.38 Caliber Cover-Up Unpublished Prologue

.38 Caliber Cover-Up
ISBN: 0373695292

This prologue was written specifically for this blog and is NOT a part of the official Harlequin Intrigue release.

A hero was dead.

Erren Rhodes felt as dead as the man being entombed below.

The funeral was small and hard to see from the top of a hill. He couldn’t get closer, but he could hear everything. Simple. Probably to the old man’s specs.

He caught himself swallowing hard, began to sway and unlocked his knees. The mid-September Texas heat and humidity were catching him off guard. He’d wait until everyone left. Starting his bike would draw attention. He hadn’t missed the entire funeral, just to blow his cover now.

Damn shame he couldn’t pay proper respects to his mentor, his friend. But he’d find the murderer if it were the last thing he did. Sounded old-fashioned and mobster family, but he didn’t care. First things first. He needed information. The old man had sent for him but was dead two days later.


He’d been asking the question a lot recently. The whole inner dialogue thing started when he’d helped out Steve Woods and his girlfriend. New assignments after his cover had been blown. New problems. Resulting in no new enthusiasm. Just an old need to get out of undercover work.

The uniformed guard handed the folded flag to a woman. He didn’t know her. He hardly knew anyone. Hardly? He didn’t know any of them. Maybe a couple of faces from the Police Academy. He’d been away from home too long.

Erren wiped a drop of sweat from his forehead, pushing his long hair back behind his ears. “I should have bought a Big Gulp,” he mumbled to the birds flittering back and forth across the pavilion. You might not be in front of his grave, fool, but you are at Pike’s funeral. He was the only person who knew who you were. “Been under too long for me to even know who I am any more.”

The crowd was breaking up. Some genuine grief. Lots of drama for the cameras. Hell, there was a lot of news media. Murdered cops tended to bring ‘em out of the woodwork. Just longer to wait in the heat. Sunlight bounced into his eyes. An empty casing from the earlier honor guard.

Reaching down to pick it up, he stayed on one knee. He could see under the pavilion roof enough to watch a tall redhead lay the flag on Walter’s coffin and drop to her knees. She was visibly upset.

Another unanswerable “Why” escaped his lips. He didn’t have time to figure it out.

He had to find a murderer.

~ ~ ~


Erren Rhodes was elusive to me for many years. Until I saw this photo of Jake Gyllenhaal in Prince of Persia.

Then it clicked. Not certain what in my writer's mind kept me from visualizing him. But his story was just as elusive until I saw this particular photograph (the one on the right). Erren's voice is a little deeper. He smiles a little less, but I've always thought of him as "scruffy-looking."
Definitely a T-Shirt kinda guy.
Definitely a teaser.
Definitely a loner.
And definitely hurting. Longing for a connection. Something to drag him from numbness.
~ ~ ~
Romantic Suspense Basket Contest
Chocolate, DVDs & lots of books.
Check Angi's website for rules and details.
Friend her on Facebook or Twitter.
~ ~ ~
Question for today? What defines a hero for you?


  1. A rugged man, who's willing to put his life on the line in defending his own and anybody he cares about's honour!

  2. You mean hero in a romance novel context I assume? Hmmm... My bottom line is he can't be an a-hole. Physically, I'm a sucker for big shoulders, big hands... :) You know what they say: Big hands... big gloves.*

    *(I stole, and slightly twisted, that from an early Pee-Wee Herman episode...)

  3. HI NAS !!

    At first I thought you were describing Erren. LOL


  4. Never really heard that one before, Maureen. I was eating my 2nd breakfast and neary choked. LOL

    I've heard versions...like this one.
    Oh and it could be ANY type of hero.

  5. Just discovered Get Lost in a Story ~ now I'll be reading the older posts for a lot longer than I have time for.

    I love strong heroes who know what they believe in and are willing to fight for it. They don't have to be really good looking. I like them to be vulnerable in their love for the heroine in the end. You are writing for Intrigue so the ability to laugh at oneself doesn't usually come up in this type of story but that's a quality I like in people in general.

  6. We have, of course, our real life heroes, like men and women in uniform and every day people who run into burning buildings to rescue strangers.

    Then the fiction ones. I keep thinking of Han Solo right before he gets frozen in carbonite. Princess Leia says, "I love you," and he says, "I know." Classic.

  7. Welcome Kaelee... Happy Reading !

    LOL --I laugh at myself all the time. BFF Kaelee!


  8. Abigail you are a woman after my own heart (that doesn't sound weird does it? LOL). Love Han Solo, his looks, actions, classic bad boy hero.

    "Who's scruffy-lookin'?"


  9. Thanks for another awesome day. Especially to Donnell for the inspiration and question about heroes. THANKS THANKS THANKS THANKS