Linda Wood Rondeau

Snark & Sensibility

COURTING DANGER
1/25/2019 1:00:00 AM by: NIKE CHILLEMI

 

PLEASE WELCOME

NIKE CHILLEMI

to

FLASH FICTION FRIDAY

 

EXCERPT from Nike’s book Courting Danger

 

Pelican Beach, Florida

Late September, Day One, Thursday, Pre-Dawn

Detective Katerina "Kat" Andruko

 

Dry-mouthed, I ran my tongue over the parchment-like skin of my lower lip which had stuck to my teeth. "It's one a.m. in Pelican Beach. Do you really know where your kids are?"

The outburst startled me … talking to myself is not my habit. I eased up on the gas pedal of the unmarked Chevy sedan I'd rushed to pick up as soon as I got the call to come out. The engine downshifted like it had a terminal cough. Low guy on the totem pole, or gal, as the case might be, gets the worst car in the station's lot. Maybe it was the early hour and there wasn't much choice in the lot. Maybe both.

Needing more sleep, I yanked the hands-free cell phone wire so hard my ear lobe throbbed. The earpiece ricocheted off the passenger side window and landed on the sedan's floorboard. Only five-weeks earlier, I'd been installed as a detective. Never, in my wildest dreams, had I expected to be called out on a case like this one right out of the chute.

I glanced down. What good were these new real-time, high-tech laptops the department invested in? They didn't say anything? False alarm. Big mistake … something!

White-knuckling the steering wheel helped keep the speedometer in the lower digits. I flashed on my high beams, tapped my fingernails on the steering wheel, then turned the lights back to low. Didn't need bright headlights on a well-lit, four-lane, Tidewater Boulevard, one of the city's three main thoroughfares.

I passed Dorie's Hair Salon and when I reached the north side of town, the darkened elementary school. This slow speed I'd kept to was ridiculous. It put off the inevitable by only minutes.

I accelerated the rest of the way on Tidewater, a street used to law enforcement traffic as the police station occupied its extreme southern end. At the northern edge of the city, I made a right on Grove Street, then a left onto Biscayne Way, another main road. A sign with a small arrow pointed toward A1A North. One mile past the Sundial Apartments marked the city limit. Just beyond the apartments, this crime scene was on the edge of town.

Anger seared my brain and I yanked the sedan's steering wheel to the right. The car lunged into the dunes the city had spent beaucoup-bucks building as hurricane protection. Slamming my foot on the brake jolted the vehicle to a stop before its tires got stuck in the sand.

An array of red and blue flashing lights greeted me.

The blood had stopped circulating in my fingers. I forced them off the wheel one-by-one, cut the engine, and propelled myself out of the driver's seat. "Lord, I'm gonna need help here."

My black leather running shoes slipped on the dune's damp reeds as I hurried down the slope toward the beach. I managed to stay on my feet.

Gilbert Nash, the detective who'd caught the case, waved from thirty feet away. Surprised to feel the corners of my mouth curling into something resembling a smile, I fought my lips into a straight line. No doubt about why coworkers called him an aging Sonny Crockett, the guy from the hit TV series thought to be so cool in the 1990s … Miami Vice. He advanced toward me, his sockless feet in black and tan loafers. He wore a cornflower-blue suit jacket, a beige silk tee, tan pants, and was tieless. I'd worked with Nash when I was a street cop. He didn't miss much.

He called into the ocean gusts. "Andruko. Kat." He took a few more steps, stopped, kicked at a dead clump of reeds, and winced. "No way to avoid pulling you out tonight. The girl has your address and your sister's number in her pocket."

Obviously, it hadn't been my vast experience as a detective. I looked up and down the beach but didn't see his partner. "Where's Hanis?"

"His daughter's about to give him his first grandchild. He took two weeks leave he had coming."

"I see." My throat tightened. "By the physical description you gave over the phone, I'd guess the victim is Carla Henkel."

"Makes me wanna check to make sure my kid's home." Nash's shoulders hunched and released.

"If it's Carla," and the sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach said it was, "my niece, Mari, and another girl from the high school tried sneaking out with her tonight."

Nash pulled out a small bound notebook. "The other girl's name?"

"Ashley Winter. I can get you her phone number."

"Thanks."

"It could've been my niece out here tonight." My voice cracked. "They're three silly teenagers trying to get face-to-face with some guy they met online." I turned my head when my eyes misted … feelings I never showed … words I never uttered on the job. But tonight, it was personal.

Nash snapped his notebook shut. "You've got emotions, kid. So, what. We put our own lives on the line. We don't expect our loved ones to be in jeopardy. It's a given a cop'll freak if a family member is caught in the crossfire."

I jutted my chin toward the street. "Coroner's here."

The evidence collection tech had portable spotlights set up on the beach. They illuminated a lone, pale form sprawled on the sand. Beyond that, their beams flickered on the dark water as the surf ebbed and flowed.

I walked, accompanied by Nash, to the yellow police tape and signed the crime scene roster handed to me by a jittery rookie cop.

We waited for the coroner to finish so we could approach the body, but for me, there was no need. The dead girl was Carla.

My gaze shot to a solitary male figure on the beach, an eighth of a mile south of us. He wore a pair of jeans, and a stiff breeze flapped at his untucked shirt. He artfully skipped seashells across the top of the rumbling surf. Anger lodged hot in my throat. My neck muscles tightened. Why hadn't the uniformed cops cleared the area of civilians?

I made a wide circle to avoid disturbing evidence the wind might've blown beyond the tape and stalked across the sand. Coming up beside him, I flashed my shield. "Sir, you have to move back. This is a crime scene."

He cast an impassive glance toward the police activity, nodded, and walked to the edge of the dunes.

What's with the cool act? Under a full head of steam, I dogged his heels.

As he turned, the city's new bright streetlights along Surf Avenue cast just enough light to reveal intense eyes measuring me.

"I guess nobody told you. I found the body." He replied with a slight Russian accent. "I was walking on the beach."

"You were on the beach in the dark?" The lights also exposed his knock-out television newscaster good looks. So, what? I'd just put him at the top of my suspect list.

"I live here. On Hibiscus and Surf." He stood poised and aloof, while my every nerve jangled.

"So?"

"Sorry. I've done this all wrong." He slid a sleek leather, fold-over case out of his pocket and produced something I immediately recognized, a Pelican Beach Police Department business card. I couldn't make out the writing in the dark but was pretty sure I knew who he was.

I held onto the card. "Can't read it."

"It says, Dimitri Garmonin, Ph.D., Forensic Psychologist."

He was exactly who I thought he was. Heat engulfed my face, perspiration formed on my upper lip. I thanked God it was dark, and he couldn't see. I went for gruffness, as a cover. "No problem."

Way to go. The department's profiler. He worked out of an office at City Hall rather than the police station. I'd never been on a case with him.

I'd have to take him off my list. Still, what was the guy doing on the beach so late? His job could be a great cover for murder. I wouldn't remove him from my short-list yet.

 

ABOUT COURTING DANGER

Newly installed Pelican Beach, Florida detective Katerina "Kat" Andruko fears the prime suspect will get off in the murder of a teen with the help of the department's forensics psychologist, a man she's just started to trust.

This case has national security implications that gives former US Army Ranger, Dr. Dimitri Garmonin an opportunity to work with the FBI. The case could give him the chance to obtain the funds needed to expand his small Behavior Analysis Unit. He's unmoved by the chic FBI agent sent to assist but is intrigued by Kat with whom he shares a Slavic heritage.

Kat and her partner detain two wrong suspects, giving the department negative press. The predator turns his anger on Kat, targeting her. Can Dimitri use his profiler skills to catch this killer before he hurts the woman he's growing to love?

 

 

ABOUT NIKE CHILLEMI

 

Nike N. Chillemi writes contemporary detective novels, sometimes called "cozy thrillers" with a touch of wry humor and an uplifting message There's often a national security twist to them. She likes her bad guys really bad, her good guys smarter and better. Her newest endeavor is COURTING DANGER.

Nike is the founding board member of the Grace Awards and its Chair, a reader's choice awards for excellence in Christian fiction. She has been a judge in the 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, and 2017 Carol Awards in the suspense, mystery, and romantic suspense categories; and an Inspy Awards 2010 judge in the Suspense/Thriller/Mystery category. Her four novel Sanctuary Point series (out of print), set in the mid-1940s has finaled, won an award and garnered critical acclaim. The first novel in the Veronica "Ronnie" Ingels/Dawson Hughes series HARMFUL INTENT won in the Grace Awards 2014 Mystery/Romantic Suspense/Thriller/Historical Suspense category. She has written book reviews for The Christian Pulse online magazine. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and John 3:16 Marketing Network.  https://nikechillemi.blog/

 

Purchase Courting Danger on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Courting-Danger-Katerina-Authorized-Operations-ebook/dp/B07KCBMFCX/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1544553222&sr=1-1&keywords=Courting+Danger%2C+Chillemi

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nike.chillemi

Twitter: @NikeNChillemi

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STRANDED BUT NOT FORGOTTEN
1/10/2017 1:00:00 AM  by: LINDA WOOD RONDEAU

BATTLE WITH A BUMBLEBEE
1/3/2017 1:00:00 AM  by: LINDA WOOD RONDEAU

BATTLE FATIGUES
12/27/2016 1:00:00 AM  by: LINDA WOOD RONDEAU

ACQUAINTED WITH GRIEF
12/24/2016 11:22:00 AM  by: LINDA WOOD RONDEAU

LOVE IN A SUITCASE
12/20/2016 1:00:00 AM  by: LINDA WOOD RONDEAU

FRIENDSHIP IS STICKY BUSINESS
12/14/2016 8:42:00 PM  by: LINDA WOOD RONDEAU

ROOT FOR THE HOME TEAM
12/13/2016 1:00:00 AM  by: LINDA WOOD RONDEAU

KERI'S CHRISTMAS WISH
12/5/2016 12:05:00 AM  by: LINDA WOOD RONDEAU

Raising a Child With Autism
11/30/2016 8:33:00 PM  by: LINDA WOOD RONDEAU

SHOULD OR WANT
11/22/2016 12:05:00 AM  by: LINDA WOOD RONDEAU

CONFESSIONS OF A GARDENS SLUGGARD
11/16/2016 12:05:00 AM  by: LINDA WOOD RONDEAU

GRANDMA PRAYED WHILE IRONING
11/8/2016 12:05:00 AM  by: LINDA WOOD RONDEAU

The Day Super Mom Died
11/1/2016 12:05:00 AM  by: LINDA WOOD RONDEAU

FOLLOW WHICH LEADER?
10/25/2016 12:05:00 AM  by: LINDA WOOD RONDEAU

ROYAL LEGACY
10/18/2016 12:05:00 AM  by: LINDA WOOD RONDEAU

MY SHEEP KNOW MY VOICE
10/11/2016 12:05:00 AM  by: LINDA WOOD RONDEAU

THESE BOOTS WERE MADE FOR WALKING
9/28/2016 12:30:00 AM  by: LINDA WOOD RONDEAU

THE POWER OF ONE
9/20/2016 12:00:01 AM  by: LINDA WOOD RONDEAU

A LIFELONG PURSUIT
9/13/2016 12:00:01 AM  by: LINDA WOOD RONDEAU

A TEENAGED ROBIN HOOD
9/5/2016 7:36:16 PM  by: LINDA WOOD RONDEAU

NUGGETS OF GRACE
8/31/2016 12:00:01 AM  by: LINDA WOOD RONDEAU

THE CHOICE TO FAIL
8/24/2016 12:00:01 AM  by: LINDA WOOD RONDEAU

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE TROUBLE
8/17/2016 12:00:01 AM  by: LINDA WOOD RONDEAU

JUST LIKE MY DADDY
8/9/2016 12:00:01 AM  by: LINDA WOOD RONDEAU

PATIENT PRAYING
7/26/2016 12:00:01 AM  by: LINDA WOOD RONDEAU

MEET DARLENE FRANKLIN/SCAVENGER HUNT/LAST STOP
7/17/2016 12:00:01 AM  by: LINDA WOOD RONDEAU

PATIENT WISDOM
7/12/2016 12:00:01 AM  by: LINDA WOOD RONDEAU

OF PETS AND PERSISTENCE
7/5/2016 12:00:01 AM  by: LINDA WOOD RONDEAU

God's Server Never Shuts Down
6/10/2016 6:56:27 PM  by: LINDA WOOD RONDEAU

Blessed to be a Blessing
5/18/2016 7:57:49 AM  by: LINDA WOOD RONDEAU

Mama, I Can't take a Bath 'Cause There's a Fish in the Tub
5/4/2016 9:18:13 PM  by: LINDA WOOD RONDEAU

SOUR GRAPES OR BLESSED FRUIT
4/28/2016 7:28:32 AM  by: LINDA WOOD RONDEAU

IT'S WHAT THEY DO
4/17/2016 12:00:01 AM  by: LINDA WOOD RONDEAU

MEET JOHNNIE ALEXANDER
2/3/2016 12:00:01 AM  by: Linda Wood Rondeau

FROM LIGHT TO BRIGHT
1/15/2016 12:00:01 AM  by: Linda Wood Rondeau

SURRENDERING TO THE CALL
1/8/2016 12:00:01 AM  by: Linda Wood Rondeau

MY QUEST
1/4/2016 12:00:01 AM  by: Linda Wood Rondeau

MY INTIMATE JOURNEY WITH MY HEROINE BY NIKE N. CHI
12/22/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Linda Wood Rondeau

ACQUAINTED WITH GRIEF
12/8/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Linda Wood Rondeau

When Art Imitates Life: An Author's Book Journey
12/4/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Linda Wood Rondeau

Settled By Faith
11/27/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Linda Wood Rondeau

JOY COMETH IN THE MORNING
11/24/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Linda Wood Rondeau

From Little Golden Books to Summer's List
11/20/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Linda Wood Roundeau

THE EDUCABLE MOMENT
11/17/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Linda Wood Rondeau

There's love in them there casseroles
11/4/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Linda Wood Rondeau

Searching for God With All My Heart
10/30/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Linda Wood Rondeau

I RUN TO YOU
10/27/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Linda Wood Rondeau

Sweetening Our Sour Grapes
10/23/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Linda Wood Rondeau

THE FALL THAT LIFTS
10/20/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Linda Wood Rondeau

A Walk With God
10/9/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Linda Wood Rondeau

Disappointment and Discouragement
10/6/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Linda Wood Rondeau

STIRRING TRUTH
10/2/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Linda Wood Rondeau

PENNED BY GOD'S OWN HAND
9/25/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Linda Wood Rondeau

The Masterpiece
9/22/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Linda Wood Rondeau

RESTORED HEARTS and a Writer's Journey
9/18/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Linda Wood Rondeau

THE WRITER'S JOURNEY: Meditations on the Road
9/11/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Linda Wood Rondeau

DIALOGUING OUR FEARS
9/8/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Linda Wood Rondeau

WHY A BOOK OF PRAYERS?
9/4/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Linda Wood Rondeau

From Lettuce to Pages
8/27/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Linda Wood Rondeau

AND NOT TO YIELD
8/24/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Linda Wood Rondeau

BONNIE LEON WRITES TO ENCOURAGE THE DISABLED
8/21/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Linda Wood Rondeau

FAITH WORTH THE FIGHT
8/14/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Linda Wood Rondeau

CANT HAVE ONE WITHOUT THE OTHER
8/10/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Linda Wood Rondeau

THE WINDING TRAIL
7/31/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Linda Wood Rondeau

The Flavorful Church
7/28/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Linda Wood Rondeau

Commitment Phobia
7/24/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Linda Wood Rondeau

God knows our hearts
7/21/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Linda Wood Rondeau

God Had Other Plans
7/17/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Linda Wood Rondeau

BE ANGRY AND SIN NOT
7/14/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Linda Wood Rondeau

God's Writer: Jan Elder
7/10/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Linda Wood Rondeau

THE CURE FOR THE WEARY SOUL
7/7/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Linda Wood Rondeau

Surely Goodness and Mercy Gail Kittleson
7/3/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Linda Wood Rondeau

OF THEE I SING
6/30/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Linda Wood Rondeau

A HUNGER FOR GOD
6/26/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Linda Wood Rondeau

What Do We Ask God For?
6/24/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Linda Wood Rondeau

BUCK STORM SINGER/SONGWRITER/STORYTELLER
6/19/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Linda Wood Rondeau

STRESS: THAT OTHER HOMEWRECKER
6/16/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Linda Wood Rondeau

A Dream Come True of Being A Writer
6/12/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Linda Wood Rondeau

COURAGE IS NOT THE ABSENCE OF FEAR
6/9/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Linda Wood Rondeau

Meet Shannon Vannetter Christian Author
6/5/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Linda Wood Rondeau

JOY COMES IN THE MORNING
6/2/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Linda Wood Rondeau

EMPTY NETS
5/26/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Linda Wood Rondeau

Bucketwish
5/23/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Linda Wood Rondeau

Loyalty that Springs from Spirituality
5/20/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Linda Wood Rondeau

Wonderfully Made
3/8/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Linda Wood Rondeau

Lighthouse of the Carolina's Author Carol Heilman
2/7/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Linda Wood Rondeau

HAPPY NEW YEAR
1/4/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Linda Wood Rondeau