Trouble always finds her…
Wrapping up a normal day at the office, criminal psychologist Kieran Finnegan is accosted by a desperate woman who shoves an infant into her arms and then flees, only to be murdered minutes later on a busy Manhattan street.
Who was the woman? Where did the baby come from? Kieran can’t stop thinking about the child and the victim, so her boyfriend, Craig Frasier, does what any good special agent boyfriend would do – he gets the FBI involved. And asks Kieran to keep out of it.
But the Finnegans have a knack for getting into trouble, and Kieran won’t sit idle when a lead surfaces through her family’s pub. Investigating on her own, she uncovers a dangerous group that plays fast and loose with human lives and will stop at nothing to keep their secrets – and they plan to silence Kieran before she can expose their deadly enterprise.
Babies tended to be adorable—and this baby was especially so. In fact, Kieran wasn’t sure she’d ever seen an ugly baby, but she had been assured by friends that they did exist.
This little girl, though, had a headful of auburn ringlets and huge blue eyes. Kieran had heard that all babies had blue eyes, but she didn’t know if that was true or not. Sadly, she just didn’t know a lot about babies; she was one in a family of four children herself, yes, but she and her twin brother, Kevin, were only a couple of years behind their older brother and one year older than their younger brother.
Actually, this beautiful baby looked as if she could fit right in with their family. Each of the Finnegan siblings had a form of red hair and blue or green or blue-green eyes. Kieran’s own were blue, and her hair was a deep red.
“They say it’s the Irish,” she said softly to the little one in her arms. “But I don’t think that you’re Irish!”
Talking to the baby made sense at the moment; FBI Special Agent Craig Frasier, the love of her life and often partner in crime—solving crime, not committing it!—had arrived shortly after the police. The medical examiner had come for the body of the murdered woman. While waiting for Child Services, Kieran was holding the baby, back up in the office.
Drs. Fuller and Miro worked with the police or other law enforcement. While not with the FBI, they were regular profilers and consultants for the NYC office. The Bureau’s behavioral science teams were down in DC, and while they could be called in, the city police and FBI often used local help in trying to get a step ahead of a criminal, or in working with criminals and witnesses when psychological assessments were needed, or, sometimes, when a child or a distressed person just needed to be able to speak to someone to ask the right questions and put them at ease. Kieran did a number of those assessments before reporting to the doctors, and she worked with victims of domestic abuse and both parents and children when they wound up within the child welfare system—such as a teenager who had been assaulted by her own father, or a senior citizen who was recovering from gunshot wounds inflicted by his wife. Or Kieran’s last patient today, Besa Goga. Besa was a sad case, abused for years when she’d first immigrated to the country, and now quick to strike out. Besa Goga was in court-ordered therapy because she’d bitten a man from her cable company. Kieran had only been seeing her a few weeks.
But the office didn’t always work through the police department, FBI or other such agencies. They also handled other cases that fell their way through happenstance or other circumstances—as in the recovering alcoholic who was also a politician and doing very well with Dr. Fuller.
Kieran had called her bosses to let them know what had happened. Both had said they’d come in immediately.
She had assured them that they shouldn’t; the police were dealing with the murder, and Child Services was coming for the baby.
Dr. Fuller—who had looks as dreamy as any TV physician—was at an event with his equally beautiful wife and their six-year-old. Dr. Miro was giving a keynote speech at a conference in Southern Jersey.
Kieran had convinced them both that she was fine, that it was just strange and scary.
The poor murdered woman hadn’t been scary; she had touched Kieran’s heart. She had needed help so badly. But she had called Kieran by name. And that made Kieran wonder.
She sat out in the waiting area of the offices—right where the woman had come up to her, right where the baby had been thrust into her arms. She thought that the baby was bound to cry again soon. That’s what babies did. They were hungry or wet or had gas or…who knew? She just really didn’t have much experience. And she had no clue as to the child’s age. But with little else to do—and probably in a bit of shock herself, despite the fact that she’d now thrown herself into the crime-fighting ring for a few years and had seen some shocking things--she talked to the baby. She made soothing noises, discussed her own uncertainty with a cheerful voice, and made a few faces here and there.
She could swear that the baby smiled.
Did babies smile this young?
She knew that those who knew—experienced parents, grandparents, and so on—claimed babies did not smile until a certain age.
This one, she was certain, smiled. She waved her little fists in the air and grinned toothlessly. She even cooed.
“Hey!” Craig had come back up to the offices after checking out the scene on the street.
He nodded to the policeman at the door. Since Kieran had no idea what was going on, and since a woman who had been looking for her had just been stabbed to death, having a policeman standing guard was very reassuring, and Kieran was grateful.
She looked up at Craig, hopeful. Though, of course, she doubted that he or the police or anyone—other than the killer—knew who had stabbed the woman, or why.
“You okay?” he asked her.
“I’m fine. I was handed the baby. I don’t think anyone was after me for any reason at all, but…oh, Lord. Craig, you don’t think it’s my fault, do you? I mean, if I hadn’t chased after her—”
“Kieran,” he said, hunkering down by her. “No.” His voice was firm and—as usual—filled with confidence and authority. Craig had been a special agent with the FBI for a good decade. He always seemed to exude a comfortable assurance and strength—things she had to admit she loved about him. Well, along with rock-hard abs, a solid six-three frame and the fact that the term tall, dark and handsome might have been conceived just for him. He had hazel eyes that were like marble, seemed to see far too much, and still…well, in her mind, they were just beautiful.
“It happened all so fast,” Kieran murmured.
Craig adjusted the blanket around the baby. Kieran thought she cooed and smiled for him, too, but it was hard to tell.
Smile…maybe gas. Who knew?