“I can’t tell you much right now. The area is crawling with press. The mayor was murdered. We need you at the command post ASAP.”

“What?” Carly’s hand went numb with the confirmation of her suspicions. “Uh, sure, where?” Mayor Teresa Burke was murdered. This news would devastate the city she worked for. Carly listened as the sergeant told her where to report and broke the connection.

“Earth to Carly, you still with me?” Joe tapped the phone. “What happened?”

“Mayor Burke was murdered and they want me at the crime scene now.”

“Wow.” His face registered the shock Carly felt. “What do they want you to handle?”

“Tucker didn’t say.” She held Joe’s gaze. “Why me? I work juvenile invest, not homicide.”

“My guess would be there’s a minor involved somewhere. But why ask why? Go for it; this will be an important investigation. The fact that they want you says something.”

“After six months of telling me to pound sand, suddenly they need me?”

Joe laughed. “You know what they say about gift horses? If you look them in the mouth, they bite! Just go and be the outstanding investigator I know you are.” He gripped her arm. “Stop thinking less of yourself because they’ve stuck you in juvie. You’re a good cop.”

“Thanks. You’re right, I guess, about doing my best with whatever they’ve got for me.” She shrugged. “At least I’ve got nothing to lose. Thanks for the swim.”

He applauded as she left him at the water’s edge and jogged across the mostly empty beach toward home, a block and a half away.

After a quick shower to wash away the salt, Carly took a minute to shuffle through her wardrobe. Juvenile was a nonuniform assignment, the dress code business casual, which for her afternoon shift usually meant jeans and a department polo shirt. But this was a big case. Deciding that she wanted her appearance to scream competent and prepared, she chose a pair of black slacks, a dark-green sweater, and hard-soled shoes rather than the running shoes she normally wore.

A quick glance in the mirror left her satisfied. She double-checked the gun and badge in her backpack on the way to the car, the familiar ritual helping to calm her jumping nerves. But the adrenaline rush was intense.

I’m going to be a cop again. I’m going to do police work,sang in her thoughts. She locked the seat belt across her chest and started the car. A question popped in her mind and zinged her pumped-up nerves like tinfoil on silver fillings.

Why would anyone want to kill Mayor Teresa Burke?


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