The Rookie (The Intelligence Unit #1) - Kimberly Kincaid Page 0,1

into the side pocket of her messenger bag, she palmed her phone and smiled at the name on the caller ID.

“Hi, Amour.” Tara hit the button on the key fob in her other hand, shifting the phone between her shoulder and her ear as the locks on her BMW disengaged with a beep-click. “How’s it—”

The pain-laced moan filtering over the line cut Tara’s question off at the knees.

“Amour?” Dread shuddered down Tara’s spine, cold and clammy despite the humid night. Oh, God. “Amour, talk to me. Where are you?”

“Tara,” came the barely-there whisper.

“I’m here,” she promised. “Tell me what’s going on. Are you hurt?”

Amour’s whimper in reply was all the affirmative Tara needed, the sound claiming her gut in an instant. “Please. Help me.”

Tara’s brain kicked her thoughts into action. “Don’t hang up, do you hear me?” She flung her car door open, dumping her bag inside and yanking herself into the driver’s seat. She needed to get EMS on the line so they could access the GPS in Amour’s phone and send help. “I’m going to put you on hold and get nine-one-one on the line. Do not hang up, Amour.”

Willing her fingers not to shake so hard they couldn’t function, Tara pressed the mute button for three seconds that might as well have been a month, then dialed nine-one-one.

“Nine-one-one, what’s your emergency?” the operator asked, his voice smooth and sure.

Tara’s was neither. “My name is Tara Kingston, and I’m an ADA in Bennett Alvarez’s office. I’ve got an informant on the other line who’s in danger. I’m patching her through.”

Praying that Amour was still there—please, please, please—Tara punched the button that would—please—bring her back on the line. “Amour? Are you there? There’s an operator listening.”

“Tara,” she croaked. “It hurts.”

“Ma’am, can you tell me where you are so I can send help?” the operator asked.

Amour whimpered. “H-home.”

“Twelve Broadmoor Street, in North Point,” Tara supplied, switching the call over to her car’s Bluetooth and pulling out of her parking spot. She’d arranged for at least a dozen Ubers to take Amour home as they’d put together the case against Sansone. Of course, she was all the way across town, and damn it! Tara had to hurry.

“Ma’am, can you tell me if you’re in danger right now?” The operator was trained to keep his tone calm, Tara knew, but the concern in his voice was obvious.

“I don’t…know. There was a man,” Amour murmured. “He…I can’t…my…my head feels funny. Hurts.”

Tara bit her bottom lip hard enough to make it throb, letting the nine-one-one operator do his job even though she wanted nothing more than to loosen the scream in her throat.

“I’m dispatching police and EMS to your location, ma’am,” the operator said. “Do you know if the man is still there? Are you in danger?”

“I don’t…see him…he…said…not to…” Amour’s whisper faded into a white-noise whoosh of silence on the line.

Tara’s heart vaulted against her breastbone. “Amour? Are you there?”

“Ma’am?” The operator’s voice tightened. “Ma’am, if you can hear me, stay on the line. Don’t hang up, even if you can’t talk. Help is on the way.”

Please, God, Tara thought as she jammed her foot even harder over the BMW’s accelerator. Please don’t let me be too late again.

“You try and lay claim to that Cuban sandwich, and me and you are gonna have words, rookie.”

Xander Matthews looked up from the takeout bag in his lap and placed a hand over the Kevlar turning his patrol uniform into a sauna. This heat wave gave zero fucks about the fact that the sun had set, or that the air conditioning in the cruiser where he’d spent the last eleven hours was iffy, at best. Still, the smile he leveled at his partner was genuine.

“After all this quality time we’ve spent together, you think I’d do that to you? I’m wounded, Sergeant Dade. Truly.”

She snorted, just as Xander knew she would. Despite her petite stature and her sweet, Halle-Berry looks, Lucinda Dade had a mile-wide reputation for being one of Remington’s toughest patrol cops. But after a year of working a beat under her supervision, Xander also knew that she was as fair as she was fierce.

Also, a sucker for a good Cuban sandwich.

“Your charm’s no good over here, Matthews,” Dade said, her mouth forming a scowl that the rest of her expression couldn’t make stick.

“If I’m charming, it’s only because I learned from the best,” Xander pointed out with a grin as he passed over her sandwich. While he might’ve been laying the rest