Linda Wood Rondeau

Snark & Sensibility

COURTING DANGER
Friday, January 25, 2019 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

Share This Blog:


Previous Posts

WORD PLAY MYSTERIES
JULIE COSGROVE
10/15/2021

JOLLY ANGEL CHRISTMAS
Linda Wood Rondeau
10/5/2021

A LIFE REDEEMED
OLIVIA RAE
10/1/2021

DARIA'S DUKE
LINDA SHENTON MATCHETT
9/24/2021

FINDING THAT TENDER SPOT
CAROLE BROWN
9/17/2021

MAKING UP TIME
VALERIE BANFIELD
9/3/2021

MAKING UP TIME
VALERIE BANFIELD
9/3/2021

THE WEATHER GIRLS
JENNIFER LYNN CARY
8/27/2021

THE GIRL in the CARDBOARD BOX
JANE DALY
8/13/2021

JUSTICE AT DAWN
VALERIE MASSEY GOREE
8/6/2021

SUMMER COVER-UP
SALLY JO PITTS
7/30/2021

HEAVIER THAN BROKEN HEARTS
LEE ANN BETTS
7/23/2021

LOVE FOUND IN CRANBERRY COVE
JUNE FOSTER
7/9/2021

THE JOHNSON KNIGHTS
ROBERT QUATTLEBAUM
7/4/2021

HIS GIFT
JOAN C. BENSON
7/2/2021

THIRD AND MAIN:BEFORE AND AFTER
LINDA WOOD RONDEAU
6/29/2021

FLOWERS FROM AFGHANISTAN
SUZY PARISH
6/25/2021

ALWAYS A WEDDING PLANNER
LEE ANN BETTS
6/18/2021

THE MARITIME CURE
MICHELLE S. LOWE
6/11/2021

ON SUGAR HILL
ANE MULLIGAN
6/4/2021

WOUNDED SOLDIERS: THE PEACEFUL VALLEY ANTHOLOGY
J. CAROL NEMETH
5/28/2021

BEING ETHEL IN A WORLD THAT LOVES LUCY
Michele Olson
5/21/2021

LIVING WATER
ALLISON WELLS
5/14/2021

PAPER WOLF
CHRISSY M DENNIS
5/7/2021

SURRENDERING HEARTS SERIES
Julie Arduini
4/30/2021

BENT TREE BRIDE
Denise Weimer
4/23/2021

A SONG FOR HER ENEMIES
SHERRI STEWART
4/20/2021

HANNAH A GOLD RUSH BRIDE
LINDA SHENTON MATCHETT
4/16/2021

NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN
TERRI WANGARD
4/9/2021

PUPPY CIAO
ANNETTE OHARE
4/2/2021

SPRING BETRAYAL
SALLY JO PITTS
3/26/2021

ANCHOR MY HEART
SARA BETH WILLIAMS
3/19/2021

DEEP END OF THE LAKE
CAROL GRACE STRATTON
3/12/2021

DREAMS REKINDLED
AMANDA CABOT
3/5/2021

ANCHOR MY HEART
SARA BETH WILLIAMS
2/26/2021

SONG OF SUGAR SANDS
DEBRA COLEMAN JETER
2/19/2021

A CHANGE OF SCENERY
DAVALYN SPENCER
2/12/2021

SECOND HELPINGS
LINDA WOOD RONDEAU
2/5/2021

THE INN AT CRANBERRY COVE
JUNE FOSTER
1/29/2021

WRITING HOME
AMY ANGUISH
1/22/2021

THE PAST EVER PRESENT
DEBRA COLEMAN JETER
1/15/2021

LITTLE GREY CELLS
LEEANN BETTS
1/8/2021

MY GIGI'S HOUSE
MEREDITH SAGE KENDALL
1/1/2021

THE GAME IS AFOOT
LEEANN BETTS
12/25/2020

THE MISTLETOE CONTRACT
JENNIFER CHASTAIN
12/18/2020

Northern Protector
Laurie Wood
12/11/2020

UNTIL THEN
GAIL KITTLESON
12/5/2020

SNOWBOUND IN WINTERBERRY FALLS
ANN BRODEUR
11/27/2020

CHRISTMAS WITH THE ENEMY
MARY VEE
11/20/2020

A PINK LADY THANKSGIVING/A STORY BEHIND THE STORY
DONNA SCHLACTER
11/13/2020

TOGETHER FOR GOOD
PENEPOLE POWELL
11/6/2020

FORTUNE'S FALL
KATHERINE BARGER
10/30/2020

SECOND HELPINGS
LINDA WOOD RONDEAU
10/23/2020

SPRINKLED WITH SABOTAGE
ALLISON PEARL
10/16/2020

THE SLEUTH'S SURPRISE SPECIAL ONCORE POST
KIMBERLY ROSE JOHNSON
10/11/2020

SAVING GRACE
AMY R. ANGUISH
10/2/2020

DEADLY CONNECTION: SMALL TOWN GUARDIANS BOOK THREE
JENNIFER PIERCE
9/25/2020

MY HEART WEEPS
Pamela S. Thibodeaux
9/11/2020

THE SLEUTH'S SURPRISE
KIMBERLY ROSE JOHNSON
9/4/2020

HIS GIFT
JOAN C. BENSON
8/28/2020

THE AMISH MENORAH AND OTHER STORIES
PATRICK E. CRAIG
8/21/2020

THE HEART OF COURAGE
LYNNE BASHAM TAGAWA
8/14/2020

MURDER AT MADISON SQUARE GARDEN
LINDA SHENTON MATCHETT
8/7/2020

DARK MOTIVES
ZANNE MARIE DYER
7/31/2020

THE STORY BEHIND DEN-A MODERN-DAY DANIEL
HOPE BOLINGER
7/24/2020

REMODELING: AN AUTHOR'S STORY
SHANNAN TAYLOR VANATTER
7/10/2020

RISK MANAGEMENT
LEEANN BETTS
7/3/2020

COOKING UP A MYSTERY
GAIL PALLOTTA
6/26/2020

THE WIDOW & THE WAR CORRESPONDENT
LINDA SHENTON MATCHETT
6/19/2020

YOU'RE BRILLIANT
JULIE ARDUINI
6/12/2020

THE GREEN DRESS
LIZ TOLSMA
6/5/2020

PURSUIT
JOHN OWENS
5/22/2020

KATE
DONNA SCHLACTER
5/15/2020

WHERE THE ROAD BENDS IN OUTBACK AUSTRALIA
DAVID RAWLINGS
5/8/2020

DEVYN'S DILEMMA
SUSAN G. MATHIS
5/1/2020

LEAF ME ALONE
JULIE B. COSGROVE
4/24/2020

JUSTICE FOR ELIZABETH
MARY VEE
4/17/2020

WHEN HEARTS ENTWINE
BONNIE ENGSTROM
4/10/2020

ROLL BACK THE CLOUDS
TERRI WANGARD
4/3/2020

RIVEN
H.L. WEGLEY
3/27/2020

RED LETTER DAY
PAT JEANNE DAVIS
3/21/2020

THE LOST COAST
PATRICK E. CRAIG
3/20/2020

THE CABIN
ERIN UNGER
3/13/2020

OUT OF THE EMBERS
AMANDA CABOT
2/28/2020

HER SHINING EYES
JEANETTE MORRIS
2/21/2020

THE STORY BEHIND OFF THE GROUND
CATHERINE RICHMOND
2/14/2020

ACTS OF MALICE
NIKE CHILLEMI
2/7/2020

THE CLOCK IS TICKING
TRACY WAINWRIGHT
1/31/2020

UNDER GROUND
LINDA SHENTON MATCHETT
1/24/2020

AN UNEXPECTED FAMILY
JUNE FOSTER
1/17/2020

WHEN VALLEYS BLOOM AGAIN
PAT JEANNE DAVIS
1/10/2020

MISSING DEPOSITS
LEEANN BETTS
1/3/2020

IN AN INSTANT
TRACY WAINWRIGHT
12/27/2019

THE PURPOSE REVEALED
JULIE COSGROVE
12/25/2019

IMPERFECT SNOWFLAKES
T.E. BRADFORD
12/20/2019

THREE FRENCH HENS
LINORE BURKARD
12/13/2019

RESTORING CHRISTMAS
JULIE ARDUINI
12/6/2019

SARA'S SURPRISE
SUSAN G. MATHIS
12/4/2019

MY GOOD SON
DONNA DeLORETTA BREANNAN
11/29/2019

FOREVER LATELY
LINORE BURKARD
11/22/2019

THE TICKET
DEBRA COLEMAN JETER
11/15/2019

MISSING PIECES
LINSEY BRACKETT
11/8/2019

CONFLICT AVOIDANCE
SUSAN G. MATHIAS
11/1/2019

PRACTICALLY MARRIED
KARIN BEERY
10/30/2019

CASSANDRA AND THE COWBOY
JANINE MICK WILLS
10/25/2019

UNWRAPPING HOPE
SANDRA ARDOIN
10/18/2019

FOOTPRINTS ON HER HEART
ANGELA BREIDENBACH
10/11/2019

"Indian Attack"
Lynne Tagawa
10/4/2019

Dreams Deferred
JUNE FOSTER
9/27/2019

A NEW YORK YANKEE ON STINKING CREEK
CAROL MCCLAIN
9/20/2019

JOY AFTER NOON
DEBRA COLEMAN JETER
9/13/2019

Match Made in Heaven: A Novella
JULIE ARDUINI
9/6/2019

THE MASTER'S PLAN
STEPHANY TULLIS
8/30/2019

SONG OF SUGAR SANDS
DEBRA COLEMAN JETER
8/23/2019

LOVE'S ALLEGIANCE
LINDA SHENTON MATCHETT
8/16/2019

WRITING THE PAST: THE DUST BOWL
CLEO LAMPOS
8/9/2019

THE STREET SINGER
KATHLEEN NEELY
8/2/2019

JANUS JOURNALS
H. L. WEGLEY
7/26/2019

WHERE I WAS PLANTED
HEATHER NORMAN SMITH
7/19/2019

TO THE RESCUE A SHORT STORY
PAT JEANNE DAVIS
7/12/2019

THE LEAST OF THESE
KATHLEEN NEELY
7/10/2019

SUMMER PLANS AND OTHER DISASTERS
KARIN BEERY
7/5/2019

AND THEN BLOOMS LOVE
SALLY JO PITTS
6/28/2019

IN THE MONEY
Leeann Betts
6/26/2019

AMMO (An Original Shorty Story)
JENNIFER HALLMARK
6/21/2019

POWER UP
JESSIE MATTIS
6/14/2019

THE PINK BONNET
LIZ TOLSMA
6/7/2019

KATELYN'S CHOICE
SUSAN G. MATHIAS
5/31/2019

HOSEA'S HEART
LINDA WOOD RONDEAU
5/24/2019

FAITH AND HOPE
AMY R. ANGUISH
5/17/2019

FALLEN LEAF
JULIE COSGROVE
5/10/2019

GRACE & LAVENDER
HEATHER NORMAN SMITH
5/3/2019

JULIA
VICKIE MCDONOUGH
4/26/2019

AS FAR AWAY AS POSSIBLE
BARRY NAPIER
4/22/2019

KATELYN'S CHOICE
SUSAN G. MATHIAS
4/19/2019

When Valleys Bloom Again
Pat Jeanne Davis
4/12/2019

You Asked for It
STEVE STROBBLE
4/10/2019

One Door Between Us
Tom Donnan
4/5/2019

BURIED MOUNTAIN SECRETS
TERRI REED
3/29/2019

CAPTURE ME
SHERRY KYLE
3/22/2019

UNDER PRAIRIE SKIES
CYNTHIA ROEMER
3/15/2019

A Tender Hope
Amanda Cabot
3/8/2019

PARHELION
LISA LICKEL
3/1/2019

CAROLINA GRACE
REGINA MERRICK
2/22/2019

A LOVE MOST WORTHY
SANDRA ARDOIN
2/16/2019

YOU'RE AMAZING
JULIE ARDUINI
2/8/2019

LOVE'S RESCUE
LINDA SHENTON MATCHETT
2/1/2019

COURTING DANGER
NIKE CHILLEMI
1/25/2019

JOHN ALDEN ... A SHORT STORY
LYNNE BASHAM TAGAWA
1/18/2019

THE OTHER NEIGHBOR
Gail Sattler
1/11/2019

NO TURNING BACK
H. L. Wegley
1/4/2019

ALLEY'S PERFECT ANGEL
LINDA WOOD RONDEAU
12/28/2018

A SILVER MEDALLION
James Callan
12/21/2018

THE AMISH MIDWIFE'S SECRET
Rachel Good
12/14/2018

CHRISTMAS WITH THE ENEMY
Mary Vee
12/7/2018

RETURN TO WALHALLA
LAURA HODGES POOLE
11/30/2018

HOMELESS FOR THE HOLIDAYS
PeggySue Wells and Marsha Wright
11/16/2018

HAIR CALAMITIES AND HOT CASH
GAIL PALLOTTA
11/9/2018

MEET ME IN GALVESTON
ANDREA BOESHAAR
10/26/2018

HARVEST OF BLESSINGS
JUNE FOSTER
10/19/2018

MEET JENNIFER SLATTERY
Jennifer Slattery
10/5/2018

He Passes By
Linda Wood Rondeau
6/15/2018

Bryan's Homecoming
Linda Wood Rondeau
6/8/2018

EMERGENCE
Linda Wood Rondeau
6/1/2018

Antiquainted Man
LINDA WOOD RONDEAU
5/11/2018

SOMETHING NEW
LINDA WOOD RONDEAU
5/4/2018