Join Isabel Roman, author of the romantic suspense novel, Improper Conduct, as she tours the blogosphere July 15 through August 16, 2013 on her first virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book! Reader Girls has a First Chapter Reveal for our stop today. Keep reading to find it and thanks for stopping by!
ABOUT IMPROPER CONDUCT
One month on the job--that was all Detective Jules Marshall had with the LAPD but already she knew two things: 1. Her move from San Francisco was the best move she’d ever made. 2. Sleeping with her sexy as hell boss would be a big mistake. That didn’t stop her from wanting him or from acknowledging the same spark of need in his eyes. And Captain Callum Archer had eyes that devoured her. But when a trio of bank robbers picks LA as their target, her attraction to Callum takes a back seat. She’s seen this pattern before and confides in Callum her suspicions. She thought the case had gone cold until it heated in spectacular fashion; the bank robbers who blew up a car inside a building and killed at least five people have similar crimes back in San Francisco. The problem? She has no proof to go with her suspicions. Despite Callum’s objections, and the increasing temptation to give into her incredibly improper feelings for her captain, Jules plans to push ahead with an extremely unorthodox plan--date the killer. Callum isn’t happy. Jules is the one woman he’d break all the rules for and he’s more than willing to do so to keep her in his life. When she puts herself in the crosshairs of a psychotic killer, there isn’t anything he won’t do to protect her. But can he keep her safe and still catch the killer? Or will their improper relationship get in the way of their jobs?
Major Crimes Unit
Detective Jules Marshall needed to be pried out of her desk chair with a really big crowbar. Somehow, through sheer force of will, she managed to wake up her leg muscles and stand.
The sunlight streamed through the large office windows and beckoned her. With a sigh of relief, she stepped into the pool of light, feeling as if she'd just been rescued from the mole people. What she needed was a day at the beach with an ice cold piña colada.
What she had was four nights of surveillance, followed by a morning spent like the hunchback over her computer. How did people spend all day on their computers?
What do they think? We’re trained monkeys?
And who were they? The ubiquitous they of course. And ubiquitous? Where did that word come from? Jules shook her head to stop that line of thinking. I can do this all day.
She’d been in LA for only a month now and hadn’t quite become used to all the little differences between her new home and San Francisco. One thing was for sure, the sun always seemed to shine here, and she could feel the warmth on her face despite the high-tech windows of the new police building.
She liked this building; the high-tech, science fiction aspect didn’t stop with the windows, but extended throughout. George Orwell’s nightmare; Big Brother’s dream. The latest monitors and electronics sat on every desk and the open floor plan ensured every officer felt the light from the sun. They even had a new fancy-schmancy coffeemaker.
One day, Jules knew it’d turn them all into soulless minions of the coffee company. Then again, it was probably already too late.
It even smelled new, clean.
Plus, she’d been told this building was far more secure—earthquake wise—than the old building, which she could see from her window. Iris Santiago, her new partner, had promised to take her on a tour of the death trap, but so far they hadn’t had the chance. Her second day on the job they’d been thrown into a car-jacking smuggling ring. Jules barely had the chance to unpack; it felt like all she’d done was work since.
Jules liked Iris. They got on more than fine, and immediately warmed up to each other through their shared sense of sarcasm. Bonding through sarcasm, not many people could say that.
She rolled her shoulders and mentally went over the smuggling report she’d just finished. Her former partner, Paul Schmidt, had teased her about her obsessive rereading of her reports, but he was just as meticulous as she. One of the many reasons they’d had such a good partnership, and making him one of the few people she’d miss in San Francisco.
Speaking of her former home, Jules wondered if she’d misread Harrison Bowen. The city sped with life below her, and she watched them walk, run, bicycle, or drive by her window as the sun started to set. Late afternoon already and, with luck, her first real free night since arriving.
Bowen, however, bothered her. Maybe she had misread him, his interest in her, her own feminine wiles. Those wealthy businessmen were always so fickle. She had, however, expected him to come down from Frisco and do the oh so convenient I didn’t expect to run into you here line. Even though she’d made it clear LA was to be her new home. Maybe she’d blown her chance there and whatever come-on Bowen had shown hadn’t really been there at all.
Maybe it was for the best. She didn’t necessarily need a complication like Bowen.
“Conrad!” Captain Callum Archer’s voice cut through the Major Crimes Unit and instantly drew her attention.
Jules stopped herself from turning to look, but only just. She couldn’t however, stop the bolt of arousal. What the hell was wrong with her? She had no business being attracted to her new captain, no business enjoying the little time they’d spent together. She’d never found herself attracted to any co-worker, but something about Archer had wormed beneath her skin and stayed.
And she definitely didn’t need that complication in her life. Though there were moments she caught the interest in his dark brown eyes, a heated flash there and gone.
She couldn’t ignore the eye candy. Pure delectableness there! From his dark eyes and hair to his perpetual scruff, she did so love a man with scruff. He’d welcomed her warmly to the department, which should have been a sign right there—were captains ever really warm? But she couldn’t think about that now.
Talk about sticky; a relationship between them would be sticker than a cinnamon bun. And, she was willing to bet, just as delicious.
And stupid, she reminded herself as she turned back for her desk. Very, very stupid to get involved with her superior officer.
“Free at last,” Iris said, arms stretched high over her head. “The slaves have been freed from purgatory.”
“Aren’t you mixing your metaphors?” Jules asked, sliding back into her seat.
One perfectly plucked copper eyebrow raised and her brown eyes narrowed slightly. Iris tossed her head, red ponytail swishing sideways. “My metaphors were bored,” she claimed.
Jules chuckled and tapped her keyboard to move to the top of her report. She couldn’t think of anything else to add and sent it off as-is. Her brain started to shut down, it usually did after wrapping up a major case, and she really wanted to get out of the office and home.
“Don’t forget,” Iris said as she stood and grabbed her keys. “My place for the famous Santiago Chicken Dinner Night.” She flicked off her monitor and looked up at her friend. Iris leaned over the desk and lowered her voice just enough to catch Jules’s attention.
“I’m considering inviting the captain,” Iris added.
Damn. Could she sit through an entire dinner without drooling over Archer and embarrassing herself? Then again, she could always claim it was the chicken. Carlos, Iris’s husband, made kick-ass chicken.
“Sounds like a great evening,” she said. Her voice remained even and only the slightest bit interested. Proud of that she pushed her luck. “Inviting anyone else?”
Was that a hint of breathlessness there? No, probably her imagination. She didn’t do breathless. Over anyone. Ever. Until, apparently, Callum Archer.
“Nope.” Iris shook her head, a mischievous gleam in her deep brown eyes. Her voice dropped a bit more, not enough to arouse suspicion with the rest of the floor but enough to have Jules braced for whatever came next.
“I’m trying to hook you two up,” Iris said matter-of-factly. “Why would I invite anyone else?”
Jules tried not to choke, but her sharp intake of air managed to lodge itself in her throat and she gasped. “What?” No breathlessness there, but not exactly a voice filled with scoffing conviction.
“You do realize,” Jules said, voice a low hiss of air, “that’s against like two-billion regs?”
She was in deep if Iris noticed her interest in Archer. Hell, had the entire department noticed? She’d been so careful. Damn it, she wasn’t a school girl with a crush on her teacher. Granted, this attraction to Archer wasn’t exactly a crush, but it counted the same in her mind. Even if the things she wanted to do with him were hardly schoolish. Unless adult school counted.
And here she’d been so damned careful not to let it show, not to be obvious.
“No,” Iris assured her with another wink Jules only now realized did not bode well. “Two billion? Pft, only like one. And what’s a billion regs between friends?”
“Iris,” Jules said, careful to articulate every syllable. “Put that out of your head; there’s no way that’s happening.”
“Oh, come on, Jules,” Iris said, her smile not diminishing one bit. “I know you like to live on the edge. Besides, no one would know. I’m not telling.”
“That isn’t the point,” Jules managed. She shook her head, a hundred arguments racing through her mind to put a stop, permanently, to Iris’s line of thinking.
“Santiago. Marshall—you’re with me.” Archer’s strong voice immediately silenced the room. Jules’s head snapped up and she wondered if he’d heard her conversation with Iris. Damn, maybe Big Brother really did have ears everywhere.
Archer continued, thankfully oblivious to their conversation. “Conrad, Morgan—get Mobile Command down to First National’s main branch. Hostage situation.”
Grabbing her gun, Jules followed Iris out of the room, Archer behind them. He moved fast and silent, walking with long strides beside her. Unable to resist a glance up, Jules indulged.
“Dumb kids in Halloween masks?” she asked. “Or drug addicts?”
Archer glanced down at her, and no—she hadn’t mistaken that flash of heat in his eyes. The brown of them, so deep she felt she could sink into him, caught her gaze and held. Now certainly wasn’t the time for thoughts like those.
“I don’t think so,” he said, plucking the keys from Iris’s hand. “Not from the reports.”
Archer drove, relegating Iris to the back seat. Iris grumbled but climbed into the back, a knowing look in her eyes when she winked at Jules.
It didn’t take long to drive to First National where Mobile Command waited for them and several patrol cars cordoned off the immediate area. Jules climbed out of the car, slamming the door closed behind her. From her position she couldn’t see inside the bank; the setting sun cast long shadows over everything and blocked her view.
Archer snapped orders, listened to the on-scene patrolman, and ordered a wider perimeter. Jules looked to Mobile Command as she listened to the end of the patrolman’s report. Whoever had taken the hostages hadn’t made any demands yet, and she wondered if they waited for Major Crimes to arrive or something else.
“Keep the press away,” Archer said to the patrolman, Richardson by his nametag. “I don’t want any intrepid reporter getting in our way.”
Richardson moved off to do as ordered and Jules looked again to the long glass windows of the bank. Beside her, Iris turned to look down the street and Jules wondered what she searched for. On her other side, Archer rolled his shoulders as if trying to loosen them up.
Granted, she’d worked with him for a month, and then only with Iris during the car smuggling case. But she knew that movement.
“I’ve got a bad feeling,” Archer said quietly, looking down at her.
Jules met his gaze and nodded in agreement. Archer held her gaze for one more moment before heading to Mobile Command. Iris had already moved off to push back the civilians and widen the perimeter, and Jules went to do the same on her side of the street. Doubt nagged the back of her mind, and it was only when she started back for Mobile Command that she realized what her doubts were.
They could be scared idiots in the bank, a simple robbery that went wrong and now the robbers drowned in their wrong choices. Or Archer’s bad feeling could have merit. She’d bet on the last.
Before she made it to Command, the bank doors opened.
She still couldn’t see into the bank itself and wondered if whoever had planned this had made sure the sun worked to his advantage. Made sure they did the job in the afternoon with the summer sun shadowing the bank.
A man, a terrified look frozen on his face visible from even where she stood, walked slowly and stiffly out of the bank. He raised his hands, visibly shaking as he stepped further and further from the still-open bank doors. Sweat stained his button down shirt and he looked like he counted his steps.
A pair of patrolmen, weapons raised, cautiously approached him.
“Stop!” the man shouted, his voice thin with fear. Jules stepped closer, eyes scanning the bank. “I’m supposed to deliver a message then I have to go back.”
He looked over his shoulder, a half glance and Jules wondered if he had family in the building or knew, as she suspected, that a gun was aimed at him.
Something was off.
Had she been lulled into a false sense of security these past weeks? Or did it all start up again, here in LA rather than San Francisco?
Archer emerged from Command and she stepped closer to him. She couldn’t have said why, not for protection or even for backup, but she knew he understood the sheer wrongness of this situation as well as she.
One of the patrolmen took another step closer. The man, voice rising, shouted again.
“Please! There are over thirty people in there.” He stopped, tried to take a breath but she could see his struggle. “I’m supposed to only deliver a message.”
Archer stepped closer to the line, an imposing figure and clearly the man in charge. The hostage seemed to recognize this as well, Jules saw his gaze land on Archer and hold.
“I’m supposed to tell you—”
A pair of shots rang out, pushing the man forward. He fell to the ground, blood pooling beneath him. The bank doors closed.
ABOUT ISABEL ROMAN
A historical loving, movie watching, occasionally paranormal, mostly romantic suspense writer with way too many ideas and so little time to write them all down. You can visit Isabel at IsabelRoman.com and enter to win an Amazon Kindle Fire HD!
Improper Conduct Virtual Book Publicity Tour Schedule
Monday, July 15 - Book reviewed and 1st chapter reveal at Miki's Hope
Tuesday, July 16 - Interviewed at Review From Here
Wednesday, July 17 - Interviewed at Broowaha
Thursday, July 18 - 1st chapter reveal at Reader Girls
Friday, July 19 - 1st chapter reveal at Read 2 Review
Monday, July 22 - Book featured at Laurie's Thoughts and Reviews
Tuesday, July 23 - Book reviewed at Kaisy Daisy's Corner
Wednesday, July 24 - Book reviewed at Books +Beach=Escape
Thursday, July 25 -Book reviewed at 1st chapter reveal at Tia Bach, Author
Friday, July 26 - Book reviewed and 1st chapter reveal at Margay Leah Justice