The Rookie (The Intelligence Unit #1) - Kimberly Kincaid


As far as Tara Kingston was concerned, not all murderers were created equal. Some killed people out of hate, some out of anger or revenge. Some were twisted enough to do it for chuckles. Some—and this category had always had the ability to chill Tara’s skin and send her stomach toward her Manolos—were frightening enough to do it for no reason at all. The murders Tara had helped to prosecute in her three years working in the Remington District Attorney’s office had ranged from emotion-fueled snap decisions to calculation and ice-cold blood. There was only one thing that every single one of them had in common.

The people who’d committed them all deserved to pay for their crimes. And even though it wouldn’t reverse the one senseless murder that mattered to her most, Tara could make sure that when wrong was done, justice was served.

Because she was going to miss her best friend for the rest of her life.

“Stop,” she said, her voice echoing through her office. The rest of the staff, including her workaholic boss, Bennett Alvarez, were long gone. If she’d clocked enough hours to have even a hint of a weak moment, it was time to toss in the towel for the night. No one wanted a soft, sentimental lawyer—especially not the families of the victims of the case she was working on right now. Ricky Sansone had committed three murders, maybe more, while he was selling illegal guns and God only knew what else to criminals with rap sheets as long as Tara’s leg. She’d busted her ass to work the case with Remington’s Intelligence Unit, carefully cultivating an agreement with a young woman who worked in Sansone’s nightclub to get her to work as an informant and testify against him. Between the intel they got from Amour—whose real name was Aimee and who wasn’t even old enough to drink, let alone work in a seedy-ass nightclub that was really a front for Sansone’s shifty extra-curriculars—and the evidence collected by the detectives at the Thirty-Third, Tara had been able to build a case and get an arrest warrant. Bail had been set at a staggering one million dollars, which Tara had thought was a victory…right up until Sansone had posted it.

But his days breathing free air were numbered. He was dangerous. Deadly. She was going to need all the fortitude she could work up in order to prepare for the trial, but she would put him away forever.

Tomorrow, her weary brain told her, and her burning eyes ganged up in agreement. Thanks to the precautionary measures she’d insisted upon as a condition of his bail, Sansone was being carefully monitored by the RPD. Tara had six weeks until the trial started, and it was—shit—nine thirty on a Friday night. Her yoga pants and the leftover Pad Thai in her fridge were calling her name. She’d start fresh in the morning.

Turning in her desk chair, she powered down her laptop and slid it into her bag. A few files went on top, along with the legal pad she’d jotted a few notes on throughout the day. Remembering the self-defense class she’d taken last year, Tara pulled out her keys so she wouldn’t have to hunt for them in the dark and made her way out of her office, the sound of her heels clicking on the polished floor seeming overly loud with everyone gone. Exhaustion set in, turning her shoulders heavy as she stepped into the elevator, and she allowed herself the luxury of a too-long blink as the car descended to the ground level. The quick refresher gave her enough energy to steel her spine once the doors trundled open, and her legs took the autopilot route out of the building.

The night air was still residually warm from the brutal late-June heat wave that had put a chokehold on most of North Carolina over the last few days. Tara savored her inhale despite its muggy state, tucking back a strand of hair that had escaped from the twist at her nape. She needed to schedule a yoga class—she’d already missed two this week because of all this trial prep—and make sure she hit the dry cleaners tomorrow to pick up her lucky suit to wear in court on Tuesday. And, oh, she had to order flowers for her mom’s birthday next—

The chime of her cell phone interrupted both her thoughts and the quiet, making her jump, then making her laugh at herself for doing so. Slipping her hand