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6. Justice For All
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bold strokes books

e-Books

E-Books are not transferable. They cannot be sold, shared or given away as it is an infringement on the copyright of this work.

Acclaim for Radcly ffe’s Fiction Lammy winner “…Stolen Moments is a collection of steamy stories about women who just couldn’t wait. It’s sex when desire overrides reason, and it’s incredibly hot!” – On Our Backs

Lammy winner “…Distant Shores, Silent Thunder weaves an intricate tapestry about passion and commitment between lovers. The story explores the fragile nature of trust and the sanctuary provided by loving relationships.” – Sapphic Reader

Shield of Justice is a “…well-plotted…lovely romance…I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough!” – Ann Bannon, author of The Beebo Brinker Chronicles A Matter of Trust is a “… sexy, powerful love story filled with angst, discovery and passion that captures the uncertainty of first love and its discovery.” – Just About Write

“The author’s brisk mix of political intrigue, fast-paced action, and frequent interludes of lesbian sex and love…in Honor Reclaimed…sure does make for great escapist reading.”

– Q Syndicate

Lammy Finalist Justice Served delivers a “…crisply written, fast-paced story with twists and turns and keeps us guessing until the final explosive ending.” – Independent Gay Writer Change of Pace is “… contemporary, yet timeless, not only about sex, but also about love, longing, lust, surprises, chance meetings, planned meetings, fulfilling wild fantasies, and trust.” – Midwest Book Review

“Radcly f fe has once again pulled together all the ingredients of a genuine page-turner, this time adding some new spices into the mix. shadowland is sure to please—in part because Radcly f fe never loses sight of the fact that she is telling a love story, and a compelling one at that.” – Cameron Abbott, author of To The Edge and An Inexpressible State of Grace Lammy Finalist Turn Back Time is filled with…“wonderful love scenes, which are both tender and hot.” – MegaScene

“Innocent Hearts… illustrates that our struggles for acceptance of women loving women is as old as time—only the setting changes. The romance is sweet, sensual, and touching.” –

Just About Write

In Lammy Finalist When Dreams Tremble the “…focus on character development is meticulous and comprehensive, filled with angst, regret, and longing, building to the ultimate climax.” – Just About Write

“Sweet No More…snarls, teases and toes the line between pleasure and pain.” – Best Lesbian Erotica 2008

“Word of Honor takes the reader on a great ride. The sex scenes are incredible…and the story builds to an exciting climax that is as chilling as it is rewarding.” – Midwest Book Review By the Author

Romances

Innocent Hearts

Fated Love

Love’s Melody Lost

Turn Back Time

Love’s Tender Warriors

Promising Hearts

Tomorrow’s Promise

When Dreams Tremble

Passion’s Bright Fury

The Lonely Hearts Club

Love’s Masquerade

Night Call

shadowland

The Provincetown Tales

Safe Harbor

Beyond the Breakwater

Distant Shores, Silent Thunder

Storms of Change

Winds of Fortune

Honor Series

Justice Series

Above All, Honor

A Matter of Trust (prequel)

Honor Bound

Shield of Justice

Love & Honor

In Pursuit of Justice

Honor Guards

Justice in the Shadows

Honor Reclaimed

Justice Served

Honor Under Siege

Justice for All

Word of Honor

Erotic Interludes: Change Of Pace

(A Short Story Collection)

Radical Encounters

(An Erotic Short Story Collection)

Stacia Seaman and Radclyffe, eds.:

Erotic Interludes 2: Stolen Moments Erotic Interludes 3: Lessons in Love Erotic Interludes 4: Extreme Passions Erotic Interludes 5: Road Games

Romantic Interludes 1: Discovery

Visit us at www.boldstrokesbooks.com

JUSTICE

FOR ALL

by

RADCLY f FE

2009

JUSTICE FOR ALL

© 2009 By Radclyffe. all Rights ReseRved.

isBN 10: 1-60282-074-0e

isBN 13: 978-1-60282-074-6e

This ElEcTronic Book is PuBlishEd By

Bold sTrokEs Books, inc.,

P.o. Box 249

VallEy Falls, ny 12185

FirsT EdiTion: aPril 2009

This is a Work oF FicTion. naMEs, characTErs, PlacEs, and incidEnTs arE ThE ProducT oF ThE auThor’s iMaGinaTion or arE usEd FicTiTiously. any rEsEMBlancE To acTual PErsons, liVinG or dEad, BusinEss EsTaBlishMEnTs, EVEnTs, or localEs is EnTirEly coincidEnTal.

This Book, or ParTs ThErEoF, May noT BE rEProducEd in any ForM WiThouT PErMission.

cRedits

EdiTors: JEnniFEr kniGhT, ruTh sTErnGlanTz and sTacia sEaMan ProducTion dEsiGn: sTacia sEaMan

coVEr dEsiGn By shEri ( [email protected]) Acknowledgments

This book belongs to all the readers who asked for this series to continue and who have supported and encouraged me in its creation. My deepest gratitude.

Many thanks to first readers Connie, Diane, Eva, Paula, RB, and Tina, and to Jennifer Knight, Ruth Sternglantz, and Stacia Seaman for outstanding editorial guidance. Congratulations to Sheri for reading my mind on cover design yet again.

And to Lee, for always wanting another story. Amo te.

Radclyffe 2009

Dedication

For Lee

All Ways

Justice for All

PROLOgUE

Tell me again, Vincent, how it is that in six months I’ve lost a third of my income.”

Before the visibly sweating man standing in front of his desk could reply, Kratos Zamora swiveled his leather desk chair to face the floor-to-ceiling plate glass windows. His office on the twenty-fifth floor of the high-rise he owned in Center City commanded a view from downtown Philadelphia across the Delaware River into southern New Jersey. The panorama was book-ended by the Benjamin Franklin Bridge to the north and the Walt Whitman to the south. The Port of Philadelphia stretched off to his right and, as the silent seconds passed, he contemplated a cargo ship lumbering up to the pier loaded with twenty-by-forty-foot containers stacked ten high. Some of those carried his legitimate products, and others should have carried his far more lucrative merchandise. And there was his problem.

Squinting slightly in the late afternoon sun, he continued in a conversational tone as if reading from a grocery list. “Seventy-five percent of the online entertainment revenues and over half of the escort service’s have dried up. And now,” he paused to spin back around,

“you’re telling me our direct line to City Hall has disappeared. Did I hear that right?”

“Not exactly disappeared,” the big man in the ill-fitting suit answered diffidently. “More like…dead.”

Kratos winced inwardly, because even though his offices were routinely swept for surveillance devices at the start of every eight-hour shift, he still avoided discussing business indoors. He’d rather take his chances outside where traffic noise and physical obstacles made long-

• 11 •

RADclY fFe

range audio surveillance problematic. However, most of his men had grown up in a different era and were slow to retrain. He had inherited the business from his father only five years before, at the age of thirty-two, even though his older brother Gregor was the first son. Gregor had his talents, but they tended to be of the physical variety. Kratos had earned his MBA at Wharton and their father, in a break with tradition, had named him heir to Zamora Enterprises. Surprisingly, Gregor hadn’t objected and now served as Kratos’s security chief. Many people assumed Gregor headed the family and Kratos was content to let the fallacy go unchallenged. There were advantages to being seen as a legitimate businessman. In fact, he considered himself a modern entrepreneur, even if on occasion he employed methods that were never covered in his curriculum at the University of Pennsylvania. A flexible approach was necessary in order to secure his goals.

“You didn’t answer my original question,” he prodded gently. He knew the answer, of course, but in lieu of killing the messenger, he would merely make him suffer. Crossing his knees and casually flicking a nonexistent wrinkle out of the leg of his charcoal gray blended-silk trousers, he regarded Vincent Costa with a bland expression.

Vincent, one of his more trusted captains, folded his hands over his crotch and stared into space. “There’s this new unit…the High Profile—”

“Yes, I’m aware of it.” Kratos glanced at the single sheet of paper in the center of his desk.

A list of names and nothing else was typed down the left-hand side: Detective Lieut. Rebecca Frye, Detective First William Watts, Detective Third Dellon Mitchell, JT Sloan, and Jason McBride. The High Profile Crimes Unit. An odd assortment of local law enforcement and civilian consultants first formed to break an Internet pornography ring that used underage models. That online entertainment operation just happened to be neatly folded into one of Zamora Enterprise’s subsidiary corporations, and its loss had been costly. Only days ago, this crime unit had intercepted a delivery of young girls destined to become stars in high-demand pornography films as well as call girls for an exclusive escort service also run by Zamora Enterprises.

“What I don’t understand is how they’ve managed to do in a few months what an entire police force hasn’t been capable of in two decades.”

• 12 •

Justice for All

“I don’t know, boss.”

“Guess, Vincent.” Kratos needed men like Vincent, men who were close to the street, far closer to the blood and the grime than he had ever been. While he was welcome at $10,000-a-plate benefit dinners and luncheoned frequently with the mayor, he had never personally pulled the trigger on an enemy. He’d never walked the mean streets except as a boy under his father’s protection. He wasn’t bothered by the fact there were things his men could do better than he, as long as he was certain that they never knew it.

“It’s the computers,” Vincent said, blinking as a trickle of sweat settled in the corner of his eye.

Interested, Kratos sat forward and clasped his hands in the center of his desk on top of the offending list. The sunlight glinted off the heavy gold signet ring he wore on the small finger of his right hand.

The edge of his pristine white cuff covered a portion of the list, so all he could see was the name Rebecca. “What do you mean?”

“It’s not like the old days, you know? Used to be cops were out on the streets, listening to the chatter and squeezing their snitches to find out what was going on. Hell, now they can follow you with that little chip thing in your cell phone. They don’t even have to get out of their car.”

“Are you saying our electronic security is a problem?”

Vincent lowered his gaze to meet Kratos’s. “Couldn’t hurt beefing it up, but that’s not gonna stop them. They fingered our inside man at City Hall pretty fast, and they pulled in all the midlevel porn distributors by tracking them through their computers. They’re good, boss.”

“We’ve got some muscle in that area too,” Kratos said, thinking of the leggy redhead who had set up the spyware that had ultimately given him access to confidential records at City Hall and One Police Plaza. She was good, very good. But one of the first things he’d learned from his father was never to go into a fight with only one plan of attack.

“What happens if we break up this unit?”

“Buys us time. Maybe permanently.” Vincent’s eyes glinted. “You want me to arrange some accidents?”

Kratos sighed, bothered less by the indiscreet question than the option itself. Assassination was not his preferred approach, not because it concerned him to neutralize his adversaries, but because murder was usually sloppy and always drew unwanted attention. He’d been opposed

• 13 •

RADclY fFe

to eliminating the undercover officers who’d gotten close to exposing the kiddie porn operation but had finally consented in order to assuage his new Russian business partners. The compromise seemed necessary to gain a greater percentage of the profits, but as a result, he and his businesses were coming under far more scrutiny than the Russians. He didn’t want to invite even more.

“Perhaps there’s another way,” he said, recalling another of his father’s lessons. Where there was an obstacle, there was usually an opportunity also. “After all, we need a new representative at One Police Plaza.”

“Turn one of those cops?” Vincent laughed, then quickly smothered his smile. “From what I hear, they’re all a bunch of Boy Scouts.”

Kratos leaned back and tapped the list with one finger. Five people—three women, two men. “Find me the weak link.”

“I heard some of them are queers.”

“If you heard it, then it’s common knowledge and blackmail would be pointless. No,” Kratos mused. “It won’t be greed that provides the lever we need, and it won’t be power. It won’t even be fear of death.”

He smiled, enjoying the challenge. “It will be love.”

“Boss?” Vincent frowned.

“Bring me everything you can find about their families.”

• 14 •

Justice for All

ChAPTER ONE

Rebecca Frye studied her face in the mirror over the tiny sink in her hospital room’s bathroom. The harsh institutional light mercilessly highlighted the purple-and-green bruise that extended from her left temple down her cheek to the angle of her jaw. Her upper eyelid was so swollen she could barely make out the ice blue rim of her iris.

At least the blood in her hair was gone. She’d finally gotten a shower after two days of insisting to the nurses that she was perfectly capable of standing upright. Actually, the first time she’d tried to get out of bed, the room or her head—or possibly both—had spun so badly she’d nearly vomited. Thank Christ Catherine hadn’t been there to witness the episode.

Rebecca wasn’t bothered by the mess the gunshot had made of her face. To her way of thinking, if she was standing up and able to see the damage, she was way ahead of the game. What bothered her was that every time her lover, Dr. Catherine Rawlings, looked at her, she would be reminded how close Rebecca had come to being a casualty.

Catherine tried to hide her worry and her fear, but the shadows flickering just below the surface of her green eyes gave her away. For Rebecca, the pain of being shot was nothing compared to the pain of knowing Catherine was suffering because of her.

She opened and closed her jaw carefully. Stiff and sore, but in working order. For a few seconds she contemplated trying to cover the bruises with makeup, but that would only call more attention to the injury. And no attempt at camouflage was going to diminish the reality

• 15 •

RADclY fFe

of what had happened. She turned away from the mirror, flicked off the overhead lights, and padded barefoot back into her room.

Catherine stood by the windows, her arms folded beneath her breasts, her back to Rebecca. She wore a sage green silk suit, the slim skirt coming to just above her knees, the jacket cinched at the waist.

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