bonnie vanak

Under Suspicion

Colton 911: Chicago

bonnie vanak's Under Suspicion (Colton 911: Chicago)

December 28, 2021

He'll uncover the truth. No matter the cost…

Since losing his family, Detective Harry Cartwright lives for the job. So when he's assigned to investigate the murder of Axel Colton, the hard-boiled cop goes all in… But one distraction stands in his way. Sara Sandoval is the victim's secret illegitimate daughter-and Harry's prime suspect. Can Harry resist his unprofessional feelings for Sara…and protect her from a vengeful killer?

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(Copyright 2021 by Bonnie Vanak)

In your dreams. Sara felt an urgent need to leave, now, before this escalated. Ernie had never been this obnoxious. Then again, she'd never been alone on a business trip with him and seen him drink like this.

"I can't go anywhere until you slide out of the booth, Ernie."

He beamed, threw two twenties on the table and then slid out of the booth, holding out his hand. Grabbing her purse, she left the booth and ignored his hand, snatching up her coat instead.

"I have to leave. Good luck with the account, Ernie."

Harry turned in his seat, watched her. He tilted his head, as if trying to figure her out.

Nothing to see here, Detective. Only a woman trying to dump a drunk former employer who grabbed her thigh.

Ernie's mouth turned down. "You owe me, Sara. You owe me for all I did for you."

His fingers laced around her arm, preventing her from leaving.

"Let go of me." She kept her voice low. The desire to avoid a scene was rapidly fading, replaced with the urge to kick him in the shins.

Or someplace else.

"So damn pretty," he muttered and yanked her close. "Just one little kiss, Sara."

Just as she was about to wrench free, a deep voice interrupted them.

"The lady asked you to leave her alone. I suggest you listen to her."

Sara looked up into the expressionless face of Detective Harry Cartwright. No, not expressionless. Fury simmered in his blue-green eyes, though he seemed calm. Collected.

Ernie sneered. "None of your business, buddy. Take a hike."

"It became my business when you started to assault her. Step away from the lady now."

So polished and cool. Sara's heart skipped a beat.

"Stop hassling me. This is business between myself and my girlfriend. Beat it now before I rearrange your face with my fists. I'll have you on the ground long before the cops arrive." Ernie's sneer widened.

"That would be impossible, seeing that I am the police."

Harry lifted the corner of his dinner jacket, showing a badge and the glint of his sidearm. Ernie paled and dropped Sara's arm.

Seizing the moment, Sara stepped out of range of Ernie's grasp. "You're intoxicated, Ernie. Go upstairs and sleep it off if you want to close that account." She lifted her chin. "Or do you wish me to call Bill Myers and tell him you'll be indisposed and he should look elsewhere for representation? No, that wouldn't be professional. But I am concerned for you, Ernie. I could call your wife and let her know you're not feeling well, judging from your behavior toward me."

Ernie's jaw dropped. He rubbed his eyes as if awakening from a bad dream. Behind her, she felt the large, imposing and oddly comforting presence of the detective, as if he were her backup.

If she needed rescuing.

She did not.

But it was sweet of him to try.

Without another word, Ernie bolted. If they had been on a dirt road, he'd have left dust in his wake.

Detective Cartwright's mouth twitched. "I see you're more effective than a gun or a badge."

Sara's fingers tightened on her purse. "Only with married men who fear their wives finding out what they do at night on business trips."

It sounded as if she'd made a habit of doing this. Sara flushed. "I mean, I know him. He's my former boss at the firm where I worked in St. Louis. He was never this…this…"


Sara sighed. "Yes. When he called and wanted to meet me for a drink, I thought he really did want to talk business, this account the firm had been eyeing for a long time that I was working on, I mean it's a huge business deal and he said he wanted advice so I thought, why not meet him for a drink…"

"It's okay, Sara," he said quietly. "You don't have to explain why you were with him. I didn't mean to embarrass you. I saw you looking like you were in trouble, and wanted to help."

"You're very observant."

What a lame remark, when she really wanted to thank him. How did one thank a police detective who had you under the microscope as a possible murder suspect?

Order from Amazon Order from Barnes and Noble purchase on google books bonnie vanak's books on kobo ibooks

Click here to purchase paperback on Amazon.
Click here to purchase paperback on BN.


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