Chocked UpNothing makes a tomboy feel as deliciously girly as dating the ultimate alpha male. And with five older brothers carrying more machismo per square inch than The Wild Bunch, I’m pretty much an expert.

I punched out at the Traffic Enforcement Bureau and started the five-block hike to my car. Only three days and a wake-up until Hank returned. A heel away from skipping, I trotted down Marston Avenue’s squalid stretch of sidewalk.

A teal Chevy Sonic swerved toward me, window down. “Fuck you, Meter Bitch!” A white ball flew out, bounced off the sidewalk and nailed me in the shin.

The Sonic’s tires squealed and it tore off up the street.

Gee, thanks guy.

Rubbing my leg, I looked down at the cement. A rolled-up disposable diaper.

Who does that?

I picked up the stale diaper rock with two fingers and threw it in a street can, feeling nothing but lucky it hadn’t hit me in the face. A typical Thursday.

Infatuation had me off my game. I was still wearing the ‘Loogie’. The neon phlegm yellow-green reflective vest of a Chicago Parking Enforcement Agent. Idiot. I took it off and shoved it in my backpack as I rounded the corner onto 4th St.

No raining on my parade–it’s Miller Time.

There may be blood, though, after I kick the ass of the bum sleeping on the hood of my–well, Hank’s–perfectly restored Dodge Coronet.

The guy leaned against the windshield, head lolled back onto the roof.

“Hey. Buddy!” I called in my best law and order voice from across the street. “Off the car.”

The guy didn’t flinch. A couple steps closer and I saw and smelt why.

Oh jeeze.

His throat was a gaping maw of red. And pink and white gristle. Slashed from ear to ear. “Holy mother of. . .” I averted my eyes to the car’s grille. Thickening blood covered the air intakes while a slow trickle of blood slid down the Coronet’s glossy black fender wing and dripped into a puddle on the pavement.

I fumbled my iPhone out of my pocket and sent a dozen crime scene snaps to the Cloud. “Call Hank’s office,” I slurred into the mic, talking too fast, Siri unable to understand. I started again, “Call–”

“Step away from the car, ma’am,” a man said over a loudspeaker.

I slipped my phone down the front of my shirt and glanced over my shoulder to see a blue and white CPD Tahoe, red lights flashing.

I raised my hands and backed up.


Officer Reynolds was about as nice as they came, but even with a blanket and a Hershey bar, the back of a police car was not a fun place to be. No amount of Febreze could eradicate the lingering stink of piss and puke that permeated the leather seats. Reynolds peered at me through silver-rimmed specs in the rearview mirror.

Please don’t.

“Where’d you go to high school, Maisie?”

I sighed inwardly. “St. Ignatius.”

“Nope. Not it.” He shook his head. “Where do I know you from?”

“I just have one of those faces.”

He kept staring. I rotated my fingers in a circle. “This is where you say I’ve the face of an Irish angel.”

“Ha!” Officer Reynolds twisted awkwardly in his seat and jabbed a finger at me. “You’re the meter maid. The one that threw up on Coles.”

They never remember the car bomb I saved the mayor from. Only the puking.

A Crime Scene van parked in front of us and a couple of techs got out. One, a pal of my brother Rory’s, spotted me in the back of the Tahoe and gave me the surprised-point-and-smile. I returned a half-hearted salute.

“How do you know–” The young cop’s voice trailed off as the penny dropped. “Wait. Maisie McGrane as in one of the McGrane McGranes?”

I nodded.

“Man, your whole family’s on the force.”

“Half. The other half’s defense attorneys,” I said wryly, “to keep it even.”

“So why are you a meter maid?”

“Ouch. Don’t pull any punches, do you?”

“I. . .erm.” Reynolds’ cheeks reddened. “Do you like it?”

About as much as teaching blind kids to use a bandsaw. “It’s okay.”

A couple of beat cops and a detective showed up and started working the scene. Reynolds drummed his fingers on the steering wheel. “Think your brothers’ll show?”

I sure as hell hope not.

You can read more about Maisie in Choked Up, the second book in the “Maisie McGrane” mystery series, published by Kensington. The first book in the series is Time’s Up and coming Summer 2016, Shoot ‘Em Up.

About Choked Up

She’s working undercover–and she’s in way over her head.

Scrappy Traffic Enforcement agent Maisie McGrane has finally landed her dream job as a Chicago police officer. There’s just one catch. She must remain undercover as a meter maid to gather evidence against Stannislav Renko, a charismatic Serbian mobster running a brutal multi-million dollar mobile chop-shop operation.

When Maisie is targeted by a killer who leaves a body slumped against her car, Renko comes to her rescue and takes her under his wing. From her perch inside the crime boss’s inner circle, Maisie sets up a daring sting operation to take down Renko once and for all. But can she pull it off before her family of overprotective Irish cops and her sexy ex-Army Ranger boyfriend blow her cover?

# # # # # # # # # # #

earringsGIVEAWAY: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a signed copy of CHOKED UP and a pair of my ‘Dead Lead’ (recycled bullet casing) earrings. US entries only, please. The giveaway will end December 30 at 12 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

Meet the author
JaneyMackJaney Mack grew up always wanting to be a cop but her dad wouldn’t let her, so she did the next best thing and created Maisie McGrane, who gets to do everything she can’t. She lives with her husband and children in Scottsdale, Arizona, within driving distance of her brothers. Please visit her at, at @JaneyMackWriter and on Facebook.

%d bloggers like this: