A new miniseries from Harlequin Intrigue. Welcome to the Tactical Crime Division, a rapid-deployment joint team of FBI agents specializing in hostage negotiation, missing persons, IT, profiling, shootings and terrorism, with Director Jill Pembrook at the head.
Today I’m featuring an excerpt from book 2 in the Tactical Crime Division mini-series, Secret Investigation. Enjoy!
In the wake of a tragedy, the Tactical Crime Division is the first call. When ironclad body armor inexplicably fails and soldiers perish, the Tactical Crime Division jumps into action. Agent and former ranger Davis Rogers asks to go undercover to find the traitor responsible for the death of one of his friends, and Petrov Armor CEO Leila Petrov is happy to provide access to her company…especially once she discovers she’s being framed. But will their joint efforts be enough to uncover the truth?
As in the Bureau, dying in the field was a possibility you accepted. You did whatever you could to prevent it, but if it happened, you knew you’d be going out doing something you believed in. But not like this. Not the way Jessica had died, trusting the military, trusting her training, trusting her equipment.
“I want to take the lead on this case,” Davis blurted. Gazes darted to him: from profiler Dr. Melinda Larsen, silently assessing, suspicion in her eyes, as if she somehow knew he had a history with one of the victims. Always buttoned-up Laura Smith was quiet and unreadable, but her Ivy League brain was probably processing every nuance of his words. JC, staring at him with understanding, even though he didn’t realize Davis knew Jessica personally. No one on the team did. “Is your personal investment in this case going to be a hindrance or a help?” Pembrook asked, voice and gaze steady.
Davis’s spine stiffened even more. She was talking about his army background. She had to be. But if she thought he was going to fidget, she underestimated the hell he’d gone through training to be a ranger for the army. “A help. I’m familiar with how the army works. And I’m familiar with the product. I’ve worn Petrov Armor vests.”
Petrov Armor had supplied the body armor Jessica and her team had been wearing during the ambush. That armor—supposedly the newest and best technology—had failed spectacularly, resulting in the deaths of all but three of the soldiers and one of the locals. In his mind it wasn’t the insurgents who had killed Jessica and her team. It was Petrov Armor.
He didn’t mention the rest. He’d more than just worn the vests. He’d had a chance to be an early tester of their body armor, back when he was an elite ranger and Petrov Armor was better known for the pistols they made than their armor. He’d given the thumbs-up, raving about the vest’s bullet-stopping power and comfort in his report. He’d given the army an enthusiastic endorsement to start using Petrov Armor’s products more broadly. And they had.
“I’m not talking about the armor,” Pembrook replied, her gaze still laser-locked on his, even as agent-at-large Kane Bradshaw slipped into the meeting late and leaned against the doorway. “I’m talking about Jessica Carpenter.” Her voice softened. “I’m sorry for your loss.”
The gazes on him seemed to intensify, but Davis didn’t shift his from Pembrook’s. “Thank you. And no, it won’t affect my judgment in the case.”
Pembrook nodded, but he wasn’t sure if she believed him as she looked back at the rest of the group and continued her briefing. “Petrov Armor won a big contract with the military five years ago. The armor this team was wearing is their latest and greatest. It’s not worn widely yet, but their earlier version armor is commonly used. The military is doing a full round of testing across all their branches. They’ve never had a problem with Petrov Armor before, and they don’t intend to have another.
“Meanwhile, they’ve asked us to investigate at home. We got lucky with the news coverage. We’re still not sure how it was leaked, but not all of it got out. Or if it did, the news station only played a small part. And somehow they don’t have the name of the body armor supplier. Not yet,” she said emphatically. “Rowan, we don’t have to worry about PD this time. I’m putting you on the media. Hendrick can lend computer support if you need it.”
Rowan Cooper nodded, looking a little paler than usual, but sitting straighter.
Publishers Weekly bestselling and award-winning author ELIZABETH HEITER likes her suspense to feature strong heroines, chilling villains, psychological twists and a little romance. Her research has taken her into the minds of serial killers, through murder investigations, and onto the FBI Academy’s shooting range. Her novels have been published in more than a dozen countries and translated into eight languages. Visit her at www.elizabethheiter.com.