Saturday, January 8, 2011

CHOSEN TARGET by Melanie Atkins

CHOSEN TARGET - New Orleans Detectives: Book Three by Melanie Atkins

Jadan Calloway's latest night out on the town ends in the death of the man who charmed her off her feet. Now the people who killed Kent are after her, and the only man who can save her is Cole McAlister, the rugged, willful detective who believes she is behind his brother's death. Together they become wrapped up in a web of terrorism and intrigue--and they fall in love.



New Orleans Police Investigative Unit Commander Cole McAlister slammed out of his car beside Jadan's Java and looked around. The city had changed since he'd left for his second stint in Iraq thirteen months ago. The flood after the hurricane had decimated the place, but citizens had rebuilt. This area around the UNO campus seemed to be thriving, with what looked like a bookstore going up next door to the coffee shop. The odors of paint and new lumber mingled with the enticing smell of freshly brewed java.

He shook off the jet lag still dogging him and approached Slade Montgomery, his good friend and most trusted detective, who stood near the coffee shop's glass door jotting notes in a small spiral notebook. "What've we got?"

Slade looked up. "An attempted murder."

"At least it's not another body." Murders were up again this month. Cole ducked beneath the yellow crime scene tape fluttering in the chilly breeze and stuck his hands in his pockets. Slade's mouth curved. "You might change your tune once you learn who almost took a bullet."

"Why would I do that?"

"It's Jadan Calloway."

Jadan. The woman who had been with Kent the night he'd died. Anger rose up to choke Cole. Kent had been his twin. His confidant. His best friend. He turned and peered through the metal-framed door. A pretty blonde woman sat at a table near the counter, her hands wrapped around a colorful mug as she stared blankly into space. Her slim beauty punched Cole like a fist to the gut.

Slade put a hand on his shoulder. "Take it easy, now. She's clean."

"I read your report."

"I couldn't hold her on it." He dropped his hand. "She had no priors, nothing that told me she did it, no evidence that she knew Kent before that night. And now--"

"Someone tried to kill her."

"Looks like it."

"Shit." Cole battled the urge to shove the door open and rail at her. Instead, he blinked back tears and stared out into the night. Kent had been his own flesh and blood. They'd shared the same DNA, the same egg, for God's sake. Cole had been older by five minutes. But Kent had always been the most daring. That point had been driven home by his untimely death. Hot sex in his truck in a parking lot with a stranger.

He set his jaw. "I need to talk to her."

"Figured you'd want to." Slade tucked his notebook into his coat pocket. "Need my help?"

"No, thanks." Cole shook his head. "I can handle it."

Slade bobbed his head. "All right. See you tomorrow."

"Bright and early." He paused until Slade climbed into his car and sped away.

Cole's heart jackhammered as he turned and opened the door. A bell jangled. Jadan looked up, and terror streaked across her face.

A dark-haired girl who looked to be in her early twenties came out from the back and stood behind the counter with her arms crossed.

"What's the matter, Ms. Calloway?" Cole quirked his lips. "You look like you've just seen a ghost."


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