Today, HJ is pleased to share with you Karen Rose’s new release: Quarter to Midnight
Discover New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Karen Rose’s brand-new series set in the sultry, crime-ridden city of New Orleans and featuring a tough team of high-end private investigators who are after justice—no matter what they have to do to get it.
There are good cops. And there are bad cops. The question is…who wins?
After completing her tours with the Marines in Iraq, Molly Sutton knew she could take down any bad guy she met. But when a family tragedy exposes the dark side of her local police, she joined up with her former CO Burke Broussard, who left New Orleans PD to set up a private investigative service for people who couldn’t find justice elsewhere.
Gabe Hebert saw the toll that working for the NOPD took on his dad and decided instead to make a name for himself as one of the best young chefs in the French Quarter. But when his father’s death is ruled a suicide after a deliberately botched investigation by his former captain, Gabe knows his dad stumbled onto a truth that someone wants silenced.
Gabe goes to his father’s best friend, Burke, for help. Burke assigns the toughest member of his team, Molly, to the case. Molly can’t believe she’s being asked to work with the smoking hot chef whose chocolate cake is not the only thing that makes her mouth water. Sparks fly as they follow the leads Gabe’s dad left them, unraveling a web of crimes, corruption, and murder that runs all the way to the top.
Enjoy an exclusive excerpt from Quarter to Midnight
Sunday, June 15, 11:45 p.m.
Pulling into his driveway, Rocky sat looking at his house, thinking about the doctor lying dead on his own kitchen floor.
Don’t let Gabe find me that way. Please.
Hands trembling, he reached for his cell phone, tapping his camera roll and staring at the last photo. Him and Gabe last weekend, standing shoulder-to-shoulder for the photo. Both smiling.
He traced a fingertip over his son’s face. So much like his mother’s. She’d be proud of their boy. So proud. And, should the worst happen, he’d see her again.
The thought made his heart trip. He’d missed her so much, and he was so damn tired. He never understood what hell she’d gone through with the chemo, not until he’d started treatment himself.
Damn cancer. Knowing that his time was running out had made him take risks that he never would have taken otherwise. Made him pressure the doctor to meet him, and now the doc was dead.
It’s my fault. Logically he knew that the true fault lay on the killer’s shoulders—or killers’ shoulders. There were probably multiple heads on that hydra. But he’d pressed the issue, threatening to expose the poor doctor. Giving him no choice. He should have been more careful.
He should have done a lot of things that he hadn’t done.
And if “they” came after him? The joke was on them. The doctor had been his last hope. He’d never figure out who “they” were now. He didn’t have the time.
But he’d fight a little longer. For Gabe.
He closed his camera roll and opened a text window. To Gabe.
Just in case.
Hope you’re having a good night, mon ange. Love you, son.
If the worst happened, Gabe would figure it out. His son was smart. Hopefully smarter than me.
Rocky dug into his pocket for the small leather pouch that he’d started carrying with him everywhere. He poured the contents into his cupped palm—a paper clip and an unused SIM card. Willing his hands to steady, he popped the SIM card from his phone and did a factory reset, wiping everything stored on the phone’s internal memory.
Then he inserted the new SIM card into his phone and slipped the old one beneath the floor mat at his feet.
Just in case. If he lived to see the morning, he’d fetch the card and put it back, then restore his phone’s memory from the cloud. If he didn’t live to see the morning, he wasn’t making it any easier on “them.” Whoever “they” were.
Dragging himself from his truck, he forced one foot in front of the other until he was at his own front door. He turned the key in the lock, stepped inside, and had a single moment to register the lack of a barking dog before cold metal pressed against his temple.
Shoulda’ run. But there was nowhere he could hide, and he found that he didn’t want to.
His only regret was that Gabe would find him.
Gabe would mourn him.
But Gabe would pick himself up and go on, because his son was strong.
“Where is my dog?” Rocky asked quietly. If they’d harmed one hair on his dog’s body…
The thug gave him a shove, remaining silent.
Rocky stumbled forward. “To where?”
“I’m in the kitchen,” another voice called. “Bring him to me.”
Rocky felt a laugh bubbling up from his gut. It came out sounding hysterical. Which was understandable, he supposed. The kitchen was where they’d killed the doctor. “Of course.” It was darkly poetic, in its own way.
He moved stiffly, narrowly missing the rocking chair that Lili had loved so much. He brushed a hand over the smooth wood. Soon, mon petit chou. Soon.
His eyes had adjusted by the time he reached the kitchen and he abruptly stopped at the sight of the man sitting in Lili’s chair at the opposite end of the table from his own place.
Fury bubbled up, replacing the hysterical laughter. Because he recognized the man. He’d never met him in person, but he recognized him all the same.
“Get out of her chair,” Rocky growled, surprising himself with the words. There were so many others that he could have said. That he should have said.
The man simply lifted his brows, black threaded with silver. He looked expensive. He looked like a movie star.
He looked … bored.
Rocky wanted to tear the bastard’s heart out for all that he’d done. For the lives he’d ruined.
For desecrating Lili’s kitchen chair.
“Why are you here?” Rocky demanded.
“Because we’ve come to the end of our dance,” the man drawled. “And I needed to be sure this was done right. Finally. You should have listened, Rocky. You should have backed away years ago.”
“And then you didn’t.” The man studied his nails, then lifted his gaze to Rocky’s. “Sit.”
The thug behind him shoved the gun into his temple when he didn’t immediately obey. “You heard him, Hebert. Sit the fuck down.”
That he recognized the gunman’s voice should have been a surprise, but it wasn’t. He lifted his chin defiantly. He didn’t want to sit. He’d die standing.
A sad sigh from behind him signaled the presence of a third man. “You should’ve let it go, Rocky. Please, sit down. It’ll go easier for you this way.”
Rocky tensed. He knew that voice. But it couldn’t be… Except that it was. “No,” he whispered, the weight of betrayal too heavy to bear.
He slumped into his chair, trying to remember all the good times he and Lili had shared around this table over their years together. All the birthdays, the holidays, the anniversaries. Her last meal.
Anything but this treachery.
Rocky was barely aware of his gun being removed from its holster, being laid on the table just out of his reach. The barrel of the pistol disappeared from his temple and the man gripped his nose, pinching it shut, forcing his head back.
Rocky struggled, but he was no match for the strong hand that held him immobile. He tried to resist when a glass was pressed to his lips, tried to keep his mouth closed, tried not to let a drop in. But eventually he had to breathe, and the liquid burned his mouth, his throat. All the way down.
He hadn’t had a drink in three years and that the taste was like an old friend shamed him.
The table began to sway, the face of the man in Lili’s chair blurring.
There must be more than booze in this glass.
His last thought was that Gabe was going to think he’d broken his promise. That he’d broken his sobriety. I’m sorry, son. I’m so damn sorry.
Excerpt. ©Karen Rose. Posted by arrangement with the publisher. All rights reserved.
Giveaway: One copy of QUARTER TO MIDNIGHT for a U.S. only winner.
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Meet the Author:
Karen Rose is the award-winning, #1 international bestselling author of twenty-five novels, including the bestselling Baltimore and Cincinnati series. She has been translated into twenty-three languages, and her books have placed on the New York Times, the Sunday Times (UK), and Germany’s der Spiegel bestseller lists.