Craving Vengeance, a Nick Spinelli Mystery
Nick Spinelli’s normal life as a homicide detective has been catapulted into a whirlwind of chaotic holiday adventures ever since he met the beautiful Shannon O’Hara.
Nick had hoped to spend his first Valentine’s Day with Shannon in a traditional manner, starting with a nice dinner out on the town and then perhaps a long warm adventurous night in her arms. His plans quickly change when cupid is found murdered in a back alley. The investigation becomes more and more inconceivable,as Spinelli discovers that Shannon is linked to the victim.
When another cupid turns up dead, and it is discovered that Shannon knows him as well, Spinelli is motivated to go undercover as a singing valentine dressed as cupid, complete with wings and a quiver of arrows. How many other cupids are at risk? Is Spinelli on the killer’s list as well? The stress ignited by the day’s events causes sparks to fly between Spinelli and Shannon as he struggles to piece it all together and stop the string of slayings.
Spinelli’s eyes popped open. He stared into the face of an angel. Was he still sleeping? How was it he had lured this beautiful creature into his life just a little over two months ago? He resisted the urge to run his fingers over her soft, milky white skin. She looked so peaceful when she slept. He would never be bored watching her sleep. Her slow even breaths mesmerized him. Was he dreaming? He almost went so far as to pinch his arm.
Shannon stirred and flipped over. Her shiny red hair spread out over her pillow like wildfire. He didn’t need the nearby streetlight peeking through the window blinds to notice her fiery hair, but it certainly helped to illuminate its zest. Spinelli reached over and skimmed his hand over her soft hair. Silky strands sifted through his fingers sending an electrical current rippling throughout his body. He debated waking her, taking her again. He nearly chuckled at the thought. When they’d first met, they couldn’t stand to be with one another, now they couldn’t stand to be apart. Cupid’s arrow struck him, hard and fast, out of nowhere. He was done, toast.
His cell phone vibrated on the nightstand. He reached over her to grab it before it woke her. Too late. Her beautiful emerald eyes fluttered open. He stared into the sea of green looking back at him, nearly forgetting about the call.
Her full ruby red lips stretched into a soft smile. “Nick, your phone is vibrating.”
His ears focused on the sweet sound of his name rolling off her tongue. No one ever called him by his first name. Everyone called him Spinelli or Detective, even Shannon did when they first met. But at some point over the past couple of months, she had started calling him by his first name. It nearly drove him insane every time she said it. His heart raced. He should take her again.
“Nick,” she whispered, knocking him out of his reverie.
“Your phone is still humming.”
He grabbed his phone from the nightstand. The time in the upper right-hand corner read 4:00 a.m. Captain Jackson’s face flashed across the screen. He tapped the screen and held the phone to his ear. “Spinelli here.”
“Rise and shine, Spinelli. We got one for you, down on Water Street. Male, late 20’s, cause of death not obvious. I’ve already texted you the address. The officers on the scene are cordoning off the premises.”
Though he wasn’t a morning person, not even close, a rush of adrenaline crashed through him like a tidal wave. This is what he lived for, catching killers. He sprang out of bed as Jackson’s words trailed off. “I’m on it,” Spinelli rasped before he disconnected the call.
He retrieved his contact list and tapped Detective Walker’s profile. Walker answered with a growl. Spinelli gave him the details; then he did the same with Detective Marsh.
Spinelli slid into a pair of jeans and pulled a long sleeved navy polo shirt over his head. He grabbed his Beretta 9mm from his nightstand and secured it in his holster before he slung the chain connected to his gold detective badge over his head.
He’d nearly leaped through the bedroom door before he remembered Shannon still lay in his bed, entwined in his comforter. He’d rather it be that she were intertwined with him. He spun on his heel and in two long, quick steps was at her bedside.
Her bright green gaze fixed on him. An amused look covered her face. He knelt down beside the bed. “I gotta go.”
“I gathered that.”
“So I’ll pick you up at your place tonight at 7:00?” he asked, confirming their dinner date.
Spinelli arched a brow. “No?”
Shannon rubbed her eyes. “I mean yes to dinner, but can we push it back to 8:00? I know that’s getting late, but I’m scheduled to do the singing valentines for the church fundraiser from 4:00 until 7:00.”
“Oh, okay. I’ll change the dinner reservation.”
He leaned forward and brushed his lips lightly across hers. He knew he had to keep it light or he wouldn’t be able to leave.
She didn’t play fair. She reached up, wrapped her arms around his neck, and pulled him to her. He let her, he was weak. His mind was mush.
He responded to her demand for more and deepened the kiss. His tongue passed through her lips. She tasted sweet. How did she always taste so sweet? His heart pounded in his chest.
Suddenly, Captain Jackson’s words from moments ago echoed in his head. We got one for you, down on Water Street. Male, late 20’s, cause of death not obvious. Christ, he’d nearly forgotten he had a dead body to attend to.
He pried his lips from Shannon’s, nearly needing the help of a mechanic with a crowbar.
He rose to his feet, willing his knees to support him. She always left him weak-kneed, and she probably didn’t have a clue. “I’ll see you tonight. I have a special Valentine’s evening planned for us.”
* * * *
Shannon watched Nick walk out the door, sure that if he were to turn and look at her one more time with those dark charcoal eyes, she’d probably melt in an instant. He had the most intense eyes.
She curled into a ball and pulled the thick comforter up around her neck. His masculine scent coated the soft material, stimulating her senses, as if his mouthwatering kiss hadn’t already left her completely aroused. She wished he hadn’t had to leave. Another round of lovemaking would have been ideal. She’d had a taste of him, and now she couldn’t seem to get enough.
She giggled at the thought of their rocky start. When she’d first met him she thought he was the most cold-hearted, egotistical human being she’d ever met. She’d never been more wrong in her life. He turned out to be exactly the opposite. Never in her life had she met anyone so caring, giving, and loving. His rough exterior was just a front he used to shield himself, as a result of his unfortunate upbringing. Growing up on the streets with a drug-addicted mother certainly took its toll on him.
A sense of pride crept through her as she thought about all he’d accomplished; finishing high school on his own after his mother died when he was only sixteen, then going on to college, and becoming one of M
ilwaukee’s finest homicide detectives. It took a strong person to accomplish such. She admired his strength and determination.
Covert Exposure, a Nick Spinelli Mystery
Detective Spinelli’s life is tossed sideways when he is reassigned from the Homicide division to assist in the Child Services division of the Social Services Department for the holiday season. From the beginning, Spinelli and Caseworker Shannon O’Hara generate their own kind of fireworks, causing more than the normal workplace stress. They both have their own philosophies for dealing with the clientele. However, the forces of nature have their own plan for Spinelli and Shannon.
Shannon moonlights as Santa Claus’ little helper at the mall, and when Santa and an elf turn up dead Shannon appears to be next on the killer’s list. Spinelli is placed back on homicide and goes undercover as Santa to help capture the killer. He catches a great deal of grief along the way but will he capture the heart of his little Santa’s helper as well?
Spinelli followed Shannon to her office, unable to peel his eyes from her shapely legs. His nostrils narrowed, sucking in every ounce of the sweet scent that lingered in the air behind her. She gestured for him to take a seat in a chair opposite her desk. Her phone rang and she picked up the receiver as she sat down. As she spoke on the telephone, he scanned her small office memorizing every detail like detectives tend to do. He couldn’t help but notice how just a touch of feminine warmth accented the professional décor. His eyes shifted from the photo of an older couple, perhaps in their early seventies, to a photo of three little red-headed boys. He wondered if the boys belonged to her. He glanced at her left hand, no ring.
Shannon hung up the phone receiver. “I’m sorry about that, Detective Spinelli,” she said as she thumbed through the mounds of neatly organized stacks of case files on her desk, “here it is…the Washington file.”
Spinelli watched as she flipped the file open and lost herself in the information for a brief moment. She blew out a sigh and looked up at him. He could easily see the sadness flood her big green eyes. Shannon cleared her throat. “The authorities picked up Gilbert Washington early this morning as a result of a domestic abuse call.”
“What happened? What did he do?” he asked as he leaned back in his chair and crossed his arms over his chest.
“Apparently the neighbor placed the 911 call when he heard Gilbert and his wife, Charmane, arguing. A loud thud followed the arguing. The neighbor assumed the cause of the thud was Gilbert throwing Charmane against the wall. As it turned out the neighbor was right. Unfortunately the kids witnessed the entire exchange.”
Shannon shook her head. “We’ve offered Charmane assistance for herself and her children but she refuses to leave Gilbert. As a result, today we will be removing the children from the home and placing them in foster care.”
“Why does she refuse to leave him?”
“Scared perhaps.” Shannon sighed and shook her head. “And he’s probably her crack supplier.”
“Is Gilbert still in lockup?”
“Yes, so it would probably be a good idea to head over there and remove the children before he’s released.”
“I’ll get my unmarked and meet you up front,” Spinelli replied as he sprang to his feet and headed for the door. Before his third step hit the floor he heard Shannon call his name. He turned to find her standing behind her desk holding up a set of keys.
He cocked his head to the side. “What?”
“We’ll take one of the vehicles assigned to Social Services. They’re fully equipped with car seats for matters such as these,” Shannon said as she handed the keys to him. “You can drive so I can review the file some more.”
“Car seats? How many children are we talking about here?”
“Three. The oldest, Lesha is seven, Darius is three and Christina is nine months old.”
Spinelli followed Shannon to the parking lot. She pointed at a dark green Dodge minivan. “That’s the one.”
He shifted his eyes from the minivan to Shannon and then back to the van. “That, we’re taking that?” No red lights, no sirens, no excitement. Life as he knew it was slipping away from him.
“Perhaps you could just get in and drive, and forget the comments,” Shannon said as she climbed in through the passenger door.
Spinelli got in on the driver’s side and started the engine. He adjusted the seat to accommodate his long legs, then the mirrors. Once he finished altering everything, he glanced over at Shannon.
“What?” she asked.
He shook his head. “I’m just wondering how I got here. Yesterday I was a homicide detective and today I’m driving a minivan that smells like sweaty socks.”
“I’m sorry you’re not pleased with your assignment but we need to get going if we are going to remove the children before Gilbert makes bail.”
Spinelli put the minivan in drive and headed toward the Washington home located just north of downtown, on Cherry Street. He knew that area could mean trouble. His senses moved into “full alert” mode.
About The Author
Valerie Clarizio lives in beautiful Door County Wisconsin with her husband and extremely spoiled cat. She loves to read, write, and spend time at her cabin in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. She’s lived her life surrounded by men, three brothers, a husband, and a male Siamese cat who required his own instruction manual. Keeping up with all the men in her life has turned her into a successful hunter and fisherwoman.
She is a member of Romance Writers of America and the Wisconsin Romance Writers of America. Additionally, she was a finalist in the 2011 Celtic Hearts Romance Writers, Novellas Need Love, Too! Contest.
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