All the Hidden Sins
Jake Carrington #2
by Marian Lanouette
Pub Date: 7/31/2018
Assigned a missing persons case, Lieutenant Jake Carrington investigates a local Mob boss. The trail goes cold, but the Mafioso isn’t taking any chances, and soon the heat turns up from another quarter. Turns out there’s more than one dangerous suspect . . .
Kyra Russell is drop-dead gorgeous and Jake is only human. But despite their mutual attraction, Jake’s suspicion deepens when he learns about her gambling problem—an addiction that cost her both husband and son. Even more disturbing is Kyra’s day job. She runs a crematorium—and it’s tied to the Mob. Now Jake will have to navigate a firestorm of treachery to get to the truth . . .
Previously published as Burn in Hell
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She inhaled, and finished her story. Bile choked her.
“Is this out of the norm for you?”
Of course it is. “Yes. He gave me two options. Neither appealed to me, both were out of the question, but I don’t have a choice.” She dropped her head in defeat.
“Then why are you here?”
Her head jerked up. “Excuse me?”
“I asked, why are you here? It’s a simple question.” His voice hardened.
“I told you I have no choice.”
“I understood I had no choice when Joe presented it to me.”
“We all have choices, Kyra. You can choose one of the options Joe presented to you or walk away and never look back.”
“Without any trouble?”
“I don’t cause trouble for anyone.”
A lie I’m sure. “Okay.”
“I understand you have a son. It must be hard to work full-time and be a parent.” He smiled. Though he tried for benevolent, it missed its mark.
“I don’t want to speak about my son.”
Now she was scared from her head to her toes. It was evident Phil liked fear. Was that how he controlled people?
“Most times I can’t shut a mother up about her children.”
“Trevor doesn’t come into this, understand?”
“Are you threatening me, Kyra?” He smiled without mirth.
“No,” she whispered.
“Good. If I decide to use you, you’ll have no say in anything.
Anything. You got that?”
“Good. I don’t hurt children. I’m insulted that after spending less than half an hour with me you believe I do.” Anger peppered his words.
“Trevor’s everything to me. I needed…I had to make sure.” Her voice quavered.
“I understand. But you understand, if we move forward, I own you.
Own you, Kyra.”
She lowered her head, sat in silence. Her hands trembled. She paused to gather strength before she replied. “What you mean by ‘own me?’”
“Exactly that. Do you need a dictionary?” He raised his left brow, the corner of his mouth twisted.
“No. I’m under the impression I’m here for a certain function. What other things do you have in mind?” She raised her head, making eye contact again.
“You’re here for a certain thing which might have to occur on more than one occasion. Do you understand what I’m saying?”
“What are your reasons for accepting Joe’s deal?”
She contemplated before answering. “I want my son back, Phil. I’ll do anything to get him back.”
“How did you lose him?”
“Gambling.” The flash of anger burned up her neck as her emotions, as always, showed on her face. It was times like this she wished she was a brunette.
“I’m sure it was a tough lesson. How did it get out of control?”
“I—” She stopped. I don’t know isn’t acceptable here.
“I let it take control of me. At the time I cared about nothing else.”
She’d never said it aloud. For the first time, she realized the simple truth in her statement. Her heart—awash in shame—had to deal with the fact she hadn’t put Trevor first.
“You didn’t care about your son?” A cruel man. He pushed her buttons.
“From the moment I became pregnant, I loved and cared for my son. I can’t explain it to myself. How can I explain it to you?”
“The answer should be simple. You control your actions. I control mine.”
Cruel, yes. “I’m aware I made the wrong decisions, harmful decisions, decisions I have to live with, Phil, not you.”
“You’re annoyed. Good.”
“Yes, good. Your answers are honest. Your anger is pointed at you, not at anyone else. I like that, because that’s where it belongs.”
His words crushed her. Kyra waited for him to continue his attack against her character. It baffled her when Phil got up and walked to his desk. He pulled out his chair then sat. Next, he opened a drawer. “Join me over here, Kyra.”
The man’s devious. He must be through testing me. She pushed off her chair, went to his desk. For some reason it hit her—that was the longest yard of her life.
“Why are you smiling?”
He tilted his head at her. His scary eyes stared her down.
She exhaled. “I didn’t realize I was smiling, because I don’t want to.”
Studying him, she continued. “I have a habit of playing jokes in my head when I’m under stress. It relaxes me. The walk from the chair to the desk hit me as the longest yard.” She shrugged.
“Do you understand why you’re here tonight?”
“Yes. You’re assessing me, trying to figure out two things. One.” She held up her right hand, extended her index finger, tapping it on her left hand.
“If I’m up for the task. And two, if I’m intelligent enough to understand what I’m committing to.”
“Correct.” He continued to stare.
“What’s your decision?”
He laughed, taking her off guard.
“Why are you laughing?” Hating herself for asking.
Pain shot up her arm as she dug her nails into her palm. Fighting for control, she bit back the sarcastic quip on the tip of her tongue. Kyra lifted her head and stared at him. Enough of playing the frail and helpless female—I hate being played. She needed his answer now.
“Kyra, let’s make it clear up front. I’m in charge. I’m always in charge. I don’t put up with insolence. Understood?”
“I give people my answer when I’m ready to give my answer. Understood?”
He tapped his pen on the desk. Kyra waited, watching it bounce up and down. The man’s a control freak. It’s obvious from the way he’s conducted this interview. She wondered if he realized how much of himself he gave away with his motions. He reminded her of her trustees at the cemetery on one level, the only difference, Phil was a dangerous man.
“I’ve come to a decision. I can’t use you.”
“May I ask why?”
She squared her shoulders, stood, held out her hand. He took it. Held it.
“Thank you for your time, Phil.”
“Aren’t you the polite one? I like polite employees.”
Her head snapped up. “Excuse me?” He still held her hand.
“I am going to use you, Kyra, because it gives us both what we need. I needed to see how you’d react when things didn’t go your way.”
“I’m not sure they did.”
He laughed. “Yep, honest.”
Getting down to business, he outlined how the undertaker would show up with a legitimate cremation, and inside that coffin there’d be two bodies, not one. The legal cremation’s paperwork covered both their asses if someone asked any questions. She wasn’t allowed to take notes. She’d memorize the information until she got home. Once there she’d open a file on her computer and passcode for her eyes only. It took Phil an hour to detail everything. She’d be paid the one hundred thousand in large bills.
The first burn had to happen within days or the deal was off. Oh my God, I agreed to dispose of a body for the freaking mob. I’m going to hell for sure.
He seemed surprised that she hadn’t blink when he mentioned that the same fee applied for each body.
“Kyra, you understand this isn’t a one-time deal?”
“I figured it out over dinner with Joe. Once in, there’s no getting out,” she stated.
“This concludes our business for tonight.” He stood.
“Thanks, Phil.” She extended her hand again.
He took it, then seemed to make a personal decision. “Kyra, are you free tomorrow night? I’d like to take you to dinner. It has nothing to do with the deal.”
“I have a dinner date tomorrow night, but I can cancel it. It’s a first date.”
“No, don’t cancel. We’ll make it some other time.”
“I don’t have plans for Saturday night if you want to go then instead of Friday?”
“Yes, Saturday’s fine. I’ll call with the time. I prefer eating around nine. It’s not too late for you, is it?”
“I’ll send a car.”
“Where are we going?”
The corner of his lip twitched up at her question. “There are some great restaurants around here.”
“I live in Wilkesbury. Why don’t I drive up here? That way you don’t have to worry about getting me home.”
His eyes twinkled. “Don’t plan on staying the night?”
Laughing, he said, “Fair enough.”
All the Deadly Lies
Jake Carrington #1
The victim was bludgeoned, stripped, and left for dead. Shanna Wagner deserves justice—and there’s no better cop than Lieutenant Jake Carrington to find her killer. The brutality of the crime reminds Jake of his sister’s murder seventeen years ago, and the remorseless man responsible, now up for parole.
Then another woman is killed—and Jake goes dangerously close to the edge. He’ll have to face his personal demons and focus his formidable skills if he hopes to stop a vicious murderer from striking again—and hold on to his career, and his life . . .
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Homicide Sergeant Jake Carrington of the Wilkesbury Police Department looked across his joined desk to his partner, and lifelong friend Louie Romanelli and shrugged. Louie threw him a questioning look as he adjusted his tie and started to rise from his chair.
“Just Jake, Louie,” the captain said as he turned into his office.
Jake picked up their latest case file to update the captain and walked in to join McGuire.
“Take a seat, Jake.” The captain pointed to one of the two institutional-gray ones in front of his desk. He took off his glasses and massaged his forehead.
Though Jake preferred to stand, he took the less beat-up seat on the right. The room was a monument to the man, all spit and polish. Sparse furnishing with a few awards and medals hung on the walls. Paperwork in precise piles, a picture of his family, the standard computer and phone were all he had on his desk. McGuire’s appearance and stance spoke of his military background and warned his cops he took no crap from them. It wasn’t like him to stall but that’s exactly what he was doing at the moment.
McGuire turned his smoky eyes on him. Jake went on alert. Something was up, something big.
“Captain?” Instincts had Jake bracing for what came next.
“Spaulding’s coming up for parole again. And this time he’s requesting a DNA test before he comes before the board.” Jake’s stomach curdled. McGuire continued, “He’s also requesting the DNA samples from your sister’s crime scene be tested against his sample.”
“What bullshit, Shamus.”
Jake jumped up, roamed the office. His mouth went dry. Deep down he was afraid the old samples somehow wouldn’t match and would set Eva’s killer free. This new development would split his attention. What could Spaulding gain from this maneuver? To catch a killer, you had to get inside his head. Did Spaulding assume the system would release him if he got a new trial?
He looked out the window and studied the downtown area as he ran every scenario through his mind. This was his town, though imperfect as it was. He and Eva had been born here of immigrant parents. Its one hundred thousand residents depended on him and those who had come before him to protect it.
Outside of his tour of military duty overseas he didn’t venture far from it, a good city, though down on its luck since all the manufacturing jobs went overseas. Wilkesbury recently had the distinguished honor to be named one of the top five saddest rust belt cities. And it’s the one that was farthest south of the belt. In its glory days, nothing could touch
Wilkesbury. Most of the crime in the city came from the twenty percent of the Wilkesburians living under the national poverty level. The city had its mix of people, businesses, homeless, shoppers, and kids. More kids claimed the downtown area since UConn had put a branch right across the street from the station. Today some of the kids wore shorts to celebrate the hot weather. Last week it was in the forties. Today the temperatures hit the seventies. New England, you gotta love it, he thought.
Clearing his mind, he focused on The Palace Marquee. Next month Johnny Mathis would be here for two days. He thought it a monument to the citizens of Wilkesbury when private citizens and businesses raised the money to save the Palace. It had been closed for eighteen years. The last performer had been Tony Bennett in 1987. Bennett had opened the newly restored theater in 2004 and it was still going strong. Jake loved the old theater. It brought back good memories from his childhood. The grand old theater done in the tradition of the Met was a step back in time. Since it had been refurbished it drew some big-name performers and plays. It’s about time we got something decent in the downtown area, he thought. Murders were down in recent years but overall crime continued. Eva’s death was the
reason he became a cop instead of going on to play pro ball after college.
Turning from the window, he walked back to stand in front of Shamus’s desk. “I’m sorry, I didn’t hear the last part,” Jake said.
“The sperm gathered at the time of the autopsy was preserved, and with new technology he has the right to ask for the testing.”
“When will it happen? I want to be there through the whole process from collection to testing to make sure there aren’t any switch-ups.” What a way to start a Monday.
“It hasn’t been granted yet. His lawyer is working on the request,” McGuire stated.
“When will it happen?” Jake rubbed his temples where a headache was forming.
“The board acts in their own time. I’d say toward the end of the month. I’m behind you, as is the entire department, Jake, to make sure Eva gets justice.”
Jake paced the room. Seventeen years and it seemed like yesterday.
“When they took him out after the trial, Spaulding whispered to me he’d done it and enjoyed every moment of it,” Jake said. It was a moment in time he would never forget.
There were nights after the trial he dreamed up ways of killing Spaulding, making him suffer as much, if not more, than Eva had. Even today, when his moral code screamed there was no justification for taking a life, he understood deep down in his soul that, if given the chance, he’d remove George Spaulding from the face of this Earth and not look back. Captain McGuire’s voice floated back into his head. Jake felt shame standing in front of Shamus with thoughts of murder in his head. If he did kill, what would separate him from the ones he hunted every day of his life?
“As a cop, you and I both understand the evidence is what convicts, along with a smart prosecutor. Spaulding’s lawyer has petitioned the court. Even if the DNA isn’t a match, it wouldn’t get him an immediate release. There was other evidence putting him at the crime scene. And there was an eyewitness who saw him push Eva into his car. All it will get him is a new trial. If I remember this right, all of the evidence pointed to him. Have faith, Jake.”
“Faith? Is that what I should tell Eva? Oh wait. I can’t. Because she’s dead!”
The captain ignored his outburst. “If he goes to trial I promise we’ll reopen the case and work it along with our current files. But, you can’t touch the file when we do.”
“No, it’s not. If we want the chain of evidence to remain pure you can’t touch it. I’ll respect and appoint whoever you want to work it,” McGuire said.
“It can’t be him either.” McGuire held up his hands before Jake could interrupt him. “He’s too close to you.”
“What’s not to say any of the men in my department aren’t too close to me?”
“Whoever you pick will have a state trooper working with him.”
“You don’t trust your own men?” Aggrieved, Jake threw up his hands.
“Do you want answers?”
“Shamus, I already got my answer. I’ve no doubt Spaulding is guilty,” Jake said.
“Then this is the best way to handle it. When we catch the killer, it will ensure a conviction,” Shamus said.
Jake pushed a hand through his hair. The air thinned, cutting off his next breath. “I need to get out of here.”
He rushed from McGuire’s office. At his desk Jake grabbed his car keys and ignored Louie’s questions. He didn’t trust himself to speak. The pit of his stomach burned. What if the DNA didn’t match Spaulding’s?
Damn, he wanted to punch something. No, not something. He wanted to punch out Spaulding.
I swear if they release him—I’ll—I’ll kill him.
“Jake, wait up.” Louie Romanelli followed him out of the bullpen.
“Not now.” Jake kept walking.
Louie caught up to him and grabbed his arm as he would a suspect and twirled him around. If he wanted to, Jake could’ve decked him. They were evenly matched in height and weight. Instead, he stood rigid. “Talk to me,” Louie said.
“Give me a couple of hours to pull myself together. We’ll meet at my house later if you can. In the meantime, work the Wagner case. I’d hate not to give the Wagners the answers they need.” He didn’t bother to mention the case was similar to Eva’s that, he too needed the closure.
“Tell me what’s wrong. Did McGuire fire you?” Louie’s olive complexion whitened as he asked the question. His dark eyes searched Jake’s face for an answer.
Leave it to Louie. For the first time in over a half hour, he laughed. “No, I’m not fired. Spaulding’s up for parole again and has requested new testing.”
He stared down his friend as Louie processed the information. If it wasn’t for Louie and his family during the weeks and months that followed Eva’s death, he wouldn’t be standing here today.
How different we are, Jake thought. Louie, married for seventeen years to his grade-school sweetheart, now had three kids. He, on the other hand, liked being single. Side by side, though they matched each other in height, his skin tone paled next to Louie’s dark Italian coloring.
“Go back to work. I’ll talk to you later.”
Jake walked away with his head down and his mind spinning out in every direction. No matter what Shamus said, he owed it to Eva to find the answers.
It’s my fault she died.
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How All the Hidden Sins came to life was due to my overactive imagination. While performing the cremations my imagination ran wild with what if scenarios. It took another twenty years before I created and put these ideas to paper. And now I’m excited to share Jake Carrington’s Thriller series with you. I’ve used that experience with cremations as the focal point in All the Hidden Sins, the second book in the series. All content is pure fiction from my inquisitive and devious mind.
In the first book, All the Deadly Lies, it explores how secrets and ego lead to deadly results. The brutal death of a student forces Jake to revisit his sister Eva’s murder seventeen years after she was killed. Her killer is now up for parole and Jake is forced to divide his attention between solving the young student’s case and dealing with his guilt. If he’d only given Eva a ride to her destination when she asked, she’d be alive today. He lives with that remorse every day.
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