Hard Press'd by Linda Rae Blair - Read Online
Hard Press'd
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Preston Andrews, Senior Homicide Detective for the Virginia Beach Police Department, is tall, dark and handsome--and wealthy beyond belief.

The son of U.S. Senator William Andrews and his lovely wife, Rosemary, lives in the mansion he'd bought from his parents a few years ago. He'd grown up in the Virginia Beach "summer home" of his parents and loves it more than anyplace he's ever been.

Along with the house came the skinny, prim and proper Lizzie, their housekeeper for the last 30 years of his life--and second mother to the two children of the Andrews family.

The third part of the acquisition was ex-Marine, Special Ops, ex-bodyguard to the family and long-time friend, Palmer. Now days Palmer spends his time acting as butler, driver and dog sitter for the 180 pound Mastiff--and God alone knew what other huge species--named Jones.

Jones had just failed his 4th attempt at obedience training. He wasn't a threat to anyone--at least those who knew him recognized this. But, there were the pesky habits of greeting people at the door by putting his catcher mitt sized paws on their shoulders and slurping their faces with a tongue the size of a hand towel, said linen commonly requested afterwards.

Press, as his friends call him, also has a sister--his "baby" sister, as he insists of thinking of her. She is upset with him when we meet her. He deserves it and he knows it. She is currently punishing him for his last act of brotherly love, which caused her some embarrassment in front of her peers.

When we meet Preston, his personal life--a mess, his professional life--with several definite challenges at present, and murder collide.

Published: Linda Rae Blair on


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Hard Press'd - Linda Rae Blair

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They didn’t have to wait but a few seconds. A command from the Admiral brought immediate attention. The aide stepped in, Yes, sir.

Foster, take a look at this photograph, the Admiral held out the photo.

Foster took the photo and studied it closely.

Is that Commander Olivette’s son? What’s his name…David?

Yes, sir! Ensign David Olivette. I believe it is, the aide responded and handed the photograph back to the Admiral. Looks as if they enjoyed the dance, sir.

"The dance?" Press probed.

The aide looked at the Admiral as if asking if it was alright to answer questions. At the Admiral’s nod, he continued. Yes, sir. The Admiral hosts a dance for all the young officers every fall. I recognize the decorations, since I oversaw the arrangements for the Admiral myself.

Where would we find David Olivette, sir? Press hoped it wasn’t somewhere mid-Atlantic!

Why don’t you wait here. Foster can have him located and brought here, the Admiral offered.

Thank you, sir.

Set them up in an empty conference room, Foster, the Admiral directed. Show Detective Evans to the conference room while Detective Andrews and I have a few words in private.

Yes, sir. Foster closed the Admiral’s door as he and Trace left the room.

Now, Detective Andrews. Explain why you resorted to using your father’s name to get to me.

I do apologize for that, Admiral. Dad wouldn’t approve, I assure you, but in this case…well, a girl is dead. In the past, I’ve found it difficult to access information from Navy sources. You do tend to close ranks on outsiders, especially where criminal matters are concerned, Press explained.

The Admiral seemed to enjoy the honesty. He laughed a deep, hearty laugh. "Don’t we just? JAG gets a little possessive where our sailors are concerned. Military personnel are considered the property of the U.S. Government, so we don’t take it well when other agencies interfere with that property."

The laughter ended and the Admiral’s face once again held its stern, authoritative manner. You do know that JAG will get involved if charges are brought, or in the event Olivette requests legal representation?

Yes, sir—of course!

Just how deeply do you believe our man is involved in this girl’s death?

As far as we know right now, Olivette was dating the victim. We have no reason to suspect that he was involved in her death, sir. Of course, that opinion could change at any time. Press knew the Admiral was well aware of the possibilities. The killer almost always had a personal tie to the victim.

You will advise me immediately, if that opinion changes.

Yes, sir.

Admiral Poindexter looked down at the photograph again. A damned shame, isn’t it—a pretty girl like this gone so young? The older I get, the younger they look—never gets any easier, does it?

Yes, sir, it is a shame, and we intend to find out who made her that way. As for getting easier, well…if it ever gets really easy, I guess we need to change jobs.

The Admiral looked Press in the eyes. Yes, you’re right. Your father speaks very highly of you, Detective. You did a very thorough job on that case last year. I heard you were in the hospital for several weeks. Your father was very worried about you.

Yes, sir. I know he was. Press absentmindedly rubbed his chest where the bullet had torn through his ribs and just missed his heart and lungs.

If you run into any…road blocks…at our end, let Foster know. We’ll do what we can to clear them—within reason, of course.

I know Commander Olivette, the Admiral continued. If his son is somehow involved in this murder, it will break his heart. He has high hopes for his son—a lot of potential there. The Admiral let out a deep sigh. Sometimes potential isn’t enough.

Sons don’t always meet their fathers’ expectations, sir, Press replied.

The Admiral was well aware of the senator’s disappointment at Press’s choice of vocations. True, but some fathers have unrealistic expectations, the Admiral smiled at Press. Then the smile was replaced with a look of grim determination that Press felt must send shivers down a subordinate’s spine.

The Navy has a huge population and crosses every grouping you can imagine—good and bad. If a sailor is involved, he won’t get any special treatment. We’re a close-knit bunch, as you know, but even the best tree can have a bad apple or two. I don’t like them any more than you do.

Thank you, sir. Press and the Admiral shook hands as Foster returned with word that Olivette had been located and an escort was bringing him to the Admiral’s conference room.

Now, Detective, I need to get back to work. Good luck with your investigation. The Admiral’s door closed behind him.

* * *

Sir. With his hat neatly tucked under one arm, back ramrod-straight, Olivette entered the room.

Have a seat Ensign Olivette, Press’s bass voice swept through the large room.

Olivette moved to the conference table, placed his hat on the table in front of his chair and sat across from the two detectives.

Press saw a young man, approximately twenty-five years old, about five-feet-ten-inches, one-hundred-eighty muscular pounds, sandy brown hair cropped in a short military cut, brown eyes and clean-shaven. A fine example of a sailor, but Press didn’t quite believe that.

I am Homicide Detective Andrews; this is my partner, Detective Evans. We’re here to talk to you about Macy Roberts.

Macy Roberts, sir?

Press thought to himself, come on kid—try to tell us you didn’t know her. Yes. You know Miss Roberts, Ensign?

Yes, sir, I did—briefly. We went out a couple of times last year. Is something wrong, sir? Olivette turned his gaze directly toward Press. "You said ‘homicide’?"

Yes, I did. Press pulled out an autopsy shot of Macy Roberts. You could say something’s wrong, Ensign. He threw the picture down on the table in front of Olivette.

Watching Olivette carefully, Press saw absolutely no physical reaction to what he was seeing. What does this have to do with me, sir?

When did you last see Macy Roberts, Ensign? Press left the man’s question unanswered.

Several months ago. She really wasn’t my type.

What is your type, Ensign?

Well, sir, how do I put this…she was still a virgin, sir. I really wasn’t interested in someone that…immature, sir.

Immature. So, if a girl doesn’t put out for you, you move on? Is that it, sailor?

Why not, sir? Lots of fish in a very large sea.

While others might have found Olivette’s smile charming, it struck Press as cold. So what was the initial draw?

She had lots of money and looks but that was about all. We didn’t have much in common, really.

Press had to rein in his temper, and he could feel the tension pour off Trace. So you dropped her—when?

Like I said, sir, several months ago. Probably September? I don’t remember exactly.

Hum, September. Press placed a copy of the photograph he found in Macy’s closet—dated late October—down in front of Olivette.

Olivette remained silent. Sir, I’m going to invoke my right to representation.

You’re not under arrest, Ensign. Should you be?

No, sir!

Well, I can certainly see why you would be concerned. A young woman is murdered, and you’ve lied to the police about the last time you saw her. Apparently, you believe you have something to hide, Ensign. If you want a lawyer, we can certainly see that JAG provides one. Then we can finish this at VBPD headquarters. Press stood up and started toward the door.

Never mind, as long as we understand that I had absolutely nothing to do with Macy’s death, Olivette stopped him.

Well, I want you to be very certain of that. You do seem to be in a rather dicey position, Ensign. Press knew the man had to be nervous, but not one drop of sweat could be seen, and Olivette’s hands were absolutely steady. Either he is completely innocent or the coldest son-of-a-bitch I’ve run into, Press thought. He knew which he thought to be true.

I don’t see why, sir. I simply forgot about the dance. She was a last minute invite, as I recall. Didn’t have a date—I’d been busy and had forgotten all about the dance, sir. Not my cup of tea, really. But the old man, my father, expected attendance.

Before Press could jump in, Olivette continued, Oh, yeah, I remember now. I ran into her at a charity function her father’s company sponsored. It was better than going stag—so I invited her. It really wasn’t a very memorable evening; we called it a night early.

I see. Press looked Olivette directly in the eye and asked, Where were you between midnight and 2:00 AM yesterday, Ensign?

I was off base, sir. With a young lady, Olivette smirked. "I prefer to keep her out of this, if possible, sir. She has an attachment of sorts."

"A married lady, Ensign?"

Yes, sir. An officer’s wife, sir.

I see. Well, I’m afraid we’re going to have to have her name. Press pushed him for a name, but what he wanted to do was punch this smart-mouthed punk.

"Kimberly Stuart, sir. Lieutenant Commander Kenneth Stuart’s wife. We have an arrangement that helps Mrs. Stuart bear the long months when her husband is at sea. I do hope you’ll be discreet, sir. I wouldn’t wish to cause Mrs. Stuart any…discomfort."

"You can rest assured that we will be discreet and thorough. Press’s jaw was beginning to ache from gritting his teeth. Well, I think that’s all for now, Ensign Olivette. Press wanted to strangle this punk! We may have more questions later."

Anytime, sir. Glad to help, Olivette said, as he rose, tucked his white hat under his arm, turned sharply and exited the room.

Foster, who had been positioned just outside the room, came back in. Anything more I can do for you, sir?

Press didn’t like Ensign Olivette one little bit. He found he’d been gripping his right hand in a fist. He took time to flex his hand to relax it before responding to Foster.

Yes. Please ask the Admiral to keep Ensign Olivette from leaving the base until I notify him. And I’d like to have a copy of his service record, if that can be arranged.

I’ll pass that request on to the Admiral, sir. If you’re finished, I can have someone take you to your vehicle.

Thanks, Lieutenant. We’re finished for now.

After Foster left the room, Trace spoke up. Olivette is lying his face off. He’s a cold-blooded son-of-a-bitch. He didn’t even blink at the shot of Macy with two bullet holes in her.

And a fast thinker—came up with a story about the dance fast enough. She’s beautiful, she’s loaded, but our man isn’t interested—what’s wrong with this picture? Let’s check into Ensign Olivette and see what pops up!

You can handle Mrs. Stuart, Trace. She’s going to alibi him; that much is certain. Just get her to provide as many details as possible. Maybe we can catch her in a lie.

* * *

Well, Foster, the Admiral pushed his torso back in his chair, what’s your opinion?

"I’d say Olivette has a lot to answer to, sir. Detective Andrews was still trying to release a lot of anger in the form of a clinched fist when he left the room. Evans just looked disgusted.