Armed and Dangerous

BOOK: Armed and Dangerous
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ARMED AND DANGEROUS

A Sugarland Blue Novella

Jo Davis

N
EW
A
MERICAN
L
IBRARY

Published by the Penguin Group

Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street,

New York, New York 10014, USA

USA / Canada / UK / Ireland / Australia / New Zealand / India / South Africa / China

Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

For more information about the Penguin Group visit penguin.com.

Published by New American Library,

a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

Copyright ©Jo Davis, 2013

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author's rights. Purchase only authorized editions.

NEW AMERICAN LIBRARY a
nd logo are trademarks of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

E-book ISBN: 978-1-101-60398-7

PUBLISHER'S NOTE

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party Web sites or their content.

Contents

Title Page

Copyright Page

 

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

 

Excerpt from SWORD TO PROTECT

1

“Police! Freeze!”

The suspect turned slightly, gun in hand. For one split-second, Detective Shane Ford had him, could've taken the shot. And then the gunman spun and took off like a fucking deer trying to outrun a forest fire.

“Dammit! Cut him off!” Shane yelled to his partner.

Shane rounded the corner of the Quick Stop and sprinted down the alley after the alleged armed robber, the
alleged
part very much moot given the pistol he clutched in one hand and a wad of cash in the other. Loose bills fluttered in the suspect's wake as Shane's partner, Taylor Kayne, ran around the building in the opposite direction in hopes of intercepting their perp.

Jesus, the bastard was fast. Even in his late twenties and prime physical shape, Shane was steadily falling behind. He rounded the corner, thinking the perp would be long gone, and saw Taylor hit the guy from the side in a flying tackle.

The two men smacked into the side of the building, bounced off, and hit the pavement hard. The suspect struggled, making an obvious effort to turn his weapon on Taylor. Shane poured on a last burst of speed, and, reaching them, skidded to his knees and grabbed the man's gun arm, twisting.

The pistol discharged with a loud bang, making Shane's ears ring. “Fuck!”

The bullet had missed his head by inches, so close he'd felt the heat.
Too damned close.
Wrestling the suspect, he and Taylor managed to get the asshole disarmed and on his stomach. Wrenching the man's arms behind his back, Shane did his spiel.

“You're under arrest for armed robbery, attempting to evade, and attempted murder. Anything—”

“This is bullshit, man!” The suspect squirmed, to no avail.

Shane went on, unaffected. “Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to speak to an attorney . . .” He finished the Miranda, his mouth and brain on automatic pilot. “Do you understand these rights?”

“Get off me, fucking pig!”

Shane repeated the question patiently. “You're not getting up until you answer.”

“Yeah, man! This ain't my cherry popper!”

“There's a newsflash,” Taylor muttered, pushing to his feet.

Shane stood and dragged the suspect up by his cuffs. That was when he noticed Taylor holding his wrist against his chest. “You okay?”

“Sure.” But his expression was pinched, face pale. He was in pain and having a hard time not showing it.

“We'll go get that looked at after we unload this piece of shit.”

“Hey!” the piece of shit protested.

They ignored him, escorting him to the front where they were met by the shaken clerk and two uniformed officers. The clerk immediately became excited, pointing and shouting they had the right man, as though that fact might be in doubt. Shane didn't blame the guy, though. The clerk was lucky. A point brought home when the uniforms ran the suspect's name at the scene and dispatch came back with the ID of Arnold Greene, wanted in five counties for armed robbery and in one instance, the murder of a poor night clerk.

All in a good day's work for the Sugarland, Tennessee, PD.

Except the day wasn't over. Shane gladly handed off Greene to the uniforms, “letting” them make the bust and take the glory. Besides, it hadn't been Shane and Taylor's call—they were plainclothes homicide detectives and had just been passing by when the robbery-in-progress was dispatched. They'd been glad to help,
blah, blah
. Of course, the uniformed cops were too young and hungry to realize or care that getting the glory meant doing the paperwork. Shane had to smile. A win-win all around.

“Give me the keys.” Shane held out his hand expectantly.

Taylor stared at him as though he'd just suggested they help Greene escape to rob the next Quick Stop. “What? No way. The last time you drove my baby, she ended up with a dent in the bumper, remember?”

Shane eyed the beat-up Chevelle that his partner loved beyond reason. “You're kidding, right? If you'll recall, we were chasing a kidnapper and I
had
to bump him to get him off the road.”

“Beside the point.”

Shane sighed. “No, it's not. Anyway, a dent would be an improvement on this crap bucket. Give me the keys. You can't drive with your wrist broken.”

“It's not broken. And don't insult her,” his friend grumped. But he handed over the keys and got in anyway, without further complaint.

Shane slid behind the wheel and started the car. The ignition fired up with a cough, like an elephant with bronchitis. Being seen in this car made him cringe, not just because it was in such dire need of bodywork, paint, and a new interior, but because the vehicle was so noticeable. Everyone in the city knew this car. However, his stubborn partner refused to take a different vehicle when they were out chasing leads. From experience, Shane had long ago decided that trying to wheedle his friend on the subject just wasn't worth the headache.

“Sterling?” Shane asked, referring to the local hospital.

“Do I have a choice?”

“Nope.”

“Then why'd you ask?” he grumbled. “This is why I don't have a girlfriend. I get all the hassle I can handle from
you.

“You don't have a girlfriend because nobody will put up with you.”

“Fuck you.”

Shane grinned. “Not even on my worst day.”

The drive to Sterling was fairly short, and in minutes Shane pulled up outside the Emergency entrance and parked. His reluctant partner trailed a couple of steps behind, and Shane resisted the urge to tease him further. After all, it was so easy to rile the man. But his friend was in pain and he'd suffered enough for one day.

Taylor signed in at the registration desk and they took a seat, and prepared to wait. An injured wrist wasn't exactly an emergency, so it could take a while. It must've been slow, though, because Shane's twin sister, Shea, appeared in less than ten minutes, worry marring her pretty face.

“Okay, which one of you idiots is it this time?” She hurried over and frowned when she spotted Taylor still holding his wrist. “Let me see.”

“It's not that big a deal.”

“Obviously it was a big enough deal to land you here.”

“Really, I'm—”

“Who's the nurse here?” she demanded. “Hold out your arm,
now
.”

“Jeez.”

Taylor scowled, but knew better than to irritate the woman. Reluctantly, he let go of the injured area to reveal that the limb was swollen and blue from his wrist to his fingertips.

“Damn, partner,” Shane said, wincing. “That looks broken. I don't know how you can sit there and act like it doesn't hurt.”

“Because unlike some people I don't cry like a little girl when I get so much as a hangnail.”

“Asshole.” If the guy wasn't in pain, Shane would punch him. Grinning, he grabbed his crotch. “I've got your little girl right here.”

“Boys,” Shea interrupted. “Save it for later. We need to get Conan here in for an x-ray. Ready?”

Shane stood, and Taylor's frown deepened. “I'm a big boy. I don't need you to hold my hand.”

“Taylor?”

“What?”

“Shut up.”

His friend huffed and stalked after Shea. The man really didn't suffer injuries gracefully.

This was going to be a long damned week.

•   •   •

If any of their colleagues asked Officer Daisy Callahan her opinion of Homicide Detective Shane Ford, she'd have to withhold several vital truths.

The man possessed a pair of amazing gray eyes and a tall, lean body with mile-long legs that could stop traffic. And her heart. Every single time he strolled through the station with the sexy swagger that rolled his hips and ass just so, she was hard pressed not to drool. She wasn't the only one who watched the detective with lustful appreciation, but that wasn't exactly a comfort.

Shane totally did it for her. Always had, ever since they were in high school and he'd barely acknowledged her existence. Since she'd joined the force a couple of years ago, not much had changed. He was a good guy who smiled and treated her with courtesy and respect, the same as he did everyone else.

It killed her a bit more every day. Damned if she knew how to get over being so hung up on the man.

She constantly worried about him, too. A few weeks ago, a run-in with a terrorist's henchman had gotten him shot and nearly killed. Though the terrorist, Jesse Rose, was dead and the threat eliminated, rumor had it the brush with death was messing with Shane's head. He'd been cleared by his doctor to return to work, and passed the psychological evaluation to boot, but that didn't mean he wasn't secretly having some trouble dealing with it.

Was that why he'd hesitated and failed to shoot an armed suspect earlier this week? Word had it that he and Austin Rainey, their captain, had been shut up in the captain's office for quite a while that afternoon.

Whatever Shane's issue, she hoped he got it together. For both their sakes.

Entering Shane's office, Daisy strode into his desk. “Hey, do you have a few?”

The man in question looked up, peering at her over the top of the open manila file folder in his hands. For an unnerving moment she felt like a butterfly pinned to a corkboard, flailing and desperate for flight. Ridiculous. She had to get over this unhealthy obsession.

Deliberately, he closed the folder and tossed it onto the growing pile, not bothering to rise or even remove his cowboy boots from the desktop. Instead, he leaned back further in his chair, linked his fingers over his flat stomach and lifted his chin, studying her from under sinfully long lashes.

“For you, sugar? I've got all day.” One corner of his sensual mouth quirked upward. “All night.”

She almost choked.
Really? Since when?

A fall of silky sable hair brushed his collar, framing his sexy face. His button-up shirt was open at the throat, and she wondered, not for the first time of late, what it would be like to explore the terrain underneath the material and see if his chest was as taut and manly as she'd dreamed. Then she'd work her way south.

Despite the shit she'd take among the guys for allowing herself to become his newest conquest, the urge to accept the blatant offer was tempting. The detective was hotter than the frigging core of hell.
Good god!

“Hello, Daisy Duke! What's shakin'?”

Straightening her spine, she shot a glare toward Shane's cousin snickering in the doorway. She
loathed
that nickname. This was a prime example of why she didn't need to set herself up for more shit from the others. “Shut your face and go away, Chris.”

“Ooh, someone needs a rainbow shoved up her butt,” he sang, unperturbed. “I know just the guy for that chore. Catch you later, cuz.” With a wink, he turned and left.

“Jerk. Must run in families.” Highly annoyed, she addressed Shane again. “And you! It's Officer Callahan or Daisy, not
sugar
.”

“I'll call you anything you want . . . Daisy. Anytime, anywhere.” Finally, he slid his boots off the desk with a cocky grin. “Dare I hope this is going to be a private conversation?”

I wish. Just like I wish he would say that just to me and not to every unattached woman he runs across.
She smiled back sweetly. “More like intimate. Just you, me, and Rainey.”

At the mention of Rainey, Shane's lazy humor vanished. “Fuck.”

“You have no idea.” She turned to go, expecting him to follow.

“What?”

“You'll see,” she said, aware of him at her back. As they strode toward the captain's office, she glanced behind her, arching a brow at his brown leather bomber jacket. “Love the coat. It's very butch.”

“Thanks. It was a gift from a former girlfriend.” A hint of teasing colored his tone.

“In that case, I take it back,” she said under her breath. But not quietly enough.

“Jealous?”

Pausing to let him catch up, she shot a sideways look at him, arching a brow. “Why would you think that? I'm just not impressed by your revolving-door love life.”

As they reached the door to Rainey's office, he grinned. “At least I have one.”

She snorted. “Well, it's about to get more interesting, for sure.”

His amusement dimmed visibly. Before he could voice the question forming on those fabulous lips, she pushed into the captain's office, ushered him inside, and shut the door behind them.

Rainey looked up from a mound of papers spread over his desk and grunted, waving a hand at the two battered chairs facing him. “Sit. Christ, Ford, you look like shit. Are you getting any sleep?”

Daisy took her seat beside Shane, stealing another glance at him. Why hadn't she noticed the telltale smudges under his stormy gray eyes? She'd been too busy ogling the total package to take in the important details, and cursed herself for her lapse. Mistakes like that could get a partner killed, and what's more, she wasn't convinced this assignment was one Shane would willingly accept. Her gaze collided with Rainey's, and she read the same reservations there, along with the mutual acknowledgment that Ford was the department's best shot to carry off this particular role.

Shane shrugged, expression closed. “I get enough.”

The captain continued to study his top detective thoughtfully. “Uh-huh. After that foot chase the other day, I'm guessing you're healed from the shooting.”

“Yep, I'm good.”

He said that so casually, yet Daisy saw the flash of unease in his eyes. So did Rainey.

“What about your head, son?” Rainey asked softly, voice kind. “You got that screwed on straight these days?”

Shane's fingers dug into the vinyl arms of his chair, belying his outward calm. “I was done with the PT and the counseling weeks ago—you know that. I show up, do my job, and work late hours when it's necessary without complaint, same as I always have. What's this about, Austin? Am I back on the shit list?”

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