Now all his secrets, lies and cover ups are surfacing.
On top of all that Mitch is still battling his demons. He's charged for raping one of his mistresses and is humiliated when he's sent to the psychiatric ward. When he's released, he hopes to teach his son, Darren Hoffman, enough of the shipping business to keep Mitch's brother, Tom Fleming, from taking off with the rest of the company.
He watched his illegitimate son drive out of the parking lot with a sense of pride and apprehension. Darren Hoffman was more like him than anyone suspected. He didn't want Darren to turn out like him. Yet, part of him was glad he could share things with his son, a son he was just getting to know. He was teaching Darren, not only about the family business, but also a better life than what marriage could provide. Mitch Wilder turned back into a blustery wind and, leaning heavily on his cane, hobbled toward his apartment building after the Mustang turned the corner.
He knew Darren was a changed man since they went up to Hamilton three weeks ago. They both had done things back home, in Port Shetland, they weren’t proud of. Darren spied on his father-in-law, Bob Marshall. He followed Bob out to a shack in the country and watched Bob screw Mitch's estranged wife on the couch. Mitch closed his eyes as he rode the elevator up to the ninth floor. Darren told him where Claire was just before Mitch had been served his divorce papers. It didn’t matter that they were separated, he still thought of Claire as his. He’d been trying desperately to get her back.
Mitch stepped off the elevator and limped down the hall to his door. After he let himself in, he headed straight to the bar and poured himself a neat whiskey. He thought about the day he drove out into the country and found Bob there with his wife. A friend Deborah Tadema 8 whom he suspected was screwing his wife.
“I was drunk, I didn't know that asshole was going to be there. I only wanted to confront Claire,” he said to the glass he held in his hand. He gulped the whiskey down then poured another one. His hand shook as he raised the glass to his lips. If only he didn't see the baseball bat leaning against the wall. If only he hadn't let his rage take over.
Not only did he attack Bob with the bat, he hit a police officer with it. And he went after his nephew. Todd Breckenridge was just a police cadet. “That bastard shot me!” Mitch's hand tightened around the glass. He could still feel where the bullet went into his left leg, high up, in his inner thigh. It was only a half an inch away from his pecker. He asked Todd if that's what he was aiming at, the young man's face turned red.
Then part of him wished Todd had shot him there. It had been a source of pride in his younger years, a good-looking man with a big penis. He screwed any girl he wanted. But lately, his body started to slow down, yet the itch to have sex hadn't. Mitch thought that if Todd shot him in the pecker, then that itch might have been gone by now.
He’d already been to court. Convicted with assault with a weapon, on two accounts, and attempted assault on one. He'd paid the hefty fine. It was the probation that irked Mitch. He was to report to the cops once a week for another five months...out of the six he'd started with… and tell them every time he went from Port Shetland to Hamilton. He owned offices in both places, the big one was in Hamilton. His stepbrother, Tom Fleming, ran the one in Port Shetland. They’d inherited the Great Lakes Shipping Sacrificed Honor 9 Company four years ago when their old man died. Mitch wasn't allowed to leave Ontario during his probation. Most of their friends shunned Darren. He wondered how his son would fare once he was back home.
Mitch waited until after Darren was gone before calling his mistress of three years, Diana Smithers. He didn't have her go up to his apartment when his son was there, he didn't want to upset him at this time. Darren didn't like Diana, didn't like what she represented...another woman he screwed around on Claire with. But hell, they were divorced now, finalized yesterday. Why didn't he have Diana come up? He didn't want to deal with the tension. He told Diana he was still recovering from his gunshot wound. She didn't need to know about the hookers he'd hired for him and his son. They were his test, for him to see if he could still perform. As long as he watched his injured leg, he was fine. The wound itself was now just a scar. It was still sore, but at least he could have sex, and his limp was getting better.
Mitch poured another whiskey while he waited for Diana to show up. He sat at the bar and thought about what Shirley told him when Darren couldn't hear her. Shirley was his personal secretary.
“Guess what?” Shirley told him. “I found out that Amber doesn't work for the agency anymore. No one knows where she is.” “Damn it. Keep looking.”
“I'll see what I can do,” Shirley promised. Shirley hired hookers for him, anytime he wanted, which was often. The cost, taken out of an account set up for that purpose. He'd hired Amber Clarke twice before and Mitch wanted her exclusively. She wasn't just a hooker to him, she loved sex just as much as he did. But Amber did something bad. She cornered Darren behind this bar and seduced him. They spent a whole weekend together.
If she wasn't such a good lay, Mitch would forget about her. He had never met anyone who was so good in bed. He promised Darren he could have her again, if he didn't press charges against her for holding him against his will. Mitch let out a snort and wondered just how much “against his will” Darren was referring to. “He never had it so good,” Mitch said. “And he wants her again, just like I do.”
“Anyone can hire her,” Darren told him. Could he share his favorite hooker? It was Darren's incentive to go up to Hamilton in the first place, to start learning the family business. Except they couldn't find Amber, so Mitch hired them both hookers, twice in the three weeks Darren was there. Mitch smiled, his son loved it. He'd show Darren how good life could be, especially if Lily Marie didn't take him back.
Mitch used to love his son's wife. He used to have a good friend in Bob Marshall, until Bob screwed around with Claire. Since he found out Bob was going to sue him, he decided to steer his son away from Lily Marie. He wondered if he should make her twin, Justin, pay rent for his apartment on Anderson Street in Port Shetland. It had been a wedding gift when Justin married Amy Phillips. They split up three months later when Justin found out that the kid she was carrying belonged to someone else. That was well over a year ago, the Sacrificed Honor 11 length of time he had given them. “Yep.” He decided. “All the Marshalls are going to pay.”
The closer Darren got to Port Shetland, the more his hands sweat on the steering wheel. He gripped it tightly after he wiped his hands on his pants, one right after the other. There was no choice but to go back home, his house was there, the one he inherited from Gramps. He needed to go back to school. His courses in Western University start next Monday, September 6, 1971. Two more years to get his business degree. The twenty-four-year-old pulled over on Highway 15 and put his old blue Mustang into park. His head dropped on to the steering wheel. He couldn't make himself drive down the hill and into town. For the first time in his life Darren felt the entire world was against him. Except his cousin, Todd Breckenridge, talked to him since the fiasco, and Todd's father, Big Joe.
Todd had been scared to death after he shot Mitch. At first Darren wanted to kill his cousin. Then he realized that Todd didn't have a choice. Mitch would have attacked him too. So, after a long talk, he became friends again with the only cousin he had. Darren figured, if they could forgive each other, then maybe the rest of the town could forgive him. He didn't realize the chain of events he'd set into motion when he told his hot-headed, drunken father, where Claire was.
Darren sat back and wiped his eyes. He looked out of the rear-view mirror to see a black Harley pull up behind him. He left the car, leaned on it, and waited for the big man to walk up to him. The biker wore jeans with a red T-shirt and a blue-jean jacket with the sleeves cut off. He was a menacing figure to people who didn't know him. As he approached, Darren could see the wolf tattoo on his right bicep and the gold earring in his left ear that shimmered when the sun hit it. The biker stopped beside Darren and held out his hand. Darren shook it, a sense of relief going through him. “Hey, Loser. You’ve lost weight.”
“Hey kid. Back from Hamilton, I see.” Darren worked for the Great Lakes Shipping Company for the last part of the summer. He remembered his first day. The impressive building and expensive decor. Mitch bought him a whole new wardrobe to wear to work. All he had to pack when he went up there were his casual clothes.
“We have to quit meeting on the side of this highway,” Loser said and winked at Darren.
The first time they'd met was when Darren had a flat tire. Loser helped him change it. That was when Darren learned that this big, mean-looking biker dude was really an Ontario Provincial Police Detective. He watched over Darren ever since. Loser was the one who arrested Mitch. Darren sometimes loved this cop, and sometimes he hated him.
“You have trouble?” Loser asked as he looked down at the car.
“No. Just needed to get my bearings.” Loser nodded in understanding. “I can follow you in, if you want.”
Darren watched the traffic go by. “You think I'll get strung up?”
“No, except for maybe Bob.” Loser held
Darren's arm. “Here's what I think you should do...”