One oclock hustleThe name’s Rebecca Mayfield, and I’m a cop. A San Francisco Homicide Inspector, to be precise, and I’m a stickler for following the law. “By the book,” was my motto for the first ten years of my career.

But then I met Richard Joseph Francis Amalfi, aka “Richie.” Suddenly, my well-order life went to …well, I won’t say. Before I met Richie, I never even swore, despite the many provocations caused by my job. I like my job; it’s interesting and, I believe, helpful. Also, I’m the only female in Homicide, a situation that has its upsides, and down–such as when my co-workers all warn me about Richie, and tell me I should stay away from him.

How was I supposed to do that, I’d like to know, when it was my job to arrest him for murder? How was I supposed to put handcuffs on him and keep away from him at the same time, hmm? Not to mention what he did with the handcuffs with me. (No … not what you’re thinking!)

I must admit, however, that there are a few things about Richie I do like. I mean, I’m not completely innocent about men. I’ve had a few serious relationships, but all eventually turned sour, which is why, at age 35, I’m still SBL—single but looking. At least my love life wasn’t tragic, like Richie’s who, by the way, is about 40 and still unmarried as well. Not to mention tall, dark, handsome, charming, funny, good company, and a great dancer.

Not that his attributes, situation, or past, matter to me in the least.

Besides, he’s made it perfectly clear that he would never, ever, want to get serious about a cop. In the same vein, I know I could never be serious about a man who isn’t involved in law enforcement. In other words, I’m looking for a man who is able to understand me and what my job is all about.

I spend my days in some real hellholes. Most murders aren’t pleasant or bloodless. They’re more likely to take place in a gutter or tenement than at a country club. I’ve seen it all, and what I’ve faced in San Francisco is a far cry from the way I grew up, on a farm in Idaho. They aren’t two separate worlds, they’re separate universes.

Maybe that’s why I keep letting Richie into my life. He is, in many ways, the bad boy next door that I was always warned about. Unfortunately, I never listen to warnings. Not in my work; not in my personal life.

So when Richie was named—by eyewitnesses, in fact—as a woman’s killer, something told me he was innocent.

I tried, I really did, to continue with my “by the book” ways, but something came over me. I can’t explain it. And suddenly, the “book” went flying out the window, just like …

I’d better not say.

Oh … are you wondering what Richie does for a living? How he pays for his home, his flashy cars, and the “business associates” who are always at his beck and call? Join the club. That’s one of the problems with him. Just what is he? Who is he? And why, for pity’s sake, am I unable to stay away from him?

Maybe, one of these days, I’ll find out.

You can read more about Inspector Rebecca Mayfield in One O’Clock Hustle, the first book in the new “Rebecca Mayfield” mystery series. E-books are available on Amazon; paperbacks are available online and at retail booksellers. A Christmas novella called the Thirteenth Santa tells how Rebecca and Richie Amalfi met, and became the genesis for the series. The next book in the series, Two O’Clock Heist, comes out this summer.

Meet the author
Joanne Pence is an award-winning and USA Today best-selling author of the Angie Amalfi mysteries, the new Rebecca Mayfield mysteries, as well as historical fiction, romance, romantic suspense, a fantasy, and most recently, a supernatural suspense set in the empty, roadless, no-one’s-ever-lived-there “River of No Return” area of Idaho. Born and raised in San Francisco, she has been a journalist, analyst for the Federal government, taught school in Japan, and now makes her home in the foothills north of Boise, Idaho, with her husband, two dogs, four cats, and a peahen (female peacock) who showed up one day and refuses to leave.

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