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Detective Adam Ramsey slammed a fist on the metal table next to him. "I want the case, Mac. I deserve the case."
A woman was being questioned on the other side of the one-way glass, and Chief James MacGuire stood sentinel by the door, thick legs apart, arms crossed over his barrel chest. "You're too close to it, Ramsey. Besides, the feds are on it. It's out of our hands."
"Screw the feds. I'm the one Bryce called for help. I was his partner, for God's sake. Seven years we were partners. You can't shut me out, dammit." His fist came down again, making the table bounce.
Adam felt his chest constrict, his breath coming hard, as the anger raged in him, overriding the pain.
He'd been on vacation with his about-to-be ex-wife when his partner, his best friend, had called him for help. He hadn't known about it until two days later, when he returned to his apartment - alone - and listened to his phone messages.
He hadn't been there. If he had ... Guilt swept through him now. If he had, maybe his partner wouldn't be dead.
Chest heaving, Adam leaned forward, both hands on the metal table, head bowed. "I didn't even get to see him, Mac."
"I know," the chief said, crossing to Adam and placing a hand on his shoulder. "None of us did. Hisparents wanted the closed casket. It was best." He stared at the woman on the other side of the glass. "The transfer is a good thing."
Adam's head snapped up, his anger spiking again. He shrugged off MacGuire's hand and squared his shoulders. "That's bogus. I didn't ask for a transfer. Why me? Why now?"
"You're the best man for the job, that's why."
"I'm the best man for this job. I knew Bryce better than anyone. He doesn't make mistakes. Not this kind."
MacGuire turned away, as if looking at Adam was too difficult. After a long silence, he said, "Bryce did make a mistake. A fatal one. He got made - his cover's blown. The feds are on it. That's all I can tell you. Leave it alone, take the transfer and do good things."
"I want to listen to the tape again."
"The feds have it. You know that." Adam swung around, shoved a hand through his hair. "I keep thinking there's something ... something he said that might give me a clue." He laughed wryly. "The last thing he said was that he knew he could count on me."
Adam took a breath and glanced at the woman behind the glass, seeing her, but not really seeing her. She was crying, tears streaming down her cheeks because her husband had been killed when his truck ran off the highway.
He knew exactly how she felt. But he was a law enforcement officer. LEOs were strong and used to this kind of thing. They didn't cry.
* * *
Four years later
The black sedan with dark-tinted windows cruised to a stop across the street from Jillian Sullivan's suburban Chicago home.
Holding open her front door with her backside, Jillian reached for her daughter's rolled-up sleeping bag and suitcase. "I'm taking your things over to Dana and Logan's van, so hustle," she called to Chloe, then let the door slam behind her.
Summer wrapped around her, Midwest moist and hot. As she lugged Chloe's gear across the wide expanse of lawn, toward her neighbor's van in the driveway next door, her gaze drifted again to the black sedan.
The windows were so dark she couldn't tell if the person behind the wheel was a man or a woman, and he, or she, hadn't made a move to get out. Odd.
"See that car?" Jillian said to Dana as she dropped Chloe's things on Dana's driveway. "It drove up a few minutes ago and the driver hasn't budged."
Her best friend glanced over, then chucked a duffel bag into the van. "Well, I doubt he's casing the house while we're still here." Grinning, she elbowed Jillian.
"Hey. Maybe it's the hunk you had your eye on at the market this morning."
Jillian slapped her forehead. "Of course. Why didn't I think of that?" Why, oh why, had she even mentioned noticing the guy? All that did was give Dana another excuse to needle her about dating again. Though her friend hardly needed an excuse.
"Hey, I told you, you're ready. And after four years, it's about time."
"Not ready enough to be picking up men at the market, that's for sure." Despite what her friends seemed to think, she was just fine with her life as it was. With three hair salons to run and an eleven-going-on-twenty-year-old daughter to raise, she had little time for anything else.
She'd told her friend about him only because he'd been the first man she'd given real notice to in a very long time - and it wasn't because he had a great haircut.
Jillian glanced at the car again. "Maybe the driver's sick or something."
"Or waiting for the Hansens to return from golfing?" Dana crossed her arms. "Look, Jillian. Are you worried about how Chloe will be on this trip with us?"
"No, but two weeks is a long time. She's never been away for more than a few days before."
"A long time for Chloe? Or for you?" Dana's knowing smile broadened.
"And after that, vacation will be over and she'll be back in school."
"So indulge yourself for a change. Do something wild and totally irresponsible with the two weeks."
Excerpted from The Man In The Photograph by Linda Style Copyright © 2002 by Harlequin Enterprises Limited
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Posted December 9, 2008
Following his divorce and his failure to help his partner who is now dead, LAPD Detective Adam Ramsey has been reassigned to cold cases until he gets his act together. His current investigation sends him to Chicago where he meets widow Jillian Sullivan, whose spouse Rob was murdered in the Los Angeles area. Adam shows her photos of her late spouse taken in Costa Rica after he allegedly died. <P>Jillian flies to Costa Rica, but Adam is on the same plane. They agree to work as a team though both have different reasons to learn whether her husband still lives. She needs to know the truth while he needs to uncover the link between her husband and his dead partner. As they work together in Central America, they begin to fall in love, but neither comprehends how dangerous or how deep international law enforcement is involved with their inquiries. <P>Linda Style provides an exhilarating romantic suspense novel that keeps readers wondering whether Rob is THE MAN IN THE PHOTOGRAPH until the end. The story line is action packed, but the cast makes the plot hum, especially the return of Jillian from her role in DADDY IN THE HOUSE. Though the ending too neatly ties up the complex operation that has been going on, the audience will feel satiated by a strong intrigue. <P>Harriet KlausnerWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.