Catching the Bad Guy (Book Two) (Janet Maple Series)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Catching the Bad
Guy

(Book Two of the
Janet Maple Series)

 

By

Marie Astor

 

 

 

Catching the Bad
Guy

Copyright 2013
Marie Astor

Excerpt from This
Tangled Thing Called Love Copyright 2012 Marie Astor

 

 

All rights
reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part
of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval
system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical,
photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of
both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.

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

 

Website:
www.marieastor.com

Facebook: Author
Marie Astor

Twitter:
@marieastor

 

 

Table
of Contents:

 

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

About the Author

Excerpt from
This Tangled Thing
Called Love

Chapter 1

 

 

“There is my favorite investigator.”
Dennis Walker sauntered into Janet Maple’s office without bothering to knock.
Dennis Walker never knocked. He simply barged in unannounced, the same way he
had barged into Janet’s life a little over a year ago, turning it upside down.

Her fingers tingling from furious
typing, Janet looked up from her computer screen. “Today is the big day, huh?”
Janet kept her voice cool, making a mental effort not to ogle Dennis’s freshly
tanned face. The man would look good even if he were pasty white, not that
Dennis’s silky-smooth complexion had ever been pasty white, not even in the dead
of winter. But now he looked dangerously handsome. “How was your vacation?
Puerto Rico, was it?”

“Turks and Caicos, and it was
wonderful.”

Janet nodded. She knew that. She had
known the destination of Dennis’s getaway ever since he had posted his vacation
schedule on the department calendar two months ago, and she had spent weeks
visualizing his trip: Dennis stretched on a lounge chair, sipping one of those
resort drinks from a coconut with a dark-eyed lanky brunette lying by his side,
or perhaps a blue-eyed blonde. When it came to women, Dennis had only one
requirement: they had to be drop-dead gorgeous. Apparently, Janet Maple was not
gorgeous enough for Dennis Walker.

“You look like you could use a break,
Janet.” Dennis’s comment made Janet conscious of the dark circles under her
eyes, which so far were her only reward for burning the midnight oil at work.

“Not everyone has the luxury of taking a
week off before the most important case hearing of one’s career.”

Dennis’s eyes locked on Janet’s, his
glance acknowledging their never-ending game of verbal tennis. “As I told my
boss, I had scheduled my vacation months in advance; the case hearing had been
moved three times. I have a life, you know, and I can’t be at the Enforcement
Division’s beck and call.”

“Can you believe the momentum the case
has gained?” Janet steered the conversation away from the alarming subject of
Dennis’s private life, the details of which, despite all the hours she had
spent pondering the subject, she wanted to know as little as possible.

“I know. We did all the groundwork and
then every single regulator jumped on the bandwagon, including your former alma
mater, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.”

Janet felt the usual sting of chagrin
that the mention of her former employer never failed to trigger. Yes, her legal
career had begun with a position of assistant district attorney at the
Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, but her promising start fizzled to a
disappointing conclusion after she was downsized from the DA’s office in the
middle of an important case.

As if reading her thoughts, or more
likely her expression, Dennis cleared his throat. “David Muller has wreaked
enough havoc. It’s high time he was brought to justice.”

“I sure hope that’s going to be the
case.”

Dennis frowned. “Why the hesitation?”

“For the very same reason you just
mentioned: the case hearing has been postponed three times already.”

“I guess we’ll find out soon enough.”

As if on cue, there was a knock on the
door of Janet’s office. The head of the Investigations department, Hamilton
Kirk, stood in the doorway. “Dennis, Janet, may I speak to you a minute?” As
always, Ham’s facial expression was inscrutable, but the serendipity of his
appearance made Janet look at her watch. It was after three p.m.: the Emperial
case decision had to have been reached by now, and if the news were good even
Hamilton Kirk would not have been able to resist the joy of announcing it.

“Of course, Ham.” Dennis’s tone was
smooth, but not smooth enough for Janet to miss the hidden notes of
apprehension in his voice.

Together, Janet and Dennis followed Ham
into his office. Just why Ham had to insist on going to his office was beyond
Janet. Although much smaller in size, her office would have provided sufficient
privacy for their discussion, but then she had gotten used to not questioning
Ham’s idiosyncrasies.

The moment they reached Ham’s office,
Janet understood her boss’s request. Hamilton Kirk had worked for various
departments of the Treasury for over twenty years, during which he had acquired
vast office paraphernalia—certifications and commendatory plaques, reference
guides, and never-ending stacks of bulging folders that contained case
materials—but now all of these items were neatly packed in cardboard boxes that
lined the floor of Ham’s office.

Both Janet and Dennis looked
questioningly at Ham.

“I’m sorry, team,” Ham paused to
swallow. “As of today I’m retired.”

“Retired? And you are springing this on
us now, when you’re already packed?” Dennis eyed Ham reproachfully.

Ham patted Dennis’s shoulder. “I only
found out this morning myself.”

Janet had to make an effort to keep her
jaw from dropping. “What do you mean?”

With a sigh, Ham stepped over the row of
boxes and sat behind his desk. “Sit down, you two.”

Mechanically, Janet and Dennis sank into
the chairs opposite Ham’s desk.

“I know that our job is not easy: we try
to do what’s right the best way we can with the few resources we have, and,
let’s admit it, on measly pay. I have worked in this place for over twenty
years, and until this morning I still believed in such a thing as justice. But
now I know that I have been a naïve fool.” Ham shook his head. “They are
kicking me out—”

“Who’s kicking you out, Ham?” Dennis cut
in.

Ham went on, ignoring Dennis’s question.
“Although I must say that the severance package is quite generous. Finally, my
long-awaited dream of retirement has come true—the only funny thing is, is that
now that it’s here it doesn’t feel nearly as good as I thought it would. In
fact, it feels like being thrown out into a dumpster.”

“Who is kicking you out, Ham?” Dennis
repeated.

“My boss,” Ham replied simply. “I’ve
worked for the man for over ten years. This morning he calls me up from
Washington. ‘Ham,’ he says, ‘it’s been wonderful to have you with us. In
recognition of your stellar service, the most notable of which was your work on
the Emperial case, your pension is now fully vested. Your retirement starts
today.’” Ham shook his head. “He didn’t even have the decency to give it to me
straight.”

“Give what to you straight?” Dennis
demanded.

“Oh, come on, Dennis. If you plan to
stay in this trade you’ve got to wise up or you’ll end up an old fool like me.
David Muller has friends in high places. As of this morning, the Emperial case
has been dismissed by our Enforcement Division for lack of evidence. I am now
retired, and next week your new boss will be coming in. His name is Alex
Kingsley. He’s some young hot shot from the DA’s office.”

“Alex Kingsley?!” Janet exclaimed.

Dennis shot Janet a sharp look. “Why,
you know him?”

“Briefly,” Janet replied, cursing her
cracked voice and flushed face for betraying her agitation. “We’ve worked
together,” she added noncommittally. After all, she could not very well admit
that Alex had been much more than her coworker at the DA’s office. Janet had
known Alex since they had met at Columbia Law, from which they had graduated in
the same class. Alex had been her boyfriend for almost five years; he had been
the man she had thought would be the one. And last but not least, not only had
Alex taken credit for Janet’s work on most of the cases that the two of them
had been assigned to at the DA’s office, he got a promotion that should have
been Janet’s. Then he put the icing on the cake by breaking up with her and
suggesting that they remain friends. Needless to say, Janet had refused, and
several weeks later she had been downsized.

“Who is this guy? Does he have the
credentials for the job?” Dennis asked.

“Er …” Janet’s face grew warm. Her
personal opinion of Alex was that he was not worth the ground he walked on, but
then she was biased. Alex did graduate from Columbia Law, albeit only because
Janet had contributed to that fact substantially by letting him copy her
homework assignments and class notes, but who was counting, right?

“Dennis, listen to me,” Ham snapped. “As
far as the big men at the top are concerned, Kingsley’s qualifications are
irrelevant. The only thing that matters is that he’s the man they want for the
job, and I’m not.” Ham looked away. “All the years of hard work down the drain
… If there’s one thing I learned through this experience is that moral
flexibility is paramount. If I had caved in when they told me, I would still
have my job today.”

“What do you mean, caved in?” Dennis
asked.

“Our Enforcement Division had postponed
the hearing three times. I should have gotten the hint.”

“You mean they are in on it?” Janet
blurted out.

“Hank Dooley, the chief of Enforcement,
is a political shark. He’s got his eyes set on Washington, and he’ll do
anything to get there—” Ham broke off, shaking his head. “There’s no use
talking about this now: what’s done is done, and I don’t intend to spend my
time dwelling on the past. As much as I’ve enjoyed chatting with you young
people, I ought to get going. I have a dinner date with my wife, and Neely
doesn’t like it when I’m late. Boy, she’s going to be excited about the
retirement package.” Ham rubbed his chin, his eyes brightening up. “You know, I
think I’m starting to warm to this retirement idea after all.”

“We’ll miss you, Ham.” Dennis’s voice
was somber and sincere. “I’ll miss you.”

“I’ll miss you too, both of you. This is
not the way I expected my career to end, but when life slips you lemons the
only thing to do is to try to turn them into lemonade. Make nice to the new
boss. I hear he’s been told to clean ship, so don’t give him any pretext to do
so.” Ham rose from the chair and extended his hand to Janet. “The few months
we’ve worked together have been a pleasure, Janet. I’m sure you’ll have a
stellar career, regardless of where it might be.”

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