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A/N: This is a sequel. To get the most out of this story, I recommend reading The Dangerous Ones first. All books in the series can be found on my profile page. Thank you❣️

Virginia was working her way through the paperwork that seemed to have sprouted roots and grown on its own during its time in her inbox. It was her first day back at the station, and she was determined to throw herself into work to keep busy.

At the desk beside her, Walt was deep in conversation with Joe, who had one hip perched on the front corner of the desk's surface. As partners, they were like an old married couple, finishing each other's sentences as they caught up on their time apart over the holidays.

At a pause in their conversation, she looked up. She hadn't really been paying much attention but was curious as to what had interrupted the comforting drone. Walt was looking over at her.

What. "What?"

"Joe asked if you made any New Year's resolutions."

"Oh, sorry, I wasn't listening."

"Well?" Joe said before taking a sip of his morning coffee. "Any special goals this year? Another gym maybe?"

Nope. The gym had been her partner's goal, not hers, a goal she had inherited upon his death, along with his ill-gotten small fortune. The money was gone now, invested in bringing his dream to fruition. Not that she hadn't enjoyed making it happen. Turning Jack's idea into a reality had been deeply rewarding, on so many levels. The place was even making a little money.

Too bad she hadn't been as victorious in solving his murder.

Which brought her right back to Joe's question, didn't it.

Virginia had never put much credence into the tradition of New Year's resolutions. Why set yourself up for failure? This year, however, was a different story. "I'm going to bring the Chilvati family down."

Joe choked on his Starbucks.

"Well, that's certainly . . . ambitious," Walt said without conviction, giving her a half-hearted grin.

She didn't elaborate by telling them her plan, or the fact that she had been going off-book for the last few nights, following Gus Chilvati. Not a big deal. Gus was, after all, the only son of one of the most powerful crime lords in the country. He should be used to some police scrutiny.

Except she had parked outside his house.

Had sat for two hours before concluding he was staying in.

It was those little details that were not to be shared. With anyone. Because if she spilled the beans, the likely consensus would have been that she'd lost it, totally flipped out. Stuff like that was considered on the verge of harassment. Besides, it was her own private hell to deal with—nobody else's business.

After finishing up their twelve days of Christmas, Walt and Joe packed up and went out on patrol. Virginia wasn't far behind them, about to go out on her beat when the desk sergeant walked up to her. "This just came for you by courier." He handed her a large manila envelope.

She studied the typed letters on the label after giving him a muttered, "Thanks." She wasn't expecting anything. No return address, she noted before ripping the thing open.

She reached inside, pulled out the single eight-by-ten glossy, and cursed under her breath. It had the same graininess as the pictures in the report Mark had given her over a year ago when she was investigating Jack's death, making it look like it had been taken from some distance away. It was her, sitting in her car, the streetscape behind her recognizable, Gus's house visible in the background.

She flipped it over. One word had been written on the back in large letters: STOP.

What the hell? Was he having her followed? Her jaw clenched until her teeth hurt.

Three weeks had passed since the police shooting that had killed his nephew, Simon, the boy she had come to love. Since the funeral, there had been no contact between them. No phone call. No texts. Not that she'd expected any. They were over, and she was working hard to slowly, painfully come to terms with that.

And now this.

He'd once said that a threat was usually enough to keep people in line. Well, if he thought that was going to work on her, he was greatly mistaken. If anything, it only strengthened her resolve, spurred on her recovery.

Shoving the picture back into its envelope, she marched over to the shredder. And as the not-so-subtle intimidation disappeared under the machine's sharp blades, so too did any lingering doubts over the course she had planned.

END OF CHAPTER ONE

She seems determined, doesn't she? Do you think this is a smart move on her part? And what about Mark? Do you think he's having her watched? Maybe he's the one watching. . .

Thank you for your interest in the sequel. I can promise you, it's very different from the first. I hope you enjoy it! Don't forget that little star! I'm back at square one (or star one).

The Silent Ones [✔️] (#2 in the Chilvati Series)Read this story for FREE!