Teaser Tuesday ~ Open Wounds by Camille Taylor

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Hello and welcome to Teaser Tuesday where every week I’ll be posting a teaser from a range of books and genres. This post is all about fun, so sit back with a coffee and enjoy a short tease from talented authors.

This week we have Open Wounds by Camille Taylor

“Bad blood from the past can taint the present and destroy the future.”

Synopsis

Internal Affairs officer Kellie Munroe is investigating one of her own…

Kellie and Detective Amelia Donovan were childhood friends, until a horrifying event destroyed their friendship. Now Amelia is slated for promotion to Superintendent, but her career is in jeopardy following a physical altercation with a suspect, and her history with Kellie complicates the already sensitive investigation.

Amelia’s partner Darryl Hill must work with Kellie, despite serious reservations…

Darryl is loyal, ethical, and dedicated to his work, but he can’t contain his curiosity about Kellie, who always seems to push his partner’s buttons. When their investigation leads to criminal kingpin Dick Coleani and a string of murdered men, an attempt on their lives sends Kellie into a panic, reigniting memories of her childhood trauma.

As Darryl helps Kellie through her fear, he can no longer deny his attraction to her…but he wants more than the broken, traumatised woman feels capable of giving.

Terrifying personal threats force Kellie to pursue answers in secret…

When Kellie begins to suspect this case and Coleani might somehow be connected to her own personal nightmare, she will need help from both Darryl and Amelia as she plunges down a perilous path.

But will Darryl be able to rein in her quest for justice before the past repeats itself and Kellie is left with another—possibly fatal—open wound?

Teaser

Superintendent Alec Harris’s face burned. His voice was a tenor below shouting as he spoke to the two detectives standing in his office. The vein in his temple throbbed from the restraint. He felt like he would blow a gasket, and he couldn’t believe the suspect Hill and Donovan had brought in was all black and purple—the result of a fine beating courtesy a la Donovan.

This was not the first time he had been in this position and until he retired it wouldn’t be the last. The date, only a year and half away, felt like forever.

Alec ran his hand through his blond hair with its streaks of white—the only thing that showed his true age—and took a steady breath. When he spoke again, his voice was a deep baritone. “The guy looks like he was in the ring with Mike Tyson.”

Internal Affairs was going to be all over this, and he’d already had a long chat with Lewis Carlisle up in the penthouse suite. He knew he’d be sending one of his own down here. That’s all his command needed, a goddamn IA investigation.

He shook his head. “You can’t just go round beating the suspects to a bloody pulp.”

Donovan didn’t look remorseful at all. “In my defence, he had a weapon and my back-up was nowhere nearby.”

Alec stared at the ceiling as if he’d receive some divine answer. He almost asked the Almighty, Why me?

It was never ending. At home he had the joys of dealing with his very stubborn, headstrong, troublesome teenage daughter, Sophie, who was too much like him for his liking. Sometimes he wished she’d be more like her mother, but then he shuddered. Caitlyn hadn’t come without her problems and bad habits, either. At the thought of what it had taken to ensnare her, he felt somewhat relieved his daughter took more after him than her mother.

He loved Caitlyn with all the world, but the woman was trouble. Sometimes he didn’t know whether he wanted to kiss her or strangle her, and now he was dealing with a stubborn subordinate. It seemed to him he was always dealing with the fallout of female hormones. He’d been lucky to survive his twenty-year plus marriage.

An ulcer burned in his gut. “It’s just not today, but every goddamned day.”

Darryl obviously felt the need to intercede on behalf of his partner, which only angered him more. “Boss, in certain cases sometimes it’s necessary to—”

Alec cut him off. “Shut up, Hill, I haven’t started on you yet.”

“Yes, Boss,” Darryl said, chastised.

Alec brought his gaze back to the current pain in his arse. Donovan was almost always causing him problems. “You can’t keep doing this, Donovan. You can’t beat up the suspects. It’s not your place to decide what punishment they get.”

Donovan’s eyes narrowed at him, and her mouth parted to say what he assumed to be a smart arse remark, but she was cut off when another voice—one not belonging to any of the three in the room—spoke.

“But that has always been your M.O. hasn’t it, Mia? Act first, think second.”

Alec turned towards the speaker. Kellie Munroe stood in the doorway with one hand on the doorframe and the other on her hip. Surprise momentarily registered on Donovan’s face before she stiffened, her expression darkening. Interesting. He glanced from one woman to the other.

“You two know each other?”

Donovan stared hard at Kellie. The same look, he noted, that often made a hardened criminal squirm in his seat but seemed to have no effect whatsoever on the blonde in the doorway. Again, his interest piqued.

Donovan nodded and spoke through her perfect white teeth. “Yeah, we grew up together. We were friends once.”

“I guess Mia doesn’t share the same fond memories.”

“I have one: your back walking away. What are you doing here?” She watched Kellie with a mixture of wariness and pain. He easily read his detective. She and Munroe were not on friendly terms, or at least Donovan wasn’t. He’d yet to suss out the other woman.

Christ, this was all he needed—more female hormones. The tension inside the room had gone up several notches and he could feel the temperature plummeting. He rubbed a hand over his face.

Kellie’s blue eyes turned frosty and her jaw clenched at Donovan’s words. She stepped inside his office, her hips swaying enticingly, and Alec wasn’t the only one who noticed. Darryl’s body had tensed and his hungry gaze swept over her womanly figure as if she was a banquet he planned to dine on.

Had his desire for Cait been so obvious all those years ago? God only knew, he’d tried to hide it, even ignore it. But some things were meant to be.

“I think you know the answer to that, Mia,” Kellie told her. “Michael Lambert filed a grievance against you for excessive force and bodily harm and from what I hear, he has the bruises to back it up. I’ve been assigned to watch you, every move you make.”

Donovan’s face turned red and her hands clenched into fists. He quickly moved between the two women before blood could be spilled and gave Darryl a steely warning that told the younger man his thoughts had not gone unnoticed. Darryl blushed and looked away.

“Like hell you are,” Donovan spat.

Kellie stepped closer to Donovan, seeming oblivious to the waves of pure fury emanating from her. “You have two options, Mia. Deal with me or you’re suspended without pay until my investigation is complete.”

Donovan stepped threateningly towards Kellie, who stood her ground. Alec’s respect for her went up a notch. Darryl started to move forward to intercede but he placed a quelling hand on the man’s arm. Darryl shot him a questioning look but he ignored it and focused on the women.

“You’re playing a dangerous game, Kellie. I don’t take threats lightly.”

Kellie laughed humourlessly. “It’s not a threat, Mia, it’s a promise. One I will make good on if you fail to include me in every facet of this case. That pain in your arse that you’re feeling right now—that’s me, and it isn’t going away until I do.”

Alec’s mouth twitched up at her choice of words. Hadn’t he just been referring to Donovan as his pain in the arse? It was a nice change of pace.

“Now that you ladies are reacquainted,” Alec said in a voice that told them he’d had enough, “let’s work together amicably for a positive resolution.”

He saw his tone register in the bodies of the two women and their backs both straightened at the reprimand and turned to him. Both were composed but the emotion swirling in their eyes told him this was far from over.

Kellie stepped away from Donovan and bumped into Darryl’s chest. She spun around sharply as if burned from the contact. “Sorry,” she mumbled.

Darryl grinned. “No worries.”

Alec let out a resigned sigh. “Darryl Hill, Kellie Munroe. If you haven’t already figured it out, she’s IA.”

Kellie obediently raised her hand for the perfunctory shake. Darryl wrapped his much larger hand around her and gently shook it.

“Detective,” Kellie acknowledged before turning back to Alec.

“Now,” he said, weariness creeping into his bones. “Are you going to be able to play nice together, or do I have to separate you?”

Kellie raised a blonde eyebrow at Donovan as if daring her to admit she had a problem with her. Donovan moved past Kellie, her shoulder grazing the other woman’s before taking a seat in one of the chairs by his desk designated for visitors.

“I don’t have a problem. One IA rat is the same as another in my book,” Donovan replied.

He growled. Alec swore he spent more time acting like a kindergarten teacher than a superintendent. He supposed that was the best response he would get from his insubordinate detective and turned back to Kellie. She reminded him a lot of his wife, but where Cait was soft, Kellie had a hardness about her. He wasn’t used to seeing that look on someone so young.

Kellie kept her gaze on his, not bothering to respond to Donovan’s barb.

“I expect Detective Donovan,” she began formally, “to make an effort to include me so that I may observe her actions in real situations and have the opportunity to interview her colleagues as to her character.”

Alec nodded and turned to Donovan and gave her a hard stare. “You will abide Sergeant Munroe.”

“Yes, Boss.”

“I mean it, Donovan. You close her out and you’re off the case. Am I understood?”

He could see his words hit home. A vein in her temple throbbed. Being kicked off the case would mean she could kiss any further career advancement goodbye. Alec studied Kellie. Was he making the right decision by allowing her to remain on the case? What had Carlisle been thinking when he’d sent her down? Had she not made him aware of her past with Donovan? Whatever had happened, it was as raw and painful as if it had been yesterday, and Kellie had the power to destroy Donovan’s career with a flick of her pen. Would she take advantage of that power to harm the woman who’d once been her friend?

Alec hoped not. From what he’d seen today, Kellie Munroe had a good head on her shoulders, and while she might allow her temper to get the better of her, she had also shown great restraint. Not everyone could remain passive on the receiving end of Amelia Donovan’s harsh tongue.

Either way, he would talk with Carlisle to ensure his detective received a fair assessment. Donovan may be a pain in the arse to one and all, but she was one of the best detectives he’d ever worked with despite her many behavioural and personality issues. She would make a damn good boss one day. If only she grew up before the decision was made and realised that sometimes diplomacy is best no matter how she felt about it.

He’d been in her shoes, full of ideals. He’d been adamant when he’d taken the position as superintendent that he wouldn’t bow down to bureaucratic bullshit. But a good leader knew how to get what they wanted, being devious enough to obtain it without pissing anybody off. He’d become a pro. He didn’t care about bottom lines. He cared about results and the protection of the men and women beneath him.

Donovan took a deep breath and most likely bit off the torrent of words that were on the tip of her tongue. She flicked a glare at Kellie before turning back to him.

“Understood, Boss.”

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About the author:

Camille Taylor is an Australian author who resides in the Nation’s Capital with her small dog. She was the typical 90’s kid and was raised on Goosebumps, Roald Dahl and Paul Jennings. In her teens she began reading the Queen of Crime, Agatha Christie and in later years found Christine Feehan, Janet Evanovich and Julie Garwood.

She started writing at sixteen and enjoys spending time with her family, doting on her nieces and nephews, writing the many stories floating about her head and working on her genealogy where she can trace her heritage to England, Scotland, Ireland and Russia.

Her other interests include, anything creative – such as scrapbooking and drawing and has travelled across Western Europe, New Zealand and the UAE, after spending a year living in London. She’s also dabbled in tae kwon do.

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