Read Fallen Online

Authors: Leslie Tentler

Fallen

“If it wasn’t an armed robbery, it was a hit. An execution.”

 

Amid a sultry Atlanta summer, someone is targeting police…

 

The investigation becomes personal for APD Detective Ryan Winter when a colleague and friend is shot dead, the second victim in just weeks. But even as he finds himself being drawn into the tense hunt for a serial cop killer, he is forced to re-examine his own shattering personal tragedy.

 

An ER physician at Atlanta’s busy Mercy Hospital, Dr. Lydia Costa is no stranger to suffering. Still, the recent police slayings reopen barely healed wounds—and bring her face-to-face with her ex-husband, Ryan Winter.

 

As the body count rises and paranoia tightens its grip on the police force, Lydia and Ryan are pulled together by circumstances and fate…causing old passions to reignite despite their painful shared past. But as Ryan moves closer to discovering the killer’s identity, someone is watching, placing both him and Lydia in mortal danger.

 

“Taut, page-turning suspense and heart-stopping romance: Leslie Tentler is a rising star of romantic suspense.”

 

- NYT Bestselling Author Allison Brennan

 

Praise for Books in
The Chasing Evil Trilogy,
also by Leslie Tentler

“A smooth prose style and an authentic Big Easy vibe distinguish Tentler’s debut … the shivers are worthy of a Lisa Jackson.”

- Publishers Weekly, Midnight Caller

“From the turn of the first page, Leslie Tentler hooks the reader and holds them in the palm of her hands.”

- Examiner.com, Midnight Fear

“A compelling plot, thick suspense, a cunning villain, a shattered cop and a victim who wants answers at any cost place Tentler in the same category as bestselling authors Lisa Jackson and Beverly Barton.”

- RT Book Reviews, Edge of Midnight

FALLEN

Leslie Tentler

 

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

 

Fallen

 

Copyright ©2014 by Leslie Tentler

 

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, or otherwise, without express written permission from the author.

 

The author acknowledges the trademark status and trademark owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication/use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.

 

ISBN: 978-0-9906390-1-5

Cover art and design by: Damonza.com

Copy editor: Joyce Lamb

 

To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.

– Thomas Campbell

Prologue

 

 


I
’m sorry I’m
late.” APD Detective Nate Weisz glanced at the digital numbers glowering at him in luminescent green from the car dashboard. He moved his cell phone to his other hand, pressing it against his ear as he made the sharp cut into the parking garage of the Midtown Atlanta condo building. “We arrested four prostitutes on Ponce tonight in a sting. I got caught up in paperwork.”

“It’s after nine already, Nate. Those tickets were hard to get.”

He could hear the irritation in Kristen’s tone. It would be a long night, the perfect ending to another shitty day. “If it was so important, why didn’t you just take your sister?”

“Because I wanted to go with
you
. You’re my husband. Or doesn’t that matter to you anymore?”

He sighed in the sedan’s darkened interior before shutting off the engine and pushing the door open. “I’m in the parking garage now, all right? I’ll come up, change clothes and we’ll go somewhere else. Maybe catch a movie at Atlantic Station—”

Kristen’s voice floated on a wave of petulance. “No. It’s too late.”

She disconnected the call without saying good-bye. With a muttered curse, Nate shoved his phone into the pocket of his suit coat. As he got out and closed the door, his anger reignited at the scratch that remained visible on the driver’s side. He chirped the key fob and headed toward the elevator, the sound of his dress shoes echoing off the deck’s concrete walls. He only hoped he didn’t smell like booze. The last thing he needed was another knock-down, drag-out with Kristen. There’d been too many of them lately, and frankly, he was too goddamned tired. Eight years as a Narcotics and Vice detective, and to Kristen his excuses had become interchangeable—a drug bust, a prostitution ring, a warrant to serve on an illegal gambling operation. Any of them could be that night’s culprit behind him getting home late.

So could a few drinks, he admitted, but he’d needed to unwind.

Above him, the lighting in the garage ceiling flickered. The condominiums were getting old and needed renovation, but the location was excellent, with easy access to I-85 and the zone five precinct near Centennial Olympic Park. They were also less than ten minutes from the high-rise where Kristen worked. Still, she’d been nagging him about moving to one of the newer, fancier—albeit smaller and pricier—loft apartments stacked along Midtown.

The fluorescent panel hummed, emitting an electrical crackle before leaving Nate in darkness. Grumbling, he pushed the elevator button and stared through the deck’s steel barriers at the IHOP building that was now an all-you-can-eat Korean buffet. He waited impatiently as the mechanical coffin rumbled its way down to him, nearly drowning out what sounded like the faint approach of footsteps. He turned and peered into the grainy darkness.

Nothing. He was alone.

The garage gave him the creeps. He’d talk to the super tomorrow—he didn’t want Kristen down here in the dark. Despite the city’s enthusiastic PR spin, crime inside the Perimeter had only continued to worsen. There were muggings, robberies and car-jackings these days even in the best parts of town. Not to mention, criminal activity always got worse in the summer heat. As the elevator neared his floor, the overhead light winked back to life. The convex curve of the security mirror to the right of the bay caught Nate’s attention. A human form, clad in an oversize hooded sweatshirt despite the muggy night, was visible in the mirror’s reflection.

He saw the gun.

Nate whirled. He extracted his weapon from his holster, losing his grip on the .38 as the blast hit him. He staggered and fell to the concrete floor. Surprise gave way to a screaming pain.

The light flickered off again as the hooded form inched closer. In disbelief, Nate pushed away, kicking clumsily with his feet like a wounded sand crab.
You?
His gun was out of reach, lost somewhere in the deck’s shadowy recesses. Behind him, the elevator doors slid open. His frantic pulse thudded in his ears. Nate tried to locate his cell, pawing at his coat pocket, but his fingers had grown numb and useless. His voice croaked out a cry for help that ended in a wet cough. He tasted blood.

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