Justice Hunter

By: Jennifer Morey

Chapter 1



Lucas Curran bent his head against the biting Wyoming breeze, wondering for the hundredth time why a man like Kadin Tandy would choose a place like this to headquarter his renowned cold-case investigations agency. Similar to Lucas’s hometown in Montana, Rock Springs offered Wild-West isolation. No concrete jungle here. Very few violent crimes and yet...that was exactly what Dark Alley Investigations fought.

Crossing the street, he took in the classy sign jutting out from an old, two-story brick building. Quaint. Understated. No one would guess what grisly crimes this agency took on. A row of shops lined Main Street, Christmas lights off on this cringe-worthy, overcast day. Some cars crept along the sleepy, snow-swept road. A few hearty geriatrics walked the sidewalks. A couple hurried into a coffee shop. Other than that, only the snow looked busy and bustling.

He stepped up to the charming storefront, which had been renovated with tinted, bulletproof windows. His salvation. His ticket to revenge.

Excitement surged forth again, as it always did with the prospect of taking charge of his sister’s murder investigation. He wouldn’t rest until he avenged her, until he cornered and caged her killer—whoever thought he’d gotten away with the crime. Lucas couldn’t wait to look into his eyes the very moment realization struck that Lucas had caught him.

Charming or not, Dark Alley was his weapon. Above the hanging sign, a second story promised warmth, clean white blinds and gossamer scarves, hinting at a feminine touch. Kadin Tandy lived there—with a woman. No wonder the place looked so deceiving.

Opening the door to the jingle of a bell he would more expect in a bookstore or gift shop, Lucas stepped inside. Kadin Tandy had opened this godsend to those who’d given up on more traditional methods, and he intended to take full advantage of all its resources.

“Can I help you?” a woman behind a desk across the entrance asked. A little on the heavy side, but a real beauty.

The door swung closed with another jingle, shutting out the biting wind and snow. Pictures of cities hung on the walls, and a freshly painted bookshelf to the right had more than books artfully arranged on its shelves. More feminine touches. A Christmas tree dead-center in front of the window had wrapped presents beneath its pine-smelling branches. So cozy. So welcoming...for a hard-core violent crimes special ops unit. He wouldn’t put a mere private investigations label on this agency. Not with a man like Kadin in charge, not with his past and experience, and not with his thirst for bringing ruthless justice down upon the destroyers of innocence.

He walked forward, his black leather combat boots thudding on the refurbished wood floor. “I have an appointment.”

“Lucas?” she asked with a friendly smile. That congenial trait must have helped her land this job. Dealing with grieving, scared families had to be akin to dealing with death in a funeral home.

“Yes.”

“Come on back,” Kadin called from his office, the door left open.

The woman stood up, and when Lucas went inside the office to see Kadin getting up from his chair, she closed the door. All very sensitive to the nature of the business.

Lucas shook Kadin’s hand.

“Welcome aboard,” Kadin said.

He’d contracted him earlier this week and asked him to come in for what he called orientation. All of his operatives were contracted, not hired directly. To allow more freedom, Kadin had explained. Freedom to take risks. Freedom to use force. All without any liability to the company.

“Thanks. I’m happy to be part of the team.”

“Have a seat.”

Lucas sat on a black, real leather chair separated by a table. Kadin took an identical one on the opposite side. Reaching for one of two envelopes on the table, Kadin then handed it to him.

Lucas took it and parted the opening to slide out the pages within. Kadin opened his file on the table and leaned over to read the first page.

“These first few pages summarize what’s in your contract.”

“I read my contract.”

“This is just to make sure you didn’t miss the most important parts.”

“I didn’t miss anything.”

Kadin’s eyes lifted to look at him. “I’m not going to tell you how to carry out an investigation. You should already know that. If you screw up, that’s your responsibility.”

Ah, the price of freedom. Lucas didn’t mind. He’d rather have freedom than let others do the doing for him. And he wouldn’t screw up.

“That wasn’t in the contract.”

“I have three rules that can never be broken,” Kadin said, gaze unflinching. “If you break any of them, I reserve the right to terminate your contract and possibly turn you over to the feds.”

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