Authors: Kallie Lane
Table of Contents
A Shadow Soldier Novel
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales, is entirely coincidental.
Deadly Abandon: A Shadow Soldier Novel
COPYRIGHT © 2012 by Kathryn Donaldson
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission of the author or The Wild Rose Press, Inc. except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.
Contact Information: [email protected]
Cover Art by
The Wild Rose Press, Inc.
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Adams Basin, NY 14410-0708
Visit us at www.thewildrosepress.com
First Crimson Rose Edition, 2012
Print ISBN 978-1-61217-317-7
Digital ISBN 978-1-61217-318-4
Published in the United States of America
Praise for Kallie Lane
“A high-octane thrill ride you won't be able to put down.”
~Coreene Callahan, author
This book is dedicated to the memory of two young men who left us too soon: David Donaldson and Sean Hill. You made the world a better place, and will never be forgotten.
To my readers, with heartfelt thanks. Without you, I wouldn't exist as a writer.
To the men in my life who show me the way; my sons, Chris and Dave, for your endless support and positive input.
A round of applause to Coreene Callahan, my brilliant critique partner, fellow writer, and all around buddy. You always make me laugh, even when my villains bring me down.
Very special thanks to Steve Roberts, Lieutenant Detective of Major Crimes Division Ret., SPVM (Service de Police de la Ville de Montréal). You kept me honest with this one, Steve, although I may have ventured into “improper police procedure” territory a time or two. You're not to blame; any mistakes are entirely my own.
To Jennifer Martin, friend, hockey player, and hockey mom. (We hung out in the arenas like rink rats when our kids were young.) Thanks for your invaluable help with this one, Jenn.
To J.J. Wilhelm for reading the final draft. You always put your amazing brain to work, and discover threads to my logic that really won't make sense to anyone else. Thanks for that.
To the MTL gang and the members of ORWA, for your amazing support.
To Lori Graham, Senior Editor, Crimson Rose, and all the rest of the gang at the Wild Rose Press. Thanks for believing and making this book a reality. Your commitment and enthusiasm inspire me. Your hard work is awesome.
Last, but not least, to the men and women of the Canadian military, both active and retired. For your loyalty and commitment to making our country a safe and better place to live.
Mallard Bay, Lac St-Louis
No point in getting too close.
He followed her on the lake from a distance. He’d done his homework, stalked her for months, knew her most intimate secrets.
Her hopes and dreams.
The squall raging overhead jazzed the blood flowing through his veins. Lac St-Louis was a she-devil at the best of times, famous for her mood swings and hidden perils. Tonight she was his ally—lots of
noise and no one else on the water for miles.
Lightning stroked the underbelly of thunderheads and backlit his quarry. The canoe battling the waves, her muscles pumped like pistons to outrace Mother Nature’s onslaught. Sniffing the air, he imagined the faint scent of her shower gel drenched in sweaty fear. Inhaling deep, he savored the imagery, tasted it on the back of his tongue.
Keying the Whaler’s ignition, he idled, waiting for the right moment to strike. Her head turned in his direction. Was it female intuition or something more primal…maybe the will to survive? Recognition widened her gaze.
“Yeah, baby. I’m here.”
The hunt was on.
Gunning the engine, The Shepherd closed the distance between them within a few seconds. He clipped the canoe broadside with a shuddering crunch. She flew through the air and crash-landed in the water. Quickly reversing thrust, he settled alongside her in the backwash then stretched overboard, hooking a hand at her nape to keep her afloat.
His gaze roamed the shape of her in the skin-tight training gear. He envisioned her naked where his hands ached to cruise. Wild-eyed and bloody, she fought to break his grip. He laughed, grabbed her windpipe, and squeezed. Not too much, but just enough.
It wasn’t long before she writhed from lack of oxygen. Her throaty rasps almost drove him to his knees. Disgust at his own body’s weakness transferred to the woman, fueling him with white, hot rage.
“You’re evil…like all the others.”
Scooping her paddle from the waves, he wielded it one-handed above her head, swung it again and again, until she had no more voice. No more air. No more life.
Her dead eyes slid open and stared at him as if begging to know why. He released his grip on her neck, watched her sink like a rock, and shook his head in disbelief.
You know why, Miranda.
Homicide Lieutenant Detective Sullivan Sauvage entered the red brick cottage in time to catch his lead detective’s wince as he blew past him for the door.
Something was off.
His gaze tracked Detective Clemente as far as the foyer before it wide-angled on the cottage’s interior. Local Mallard Bay police trampled the crime scene like elephants at the Big Top, guaranteeing the evidence integrity lay somewhere between royally screwed and a major fuck fest.
With practiced control, Sully swallowed his distaste and resigned himself to salvaging whatever was left.
“Listen up! A woman has died here, and whether it was accidental or murder still needs to be determined. Let’s show her some respect by letting the experts do their jobs.”
He ripped a page from the notebook he carried and passed it to the closest uniform. “Unless you’re an evidence tech, I want you to beat your boots out of here. Print your name and badge number on the sheet before you leave. The rest of you start processing the scene.”
He watched the Mallard Bay uniforms head for the door as Clemente pushed his way back through it. He was easy to spot in the tan suit, cream shirt, rust-colored tie and brown wingtips. A six-five, loose-limbed clotheshorse, he hissed a breath freshener spray in the direction of his chalky lips.
“Sorry, Loot. My stomach’s not as cast-iron as it used to be.”
“Let me guess…you scarfed down hot dogs and fries for breakfast again?”
“Nope. Pizza and a chocolate shake on the way to the scene.”
“A dumb-ass move when you’re about to view a corpse, Sal. You’re worse than a junkyard dog.”
“Yeah, well, my refined taste buds crave junk food.”
Sully shot him a glare. “The next time you hurl at one of my crime scenes, I’ll ship you over to Vice. A willowy guy like you…they’ll pour you into a dress, slap on a wig, paint on some make-up, and then use you on the streets for stake-outs.”
“Shit, Loot. You wouldn’t…”
A smirk tipped the corners of Sully’s mouth before widening to a grin. “Don’t tempt me, hot shot.”
While the criminalists started their evidence sweep in the front rooms, he motioned his detective along the hallway leading to the back of the house. He couldn’t help but notice the framed photo on a built-in shelf as he passed. Three bikini-clad women splashed in a hot tub. Champagne flutes raised, they grinned for the camera. He guessed one of them was the victim, Rainey Dubé.
What a damned shame
. She’d been a woman in the prime of her life. He saw a lot of cases like this one, and he gritted his teeth every time he encountered such loss. Such tragedy. Such tremendous sorrow from victims’ families.
As they moved through the house, he turned the dial down on his disgust and cranked the switch on his cop instincts to pick out all the little details.
They entered a white brick kitchen with black granite counters on the left and steel appliances to the right. A chrome table in an alcove was set for one, the remains of a meal congealed on a dinner plate. The woman had eaten alone.
French doors at the far end of the room opened onto a landscaped yard. Sully followed Clemente down the steps, along a flagstone path to where the body had been found. “Tell me what you’ve got.”
Pulling a notepad from his jacket pocket, Sal flipped through the pages. “The pool guy called it in an hour ago, after he found the victim lying at the bottom of her hot tub.”
Sully recognized the redwood tub from the photo in the hallway. A Japanese portico surrounded it, trellises thick with greenery and trailing flowers. Fairy lights bobbled from the ceiling. A tinkle of wind chimes stirred in the morning breeze. A woman’s place with a woman’s touch. It should have been a safe haven.
A ceramic frog croaked when they entered the portico, its
sound a clear warning to anyone in the tub if someone approached.
He glanced at Clemente. “What was the pool man doing here?”
“A follow-up visit for routine maintenance. There was a faulty timer switch on the tub and the jets wouldn’t kick on. The problem was diagnosed a week ago and the part special-ordered. It arrived early this morning so he came back to do the installation. His story checks out with the pool company.”
Sully nodded then steadied his nerves before peering over the side of the tub. A noxious odor hovered. Small wonder Clemente had spewed his breakfast.
The woman lay naked at the bottom, her hair caught in the drain. Sightless eyes stared up at him as if pleading for his help. He returned the stare, noticing signs of petechial hemorrhaging in the whites of her eyes. He knew in his gut she’d either been strangled, or suffocated; just as he knew there was nothing he could do for her now, except catch the monster who had murdered her.