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Authors: Radclyffe

Shield of Justice

BOOK: Shield of Justice
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Synopsis

Special Crimes Unit investigator Detective Sergeant Rebecca Frye is attempting to solve a series of sexual assaults and running into dead ends at every turn. Finally, she has a break in the case–a witness–one person who may help her bring a madman to justice. But, the witness is a victim herself and Rebecca must convince the injured woman's physician, Dr.Catherine Rawlings, to assist her–a task that will force both women to confront their own personal demons. Amidst professional conflicts and a growing mutual attraction, the two women become reluctant allies in the battle to stop the perpetrator before he strikes again.

Shield of Justice

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Shield of Justice

© 2005 By Radclyffe. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN 13: 978-1-60282-263-4

This  Electronic Book is published by

Bold Strokes Books, Inc.,

P.O. Box 249

Valley Falls, New York 12185

First Edition: Renaissance Alliance 2002

Second Printing: March, 2005 Bold Strokes Books, Inc.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

This book, or parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission.

Credits

Editors: Laney Roberts and Stacia Seaman

Production Design: Stacia Seaman

Cover Design By Sheri ([email protected])

Cover Photo: Lee Ligon

By the Author

Romances

Innocent Hearts

Love’s Melody Lost

Love’s Tender Warriors

Tomorrow’s Promise

Love’s Masquerade

shadowland

Fated Love

Turn Back Time

Promising Hearts

When Dreams Tremble

The Lonely Hearts Club

Night Call

Secrets in the Stone

The Provincetown Tales

Safe Harbor

Beyond the Breakwater

Distant Shores, Silent Thunder

Storms of Change

Winds of Fortune

Honor Series

Above All, Honor

Honor Bound

Love & Honor

Honor Guards

Honor Reclaimed

Honor Under Siege

Word of Honor

Justice Series

A Matter of Trust (prequel)

Shield of Justice

In Pursuit of Justice

Justice in the Shadows

Justice Served

Justice For All

Erotic Interludes: Change of Pace

(A Short Story Collection)

Radical Encounters

(A Erotic Short Story Collection)

Stacia Seaman and Radclyffe, eds.

Erotic Interludes 2:
Stolen Moments

Erotic Interludes 3:
Lessons in Love

Erotic Interludes 4:
Extreme Passions

Erotic Interludes 5:
Road Games

Romantic Interludes 1:
Discovery

Acknowledgements

The second printing of
Shield
marks its entry into the Bold Strokes Books lineup in the same month that the fourth book in the Justice series (
Justice Served
) is released. I had no idea when I first wrote out this story with a black Flair pen on yellow legal paper that it would be the start of a series that would challenge me as a storyteller and author like no other. The plot surprises and unexpected character twists along the way have been well worth the sleepless nights I spent wondering how I would ever hold it all together.

My first beta readers remain trusted friends, selflessly donating their valuable time and expertise to read and critique the work as it develops, while offering sensitive support and endless encouragement when I have doubts and misgivings. I would not want to do this without them.

Athos, I rely on you for your quick, careful reading and many personal ‘good’s. JB, as always, you hear the heartbeat of the characters and keep me close to them. Jane, chapter by chapter, your detailed comments and fine eye for subtle points chart a course that I can trust. Tomboy, you can always be counted on for fine critique of both concept and construction.

In addition, I’d like to extend my appreciation to HS (P,TB) for initiating and nurturing the Radlist all these years, to the list members for constancy and inspiration, and to Laney Roberts and Stacia Seaman for fine editorial input.

Lee, of course, deserves more than mere words can express for making room in our life for all it takes to tell these stories.
Amo te.

Radclyffe 2005

Dedication

For Lee

For Believing

Chapter One

Dr. Catherine Rawlings pushed the last patient file aside with a sigh and glanced at the clock on the wall opposite her desk. During a session, she could see the time without looking away from a patient regardless of whether they occupied one of the two leather swivel chairs in front of her desk or the sofa on the far side of the room.

Not too bad—9:20 p.m. Just enough time to head home for a hot bath, a cold drink, and an hour in bed with…who will it be tonight? Kellerman? Grafton? McDermid?

Smiling ruefully at the mundane plans that were fast becoming her nightly routine, she ran a slender hand through her shoulder-length auburn hair and tried to shake the fatigue out of her neck and back. She was halfway to the door when the interoffice line on her desk buzzed. With a frown of surprise, she turned at the sound. At this time of night with her office hours over, her secretary, Joyce, had usually left. Even if Joyce stayed to catch up on filing, she rarely put a call through that could wait until the next day, and almost all of them could—a consult at the hospital, a new patient referral, a current patient calling about a prescription renewal. Puzzled, she leaned across the wide teak desk to push the speaker button.

“Yes?”

“There’s a police officer here to see you, Doctor,” Joyce replied in the voice she reserved for professional exchanges.

Catherine noted her formal tone and didn’t bother to ask for details. She frequently performed consultations for law enforcement agencies—evaluating officers for work-related stress or other forms of psychiatric disability—but she’d rarely been called for anything on an emergency basis. She tried not to speculate; things were rarely as one imagined them to be. “Show him in, Joyce.”

A moment later, her secretary, a slight, dark-haired woman who had worked for the Department of Psychiatry before becoming her personal assistant, pushed open the heavy mahogany door separating Catherine’s office from the outer waiting area. Joyce’s expression was both curious and slightly perplexed. Before she could speak, however, a figure moved from behind her and strode briskly forward.

Catherine, private by nature and reserved by virtue of her training, knew that her face rarely revealed her inner feelings, and she was glad of that now. She would not have liked her surprise, or her subsequent chagrin, at assuming that
police
meant police
man
to be displayed to the woman who approached with one hand outstretched.

Quickly, Catherine took in the gold shield clipped to the pocket of the officer’s navy blue blazer and noted the tailored fit of her pale shirt and gray gabardine trousers. Tall, blond-haired, and blue-eyed, the woman moved with a degree of assuredness that suggested she was rarely intimidated. She was slender, but there was a suggestion of power in the sleek lines of her shoulders and narrow hips.
Viking
was a term that flashed through Catherine’s mind, and it certainly seemed appropriate. Surprisingly, she felt an instant surge of curiosity that went beyond the basic interest in people that had led her into the practice of psychiatry. Putting the distracting thought from her mind, she rose to accept the woman’s outstretched hand. “Catherine Rawlings.” The strong hand that took hers was smooth and surprisingly warm.

“Dr. Rawlings, I’m Detective Sergeant Rebecca Frye. I’m sorry to disturb you so late, but I need to ask you a few questions.”

Her voice was as cool and even as Catherine had expected it to be, totally professional, and although her words were appropriately apologetic, her tone was not. There was a hint of impatience and something else—something just beneath the surface. Anger?

“Yes?” Catherine replied, settling into her high-backed leather chair, looking into the clear blue eyes that revealed nothing. “Is it Detective or…”

“Detective is fine,” Rebecca said tersely, considering her next words carefully.

Interrogation was an art. Some people you befriended, some you manipulated, some you intimidated. Almost never did you reveal what you wanted, and you never gave up until you
got
what you wanted. What she wanted now, what she desperately
needed
now, was information, and Dr. Catherine Rawlings had it. The problem was that the legalities in this particular situation were cloudy. If they got bogged down in technicalities right off the bat, she might have to wait days for answers. And she didn’t even have hours to spare. She took stock of the psychiatrist seated across from her, trying to get a quick fix on the best way to proceed.

Medium height and build. Eyes—gray-green; hair—reddish brown. Pale green silk suit. Expensive, not flashy, just like her. Confident carriage; intelligence behind the eyes. Intense, composed—cool. No anxiety, no irritation, no hostility. Solid, steady, strong.
Bottom line—she’s not going to be impressed by my badge or intimidated into divulging information
.
Let’s try the direct approach.

Rebecca pulled a small black notebook from the inside of her jacket, flipped it open and gave it a cursory glance.
Maybe a little surprise will soften her up, make her lose a little of that composure, and she’ll tell me what I need to know before she has a chance to think about it too much.

“Dr. Rawlings, do you have a patient by the name of Janet Ryan?” Rebecca had hoped to catch the doctor off guard, but the eyes that regarded her were calm, almost gentle.

“Detective,” Catherine said softly, leaning forward over her desk, her hands folded loosely on the top, “surely you know that I can’t answer that question.”

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