Crimes Past

By: Lauren Carr

Prologue


Sixteen Years Ago  The WillardIntercontinental, Washington, DC

An elegant banquet room can entertain wedding guests for only so long—even with an open bar. After a while, they’ll start clamoring for the bride and groom to make their appearance so they can eat.

One hour after the bridal limousine had arrived, the one hundred and eighty guests became antsy.

“Kassandra, where the hell are they?” There was no hint of his usually goodnatured tone in retired Police Captain Rod Pratt’s voice.

Without pause, the matron of honor continued cleaning up the mints her fouryearold daughter had spilled from the table’s centerpiece. “Dad, I told you. They’re freshening up.”

“Is that what they call it nowadays? Couldn’t they have had the decency to wait until after the reception, so their guests don’t starve to death?”

“Lou spilt his drink on Trevor’s shirt. He doesn’t want to look like a drunken mess in the reception pictures.”

“Figures,” Rod muttered. “Who invited Gannon anyway?”

“Kassandra said it would have been rude for Brie to have invited everyone in homicide except Lou,” a darkhaired detective by the name of Rico Sanchez said.

Rico’s wife Clarissa clutched his hand. “It was a mistake to invite everyone.”

“Hey, Kassandra, where’re the bride and groom?” An exceedingly slender woman in a red dress, Joan hurried to the table.

Joan’s husband, Detective Troy Underwood joined them. “The bartender is shutting down the open bar and guests are getting impatient.”

“Aren’t you worried?” Joan asked.

“About what?” Kassandra asked. “Brie is a homicide detective and Trevor is with vice. It isn’t like they can’t take care of themselves.”

“Trained law enforcement officers get killed all the time,” Clarissa said.

“Who said anything about anyone getting killed?” Underwood asked with a laugh. “They just got married. One only needs to use their imagination to conclude what’s taking them so long.”

“Trevor has been bragging to anyone and everyone about personally arresting Artemyev Yurievich’s grandson for running an identity theft ring,” Joan said. “The Yurievichs aren’t going to let some lowly detective in vice get away with something like that.”

“Joan’s right.” Scotch in hand, Captain Will Harrington joined them. No matter how closely he shaved, the veteran detective had a five o’clock shadow on his weathered face. The fine suit looked out of place on his battered frame. “I told Trevor to cut down on the boasting about that bust. The Yurievich family is not one to let this go without making an example of him.”

Kassandra shot a glance to where her thirteenyearold niece twirled in her lovely rosecolored bridesmaid dress. Her auburn hair bounced to the rhythm of her dance.

“Gina looks so happy,” Joan said. “You have been such a good mother to her.”

“She looks just like her mother.” Catching his wife’s eye, Underwood looked to the floor.

“Gina is nothing like her mother,” Kassandra said.

“Have you talked to Brie since they got here?” Clarissa tapped Kassandra on the arm to capture her attention.

“I’m going to light a fire under them.” Rod shoved his way through the guests to exit into the lobby.

“No!” Kassandra grabbed him by the arm. After regaining her composure, she lowered her voice. “I’ll go.”

“I’ll come with you,” Underwood said, only to withdraw his offer after Joan elbowed him in the ribs.

“Most likely, they’re just getting an early start on their wedding night.” Harrington drained his glass. “Nothing to worry about.”

“But you just said Trevor was bragging too much about arresting Malykhin Yurievich,” Rod said, “and was gonna get himself killed.”

“That’s true,” Harrington said. “But what assassin in his right mind is going to walk into this hotel with wall to wall cops and detectives, go up to the bridal suite to kill two detectives, and then walk out?” With a chuckle, he sauntered away.