The last person private investigator Mika Chalmers expects to walk in her office is ex-boyfriend and NHL player, Eric Foresburg. He looks just like he did three years ago, tall, blond, and every inch a Viking.
This isn’t a social call.
Eric has gotten himself into some hot water. A woman is going to publicly accuse Eric of rape and he needs Mika to prove his innocence. With pressure from her father – who happens to be the head coach of Eric’s NHL team – and smarmy defense attorney, Ryan King, Mika has her work cut out for her. When feelings for Eric – feelings she buried a long time ago – start to resurface, her job of finding the truth no matter what gets increasingly difficult to do.
Despite the fact that Mika has connections with the police department – including the arrogant Detective Alex Beech – the answers aren’t black and white. Evidence reveals that Eric and the victim were together, but it turns into a heated he-said, she-said. It doesn’t help that Eric has been keeping things from Mika, things he should have disclosed before she agreed to take his case.
With the help of Beech, Mika must determine whether or not Eric is innocent before the court of public opinion finds him guilty and his entire life is ruined.
With the heated chemistry of Castle and the unpredictable twists and turns of Bones, hockey fans are devouring this new romantic mystery series by a USA Today Best Selling Author.
Targeted Age Group:: Cozy readers
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
My love of hockey, romance, and mystery! I wanted to combine all three things one into a fun, quick story readers could devour in a day and be satisfied – but still want more!
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
I knew I wanted there to be some kind of triangle at first, but not in a head-hitting, annoying way. I wanted each guy to be different, and for my heroine to love them for different reasons. I wanted my heroine to be relatable but self-sufficient.
I hated running. It was the one part of my job I absolutely loathed and one that was absolutely necessary. Maybe it was a good thing because my car was acting up, and for it to stop working in the middle of a chase, I’d never here the end of it. My reputation as a competent private investigator would be ruined.
My hair flew in my face. I cursed internally, side stepping a couple that happened to stop in the middle of the sidewalk in order to hash out their argument, not bothering to care one way or the other if they were blocking people from their destination. I had just straightened my hair, and already I could tell my locks were going back to their wavy, frizzy selves. I wasn’t sure if I was going to have the time to do it after I caught my target and still be on time for my date.
My target darted left, crossing the street in the middle of traffic. He expertly dodged cars, ignoring the blazing honking that followed. Irvine was definitely not an urban city like New York or Los Angeles, but it was one of the biggest and most diverse suburban cities in Orange County in terms of population, so his decision to do that was dangerous as it was stupid.
“God dammit,” I muttered under my breath. I rolled my eyes and stopped on the corner of Barranca and Culver. If I wanted to keep up with him, I needed to cross.
If I didn’t want to get hit by a car, I had to wait for the light to change.
I bounced between the balls of my feet, trying to keep momentum. I kept my target in my sight, eyes locked onto his fading form. He glanced behind him once, smirked when he saw where I was, and resumed his running.
“God dammit,” I said again. I glanced back up at the street light. “Come on, come on.”
The second the light turned yellow, I took my chance. I nearly got hit by a Range Rover who wanted to try and make the yellow light, but I held myself back just in time. Under normal circumstances, I would have cursed at the blonde driver with her oversized sunglasses and perfect magazine-ready waves that cascaded down her face, probably never knowing the word frizz in the entirety of her life, but I really needed to capture this guy and turn him over to Irvine Police Department so I could collect my check.
My mouth ran dry thanks to the high sun, even in mid-September. Sweat made a home under my arms, on the back on my neck, on my brow, and between my breasts. I never used to sweat and then I decided to become a private investigator. I had no idea how this decision changed the function of my body for the more embarrassing, but it did. If it didn’t pay as well as it did, I might have considered a career change. Sweat was not something I wanted to showcase on a first date. Which meant I would have to shower after this, which meant the probability of me being late for this date had increased.
I made it across the street and continued forward. Breathing was becoming more of a struggle for me. I made it a point to get to the gym twice a week in order to keep my stamina up, but considering how many chases I had experienced as of late, I should probably add another day.
The target hailed a left down a residential street. I cursed to myself and pulled out my phone. If I could avoid involving the IPD, I would. That wasn’t to say that I wouldn’t bring the target back to the station and turn him over to the detective assigned to the case. I just didn’t like asking for help when it came to tracking down the perp in the first place because if the police officially arrested him, it meant I didn’t get my bonus. And right now, my bonus was paying my rent – at least, that was what I intended it to do.
However, considering he was involving innocent people who lived on a quiet street, I realized I didn’t have much of a choice but to do so. Unfortunately for me, I already knew the detective assigned to my target’s case: Alexander Beech. Beech was a cocky jerk who was good looking and knew it. He was also a damn good detective, which only added to his inflated ego.
I could always call nine-one-one and anonymously report a sighting of the target down the street. Irvine was notorious for responding quickly. I just didn’t want to risk losing him because they sent a rookie patrol officer instead of a seasoned officer with chase experience under his belt.
I pulled out my cellphone, maintaining my pace. I had Beech’s number saved only because it was easier than calling into the front desk and having them transfer me to his desk. As much as I wanted to ignore the fact that we worked together a lot, we did. At least we were both on the same page about it. We both didn’t like each other. It was the only thing we agreed on.
“Beech.” His voice was crisp.
“Hey.” I couldn’t continue speaking because I had to catch my breath. “You know your offender for that four-five-nine?”
“I’m sorry, who is this?”
I rolled my eyes and dodged a couple walking their dog. The dog got excited at my running and tried to chase me but his owner held onto his leash tightly.
“You know exactly who it is,” I growled. “Don’t pretend like you don’t have my number saved. I’ve brought you at least eight perps.”
“Is this… Mika, is that you?” he asked. “You sound surprisingly out of breath. Tell me: are you running?”
“First of all…” I hated that I had to stop speaking to take another breath. Luckily, the target was still within sight. It seemed like he was getting tired too. “Do you want to know where your guy is or not?”
“I’m a homicide detective. Why would I be interested in a four-five-nine?”
“Oh, come on, Beech!” I exclaimed. “The guy just turned down a residential street, okay? Yes, I’m running after him and it sucks. I just thought you’d want to be there when I take him in.”
“Like hell you’re taking him in.” A pause. I could picture him opening the top drawer of his desk and pulling out his keys. “Do not botch this up, Chalmers. I’m on my way. Actually, you better just wait there. Don’t go after him. Have you even caught up to him? Judging by the way you’re panting, probably not.”
“God, you’re a dick, Beech,” I muttered, wiping my brow. I hated that he was right, though, and tried to power walk without it distorting my breathing in any way.
“That was pretty direct for you. No witty retort? Has the sun fried your brain out there or something?”
“I’m going to hang up now,” I said. “And it’s going to be really fun catching the guy before you get here.”
“Do not fuck this up, Chalmers,” he repeated, this time with more insistence. “This guy has been hitting up Lantern Creek, the gated community adjacent to Newport Coast. You know, where the Lakers live in retirement and the billionaire tech geeks live after they’ve graduated from Silicon Valley.”
“Who do you think one of my clients is?” I pointed out.
My target was still in my sight – thank God. My power walking was abysmal at best but it appeared the offender was getting tired. Every now and then, Irvine would get ridiculously humid. Unfortunately – or fortunately, depending on how I could choose to look at it – today was humid days.
“Look,” I continued. Instead of following the paved sidewalk, I cut across the grass. My calves screamed in protest because there was an incline where I was walking. However, I knew if I headed through the backend of the neighborhood, I would be able to cut him off. “It’s not my fault you guys didn’t do your job well enough to get the confidence of the Creekers. They felt they needed to come to me to get the job done.”
“Because you’re such a good PI.” His voice was dry and bitter.
I smirked. “Try to pretend like I suck at my job,” I said. “I don’t. You can try and insult me but the one thing I know I’m good at in my life is being a PI.”
“Hmm, I thought you were going to say something more personal, but in order to kill time, I’ll keep my mouth shut.”
“That’s a surprise.” A rabbit hopped out of my way, darting under a manicured bush. I sidestepped flowers paid gardeners planted to make the street look pop with colors. “I called you to help because there’s no way I’m going to be able to drag this guy back to my car parked in front of the Coldstone on Culver, okay?”
“I’m getting in the car now.” I heard the door slam and knew he was telling the truth. “You’re in Northwood territory?”
I nodded, then remembered that he couldn’t see me. “Yeah.” I crossed over by the pool. It was surprisingly empty for the heat, but then I remembered that kids were in school now, despite the summer weather. I wasn’t sure if having more witnesses or less would have been preferable. It probably didn’t matter.
“At least traffic isn’t that bad right now.” He was talking more to himself than he was to me. “Everyone’s in school. Lunch is almost over.”
“You’re talking to yourself again,” I said. I heard a crunch and my heart jumped in my throat at the prospect that I might have stepped on an unsuspecting snail. I glanced down to see it was only a large leaf that had fallen from one of the trees overhead. “Shit.”
“Shit?” Beech all but yelped. “You better not fuck this up, Chalmers.”
“You’ve already told me that.” I increased my pace, forcing myself to trust the fact that I would run into the target even though I couldn’t see him. “I thought I stepped on a snail.”
“Wait. Wait, wait, wait. Let me get this straight, Chalmers. You’re running after a highly-sought after suspect attached to at least three different four-five-nines and you are more concerned about a snail than the suspect.”
“Just because I can’t see him doesn’t mean I won’t get him,” I said between breaths.
“You don’t see him?!”
“You don’t have to raise your voice –“
“Jesus, Chalmers! Like, I literally don’t understand you. How is it that with all of our resources and manpower that’s been assigned to this case, how is it you are able to find him after everything? And not just find him, but actually chase him. And then lose him!”
The alley behind the row of houses came into view. I knew Beech was annoyed with me, but I was too distracted to care. If my calculations were correct, my target would be coming out of that alley any moment. Besides a couple of houses at the end of a cul-de-sac, there was nowhere for him to go besides the alley. I didn’t think he was familiar with Irvine’s rigid housing structure. Because the land belonged to the city, there were strict parameters for how houses were constructed. It was why many of the houses in specific neighborhoods looked very similar – because they were essentially the same house, just flipped around. There weren’t many alleys in Irvine which was why my instincts told me he would try to find shelter there.
“He’s coming out, Beech. Gotta go.”
“Don’t you hang up on me –“
I clicked the red circle and pocketed my smart phone. I positioned myself behind a couple of trees and waited. Closing my eyes, I tried to hear footsteps, any indication that he was coming.
It took a moment, but I heard him coming. Sneakers slapping against the pavement. Slightly out of breath. If I didn’t use the surprise to my advantage, he’d overpower me with his strength. I bounced from foot to foot. I took off my backpack and grabbed my half-eaten egg salad sandwich and threw it in the opposite direction just as he exited the mouth of the alley.
He turned and I tackled him to the ground. I acted quickly and pulled out my taser.
“Don’t move or else I’ll –“
He shifted, trying to hit me across the face.
“Asshole!” I exclaimed, shooting him with one thousand volts. “Not my face.”
He twitched once, collapsing back to the ground.
I huffed an indignant sigh, then smirked. I got my target. Which meant I got my bonus. Now all I had to do was wait for Beech to arrive and hope that this asshole didn’t wake up.
USA Today Best Selling Author Heather C. Myers is a contemporary romance and cozy mystery author. When she’s not busy writing cocky hockey players and sassy heroines, you can find her binge-reading young adult fantasy books, watching fan made videos of all her favorite ships, and cheering (and sometimes yelling) at the Anaheim Ducks. For all the latest updates on her writing, releases, and giveaways, subscribe to her newsletter today!
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