Sunday, April 17, 2016

Knight of Cups - Backlash (The Dead Air Chronicles)


In the grip of fate there is no escape
They were worlds apart, drawn together by an undeniable passion. Ripped apart by fear, they ran from each other and now struggle to stand alone. Tragedy descends, and they are pulled together in search of a killer.

Kate returns to Dallas in search of Mike’s killer. Within hours of her arrival, events quickly spin out of control. Jack struggles to keep his distance, but when Kate becomes a suspect, his instincts take over and he rushes to her defense. As danger looms, all of the reasons they walked away from each other disappear, leaving the passionate fire that brought them together.

Unknown forces set their sights on Jack and Kate, and the pair is forced to run or become the latest in a long line of victims. In a desperate search for the truth behind Mike’s murder, they fight their way through the lies, discovering that not all is as it seems.

Excerpt 

Kate Weiss pushed her way through the doors. She just wanted to get this over with. After three weeks of being undercover, she’d gotten the collar and closed the case. Now all she wanted was a glass of wine and a nice long, hot, bath.She would have to wait, paperwork first, always.
She made it halfway through the bullpen when she heard her name. She turned and saw Andy waving her down.
The sight of him stabbed at her, the memory of her return from Dallas creeping from the back of her mind. She tried to push the memories of her time in the lone-star state out of her head. It was the whole reason she’d jumped back into work. Taking the first deep cover assignment she could get.  It was ironic really she’d gone to Dallas to regain her memory. Not only did she fail at that attempt, but she also managed to mangle her own heart in the process.
Jack
She pushed it away and made a u-turn toward Andy’s office.
“What’s up?”
“Come in and close the door.”
“Is everything okay, you don’t look like the boss of someone who just broke a two year old case?”
“Kate, there is something I need to tell you.” His face was hard and set in a pained expression. Her stomach immediately dropped when he met her eyes, and she pushed the air from her lungs.
“What is it, what’s wrong?”
“Kate…I…”
“What is it, Andy? Spit it out!”
“Mike’s dead.”
Kate felt all of the blood draining from her face and her body became unbearably heavy. “How?”
“He was shot in the head, it looks like a hit.” She was speechless. She stared at him, feeling the walls closing in and sat in the chair behind her. Clasping her hands together, she tried to collect her thoughts and bring her buzzing mind under control. “There has to be some kind of mistake, Andy. There’s no way…”
“It’s been confirmed. They just finished the autopsy. We should have the ballistics in a few days.”
“What— wait, autopsy? When did this happen?”
“Ah…we got the news last week.”
“Last week, and you are telling me now?”
“Kate, there was no way to get a message to you without compromising your cover.”
“God damn it, why didn’t you…” Her body began to shake but she reeled herself back in, not wanting to show the weakness in front of him. “So I assume Washington is handling the investigation?”
“No, the Dallas office is handling it,” he replied looking at her, somehow knowing she was going to object. “Don’t start, there is no way to transfer it here I have already asked.”
Kate decided to leave it. The less she involved him the better.
“Do we know when the funeral will be?”
“Not yet. I have a call into the AD in Dallas. A lot of it is going to depend on when they release the body.”
“Yeah.” She stood from the chair hiding the shaking of her limbs.
“You okay?”
“Yeah,” she said with a nod. She watched him move around the desk. He touched her arm before pulling her toward him.
Andy wrapped his arms around her, and she reluctantly let him. He was trying to comfort her, so she humored him, laying her head on his shoulder. They stood silent before she pulled back. “Thanks, Andy.”
“Why don’t you take the rest of the day off? Let it settle in,” he suggested and she nodded in agreement. “I’ll stop by later and see how you are doing, okay.”
“Call me if you hear anything else?”
“Definitely.”
Kate opened the door and exited the office. She moved through the bullpen, grabbed her things from her desk, and headed out of the building. Once she reached her car, she pulled out her cell and dialed.
“Jane. Hey, it’s Kate. Are you busy, I need a favor?”
***          
Jack’s cell rang and he answered seeing the number from the mortuary.
“This is Jack Tucker,” he said into the phone as he cleaned out the coffee pot. “Yes. Yes, please that is fine. Thank you.”
The entire situation was frustrating, and he was glad it was almost over. Everything was put on indefinite hold until the FBI released Mike’s remains. Something they were told would take a few days had dragged on for over two weeks.
He'd found his boss and friend dead in his own kitchen two weeks ago. He had dropped by to deliver his laptop as requested and that was when he found him. The memory chilled him to the bone, and everything since had been a dizzy haze.
Mike had no immediate family, so Jack and his on-air radio co-host, Melissa, took it upon them-selves to make all of the funeral arrangements. This, if nothing else kept them both busy, stalling the impending shock of emotion going to rain down soon enough. His mind went to Kate. He'd attempted to call her several times with no response. He wasn't sure why he would have expected her to answer. He'd gone to California to apologize for the way he rejected her when he discovered she was an FBI Agent, but she shut him down and walked away. Telling him that she wasn't who he thought she was. Despite their recent history, he was sincerely worried about her. Jack knew how much she meant to Mike, he could only imagine that the feeling was reciprocated.
Jack shook himself out of his head and immediately got to work. His first order of business was to call Melissa, and let her know that they were a go. He started at the top of the list and worked his way down. He had accomplished half of it when his phone rang.
“This is Jack.”
“Jack, it’s Elisa.”
“Hey, what’s up?”
“The FBI is here, and asking about Mike’s laptop. Do you still have it?” Her voice was strained and he could only imagine how she was handling things. She was, after all, Mike's assistant. All of this must have been horrible.
“Ah, yeah, do they want me to bring it there?”
Jack heard her asking someone something in the background, and then she came back to the phone.
“They want you to bring it to the field office downtown.”
“Yeah okay I can run by there. No problem.”
“Okay, I’ll tell them, thanks.”
He decided it was a good excuse to get out of the house, and he grabbed his keys. Half way to the federal offices, his phone rang again and he saw Melissa’s smiling face.
“Hey Miss, what’s up?”
“Are you busy?”
“Not really, I was just going to drop something off downtown. What do you need?”
“I am at the funeral home and I have no idea what I am doing,” she replied sounding frustrated and breathless. “Do you think you could come by and help me with all of this?”
“Sure, where are you?”
Melissa gave him the address and he veered off course to the funeral home. When he arrived, she was shaking her head in indecision. He didn’t offer any suggestions just acted as a sounding board and support. This enabled her to make the necessary decisions.
Two hours later, he was able to walk out of the funeral home knowing that the arrangements were all made. Now it was his job to send everyone the information.  He wanted to put together a respectful email so he decided to head to the federal office and then back home. Melissa wanted him to meet him for dinner later, so if he hauled ass he should have time to get everything done, and be able to clean up before dinner.
Jack pulled into the parking lot, grabbed the laptop off the back seat, and headed to the main doors of the federal office. As soon as he walked in, he saw a reception desk. He stood behind a man, and a woman, who were both waiting their turn while the receptionist talked on the phone.
A few minutes later, it was his turn and he looked to her with a smile.
“Hi, my name is Jack Tucker. I was asked to bring this down,” he said, motioning to the laptop.
“Mr. Tucker,” she said scanning her computer screen. “There you are. They are expecting you. Just go through security and up to the fifth floor.  Talk to the receptionist, and ask her to direct you to Agent Mitchell.”
“Great, thanks.” He turned and moved to the security station. Once through, he made his way to the fifth floor. “Hi I’m here to see Agent Mitchell, my name is Jack Tucker.”
“Mr. Tucker, if you can fill this out for me I can take the laptop for you.” The receptionist handed him a clipboard and a pen. He looked over the form and began to fill it out. Abruptly Jack heard the faint echo of shouting voices followed by the slamming of a door. Looking up, he watched a suited man cross the room of cubicles. The man, seemingly irate, stopped, yanking open the door of a glass walled office. “Get Andy Whitaker in Los Angeles on the phone now!”
 Jack watched in curiosity while the surrounding agents scurried through the cubicles like frightened mice looking for a place to hide.
“All set, thanks for bringing this down, Mr. Tucker.”
“Sure, no problem,” he replied with a nod before turning toward the elevator.
“Carol, Nighton wants the files on Kate Weiss,” a man said as he leaned over the counter.  A chill went up Jack’s spine, and he turned to get a look at the man. He was a bald middle age man, but he quickly disappeared into the maze of cubicles. Jack turned back to the elevator and stepped on just as an angry male voice bellowed through the office.

***

Shockwave, Backlash and Fallout are the three short novels that comprise the Tarot series by Amy Romine. T This series was a little jewel that I recently stumbled upon. Quick, addictive and sexy are probably the first three words that pop into my head when recalling this series.- Amazon Reviewer

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