The Detective (Harlequin Intrigue Series #1580)

The Detective (Harlequin Intrigue Series #1580)

by Adrienne Giordano

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Overview

The Detective (Harlequin Intrigue Series #1580) by Adrienne Giordano

She's captured his heart…and the attention of a murderer

Injured homicide detective Brodey Hayward needs a distraction, and he finds it as a consultant on a cold case murder. When Brodey's investigation delays plans to remodel the former crime scene, he uncovers another kind of distraction: spirited Lexi Vanderbilt. Despite her distrust of men, Brodey charms the alluring interior designer into helping him examine the case facts.

Working closely with the ultrasexy detective helps Lexi lower her guard, igniting a passion that even Chicago's winter can't cool. As they close in on the killer, Lexi becomes his new target. To save her, Brodey must either betray her trust—or risk losing Lexi forever.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780373698479
Publisher: Harlequin
Publication date: 06/16/2015
Series: Harlequin Intrigue Series , #1580
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.60(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

USA Today bestselling author Adrienne Giordano writes romantic suspense and mystery. She is a Jersey girl at heart, but now lives in the Midwest with her workaholic husband, sports obsessed son and Buddy the Wheaten Terrorist (Terrier). For more information on Adrienne's books please visit www.AdrienneGiordano.com or download the Adrienne Giordano app. Adrienne can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

Read an Excerpt

Lexi Vanderbilt's mother taught her two very important lessons. One, always wear coordinating lipstick, and two, recognize an opportunity when it presented itself.

Standing in the ballroom of the newly renovated Gold Coast Country Club, Lexi planned on employing those lessons.

All around her workers prepared for the throng of club members who would descend in—she checked her watch—ninety-three minutes. As the interior designer about to unveil her latest masterpiece, she would spend those ninety-three minutes tending to everything from flowers to linens to centerpieces. A waiter toting a tray of sparkling champagne glasses cruised by. She took in the not-so-perfect cut of his tux and groaned. The staff's attire wasn't her jurisdiction. Still, small details never escaped her. At times, like now, it was maddening.

Oh, and just wait one second. "Excuse me," she said to a woman carrying a stack of tablecloths. "The sailboat ice sculpture belongs on the dessert table by the window. The Willis Tower goes by the champagne fountain."

The woman hefted the pile of linens, a not-so-subtle hint that the sculptures weren't her problem. "Does it matter?"

If it didn't, I wouldn't ask. Lexi sighed. "It matters. Unless you'd like to tell your boss, who specifically requested the placement of the sculptures, that it doesn't."

For added effect, Lexi grinned and the woman rolled her eyes. "I'll get the busboys to move it."

"Thank you."

One minicrisis averted. And maybe she could have let that one slide given that the club's manager had to be 110 years old and most likely wouldn't remember which sculpture went where, but why take a chance on something easily fixed?

Besides, tonight everything had to be perfect.

Functions attended by the richest of the rich were a breeding ground for opportunities. Opportunities Lexi craved for her fledgling design company. At twenty-nine, she'd already been profiled by the Banner-Herald and all the major broadcast stations in the city. She was quickly gaining ground on becoming Chicago's "it" designer, and that meant dethroning Jerome Laddis, the current "it" designer. He may have had more experience, but Lexi had youth, energy and fresh ideas on her side. A few more insanely wealthy clients touting Lexi's work and look out, Jerome.

Then she'd hire an assistant, rehab her disaster of a garage into an office and get some sleep.

Lots of it.

Right now, as she glanced around, took in the exquisite silk drapes, the hundred-thousand-dollar chandelier and hand-scraped floor she'd had flown in from Brazil, no questions on the tiny details would haunt her. She'd make sure of it. Even if stress-induced hospitalization loomed in her near future.

The upshot? She'd lost five pounds in the past two weeks. Always a silver lining.

"Alexis?"

Lexi turned, her long gown swishing against the floor and snagging on her shoe. She smiled at Pamela Hennings while casually adjusting her dress. Darnedfloor-length gowns. "Mrs. Hennings, how nice to see you."

Mrs. Hennings air-kissed and stepped back. On her petite frame she wore a fitted gown in her signature sky blue that matched her eyes. The gown draped softly at the neckline, displaying minimal cleavage. As usual, a perfect choice.

"I love what you've done in here," Mrs. Hennings said. "Amazing job."

Being a club board member, she had no doubt shown up early to make sure the unveiling of the new room would be nothing short of remarkable. "Thank you. I enjoyed it. Just a few last-minute details and we'll be ready."

"Everything is lovely. Even the damned ice sculptures Raymond couldn't live without. Waste of money if you ask me, but some battles aren't worth fighting."

So true.

A loud bang from the corner of the room assaulted Lexi's ears. Please let that be silverware. She shifted her gaze left and spotted the waiter who'd passed her earlier scooping utensils onto a tray. Thank you.

Mrs. Hennings touched Lexi's arm. "By the bye, I think I have Gerald convinced his study needs an update. All that dark wood is depressing."

Now, that would be a thrill. If Lexi landed the job and nailed it, the top 10 percent of Chicago's executives would know it. And competition ran hot with this social set. Before long, they'd be lined up outside her office for a crack at outdoing Pamela and Gerald Hennings.

"I think," Lexi said, "for him we could leave touches of the dark woods. Macassar ebony would be fabulous on the floor."

"Ooh, yes. Do you have time this week? Maybe you could come by and work up some sketches?"

"Of course." Lexi whipped her phone from her purse and scrolled to her calendar. "How about early next week? Tomorrow I'm starting a new project that might eat up the rest of my week."

"I'll make sure I'm available. What's this new project? Can you share?"

Rich folks. Always wanting the inside scoop. "Actually, it's quite fascinating. Remember the murdered broker?"

"The one from Cartright? How could I not? The entire neighborhood went into a panic."

The residents of Cartright, the North Side's closest thing to a gated community without the gates, employed private security to help patrol the six city blocks that made up their self-titled haven. That extra money spent on security kept the crime rate nearly nonexistent in those six city blocks.

Except for the offing of one crooked stockbroker.

"That's the one," Lexi said. "I've been hired to stage the house. The real-estate agent suggested it to the broker's widow and she hired me."

"I heard they couldn't sell. The market is destroying her. That poor woman. He left her with a mountain of trouble. He paid top dollar and if she lowers the price again, she won't make enough to clear his debts. Add to that any retribution owed to the clients he borrowed funds from without their knowledge."

As expected, Pamela Hennings was up to speed on the latest gossip. Gossip that Lexi would not share. Being told this information about a client was one thing.

Sharing it? Not happening. "I'm looking forward to the project. It's an incredible house."

Being an interior designer didn't always give Lexi the chance to change someone's life. Her work allowed people to see the beauty in color and texture and shape and made their homes more than just a place to live, but she didn't often get the opportunity to alter an emotionally devastating situation. Now she had the chance. Getting this house sold would free the broker's widow from debt and give her children a comfortable life.

And Lexi wanted to see that happen.

Plus, if she got the thing sold in forty-five days, she'd make a whopping 20 percent bonus. The bonus alone would pay for an assistant and give her a life back.

Nap, here I come.

Mrs. Hennings made a tsk-tsk noise. "They never did find the murderer, did they?"

"No. Which I think is part of the problem. I may do a little of my feng shui magic in there. Clear all the negativity out. When I'm finished, that house will be beautiful and bright and homey."

"The debt, the children and now the police can't find the murderer. And it's been what, two years? No woman deserves to be left with that."

Again, Lexi remained quiet. Don't get sucked in. But, yes, it had been two years, and from what Lexi knew, the police were no closer to finding the man's killer. Such a tragedy. "The case has gone cold."

Sucked in. She smacked her lips together.

"You know," Mrs. Hennings said, "my husband's firm recently did some work with a pro bono cold case. I wonder if the investigator who worked on that wouldn't mind taking a look at this. I'd love to see the man's family given some relief. And, let's face it, it would certainly be good PR for the firm." It certainly would.

Investigative help wouldn't hurt the real-estate agent's chances—or Lexi's—of getting the house sold in forty-five days. "Do you think they'd be interested?"

"Oh, I'm sure it can be arranged."

Gerald Hennings, aka the Dapper Defense Lawyer, pushed through the oversize ballroom doors, spotted the two women and unleashed a smile. Even in his sixties, he had charm to spare. Salt-and-pepper hair and the carved cheekbones of a man who'd once been devastatingly handsome—all combined with his intelligence—added up to someone who ruled a courtroom.

"Gerald," Mrs. Hennings said, "perfect timing. The board meeting will be upstairs. Believe it or not, we're the first ones here."

The Dapper DL eyed his wife with a hint of mischief, smiling in a rueful way that probably slayed jurors. "Shocking." Then he turned his charm loose on Lexi. "Alexis Vanderbilt, how are you?"

"I'm fine, Mr. Hennings. Thank you. And yourself?"

"I was quite well until fifteen seconds ago when my wife announced my timing was perfect. That means I'll either be writing you a healthy check or she's volunteered me for something. Either way, I'm sure it will be painful."

Brodey Hayward blew out a breath as he watched his sister saunter into the Hennings & Solomon reception area. Finally she'd stopped wearing her blouses unbuttoned to her belly button. He never needed to see that much of Jenna's skin and said a silent thanks to whichever saint covered brothers in distress.

Jenna stopped in front of him and gave him a half hug so she didn't bump his sling and the wrecked arm inside of it.

"Nice shirt," he said.

She waved him off. "Don't start."

Hey, he couldn't help it if he had opinions. "Just commenting is all."

"How's the elbow?"

"It works."

"So, it's killing you."

He didn't bother answering. What good would it do? Six weeks ago he'd blown out his elbow changing a damned tire. The guys at the precinct tore that one up. Hey, Hayward, helluva way to go out on disability. Hey, Hayward, you 'd better make up a better story. Hey, Hay-ward, real detectives don't get hurt changing a tire. Each day a slew of texts came in from his squad mates, and it didn't look as if the taunting would end soon because the surgery on his elbow left him with a raging infection that earned him a second surgery and another six weeks of leave. Leave that was slowly, deliberately, driving him insane. Torture was the only way to describe the abundance of nothingness that filled his days. As a homicide detective, he could tolerate a lot of things.

Boredom was not one of them.

Hell, he'd even taken to driving to his parents' house each day for cop talk with his retired detective father. A week into that, his mother had booted him and told him to get a life.

Thanks, Mom.

Jenna motioned him down the long corridor. "Thanks for coming in first thing. We're meeting in the conference room. You sure you're okay with this?"

"Yeah. I'm not getting paid. All I'm doing is giving you my opinion, right?"

"Right."

"Then I'm not violating any rules."

Jenna—a private investigator for Hennings & Solomon—had called him the night before asking if he'd assist on a cold case that somehow landed in her lap. Why not? He could kill time—no pun intended—and keep his mind sharp for his eventual return to the job. Plus, there'd be no emotional involvement with this case. Technically, it wasn't his, so he could walk away without running himself through a meat grinder over it.

"Good. I've looked over all the files, but I'm missing something."

Brodey followed Jenna while eyeing the art lining the walls. Some would call it modern. He'd call it weird with all those slashes of color, but whatever. Art meant a real picture of something. A woman in a park, a kid flying a kite, something he could look at and recognize. This hoity-toity stuff, he didn't get.

They reached the conference room, where a huge whiteboard smothered with notes and charts covered one wall. His sister had been busy. She'd also done a fine job of organizing her evidence.

She gestured to the wall. "I have it all laid out for you. Just the way Dad taught us."

He wandered to the board and glanced at Jenna's notes. Victim's name, Jonathan Williams. Scene of the crime, brownstone on the cushy North Side. Cause of death, gunshot to the head.

"Crime-scene photos?"

"No. I was hoping you or Dad could help with that." Not if he wanted to stay under the radar he couldn't. "I'll talk to Dad. Tell me again how you got this case."

"It's kind of convoluted."

"It always is, Jenna."

"Remember how I worked on Brent's mom's murder case a few months back?"

How could a guy forget Brent, the giant deputy US marshal who had stolen his sister's heart and managed to convince her she didn't need to walk around half-naked for people to notice her? Brent had enough baggage to fill a 747 jet and Jenna had still fallen in love with him. If nothing else, it showed a boy could overcome a rotten childhood and grow into an honorable man.

"So this has to do with Brent?"

"No. Mrs. Hennings. She was the one who convinced my boss to take on Brent's case. She's at it again with this one."

Did someone say convoluted? "Oooookay."

"Mrs. Hennings attended a social function and ran into a decorator she knows."

Brodey gawked. A decorator? This should be good.

Jenna held her hand up before he could crack wise. "The decorator was hired by a real-estate agency to stage the house of the murder victim. The house has been on the market for two years and they're about to drop the price. Before they did that, the victim's estranged wife—they were separated, but not yet divorced—wanted to try redecorating it. I suppose when a house is worth close to two million hiring a decorator isn't an issue."

Brodey let out a low whistle. "I'll say. Why am I here?"

"The decorator told Mrs. Hennings about the house, and here we are."

"What do you get out of it?"

"My boss's undying gratitude for keeping him out of trouble with his wife."

Brodey laughed. One thing about Jenna, she knew how to stay on a man's good side. He pointed to the board.

"Whatcha got?"

"You may remember this case. He was a stockbroker living the good life until the market crashed. For years he'd basically been running a Ponzi scheme with his clients' money. His marriage fell apart and he was drowning in debt. The FBI eventually caught up to him and he was under investigation."

"He was murdered before the Feds charged him, right? Is that the guy?"

"Yes. On the day his body was found, he didn't show up for a meeting with his biggest client. That was unusual so his firm called his wife. Apparently he hadn't updated his emergency contact at the office so her cell phone was the only number they had."

"Ah, damn. Don't tell me the ex found him."

Jenna nodded. "In the laundry room."

Poor woman. Brodey still hadn't gotten used to viewing murder victims' bodies, inhaling that nasty metallic odor of blood and trying to remain unaffected. Forget about a loved one. That? No way.

Refusing to give in to his thoughts, Brodey stood, arms folded, studying the board. "I think I remember this. Looked like a robbery gone bad, right?"

"Yes. In the two years since the murder, the widow has spent most of the insurance money settling their debts, but she's not in the clear yet. It's a mess. With the divorce pending, the finances hadn't been worked out. The house was paid off, but she can't unload it and needs the cash."

"Enter our illustrious decorator."

Jenna gave him a snarky grin. "You're so smart."

Whatever, wisenheimer. "The house is empty?"

"Yes. Why?"

He waved at the board. "No photos. I don't know what you want me to do without seeing the crime scene."

His sister should have known he'd need photos or some kind of visual. Or maybe that was just the way his mind worked. Needing to see how the crime occurred, run the scenarios, figure the timing and options. All of it helped him work a case.

"I wasn't sure how involved you wanted to be."

Outside of being bored out of his skull, he didn't want to be involved. He'd made detective only a year ago and wasn't about to aggravate his boss by poking around in another guy's case. This case wasn't even his jurisdiction. This belonged to the North Side guys, while he worked Area Central.

"Yeah, but I can't help you if I don't know what I'm dealing with. Take me to the house. I'll walk through it and then study what you have here. Then I'll tell you what I think, and I'm out."

Tops, he was looking at two days of research. Two days of not being bored. Two days of getting closer to the end of his disability leave.

All he had to do was pony up an opinion and send his little sister on her way.

Piece of cake.

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The Detective (Harlequin Intrigue Series #1580) 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
## Intrigue and mystery with a little romance thrown in. Nice, easy read. Both characters were likeable and had great chemistry. The conflict was blown out of proportion in my opinion but it was still an enjoyable read. Adrienne's writing is terrific as usual.
ReadYourWrites More than 1 year ago
The Detective Reviewed by Gemini The Detective was a good book. I will not deny that. I was just not blown away by it. That’s probably more because I read so many suspense and mystery novels that it takes a lot to impress me at this point. I will say that the plot was slightly different from the usual overly violent or complicated books that I read. The Detective was very easy to follow and although you didn’t know what may happen next, I wasn’t too surprised when it did. There was a familiar flow about it that works. The Detective is the story of Chicago homicide detective Brodey Hayward and interior designer Alexis “Lexi” Vanderbilt. They end up butting heads because Brodey is enlisted by his private investigator sister, Jenna, to consult on a cold case. The cold case happens to involve a murder that took place inside the house that Lexi is trying to renovate so that the victim’s widow can sell the house for a good return. It sounds simple enough on the surface. As Brodey starts to lend a hand, he only can really use one because his other arm is in a sling from an off-duty accident which has forced him to be out on leave for several weeks now, he delays Lexi’s plans and starts to get under her skin. Of course, that creates friction in a good and bad way. The off the books investigation starts to stir up some real trouble that brings the killer back into the picture and puts Lexi’s life in danger. And Brodey spends a lot of time explaining to Lexi that the world is not full of puppies and rainbows while she insists on looking at the brighter side of life. The way that Brodey has to accommodate for his injury makes him a little more subdued and less of the alpha male that he could be. His injury has made him frustrated and bored so this case renews his drive. That’s actually the most refreshing part of the book. Brodey is forced to ask for help, even in the bedroom. He is a young detective and is a skilled investigator. He doesn’t even carry a gun since he is actually on medical leave from the police force. When he is forced to protect Lexi from a violent confrontation, he uses pure will and a little help from Lexi to stay alive. How else would they get their happy ending? **Received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest unbiased opinion.**
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A story with romance and intrigue. Brodey and Lexi work together to solve a mystery and discover their true selves, overcome trust issues, all with a side of passion. Enjoyable read.
Grandma_Tami More than 1 year ago
I really enjoy this series you can read them as stand alones but I like them together . Brody and Lexi have a great working /messy thing going on . If you have not had a chance to read any of these books yet what are you waiting for go now and get reading . They are full of mystery and romance, well written and fast paced you don't want to put it down!
Linda__ More than 1 year ago
I love this series - each book is a stand alone book, but I love how the characters reappear. This is a wonderful romantic suspense book that got me hooked from the first page and kept me engaged until the very last page. It had it all, from a compelling mystery, a sexy potential couple, and an expertly told story. This is a must read for fans of romantic suspense.
ReneeEntress More than 1 year ago
4.5 star I was pulled right into this story. The story has laughs, secrets, betrayal, suspense, and heartbreak. This is Lexi and Brodey’s story. Lexi is trying to get a house ready to sell but there was a death at the house before and a PI is coming to investigate. Brodey is on leave as he is injured. His sister asked him to help out on a cold case. But while investigating the cold case he is stirring up trouble. That trouble is now after Lexi. Can he protect her from the trouble or will he end up leading the trouble right to her? Can they solve the crime and figure out who is after Lexi before it’s too late? I loved these characters and also the side characters. I felt I was able to connect with the characters and the story was a great read. I highly recommend this book and can’t wait for the next story from this author.
Crickerz More than 1 year ago
I was given an Arc copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I loved this book it is well written, the characters are well developed and believable. Let's start out with Alexis "Lexi" Vanderbilt an up and coming interior designer, she is headstrong and stubborn along with being very talented. Lexi has taken on a job to redesign the entire interior of a house that just is not selling due to it's history. Brodey Hayward is a local homicide detective Who is recovering from an injury and has been asked by his sister to investigate an old homicide case. Brodey runs into Lexi at the house where she is trying to get renovations underway for her client. Brodey soon puts the breaks on Lexi's plans for one room in the house while he tries to put together the chain of events that led up to the death of the former owner. Lexi ends up becoming involved with the investigation after Brodey asks her to sketch out the room and after she and his sister hang flyers up in the neighborhood asking people to call with any information about the murder. After Lexi is approached by a strange man, Brodey becomes extremely concerned for her safety especially after her home is broken into. The sparks fly in this one and the action is sure to keep you involved in the book. The storyline is really well developed. Adrienne has done it again with this one. If you love a great mystery and a little romance thrown in for good measure this one is for you.
Peachey04 More than 1 year ago
This story is full of suspense, mystery, misunderstandings, stubbornness and plenty of sexual chemistry. It has a well written story line with unique characters that have remarkable interactions. Brodey and Lexi are both set in their ways and focused on their careers, but when they meet, the wild ride starts. This is a must read as this author never disappoints you. Received copy for an honest review.
judyrudy More than 1 year ago
The Detective is Adrienne Giordano’s latest edition in her line of Intrigue books. We are introduced to Lexi Vanderbilt who is an interior designer hired to stage a home where a murder took place two years ago. If the house sells within forty-five days, she will receive a bonus that means the world to her since she wants to hire an assistant and launch herself into another level of designers. While reviewing her ideas, she is greeted by Brodey Hayward who is a Homicide Detective on medical leave. His sister who is a private investigator has asked for his assistance to solve this unsolved murder. Brodey is immediately drawn to the laundry room where the murder occurred. And of course, this is one of the rooms that Lexi insists on redecorating. Sparks immediately fly between Lexi and Brodey over the remodeling of the room. To assist with the investigation, Lexi posts fliers about the crime which backfires on her. Brodey’s overprotectiveness drives Lexi crazy until she becomes a target, too. Brodey and Lexi rush to solve the case. Can they solve the case before someone else is murdered? The Detective is a fast read that kept involved right from the start. I love reading anything Adrienne Giordano writes. I highly recommend The Detective and any of the books that Ms. Giordano has contributed to Harlequin’s Intrigue line. I’d like to disclose that I received a copy of The Detective in exchange for a fair and honest review.
BRumsey More than 1 year ago
THE DETECTIVE was such a good read! Loaded with action, danger, and "push-pull" relationships, Adrienne Giordano always keeps me hooked when reading her Harlequin Intrigues. In this story you have a feisty heroine that is focused on one thing...redecorating a house and getting it sold as quick as possible so she can get a bonus and hire a much needed assistant. There is only one catch. I murder had taken place in this house and it was still unsolved. In walks a detective, currently on leave from his duties, that has been roped in to trying to solve this cold case of murder. When one wants to tear down and the other wants to leave "as is" while he investigates, sparks start to fly in more ways than one. The chemistry between the two soon ignites and as danger surrounds them it appears someone doesn't want this case solved. Reading the adventures of Levi and Detective Brodey will keep you turning pages to the end. It's an exciting, fun read with a few twist that keeps you guessing. If you like it as much as I did, you will definitely want to read other books by Adrienne Giordano.