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Behind the Badge – Justin Graves Series Book 10 Copyright © 2012 by Terry Wright All rights reserved. No part of this story (eBook) may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission of the author, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or book reviews. This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidences are either a product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to any actual person, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. Cover Art by Terry Wright ISBN 978-1-936991-52-5

A new kind of justice is coming Texas Ranger Justin Graves and his rebellious daughter, Christy, are dead, both murdered by her drug-dealer boyfriend, Billy Denton. Due to Justin’s dedication to the department and long hours away from home, he blames himself for her life of crime, so he makes a deal with the devil to save her soul: one hundred bad guys in exchange for her pardon from hell. Now, in his rotting corpse, he returns from the grave to deliver the devil his dues, the souls of killers who’d gotten away with murder. ***

This story was inspired by the 2003 killing of Paul Childs, a distraught teenage boy who was shot by Denver police officers while he stood behind a closed screen door at his home. Instead of talking to him or using non-lethal force to defuse the situation, cops chose to shoot him dead, even as he held a kitchen knife to his own chest, because he wouldn't obey their commands to drop the weapon.


By Terry Wright Officer Stone sat in his patrol car behind Krueger’s Gym, drumming his fingers on the steering wheel. The muggy Texas night made his neck sweat. He was itching for a good fight. “Carmichael and Thorp are slower than dirt,” he said to his partner, Gil Baker, riding shotgun. “Quit your bitchin’. They’ll be here.” Stone allowed him shoot his mouth off like that. Baker had once said that Deckers PD was the last hole-in-the-wall department that would hire him. After a brutal arrest caught on video in Los Angeles last year, he was lucky to get this job. Goddamned bureaucrats, he’d said. I should’ve plugged ‘em all with hollow points. Stone had been impressed enough with the badass cop’s attitude that he’d requested him to be his partner. A squad car came down the alley with its lights off. Adrenaline jolted Stone’s heartbeat up a notch. “About time they


got here.” Tires crunched gravel, and the car stopped. Doors opened. Two cops got out. Carmichael, a brut of an officer with arms the size of railroad ties lumbered up to Stone’s open window. “We ready?” “Fuller’s inside,” Stone said. “Last we heard, Carson was working out on the heavy bag.” Thorp, a neckless weightlifter in his spare time, ambled up beside his partner. “Carson is undefeated,” he said. “The boxing champ around these parts.” “He’s a punk.” Stone pushed open the door and pulled his six-footsix frame out of the car. Standing a head above the others, he balled a fist. “Don’t let this baby-face fool you.” He pointed to his soft-looking face and frowned. “I can take him with one hand tied behind my back.” “I’d rather bench press 400 pounds,” Thorp said. Baker jumped in with his two cents for Stone. “I know you’ve busted a lot of heads in your time, but Carson…he’ll be tough to beat, not like that snot-nosed kid at Camp Pendleton you killed.” “It was an accident,” Stone barked. That was his story and he was sticking to it. Carmichael grinned. “You can’t bullshit us good ol’ boys.” These guys were the best partners in crime a police officer could ever ask for. “Let’s roll.” Stalking toward the back door of Krueger’s Gym, Stone


remembered a time when he was a Marine drill sergeant and how he’d broken a recruit’s neck. It wasn’t an accident. Top Brass had ordered their drill sergeants to go easy on the new troops in basic training; the poor babies missed their mommies. One kid bucked his authority. A bad apple in the barracks wasn’t acceptable. During hand-to-hand combat class, Stone broke the kid’s neck, kind of like pulling a weed from the garden, got rid of the problem. But the Marines labeled Stone an undesirable, gave him a hardship discharge, and swept the murder under the carpet. Five years later, after being fired from two other departments for using excessive force and the unjustified discharge of a firearm, he found himself in the company of these good ol’ boys in Deckers PD. Thorp had five shootings on his record, two deaths. Carmichael liked to play both sides of the street, took bribes and kickbacks, and broke a few legs along the way. And Fuller, who was watching Carson inside Krueger’s Gym, had racked up three civil lawsuits against Pasadena for police brutality. They say Fuller always carried a drop, a gun or a knife that he could plant at the scene, just in case someone made a bad call. Yeah, the good ol’ boys, misfits and undesirables, they’d found a common bond. It wasn’t all about police work, though. They’d spend three nights a week at the police gym, three at the shooting range, and one at Molly’s Hideaway getting laid. Stone followed the good ol’ boys into Krueger’s Gym. Tonight,


he’d come here to kick Carson’s ass, put him in his place after some snitch heard him talking trash against the police department’s good ol’ boys policies. Stone wasn’t afraid of muscles and knuckles. He wasn’t afraid of anything. Floorboards creaked under his boots as he made his way down a dingy hallway lit by one naked ceiling bulb that winked on and off. Cigar smoke hung in the air like swamp fog. Passing by the men’s room, he could smell the stink of urine and vomit and crappy toilets. Fuller met them in the hall. “There he is,” he said, pointing. “Carson.” He must’ve been 290 pounds of hard-packed flesh and bone, his black skin shining with sweat, his wide ivory-ringed eyes glaring at the good ol’ boys as they entered the main gym. A boxing ring with sagging ropes took up most of the center floor. Barbells and weight machines lined the far wall, and the heavy bag hung from the ceiling on a stout chain. The place smelled like dirty socks. Some of the toughest men in Deckers gathered around the newcomers. Most were heavily tattooed; some were missing teeth. They all looked pissed off at the intrusion of law enforcement. Clutching the bag as if it were his lover, Carson gave Stone a fatlipped grin. “You boys come to play?” Stone unhooked his gun belt and handed it to Baker. “Just me.” The good ol’ boys stood tall, hands on their hips, their eyes daring


anyone to start a fight. Carson’s eyes narrowed and his smile showed perfect white teeth. He let go of the bag, flexed his biceps, and puffed out his chest. With muscles rippling, he stepped forward, fists balled. “So I see. You came for a boxing lesson.” “Not quite.” Rolling up his shirtsleeves, Stone flexed his biceps and put up his fists. “I’m here to give you a lesson in keeping your mouth shut.” Talking tough often weakened an opponent’s resolve, broke down a man’s self-confidence, and made tough-guys wonder if they were tough enough. Carson huffed. “You’d risk getting that pretty-boy face of yours messed up?” “You don’t scare me.” “I will.” Carson came at him full force. Stone let loose a barrage of quick punches, each one well placed sledgehammer blows that could have knocked out a horse. Knuckles cracked on jawbone. A couple of Carson’s white teeth clattered on the floor. Blood spewed from his mouth. His smile wrenched into a fearsome snarl as he growled like a crazed beast and lunged forward. Sidestepping, Stone nailed him with a fist to the back of his neck, something he’d learned in the Marines, a quick way to disable an attacker.


Carson went down like a bag of dirty laundry. Moaning sounds came from his throat. Stone felt invincible. “Anybody else?” He showed his fists to the throng of thugs standing around. There were no takers. *** In front of Deckers High School, Nate stood toe-to-toe with his girlfriend, Jasmine, wishing she wasn’t so pissed off. She crossed her arms and glared at him. Her black face was scrunched up like a dried prune. “No, I tell yah, yah hear?” He squinted against the last rays of the setting sun. “You’re jiving me, girl!” “You know I ain’t. No man of mine is gonna leave me hangin’ out around this dump. A girl’s got to keep her priorities straight.” “But I gotta do my duty for my country.” “What a crock of shit! Buddy Chester, now he ain’t figurin’ on doin’ no duty. He can take care of me just fine whilst you’re gone to that Army place.” “Graduation’s in a week, girl. You know what my recruiter said. They need volunteers to help fight the terrorists. Why you gotta go on like this?” “Ever since you turned 18 you think you’re some kind of big man. But you ain’t nothin’ but a skinny little black boy with stupid dreams.”


Nate wanted to scream, but he held his temper. Why couldn’t she understand? “I thought we was in love.” She turned her back on him. “It’s over, you and me. I got Buddy now.” “But…” A black Ford Taurus screeched up to the curb. Doors popped open. Buddy Chester got out, along with a couple of his black brothers from Deckers High. Standing taller than six foot, he put on his Foster Grants as sunshine glistened off a silver ring in his left earlobe. “Got a problem, fool?” “Shit!” Nate said under his breath. Jasmine batted her eyelashes. “Oh, Buddy. This creep’s been hastlin’ me.” Creep? Nate couldn’t believe it. Up until a few minutes ago, he was her boyfriend. But he didn’t have time to worry about her attitude. The brothers had gathered around him, looking all bad from the hood. Gulping, he held up a black power fist. “Be cool now, home boys.” Buddy pulled a switchblade that made an ominous clicking sound as it snapped open. “I’m gonna cut yah, nigger.” Panic raced through Nate like a firestorm. Anger fueled the flames. First his girl dumped him, called him a creep, and then this steroid infested African Amazon called him the N word. If Nate took off running now, Jasmine would know he was a coward. He wasn’t about to


give her that pleasure. Besides, one thing he’d learned from his dad: show no fear. He took a step back, slipped a hand into his baggy jeans, and pulled out a pocketknife. The brothers started laughing. “What you gonna do with that little thing?” Buddy asked. “Back off, bros.” Nate waved the knife. Right about now he wished he’d sharpened the damn thing. “Leave me alone.” One of the brothers grabbed him from behind; another snatched the knife from his hand. They threw him on the ground. Buddy kicked him in the ribs. Gasping air, Nate heard Jasmine laughing as they piled into the Taurus and sped away. “Bastards!” Nate felt like breaking something. He’d lost his girlfriend, his pride, and his knife. Clutching sore ribs, he got up off the ground and headed for home.

To purchase this story go to: where you’ll find the links to Kindle, Nook, and other fine online booksellers.


About the Author

There’s nothing mundane in the writing world of Terry Wright. Tension, conflict and suspense propel his readers through the pages as if they were on fire. Published in Science Fiction and Supernatural, his mastery of the action thriller has won him International acclaim as an accomplished screenplay writer. A longtime member of the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, he runs their annual Colorado Gold Writing Contest. Terry lives near Denver with his wife, Bobette. Terry invites you to visit his Website at where you’ll find more information on his short stories, novels, and screenplays.


Enjoy other fine short stories and novels from TWB Press

The Gates of Hell, Justin Graves Series, Book 1 (TWB Press, 2010) A short story by Terry Wright

Night Stalker, Justin Graves Series, Book 2 (TWB Press, 2010) A short story by Terry Wright

Black Widow, Justin Graves Series, Book 3 (TWB Press, 2010) A short story by Terry Wright

Riches to Rags, Justin Graves Series, Book 4 (TWB Press, 2010) A short story by Terry Wright

The Beauty Queen, Justin Graves Series, Book 5 (TWB Press, 2010) A short story by Terry Wright


Judgment Day, Justin Graves Series, Book 6 (TWB Press, 2011) A short story by Terry Wright

The Assassin, Justin Graves Series, Book 7 (TWB Press, 2011) A short story by Terry Wright

Drunk Driver, Justin Graves Series, Book 8 (TWB Press, 2011) A short story by Terry Wright

Hate Crime, Justin Graves Series, Book 9 (TWB Press, 2012) A short story by Terry Wright – includes The Perfect Crime

The Perfect Crime, Justin Graves Bonus short story (TWB Press, 2012) A short story by Terry Wright


Z-motors, The Job From Hell (TWB Press, 2011) A short story by Terry Wright

Street Beat (TWB Press, 2011) A short story by Terry Wright

The Pearl of Allah (TWB Press, 2012) A novel by Terry Wright

The 13th Power Quest, Book 1 (TWB Press, 2011) A novel by Terry Wright

The 13th Power Journey, Book 2 (TWB Press, 2011) A novel by Terry Wright


The 13th Power War, Book 3 (TWB Press, 2012) A novel by Terry Wright

The Grief Syndrome (TWB Press, 2011) A novel by Terry Wright

The Duplication Factor (TWB Press, 2011) A novel by Terry Wright

A Choir of Angels (TWB Press, 2011) A short story by Marilyn Baron

Follow an Angel (TWB Press, 2011) A short story by Marilyn Baron


The Stand-in Bridegroom (TWB Press, 2011) A short story by Marilyn Baron

Dead Mix (TWB Press, 2012) A short story by Marilyn Baron

Just Desserts (TWB Press, 2011) A short story by Stephen A. Benjamin

Incurable (TWB Press, 2011) A short story by Brandy de Cusack

C.A.T. (TWB Press, 2011) A short story by Rosie Oliver


Neptune’s Angel (TWB Press, 2012) A short story by Rosie Oliver

What Happened to Rhodri (TWB Press, 2011) A short story by Craig Jones

Gem, the novel (TWB Press, 2012) A novel by Craig Jones

Gem, No Conspiracy, Vampire Series, FREE ebook (TWB Press, 2011) A short story by Craig Jones

The Jokers of Sarzuz (TWB Press, 2011) A short story by Paul Sherman


Daemon Page (TWB Press, 2011) A short story by Paul Sherman

Perfect World (TWB Press, 2011) A novel by AJ Kirby

The Black Book (TWB Press, 2011) A short story by AJ Kirby

The Haunting of Annie Nicol (TWB Press, 2012) A short story by AJ Kirby

Ghost in the Machine (TWB Press, 2011) A short story by Dean Giles


Alien Apocalypse – The Hunger, FREE ebook (TWB Press, 2011) A short story by Dean Giles (Prequel to The Storm)

Alien Apocalypse – The Storm (TWB Press, 2011) A short story by Dean Giles

Alien Apocalypse – Genesis (TWB Press, 2012) A short story by Dean Giles

The Tournaent (TWB Press, 2012) A short story by Dean Giles

The Malagasy Tortoise, A Jim Morgan Adventure (TWB Press, 2012) A Novel by James Halon


Steam City, Anthology (TWB Press, 2012) An anthology of short stories by James Halon

The Dollhouse (TWB Press, 2012) A short story by Edith O’Deer

Dead Bastards (TWB Press, 2012) A novel by Jenny Thomson

Behind the Badge  
Behind the Badge  

In Book 10 of the Justin Graves Horror Short Story Series, bad cops use deadly force against a teenage boy who's arguing with his mother abo...