Fatal Affair (Fatal Series #1)

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Overview

OVERALL GLOSS VARNISH

www.MarieForce.com

"Sizzle, mystery and suspense?Fatal Affair has it all! Nick and Sam are a perfect pair and Marie Force is definitely an author to watch!"

?Christy Reece, New York Times bestselling author

A FATAL SERIES NOVEL

New York Times Bestselling Author

New York Times ...

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Overview

OVERALL GLOSS VARNISH

www.MarieForce.com

"Sizzle, mystery and suspense…Fatal Affair has it all! Nick and Sam are a perfect pair and Marie Force is definitely an author to watch!"

—Christy Reece, New York Times bestselling author

A FATAL SERIES NOVEL

New York Times Bestselling Author

New York Times Bestselling Author

Another scandal at Watergate, only this time it's murder…

Detective Sergeant Sam Holland of the Washington, D.C., Metro Police needs a big win to salvage her career—and her confidence—after a disastrous investigation. The perfect opportunity arises when Senator John O'Connor is found brutally murdered in his bed, and Sam is assigned to the case. Matters get complicated when Sam has to team up with Nick Cappuano, O'Connor's friend and chief of staff…and the man Sam had a memorable one-night stand with years earlier. Their sexual chemistry still sizzles, and Sam has to fight to stay focused on the case. Sleeping with a material witness is another mistake she can't afford—especially when the bodies keep piling up.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780373002214
  • Publisher: Carina Press
  • Publication date: 2/25/2014
  • Series: Fatal Series , #1
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 119,063
  • Product dimensions: 4.10 (w) x 6.60 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Marie Force

With more than 2 million books sold, Marie Force is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling Fatal Series from Harlequin’s Carina Press, as well as the McCarthys of Gansett Island Series, the Treading Water Series and Green Mountain Series.

Follow her on Twitter @marieforce and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MarieForceAuthor/. Contact Marie at marie@marieforce.com.

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Read an Excerpt

The smell hit him first.

"Ugh, what the hell is that?" Nick Cappuano dropped his keys into his coat pocket and stepped into the spacious, well-appointed Watergate apartment that his boss, Senator John O'Connor, had inherited from his father.

"Senator!" Nick tried to identify the foul metallic odor.

Making his way through the living room, he noticed parts and pieces of the suit John wore yesterday strewn over sofas and chairs, laying a path to the bedroom. He had called the night before to check in with Nick after a dinner meeting with Virginia's Democratic Party leadership, and said he was on his way home. Nick had reminded his thirty-six-year-old boss to set his alarm.

"Senator?" John hated when Nick called him that when they were alone, but Nick insisted the people in John's life afford him the respect of his title.

The odd stench permeating the apartment caused a tingle of anxiety to register on the back of Nick's neck. "John?"

He stepped into the bedroom and gasped. Drenched in blood, John sat up in bed, his eyes open but vacant. A knife spiked through his neck held him in place against the headboard. His hands rested in a pool of blood in his lap.

Gagging, the last thing Nick noticed before he bolted to the bathroom to vomit was that something was hanging out of John's mouth.

Once the violent retching finally stopped, Nick stood up on shaky legs, wiped his mouth with the back of his hand, and rested against the vanity, waiting to see if there would be more. His cell phone rang. When he didn't take the call, his pager vibrated. Nick couldn't find the wherewithal to answer, to say the words that would change everything. The senator is dead. John's been murdered. He wanted to go back to when he was still in his car, fuming and under the assumption that his biggest problem that day would be what to do about the man-child he worked for who had once again slept through his alarm.

Thoughts of John, dating back to their first meeting in a history class at Harvard freshman year, flashed through Nick's mind, hundreds of snippets spanning a nearly twenty-year friendship. As if to convince himself that his eyes had not deceived him, he leaned forward to glance into the bedroom, wincing at the sight of his best friend-the brother of his heart-stabbed through the neck and covered with blood.

Nick's eyes burned with tears, but he refused to give in to them. Not now. Later maybe, but not now. His phone rang again. This time he reached for it and saw it was Christina, his deputy chief of staff, but didn't take the call. Instead, he dialed 911.

Taking a deep breath to calm his racing heart and making a supreme effort to keep the hysteria out of his voice, he said, "I need to report a murder." He gave the address and stumbled into the living room to wait for the police, all the while trying to get his head around the image of his dead friend, a visual he already knew would haunt him forever.

Twenty long minutes later, two officers arrived, took a quick look in the bedroom and radioed for backup. Nick was certain neither of them recognized the victim.

He felt as if he was being sucked into a riptide, pulled further and further from the safety of shore, until drawing a breath became a laborious effort. He told the cops exactly what happened-his boss failed to show up for work, he came looking for him and found him dead.

"Your boss's name?"

"United States Senator John O'Connor." Nick watched the two young officers go pale in the instant before they made a second more urgent call for backup.

"Another scandal at the Watergate," Nick heard one of them mutter.

His cell phone rang yet again. This time he reached for it.

"Yeah," he said softly.

"Nick!" Christina cried. "Where the hell are you guys? Trevor's having a heart attack!" She referred to their communications director who had back-to-back interviews scheduled for the senator that morning.

"He's dead, Chris."

"Who's dead? What're you talking about?"

"John."

Her soft cry broke his heart. "No." That she was desperately in love with John was no secret to Nick. That she was also a consummate professional who would never act on those feelings was one of the many reasons Nick respected her.

"I'm sorry to just blurt it out like that."

"How?" she asked in a small voice.

"Stabbed in his bed."

Her ravaged moan echoed through the phone. "But who…I mean, why?"

"The cops are here, but I don't know anything yet. I need you to request a postponement on the vote."

"I can't," she said, adding in a whisper, "I can't think about that right now."

"You have to, Chris. That bill is his legacy. We can't let all his hard work be for nothing. Can you do it? For him?"

"Yes…okay."

"You have to pull yourself together for the staff, but don't tell them yet. Not until his parents are notified."

"Oh, God, his poor parents. You should go, Nick. It'd be better coming from you than cops they don't know."

"I don't know if I can. How do I tell people I love that their son's been murdered?"

"He'd want it to come from you."

"I suppose you're right. I'll see if the cops will let me."

"What're we going to do without him, Nick?" She posed a question he'd been grappling with himself. "I just can't imagine this world, this life, without him."

"I can't either," Nick said, knowing it would be a much different life without John O'Connor at the center of it.

"He's really dead?" she asked as if to convince herself it wasn't a cruel joke. "Someone killed him?"

"Yes."

Outside the chief's office suite, Detective Sergeant Sam Holland smoothed her hands over the toffee-colored hair she corralled into a clip for work, pinched some color into cheeks that hadn't seen the light of day in weeks, and adjusted her gray suit jacket over a red scoop-neck top.

Taking a deep breath to calm her nerves and settle her chronically upset stomach, she pushed open the door and stepped inside. Chief Farnsworth's receptionist greeted her with a smile. "Go right in, Sergeant Holland. He's waiting for you."

Great, Sam thought as she left the receptionist with a weak smile. Before she could give into the urge to turn tail and run, she erased the grimace from her face and went in.

"Sergeant." The chief, a man she'd once called Uncle Joe, stood up and came around the big desk to greet her with a firm handshake. His gray eyes skirted over her with concern and sympathy, both of which were new since "the incident." She despised being the reason for either. "You look well."

"I feel well."

"Glad to hear it." He gestured for her to have a seat.

"Coffee?"

"No, thanks."

Pouring himself a cup, he glanced over his shoulder. "I've been worried about you, Sam."

"I'm sorry for causing you worry and for disgracing the department." This was the first chance she'd had to speak directly to him since she returned from a month of administrative leave, during which she'd practiced the sentence over and over. She thought she'd delivered it with convincing sincerity.

"Sam," he sighed as he sat across from her, cradling his mug between big hands. "You've done nothing to disgrace yourself or the department. Everyone makes mistakes."

"Not everyone makes mistakes that result in a dead child, Chief."

He studied her for a long, intense moment as if he was making some sort of decision. "Senator John

O'Connor was found murdered in his apartment this morning."

"Jesus," she gasped. "How?"

"I don't have all the details, but from what I've been told so far, it appears he was dismembered and stabbed through the neck. Apparently, his chief of staff found him."

"Nick," she said softly. "Excuse me?"

"Nick Cappuano is O'Connor's chief of staff."

"You know him?"

"Knew him. Years ago," she added, surprised and unsettled to discover the memory of him still had power over her, that just the sound of his name rolling off her lips could make her heart race.

"I'm assigning the case to you."

Surprised at being thrust so forcefully back into the real work she had craved since her return to duty, she couldn't help but ask, "Why me?"

"Because you need this, and so do I. We both need a win."

The press had been relentless in its criticism of him, of her, of the department, but to hear him acknowledge it made her ache. Her father had come up through the ranks with Farnsworth, which was probably the number one reason why she still had a job. "Is this a test? Find out who killed the senator and my previous sins are forgiven?"

He put down his coffee cup and leaned forward, elbows resting on knees. "The only person who needs to forgive you, Sam, is you."

Infuriated by the surge of emotion brought on by his softly spoken words, Sam cleared her throat and stood up. "Where does O'Connor live?"

"The Watergate. Two uniforms are already there. Crime scene is on its way." He handed her a slip of paper with the address. "I don't have to tell you that this needs to be handled with the utmost discretion."

He also didn't have to tell her that this was the only chance she'd get at redemption.

"Won't the Feds want in on this?"

"They might, but they don't have jurisdiction, and they know it. They'll be breathing down my neck, though, so report directly to me. I want to know everything ten minutes after you do. I'll smooth it with Stahl," he added, referring to the lieutenant she usually answered to.

Heading for the door, she said, "I won't let you down."

"You never have before."

With her hand resting on the door handle, she turned back to him. "Are you saying that as the chief of police or as my Uncle Joe?"

His face lifted into a small but sincere smile. "Both."

TWO

Sitting on John's sofa under the watchful eyes of the two policemen, Nick's mind raced with the staggering number of things that needed to be done, details to be seen to, people to call. His cell phone rang relentlessly, but he ignored it after deciding he would talk to no one until he had seen John's parents. Almost twenty years ago they took an instant shine to the hard-luck scholarship student their son brought home from Harvard for a weekend visit and made him part of their family. Nick owed them so much, not the least of which was hearing the news of their son's death from him if possible.

He ran his hand through his hair. "How much longer?"

"Detectives are on their way."

Ten minutes later, Nick heard her before he saw her. A flurry of activity and a burst of energy preceded the detectives' entrance into the apartment. He suppressed a groan. Wasn't it enough that his friend and boss had been murdered? He had to face her, too? Weren't there thousands of District cops? Was she really the only one available?

Sam came into the apartment, oozing authority and competence. In light of her recent troubles, Nick couldn't believe she had any of either left. "Get some tape across that door," she ordered one of the officers. "Start a log with a timeline of who got here when. No one comes in or goes out without my okay, got it?"

"Yes, ma'am. The patrol sergeant is on his way along with Deputy Chief Conklin and Detective Captain Malone."

"Let me know when they get here." Without so much as a glance in his direction, Nick watched her stalk through the apartment and disappear into the bedroom. Following her, a handsome young detective with bed head nodded to Nick.

He heard the murmur of voices from the bedroom and saw a camera flash. They emerged fifteen minutes later, both noticeably paler. For some reason, Nick was gratified to know the detectives working the case weren't so jaded as to be unaffected by what they'd just seen.

"Start a canvass of the building," Sam ordered her partner. "Where the hell is crime scene?"

"Hung up at another homicide," one of the other officers replied.

She finally turned to Nick, nothing in her pale blue eyes indicating that she recognized or remembered him. But the fact that she didn't introduce herself or ask for his name told him she knew exactly who he was. "We'll need your prints."

"They're on file," he mumbled. "Congressional background check."

She wrote something in the small notebook she tugged from the back pocket of gray, form-fitting pants. There were years on her gorgeous face that hadn't been there the last time he'd had the opportunity to look closely, and he couldn't tell if her hair was as long as it used to be since it was twisted into a clip. The curvy body and endless legs hadn't changed at all.

"No forced entry," she noted. "Who has a key?"

"Who doesn't have a key?"

"I'll need a list. You have a key, I assume." Nick nodded. "That's how I got in."

"Was he seeing anyone?"

"No one serious, but he had no trouble attracting female companionship." Nick didn't add that John's casual approach to women and sex had been a source of tension between the two men, with Nick fearful that John's social life would one day lead to political trouble. He hadn't imagined it might also lead to murder.

"When was the last time you saw him?"

"When he left the office for a dinner meeting with the Virginia Democrats last night. Around six-thirty or so."

"Spoke to him?"

"Around ten when he said he was on his way home."

"Alone?"

"He didn't say, and I didn't ask."

"Take me through what happened this morning."

He told her about Christina trying to reach John, beginning at seven, and of coming to the apartment expecting to find the senator once again sleeping through his alarm.

"So this has happened before?"

"No, he's never been murdered before."

Her expression was anything but amused. "Do you think this is funny, Mr. Cappuano?"

"Hardly. My best friend is dead, Sergeant. A United States senator has been murdered. There's nothing funny about that."

"Which is why you need to answer the questions and save the droll humor for a more appropriate time."

Chastened, Nick said, "He slept through his alarm and ringing telephones at least once, if not twice, a month."

"Did he drink?"

"Socially, but I rarely saw him drunk."

"Prescription drugs? Sleeping pills?" Nick shook his head. "He was just a very heavy sleeper."

"And it fell to his chief of staff to wake him up? There wasn't anyone else you could send?"

"The senator valued his privacy. There've been occasions when he wasn't alone, and neither of us felt his love life should be the business of his staff."

"But he didn't care if you knew who he was sleeping with?"

"He knew he could count on my discretion." He looked up, unprepared for the punch to the gut that occurred when his eyes met hers. Her unsettled expression made him wonder if she felt it, too. "His parents need to be notified. I'd like to be the one to tell them."

Sam studied him for a long moment. "I'll arrange it. Where are they?"

"At their farm in Leesburg. It needs to be soon. We're postponing a vote we worked for months to get to. It'll be all over the news that something's up."

"What's the vote for?"

He told her about the landmark immigration bill and John's role as the co-sponsor.

With a curt nod, she walked away.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 416 )
Rating Distribution

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4 Star

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(40)

2 Star

(13)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 416 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 14, 2011

    Dreadful!

    This could have been a great book. The plot was promising, but the main characters have no self control. Much of the book was spent describing sexual encounters between the two. A few of those would have been enough. Instead the plot lurches along--sort of, "Oh look what happened. Let's go back to bed." I could have loved this book if more attention was payed to plot.

    23 out of 28 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 5, 2012

    Read this in one sitting.

    Rarely do I put life on hold to read an entire book in one sitting ,this was thatone of those books. An egaging plot and well written charactures kept me turning pages. Just as I thouht I had figured out "who done it" there was another twist. Tomorrow I will purchase the next in the series and HOPE I have the will power to put it down long enough to accomplish my work for the day!

    17 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 11, 2012

    Great book

    This was so well wrtten and I love a book that keeps me
    guessing right to the end. I amlooking forward to reading the next book in this series.

    10 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 29, 2012

    Total enjoyment....but!

    Can't help but draw parallels with Lt. Dallas, NYPSD, and her megarich Rourke, from J.D. Robbs series. These books are totally enjoyable, also. Great interaction between all the characters, and different enough from the J.D.Robb characters. However, the detailed, lurid sex scenes are a bit over the top, in my opinion.....almost takes the stories into the trash novel catagory. Just my humble opinion.

    9 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2012

    Great book!

    I got hooked on the whole series. Maire Force has quickly become one of my favorite authors!

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 21, 2011

    Lovely Read

    This was an enjoyable read with characters that I want to learn more about. I can't wait to read the next book in the series.

    6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2012

    Not bad, but not good

    If you can't figure this book out in 5 minutes, then you are a dummy. Can't they write a book without pushing in some sex?

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2012

    Very good

    When I saw this was over 700 pages long, I figured it would be boring, but was I ever wrong! I cant wait to get the second part.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2012

    Fantastic novel

    Loved the characters and plot. Cannot wait to read the next book. :)

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2012

    Pretty good

    I liked the book, it was a quick read. But the characters are very very similar to the ones in Nora Robert's "In Death" series. I still like it well enough to continue with the series.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 17, 2012

    Great!

    This book had me from the first page! I am looking forward to the next one.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2012

    Great Book!

    I recommend reading the entire series.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2012

    Well done

    Similar to the In Death series by JD Robb but set in the present and in Washington. Enjoyable story which keeps you guessing all the way until the end. Characters are likeable

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 25, 2012

    High recommended

    Loved it read the series !!

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2013

    amazing!

    This book was not only an easy read, but i loved the legnth of it. i am an avid reader and love a book that can go into such detail! i love murder/mystery!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2012

    Absolutely awesome

    I love this book and want to read the rest of the series. Thanks marie force for a great book and series that i love so much!!!!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 21, 2013

    The bomb

    This is one of the best series of books i have read in a while.definently a must read set. Love and romance with a lot if action all mixed inbetween.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2013



    Nmb.m

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2012

    Highly recommended

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book and couldn't wait to get the 2nd. It is a great suspense with a little romance worked in. I have now read all 5 in the seriesand I wish a 6th would be coming in the near future. A great read!!

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2012

    I enjoyed this first book of this series

    I enjoyed the first book of the series and have purchased a few more to see how the story continues.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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