ONE GOOD MAN
Copyright ©2000, Digital Copyright ©2015 by
Permission to reproduce text granted by Harlequin
What a hell of a day.
Mitch pushed the door buzzer on the Gothic fortress of a
house north of the Plaza and waited. He hated sucking up to the
commissioner like this. But when the man in charge of his next
promotion called and asked for a personal favor, Mitch was hardly in a
position to refuse.
A house check was so routine, he normally would have assigned
it to a uniformed patrol. He’d have passed it on to his staff sergeant
for her to assign it to a uniformed patrol. He’d even offered to
send two of his best detectives in his stead. But Commissioner Reed had
insisted on privacy.
Mitch pocketed the electronic gate key the commissioner had
given him to get onto the estate grounds, and wondered just what kind of
fool’s errand he’d been sent on. His boss had been closemouthed to the
extent that Mitch knew very few details about what he was even checking
for. “It’s an old family friend,” he’d said. “Just see if there’s any
Trouble? Like what? A break-in? Vandalism? A lunatic
relative running around naked and embarrassing the family?
Why the hush-hush discretion?
If he was honest with himself, Mitch didn’t
really mind doing such a favor. He missed having regular contact with
the people who really needed the police’s help, instead of spending most
of his hours talking to the press or running the administrative end of
Kansas City’s Fourth Precinct.
But not this kind of house. Not these kind
The commissioner didn’t know what he was
asking of him.
Mitch checked his watch and then smoothed
his leather gloves back into place. It was
Surely no one went to bed this early anymore. Maybe the gray November
air had driven the residents to the far wing of the house, where they
nestled in front of a fireplace, sipping cognac to chase away the chill
of the evening.
He punched the doorbell again, laying on the
buzzer for an impolite length of time. They could damn well send the
servants to answer the door, the tips of his ears were feeling the bite
Missouri’s damp winter.
“This has to be a wild goose chase,” he
muttered to himself, ready to climb back into his Jeep Grand Cherokee
and phone Reed on his private line to report no one at home. This was
probably some test of his loyalty before the new assistant commissioner
was named in January.
Well, Mitch Taylor didn’t play games. If he
got the job because he was the best qualified, then fine, he deserved
it. But if the selection would be based on politics, he didn’t have a
Schmooze or you lose,
the commissioner had once advised him. If that was the case, Mitch was
bound to lose.
His annoying second-guessing was cut short
by the crackle of static from a hidden intercom panel. “Yes?”
Mitch looked up toward the source of the
raspy voice and located the speaker and camera recessed behind the
carved walnut paneling lining the front door. He stepped back, reached
inside his coat and pulled his badge from his belt. Holding the
identification beside his face, he looked up at the camera.
“I’m Captain Mitch Taylor, KCPD. I’d like
to ask you a few questions, ma’am, and, if possible, check the premises
for you. We got an anonymous call that there was some trouble here.”
Following orders, he left out the
commissioner’s name and treated this like a routine investigation of a
reported disturbance. Then, confident that the ID and his authoritative
voice would reassure the woman this visit was simply standard procedure,
he clipped the badge onto the breast pocket of his coat and waited to be
“There’s no trouble here.” The woman
responded too quickly and too breathlessly for him to believe her.
Ah, hell, if Reed had sent him out on a
domestic violence call without any backup…
Mitch reached inside his coat and unsnapped
the holster beneath his blazer. His guard-dog hackles went up at the
possibility of facing a cop’s most dreaded call, but he forced his voice
to remain calm and evenly pitched.
“Ma’am, if you could just come to the door,
I’d like to speak to you face-to-face.”
Before the intercom went silent, he heard a
flurry of activity. Mitch’s initial suspicions flared a notch. He
adjusted his tie, never blinking his gaze from the doorknob. Then,
through the double blockade of the front door and storm door, he heard
the distinctive sound of a solid object crashing to the floor, followed
by a stifled yelp.
His hand stilled on the knot of his tie.
“Ma’am?” he called. “Ma’am, are you all
Nothing but dead silence answered him.
Rusty warning signals that had kept him alive when he worked on the
street labored into overdrive. A spot at the nape of his neck tingled
with awareness whenever he sensed something was wrong. Right now, the
skin above his collar tickled him like crazy.
He unholstered his Glock 9mm pistol from
beneath his suit jacket.
Damn. This was supposed to be routine. A
polite introduction, sorry to disturb you and goodnight. Some routine.
More like a shot in the dark. He’d wake the commissioner tonight and
find out exactly what kind of wild ride he’d been sent on.
But first, he had to protect that woman.
“I’m coming in,” he announced.
Mitch flipped his gun around, clutched the
barrel and hammered at the glass in the locked storm door. When it
shattered, he reached inside and opened it. The wooden door inside was
locked, as well. Taking two steps back, he released the safety, aimed
his weapon and fired two rounds into the locking mechanism.
The wood splintered around the knob, and the
door loosened from its frame. Leaning his shoulder against it, he
braced his legs and pushed. The door swung open and he stumbled inside.
The lights in the house immediately flashed
on, and a loud, repetitive alarm blared to life. The woman screamed
from the back of the house, yelling a warning over the din.
Question: In what city does this story take place?
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