Kansas City Cop

By: Julie Miller

CAST OF CHARACTERS

Mike Cutler, Jr.—A second-generation hero with a penchant for rescuing damsels in distress. Having barely survived a tragic childhood, this stubborn, do-the-right-thing physical therapist might not have followed in his father’s footsteps to become a cop—but that doesn’t mean he isn’t all about saving people. Stopping to help a wounded police officer will change his life in ways he never expected. It’ll change his heart, too.

Officer Gina Galvan—This tough, working-class cop is the last woman who needs rescuing. But when a life-changing injury jeopardizes her future with KCPD, she turns to Mike Cutler to get her back into fighting shape. Although she’s attracted to Mike’s blue-eyed charm and tall, fit dependability, she can’t see any future for two people who come from such different worlds. But someone out there isn’t done hunting cops. And when the shooter targets Gina again, intent on finishing the job he started, she finds much more than an ally in Mike—she finds her very own hero.

Derek Johnson—Gina’s partner. Is one of them the shooter’s real target? Or is any officer in uniform fair game?

Harold Johnson—Derek’s father is an embarrassment to his son.

Lupe and Rollo Molina—Gina’s elderly great-aunt and uncle raised her and her siblings.

Sylvie Galvan—Gina’s younger sister. She’s the pretty one. And that gets her into trouble.

Javier Galvan—Gina’s brother used to run with a gang.

Bobby Estes—The creeper boyfriend who won’t leave Gina’s sister alone.

Gordon and Vicki Bismarck—Ex-husband and wife. No cop wants to answer their domestic violence calls.

Denny Bismarck—Gordon’s equally violent big brother leads a motorcycle gang…and protects the family.

Michael Cutler, Sr.—Mike’s father, captain of the special weapons and tactics division at KCPD.





To Edna Castillo, reader and bookseller extraordinaire.

A fellow The Wizard of Oz fan, too!

Thanks for your help with the Spanish.

Any mistakes are my own.




CHAPTER ONE

The bright sunlight glaring off the fresh February snow through the police cruiser’s windshield was as blinding as the headache forming behind Officer Gina Galvan’s dark brown eyes.

“No, Tia Mami, I can’t.” She glanced across the front seat to her partner, Derek Johnson, and silently mouthed an apology for yet another family crisis infringing on their shift time with KCPD. “I don’t get off until seven. And that’s if our paperwork’s done. That’s why I left my car at home and took the bus this morning—so Sylvie could drive you and Tio Papi to his doctor’s appointment.”

“Sylvie no come home from school,” her great-aunt Lupe replied quietly, as though apologizing for the news.

“What? Where is she?”

“Javi said he saw her riding with that boyfriend of hers we don’t like.”

“Seriously?” Anger and concern flooded Gina’s cheeks with heat. The boyfriend they didn’t like had too much money to have gotten it in the old neighborhood by any legal means. But Bobby Estes’s flashy cars and devilish good looks were too much for Gina’s dreamy, dissatisfied baby sister to resist. And if Bobby was a teenager, as he claimed, then Gina was Santa Claus. Clearly, her last conversation with Sylvie, about the definition of statutory rape and learning to act like an adult if she wanted to be treated like one, had not made a memorable impact. “I’m going to have to ground her. That’s all there is to it.”

But dealing with her sister’s rash choices didn’t get Tio Papi to the doctor’s office. Gina slipped her fingers beneath the base of her wavy brunette ponytail to massage the tension gathering at the nape of her neck.

Derek nudged her with his elbow. “Need a ride home tonight?”

Missing the point! Although, in his defense, Derek was only hearing half the conversation. Gina summoned a smile for the friend she’d been riding a squad car with for almost two years now. “It’s okay. Just a miscommunication at home.”

“Gotta love our families, right?” Derek teased. She knew he had a strained relationship with his father. And there was no love lost for Derek’s mother, who’d divorced his father and moved away, leaving her teenage son behind to be raised by an aging hippie who had trouble keeping a job and staying out of jail.

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