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Release Date:
April 24, 2012



It has been seven years since Lucy was attacked—and almost killed—by an online predator. Today, she is well on her way toward a new life. While waiting to begin her training at the FBI Academy, Lucy’s is tireless in her fight against cyber sex crime. Her current mission: to find out who killed a high-priced call girl linked to a powerful Congressman.


A number of known prostitutes—with scores of high profile clients—are turning up dead all over D.C. Is this the work of a depraved killer? Or the result of an inside job? Lucy’s investigation will take her into an underground network of prostitutes, the chambers of the country’s most powerful players, and her own dark past to confront an unknown enemy who’s always one step ahead of her. With the help of her P.I. boyfriend Sean Rogan, Lucy must find and protect the only witness who can identify the killer and end the conspiracy, but can the witness be trusted? Lucy will risk everything to expose the truth and ensure justice is served, even if that means putting herself in the line of fire.


Chapter One


The whore traitor lived in a secure building with live cameras and nosy neighbors. Brian had to wait for her to leave.

Waiting made him antsy. He just wanted to get this job over and done. He didn’t hate the whore. In fact, he had no feelings about her at all. But she’d crossed the line from useful to problem, and problems must be solved.

Two hours of waiting—sitting on the park bench in the heat pretending to read a book—while watching the main entrance of the condo. He’d watched her often enough in the last three weeks to know her habits. How she left every morning before ten to run in the park. How she took the Metro to visit her johns in whatever five-star hotel she’d chosen for the night. How she’d lied about what she knew and when she knew it.

Washington DC sex scandals were a dime a dozen: affairs with interns, sexy mistresses, even a few cougar congresswomen with stables of young studs to service them on the side. But selling sex was still taboo, and could take down an elected official as fast as twittering birds would tweet.

She’d lied to protect her ass, but now she couldn’t be trusted. All she had to do was keep her fucking mouth shut while they figured out who had leaked her relationship with Crowley to the press. If the truth came out, everyone would be on the hot seat. But now she was talking to the wrong people and her lies were coming full circle.

The whys didn’t much interest Brian. He was a man of action and opportunity, not a man who pondered motive or psychology.

Brian stood and stretched. It was appropriate behavior, considering he was wearing running shorts and a T-shirt. 

The cathedral bells chimed in the distance. Soon it would be too hot for her morning run. Unexpected changes in routine were never good.

He bent over and touched his shins, stretching his hamstrings. Sweat stained his underarms. He disliked the smell of body odor, even his own. At this point, all he wanted was to kill the bitch and take a shower.

As the final bell rang the tenth hour, he stood and saw Wendy at the corner, jogging in place, waiting for the light to change. Well, shit, he’d almost missed her, even in her bright pink shorts and white T-shirt with one of those pink ribbons on the back. But her attire would make her easy to spot from a distance.

He called his brother. “I see her. You’re clear.”

“Don’t fuck up.”

“Right back at you.” Brian disconnected, irritated that Ned thought he’d screw up. Ned was the crazy one, not Brian. Ned had a record, not Brian. But just because Ned had a college degree and pretty face, everyone thought he was smarter.

The light changed and Wendy jogged across the street, into the park, and up the path that she always ran.

Good. Routine is good.

Brian kept his distance. Because it was a weekday and edging toward ninety degrees, the trails weren’t crowded. There were a few people running or walking, and the rushing businessmen with those idiotic earpieces, talking as if no one else could hear them.

He’d followed her several times over the last year, important when in business with someone who lied for a living, and so far she’d run the same five-mile route nearly every day. He cut through a narrow patch of trees and trekked up a short, steep embankment so he could cut her off.

At the top, he looked at his watch. It would take her another three to four minutes to reach this spot. Brian stretched and focused on catching his breath after climbing the slope. Just another runner trying to beat the heat. He tilted his head in greeting at a male who jogged past him wearing a million-dollar running suit. The guy passed Brian without acknowledgment. Asshole.

Brian spotted the bright pink shorts as Wendy turned a corner. She’d be winded by now, over three miles into her run. He waited until she was thirty feet away, then ran in the same direction at a slower pace. Don’t make her nervous. Don’t make her think he’s a threat.

A pulse of adrenaline flooded his system. For him, killing was a means to an end, and he never felt more than an initial fear and thrill. But this pulse, this vibration of danger, excited him.

That excitement made it hard to slow down, but he did, letting Wendy run past. She had one ear bud in, one out, classic style of serious runners. He pulled latex gloves from his pocket. Twenty yards ahead the path curved to the left before starting the descent back to the main park. He glanced behind him. A pair of women approached, fast-walking while they chatted. He had one chance.

As soon as Wendy rounded the curve, Brian sprinted and tackled her like a linebacker. She went down hard, opening her mouth to scream, but he’d knocked the wind out of her. She flailed for something in her pockets. He searched her, found a container of Mace on her key chain, and tossed it away.

She gasped for air, and he punched her in the face. He took no pleasure in hitting the woman, he simply needed her silent.

He jumped up and dragged her into the thick shrubs. He rolled her onto her stomach, held his hand over her mouth, and pinned her with his body until the two women were beyond earshot.

His brother had told him to fuck her, then kill her, so her murder would look random, but the fear of getting caught made his cock shrivel.

The longer this job took, the more likely he’d be seen. He didn’t even have the dark of night to hide him. 

She fought back, surprisingly strong for a little thing. But he had eight inches and eighty pounds on the bitch. It was almost worth taking his time, to see how long it took her to wear herself out.

But of course he didn’t, because there could be any number of people coming up the path.

Brian sat on her ass and wrapped his gloved hands around her neck. Squeezed. He didn’t need to look at her, didn’t particularly want to, while she died. Her being on her stomach made his job much easier. She couldn’t kick him. She tried to scratch him, but couldn’t reach back far enough. Her death didn’t take long at all, but he kept his hold on her neck for another minute just to make sure.

He was about to get up when he heard a group of runners pounding the trail, kicking up dirt. He waited, lying on top of dead Wendy. He’d picked a good spot for the kill—if he couldn’t see any passersby, they couldn’t see him. His nerves were on edge. The overwhelming fear of exposure making him want to bolt, but he forced himself to wait.

When he was certain the group was gone, he rolled off her body, disgusted by touching the dead thing. He was about jump back onto the path when his brother’s words came back to him.

It can’t look like a hit.

Brian removed Wendy’s fanny pack. Robbery, right? He looked inside. License, twenty-dollar bill, pen. Hardly worth killing anyone over.

He stared at Wendy’s body. No fucking way he could rape it. He didn’t even want to be this close to her, not anymore.

But he didn’t have to rape her, right? Just make it look like rape.

He pulled down her shorts and panties, then spread her legs as far as they’d go. She’d hate being found dead like this. How else could he embarrass her?

He looked around, trying to come up with an idea. Then an idea struck him. He grabbed the pen and wrote on her bare ass, chuckling quietly at his own humor.

Brian was back on the trail less than two minutes later. When he was far enough away, he called his brother. “It’s done.”

“We have another problem,” Ned said. “But I’ll take care of it tonight.”

Ned hung up, leaving Brian with no idea what problem Ned had uncovered.

Back to top

Lucy Kincaid FBI Interview

(Originally published in the digital edition of "Love is Murder")

Excerpt from Lucy Kincaid’s personal interview with the FBI hiring panel. Present, Lucy Kincaid, applicant. Hiring panel: Supervisory Special Agent Nolan Cassidy, Special Agent Meredith White, and Special Agent Juan Martinez.

CASSIDY: Your test scores speak for themselves. And your application is very thorough, but at the same time you skimmed over details that I, for one, feel are relevant.

LUCY: I’m sorry, sir. What’s missing?

CASSIDY: Your family. You list your family and their occupations, but there seems to be a lot missing, especially since you seem to come from a law enforcement family . Can you elaborate?

LUCY: Of course, but what specifically?

CASSIDY: Start at the top. Your parents. Your father was a decorated Army Colonel, correct?

LUCY: Yes. He’s retired now.

CASSIDY: And still living in San Diego?

LUCY: Yes.

CASSIDY: Your mother is a naturalized citizen.

LUCY: She fled Cuba in the early 1960s. My father found her on a beach near Miami in the middle of the night—he saved her life.

MARTINEZ: My wife’s grandparents fled at the same time—her mother was a little girl at the time. They’ve never returned—have you ever traveled to Cuba?

LUCY: No. My mother’s only sister died during the journey. She never wanted to return. I don’t think she has any living relatives.

CASSIDY: Would you consider your relationship with your parents good? Poor? Indifferent?

LUCY: Good.

WHITE: Are you close to them? Or is their age a hindrance to a relationship?

LUCY: We’re very close, but my brothers and sister were as involved as my parents.

CASSIDY: You have two sisters, not one, correct?

LUCY: Yes, but Nelia and I—


LUCY: It’s not important.

CASSIDY: She’s much older than you.

LUCY: Twenty-two years. I came as a surprise to my mother—she was forty-five when she had me.

CASSIDY: You didn’t list an occupation

LUCY: I don’t know what she’s doing. She remarried a few years ago and lives in Idaho. sWe’re not close.

CASSIDY: Is Nelia the mother of your nephew who was murdered? Justin Stanton, correct?

LUCY: Yes.

CASSIDY: Did you know him? You were seven then?

LUCY: Both Justin and I were seven. He was born two months before me. We always thought that was funny.

CASSIDY: So you were close to Justin.

LUCY: He was my best friend.

WHITE: How was he killed?

LUCY: I don’t know.

WHITE: You don’t know?

LUCY: My family never told me, and they never discussed specifics. All I know is he was kidnapped from his bedroom while he was sleeping. They found him two days later. My parents wouldn’t let me go to the funeral. I kept hearing how he didn’t suffer, that it was quick, in the fake hushed tones that people use when they don’t want anyone to think that they’re talking about a tragedy. Eventually, my sister moved away. We don’t talk.

CASSIDY: Was there a conviction?

LUCY: No. They never even had a viable suspect. For a brief time the police thought my sister or her husband might have killed him because there was no sexual assault, but that didn’t go anywhere. Andrew is now the District Attorney.

WHITE: I thought you said you didn’t know how he died.

LUCY: I don’t—but I heard he wasn’t sexually assaulted. It’s one of those things I picked up when my family thought I wasn’t in the room.

WHITE: How did Justin’s murder make you feel? Then and now?

LUCY: How do you think? He was my best friend. I missed him and resented that my family wouldn’t tell me what happened. I knew enough to be scared, but not enough to make sense of it. And now? I don’t want another family to suffer what we did.

CASSIDY: It’s clear from your earlier answers and your application that you have a strong sense of justice. You live with your brother Doctor Dillon Kincaid and his wife, Kate Donovan. Your brother works for the Bureau of Prisons?

LUCY: No—he does work with the Bureau of Prisons, but he’s a private consultant. A forensic psychiatrist. He most recently convinced a killer on death row to reveal where the remains of his victims were so that their families could have closure.

MARTINEZ: I heard about that case. Charles Bledsoe was convicted of killing six children in Richmond, Virginia, but was suspected of killing several more he never confessed to.

LUCY: Correct. Dillon spent a week with Bledsoe. It was a difficult assignment, but in the end three families had remains to bury.

WHITE: And Kate Donovan is an FBI special agent.

LUCY: Yes.

WHITE: She’s assigned to Quantico.

LUCY: She’s the lead instructor for cybercrime. Has been for six years now.

WHITE: Because of her disciplinary hearing.

LUCY: Is that a question?

WHITE: Agent Donovan was wanted for questioning in investigating the on-duty death of her partner, but hid from the FBI for five years. Her reinstatement was contingent on a two-year probationary period at Quantico, I’m sure you are aware.

LUCY: Yes, but that has nothing to do with my application.

WHITE: My point is Agent Donovan has had multiple reprimands in her file—

LUCY: That is her file, and I don’t see how it’s relevant to my application.

CASSIDY: I think the point Agent White is trying to make is how much influence your family has over you, and whether by living with Agent Donovan if you would be pre-disposed to disobedience.

LUCY: Kate is my sister-in-law. I have great respect for her. But I can’t answer hypothetical questions or tell you whether I would have made the same decisions under the same circumstances.

CASSIDY: Fair enough. You brother Jack—he’s the same age as Dillon. Twins?

LUCY: Yes. Not identical.

CASSIDY: He’s also married to an FBI Agent. SSA Megan Elliott. How long?

LUCY: A little over three years.

CASSIDY: I worked in the Sacramento office with Megan for years. She’s an outstanding agent.

LUCY: I admire her as much as Kate.

WHITE: You indicated that Jack is a principle in Rogan-Caruso-Kincaid. Are you familiar with their business?

LUCY: Of course. I have two brothers who work there.

WHITE: And your boyfriend, correct?

LUCY: Yes.

WHITE: You didn’t indicate that you were in a relationship on the application. There’s a space asking—

LUCY: Sean and I haven’t been seeing each other for long. I filled out the initial application a year ago.

WHITE: So your boyfriend and two of your brothers are principles in a private security company. Can you honestly tell us that their business won’t interfere with your work for the FBI?

LUCY: It won’t.

MARTINEZ: The reason we’re a bit concerned is that Rogan-Caruso-Kincaid has some clients who, because of the nature of their business, come under scrutiny by the federal government. There could be a conflict of interest.

LUCY: I don’t work for RCK. And it’s my understanding that RCK has high government clearance.

MARTINEZ: Individuals may, I don’t have that information.

LUCY: And they have government contracts as well.

CASSIDY: You understand that in the course of your work with the FBI, if anyone you know comes under investigation—RCK or any of the principals or employees—that you would need to keep any such investigation confidential, or risk prosecution?

LUCY: I understand confidentially requirements.

CASSIDY: I’m sure you do, I just wanted to make it clear. Now--your brother Connor is a private investigator in San Diego, correct?

LUCY: Yes. His partner is my brother-in-law, Nick Thomas.

CASSIDY: He used to be a police officer with San Diego Police Department?

LUCY: Yes.

CASSIDY: And his wife is a deputy district attorney?

LUCY: Yes, Julia.

WHITE: So she would be working with your former brother-in-law, Andrew Stanton?

LUCY: Yes.

WHITE: You have a lot of connections with law enforcement.

LUCY: I do. My other sister, Carina, is a detective with San Diego PD.

WHITE: And other than your oldest sister, you still talk to your family?

LUCY: Of course. I live with Dillon, and Patrick lives a few blocks away.

CASSIDY: Patrick—right. He works in Washington with your boyfriend, Sean.

LUCY: Yes.

CASSIDY: He had some medical issues—can you explain?

LUCY: I don’t see the relevance.

WHITE: We have your file, Ms. Kincaid. We know what happened on your high school graduation, and that Patrick was severely injured while trying to find you. What happened then goes to character.

LUCY: Patrick was in a coma for two years.

MARTINEZ: I didn’t hear you, I’m sorry.

LUCY: Patrick was injured in an explosion. He was in a coma for nearly two years. But he is doing great now. This really doesn’t have anything to do with whether I would make a good FBI agent.

CASSIDY: Ms. Kincaid, we have sympathy for what happened back then, and according to your statement, Patrick was in critical condition when Adam Scott, the man who kidnapped you, held your brother Dillon hostage. You were eighteen and I can only imagine the stress and pain you were suffering when you shot and killed Mr. Scott.

LUCY: The FBI ruled the shooting justified and in self-defense, as we discussed earlier.

WHITE: Even though Mr. Scott didn’t have a weapon.

LUCY: I didn’t know that at the time. He was going to kill my brother.

WHITE: You stated then that you don’t remember anything from when you left your house until after you shot Mr. Scott six times at point blank range.

LUCY: Yes.

WHITE: This goes to stress. Your job in the FBI will very likely be stressful. Do you think you’d be prone to blacking out when you are under extreme stress?


CASSIDY: Meredith, I think—

WHITE: It goes to character and mental competence, Nolan.

LUCY: I went through every psychological evaluation the FBI threw at me. I passed. I’m not the same person I was seven years ago.

MARTINEZ: Why do you want to join the FBI?

LUCY: I wrote on my application—

MARTINEZ: We know what you wrote on your application. A very generic comment, considering your background. Why do you really want to be an FBI Agent? What do you hope to gain from the Bureau?

LUCY: I understand people. I understand criminals and how they think, and I understand victims. Too many people stand back and do nothing when others need help. Did I want to be in the FBI ten years ago? No—I spent my time with friends, in the pool, training for my swim team, and my dream was to go to Georgetown and study international relations, or be a diplomat or linguist. My brothers and sisters, they were the ones who cared. They were the people who did what I was too selfish to consider. And now? There’s nothing I want to do except put predators behind bars. Whether the criminals are stealing retirement money of the elderly or killing children or raping women, I want to be part of the solution, not just one more person ignoring violence. I couldn’t ignore it if I wanted to.

If you tell me I’m not fit to be an FBI Agent, so be it. But everything I have done in the last seven years has put me before you. I interned with the Senate Judiciary Committee because I wanted to better understand how the decisions in congress affected national law enforcement and priorities. I worked a year with the Arlington Sheriff because I wanted to understand the nuts and bolts of local law enforcement. I’m still on their volunteer water rescue team because I’m a certified diver. And I just finished my year-long internship at the DC Medical Examiners Office because I wanted to understand what happens on the back end, so to speak. I even obtained a certificate as an assistant pathologist so I could assist in autopsies.

Everything I’ve done was to be a better FBI Agent. And what do I want to gain? Nothing—except the satisfaction of being a part of the solution.

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