Skip to main content

Excerpt - Covert Pursuit by Terri Reed

Covert Pursuit
Terri Reed

Boston homicide detective Angie Carlucci thought she was getting a much-needed vacation. But her Florida Keys holiday is interrupted when she sees someone dump a body bag in the ocean. In the tangle between arms dealers and treasure hunters, she's the only witness—and the main target. Unless a certain boat captain can keep her safe…

A pretty cop complicating his mission—and endangering his cover—is the last thing federal agent Jason Bodwell needs. Yet the more Jason and Angie work together, the closer they grow. Jason's willing to risk his life to solve the case…what will he risk for love?

Excerpt of chapter one:


The setting sun decorated the sky over the ocean with streaks of red, gold and hints of the midnight that would soon overtake the perfect powder-blue of a summer day in Florida. Light bounced off the waters of the Gulf of Mexico and bathed Homicide Detective Angie Carlucci's restless nature in soothing warmth. She didn't mind the humidity she'd been warned about.

Staring out at the serene horizon, she searched for signs of the brewing storm the weatherman had predicted. There were none that she could see.

Sitting on the deck of her aunt's vacation cottage a stone's throw from the shelled beach of Loribel Island, she tried to unwind against the cushioned backrest of a wooden Adirondack chair and propped her feet on the railing. Inactivity made her antsy.

There wasn't even a television to veg out in front of. And no cable even if she wanted to buy a TV. She'd already tried going online. But noooo. No Internet. Not even a wireless connection she could piggyback on. At least her cell phone picked up a random signal now and again. The roaming charges were going to be murder on her phone bill.

She let out a long-suffering sigh and wiggled her red-tipped toenails, the result of her mother's insistence she have a spa day before leaving Boston on vacation.

Angie had to admit she rather liked the way the polish made her feet look. Small and dainty. So unlike how she normally felt.

Bored, she closed her eyes and breathed in deeply of the fresh salty air, tasting the brine of the ocean, savoring the feel of moisture and heat on her skin.

Come on, relax.

The problem was she didn't see any purpose in a vacation. So she worked more hours than needed, so she didn't have a social life to speak of, that didn't mean she wasn't content with her life. It was everyone around her who thought she needed to take time off.

Rest, everyone kept saying. She slept most nights just fine, thank you very much.

In the distance she heard the rumble of a motorboat. She'd watched so many boats coming and going from the marina a mile or so down the beach that she could almost picture the vessel in her head: sleek, fast and luxurious. Seemed everyone on the island had a boat of some sort.

Maybe tomorrow she'd rent one. That would be fun. And active. Something sleek and fast. Yeah, real fast.

She realized she wasn't the sit-on-the-beach-and-do-nothing sort of vacationer even if she wanted to be.

The noise of the motor cut off abruptly. Angie opened her eyes. Sure enough, a slick, white twenty-five-foot craft with lots of chrome railings bobbed in the water at least a hundred yards offshore. Two white males heaved something long and black over the side of the boat.

Angie's feet dropped to the deck and her heart rate kicked into high gear.

A body bag.

Those men just dumped a body into the ocean!

The engine restarted and the boat sped off.

She jumped to her feet and ran for her cell phone, praying she'd have a strong enough signal to dial 911. She did. She quickly identified herself and explained the situation. The operator put her on hold.

"Seriously?" Angie said to the silent line.

Every instinct in her screamed for action. While keeping the phone cradled between her ear and her shoulder, she searched for her shoes. She crouched down to find one slip-on sneaker under the sofa. The other she found near the stairs leading to the loft bedroom.

From the drawer in the kitchen, she snatched her compact Glock, kangaroo holster and badge before grabbing the keys to her rental car. She left the cottage and drove in her rented convertible toward the marina. She was sure she'd recognize the boat if she saw it again.

Finally, the operator returned to the line.

"The chief's on his way."

"Tell him to meet me at the marina on the south side of the island."

Angie hung up and concentrated on not speeding through the peaceful streets populated with cyclists and pedestrians of all sorts.

Feeling alive for the first time since she'd arrived on the island, Angie savored the rush of adrenaline pumping through her veins. This was what God meant for her to be: protector of the innocent, the righter of wrongs, the one who brought the bad guys to justice and gave the families of the dead peace.

The image of the body bag played across her mind.

Whoever was now at the bottom of the ocean deserved her attention.

She found a parking place in the small lot, then ran to the docks, her gaze seeking out the boat she'd seen. The sun had completely set, but thankfully the tall, high-powered overhead lights provided plenty of illumination as she ran from one end of the dock to the other, searching for the vessel.

Frustration beat an uneven rhythm at her temple. The slick white boat wasn't moored anywhere.

The sudden sensation of being watched raised the fine hairs at the back of her neck. She jerked to a stop and slowly scanned the area for danger. Her gaze landed on a six-foot-two, mid-thirties white male, only a few feet away. He was wiping down the sides of his expensive boat. Curiosity etched in the lines of his strikingly handsome face and radiated from his blue eyes.

It probably wasn't every day he saw a woman running up and down the marina like a crazy person.

Tall, lean and unmistakably well muscled beneath a bright yellow polo shirt and ridiculously loud Bermuda shorts, he looked the quintessential yachtsman. His light brown hair was longer in the front and flopped attractively over his forehead.

Angie arched one eyebrow as a means to deter additional interest. To her chagrin, he smiled. A slow, awareness-grabbing smile that squeezed the air from her lungs.

The screech of tires broke through her momentary daze and made her snap to attention. Dismissing the too-handsome man as any sort of threat, she watched a forest-green truck with a light bar across the cab's roof and the official Loribel Island Police Department decal on the door jerk to a halt at the pathway leading from the parking lot to the docks. An older, silver-haired man stepped out and hurried down the path to her.

Angie turned her back on the good-looking boater to focus on Loribel Island's chief of police. She stuck out her hand. "Chief…?"

"Chief Decker." He shook her hand. "You the one who called in a dead body?"

"Detective Angie Carlucci, Boston P.D.," she said, and then explained the situation.

Decker frowned. "So you didn't actually see the body?"

"I saw a body bag. If you have access to a boat I can take you to where I witnessed the dump. It was approximately a hundred yards from shore."

"You're staying at Teresa Gambini's place, right?" Stroking his chin, Decker glanced at the nearly dark sky. "Well, now, by the time I get one of our boats from the other end of the island it'll be pitch-black out on the water. Even the coast guard wouldn't be able to get a boat out here any sooner."

"And in the meantime the tide carries the body away," Angie stated as disbelief at the man's lack of concern and urgency poured through her.

"That's certainly a possibility. We'll make a wide search of the area. If there is a dead body, there's nothing we can do for the person now. The morning will be soon enough."

Deep down she agreed, dusk was rapidly closing in, but it still galled her to wait. "What time tomorrow?"

Decker shrugged. "Nine, tenish."

"Great. I'll be here at nine," she said, irritated by his lackadaisical attitude. "In the meantime, you could have the other marina checked for the boat I saw."

He gave her a patient smile, showing aged and crooked teeth. "Yes, ma'am, I could do that." He took a small notepad from the breast pocket of his green uniform. "Details?"

She described the boat. "It had three words written across the side, but I think they were in a foreign language."

"That's not much to go on. A lot of boats fit that description. If I have any questions, how can I reach you?"

She rattled off her cell-phone number. "But I'll see you in the morning."

Decker eyed her a long moment. "I think, Detective Carlucci, you should enjoy your vacation on the island and leave the police work to us. If I have anything to tell you, I'll call."

With that he walked back to his truck and drove away. Angie stared after him.

"Well, that was awfully condescending of him," a Southern-accented male voice said behind her.

She whirled around to find herself staring into the smoky-blue eyes of the yachtsman. Up close he was even more appealing. Firm features with strength of character etched in the straight line of his jaw and a confident set to his wide shoulders. Some elemental warning alerted her senses.

She shouldn't be noticing his attractiveness, not when he'd been able to move so close without her knowledge. Usually her senses were sharper, more acute to potential danger.

The tranquility of the island must have dulled her wits, she rationalized and frowned with wariness.

She backed up a step, creating more space between them. "Do you normally eavesdrop on other people's conversations?"

"Only when they're two feet away and aren't exactly keeping their voices low," he said in a tone as smooth as Earl Grey on a brisk New England morning.

Unexpected little shivers traipsed over her skin. She rubbed her arms and conceded his point with a nod. "Right. Excuse me."

She turned to leave. His hand shot out and clasped her right elbow in a tight grip. Alarm flushed through her system. Her heart rammed against her rib cage in a painful cadence. Instinct took over.

She pivoted right, wrenching her elbow back and away as her stiff left hand thumped hard against his forearm, effectively breaking his hold. Once free, she jumped back to land in a fighter's stance, weight on right leg, left leg ready to kick if need be. Her right hand gripped the butt of her holstered weapon.

She'd been wrong. The man posed a threat. She just didn't know how much of one. Or why.

Surprise washed over the guy's face. He jerked his hands up in a show of entreaty, palms out, fingers splayed. "Whoa, whoa! Hey, Detective, I didn't mean any harm."

"Don't move."

"Wouldn't dream of it," he drawled in his thick Southern accent.

"Who are you? And what do you want?"

"Name's Jason Bodewell." He gestured toward the classy boat behind him. "I charter my boat out for the tourist trade."

Taking calming breaths, Angie relaxed her stance slightly. "Okay. So…?"

One side of his well-formed mouth lifted. "So, I was going to offer to take you out."

She blinked. Heat crept up her neck. What? "Out?"

His eyebrows rose. "To look for the body."

A little embarrassed groan escaped. "Oh. Right." So he'd heard everything. What was he? Some sort of crime-scene gawker? Or just a good citizen wanting to help?

Though her heart rate beat faster than normal, the adrenaline eased. She moved her hand away from her Glock and thought about his offer. She really didn't want to wait until morning to get out there and prove that she'd seen a body being dumped. She knew what she'd seen.

Narrowing her gaze, she pinned him with a hard look. "Do you have scuba equipment?"

He nodded. "Are you certified to dive? At night?" Her PADI—Professional Association of Diving Instructors—certification had expired years ago. And she'd never gotten around to getting her night-dive certification. "Are you?" she countered. "I am."

"Would you be willing to dive down?" He flashed a grin. "Would be my pleasure." Now, why did his words give her pause? Why was he so eager to help? "Fine, I'll take you up on the offer. But keep your hands to yourself. And no sudden movements."

"Oh, you can trust me." "I could, but I don't."

His blue eyes twinkled. "I'd be shocked if you did. Considering you're a cop and all." He strode to the boat and untied the ropes from the dock. "Come on, I won't bite," he coaxed. "I promise."

Hoping she wasn't making a mistake, Angie followed. Glad she'd brought her personal firearm with her, she placed her hand back on her weapon. Just in case Jason decided to renege on his promise.

Aware that his attractive guest was as nervous as a long-tailed cat on a porch full of rocking chairs, Jason started the engine and smoothly maneuvered the Regina Lee away from the dock.

Covertly, he glanced over at the detective. He liked the way her brunette hair was pulled back into a wild puff of curls and the way her brown eyes, the color of chicory coffee, observed everything. Her lithe figure moved with grace and agility beneath her denim cropped pants and V-neck T-shirt.

Her peaches-and-cream complexion barely hinting at a touch of sun suggested she hadn't been on the island long. She'd told the chief she was a Boston homicide detective. Her accent attested to that fact. She sounded like she'd been born and raised in Bean Town, too.

She made a credible witness. Yet, she'd been brushed off by the chief like a bothersome mosquito. Curious.

The deck boat the detective had described sounded similar to one reported to be in use by Picard.

Buy from Barnes and Noble
Buy from
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Books a Million

Click here to get 2 Free Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense Books from Harlequin today.

Save 20% off all Love Inspired Suspense Books


Popular Posts

No Cold Bums toilet seat cover

Captain's Log, Stardate 08.22.2008 I actually wrote out my pattern! I was getting a lot of hits on my infamous toilet seat cover , and I wanted to make a new one with “improvements,” so I paid attention and wrote things down as I made the new one. This was originally based off the Potty Mouth toilet cover , but I altered it to fit over the seat instead of the lid. Yarn: any worsted weight yarn, about 120 yards (this is a really tight number, I used exactly 118 yards. My suggestion is to make sure you have about 130 yards.) I suggest using acrylic yarn because you’re going to be washing this often. Needle: I used US 8, but you can use whatever needle size is recommended by the yarn you’re using. Gauge: Not that important. Mine was 4 sts/1 inch in garter stitch. 6 buttons (I used some leftover shell buttons I had in my stash) tapestry needle Crochet hook (optional) Cover: Using a provisional cast on, cast on 12 stitches. Work in garter st until liner measures

Grace Livingston Hill romances free to read online

I wanted to update my old post on Grace Livingston Hill romances because now there are tons more options for you to be able to read her books for free online! I’m a huge Grace Livingston Hill fan. Granted, not all her books resonate with me, but there are a few that I absolutely love, like The Enchanted Barn and Crimson Roses . And the best part is that she wrote over 100 books and I haven’t yet read them all! When I have time, I like to dive into a new GLH novel. I like the fact that most of them are romances, and I especially appreciate that they all have strong Christian themes. Occasionally the Christian content is a little heavy-handed for my taste, but it’s so interesting to see what the Christian faith was like in the early part of the 20th century. These books are often Cinderella-type stories or A Little Princess (Frances Hodgson Burnett) type stories, which I love. And the best part is that they’re all set in the early 1900s, so the time period is absolutely fasci

Preorder ONCE UPON A COURTSHIP and get a free ebook every month!

My novella, Lissa and the Spy , will first be released in the multi-author box set Once Upon a Courtship: A Sweet Historical Romance Collection , and if you preorder now, you’ll be able to subscribe to a special Reader Club Newsletter. Every month from now until October 2024, you’ll get a free Historical Romance ebook from one of the authors in the box set. 1) Preorder Once Upon a Courtship 2) Fill out this form with your order number 3) Get the secret link and SUBSCRIBE to the Once Upon a Courtship Reader Club Newsletter 4) Get your first free book The sooner you preorder, the more free books you’ll get! You’ll also be alerted when the Once Upon a Courtship box set is available to read. The newsletter will end October 2024 and you will NOT be automatically subscribed to the authors’ individual newsletters. You can sign up for their newsletters yourself if you wish. Preorder Once Upon a Courtship

Jane Austen sweepstakes

Win a Library of 30 Historical Romance Novels + Jane Austen Swag Worth $250! This is a delightful surprise I've been eager to share! Join me and 30 extraordinary authors in an enchanting giveaway where we're gifting a vast array of historical romance novels to two fortunate winners! And the cherry on top: The Grand Prize winner will be treated to an exclusive Jane Austen swag pack, worth an impressive $250! You'll get the chance to win a copy of my book, Lady Wynwood’s Spies, volume 1: Archer, as well as novels from renowned authors like Laura Beers and Kasey Stockton. (Please be aware that not all the historical novels in this giveaway are Christian or sweet.) To enter, simply click the magical link below. Wishing you the best of luck and a journey filled with delightful reads! Join Our Giveaway

Tabi socks, part deux

Captain's Log, Stardate 07.25.2008 (If you're on Ravelry, friend me! I'm camytang.) I made tabi socks again! (At the bottom of the pattern is the calculation for the toe split if you're not using the same weight yarn that I did for this pattern (fingering). I also give an example from when I used worsted weight yarn with this pattern.) I used Opal yarn, Petticoat colorway. It’s a finer yarn than my last pair of tabi socks, so I altered the pattern a bit. Okay, so here’s my first foray into giving a knitting pattern. Camy’s top-down Tabi Socks I’m assuming you already know the basics of knitting socks. If you’re a beginner, here are some great tutorials: Socks 101 How to Knit Socks The Sock Knitter’s Companion A video of turning the heel Sock Knitting Tips Yarn: I have used both fingering weight and worsted weight yarn with this pattern. You just change the number of cast on stitches according to your gauge and the circumference of your ankle. Th

Christmas Historical Romance Sale

I’m participating in the promo above. Click on the graphic to check out all the sweet/clean romance books available and stuff your eBook reader!

Year of the Dog serial novel, chapter 19

I’m posting a Humorous Christian Romantic Suspense serial novel here on my blog! Year of the Dog is a (second) prequel to my Warubozu Spa Chronicles series. Year of the Dog serial novel by Camy Tang Mari Mutou, a professional dog trainer, is having a bad year. While renovating her new dog kenneling and training facility, she needs to move in with her disapproving family, who have always made her feel inadequate—according to them, a job requiring her to be covered in dog hair and slobber is an embarrassment to the family. She convinces her ex-boyfriend to take her dog for a few months … but discovers that his brother is the irate security expert whose car she accidentally rear-ended a few weeks earlier. Ashwin Keitou has enough problems. His aunt has just shown up on his doorstep, expecting to move in with him, and he can’t say no because he owes her everything—after his mother walked out on them, Auntie Nell took in Ashwin and his brother and raised them in a loving Chri

Toilet seat cover

Captain’s Log, Supplemental Update August 2008: I wrote up the pattern for this with "improvements"! Here's the link to my No Cold Bums toilet seat cover ! Okay, remember a few days ago I was complaining about the cold toilet seat in my bathroom? Well, I decided to knit a seat cover. Not a lid cover, but a seat cover. I went online and couldn’t find anything for the seat, just one pattern for the lid by . However, I took her pattern for the inside edge of the lid cover and modified it to make a seat cover. Here it is! It’s really ugly stitch-wise because originally I made it too small and had to extend it a couple inches on each side. I figured I’d be the one staring at it, so who cared if the extension wasn’t perfectly invisible? I used acrylic yarn since, well, that’s what I had, and also because it’s easy to wash. I’ll probably have to wash this cover every week or so, but it’s easy to take off—I made ties which you can see near the back of the seat. And

"Let Me Hold You" Crossbody Bag Knitting Pattern

My novel, The Lone Rice Ball , is in the multi-author box set, Once Upon a Starry Night , a Christian contemporary romance collection. Also in the box set is my friend Jan Thompson’s novel, Let Me Hold You . I made this pattern for her to celebrate our box set being released. It’s the crossbody bag worn by Jan’s character Maggie. You can download a free PDF of the pattern here (no email necessary). See this pattern in Ravelry. If you are savvy with a sewing machine, you can make a cloth lining and sew it to the inside. If you use a stretchy fabric, you can take advantage of the stretchy nature of the bag. If you leave it unlined, you can take this bag to the beach and easily shake the sand out of it. I happened to have a D-ring and buckle, which I used to make the strap adjustable, but you don’t need these to make this bag. You can simply sew the end of the strap to the bag rather than using the D-ring. If you have a D-ring but not a buckle, you can do a (YO, k2tog) in the

Year of the Dog serial novel

About Year of the Dog : A month or two ago, I remembered an old manuscript I had completed but which hadn’t sold. It was a contemporary romance meant for Zondervan, titled Year of the Dog . The book had gone into the pipeline and I even got another title ( Bad Dog ) and a cover for it, but eventually my editor at the time decided she didn’t want to publish it, for various reasons. She instead requested a romantic suspense, and so I cannibalized some of the characters from Year of the Dog and thrust them into the next book I wrote, which was Protection for Hire . Honestly, I didn’t take a lot from Year of the Dog to put in Protection for Hire , aside from character names and a few relationship ties. I was originally thinking I’d post Year of the Dog as-is on my blog as a free read, but then it occurred to me that I could revamp it into a romantic suspense and change the setting to Hawaii. It would work out perfectly as (yet another) prequel to the Warubozu series and introduc