The Wharf

By: Carol Ericson

In Carol Ericson’s next Brody Law book a police chief and a journalist keep their relationship professional—until she becomes a target…

True crime writer Kacie Manning vowed to expose the serial killer suspected of murdering her mother. And she was going to use the killer’s son to do it. But Ryan Brody wasn’t at all what she expected….

The sexy police chief hoped Kacie could clear his father’s name, never expecting the beautiful journalist to have other motives. Then her life was threatened, and Ryan’s protective instincts kicked into overdrive. Now, as his past came back to haunt him and Kacie, Ryan had no choice but to find out what really tore his family apart twenty-five years ago. It was a truth he had to face if he wanted to keep Kacie safe—and maybe even in his life.

“You are not going to traipse down to the wharf alone at eleven o’clock at night.”

A little thrill raced down Kacie’s back. She couldn’t help it. “He’ll never talk if he sees you there.”

“Who said he’s going to see me?”

She waved her hand over Ryan’s imposing form. “Little hard for someone like you to blend in.”

“I have my ways.”

“As long as you stay out of sight. I don’t want you spoiling my meeting.”

“How about saving your life?” He pushed back from the table and stepped around it to pull her chair out for her. “Is that okay with you?”

She nodded as silly schoolgirl butterflies took flight in her belly.

She’d have to watch herself with this man, in more ways than one. Because she couldn’t let a sexy grin and a pair of strong arms deter her from exacting her revenge.

Chapter One

The clanging of the halyards against the masts of the sailboats docked at the pier echoed across the water, sounding like a death-knell chorus.

“He wants revenge against you for tricking him, and he’s gonna get it if you don’t watch yourself.”

Kacie Manning’s back tingled with the warning, as if someone had already placed a target there. She peered at the man three feet away from her. His face was obscured by a baseball cap pulled low on his forehead and a bandana hiding his mouth and chin.

“Would you be willing to go to the police and tell them what you just told me? He can’t make threats like that from prison.”

The figure hugging the shadows hunched his shoulders. “I’m not getting on his bad side. The man’s a straight-up psychopath. If the warden pays him a visit, Dan’s gonna know who talked.”

Kacie hugged herself, dipping her hands into the sleeves of her baggy sweater to ward off the chill of the night...and his words. “How’s Dan going to get the word out on the street? The prison monitors his communication.”

The man whistled between his teeth, and the bandana puffed out from his face. “I thought you knew Daniel Walker. You wrote a book about him, didn’t you?”

“You know that, or we wouldn’t be here.”

“Then you should know what he’s capable of, Kacie. He ain’t just a psycho. He’s a crafty psycho.”

Goose bumps raced across her flesh, and she rubbed her arms. This ex-con obviously knew Daniel Walker well. Not everyone did—his own family sure hadn’t. “Did he actually confess to the murders?”

“No way.” He scratched at his chin beneath the bandana. “He’s too smart for that. He still wants to keep on pretending. He started talking to me about karma one day before my parole. I didn’t know what the hell he was talking about, but then he explained it’s like revenge, comeuppance. And he told me you were gonna get yours.”

“Why are you telling me this? Why are you warning me?”

“I dunno.” He shuffled a step closer, careful to keep his face in the darkness. “You’re a pretty little gal, Kacie. I saw you once or twice when you came to the big house to interview Walker.”

She tried to swallow, but her dry throat wouldn’t allow it.

He’d seen her at Walla Walla? Maybe Walker had sent him to take care of his business. She shuffled back a few steps. “That still doesn’t explain why you’d risk Walker’s anger to warn me.”

“You remind me of my sister a little bit.” His eyes glittered in the dark. “Besides, I ain’t risking nothing. It’s not like you’re going to go running to Walker telling him someone from the state pen warned you about him, right?”

“Of course not.”

A squeaking noise to her right made her grit her teeth. She jerked her head to the side and spotted a shopping cart rumbling around the corner, with a ramshackle man in rags steering it.

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