Internal Affairs officer Kellie Munroe is investigating one of her own…
Kellie and Detective Amelia Donovan were childhood friends, until a horrifying event destroyed their friendship. Now Amelia is slated for promotion to Superintendent, but her career is in jeopardy following a physical altercation with a suspect, and her history with Kellie complicates the already sensitive investigation.
Amelia’s partner Darryl Hill must work with Kellie, despite serious reservations…
Darryl is loyal, ethical, and dedicated to his work, but he can’t contain his curiosity about Kellie, who always seems to push his partner’s buttons. When their investigation leads to criminal kingpin Dick Coleani and a string of murdered men, an attempt on their lives sends Kellie into a panic, reigniting memories of her childhood trauma.
As Darryl helps Kellie through her fear, he can no longer deny his attraction to her…but he wants more than the broken, traumatised woman feels capable of giving.
Terrifying personal threats force Kellie to pursue answers in secret…
When Kellie begins to suspect this case and Coleani might somehow be connected to her own personal nightmare, she will need help from both Darryl and Amelia as she plunges down a perilous path.
But will Darryl be able to rein in her quest for justice before the past repeats itself and Kellie is left with another—possibly fatal—open wound?
Kellie Munroe increased the speed and incline on her running machine. Her heart was racing and she could feel the stitch on her side. She was breathing fast and sweating profusely, her long blonde hair pulled back into a tight ponytail.
Her body protested every step, every breath, telling her she wasn’t as fit as she should be. For twelve years, Kellie had prided herself for being as physically fit as possible although due to her current workload she had become slack with her visits to the gym. She continued to run until she could no longer keep going, her legs jelly. She turned off the machine and took a deep drink from her water bottle, swallowing half the contents as she wiped the sweat from her brow with a small towel. She glanced at her watch. Her lunch break was long over. She would have loved to spend some time lifting weights, building her physical strength, but she knew she had to get back to work.
She stretched her aching body on the yoga mat nearby as her heart rate slowed down.
“Looking good, Munroe,” a voice said from behind her.
She looked over her shoulder to find Detective Sergeant Nicholas Doyle grinning at her. She realised her position, her behind up in the air as she reached out for her toes.
“You’d better not be thinking what I think you’re thinking, Detective. It could be viewed as sexual harassment, and I would hate to report you,” she informed him, knowing full well he wasn’t. Nick was friend.
His grin got bigger and he gave her a wink. “You know me.”
“Yes I do, Nick.” She sat down on the mat, changing the angle of the stretch, the muscles in her thighs tingling as she held the position.
She and Nick often bantered. He was the only one she felt comfortable enough to tease. Neither of them ever took any offence to what the other said. Some days she needed his teasing barbs. It helped push her past her endurance while training.
“Haven’t seen you around lately,” he commented.
She studied his hard body and tight muscles, black hair and piercing blue eyes. It was unfair to the rest of the male species, Nick having taken more than his share of good looks and charm.
“You obviously haven’t been missing a session.”
He shrugged and flexed a muscle. She refrained from rolling her eyes. Nick was a decent guy and much to the disappointment of the female officers never dated anyone he worked with, however remotely. He was the only son in a family of five, and had been instilled with strong, protective, and tender feelings towards the fairer sex. He was an ‘unofficial’ big brother, having taken all his fellow female colleagues under his wing. If anyone messed with them, they’d be messing with him.
“I could get you in real good shape, Munroe, just let me know when you want it.”
She nodded. “I will thanks,” she said sincerely. “We’ll get right down and dirty.”
Nick grinned, showing his white teeth as he reached down and brought Kellie to her feet in an easy motion. She knew she wasn’t heavy, weighing the right amount for her body type, but Nick could make even the heaviest woman feel no more than a feather. “Right.”
They were of course talking about self-defence, which Nick taught once a week at the LAC’s internal gym. He made sure that every female officer attended his classes and that each walked away with the tools and confidence they needed to defend themselves.
Nick Doyle was a good guy. She could see why the women all flocked towards him. If he had been so inclined, he could easily play the field, but Nick was the monogamous type. He loved being in a relationship but had yet to find the right woman.
“Well, I’ve got to hit the shower,” she said. If she rushed she could be dressed and back at her desk in ten minutes. If she was lucky.
“Sure. I’ll see you later, Munroe.”
In the shower room, she washed the sweat from her body, careful not to get her hair wet. She dried herself off and dressed in her dark navy blue skirt that stopped at her knees. She tucked in her white short-sleeved blouse and carefully applied some blush and clear gloss to her lips, then coated her long blonde eyelashes with mascara. After pulling out her ponytail and brushing her hair, she let it fall to the curve of her breasts, her bangs blending into her hair. She put on her shoes—a pair of three inch black heels—and got into the elevator, making her way up to the top floor of Harbour Bay’s LAC building where the office of Special Crimes and Internal Affairs—SCIA—was housed.
She exited the elevator and started toward her work station directly ahead, the first cubical on the floor. Her boss dumped a file on her slightly disorganised desk and started to walk away.
“Hey, you can’t just dump and run,” she announced, and sped up her pace as fast as she could, hindered by her skirt and heels to catch up to him.
Kellie picked up the folder and waved it in front of her boss’s face.
Her boss, Lewis Carlisle, ran his fingers through what was left of his hair. He was one of the unfortunate men whose hairline receded far too early. “New case. A complaint was made that one of the detectives downstairs was being a little rough with the crims.”
Her eyebrow shot up as she opened the folder. “A little rough?”
Kellie’s breath caught in her throat as her gaze found the official police department’s photo of Detective Inspector Amelia Donovan. She read the name on the file in case by some accident it had been misfiled. It hadn’t.
Amelia’s file was thick, filled with recommendations and what seemed like a matching amount of complaints that had been filed against her for rough handling.
Detective Donovan was ambitious and it was no secret she took no shit from anyone, least of all the criminals she brought in. She commanded a lot of respect from her colleagues and worked hard for it. She didn’t let the fact she was a woman deter her, nor did she ask for preferential treatment. She gave it as good as she got.
Kellie glanced up at Carlisle. He watched her closely.
“Sir, you know I can’t take the case.”
Lewis exhaled loudly as if she purposely went out of her way to make things hard for him. “You’re the only one I can spare at the moment. Both Holly and Fitzsimmons are buried deep in their cases.”
Clark Holly and Frank Fitzsimmons were the two other high ranking officers within the SCIA. While both were fine men and good cops on their own, Holly was an anal son-of-a-bitch who took the hide out of anyone who so much as dared to borrow his stapler. Fitzsimmons was more laid back, a veteran of thirty years who went home to his wife and children every night.
“And the personal history?” she asked.
“It shouldn’t be a problem. After all, you’re a professional and I have the upmost respect for your opinion. I know you’ll not let personal entanglements sway your decisions.”
If only she had his confidence. It had been some time since she had seen Amelia. They no longer ran in the same circles and neither had sought the other out. Even though they worked in the same town, on different floors of the same building, they never spoke. She wasn’t certain this would go over well. Even without the past between them, she was IA and automatically despised by most cops, some seeing her as something lower than the criminals they arrested and Mia was sure to be no different.
Kellie believed in what she was doing, and the truth was somebody had to do it, so why not her? Someone had to police the police. Cops were not above the law and they needed to know they still answered to someone.
It would be difficult, and Mia wouldn’t help the situation.
The next few weeks were not going to be easy, and not just because of the present situation but because of the past as well. The past which hung over them like a dark grey cloud, forever threatening a storm.
But there was a difference between personal and professional. Now all she had to do was act the part. She gave hear boss a curt nod before turning her attention to Mia’s file, reading the complaint that had prompted the IA investigation.
Twenty minutes later she was on her way to the second floor. She tried to calm her knotting stomach as the ensuing confrontation filled her mind.