The property and evidence warehouse
door clicked shut behind her, a soul-crushing sound. Eva Midnight slid flat
against the wall, assessing her silent surroundings. Hidden from view, she’d
waited outside the door for the last person to leave the warehouse. Half the
police department knew the surveillance cameras at the door entrance hadn’t
worked all day. Faulty wiring or convenient sabotage? The frigid,
climate-controlled warehouse doused the warmth of her self-loathing. Eva
pocketed the lost key card that belonged to an evidence tech. She’d scored
it when it appeared in her mailbox in an unidentified envelope.
Identification not needed.
She was dead meat if anyone ID’d her.
Flipping Neal and his lunatic mafia family. How in
hell will I ever slither out from under their thumb? Once upon a time,
Eva and Neal had a happy marriage in Florida, separate from the Estenson
clan who ruined lives. Black sheep, Neal, was now the crowned prince in San
Jose, California. He’ll ruin me, and I’ll be unable to stop the mafia
prince of darkness.
After staring directly into the dead camera aimed at
her for a few seconds, Eva rushed to the property section. May as well look
like she belonged there, just in case. She had no plans to steal or tamper
with evidence, only to retrieve an item confiscated in a raid at an Estenson
nightclub last week. Some dumbass family member had hidden a flash drive of
Estenson family business regarding a drug cartel in a decorative table
statue. The police had no clue what they held in its coffers. Like who’d
put that crap on a computer or a thumb drive anyway?
Would the evidence be enough to take the family down?
She contemplated the idea, flung it off. If she tried using it, it promised
to bring the wrath of Khan down upon her. Neal would take her son away
forever as he’d threatened multiple times, his way of keeping her in line
and doing his dirty work. No one in their right mind fought a powerful
lawyer, especially not one in the Estenson family. Definitely, no fighting
Luck tailed her when Neal had reluctantly granted her a
divorce. But they’d forever be linked by her son and she forever connected
to a mafia family. How would they wreck her son? Tears sprang to her eyes,
and she swiped them off.
“Why did I ever think he was a good man once upon a
flipping time?” Because I was an idiot, blinded by his confidence and
power as an up-and-coming lawyer. Who knew it would all turn out so bad?
Who knew she’d become a cop and a thief for an organized crime
Following the shelf numbers, Eva located the bin
containing the nightclub evidence. Gloves still on, she sorted through the
seized evidence until she found the small Buddha piggy bank, already tagged,
logged, and barcoded. She pulled the rubber stopper from the statue’s bottom
and used her penknife to slice through the tape securing the bubble-wrapped
flash drive inside. She crammed the flash drive in her pocket, stuffed the
stopper back in, and shoved the statue and bin into place.
The second she spun around, the door opened, a definite
squeak foretelling the end of her life as a homicide detective. Heart
pulsing in her ears, she dove between aisles and tiptoed toward the rear of
the warehouse. Sweat popped onto the nape of her neck. She had a difficult
time stabilizing her breathing and feared the intruder heard her sucking in
“Eva Midnight,” a familiar man called out in a singsong
voice. “I know you’re here.”
Oh, son of a boss.
“Come on, Eva. It’s just you and me.”
Footsteps approached her behind a rack of stolen
bicycles. Footsteps she’d grown used to in the six months she’d worked for
the senior homicide detective. Hosed ten ways to Sunday, she complied and
met him in the center aisle.
The handsome detective hit all her awareness buttons,
causing a frisson of embers to explode in her middle. But she didn’t date
cops, especially not engaged cops. Especially not anyone or her
ex-husband, Neal, would go apeshit. Divorce or not, his hold was ironclad,
to her utter dismay. Again, mafia bondage.
“What are you up to?” Detective Alex MacKenzie’s
smooth, deep voice skittered down her spine and set off a new round of fire
in places that had no right to flare up. “How’d you get in?”
Geez, did she need to get laid or what? “Rico’s badge.
How did you know I was here?”
“Saw your car and got nervous. You have no business
here.” Alex quirked an eyebrow. “Hit the road.” He turned to lead the way
“Nothing will come up missing, if you’re worried.” She
walked the green mile behind him in quick steps, trying to keep up with his
long-legged stride. “How did you get in here?”
“You don’t need to know. Your actions today jeopardized
both of us.”
He held the door open for her, scanned the hallway, and
they slipped through in single file. The door shut, and a few pebbles slid
off Eva’s shoulders, but not the whole mountain. It may never fully crumble.
“Meet me in my office,” he ordered.
“Oh. I thought maybe you wanted to fire and strip me
bare right here.” Her sarcasm refused to be caged. It covered up her fear
and mortification, mostly her bewilderment. Could she trust her superior
with the story of a lifetime? Maybe he could help. No way, no how. Best
not to involve him. Connor stayed safer.
He held out his hand. “Give me the badge.” She dug it
out of her jacket pocket and handed it to him. “You better be in my office,
ready to download the goods.” He leaned close and spoke low. “I won’t
entertain this BS on my team.”
“Am I still on your team?” Or should I just report
to Internal Affairs?
He sauntered toward the exit doors. “Remains to be
seen.” He disappeared around the bend.