Broken Rules:Book 3 in The Broken Road Series

By: Melissa Huie

Dedication





To my wonderfully sassy grandmother, Theresa.

Thank you for being amazing, for being so supportive.

I love you and keep on dancing, Granny.





Prologue



Miami, Florida

December 2015





“I NEED SOMETHING hard and strong to make this day go away.”

I raised my eyebrow and stared straight into the bartender’s golden hazel eyes, the double meaning crystal clear. His full lips curled into a cocky smirk as he reached for the bottle of Maker’s Mark and held it up, his eyes asking if I could handle it. I grinned, as my gaze traveled down the length of his body. The white T-shirt and ripped jeans did nothing to hide the cut of his waist, or his pectoral muscles. I nodded and confirmed that yes—not only could I handle my favorite type of whiskey, but yes—I could handle him as well. I watched as he poured me a double, my eyes tracing the tight cords in his arms. I heaved a sigh and reached for my glass.

“At some point, Paulo, you’re going to realize what you’re missing,” I said with a teasing smile.

“Ah, Kate, I highly doubt that. You don’t have the right equipment to fit my needs,” Paulo replied, wiggling his eyebrows. Of course, I couldn’t keep up with the Cuban Casanova of Miami. I chuckled and sipped my drink. The smooth amber liquid burned as it went down and eased the stress from the day’s events.

Not that I anticipated anything else short of drama. Apparently, bitching out my boss, Special Agent in Charge Rapoles, wasn’t something that just went away quietly. My rant followed me from FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C., last week, to the Miami Field Office. I guess the higher-ups didn’t take too kindly to agents insisting that one of their own, their golden boy, was corrupt, working for the very enemy they were fighting. In fact, they hated the truth so much, that I was being pulled from the very case I’d helped to build, and was being redirected to the Baltimore office. And from there, a trip to Europe for some white-collar case. Management called it a lateral move, but I called it what it really was—bullshit. They wanted to distance me because I was so close to taking down their favorite agent.

I tossed back the rest of the whiskey and gestured to Paulo for another. After I received an ass chewing from the Special Agent in Charge here in Miami, I had the humiliating task of clearing out my office, and doing the walk of shame in front of my fellow agents. People I respected saw me walk out, like a criminal. I had made a name for myself as a take-no-bullshit agent. I was proud of my accomplishments, and not for the first time in my life, felt like a complete and utter failure because I didn’t go by the ‘good ol’ boy code.’ Tommy Greene may be their golden boy, but soon, they’ll know who they’re dealing with. There was no way in hell I’d let something like that go, but I knew the rules. The more I fought with the Bureau, the more I’d lose. I wasn’t raised to lose at anything, so I was going to bide my time and get more concrete evidence before I brought them to their knees.

My orders were to report to Baltimore within a week, but there was no reason to stick around. I returned back to the apartment the Bureau had rented me for the last three years and threw everything into the boxes and bags I had picked up on my way home. Thankfully, my nomad lifestyle definitely came in handy, because all my personal belongings were packed and loaded into my Lexus within an hour. The toiletries, and two extra changes of clothes would fit into my weekend bag. Both my Bureau issued and personal 9mm Glocks were locked safely in their cases, and my messenger bag containing all my notes and files on the Cruz Cartel case were ready to be loaded at first light the next morning.

But after everything was packed up, cleaned up, or thrown out, I couldn’t stand the stillness. Below my apartment, Miami bustled with people and noise, excited for the New Year’s festivities and fireworks. I needed to feel the city one last time. After living here on and off for the last three years, I truly enjoyed the city. Full of life and vibrant colors, it felt like a vacation from my daily grind of working in the shadows, and dealing with the scum of the city. I had made a friend or two in my short time here, and the desire to say good-bye was overwhelming. So I slipped on a denim miniskirt and white T-shirt, and headed down to Abbey Brewing Company, a local hangout.