Because I'm so excited about this story, I thought I'd share an excerpt. Aren't I nice?
When Detective Brittany Russell goes undercover to expose a murderer, she had no idea what she was getting herself into—especially after meeting wealthy businessman, Austin Reeder…who happens to be a suspect. He is hiding something, and Brittany is determined to bring him down. Unfortunately, to catch the killer, she might have to break a few rules. The longer she talks with the charmer of women, the more she’s drawn to the gorgeous man. Thankfully, her partner, Kurt Hamill, is the one who has always kept her out of trouble. Loving him comes easy. But now she’s stuck in the middle of a love-triangle. Too bad she doesn’t know which Prince Charming is telling her the truth.
Detective Brittany Russell from Seattle’s west precinct, raised her fist to knock on the door, but when she placed it on the hard wood, the barrier pushed open. She held her breath and listened for signs of movement inside the penthouse apartment. Why would the door just open when her informant assured her Austin Reeder would be in a meeting all day? Apparently, her informant wasn’t very accurate.
She cleared her throat and called into the quiet apartment, “This is Detective Russell with Seattle Police Department. I need to ask you a few questions.”
Still, she heard nothing.
She opened her decorative, black, beaded purse that hung over her shoulder, and grabbed her phone, quickly dialing her partner. Hamill here. I’m busy, so leave a message.
She growled. Where was he? He was supposed to be here with her. “Kurt, get your butt over here, pronto. I’m at Austin Reeder’s suite, and I think there might be a break-in…or maybe even another murder scene. The door is cracked open, but I don’t hear anything inside. So get over here—” click. The phone disconnected. He really needed to make the phone message time a little longer than that.
“Mr. Reeder?” she called into the room. “Are you there? Are you hurt?”
Once again, silence greeted her.
Glancing at the elevator, she tried to decide what to do. She couldn’t go inside the suite until Kurt showed up. It was too dangerous to go in alone. But because her partner wasn’t answering his phone—
A heavy thud came from inside the penthouse suite. Her heart knocked against her ribs harder, and she quickly grasped her glock inside the purse. She still didn’t dare go inside. She was overdressed for this particular assignment, but when Captain Martinez told her to check out one of the suspects—insisting it was to be done now—who was Brittany to argue? Besides, when the captain wanted something immediately, he didn’t want to hear excuses. Trying to explain that Brittany was at her father’s, and soon-to-be stepmother’s, afternoon engagement party wouldn’t have hit the stubborn captain’s ears, anyway.
Her red, silk dress that showed too much of her legs, and the matching jacket she wore was definitely not the required uniform. Anybody would think she was a Charlie’s Angel wannabe in this getup. Unfortunately, she was here to do her job, no matter what she looked like. However, her precinct would get a hardy chuckle out of this. She wasn’t sure she was ready to laugh along with them. Not yet.
Another heavy thud came from inside. “Mr. Reeder? Can you hear me?”
When she didn’t hear him, instinct told her that she needed to go inside and check it out. Taking careful steps, she entered the room with her G42 weapon held high. She quickly swept her gaze around the room, but so far it appeared the occupant wasn’t at home.
She wasn’t surprised to see Mr. Reeder’s place decorated with expensive Chippendale chairs, antique furniture, and Persian rugs. The man was extremely wealthy. Then again, he did own three banks and this luxury hotel where his penthouse apartment was located.
As she took three more steps, her three-inch heels tapped on the floor of the entryway. Silently, she groaned. This was one of the reasons she’d wanted to go home and change, but Captain Martinez wouldn’t have it.
“Is anyone here?” she called out again but received no reply.
Although she really should turn and leave, her gut feeling told her to stay. She had heard heavy thuds. If Mr. Reeder wasn’t here, perhaps this was a break-in after all. That would certainly explain why the front door was cracked open.
Brittany should certainly search his penthouse suite. He was a suspect of a murder, after all.
The victim of the brutal murder was twenty-six year old, Hillary Banks. Brittany remembered the woman from high school. They weren’t in the same grade, but being a year younger, Brittany watched everyone and knew a lot about them, as well. Even back then, her detective instincts were taking control of her life.
Hillary had been a religious girl in high school, but once she graduated, she went to college at WSU in Pullman, and Brittany hadn’t heard what happened to the woman. Only two days ago, Hillary had been murdered in her family’s home right here in Seattle. Her parents were at work, and her younger brother was at school. Hillary had just gotten out of the tub and wrapped a robe around her body. Within moments of leaving the bathroom, the woman was smashed over the head with a large object, crushing her skull, and killing her instantly.
Suspiciously, the murder weapon was not found on the premises. No fingerprints were found on the crime scene, except for the family who lived there. The only thing the police had to use for leads was the list of men written on a piece of paper that was folded and found in Hillary’s robe.
Since that discovery, her team had been trying to locate the men on the list and interview them. Austin Reeder’s name was at the bottom of the list. Brittany and her partner, Kurt Hamill, had planned to visit Mr. Reeder tomorrow. Why Captain Martinez wanted this done immediately, Brittany wished she knew. And where was Kurt? As her partner, he should have been here to back her up.
She reached into her beaded purse again and pulled out her cell. Just like before, it went to his voicemail.
“Hamill, where are you?” she growled. “I know you received Martinez’s call, so why are you ignoring me?”
As she put the cell back in her purse, she seriously hoped he was on the way. Back up was most important in her line of work.
A bead of moisture trickled down her neck. Good grief! Why did it feel overly warm in here? It was early summer, so unless he was trying to cook food on his counter top, the temperature shouldn’t be this hot. Either that, or she’d found a hidden trap door into Satan’s lair.
She clutched her G42 and walked into the room further. The wealthy businessman had a glass case liquor bar, a large dining area, and living room. The three bookcases filled from edge to edge. It would seem he didn’t have a social life, and probably stayed at home reading. She’d had almost this many books when she was in college, and of course, she really didn’t have a social life, either.
She took another step, heading toward the hallway, but before reaching it, the floor creaked. She jerked to a stop and listened closer.
The door to one of the rooms opened, and out walked a man. He was tall, built like a quarterback, and wore a black bathrobe that reached his knees. His wet hair was slicked back on his head, and his face appeared freshly shaven. His attention was on his ipod as he scrolled through it. In his ears were earphones with a cord attached to the electronic device.
Inwardly, she groaned. No wonder he hadn’t heard her calling out, announcing herself! A good detective checks every room, Russell. But in her defense, she was about to when he walked out.
Panic hammered away in her chest, bringing a momentary shut-down to her brain…and her lungs, because at this moment as she stared at his bathrobe and the muscular bare legs, she couldn’t breathe. Her worst nightmare—for today, anyway—had come true. She’d been caught in the suspect’s apartment looking like a girl going to her first prom, and holding a G42, no less! What kind of bad horror flick was this?
The rhythm of her heart was as fast as a speeding train, and she knew it would derail and crash at any moment. If that happened, she’d be standing in the middle of his room, looking like a complete idiot in a fancy dress, with a gun.
What would he think when he saw her? Although she could imagine plenty, it worried her that she didn’t look like a police detective. Naturally, he’d think someone was here to end his life. She definitely didn’t want him thinking that.
Without another thought, she pushed the glock back in her beaded purse. Just then, the man raised his head and saw her. He stopped. His mouth hung open as his gaze moved over her. It didn’t bother her the way he scanned up and down her body like some kind of hungry coyote, but what concerned her was the way her mouth dried so quickly and cotton had taken up residence in her throat. This man was absolutely the most handsome man she’d ever laid eyes on—and she’d seen many in her twenty-five years.
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Here's what book two will look like. Isn't it romantic?