Family Secrets

Family Secrets

Jamie Hill

A Cop in the Family

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As if stumbling over a dead body isn’t enough, Crystal Cartwright finds herself playing surrogate mother to two small boys when their father–her neighbor–doesn’t come home. The kids aren’t much trouble, but the thieves, drug dealers and kidnappers they’re about to encounter are.

Detective Jack Dunlevy, a cop down on his luck, draws the cases no one else wants. A simple investigation involving a dead homeless man quickly changes as Crystal enlists Jack’s help with the children. Drawn into a mystery that none of them could have anticipated, they’re faced with a situation that will change their lives forever.

 
PUBLISHED BY: Accomplice Press
ISBN:
PUBLICATION DATE: 2010
WORD COUNT:
SEXUAL CONTENT RATING: 1
EBOOK READER RATING:
CATEGORIES: Romantic Suspense, Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense, Romantic Fiction
KEYWORDS: mystery, suspense, crime, drama, romantic suspense
 

EBOOKS BY Accomplice Press

EBOOKS BY Jamie Hill

 
EXCERPT
COPYRIGHT Jamie Hill/2010

Crystal inhaled and looked toward the boys’ room again. “No grandparents.”

“Nope,” Jack repeated.

“Aunts, uncles…any family at all?” She wasn’t sure if she wanted the answer to be yes or no.

“I’m sorry, Crys. Nobody I could dig up.”

“Jesus.” She reached in her pocket and pulled out a cigarette. She lit it absently and blew smoke toward the ceiling. She finally looked at him. “He’s probably coming back, right Jack?”

He looked at her evenly and shrugged. “I can’t say, sugar. But I also can’t discount the fact that the last day you saw him, Manny Hooper turned up dead on your doorstep.”

Her eyes grew wide. “Do you still think there’s a connection?”

“Hell yeah, I think there’s a connection. You told me Manny kept an eye on the building, knew all about people’s comings and goings. I think someone wanted to shut him up.”

“Oh God! Oh God, oh God…” Crystal hugged her knees to her chest and puffed furiously on her smoke.

Jack leaned forward and put a hand on her shoulder. “I’m sorry, honey.”

She looked at him, fear piercing her gut. “What am I going to do if he never comes home? What the hell am I going to do?”

He said softly, “I took the liberty of calling an associate of mine. She works with Social Services. I picked her brain—confidentially of course—about how a situation like this would be handled.”

“What did she say?” Crystal snuffed out the cigarette in an ash tray and wiped her hands across her face.

“Well, the first thing that would happen is that the boys would be taken into protective custody. They’d be placed with a licensed foster family, if one was available, or in a group home, if not.”

“A foster family? A group home?” Crystal practically shrieked. “They have a home. Here, with me!”

He looked soberly at her, and she caught his meaning. She was barely making ends meet. Oh hell, she was not making ends meet and they both knew it. “What do you want to happen, Crys? Do you want to see them placed with a nice family?”

“Or stuck in an orphanage…”

“They’re called ‘group homes’ these days.”

“And maybe split up? I’ve seen enough TV to know that no one is going to promise me that they’ll always be kept together. They might get split up.”

Jack nodded. “They might.” He reached out to her, but Crystal stood up to pace. She lit another cigarette and walked around the room, stopping to crack the window and inhale the cool night air.

“Nights are getting colder,” she finally commented.

“Yes, they are.” Jack nodded and stood. He stepped behind her. “Let me guess. The boys don’t have winter clothes.

She dropped her cigarette on Dave’s carpet and stomped it out angrily. She reached out for Jack and he pulled her securely into his arms. Crystal buried her face in his chest and sobbed. “How could he do this to me? How could he do this to them?”

Jack smoothed her hair and answered quietly, “Maybe he didn’t have a choice, honey. I think tomorrow after I’ve turned this place inside out, I’m going to start checking morgues for John Does.”

Crystal pulled back and looked up at him. “Oh God. Do you think…”

“Shhh.” He pulled her to him and held her tightly. “I’m not sure what to think. But we’ll get to the bottom of this, one way or another.”

He rubbed her back gently until she pulled away again.

She looked up into his eyes and saw her fear and uncertainty echoed there. She also saw another emotion she couldn’t quite place. If only he could reassure her that everything was going to be okay. There was no way she could deal with this alone. Unsure exactly what to say, she reached up on her tiptoes, slipped her arms around his neck and crushed her mouth against his.

 
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