Friday, April 1, 2022

Read an Excerpt From Knockin' On Heaven's Door by Taylor Lee

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She’s a go-it-alone detective. He’s a psychiatrist and FBI profiler. A serial killer brings them together. In more ways than one.

Tyra Stone is the lead Major Crimes’ detective in the city’s busy police department. Beautiful, brash and a declared loner, cooperation isn’t part of her vocabulary. When four young girls go missing, Tyra is convinced their cases are linked. The discovery of the brutally murdered body of one of the girl’s convinces her that the others will soon be found.

Deacon Walsh, has more degrees than any one man should. A former special ops physician, psychiatrist and now FBI profiler, the stunning Black agent has spent a year tracking the serial killer of four Colorado girls. When the trail goes cold, a brutal murder of an Albuquerque girl with all the marks of his victims, convinces Deacon his killer is responsible.

Mathis Cross, the Albuquerque police commissioner, and Deacon’s former special ops buddy, as well as the police chief, are eager to have the consummate agent take over the case. The only person who is decidedly not eager is the lead detective. When her chief puts the interloper in charge of their combined cases, Tyra is determined not to concede.

Unfortunately, in addition to being brilliant, Deacon is also charming. And to Tyra’s dismay, as accomplished a lover as he is an agent.

Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door is the second standalone book in The Olive or Twist Saga steamy romantic suspense series. If you like smart characters, tough-talking cops, and scorching passion, then you'll love Taylor Lee’s sizzling thrill-ride.

Buy Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door to get hot under the collar today!

Excerpt:

 

“Oh good, you’re here, Tyra, and you’ve already started. Here comes Zoe. Give us a chance to order our drinks and then I will tell you my truly amazing news.” After Oliver ensured that they were all served, promising Tyra he’d be back with a refill whenever she was ready, Gracie turned to them. “First of all, thank you for coming, but I truly do have news. And it affects you, Tyra. It has to do with the González girl, whose body you found yesterday.”

Tyra was certain her frown was apparent when Gracie reached for her hand. “Honey, please understand, if anyone knows how torn up you about the horrible things that were done to that young girl, it is Zoe and me. That’s why I think my news might help you.”

“Enough mystery, Gracie. Frankly, I can’t imagine anything that has happened that might be considered ‘good news,’ but please tell me.”

“It’s quite serendipitous. Mathis came to my office today ecstatic. One of his Delta Force buddies dropped in on him seemingly out of the blue but for a very specific reason. Mathis hadn’t seen Deacon Walsh, make that Agent Deacon Walsh, for nearly six years.” Taking a sip of her martini, then apparently seeing Tyra’s deepening frown, she quickly added, “Agent Walsh came to Albuquerque because he is interested in your case.”

“What do you mean in my case? More to the point, interested how?”

Clearly taken aback at Tyra’s sharp response, Gracie struggled to explain. “Honey, I know how frantic you have been about the González girl and how devastated you are that she was so brutally assaulted. But apparently Agent Walsh thinks that she might be linked to a rash of serial killings that he has been investigating in Colorado.”

Not able to hide her shock, Tyra gasped, then rose to her feet. Placing her hands on the table, she faced her startled friend. “How? What . . . I don’t understand. What could some asshole Fibbie—from another state no less—know about my case? And why the hell am I finding out about this interloper from you, Gracie?”

For the first time Gracie looked concerned. “Oh my goodness, I hope I’m not speaking out of turn. I assumed the chief had tried to reach you because he was meeting with Mathis and Agent Walsh late today.”

Remembering that she’d received a couple of “get your ass over here” texts from her boss, Tyra forced herself to be less antagonistic. “Uh, yeah . . . the chief did try to reach me, but I told him I was beat and would check in later tonight. Then you insisted that I come here . . . ”

“Tyra, please know how sorry I am. I never should have gotten in the middle of this. It’s just that wait until you see this guy. He is beyond beautiful.” Meeting Tyra’s angry scowl but seeing Zoe’s clear interest, Gracie plunged ahead. Swallowing hard, she quizzed them. “Okay, tell me who is the most gorgeous black actor in the world today?”

“Shemar Moore?” Zoe ventured. “Or maybe Idris Alba? Denzel Washington?”

“Yes, yes, and yes. But have you ever seen Boris Kodjoe?”

“The Australian-Ghana dude from Soul Food and Grey’s Anatomy?”

“Yes, that’s the one!”

Tyra couldn’t keep from asking, “You mean this Fibbie agent looks like that? Shemar Moore or Kodjoe? He’s . . . black?”

Gracie glanced across the bar, then a huge smile lit her face. Blowing out a relieved sigh, she was enthusiastic. “See that tall, dark, gorgeous hunk of a man coming in the door with Mathis and Chief Drake? That, girlfriends, is none other than Agent Deacon Walsh!

Tyra did her best to cover her surprise. Sinking back onto her chair, she struggled with what to do next. Clearly, avoiding the impressive trio heading their way wasn’t an option. Clutching her hands in tight fists in her lap, she determined not to look up again. Rather, she’d act as if she hadn’t seen them while she got her nerves under control. She was stunned by Gracie’s incomprehensible disclosures. A stranger, a Fibbie no less, had marched into her domain for the sole purpose of invading her case? To make matters exponentially worse, the fucker was a longtime buddy of the commissioner? And the interloper had spent the afternoon with Mathis and her boss, the police chief, discussing her case.

Struggling with her swirling thoughts, Tyra admitted that the professional affront was serious enough. But dear God, did the asshole have to be a walking, talking movie star–handsome man who could have made any list of the hottest black actors on the screen today? Mathis Cross was without a doubt the sexiest police commissioner their city, make that their state, had seen. Even her boss, Chief Drake, was a hottie. But until this moment, Tyra acknowledged she’d never seen a more commanding man than the one who was striding toward their table. She refused to look up, as if she could deny the fact that her world had just been turned upside down.

Her irascible boss called her out. “There you are, Stone. Goddammit, I tried to reach you for three hours today. Is it asking too much for you to occasionally return my calls?”

Gratified that her hot-tempered superior had given her a reason to ignore the tall man at his side, who was studying her, she shrugged dismissively. Choosing not to answer, she blew out an annoyed sigh and took a healthy slug of her loaded martini. Refusing to acknowledge any of the three men, she was grateful when Mathis pulled out the chair between her and Gracie. And while she was relieved that the chief plopped down on her other side, her stony silence underscored that she wouldn’t respond to his rebuke.

It was obvious Mathis saw the sparks between her and her boss when he reached for her hand. “I know you’ve had a hell of a day, Detective. Make that a month.” When she shrugged and didn’t respond, he added, “I’m sorry about the González girl, Tyra. It was an inhumanely brutal assault.” He squeezed her hand and murmured, “Hang in there.” When she nodded and stared at the table, Mathis glanced at Deacon and continued. “I wanted you to meet a friend of mine.”

Gracie hesitated, then put her hand on Mathis’s arm and said softly, “I . . . I hope I didn’t overstep, Mathis. But I told Tyra that Agent Walsh is here because of the González girl . . . and the other girls that are missing.”

Glancing at Tyra, Mathis nodded, as if that explained a lot. “I see. In that case, introductions can wait. May I suggest you ladies allow us to catch up with you and grab a couple of Oliver’s famous martinis? As well as refills for you.” Making a production of their order, Mathis and the chief extolled the properties of Oliver’s high-end gins and vermouths for the newcomer. After Oliver placed their drinks in front of them, Mathis raised his glass to his friend. “Now back to this guy.”

Tyra had felt his gaze on her but refused to acknowledge him. Determined to leave as quickly as she could, she took a sip of her powerful libation, willing it to calm her frazzled nerves. Obviously trying to smooth the troubled waters, Mathis said cheerfully, “I’m honored to introduce one of the finest men I know.” At the stranger’s slight nod and fleeting smile, the commissioner continued. “In explanation, Deacon and I met in the army. He was the medical attaché on my Delta Force team.”

Shocked, Tyra glared at the solemn man and said accusingly, “You’re a doctor? I thought you were a Fibbie.”

Deacon smiled slightly and murmured, “Guilty on both counts.”

Chief Drake chortled. “Hell, it’s worse than that. Turns out that in addition to being a warrior and an FBI agent, this guy is a shrink and, if that isn’t enough, a profiler.”

Not able to hide her surprise or her anger, Tyra met his smiling gaze, then looked away, quaffing a large swallow of her martini.

Clearly trying to lower the tension, Mathis laughed. “Deacon couldn’t decide which he wanted to be: a doctor, a spy, or an agent. So he did all three, adding in a psychiatric specialty as a profiler for good measure.”

Tyra muttered, “Overachiever much?”

At the startled silence confirming that her snarky response was audible, Deacon raised his glass to her and said with a smile, “You’ll be glad to know that you are far from the first person who’s leveled that charge against me.”

Embarrassed and angry at the comparison of his classy response to her obnoxious sneer, Tyra shoved back her chair and jumped to her feet. Tossing back the remaining alcohol in her glass, she said, “Sorry, folks. It’s been a hard couple of days. If you’ll excuse me?” When she turned to leave, Deacon rose to his feet, a slight frown marring his smooth brow.

The chief smacked his glass on the table and, as he reared out of his chair, barked, “Detective Stone!”

Tyra slowly turned back and glared at him. “Yes, Chief Drake?”

Apparently seeing her anger, Garrett Drake shook his head and raised his hands in defeat. “Eight a.m. sharp. In my office. Not a minute later.”

Tyra raised her chin and shrugged. Making it clear whether she would be there or not was up to her, she sashayed across the tavern to the exit.

The chief settled back in his chair with a disgusted snort and turned to Deacon. “As you can see, I’m firmly in charge of my officers. Except for the stars who tend to do whatever the hell they want to.”

Deacon raised a dismissive hand. “No need to apologize, Chief. Clearly we took Detective Stone by surprise. In that I’m territorial when it comes to the crimes I’m trying to solve, I can understand the detective’s annoyance. I trust we can get on the same page tomorrow.”

Drake raised a questioning shoulder and met Mathis’s quizzical gaze. “You don’t look convinced, Mathis.”

Mathis laughed. “In addition to being every other damn thing in this world, my longtime buddy is nothing if not a man who knows how to charm a woman. Although I’ll admit, Detective Stone is far from a pushover. If anything, the number of men floundering in Tyra’s wake may be as vast as the women in Deacon’s.”

 

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