Name: Adrian Riley
Age: 32 years old
Description: Adrian Riley is average height but muscular. He has nearly black hair and sharp blue eyes. Or as Kayla sees him in Flames of Redemption:
He leaned back against the wall, as if it gave him the perfect vantage point to watch everyone. There was something about this man. She wasn’t sure what it was, but he didn’t seem to belong there. He wasn’t wearing the typical funeral clothes, just a long-sleeved Henley shirt and a pair of dark jeans.
He also didn’t interact with anyone. Just watched. He couldn’t be much taller than her, but the planes of his face were sharp. Her gaze slipped down his body. Definitely not fat. Something about him seemed familiar, though.
His black hair was cut short, but with a wave to it, like he’d tunneled his fingers through it recently. He wasn’t wearing a jacket. She imagined he had left it on the rack in the lobby. The muscles in his arms stood out against the sleeves of his shirt. Strong, and it gave her that impression of a boxer again.
She remembered now. The runner. She’d seen him out the other day with his dog. She sucked in a breath. He looked even better close up. She was here to grieve a fallen comrade, not check out the mysterious guy leaning against the wall, she reminded herself.
His gaze suddenly locked on her. His eyes were blue, she noticed now, with a sharpness to them, despite what could be viewed as his lazy posture.
Short Bio: Adrian is the second oldest of six children. His older brother, Rian, was born about eighteen months before him. Callum another eighteen months after him. Darcie, the first girl, was born about two and half years after that, Connor four years later, and Doreen came last, another two years later. Adrian was almost 11 then. And he was fifteen the night he was left in charge with his parents out together and Rian on a date. He was sleeping when the fire broke out. He was able to get Darcie, Callum, and Connor out, but he couldn’t get to Doreen.
Their family started to fall apart after that. His parents separated when his father attempted to use alcohol to cope with his grief. But, they managed to come back together. Rian left for college as he’d planned, but Adrian felt as if he’d abandoned them. Callum started getting into trouble and tossed blame at Adrian.
Adrian went through the police academy after high school, following in his grandfather’s, father’s, and uncles'(and aunt’s) footsteps. He’d been with the department several years when he ended up arresting his brother, Callum, in the middle of a drug deal. This caused more strain in a family that had finally come back together.
It caused him some strain at work, too, and he ended up transferring to the nearby town of Crystal Glen. Which is how he ended up meeting Kayla when he was investigating a possible arson But, that’s another story(which you can read in Flames of Redemption). And during the course of that, he and James became friends.
“Ready to go?” Adrian asked.
James drew in a breath. “Yeah. Let’s go.”
Adrian waited for him to take the first step then matched his pace. He shook his head. He would never admit it. “You have a class later today, right?” Adrian asked.
James nodded. “After lunch.”
“Kayla said something about a woman in your class. You used to know her.”
He stumbled a step and nearly swore. Angela must have told her. He shouldn’t be surprised. He hadn’t asked her to keep it a secret. Why would she think she needed to? “Teresa.”
“So, you did know her.”
“She was my wife’s friend.”
“Oh.” He was silent for a moment. “You okay?”
He knew why Adrian asked. He’d been one of the reasons he’d even started talking about Sarah again. Between him and Kayla, he’d felt like he didn’t have a choice. “Yeah. Fine.”
Adrian let out a soft snort that told James how much he bought that. They ran in silence for a couple minutes, the only sound birds chirping and Adrian’s dog panting. “You and Kayla doing okay?” James asked, panting a little between words. It wasn’t so easy to talk while running.
Adrian looked startled at the question. “We’re fine. Why do you ask?”
“She mentioned the other day you two were arguing about her adjustment to the different schedule.”
Adrian laughed at that. James thought he would double over from laughing so hard. Finally the laugh drifted off, but the grin remained. “We argue every day, James. About any little thing we can think of. We don’t fight. We haven’t at least, not since…before.”
James knew exactly what he referred to. Before the day that had landed Kayla in the hospital. Had nearly cost her life. Maybe would have if Adrian hadn’t realized she was in the burning house. It had been six months, and it still nearly choked him with fear. He could imagine how Adrian felt simply thinking about it.