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Dedicated to Millie McClain & BJ Daniels.
Millie, you are a rock star that keeps me on track and is always there to smack me upside the head when my mind starts to wander and I can’t see the end in sight.
Thank you for putting up with my discombobulated mind.
BJ, Thank you for introducing me to the joys of Cowboy-Montana-Romance-Suspense-Crime-Thrillers, and for opening my eyes to the literary world beyond vampires, werewolves, and dark elves. One day I hope to shake your hand and possibly pick your brain.
“Di buona volontà sta pieno l'inferno.” ~Italian Proverb
(The road to hell is paved with good intentions.)
New York City....
Lieutenant Rossi ran down the sidewalk as fast as her legs could take her as she desperately tried to catch up to the perp up ahead. No matter how much long distance running Rossi did, the perp she was chasing obviously had done more, and was starting to outdistance her. Her partner, Lieutenant D'Avanzo, wasn’t able to keep up with her long strides so he took a shortcut through a restaurant, hoping he could cut the perp off at the next block. Rossi’s racing heart was pounding in her ears, making it difficult to hear anything past it, and her lungs ached for air. Up ahead, the perp ducked down an alley and she followed without giving it a second thought.
The brick buildings lining the crate and dumpster littered alley felt as if they were suddenly closing in on her. The clouds above eclipsed the moon, effectively veiling the area in darkness.
Rossi instantly slowed, pulling up her P226 DAK-Sig Sauer, wrapping her hand around the grip, and flattened her back against one of the buildings. She crouched down slightly and strained to hear, to gauge the exact location of the perp.
It was quiet.
In the distance, towards the back of the alley, she heard labored breathing and shuffling. The late afternoon rainstorm had littered the streets and sidewalks with puddles, which worked in Rossi’s favor when the perp gave her the slip after four blocks. The perp’s sneakers were fully saturated from the puddles he was running through, causing each of his steps to make a squishing sound, which Rossi followedas he paced back and forth at the end of the alleyway. The smell of garbage, moldy cardboard boxes that sat out overnight, urine, wet rodents, and questionable Asian cuisine from a block down, made her sick to her stomach and she fought the urge to double over and vomit. A large rodent scampered across one of her shoes and she carefully shook it off instead of punting the rat down the alley towards the panting perp.
The situation wasn’t the greatest. Her partner would be there in sixty seconds, ninety tops, from which direction she didn’t entirely know. But knowing D'Avanzo as well as she did, he’d most likely have a cheesy one-liner to accompany his arrival which shealways gavean eye roll in return before she’d turn her head so he couldn’t see the small smile that’d pull at the corners of her lips.
But what Rossi did know was that the perp was armed. That’s what started the foot pursuit to begin with. Though, what kept it going wasn’t the fact that he was a punk street kid that was armed with, what wasmost likelya stolen weapon, which he used to mug an old lady of her purse in front of the two Lieutenants thatstopped for coffee before heading to dinner, then quickly tossed the purse over his shoulder at them and ran.
No. It was something else that was nagging at Rossi. Even as a beat cop, you didn’t just have crime happen in front of you. It was next to impossible. And, both Rossi and D'Avanzo wore their badges in plain view—she on the front of her right hip and he around his neck from a chain—not to mention, their attire screamed COP from a mile away. Their holstered guns were more than visible since they had left their jackets in the car, and they were talking rather openly about a case they weren’t supposed to be working on but were—the two never could follow directions very well when it came to keeping their noses out of other officers’ cases. The perp had been standing outside the coffee shop when they walked in, each gave him a second glance and they simultaneously clicked the safeties off of the guns at their hips. When they left the shop, the young man was still standing there as if he was waiting for them, and that was when he took off and apparently randomly grabbed the first thing within reaching distance: the arm bag of an elderly woman.