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P. 1
Hot Off the Presses

Hot Off the Presses

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Published by Bookworm-93

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Published by: Bookworm-93 on May 25, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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10/29/2012

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Hot off the Presses
Chapter One
"Who does that jerk Daniel Brady think he is?" M. J. Carter muttered under her breath, then raised her head to glance quickly around the newsroom of the
Denver Star.
Nobody was paying attention to her,and she breathed a small sigh of relief.Swiping a hand through her short brown hair, she made an effort to get a grip on her frustration. Amessage had just come to her in-house computer mailbox, turning down her latest proposal—to do astory on evidence planting by the Denver P.D.The email was from her immediate boss, news editor Hank Mooney, but she was pretty sure DanielBrady was the one who had nixed the piece. Brady was the new editor of the
Star 
—which meant hisword was law around here.She sighed. Four months ago she'd been so pleased about coming back home. Aunt Martha had toldher about an opening at the
Star.
And after her success of getting half a dozen Chicago mobstersarrested, she'd been a hot property. Of course, it hadn't hurt that her aunt was friends with the
Star 
'snews editor. She'd submitted her résumé, interviewed for the job, and won out over several candidates.And she'd produced some blockbuster stories—until Daniel Brady had come on board.When she'd started working for the
Star,
he had still been in Afghanistan filing reports from various hotspots. Then his father, the paper's owner and editor-in-chief, had died of a heart attack. And the heir apparent had been called back to take over the reins. She'd heard he thought women should stay out of the war correspondent business. She hadn't realized he had the same prejudices about investigativereporting. She'd been working on a juicy story about a murder-for-hire gang. Brady had forced her toshare the assignment with another reporter, Arnold Findlay. And somehow Findlay had made it look as if he'd done most of the digging when the series of stories was published.M.J. had gnashed her teeth and vowed to get her fair share of the recognition next time. And as far asher friends and Aunt Martha were concerned, she was doing great at work. With the crowd down atSunny Jones's elegant beauty salon, it was a matter of pride. With Aunt Martha, it was a matter of expediency. Her aunt's health was fragile, and she wasn't going to burden her with any work-relatedcomplaints.The phone on her desk rang, and she picked up the receiver. "M.J. Carter.""Thank God I reached you," a low, urgent voice responded.She knew at once who it was. Anita Mangani, the daughter of Gianni Mangani, head of the Chicagocrime family who had been gunned down over a plate of veal parmigiana in an Italian restaurant. Hisdaughter had vowed to get even with the rival family, the Detellos, who had killed him, and she'd secretlycontacted M.J. For months, she'd fed M.J. leads—and the information had led to a number of arrestsand convictions."Anita? What's wrong?""I'm taking a big chance calling you. But I have to. Your boss is in danger.""Hank Mooney? The news editor.""No. I'm talking about Mr. Brady. They're going to kill him."
 
M.J. felt her skin go cold. "When? Why?""His father had some...business dealings with the wrong people.""Who?""I can't tell you. But I know they want the son to stay away from stories on certain subjects. But he won'tgive them that guarantee.""He wouldn't," M.J. muttered. She might be frustrated by Daniel Brady's sex discrimination policies, butshe was sure of his integrity."It's going to happen at his luncheon meeting—at the Windsor Park Hotel.""But that's today," she answered, feeling her heart begin to pound. She'd read about it on the schedulethis morning."Stop him. And don't trust anybody.""You can't mean the police?""Yes, I do."The line went dead, and M.J. was left with the words "Don't trust anybody" ringing in her ears.God, now what?With icy fingers, she dialed the executive suite on the tenth floor. "Is Mr. Brady there?" she asked hissecretary."I'm sorry. He just left for a luncheon meeting. Can I take a message?""I'll get back to him." Slamming down the receiver, M.J. retrieved her leather backpack from her bottomright desk drawer and hurried out of the newsroom. As she crossed the lobby, she spotted ArnoldFindlay watching her."Late for an interview?" he asked, sounding as if he was anxious to go along."Something like that," she answered, as she bolted for the employees' parking lot.Once in her car, she had time to reflect on what she was doing. Every scrap of information she'd gottenfrom Anita in the past had been reliable. Which was why she was going to catch Daniel before he got tothat luncheon meeting.Daniel. She hated the way he was running roughshod over her career. Yet at the same time, from themoment the two of them had laid eyes on each other, she'd sensed a simmering man-woman attractionbetween them.She'd tried to talk herself out of it. She'd tried to pretend it was all in her imagination. He wasn't even her type. He was too blond. Too blue-eyed. Too handsome. Too rich. Think Robert Redford in
 All thePresident's Men,
and you had him pegged. It was a movie she'd watched dozens of times because she'dadmired the young reporters who'd brought down Richard Nixon. They'd provided much of her inspiration for going into investigative journalism.
 
Daniel Brady might look like Robert Redford, but she'd cautioned herself often enough not to get themmixed up.He'd been born with a silver spoon in his mouth. She was from the wrong side of the tracks. She'dworked for everything she'd ever gotten. Success had been handed to him.Well—to be fair, he'd worked hard, too. You didn't cover the dangerous beats around the world from aneasy chair. She'd admired the way he'd gotten into the rough-and-tumble of reporting, but that didn'tmean they saw eye to eye on anything now.Still, the attraction between them was there, interfering with their working relationship. And to her annoyance, none of her silent lectures about the stupidity of office romances stopped her from havingwild, erotic dreams about the man. She'd wake up in bed, her skin prickly, her overheated body slick witha fine sheen of moisture. As she'd throw off the covers, she'd know that she'd been imagining herself making love with him.It would be impossible to get back to sleep. Not after those steamy dreams. So she'd come to workrumpled and bleary-eyed. Sometimes Daniel would look the same way, and she'd wonder if he wereawake at night for the same reason.Her heart was pounding hard as she reached the Windsor Park Hotel and pulled down the ramp to thegarage—praying that he'd pulled into the VIP area near the elevators.When she didn't immediately spot him, her hands clenched on the wheel and her gaze darted aroundthe specially marked section of the garage.Then she breathed out a grateful sigh as she spotted him getting out of his car. A group of womenstepped into the elevator. Then she and Daniel were alone in the parking area—except for a man in atrench coat and rain hat, hiding behind one of the concrete pillars. He was standing stiffly, his arm helddown beside his leg. As M.J. focused on him, she saw a gun in his hand. Terror leaped inside her chest.Terror so great it threatened to swallow her whole.
Chapter Two
M.J. had only seconds to react. The man with the gun was leaning around the pillar, raising his handpointing the weapon at Daniel.Oh, Lord, no. Pressing the button that opened her window, she shouted, "Daniel, he's got a gun. Getdown."The warning was less than useless. At the high, frightened sound of her voice, Daniel looked up, hiseyes fixing on her instead of the assailant—who had also heard her. He whirled, facing her, the weaponpointed at her now. The only thing she could think to do was duck low and tramp on the accelerator. Thecar leaped forward as the sound of a gunshot reverberated like a cannon blast in the enclosed garage.Two more shots rang out, and she felt a pain in her arm—like a bee sting, she thought vaguely.When she heard the sound of running feet, she peered above the windshield. The hit man was tearingacross the garage floor, heading for the exit—with Daniel right behind him. Before the man made hisescape, his forward progress was stopped by a tackle worthy of a defensive end.Her boss had brought the gunman down, but keeping him down was another matter. As she watched,they rolled across the cement floor of the garage, each trying to get the better of the other.

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