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By Carla Cassidy
Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.Copyright © 2004 Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.
All right reserved.
Chapter OneThe tough punk was known as Snake on the streets of Kansas City, but in reality his name was Sammy Watson and he had a long string of outstanding warrants. As he warily faced Officer Cassandra Newton beneath the dirty glare of the overhead street lamp, he appeared more like his street name than his birth name, hissing and coiling in preparation for a fight.
Cassie threw a glance toward the patrol car parked nearby. Her partner, Asia Malone, leaned against the driver door, eating a candy bar that looked minuscule in his massive hand.
A roar from Sammy yanked her attention back where it belonged just as the young man charged her like an enraged bull. With graceful agility she sidestepped the attack, then turned to face him as he stopped and turned back toward her, his breaths coming in short, quick gasps.
"Come on, Sammy. It's been a long day. We can make this easy, or we can make it hard," she said as the two circled each other.
"I ain't making nothing easy on you. No bitch cop is going to take me in."
"Don't get her riled, Sammy boy," Asia called out.
"I know what she's capable of and it isn't pretty."
"Shut up, you big, black pile of crap," Sammy screamed. With a surprisingly quick movement he pulled a knife from his pocket. "Come on,Blondie, let's tango."
Cassie sighed wearily. It had been a long day of minor irritations and this kid pulling a knife on her was the last straw. Sometimes young, ignorant creeps just needed to get their butts kicked.
She drew a deep breath and centered herself. Her first kick, sharp and crisp, sent the knife flying out of Sammy's hand. The second one, delivered to the side of his head, sent him crashing to the ground on his hands and knees.
She put her boot in the center of his back and with a minimum of pressure flattened him to the ground. "Didn't anyone ever tell you, Sammy ..." She slapped cuffs on him and yanked him to his feet. "... I hate to tango."
She shoved the cuffed prisoner toward her partner. "Thanks for the help," she said dryly to Asia as he popped the last of the candy bar into his mouth.
He grinned, his white teeth gleaming in the dark of the night. "Poetry in motion," he said. "You know how much I love to watch you work."
"Yeah, well you get to do the paperwork when we get back to the station."
They loaded Sammy into the back seat of their car and within minutes they were on their way back to the Kansas City, Missouri East Patrol Station House.
"I'm going to kill you," Sammy yelled from the back seat. "You're dead. You are one dead cop." He kicked the seat for emphasis.
"Give it a rest, Sammy," Cassie said. "You've got enough warrants against you that you'll be on Medicare when you finally see freedom again."
Sammy fell silent, apparently contemplating his future behind bars.
"Ah, Cassie, for years I hoped to be partnered with a person who was bigger than me," Asia said.
She eyed him with a wry grin. It would have been next to impossible to find a man bigger than Asia. At six foot six inches tall and almost three hundred pounds, Asia had once told her he'd gotten his name because his mother had sworn she was birthing a continent when he'd come into the world.
"I never managed to find a partner bigger than me, but I definitely hit easy street when they put you with me." He laughed, a deep, robust sound that filled the car.
"Hell, I love it that I got a partner who can kick ass better than me any day of the week."
Cassie loved having a partner whom she trusted and respected. Asia, along with his wife Serena and their four children were so wonderfully normal. And in her thirty-years on earth, Cassie had had very little normal in her life.
"Hey, Serena's making that rice dish you like so much on Sunday. She asked me to ask you if you want to come over around two and eat with us."
"I thought you hated that rice dish," Cassie said as they pulled into the underground parking area.
"I do. I'm planning on sneaking a couple of steaks on the grill." He grimaced as Sammy began yelling and kicking in the back seat. He looked back at Cassie.
"You go on, get out of here. It's past time for us to be off. I'll process this schmuck and you can head home."
"Thanks, Asia." She bounded out of the patrol car and headed inside to get her personal belongings. It had been a long day and she was exhausted.
The station was relatively quiet. Wednesday nights were usually easy ones. The cops called it the midweek recovery day ... the perps of the city were either resting from the past weekend or preparing for the next.
As she made her way to the desk she shared with Asia and four other patrolmen, her fellow cops greeted her.
"Hey, Cassie, we heard another one bit the dust." Officer Gomez held up two thumbs.
She grinned at the attractive Hispanic man. "We got lucky, spotted him strolling down the sidewalk like he didn't know he had eight warrants against him," she replied. Gomez laughed and shook his head.
"Looks like you've got a secret admirer," Jim Johnson, a vice cop said as he finger-combed his scraggly beard.
"What do you mean?"
He pointed toward her desk at the back of the room.
"It was delivered just a few minutes ago by some overnight delivery service."
A long-stemmed white rose stood in a slender gold bud vase. A blood-red ribbon was tied to one end of the rose and the other end to a cell phone.
The sight turned Cassie's blood cold. No way, she thought as she moved on leaden feet to the desk. No way in hell were they going to sucker her into coming back. She didn't care what was happening. She didn't care what was at stake.
She leaned a slender hip against the desk and untied the rose from the compact phone. She knew the phone was impossible to trace and the favorite mode of communication for three groups of people ... terrorists, drug dealers and the agency. This one hadn't come from any drug dealer or terrorist.
She stared at the number pad. All she had to do was hit the redial button and she'd be connected to somebody who would tell her what they wanted her to know.
Excerpted from Get Blondie by Carla Cassidy Copyright © 2004 by Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.. Excerpted by permission.
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