As a Public Information officer for the US Supreme Court, Hope Denby knows how to spin a story. A journalist at heart, she loves being in the middle of a juicy scoop and has her sights set on future Press Secretary for the White House. When the Supreme Court Chief Justice is accidentally killed in a road rage accident, and a high-profile conspiracy blogger claims it was premeditated murder, Hope has to shut down the paranoid blogger—which she has more in common with the secretive, hard-hitting investigator then she’d like to admit.
As a former ATF agent who blew the whistle on his superiors, Brice Brennan is no stranger to government cover-ups and scandals. An anonymous tip on the Chief Justice’s death sends him searching for answers. What he finds is a sexy, young idealist about to blow his private, behind-the-scenes world to pieces.
Brice and Hope couldn’t be more opposite, but exposing justice makes them partners. As their investigation takes them into the dark underbelly of Washington politics and murder-for-hire. But when the killer makes an attempt on Hope’s life, will Brice be able to keep her safe? Or will blowing the whistle on corruption and greed mean losing the one person he’s allowed himself to love?
I loved the contrast between Hope and Brice. Hope is serious about her job but also fun and can let loose, Brice is uptight and not so much, is paranoid and rightly so. Hope was a firecracker in this book. She was fearless and lured Brice out of his stick in the mud ways. She was the first to make a move on him, much to his surprise. The turnaround in the characters was a first for this series, the woman was the one who did the pursuing and she was the one to take things on the case further and consequences be damned at times.
Like I said this book was different than the previous two books and it was refreshing for Hope to take the reigns in hand and lead the way for a while. The dynamic worked well and it was Brice who took things slow and careful. Trust issues made him like that and it was interesting to see him break down the walls to let someone in. Hope and Brice made a great investigative team and while she blew his world to pieces she gave him the strength to move past trust issues and to move on.
I must say that I was surprised by this book, the change in character dynamics, the story taking more or a journalistic feel than the previous books and that I had loved Brice in the last book and was glad to see his character get a story of his own.
What I also love about this series is the seamless writing styles of Misty and Adrienne. I have read quite a few books that they have written together and have a hard time telling who wrote which part. In other collaborations of two writers you can pick up the different writing styles chapter by chapter but not with Misty and Adrienne. I am a big fan of these writers and haven’t been disappointed yet. If you love a good conspiracy/undercover journalism/romance book, pick this one up, you won’t be disappointed!
This is book three in the Justice Team book and can be read as a stand alone but it would be better if read as part of the series as to get a feel for the background of the other characters.
ARC provided by authors in exchange for a fair and honest review
Don’t forget to enter the raffle for a $25.00 e-gift card, found below the authors bio’s. Also check out the other blogs invloved in the tour, also found below.
Buy: Amazon UK
About the Authors
USA Today bestselling Author Misty Evans has published over twenty novels and writes romantic suspense, urban fantasy, and paranormal romance. As a writing coach, she helps other authors bring their books – and their dreams of being published – to life.
The books in her Super Agent series have won a CataNetwork Reviewers’ Choice Award, CAPA nominations, the New England Reader’s Choice Bean Pot Award for Best Romantic Suspense in 2010 and the ACRA Heart of Excellence Reader’s Choice Award for Best Romantic Suspense in 2011.
Her Witches Anonymous series was dubbed a Fallen Angel Reviews Recommended Read. The Super Agent Series, Witches Anonymous Series, and the Kali Sweet Series have been on multiple Amazon Kindle bestsellers lists. Her culinary romantic mystery, THE SECRET INGREDIENT, and the first book in her Deadly series, DEADLY PURSUIT, are both USA TODAY bestsellers.
Misty likes her coffee black, her conspiracy stories juicy, and her wicked characters dressed in couture. When not reading or writing, she enjoys music, movies, and hanging out with her husband, twin sons, and two spoiled puppies.
USA Today bestselling author Adrienne Giordano writes romantic suspense and mystery. She is a Jersey girl at heart, but now lives in the Midwest with her workaholic husband, sports obsessed son and Buddy the Wheaten Terrorist (Terrier). She is a co-founder of Romance University blog and Lady Jane’s Salon-Naperville, a reading series dedicated to romantic fiction.
There is a tour-wide giveaway of a $25.00 eGift Card to an online book retailer of winner’s choice and three audiobooks (codes) of Cheating Justice!
Exposing Justice Excerpt 1 – Hope’s POV
“Denby! Get in here!”
Ooh! Hope Denby shot up, sending her rickety government-issued chair sailing against the back of her cubicle. She peeped over the wall in front of her at her cubemate, Rob. “Ohmygod, she’s insane today.”
Rob didn’t bother looking up from whatever he was reading on his computer. “Seriously fucking deranged. You’d better get in there.”
Because experience dictated she had thirty-point-two seconds to appear in front of her boss or she’d be bellowed at once again.
Hope scooped up her legal pad and a pen and hustled to the boss’s office just twenty-five feet away. Working at the Public Information Office of the U.S. Supreme Court meant each day brought something new. It could be working with reporters wanting to cover a case, preparing transcripts, or press releases, all of it fascinating and tedious and ripe with possibilities.
Today was no different. Eight hours earlier, the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court had been accidently gunned down on the Gaynor Bridge while trying to resolve a road rage dispute.
And now, it was all over the news and her boss, Amy Ripling, the Public Information Officer, had been in full-blown crisis mode all day.
“Denby!” Amy screamed again.
Hope kicked off her sky-high heels, left them sitting in the corridor—no time to stop—and picked up her pace. She swung around the doorway, grabbing the frame to slow her down. “I’m here. Sorry.”
Amy sat at her desk, random files and papers and notes strewn across the top. Two ringing cell phones sat on top of the mess joined by the incessant beeping of the desk phone. Amy picked up the handset, tapped the hold button and handed Hope a note. “Call this guy. He’s bugging the shit out of me and I’m trying to deal with the networks.”
She glanced down at the name. The First Amendment Patriot. Interesting. But, woohoo! Finally, her boss ponied up an assignment on a major case, albeit a tragic one. “Yes, ma’am. Who is he?”
“He’s a blogger.”
The Journalism major in her wailed.
“Damned, bloggers. I am on it, Amy.”
“I knew you’d love it. You’re an animal, Denby.”
“Thank you. I think.”
Amy waved it away. “Yada, yada. He wants a statement, but be careful. He’s one of the those conspiracy theory nutcases. Tell him something that won’t hurt us. Until we have more on what happened on that bridge, we’re going with what we know.”
Amy glanced at the still beeping phone, beep-beep-beep, then came back to Hope, her taut skin barely restraining her impatience. “What, Denby? What?”
Ignoring Amy’s tone, she stood a little straighter. “Yes, ma’am. What is it exactly that we know?”
All day long, Hope, like everyone else in the office, had been monitoring the news channels to see who was saying what. For their part, the Public Information Office had released very few details. Mainly because they’d been given very few details.
The police and the FBI were handling the press on this nightmare.
“What we know,” Amy said, “is that the Chief Justice and his security detail, consisting of one Supreme Court police officer, were en route to work today and got stuck in a traffic jam on the bridge. The FBI is looking into that. Apparently, there’s some confusion as to why that lane was closed. They’re talking to DDOT. Anyway, two cars ahead of the Chief Justice some whacko jumped out of a cab and started arguing with the driver of the car next to them. The argument became heated and the judge’s officer got out to diffuse the situation. Justice Turner—God rest his soul—defied his security officer’s order to stay in the car and got out to see if he could help. While the officer tried to convince the judge to get his ass back in the car, the guy who jumped out of the cab fired a gun; the shot missed and accidentally hit the judge. The shooter ran. That’s what we know. But you’re not telling our blogger friend that. For him, you’re keeping it simple. Road rage, two men arguing, gunshot. D.C. Metro and the SC police are handling it from here.”
“Got it. No problem.”
“Good. I’m heading into a meeting with the Justices. I’m guessing it’ll be a while. Make sure everyone knows they should only disturb me if the building is on fire. Or someone else is dead.”
Ew. “I’ll handle it.”
She spun toward the door.
“Where the hell are your shoes?”
Exposing Justice Excerpt 2 – Brice’s POV
Brice Brennan sat alone at his computer watching a blinking cursor. He needed a story. A kick-ass story that no one else had.
And time was running out.
It was only three o’clock in the afternoon, yet he sat in the dark, courtesy of his blackout curtains. Today’s blog had to be up by nine. Fifty-five thousand and sixty-three fans, and six new advertisers, were waiting for it. After he’d exposed the United States’ deputy attorney general and the ATF’s collaboration on a gunwalking scandal recently, his readership had exploded.
His readers wanted scandal. Real journalism, not sugarcoated updates running ad nauseam or ratings-whoring gossip passed off as investigative reporting.
Brice tapped his thumb against his desktop. Three big news stories had flooded the blogosphere today. Each held potential for him, but none yet had generated any calls from his covert, and oftentimes dissident, sources.
Knowledge was power. Once he hit on a story, he became engrossed in it. He wouldn’t let it go until he exposed the truth.
As if summoned by his sheer desperation, his phone rang—the private tip line running through his computer. Brice’s pulse jumped. This could be it. The tip he was waiting for.
“‘The duty of a true patriot is to protect his country from its government.’ This is Hawkeye. Go.”
The Thomas Paine quote was his motto and what he founded the blog on. He recorded all his tip calls through the computer, which meant all of them ran through the speakers since he never used headphones. When you were always alone, what did you need headphones for?
“Hawkeye, this is Lodestone.”
Lodestone was a government employee who seemed to enjoy being Brice’s informant. He’d never said as much, but Brice knew the type. Knew the man had connections Brice could only dream of, and best of all, Lodestone never asked for money. “Go ahead, Lodestone. I’m listening.”
“I have information about the death of Chief Justice Raymond Turner this morning.”
A spurt of adrenaline shot through Brice’s limbs. “The road rage accident?”
“It’s no coincidence that he got held up on that bridge.” A pause—Lodestone deciding how much he could share? “A sensitive case was on the docket for Turner to decide whether the Supreme Court would hear it or not. Look into it. You never know what you might find.”
The line went dead.
Brice disconnected and stared blankly at the screen. If Turner’s death wasn’t an accident…
The screensaver had appeared on his computer. The Patriot Blog’s logo of an eagle. He tapped a key to wake the computer up, ready to start digging, when three loud knocks on his door interrupted him.
The first three were followed by a single knock.
Brice hung his head.
The coded knocks meant only one thing.
The Justice Team had arrived.
Maybe if he didn’t respond, they’d go away.
“Open up, Brennan,” Justice “Grey” Greystone called from the other side.
Brice swore under his breath. If he played possum, pretended he wasn’t even there, Grey would…
“Or I’ll have Mitch pick the locks. Either way, we’re coming in.”
How long was this going to go on?
Jumping up from his office chair, he hustled to the door, unlocked the three deadbolts and doorknob, and cracked the door open two inches.
“I’m not interested, Grey,” he told the leader of the Justice Team standing on his front porch looking like the Federal agent he used to be. Dark clothes, fake smile. Batman in his Bruce Wayne persona. “We’ve already had this discussion. Six times by my count.”
The weak smile on Grey’s lips struggled to stay in place. The man never smiled unless his fiancé was in spitting distance. He was trying to appear friendly and inviting. Mostly, he looked constipated.
“There are perks.” Grey glanced at Mitch, aka, Robin, and nodded.
When all else fails, go to your wingman.
“Like what?” Brice asked, chewing on the side of his thumbnail. “Being shot at? Having to send your girlfriend undercover as a stripper? Oh, yeah, that sounds better than medical insurance and vacation days.” He switched his gaze to Robin. “Oh, and how about being framed for your best friend’s murder? It’s hard to top that as a perk.”
Grey’s hard eyes turned to pure steel. Although the Justice Team’s past operations had all ended successfully, each one had put the members in extreme situations where things could have gone south in a hurry. Brice had been in on one of them in New Mexico with Mitch and his girlfriend, Caroline. Brice was lucky he was still breathing. They were all lucky they weren’t in jail.
Mitch grinned and shoved his way inside. His coat was unzipped and it fell open to reveal a T-shirt that read, I put the Hot in psychotic. He took up residence in Brice’s leather recliner with a big plop and Grey followed. “Jesus it’s dark in here. Are you a vampire or something, Brice?” He didn’t wait for an answer. “As far as perks, you get to look at my handsome face every day, Brice buddy. Best. Perk. Ever.”
Psychotic did not begin to describe Mitch Monroe. Brice left the door ajar and went back to his chair. He didn’t like people in his space. Especially not Batman and Robin.“I’m sure Caroline enjoys that, but it takes more than a pretty face to make me want to give up my blog.”
“You don’t have to give up your blog, right, Grey?” Mitch nodded without waiting for his boss to agree. “Investigating conspiracies is exactly what we want you to continue doing.”
Cyber resistance against government corruption wasn’t just a theory for Brice. The First Amendment Patriot blog was his life. While he valued his privacy and didn’t like to call attention to himself, he had a strong internal sense of right and wrong and had no trouble blowing the whistle on corrupt politicians and government agencies. Others appreciated what he did. Donations to the blog paid his bills and he cared little about material wealth or possessions. As long as he kept his lifestyle lean, he’d be fine.
Grey didn’t look all that happy about Brice keeping his blog “We have nine open cases right now that involve crooked politicians, lobbyists, and potential cover-ups. Your skills and contacts would help tremendously.”
Brice’s ego did indeed like it, too. He was damn good at running his blog, and he’d once enjoyed being part of a taskforce. Lived for his job as an undercover ATF agent. The commendations in his folder had proven his worth, and the team of men he’d worked with had always had his back. Failure had never entered his mind.
Until his boss—his former partner—and the ATF sent him down in flames. The men he’d been closer to than his three brothers turned on each other.
Those days were over. Lesson learned. Never trust anyone.
Facts were more trustworthy than people. Detachment and autonomy were important to doing a good job.Exposing government coverups and bringing dirty cops, politicians, and even heads of the most powerful agencies in the world to heel from the safety of his computer was what he excelled at now.
“I’m no longer a team player.” Truer words had never been spoken. Swinging his chair around to emphasize his point, he turned his back on the two men he had let into his personal circle and now regretted. The safety of his computer beckoned. “I just got a lead on a breaking story, and I’m not coming to work for the Justice Team. Show yourselves out, ladies.”
Behind him, the leather chair squeaked as Mitch stood. An uncomfortable silence followed, complete with strained murmuring—Batman and Robin trying to figure out their next move.
Let ’em talk.
“What story?” Grey asked.
“Chief Justice Turner. The road rage accident that killed him may not have been an accident at all.”
“Murder?” Mitch slapped him on the back. “Make you a deal, Brice, ol’ buddy. You join the Justice Team, and I’ll help you investigate your lead on Turner.”
He was grinning like his offer was an obvious slam-dunk. Brice stood, grabbed Mitch’s arm and hustled him to the door. “I don’t need your help, Mitch, ol’ buddy, and I can investigate Turner’s death on my own.”
Mostly true. If there was anything worth investigating.
Grey stood at the computer, looking at the screen, one hand cupping his chin. “What makes you think Turner’s death was murder?”
“I got a tip from a very reliable source.” Brice didn’t need to prove anything to these men, and yet, the investigator in him liked the credibility. “Claims Turner had a sensitive case on his docket that he was deciding on whether the court would hear it or not. Maybe nothing, but he told me to look into it.”
“Sounds far-fetched to me. The Chief Justice probably had a long list of possible cases for the Court to hear.”
Mitch jerked his arm out of Brice’s hand. “Yeah, and every one of the plaintiffs believes their case is sensitive. It’s going to take a lot of work to dig into each and every one of them.”
A smile—the genuine thing—crept over Grey’s face. “How about I make you a deal, Brice? We help you get Turner’s list and do the digging. Save you a lot of time. If, of course, you help us out with a few of our cases.”
He itched to jump on this right away, but he didn’t need help. What he needed was for these two to leave him alone. “I’ll think about it and let you know my decision in the morning.”
Grey seemed unfazed by his delay. “Fair enough.”
After Batman and Robin left, Brice dropped back into this chair. A few clicks of his keyboard and he had the phone number for the Public Information Office of the Supreme Court.
He’d do his own investigation, like always. If that lead nowhere, he’d consider Grey’s deal.
As the phone rang on the other end, he smiled to himself. Nothing like a good conspiracy to get the adrenaline flowing.
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