Authors: Lexie Davis
At night on an icy road, Sophie Steven's dead body is found inside her fiancé’s car. On the outside it appears to be a simple accident, but as Detective Blake Warren starts to investigate, she discovers there's more to the story.
Detective Ryder James is determined to find Sophie's killer and put him behind bars. No one will stand in his way, not even his new partner, Blake. He's worked for years without a partner and he doesn't need one now, even if she is sexy and intelligent.
Blake is a complete mystery, and she's the last thing Ryder thinks he needs, until a killer threatens to take her away. Can they work together to stop the killer before Blake becomes the next victim and Ryder loses the woman he loves?
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A SIREN-BOOKSTRAND TITLE
E-book ISBN: 1-60601-597-4
First E-book Publication: October 2009
Cover design by Jinger Heaston
All cover art and logo copyright © 2009 by Siren Publishing, Inc.
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Copyright © 2009
I can’t believe he’d do this to me. After all I’ve done for him, he’d go out and do
Sophie Stevens stood outside the Snowflake Lodge waiting for the valet to pull her car around the building. After a disastrous Christmas event hosted by none other than her high-powered father, Sophie found out her fiancé and boyfriend of six years decided he’d like to sample some other woman’s goodies before he settled with one for the rest of his life. And the woman just had to be Amanda Cummings.
Sophie fumed. They hated each other with a passion that couldn’t be explained. Just thinking about Amanda’s hands running all over Rick’s body boiled her blood.
Sophie groaned as she tapped her designer pump against the concrete walkway. To make matters worse, it started to snow. She glanced up to see the white dots fall from the black sky. She used to love winter. Making snow angels on the ground and building snowmen with her friends. She missed that innocent fun.
She wrapped her jacket tighter around her body. Her life had gone up in flames, and the culprit of it all stood behind her pleading with her to come inside. She blocked out Rick’s annoying voice. It didn’t matter what he had to say anymore. He’d made his bed and now he’d lie in it. She’d never be able to trust him again.
Tears filled her eyes. She was done. Everyone told her not to marry the scum, and she should have listened. She should have paid attention instead of blocking off everything right before her eyes.
“Sophie, get back in here now!” Rick yelled from the door. Sophie took a deep breath.
She’d embarrassed herself enough by causing a scene in the middle of the Christmas party. Sweet little Amanda had to open her ugly drunken mouth, and Sophie left her with a busted lip. She smiled recalling the event, finding it more amusing than embarrassing. She had wanted to punch Amanda since childhood when the woman took her favorite Barbie doll and pulled its head off.
“Sophie, we need to talk about it eventually. Might as well do it now.”
“No, Rick. You made your pick. Go kiss Amanda’s bloody lips and leave me alone.” A tear fell to Sophie’s cheek. “She won.”
“Sophie, you are being unreasonable.” He stood at the door, hesitating to come closer to her.
“I’m being unreasonable?” She turned, narrowing her eyes at him. “I’ve done nothing but support you and be there for you through the good and bad, and you repay me by sleeping with my enemy. I’m
being the unreasonable one! I have a right to be mad.”
“You had to know it would happen, Sophie.” Rick scoffed. “She’s Amanda. She’s always wanted what you’ve had. Why would you think I’d be any different?”
Sophie felt more tears, and she blinked them away
. It’s the cold. Just the damn cold and not any sort of emotion I feel toward him.
“Get out of my sight, Rick. I don’t ever want to see you again.”
The car finally came around the building, and Sophie nearly jumped out in front of it in an effort to get away from the worst night of her life.
“Sophie, that’s my Jag. You can’t take my Jag,” Rick hollered as he stepped outside into the cold.
Yeah. The idiot couldn’t step outside to confront me but he can step outside to protect his damn car!
Sophie grabbed the keys from the valet. A Jag could go a hell of a lot faster than her little Camry. Rick’s voice instantly muffled when she closed the door. She pressed the door locks before he reached for the door handle. He searched for his keys but she moved faster. She fastened her seat belt and pressed on the gas, leaving the parking lot without a second glance back.
Sophie always hated Rick’s Jag, but the damn thing was worth more than most average Americans made in a year. And he could afford it. The sleazy scum knew how to run perfect cons, his best being the one he pulled on her. Her speed increased as did her anger.
As she passed each street light her vision blurred. She blinked, thinking tears filled her eyes again though none fell to her cheeks. Her head swam as her stomach flopped inside her.
Wouldn’t that top it off? Puking in Rick’s Jag and leaving it for him to clean up.
She grinned weakly, picturing his face when he saw it.
Serves him right.
A sharp pain blasted through her skull, forcing her to close her eyes for a moment.
What the hell?
She gripped the steering wheel tightly. Her foot moved to the brake and pressed hard, though the car didn’t slow down. Frantically, she glanced around the car, intensifying the pounding in her head.
What is wrong with me? What is going on?
She continued to steer the car on the meandering road while her brain felt on fire.
Panicking, she forced the car around the sharp curve, the right tire slipping across a patch of ice. Sophie screamed as the Jag crashed into a tree on the opposite side of the road.
The world came to a blinding halt.
She laid there with her eyes closed, the pain easing a bit. She stood by him through everything and he repaid her by sleeping with Amanda Sophie tried to move but her limbs remained frozen. Her mind grew hazy as she tried to call for help.
Before Sophie lost consciousness, she decided for a fact that that night was indeed the worst night of her life.
Blake Warren pictured the buzzing cell phone beside her head as a figment of her imagination.
Ignore it. It’ll stop eventually.
Just a few more hours of sleep.
The buzzing continued. Opening one eye to the horrid sound, she reached for the phone to end the noise. All thoughts of sleep flew out the window when she read the readout. She groaned. Phone calls at ungodly hours of the night came with the job. No sleep and gallons of coffee kept her going, and when shit happened, she made it better. She sought out justice for the innocent.
Why can’t people wait until after the holidays to kill each other?
Hell, if they’d only give her time to have a decent night’s sleep and a morning cup of coffee, she’d be grateful. She pushed up from the mattress and clicked the phone on.
“Warren,” she grumbled.
“Aren’t you a bright ray of sunshine?” her superior said.
She rolled her eyes. “What have you got?”
“Car wreck in Grand Rapids. They asked us to send a team up to investigate. It could possibly lean toward murder.”
She rubbed her eyes, still half asleep. Too much family, too much eggnog and not enough food or sleep didn’t mix well with work. “Run that by me again. How is a car wreck murder?”
“The coroner has reason to believe someone killed the victim intentionally,” he replied. “I’m sending you out there now.”
“Is it that bad?”
“Looks like it. Since Betsy is off duty, you’ll be working with James on this. He hasn’t responded yet so who knows when or if he’ll show up. You’ll be the first detective on the scene.”
Blake bit back a groan. Ryder James. The man that couldn’t keep a partner because he liked to run the show. She’d heard he transferred to their department for a change. He’d been through at least five partners before the lieutenant decided to put him on paperwork for a while.
Oh, Betsy, why did you have to get pregnant and go on maternity leave now?
“I’d be better off on my own.”
The man laughed. “Yeah, but you don’t exactly get that option, now do you?”
Blake finally made it out of bed around eight and went on her way to the dimly lit crime scene. The sun started to peek over the hills, ending the night as it welcomed the new day. Blake snarled at the sunrise, wishing she’d gotten that extra two hours of sleep she really wanted. Scratch that.
She worked in the Minneapolis homicide department. Why did she have to go to Grand Rapids? She didn’t bother waiting for her new partner before she left. Lou said he rented a hotel room for her to stay in while she collected evidence and gathered the statements she needed. She almost prayed that James wouldn’t show up. She didn’t look forward to spending the day and night with him.