“We really shouldn’t be here,” Jane said. “Together, at least.” Jane Ryland fidgeted on the leather couch. Jake’s couch. In Jake’s Boston apartment. She hadn’t been here since that night last summer. When they almost went too far.
“Well, these people won’t tell,” Jake said. “Dru Ann. She’s cool. She can keep a secret. And you told her off the record, right?”
Jane noticed his arm draped close to her shoulders. She wished she could settle in, share a glass of wine, maybe watch “The Good Wife,” her new favorite show these days. Jake Brogan’s was still “Law & Order,” she knew. Which made sense. As a detective, he was all about the law. But she and Jake were under orders to stay apart. For a reporter to date a source? No can do. Instant career-ender.
“Yeah, but everyone wants ‘off the record’ these days,” Jane said. “Look what happened to me the last time I agreed to keep something secret. My station lost a huge slander suit, and I got fired. Even though I’d done nothing wrong. They called me “Wrong Guy Ryland” in the papers. Talk about humiliating.”
“But like you always say, everything works out in the end. Now you’re reporting for the Register.”
A newspaper. Jane was still getting used to it. She scrabbled her still too-short hair. She’d cut it, just to prove she didn’t care about TV anymore. And given her TV blazers to charity. “Yeah. It’s fine. I guess. It’s a job.”
“Journalism is journalism.” Jake said.
“Well, true.” And right now, she was on to a potentially huge story. She knew he was working on the bridge killer case, all the while insisting there was not a serial killer after the young women of Boston.
As a reporter, she had to believe there was. But that story wasn’t her assignment. With two weeks until the election, she’d been told to interview the wife of a candidate for the Senate. And now her reporter senses had hit the red zone.
“Listen to this, Jake,” she said. “You know I was looking at the file photos of Owen Lassiter on the campaign trail. And I began to notice a girl in a red coat, the same girl–”
“Girl?” Jake interrupted.
“Well, woman,” Jane said. “And a knockout, I might add. And I started thinking—who is she? And why is she in all the photos? You remember that shot of Monica Lewinsky, right? In the beret, on the rope line? You could tell she and President Clinton were sharing a secret. In front of everyone.”
“Be careful, Jane. Looking into a candidate’s personal life? Two weeks before the election? After your station got nailed for your last mistake?”
Jane stood, hands on hips. Staring him down. “I. Did. Not. Make a mistake.”
“You wanna tell me about it, finally?” Jake said.
“You know I can’t.” Jane sat back down. This was the whole problem. She’d protected a source. She could not discuss it now, not even with Jake, the adorable, sandy-haired, smart, funny—well, it didn’t matter. He was off limits. So was her source. But as a reporter covering the election, everything Owen Lassiter did was fair game.
“Remember Mark Sanford? The governor of South Carolina—who told everyone he was going off on the Appalachian trial?” she asked. “Turned out he was really off with his mistress. You think that’s not important? John Edwards? Anthony Wiener? Why would you do it? Who would be ‘the other woman’?”
“You’re gonna get caught, that’s for sure,” Jake said.
“Yup. And I think the voters have the right to know. I mean—they’ve got to trust the person the vote for. Is it—power? Lust? Delusion? Sex?”
“Hmmm?” Jake turned to her.
“Hush,” Jane said. “I’m serious.”
“I am, too,” Jake said.
“Brogan, this is dispatch.” The dispatcher’s voice crackled over Jake’s two way radio. “You copy?”
“Sorry,” Jake said. “Brogan. I copy.”
“We’ve got another one,” the voice said.
Another one? This was interesting, Jane thought. Maybe a story for her.
“Charles River. Longfellow Bridge. What’s your ETA, Detective?”
So much for their evening on the couch.
“In ten,” Jake said. Then to her, “Sorry, Janey. It’s been—fun. And listen. You heard nothing. I’m not kidding. We decided about this. You make this public, I lose my job.”
“I know,” she said. She risked touching him on the arm. No one could see, after all.
They gathered their coats and keys, Jake headed for his cruiser and Jane to her Audi TT.
Jane knew “another one” could mean only one thing. Another body. Under a bridge. By a river. With no shoes. And no ID.
Just like the other woman.
You can read more about Jake Brogan and Jane Ryland in The Other Woman, the first book in the new “Jane Ryland” mystery series.
** Thanks to Hank, I have one (1) copy of THE OTHER WOMAN to give away. Contest open to residents of the US only. Contest ends September 9. Leave a valid-email address with your comment. Book will be shipped directly from the author. **
Reviews for THE OTHER WOMAN:
BOOKLIST: Starred review! Ryan…knows her way around politics at the highest levels, and use uses that knowledge to fashion a revenge-fueled plot that twists and turns at breakneck speed. Political skullduggery and murder make a high-octane mix for a perfect pre-election thriller.
Library Journal: Starred review! Ryan, the Anthony and Agatha Award-winning author of the Charlotte McNally mysteries, employs her investigative reporting and political background to craft a dizzying labyrinth of twists, turns, and surprises. Readers who crave mystery and political intrigue will be mesmerized by this first installment of her new series.
Meet the author
Agatha, Anthony and Macavity award-winning Hank Phillippi Ryan is the on-the-air investigative reporter for Boston’s NBC affiliate. Her work has resulted in new laws, people sent to prison, homes removed from foreclosure, and millions of dollars in restitution. Along with her 28 EMMYs, Hank’s won dozens of other journalism honors. She’s been a radio reporter, a political campaign staffer, a legislative aide in the United States Senate and an editorial assistant at Rolling Stone Magazine working with Hunter S. Thompson.
Her first mystery, the best-selling PRIME TIME, won the Agatha for Best First Novel. FACE TIME and AIR TIME are IMBA bestsellers, and AIR TIME was nominated for the AGATHA and ANTHONY Award. (Of AIR TIME, Sue Grafton says: “This is first-class entertainment.”) DRIVE TIME, also nominated for the Anthony and Agatha, earned a starred review from Library Journal saying it “puts Ryan in a league with Lisa Scottoline.” Hank’s short story “On the House” won the AGATHA, ANTHONY and MACAVITY for Best Short Story.
Her newest thriller, THE OTHER WOMAN, comes out in hardcover September 4 from Forge. A starred review from Library Journal says “a dizzying labyrinth of twists, turns, and surprises. Readers who crave mystery and political intrigue will be mesmerized by this first installment of her new series.”
Books are available at retail and online booksellers.