Detective Madison Knight’s obsession with a cold case comes to a deadly conclusion. With a rising body count, Madison finds out her own life is at risk. Enjoy the following excerpt from Just Cause (Detective Madison Knight Series). You can read the excerpt or listen to the video below.
Excerpt taken from Chapter 3 of Just Cause (Detective Madison Knight Series):
THE DOOR OPENED AND THEN slammed shut. It would have been enough to jar her if she hadn’t been awake. She knew night had passed and morning had come along. Her hand maintained a steady, thrumming heartbeat and she wondered if it were broken.
“They’re going to come looking for me.” The words slit from her throat, her tongue and mouth were so dry.
“We’re planning on it.” The voice came from the shadows, but she recognized it as Anatolli’s.
The light came on and he moved closer.
“They’ve been calling all morning.” He held up her cell phone and tossed it into her lap. It fell off and landed on the floor at her feet.
“Let me go and we can work out a deal.”
He didn’t say anything but moved closer to her. He pulled out a cigarette and lit it. Taking a deep drag, he exhaled the smoke into her face.
She coughed on reflex.
“You shot my friend.” He scowled.
As Madison’s eyes adjusted, she observed the wildfire in his gaze and feared for her life.
He grabbed a handful of her hair. White flashes of pain limited her vision.
“Listen, we can make a deal if you let me go now.” Her sentence came out fragmented, carried on bursts of breath. Maybe if she could somehow appeal to him. She had always considered Anatolli the weaker of the two.
“You are in no position to make deal.” His Russian accent cut the air and his warm breath cascaded over her face, delivering the stench of nicotine.
What if she died here? This could be the last thing she remembered before she left this world.
Her cell phone rang again, vibrating across the floor.
“What will all of your friends think when you’re dead and they were too late to save you?”
The way he was talking, she wondered if Sergey hadn’t made it, but the door opened again and Sergey came through, walking with a gimp and favoring his right stride.
“You can’t kill the devil.” Sergey lifted his shirt and showed her the sutures that sealed up the bullet wound.
“Next time I’ll be sure to finish the job,” she said with more confidence than she felt.
Sergey’s teeth clenched so tight, his jaw bones protruded in sharp, jagged lines. He nodded his head toward Anatolli, who released his hold on her hair, but drew his gun and put its barrel to her forehead.
She went to move to the side but found her motion limited. They had placed the collar around her neck. Panic stole her breath.
“But we won’t kill you right away.” Sergey gestured to the revolver in Anatolli’s hand. “You like to gamble with your life, so how about we play a game?”
Her breathing stalled, her heart splintered in her chest, and her stomach tightened and heaved, tossing bile up the back of her throat.
“We simply call it roulette when we play. The Russian part would be redundant.” Sergey paced the room and Madison didn’t miss the flicker in the man’s eyes.
“Anatolli’s going to pull the trigger. If you live, we will take our time with you. If you die,” he shrugged, “well, I suppose, game over.”
Both men laughed, sending chills through her.
Her entire life didn’t flash before her eyes, but moments of it did.
Images of kissing Toby Sovereign haunted her, dredging up the feelings she harbored for him, but if she got out of here, could she look beyond the past to a future with him? He had challenged her to say she didn’t love him anymore and to look into his eyes while she did so.
A deep breath escaped her lungs.
Cynthia. Would she understand? Cynthia knew how much solving this case meant to her. She had been supportive, but would she understand why she risked her life?
Her mother would never see her happily married with children, and their relationship would never be mended. She could envision her father grieving as if she were already gone. Tears fell over a daughter who was always just out of reach.
She wouldn’t have a chance to say good-bye to them or to her sister, Chelsea. She wouldn’t see her nieces grow up.
Terry would be disappointed in her and she would never meet his baby, his son, as he was so certain it would be.
The ache knotted in her chest with the realization that she’d devoted her life to the job to the point of isolation. She had one best friend, a partner who was like family, and a dog. Hershey. Who would look after the chocolate lab when she was gone?
For an instant, she imagined her fingers caressing the soft velvet of his ears. She witnessed the spark of life and a dancing reflection of love in his irises.
These thoughts occurred to her in fractions of seconds.
If she had a chance, she would do things differently.
Tears hit her cheeks and a part of her soul submitted to the inevitable. She was going to die in this room with no one by her side but the two Russians who would carry out her murder. Her only hope was that fate would intervene before her death became a reality.