Someone is methodically killing past members of The Consortium, a defunct group of ruthless businessmen who made their fortunes buying and selling prime Las Vegas real estate during the era that saw the beginnings of the mega casino and luxury hotels. Homicide Detective, Kennedy O’Brien, and her temporary partner, Reno Homicide Detective Hunt, race to stop a deranged predator who claims a new victim every forty-eight hours. The killer drugs his victims, slashes their wrists, and leaves a playing card with the body. As the clock continues to tick, the search for clues seems easy—too easy Kennedy suspects.
While chasing the killer, Kennedy must also try to control hotheaded Detective Hunt, who is hell-bent on finding out who killed the first victim—his best friend’s father. At the same time, she has to deal with a jealous Nick Campenelli, whom she may or may not be in a relationship with. Nick is unhappy with Kennedy spending so much time in close contact with the very smitten, Detective Hunt. Tossed into the mix are her retired cop grandfather, her self-appointed personal domestic slave, Elvis, and a boss who is demanding answers.
Is it any wonder that Kennedy doesn’t do relationships?
Kennedy pulled in behind the cruiser she imagined was Charles’ ride home. Out of the corner of her eye she caught sight of Charles, a scary looking nurse, and Officer Colder drifting toward a bench.
“What the hell are they doing out here in the open? I told him to stay put. Damn rookies.”
Kennedy put her car in park and got out, prepared to rip the kid a new ass. In the same instant, Kennedy caught a quick flash of reflected light coming from behind the shrubbery to the left of the hospital entrance. She knew immediately what the reflection was and pulled her weapon.
“Gun!” Kennedy ran towards the bench. “Everybody down!”
Shots rang out. A bullet struck the wheelchair and pinged off the metal frame. A shot hit the window, shattering glass everywhere.
A sickening thud she recognized all too well came next. A bullet hitting flesh. A loud groan came from the group. Then a scream.
Kennedy saw movement in the shrubbery. She stuck her gun outward in a two-handed hold, and spread her feet apart.
“Freeze! Police!” She kept her hold steady.
There was more movement and the shooter fired off another five shots. Kennedy fired back. She felt a sharp sting, followed by a burning sensation in her left upper arm. Behind her, she heard another gun fire off several rounds.
Glancing over her shoulder, she saw the squad car’s driver was out and firing in the direction of the bushes. He emptied his revolver and was still firing the empty chamber. Click, click, click. No bullets—only empty clicks.
“Stop firing, Smitty. The shooter’s gone.”
Smitty re-loaded his gun and took off in the direction the shooter ran.
Another squad car and an unmarked pulled in, parking behind the Mustang. Detectives Sparks and Tenuta jumped out of the unmarked.
“Thank god.” Kennedy reached with her right hand and covered her left arm where blood was gushing out like an oil well. “The shooter took off that way.”
“Let’s see if we can find the motherfucker!” Sparky yelled to the two officers in the newly arrived squad car. Sparky followed Smitty.
Jimmy grabbed Kennedy by both arms. “Let’s get you inside and let a doc have a look at that arm.”
“I’m fine. Check on Killgrew and the nurse. Tim Colder is with them.” Jimmy hesitated. “Go on. I’m fine.”
Kennedy bent over and took a deep breath. Her vision blurred and little white fuzzies floated before her. She stood up slowly, inhaled one more time, and walked slowly towards the bench.
The nurse was still screaming. Charles was pale and looked like he was in shock. Officer Tim Colder lay in a rapidly growing puddle of blood. He’d been shot in the chest.
Kennedy knew from the gray color of Tim’s skin, the kid was beyond help. Still, Jimmy administered CPR.
Jimmy was right. Kennedy dropped to her knees next to Tim. “Oh, no you don’t. Not on my watch.” She worked with Jimmy. Together they tried desperately to bring the young cop back. Soon three ER doctors and a code team rushed through the doors and took over.
Sirens screamed into the night’s air as more cops arrived. CSU team would be on scene in a matter of minutes. Two cops had been shot. Internal Affairs would make a showing, too.
Sparky was back and breathing hard. “Sorry, Kenny. No sign of the motherfucker. Bastard gave us the slip.” For the first time, Sparky noticed Tim and the code team working over him.
“Oh fuck.” Sparky crossed himself. “In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,” he mumbled. The conflicting gesture following Sparky’s stream of obscenities, did not go unnoticed.
Time seemed to move in slow motion. She whispered, “Please, God, don’t let this happen.”
Kennedy shook herself out of her increasing shock and panic. “Sparky, take a couple of uniforms and get Mr. Killgrew home. Don’t let him out of your sight until I get there.”
Kennedy pointed to the nurse, who was still screaming, and said to Jimmy, “Get her the hell out of here before I do something stupid.”
Jimmy shoved the hysterical nurse inside the hospital doors, passed her off to another nurse, and returned to Kennedy’s side. He tried to pull her away. “Come on, Kenny. Let’s get you checked out. We can’t help Tim now.”
Tim’s partner, Smitty, stood with another of the uniformed officers. He was weeping. Smitty was in charge of training the young cop. Guilt was gonna eat away at Smitty for a long time to come. “Join the crowd,” Kennedy said quietly.
Kennedy stood firm and watched as the doctors called the code and pronounced Officer Timothy Colder, age twenty-three, dead.
With a heavy heart, Kennedy shook her head and said, “Dead of stupidity.”
Jimmy said, “What’d you say, Kennedy? Couldn’t hear you over all the noise.”
Kennedy didn’t repeat the comment, but instead asked, “Why didn’t he wait for me? I told him to wait. Five minutes, that’s all. Five fucking minutes.”
As a child, Teri made up her own bedtime stories. When her children came along, Teri always tweaked the fairy tales she told her daughters, giving them a bit more punch and better endings when needed.
Now she spends her days turning her ideas into books. She lives in Marietta, GA with her husband. You can find her on Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.