A year ago, Detective Brett OShea didnt believe in hocus pocus or paranormal shenanigans. Then, a ghost showed up at his house and announced that they were going to work together to catch a serial killer with supernatural powers. After that, it was pretty hard for Brett to deny there were things in the world beyond his understandingeven where the law was concerned.
Now, hes got his perfect job and a beautiful girlfriend, but everything starts to crumble when an influential citizen confronts the detective with possible evidence of a vampire in the area. To further complicate things, Bretts girlfriend leaves him. As bodies begin to pile up again, Brett calls on his ghostly partner for help, but the killer is one step ahead.
Chaos and mayhem rock the city. When an unexpected individual with unnatural abilities steps forward and offers to help catch the killer, Brett has to decide whether to trust this person or not. Opting for trust, the detective builds a unique team of crime fighters to go after the threat. Can this supernatural team figure out how to kill a paranormal entity before a loved one is murdered?
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.84(d)|
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Red Sunset Drive
A Ghost and a Cop Series
By Jan Walters
iUniverseCopyright © 2017 Janis Walters
All rights reserved.
Detective Brett O'Shea's foot tapped on the floor as he studied the card in his hand. The card read, "John Richard Allen, President, Historical Preservation Society." He didn't know how the card had ended up in his office. As a second-year detective, he was out to prove he was damn good at his job.
He'd found the card on his office desk last week. Since he didn't have anything to do with the preservation society, he thought maybe another detective left the card in his office. At least that's what he'd thought until the phone calls and messages from Allen began.
He twirled the card through his fingers before flicking it onto the desk.
Better find out what Allen wants. He punched in the phone number on the card and waited. Just as he was ready to hang up, a squeaky voice finally answered.
"Is Mr. Allen there?" Brett replied.
"Detective O'Shea. I'm pleased that you finally found the time to return my call."
The snide comment caused him to clench his jaw. "You'll have to excuse me. I've been busy."
Allen chuckled. "Of course you have. I think we have something important to discuss."
He bit back a curse. The guy was pretentious if anything. "I'll be the judge of that. How can I help you?"
"As you can tell from the card that I left you, I am John Richard Allen. My ancestor, Captain James Allen, supervised the construction of the original Fort Des Moines back in 1843. There have been strange ..."
Brett glanced at the clock. One minute on the phone and the man's high-pitched voice was already grating on his nerves. And he didn't need a history lesson. "Sorry to interrupt, but how did your card get into my office?"
Allen laughed again. "I've got connections, O'Shea — ones I'm not afraid to call on if needed."
Too bad Allen couldn't see him roll his eyes. "What the hell does that mean?" Again there came the damn laugh. "Since you're not going to answer my question, I need to go. I've got a lot of cases to work. Though I did appreciate your little history lesson."
"Tsk, tsk, Detective. There is a reason I called you. I have something to show you. Perhaps we can meet tomorrow for lunch?"
"Can't do it this week. I'm busy. Maybe next week?"
The flippant tone in the squeaky voice disappeared. "Detective, I will meet you at noon tomorrow at the ballpark. My car will take you to the site."
"You'll find out, Detective O'Shea." Brett winced at the sarcastic emphasis Allen placed on his title. "I'll see you at the ballpark at noon."
He stared at the receiver in disbelief. The asshole hung up on me!
Wind-whipped pellets of rain slammed into the glass in front of him. Ominous low-hanging clouds rolled across the sky. Another fall storm. A chill hung in the air.
A shiver rippled through him. It wasn't from the rain outside. Intuition told him that meeting Allen would be a mistake, but what choice did he have? He used to believe in absolutes, but not since he met his deceased great-grandfather, Michael, who happened to be a ghost. Cops were good; criminals were bad. Monsters and demons were supposed to be just stories — figments of someone's overly active imagination. Brett cringed. Just thinking of the possibility of dealing with more hocus-pocus crap sent shivers through his body. Without Michael's help, he wouldn't have survived the case last year — a case that involved a supernatural killer. He much preferred to be a detective who solved routine burglary cases and an occasional murder. His last big case, which made him a detective, began on a fall day just like this. It was almost the end of October.
"Call me superstitious," he muttered aloud. He'd feel better if it were December, not October.
* * *
A loud knock on his office door drew Brett's attention. Surprised, he watched Terry Anders march into his office and sit down in front of the desk. In his fifties, Chief Anders was a hulk of a man. His steel-gray hair matched the intensity of his stare. Anders hadn't changed much in the past year since they worked the serial killer case together.
Brett grinned as Anders took his seat. "I see you're still attached to a coffee cup. I figured that now you're the police chief, a secretary would be bringing you all the coffee you wanted."
Anders grunted. "Are you kidding? I still have to get my own coffee. No one has better java than this bureau. Does Jake — I mean, Captain Foster — still make you detectives bring in the premium brands?"
"Yeah, it costs me an arm and a leg. I have to admit that I like the better coffee, but don't tell Foster. So is this a social visit, or did you come to see if my new carpet got installed?" Brett bit back a smile.
Anders slipped a quick glance at Brett's office floor. "Quit your bitchin', O'Shea. Your office is fine. You detectives are lucky to even have a view of the river." Anders straightened his arm and held up his hand. "Before we get sidetracked, I wanted to find out how things are going. Looks like you're still working out."
"Uh, yeah. I got to keep up with the new recruits. Now that I'm thirty-one, some of the guys think I'm over the hill. Plus, working for Foster is great." His smile faded. What does Anders really want?
Anders leaned forward and set his cup on Brett's desk. "Over the hill! Hell, they probably think I'm ready for a nursing home. It's good to hear you get along with Foster. Foster does it right." Anders paused, leaning back in the chair. "I'm only checking because when I saw you in the hall yesterday, you kind of looked frustrated."
"Frustrated?" He frowned. "Who knows what I was thinking about."
Anders smiled. "Yeah, who knows. Well, I'll let you get back to work."
Clearing his throat, Brett said, "If you have another minute, there is something I'd like to run by you."
He took a deep breath before sliding the card across the desk. Anders picked it up and turned it over.
"I found the card on my desk last week. I just thought someone accidently left it here. The guy on the card left a few messages the past couple of days."
Anders's eyes narrowed. "How the hell did it get on your desk?"
He shrugged. "I asked the same question. Allen hinted he had connections. I'll ask Foster if he knows anything about it."
"So what did he want?"
He rested his hands on the desk. "I'm not sure. Allen wants me to meet him at the ballpark tomorrow."
Anders reached for his cup and took a large swallow. "Are you worried about something?"
"I'm not sure. Something about the guy makes me edgy."
Anders's jaw tightened. "Check the security cameras. Maybe you can see who entered your office the day you found the card. After working that case last year, I trust your instinct. If you're edgy, then so am I." Grabbing his cup, Anders studied him like a bug under a microscope. "Since Allen called several times, why didn't you call him back earlier?"
Shit. Maybe I should have kept my mouth shut. "I was busy wrapping up a couple of cases going to trial. I guess I dropped the ball. Still, something is not quite right with Allen."
Lightning lit up the office. Both of them jumped as thunder rattled the windows.
"What do you mean?" Anders's mouth drew into a tight line.
"Hell, you remember last year. We almost died. I'm man enough to admit I was scared shitless."
Anders jerked to his feet and closed the door to Brett's office. Brett swallowed. A closed door wasn't a good sign.
Anders's gray eyes flashed as he leaned over the desk. "I think it's safe to say that we won't have to deal with that ... that crazy shit again. But if someone is harassing one of my men, I want to know about it right away! Is that clear?"
Brett nodded. Is that what Anders thought — that fighting a demon equaled "crazy shit"? In his mind, it was more than that — much more.
"I want you to meet the guy and find out if there is any real danger. With all the frickin' loony tunes shooting cops lately, I'm going to have Foster follow you. Send me an update when you get back. Understand?"
Brett nodded. "I'm supposed to meet him at noon tomorrow at the ballpark. He wants to take me to some site."
"That's exactly what I asked. I guess I'll find out tomorrow."
"I don't like this, O'Shea."
"But sir, don't you think ..."
Anders gripped his coffee cup. "My orders aren't open for debate, Detective O'Shea."
Whipping around, Anders opened the door and paused, a half-smile on his face. "O'Shea, I haven't told you this for a long time, but you really are a shit magnet. Be careful tomorrow."CHAPTER 2
Torrents of rain poured from the clouds. Jagged bolts of lightning lit the sky. Brett winced at the continued flashes of light. He could barely see the road. Mentally, he was kicking himself for the way the meeting with Anders had played out. He hadn't shown himself in the best light. He should have returned Allen's calls earlier.
Brett's crappy mood faded as he pulled up to his house. At least one thing was going right today: Lisa Winslow, his girlfriend, was parked in her silver SUV in front of his house. He hurried to the house to unlock the door. Brett grinned as she struggled to hold on to the umbrella as she ran toward him. He held open the door as she slipped past him. He wiped a trickle of water from her nose with his finger before pressing a kiss to her cheek.
"This is a pleasant surprise. I thought you had to work at the TV station tonight."
She shrugged off her coat and tossed her shoulder-length blonde hair, now damp from the rain. "I did. But I decided to take the night off. I wanted to see you, so I took some comp time."
Brett grabbed her waist and pulled her against him. "I'm so glad you did. Come here. You need a proper hello." He leaned down, sealing a long kiss on her lips.
"Hmm. That's nice," she purred.
His hands drifted down to cup her bottom. "Yeah, real nice," he rumbled.
Her deep blue eyes narrowed as she playfully pushed at his chest. "O'Shea! You can be a caveman sometimes."
Brett leered at her, thinking of running his tongue down her neck. "Grrrr. You woman. Me man."
Lisa dissolved into laughter, slipping under his arms. She collapsed in a nearby chair. "Stop it! I'm hungry. How about I take you to dinner?"
Brett smiled. "Great. After my horrible day, I feel like going out. How about pizza?"
"Sounds good. What happened at work?" Lisa asked as she absentmindedly checked for messages on her phone.
"Police shit I can't discuss with a TV reporter who happens to be my girlfriend. I'll go change, and then we can leave." Brett winked. "Or you could come and help me change?"
"If I go with you, we'll end up staying here." She blew him a kiss. "I'll be anxiously waiting right here."
He quickly showered and went to the bedroom and grabbed jeans and a black T-shirt. The shirt slid over his large pecs and past his narrow waist. He tucked it in and picked up his razor. He stared at his image in the mirror as he shaved. Working out daily was ingrained into his DNA. Hearing Lisa's voice drift from the other room, he cleared his mind and concentrated on what he was doing. His chin dipped as he shaved the dark whiskers from his face. Tossing the razor aside, he grabbed a tube of hair gel and rubbed some into his hands before smoothing it through his thick hair. He wore it longer on top, cut short on the sides. He turned his head from side to side, looking for any gray hair. Nope, all good. He hurried down the hall, excited to be spending the night with Lisa. Soon he'd be ready to take the next step in their relationship.
* * *
They headed to the South Side for pizza. While driving, Brett reached for Lisa's hand. She gave him an odd look and turned to look out the window. What was up with that? Had he done something wrong? No, that wasn't it. Probably my imagination. He lifted her hand to his lips.
She shook her head, slipping away from his hold. "No, just a little tired all of a sudden. Looks like the rain will let up."
He glanced at the vacant look in her eyes. Something was bothering her. "You know we can go home. I can order in."
She turned toward him with a wan smile. "No, we're already in the car. We'll talk later if that's okay?"
* * *
As they ate, Brett noticed Lisa picked at her food, hardly eating anything. He sensed a gulf had developed between them, but he had no idea what had caused it.
After the waiter cleared the table, Brett braced his elbows on the table and leaned toward Lisa. "Okay, talk to me. What's going on? You're quiet tonight."
Lisa twirled a long blonde strand around her finger, gently nibbling on her plump lower lip.
"I wasn't going to say anything, since it's not for sure. My boss pulled me into his office today. There is a possible job opportunity in Saint Louis. He texted me right before we left your house and said a major TV syndicate is interested in hiring me."
"Saint Louis?" His fingers tightened into a ball. "What the hell, Lisa!"
Lisa's blue eyes sparkled from unshed tears. "Please calm down. I just wanted to get your thoughts."
He slumped back in the seat and stared. "Who the hell are you? You never mentioned you were looking for a new job."
Her doe eyes studied him. What did she expect him to say? He didn't want her to leave. He tore his fingers through his hair. "Why now, Lisa? I thought we had a good thing."
This whole situation sucked.
Lisa gripped his hand and squeezed. "We do. You know we do. I didn't ask for this. Frank, my boss, thought he was doing me a favor by recommending me."
He snarled. "Right."
Raising her face, she angrily swiped away a tear. "I'm not sure where we're going. Are we going to move in together ... get married? I don't know. Brett, I'm so confused. What do you want?"
His dry throat made it difficult for the words to come out. "I won't hold you back. You need to decide what you want."
"Oh, Brett," she sighed. "This is supposed to be a decision that we make together."
He leaned across the table, capturing her gaze. "Am I happy you're considering a job out of state? No, but I'm trying to understand."
Tears dotted her cheeks once again. "You know, you could probably get a job with the Saint Louis Police Department." He closed his eyes, taking a deep breath before he met her gaze. "You know I can't do that."
"Could you try?"
"Chief Anders trusted me enough to promote me to detective. I can't just up and quit." Shaking his head, his voice cracked. "I'm the only family mom has left. I can't leave her here by herself."
Lisa bowed her head. "I know. I had to ask. I don't want to lose you. We're so good together." She yanked out a tissue from her purse and blew her nose.
His stomach clenched. Why was he feeling guilty? He wasn't the one who wanted to move away. "Don't cry. I'll always be here. I'll support whatever decision you make."
Her fingertips grazed his cheek.
"I don't know what I want or what I'll decide to do. We could see each other on the weekends ... take vacations together. We could make it work, Brett, if we both tried."
He forced a smile, not meeting her eyes. "Maybe. Maybe it would."
* * *
The ride back home was painful. Brett didn't know if this was a breakup or not. It sure felt like one. A woman's tears could bring him to his knees quicker than anything. As he drove, they held hands with their fingers tightly entwined. He loved her. She was tough — a fighter. They were a good match. So why couldn't he tell her to stay? What the hell was wrong with him? Was he going to let her walk out of his life?
Standing next to her in the driveway, he tilted her chin so he could meet her gaze. "Do you want to come in and talk?"
Lisa lurched forward and wrapped her arms around his waist. "I'll take a rain check if you don't mind. I'll call you later if that's okay. They want a decision in a couple of days."
He kissed the end of her upturned nose before escorting her to the car. He watched the taillights disappear as she drove out of sight. Alone, he rubbed the moisture from his eyes before turning to go inside. Would she call him? Maybe I should call her.
After locking the doors, he stood in the middle of the kitchen, staring absently into space. He grabbed a book off the table and heaved it at the wall. White sheets of paper fluttered in the air, scattering about the room. With closed eyes, he gripped the back of a chair. He didn't want to lose her, but he wouldn't prevent her from leaving. Lisa was ambitious and smart. The job would be a great opportunity for her.
After setting the coffeemaker for the morning, he undressed and flopped on the bed. He tossed and turned all night. A quick glance at the clock confirmed the alarm would go off in three hours. Lisa's announcement had hit him like a truckload of bricks. Had he made a mistake? Should he have agreed to move and leave Des Moines? No, he couldn't leave his mom or his job.
Excerpted from Red Sunset Drive by Jan Walters. Copyright © 2017 Janis Walters. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse.
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