Her Final Watch
A Detective Blanchett Mystery Book 2
by Marguerite Ashton
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Speaking second-hand truths can be deadly …
Detective Lily Blanchette will stop at nothing to solve a murder. Her current case involves the killing of an undercover cop working to bring down the mob for prostitution and drugs.
But Lily's usual laser-like focus on the case has been disrupted.
Two weeks earlier, she learned she was pregnant by her murderous husband whom she'd killed in self-defense. Unsure whether to keep her baby or place the child of this cruel man up for adoption, Lily keeps the pregnancy a secret from her colleagues.
Under mounting pressure to solve the case, Lily arranges a sit-down with a local mob boss only to find out her suspect is also wanted by them. But before Lily can warn her team, she and her new partner, Jeremiah, are shot at, and another body is found.
When she discovers Jeremiah has a connection with the underworld, she is pulled into a conflict that swirls around the boss's son who's hell-bent on revenge.
To add to the complexity of the situation, Lily learns that her victim might still be alive if it wasn't for opportunistic Assistant District Attorney, Ibee Walters, who has a twisted vision of justice.
As Lily gets closer to finding the killer, she unravels ugly secrets that point to Ibee and Jeremiah - placing Lily's life and her unborn child in danger.
December 10, 2015 4:13 p.m.
Detective Ariel Weeks stabbed at the small block of ice until it split into several pieces across the counter. She tossed the jagged cubes into the glass and made her client a drink.
In less than twenty-four hours, Ariel would no longer have to use the name Jasmine and keep men company to protect her cover. All she needed to do was make it through this last night, and she’d be allowed to be who she was; a mom just doing her job.
After gathering evidence and recording all the data she had, it would be hard to detach. Towards the end, she’d learned things she’d wished weren’t true, leaving her stomach in tattered knots.
Back at home, there were two reasons Ariel would never take on another undercover assignment.
Ariel ground her teeth as the door to Cabin D opened and closed. She could feel Mikey Surace, the mob boss’s son, staring at the backless white dress she wore at his request.
The man who smiled at the sight of blood was standing behind her, breathing heavily.
She turned and handed Mikey his drink. “Your gin and grapefruit.”
Mikey took the drink and pulled Ariel down on the bed next to him. His hand, smooth like velvet, traced over her dark brown skin, along the length of her arm and rested on her thigh. “I had a shitty day.” He loosened his tie, removed his gun and put it on the ottoman.
Ariel stole a glance at the weapon, thinking of ways to grab it before he did. Just in case. “Wanna talk about it?”
“I had my talk with Pop. He wants me to get married and have kids so I can take over as head of the family soon. He wants our family to be seen as more law-abiding than the other three families.”
“Nowadays, no one gets married to have a family. Would he accept a long engagement?”
“No way. My old man still believes in marrying now, ask questions later.” Mikey took a sip of his drink and sat it down on the nightstand table. “My father asked my mother to marry him on her seventeenth birthday.”
“I’m sure you’ll find a woman who’ll accept you for who you are, who won’t care about the lifestyle you lead, and who knows when not to ask questions about your business.”
“You always say the right things. Why won’t you let me take care of you?” he asked, planting a kiss on Ariel’s full lips. “This is my third time asking you to be with me.”
Ariel wanted to wipe off the lingering citrus taste from her mouth but didn’t out of fear. She had already been spotted by one of Surace’s men and couldn’t believe that she was still alive. Probably because Ariel, at any moment, could tell the boss things that the other person was doing, clearing herself from any suspicion and allowing her to keep her cover. Even that wasn’t a guarantee.
Drops of rain peppered the window facing out at the bare branches of a willow tree. Wind hissed against the cabin.
Ariel stared into Mikey’s almond-shaped eyes. The olive tint of his skin masked his fiery temper. Things were getting heavy and out of control for a first time U.C. like herself.
She undid the strap on her stilettos and let them drop to the floor. “Because your ex-girlfriend is in charge of my money and I need every penny. I wanna make my money and maybe one day get out. It’s a dream of mine to stop escorting and waiting tables at the club.”
“If you get with me, you won’t need money.” Mikey cupped Ariel’s chin and squeezed. “Why do you keep turning me down?”
“I’m not turning you down.” She pulled out of his grip and rubbed her chin. “I don’t want to ruin my friendship with your ex. She’s my bestie and the only one I can trust in this business.”
“You don’t trust me?”
“You’re a dangerous man.”
“I’m only dangerous to those who cross me.”
Ariel wanted to ask Mikey if he’d kill her but decided against it. It was best to redirect the conversation and talk about what he enjoyed the most. Him. “What’s it like to kill someone?”
Mikey pulled Ariel back on the bed and laid on top of her. “When I put my finger on the trigger, it’s like foreplay. With each pull of the trigger, that’s the build-up. Once my target is dead, I’m satisfied. For me, it’s a lot like sex.”
“Has anyone told you you’re crazy?”
“Yeah. They never lived to say it again.”
A Detective Blanchett Mystery Book 1
Detective Lily Blanchette has a lot on her plate…
Her sister Celine has recently been murdered and her parents are on the brink of divorce. Now she’s lead on a multiple murder investigation.
Six months after Lily’s sister’s death, the bodies of two young women are discovered. One look at the way the bodies have been posed and Lily knows her sister’s killer is back.
And she’s determined to get him.
When Lily visits the family of victim Tanya O’Neal, she learns the woman had arranged to meet a man going by the handle CtryGeek23 on the social networking site Scatter.
Lily thinks finding the man behind the account is key to solving the case.
But CtryGeek23 is very clever, and Lily has her work cut out for her. As she digs around, clues point her to a local brewery where she discovers the body of another young woman.
The more Lily digs, the more she thinks there is more than one murderer at work, and CtryGeek23 is the mastermind.
But who is he?
And how will they catch him?
As the investigation comes to life, death hits closer to home, and Lily discovers she may not be who she thinks she is at all.
Filled with plot turns, suspense and mystery, Promised Lies will leave you wondering how well anybody knows anyone…
Lily leaned on the steering wheel and squinted at the tall figure in her headlights. She eased her foot off the gas pedal and watched as the figure dragged something off the road. “Did you see that?”
“It could’ve been road kill,” Morgan said.
Lily slowed down. She pulled the truck off to the side where she peered at an object lying on the pavement. “It’s a cellphone.” Throwing the gear into park, she hopped out.
“Wait a second. Let me call it in.”
Lily squatted down next to the cellphone.
Morgan came up next to her. “They’re sending out a car.”
Lily put her hand up. “Backlight’s going out. Phone was just used.” She stood and scanned the cornfield. “Someone’s out there and most likely in trouble.”
Lily’s heart raced as she ran back to her truck, collecting her gun and badge from underneath the seat. She placed her gun in her hip holster and clipped her badge on the opposite side onto her belt. “That wasn’t an animal.”
“You’re not going out there,” Morgan said.
Lily grabbed the flashlight from the side pocket on the door and sprinted over to spot where the figure had disappeared.
She turned on the flashlight and drew a circle using the light rays near her feet. “It looks like drag marks.”
“Back-up is coming. It’s dark. No way we’re going hunting in some damn cornfield.”
Lily sighed. Morgan was right, but whoever had been hauled off was in trouble and running out of time.
A piercing scream erupted in the distance. Lily took off toward the sound, using her flashlight and the dull glow from the city lights to guide her.
In a matter of seconds, her feet pounded the soft soil leading away from the safety of her truck.
She glanced over her shoulder and saw her partner running parallel with her, but staying closer to the road.
On the other side of the fence row, footsteps matched hers in beat as they trampled the pile of fallen leaves scattered among the field. Lily picked up her pace, running hard and fast, tussling with buck thorn branches as they swatted her face and throat.
Strings of hanging barb wire nipped at her clothes as she dodged several leaning fence posts. The chilling wind penetrated her torn clothing and lapped at the slits in the fabric on her thigh and calf.
A few seconds later, a prickly burn in her leg forced Lily to stop. It felt like thin shards of glass sliced into her raw flesh, imbedding themselves into the jagged gashes. She hiked up her pants leg and shined the light on the wounds. Those damn branches.
Lily’s chest heaved with exertion as disappointment overwhelmed her. The footsteps tapered off into the darkness. He was getting away. She fell to her knees and clutched her injured leg in agony.
Lily glanced over at the road. It was silent. And she was alone. Where did Morgan go? The terror that lay beneath her bold judgment to rescue someone had surfaced.
Then, several yards away, Lily saw an outline walking towards her. Instinctively, she reached back, gripping her nine millimeter, giving her the reassurance she still had control. “Stop! Police!”
The outline continued toward her.
Lily unfastened the holster and the person stopped, sheltered by the trees. She could tell by the masculine build it wasn’t Morgan.
“Get down on the ground and put your hands behind your head,” Lily demanded.
“Lily?” Morgan shouted, coming up from the rear.
Relieved to hear the voice of her best friend, Lily exhaled, but kept her eyes front, ready to pull her firearm and shoot if he dared to make one move in her direction.
As Morgan approached, the unidentified man turned and fled in the other direction.
“Are you all right?” Morgan offered her hand.
As Lily and Morgan made their way out to the road, they heard movement near the fence. Lily stopped, aimed her light and followed the beams over a pile of clothing, then upon a woman’s face.
The victim moaned and threw up her arm to shield her eyes from the light.
Morgan jogged over to the young lady and stooped next to her to ask a few questions.
Exhausted, Lily limped to a grassy patch and sat down. She could still see Morgan. For the moment, that was all that mattered.
Lily looked at the stretch of road she’d traveled on several occasions; one of those occasions jabbed at her memory like nails being pounded into hard recycled wood.
A snapping sound brought Lily out of her thoughts. She looked toward the hazard lights flashing on her truck and saw a yellow strip flapping in the wind a few feet away from her.
She rose, took a couple more steps, and squinted at the bold black lettering printed on the tape, which kickstarted her heart.
County Road K.
She was near the crime scene.
When Marguerite Ashton was in her twenties, she took up acting but realized she preferred to work behind the camera, writing crime fiction. A few years later, she married an IT Geek and settled down with her role as wife, mom, and writer. Five kids later, she founded the Crime Writer’s Panel and began working with former law enforcement investigators to create; Criminal Lines Blog, an online library for crime writers who need help with their book research.
She’s a workaholic who hides in her writer’s attic, plotting out her next book and stalking Pinterest for the next avocado recipe.
A member of Sisters in Crime, Marguerite grew up in Colorado, but is now happily living in Wisconsin and playing as much golf as possible. She can be found on Twitter and Facebook.
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