If you’d like to read a sample, here’s Chapter One. Enjoy!
Rookie officer Marcus Sloan sat up straighter in the passenger seat of the squad car, trying not to appear too excited as the radio cracked to life.
“Hollywood Units: A 211 just occurred at Fountain and Mansfield. Suspect is described as a white or Hispanic female, 25-35 years, brown hair, approximately five foot ten, 170 pounds. She is armed and possibly under the influence of drugs. Last seen in a silver sedan. License plate may have an X and a 3. 15A21 handle Code 3.”
“Well,” snorted his partner and best friend, Peter Waxman, as he made a U-turn, “that’s helpful.”
Marc grabbed the radio and confirmed with the dispatcher that they would respond to the armed robbery report, as Pete groused quietly.
“How much you wanna bet she’s actually five foot four, weighs 130 pounds and is driving a red car with a license plate that has neither an ‘X’ or a ’3′ in it?”
With a half-smile Marc replaced the radio into its holster. In the few months since graduating from the Academy, he had seen enough to agree with his more experienced partner. It was hard to take any “eye-witness” account too literally. They had both spent too many hours chasing down suspects whose physical descriptions were so outlandish they would have made He-Man run for cover, and all because some vic was more worried about looking like a pussy than giving the police accurate information.
“All right, a silver sedan being driven by a brown-haired girl, that ought to narrow it down…” Pete continued to grumble as he turned left onto Sunset Boulevard.
Marc hid a smile, knowing Pete was just in a bad mood because he was getting married next week. Oh, Pete loved his fiancée, no doubt about it. It was his future father-in-law that was getting Pete’s panties in a bunch. The man had been nothing but trouble since Lindsay’s family had arrived in town for the wedding.
Pete continued to gripe under his breath as they scanned the area. It was after 3 a.m. on Thursday night/Friday morning, just about the only time of day this stretch of Sunset Boulevard could be found practically devoid of traffic. Most of the businesses around here were comedy clubs, movie theatres, restaurants, and night clubs, all of which were closed at this hour. Skinny and sky-high palm trees that lent an air of exotic cheerfulness during the day now swayed forlornly over the strangely quiet thoroughfare.
Pete took a right onto Gardner Street and headed south towards Fountain, leaving the tree-lined boulevard behind in exchange for the narrower avenue lined with darkened apartment complexes and business buildings. A silver Escalade with a white male at the wheel drove past, followed by a tan Toyota Corolla with a black couple inside. They had just turned onto Fountain Ave. when Marc spotted a silver sedan swiftly pulling out of a public parking garage behind them.
“We might have something,” Marc said, pivoting in his seat to get a better look. “Silver sedan, female driver.”
“I’ll be damned,” Pete muttered, cranking the wheel and following the sedan.
Marc snatched the radio again and called it in to the dispatcher. After reporting their location, he squinted hard at the license plate and read it out, “TXD328.” He glanced at Pete almost apologetically. “It’s got both an X and a 3.”
Within minutes another squad car joined them. When Pete flipped on the siren, the silver sedan braked immediately, blinker on, and pulled over to the curb. Pete raised his eyebrows at Marc. Such compliant behavior was not consistent with the out-of-control, drug-crazed suspect they were after.
Pete shone the car’s spotlight into the rearview mirror of the sedan.
“This is the LAPD,” Marc announced into the PA mic. “Turn off your engine and put both hands on the wheel.”
Pete removed his gun from its holster and got out. Standing behind the open driver’s side door with his gun trained on the figure behind the wheel of the sedan, he barked, “Open the door and come out with your hands above your head!”
The woman responded quickly. She looked scared, but her movements were smooth and controlled, again unlike the erratic druggie they were looking for. With golden brown hair that almost reached her waist, she was only about 5′ 3″ tall, and if she was 170 pounds he’d eat his badge. He pegged her at about 115 pounds, max. At Pete’s orders, she turned around and backed up toward the trunk of her car. The other unit approached the sedan to make sure there weren’t any passengers inside.
Marc tapped the radio impatiently, waiting for the dispatcher to report back with a report on whether or not the car was stolen, or if the owner had any outstanding warrants. His gut told him this woman was not the perp. He hated putting innocent civilians through stuff like this, but reminded himself that procedures were in place for a reason. The radio finally crackled and the dispatcher confirmed what Marc was already sure of: the car had not been reported stolen. Owner was one “Lillian Brookstone” who, other than a few parking tickets, had a spotless record with no outstanding warrants. He got out of the car and exchanged a look with Pete, who had also heard the report. Both men were thinking the same thing: they were giving this poor woman a heart attack for nothing. But nonetheless, Pete stayed behind the door with his gun drawn as Marc cautiously approached Ms. Brookstone.
“Ma’am, please put your hands on the trunk of your car and spread your legs,” he instructed. As she complied, he couldn’t help but appreciate her petite figure, and notice how the fabric of her pants hugged her bottom and dipped between her cheeks. Gritting his teeth, he mentally reprimanded himself. “Don’t be an ass,” he mumbled to himself, and then winced for thinking about asses again.
Damn, I need to get laid.
Grunting, he forced himself to focus on the task at hand. Probably with a little more force than necessary he started to pat her down. “Do you have any weapons or drugs on you or in your car?”
Lily stiffened as the officer’s hands pressed against her ribcage and down to her hips. “No, sir,” she replied, embarrassed that her voice shook a little, and even more embarrassed when she felt his hands sweep briskly beneath her breasts. He was most likely trying to check her bra for hidden weapons or something, but she wasn’t wearing a bra.
Her cheeks flamed hot, but he continued his pat down without pause. He probably didn’t notice, she tried to convince herself.
Irrationally, she had a flashback to her grandmother warning her, “Always wear clean underwear, honey, you never know when you’ll be in a car accident.” It had barely made sense to her then, but now she wished her grandma had instead warned her to always wear a bra, in case she ever got frisked.
She realized that the officer had just asked her something. She replayed his question and stammered a reply. “What? Oh, um, Lily. Lily Brookstone, sir.”
“You can go ahead and turn around now, ma’am.”
Lily straightened up and faced him, folding her arms across her chest as a cool late winter breeze brushed across her bare arms, giving her goose bumps. She wore a snug, dark red tee-shirt and gray sweatpants chopped off just below the knee. Earlier the outfit had seemed perfectly acceptable for her drive home, but now she felt distinctly underdressed. The officer wore the traditional all-black LAPD uniform, with a shiny gold and silver badge pinned on his chest. He was at least nine inches taller than she was, and she tilted her head back to take all of him in. He had a strong, square jaw and chiseled cheekbones, military-short, brown hair, and was, well, beefy.
The cords of his neck muscles were visible before they dipped into his collar, and his biceps looked extremely impressive in the tight short-sleeved uniform. His tan forearms were incredibly sexy, the muscles tightening as he shifted his right arm to rest on his belt and his left arm to hang at his side, near his gun. Seeing the gun brought Lily’s focus back with a start, and she quickly looked up into the officer’s eyes. Green, she thought, and then chided herself for even noticing such a thing in her current situation.
“We’ve had a report of an armed robbery, with a suspect matching your description,” the officer said. Lily’s gaze wandered to the second officer as he shut the squad car’s door and put his gun in his holster, approaching them. Lily’s stomach lurched. Holy Mother, he had his gun drawn?
“Could you tell us where you’re coming from and what you’ve been doing in the last hour?” the first officer continued.
Lily jerked her gaze back to him. “Ah, I was at work.”
Something in her manner must have alerted him to the fact that she was holding something back, because he suddenly frowned. She realized her mouth was clamped shut and her arms were crossed tightly across her chest. She tried to relax.
“And where would that be, ma’am?” he inquired with a raised eyebrow.
She took a deep breath before answering. “A few blocks northeast of here, Officer… Sloan,” she read from the name plate above his shirt pocket.
“Northeast?” he prodded.
“Why does it matter?”
She immediately regretted her knee-jerk response, realizing how suspicious it sounded. Instead of answering, however, Officer Sloan remained stubbornly silent. He kept firm eye contact with her, waiting.
After a few moments she sighed. “Near Hollywood and Cahuenga.”
“That’s quite a bit further than a few blocks,” he responded quickly. “Why would you park all the way down here?”
“I don’t know,” she lied.
“We’ll need to see some I.D., ma’am,” the other officer interjected.
“Yes, sir, of course. It’s in my purse, in the car.”
“I can get it for you, ma’am.” Officer Sloan waited for her to acquiesce, and then strode quickly to the driver’s side door she had left open. He nodded to two other officers she hadn’t even realized were there and picked up her purse from the passenger’s seat.
She watched as he walked back toward her with a long, purposeful stride. His sharp, green eyes were locked onto hers as he returned to stand in front of her. She tore her gaze away from his and focused on her purse, which he held open. She quickly removed her wallet and pulled out her driver’s license.
The other officer confirmed her identity and scribbled some information in his notepad. “Do you mind if we have a look in your car, ma’am?” he asked as he returned her license.
Lily glanced at her feet for a moment and swallowed. “I’m sorry, sir, but I’d rather you didn’t. But I swear I had nothing to do with that robbery, and I have nothing illegal in my car.” Lily looked up again, her chin jutting out defiantly and her jaw clenched tight.
Officer Sloan seemed about to speak when their radios suddenly cracked to life. The robbery suspect had been spotted heading south on Fairfax, driving on the wrong side of the road, and officers were in pursuit. Exchanging a quick glance, the two policemen jogged back to their squad car. The other pair of officers quickly did the same.
As Officer Sloan passed by her, he placed her purse in her hands and said, “Thank you for your cooperation, ma’am. We’re sorry for the inconvenience.”
After being claustrophobically surrounded by a cadre of uniformed males and flashing lights, Lily suddenly found herself standing alone by the trunk of her car.
The other policeman had already hopped behind the wheel, but Officer Sloan paused for a moment at the passenger’s side door. “Will you be all right, ma’am?”
Lily realized she was simply standing there, purse in hand, jaw slightly open in shock. She closed her mouth and quickly nodded. He smiled before getting into the car, and once again a hot blush rose to her cheeks.
After the squad car drove off, sirens and lights blazing, she gave herself a mental shake, and climbed back in her car. She thunked her head on the steering wheel a few times before starting the engine and pulling away from the curb.
Lily was so exhausted, she didn’t even notice the dark blue truck that pulled away from the curb behind her and followed her home.