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Authors: Lawrence Kelter

First Kill

BOOK: First Kill
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First Kill
Number I of
Stephanie Chalice Back Story
Lawrence Kelter
F Street Books (2013)

Chalice is back, and she's accomplished what women all over the world have always dreamed of: she's gotten younger. The Back Stories feature NYPD Detective Stephanie Chalice in the days before you first met her. She's righteous, rambunctious, and oh so ready . . . for anything.

A woman is dead, a suspect is in custody, and the case seems ironclad, but all is not as it appears. Chalice soon finds herself embroiled in a deadly game of fraud, conspiracy, and deception. The body count is about to rise and the only thing standing between the murderer and his next victim is a headstrong rookie detective with a sixth sense for solving crime.

FIRST KILL

A Stephanie Chalice Back Story

#1

 

 

 

 

 

By

Lawrence Kelter

 

~~~

Chalice is back, and she’s accomplished what women all over the world have always dreamed of: she’s gotten younger. The
Back Stories
feature NYPD Detective Stephanie Chalice in the days before you first met her. She’s righteous, rambunctious, and oh so ready … for anything.

A woman is dead, a suspect is in custody, and the case seems ironclad, but all is not as it appears. Chalice soon finds herself embroiled in a deadly game of fraud, conspiracy, and deception. The body count is about to rise and the only thing standing between the murderer and his next victim is a headstrong rookie detective with a sixth sense for solving crime.

~~~

First Kill Copyright © 2013 by Lawrence Kelter

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by information storage and retrieval system, without written permission of the Publisher, except where permitted by law.

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

Editing by

Jan Green of the Wordverve

Interior book design by

Bob Houston eBook Formatting

Acknowledgments

The author gratefully acknowledges the following special people for their contributions to this book.

As always for my wife Isabella for nurturing each and every new book as if it were a newborn child, and for her love, support.

For my children, Dawn and Chris … just because.

Chapter One

New York City

Breath catching, hands trembling, he stood in the shadows watching her from across the street.
Snowflakes danced through the air only to melt as they touched down on 57th Street. It was late evening, and the traffic had finally tapered off. He could see her through the restaurant window, chatting, smiling, the life of the party. Decorated in red and gold, The Russian Tea Room was as elegant and as exquisitely decorated as a Fabergé egg. He marveled in the details of her image, the contrast of her ivory gown against the wine-colored restaurant walls. With the snowflakes falling between them, she looked like a princess in a snow globe.

He could see that everyone adored her and did not need to hear them speak to understand that they worshiped her. He witnessed the intent expressions on the faces of the couple chatting with her, who appeared to hang on her every word. Another couple waited anxiously for their chance to greet her.

He imagined the compliment they had just expressed, “You’re delightful, Emma. We had a wonderful time.” The gentleman reached into his breast pocket and handed her an envelope, which undoubtedly contained a sizable check. “We hope this helps the children.”

“Thank you so much.” She blushed, not reflexively but perfectly, a practiced facial expression. There was no need for her to supplement her lovely smile with excessive verbiage.

“It’s such a wonderful cause.”

She practiced economy with her words: a perfect smile, a handshake, a kiss on the cheek. Next. The second couple replaced the first. She offered a single word as a greeting. “Hi.” The new couple spoke for three minutes without pause. She waited patiently for an opportunity to inject, “That’s so nice of you to say.”

“Oh, Sweetheart, the evening was sensational and
you
…”

Half an hour passed. He continued to wait, although the cold air burned the skin on his face and stiffened his fingers. He plunged his hands into his pockets to keep them warm and slid his finger along the blade of his knife.

A ghastly old fop in a velvet tuxedo jacket looked as if he would never let her go. His instincts told him that the old man was hoping to take her out for a nightcap, and that the hand so casually placed in his pocket clenched a prescription bottle of Viagra.
Leave, old man. Leave!
The minutes ticked away, nine minutes … ten. The aging Casanova finally relented.

He continued to watch as she closed her eyes and smiled the faintest smile that expressed her true feelings,
Thank God
. His eyes were filled with her and her alone as she made her way toward the exit. He slipped on his gloves and prepared to cross the street.

~~~

Emma looked up, allowing a few snowflakes to melt on her cheeks. A few moments passed—the lights in The Russian Tea Room went out while she waited in front of it. Her date slid up alongside her, clumsily pretending that he had been there all along. “Sorry I’m late,” he said apologetically.

“Sean.” She threw her arms around his neck and kissed him lightly on the lips. She took a deep breath and lifted her eyes toward the sky. “I thought I’d never get out of there.” She gave him another kiss, this one more purposeful than the first. “As long as you’re here now.”

“How’d you do?” he asked optimistically.

“How’d I
dooo
?” she said poking fun at his heavy Irish brogue.

“Teasing the foreigner, are we now?”

“I love your accent. It’s incredibly sexy.”

“I’m glad you like the way I sound because that’s all we Irishmen have going for us.”

“I’m sure that’s not true.”

“Unfortunately it is; the physical prowess of Irish men is not exactly the stuff of legends. I don’t know what a lovely thing like yourself is doing with a clumsy oaf like me.”

“I want you for your body.”

“And I want yours, but darling, you’re in for a big disappointment.”

“I’ll judge for myself.”

“So, Emma, you didn’t answer me—how’d you do?”

“It was a
big
success. We collected more than ever before.”

“You’re a true fundraising queen. Keep it up and I may give you a crack at heading up
my
charity.”


Your
charity? What charity is that?” she said, suppressing laughter.

“The Alms for the Daft Irishman Fund.”

“You’re out of your mind.” She smirked and kissed him tenderly. Her eyes were closed as she pulled away, still savoring the taste of his lips.

“That was quite a passionate kiss.”

She nuzzled his neck. “It
is
our third date.” She watched his expression to gauge the extent of his reaction.


Ah
,” he said with revelation. “The notorious third date. I suppose you’ll be wanting to have your way with me now.”

She giggled. “That’s for me to know and you to find out.”

A mischievous smile sprouted across his face. “
Sooo
… what would you like to do now?”

“I’m not hungry, but I may be ready for dessert,” she said suggestively.

“Your place?”

A broad grin swept across her face as she slipped her arm through his.

His fingers twitched within his pocket and his fingernail caught on the razor-sharp edge of his knife.

Chapter Two

I awoke to the sound of a coffee grinder.
Not normally cause for alarm except for the fact that I lived alone—no roommate, no significant other, just me, myself, and a collection of psychological baggage so unique it deserved its own designer logo. I pulled back the blanket and saw that I was still in the slacks and top I had worn the night before. My shoes were on the floor alongside my queen-size sleigh bed. I shook my head in disbelief.
Again?
“Jesus, I hate when this happens.”

Adriano Rodriguez walked into my bedroom while I was trying to string my thoughts together. He was shirtless and wearing slacks—a towel was slung over his shoulder.

I reprimanded myself,
Dear God, tell me I didn’t.
I could not allow myself to be or be known as the cop that
did
the squad. I had put a great deal of effort into building a no-nonsense, no-hanky-panky image. Stephanie Chalice had to be a straight arrow, a cop whose focus rested solely on the job. Nevertheless, Adriano’s abs looked as if Michelangelo had carved them in marble. Back at the station, some of the women referred to him as A-Rod, not because he was good with a baseball bat but because he filled out a pair of slacks
nicely
. Adriano was the total package. Sure his name was almost the same as the legendary Yankee third baseman, but … I glanced down below his waist and smirked.
Now that’s a Louisville Slugger.
I met his gaze with a sheepish expression. “Did we …”

“No,” he said, providing instant relief.

Adriano and I had been partners just over six months, and in that time, we had never … Not that the idea hadn’t crossed my mind. He was a hell of a specimen and a persistent distraction, but I wasn’t taking the bait. I was, first and foremost, a cop and understood that diddling the partner would destroy my credibility. It’s hard enough being a female on an NYPD detective squad—throw in a firm young body, innate sexiness, and a propensity for following hormonal urges, and you’ve got yourself the formula for a real mess. So, no, much as I might have liked to, I had no plans to bump fuzz with Adriano. Of course with waxing and
manscaping
being in vogue these days, there wasn’t a lot of fuzz-bumping going on anywhere.
Be strong, girl. Be strong.

“No worries, Chalice, I slept on your sofa.”

I covered my eyes to conceal my embarrassment. “Was I totally sloshed?”

Adriano grinned as he whipped out his smartphone and pulled up a picture. “Last night’s party—check it out.”

“Oh
no
.” My eyes were half shut, and a shot of tequila was on its way to my mouth—it looked like one of those Lindsay Lohan train-wreck photos. “I’m not proud of this.”

I made a mental note not to act like an irresponsible spoiled starlet again. Adriano was a standup guy. I understood that he had only seen me home because he was a gentleman. BTW, he was also dating a spitfire Puerto Rican girl who wouldn’t think twice about chopping off his stones and mashing them up in a bowl of
mafongo.
You can just imagine what she’d use to substitute for the fried plantain.

“Don’t worry,” he said. “We’re partners. I’ve got your back.”

“Thanks, Adriano. You’re one of the good ones.”

“Hey, do you mind if I take a shower before we head out?”

“Sure. Help yourself.”

“Coffee’s brewing,” he said. “I made it
strong
.”

“Thanks.” A pot of robust java was exactly what I needed. Few can party like cops when they really have something big to celebrate. Last night was one of those occasions. I had recently made an arrest. The perp I arrested, Sean Quinlan, was a real monster, a total wad of phlegm. Nailed him solid; our case was so tight that Clarence Darrow wouldn’t be able to get him off if he had Jesus Christ as a second chair—so last night we celebrated like it was no one’s business.

I glanced over at my gold shield. I hadn’t had it all that long, and it still excited me every time I looked at it. A year had come and gone since making the cut and becoming a detective. I work homicide … as my father had. Midtown North … as my father had. Maybe I have daddy issues, and then again maybe I don’t. Being a cop’s daughter had definitely instilled that get-the-bad-guy gene within me. Nailing vermin is where it’s at.

BOOK: First Kill
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