The Deception by Kat Martin

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THE DECEPTION, by Kat Martin


After her meltdown at the bar, which still embarrassed her, Kate spent the following week hounding the Dallas Police Department.

Chrissy's case had been assigned to a homicide detective named Roger Benson, an older guy with thinning brown hair and a bad attitude.  She'd done a little digging, found out he had previously worked in the sex crimes division, an unabashed misogynist who acted as if he believed all women were whores and was completely the wrong person to be handling cases in that department--which was probably why he now worked in homicide.

She tried to give him the benefit of the doubt, figuring the crimes he had worked had changed him into the man he had become.  Or maybe he had always been like that.  Either way, Kate didn't like him.

"Your sister was using the name Tina Galen," he told her when she appeared in his office demanding answers for the fourth day in a row.  "She was a heroin addict and a known prostitute."

Her heart squeezed, though the police had already told her those things.  "She was murdered, Detective.  Her killer needs to face justice."

"I'm sorry for your loss, Ms. Gallagher.  We're doing everything we can to locate the person who killed her, but in circumstances like these, the odds of finding him aren't good."

"The killer must have left evidence.  Fingerprints or DNA.  Something."

"We're working on it.  We believe Tina hooked up with a john who liked rough sex.  That night, he got carried away, beat her worse than he meant to, and killed her.  If that's the case, he may have assaulted women before."

"So you'll be able to find him."

"Like I said, we're working on it.  You need to let us do our job, Ms. Gallagher.  Coming down here every day and badgering us isn't going to help.  Now if you don't mind, I've got things I need to do.  Your sister's case isn't the only one on my desk."

She glanced over at the stack of files on the detective's desk and bit back a sharp retort.  "Yes, I can see that."  And clearly, arguing with Benson wasn't going to get her anywhere. 

As she left the police station, it occurred to her there was a good chance nothing she said or did was going to get the answers she was determined to get in regard to Chrissy's death. 

She needed someone to help her.  A detective who worked directly for her and strictly on her sister's murder case.

At twenty-nine, she was the owner of Gallagher and Company Consulting, an up-and-coming management consulting firm.  And though there were only two other analysts in the office so far, plus a receptionist who acted as her personal assistant, she had built a solid reputation during the time she'd been working in Dallas, and the company was making money.

She could afford to hire a private investigator.

Arriving in the lobby of the five-story building on North Akard near McKinney where the office was located, she waved at one of the security guards, a big guy named Clay, as she passed.

Kate's stomach tightened.  Clay didn't have the thick dark hair and gorgeous blue eyes of the man she had nearly had sex with in the parking lot of the Sagebrush Saloon, but he was almost as tall, with the same rock-solid body.  Every time she saw Clay, who was older and not nearly as good-looking, she thought of Jason "Hawk" Maddox and felt a combination of embarrassment and a ridiculous rush of heat.   

Dear God, she had never been more turned on in her life.  When he'd hauled her out on the dance floor and pulled her into his big, powerful arms, it occurred to her for the first time, she might really go through with the hookup she had only imagined. 

Maddox really knew how to dance.  And he could he kiss.  She could have kissed him for hours. 

Thank God, she had come to her senses before it was too late.  She didn't do hookups, especially with hot, muscle-jocks in jeans and scuffed boots.  She didn't have sex with strangers. 

But after she'd left the morgue, she had gone a little crazy.  Crying hadn't done a lick of good and eventually she had managed to pull herself together, but the terrible feelings of guilt and failure would not go away.

It didn't matter that she and Chrissy, an accidental baby eleven years younger, had never been close, that by the time Chrissy was in high school, Kate had moved from the small Texas town of Rockdale to Dallas. 

She was working full time for Bain Consulting as a junior member of one of their teams when Chrissy began having problems with drugs and alcohol, and behaving promiscuously with boys.  Kate had gone back to Rockdale to talk to her but it hadn't done any good.  A few months later, her sister had run away from home, and though the police had done everything in their power to find her, Kate had never seen her again.

Not until the police had called with the terrible news of her murder and Kate had gone to the morgue.

How she'd wound up half drunk at the Sagebrush Saloon still wasn't completely clear.  She'd just been desperate to get the image of Chrissy's battered and bludgeoned body out of her head, and for a while in the backseat with Jason, it had actually worked. 

It was impossible to think of anything but those big hands on her breasts and the thick ridge beneath the fly of his jeans.  God, she had never known that kind of want before. 


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