Authors: Marie Astor
Bad Guys Get
(Book Three of
the Janet Maple Series)
Bad Guys Get
Tangled Thing Called Love
Copyright 2012 Marie Astor
Copyright 2013 Danielle Stewart, used with permission
All rights reserved. Without limiting
the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be
reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in
any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or
otherwise) without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and
the above publisher of this book.
This is a work of fiction. Names,
characters, places, brands, media, and incidents are either the product of the
author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events
or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Cover art by Ginny Gallagher
there, I noticed you looking at the cover so I thought I’d introduce myself.
name is Baxter. I’m the Jack Russell Terrier on the cover. What’s that you
said? Cute? Why, thank you for the compliment although I personally prefer
you asking me if this book is about Jack Russell Terriers?
it isn’t. It’s a mix of romance and suspense.
I the narrator?
you’re really flattering me. No, I’m not, but I’m certainly part of the book.
When I was asked to model for the cover, I simply couldn’t refuse.
like to know more about the book?
happy to tell you. Let’s see,
Bad Guys Get Caught
is book three in the
Janet Maple Series and it’s about, well, it’s about catching the bad guys! But
then it already says that in the title… Sorry, let me try again. The main
characters are Janet Maple and Dennis Walker. They are white collar crime
investigators and their job is to track down crooks and all kinds of bad
people, the real sleazy types.
been with Janet since I was a little puppy. She takes great care of me: makes
sure I eat a great diet (although I wish she’d slip in a treat now and then),
takes me on long walks, and lets me jump on the couch as much as I want. Janet
works a lot, and when she’s real busy she asks our neighbor, Mrs. Chapman to
watch me. Mrs. Chapman likes to play the piano and sing, and I like to sing
along. We even preformed together at the local community center and received a
standing ovation, but enough about me.
Walker is Janet’s work partner and her boyfriend. For a while the two of them
couldn’t figure out how they felt about each other, but they finally saw sense.
Janet had kissed her share of frogs. There was that Alex Kingsley character,
and I didn’t like him one bit. You can read all about how I tore up his
trousers in book two,
Catching the Bad Guys
. Alex is history now, and
I’m glad that Janet is with Dennis. I knew Dennis was a good sort when I first
met him. I’ve got a nose for that kind of thing. He always brings me a Milk
Bone—the man’s got class!
that I hear? Oh yes, the sound of the key turning the front door lock. It must
be Janet and Dennis. Well, it’s been nice chatting with ya, but now I must be
off. I hope Dennis brought me a Milk Bone! See ya on the pages of
Janet Maple carefully cracked four eggs
over the bacon in the frying pan. Dennis liked his eggs sunny side up and she
intended to deliver. Not that Dennis asked her to make breakfast for him. More
often than not he insisted on manning the stove. Breakfast was his specialty;
he made killer pancakes. Cooking for him gave her a certain kind of pleasure;
the pleasure that sent her heart fluttering with the knowledge that Dennis
Walker was her man.
If someone were to tell her a few months
ago that Dennis would be sleeping in her bed this very moment, she would have
never believed it. A part of her still found it hard to believe that he was
there now, his head resting peacefully on her pillow, his face looking ever so
handsome. The best part was the reason for Dennis’s deep sleep: their passionate
lovemaking the night before and the night before, and the night before then …
Yes, Dennis Walker was her man, and he was also her work partner. Today was
Saturday, which meant that they could forget about work and have the entire
weekend to themselves. Well, with the exception of Janet’s Jack Russell
Terrier, Baxter, who was now impatiently growling at his empty bowl.
“Here you go, Baxter.” Janet filled
Baxter’s bowl. “Eat up.”
Baxter sniffed at his food and barked,
as he lifted his nose in the direction of the stove.
Janet shook her head. “Bacon is bad for
you. Now, eat your food.”
“Mmm, smells delicious.” Dennis wrapped
his arms around Janet’s waist.
“I didn’t hear you get up.”
“That’s because I can be very quiet when
I want to be. In case you’ve forgotten, I am an undercover investigator.”
“A white collar crime investigator,”
Janet could not resist making the correction. “In case you’ve forgotten so am
I, but I don’t go around sneaking up on my boyfriend.” She savored the word;
calling Dennis Walker her boyfriend never failed to bring a smile to her face.
“Hmm, you snuck up on me last night with
that little lacy number you were wearing. That was quite unexpected and very
pleasant,” Dennis added, tugging at Janet’s robe.
“I’m glad you liked it,” said Janet,
thinking that her impromptu trip to Macy’s lingerie department had paid off.
She playfully pushed Dennis’s hand away. “Your breakfast will get cold.”
“I could have you for breakfast
instead,” he murmured, kissing her neck.
“I slaved over those eggs all morning,”
she teased him. “You can have me for dessert.”
“In that case …”
Janet placed the larger portion of the
eggs on Dennis’s plate and handed it to him. “Do you want coffee?”
“Yes, please. Milk and sugar.”
“I know,” she whispered. Maybe in a few
months this novelty would wear off, but right now she still delighted in
knowing Dennis’s coffee preference.
“You said you weren’t hungry?” Janet
eyed Dennis’s plate, which became almost empty by the time she poured the
“What can I say? I’ve always been a fast
eater. Got it from my old man; he always said that those who worked fast, ate
fast. I don’t necessarily agree with that now, but at twelve I wanted to please
him and the habit stuck.” Dennis was not one to talk about himself, and whenever
he offered these little bits of information, Janet felt like she was getting
one step closer to him. “Besides, did anyone ever tell you that you are an
incredible cook?” Dennis added.
“Yes.” Janet beamed. “You tell me that
every time I make breakfast for you.”
“That’s because you’re great at it, but
then there are lots of much more important things that you’re great at. If you
take my meaning,” Dennis added huskily.
“Yes, like what?”
“Finish your breakfast and I’ll tell
Janet caught Dennis’s glance wandering
to the opening in her robe. “I think I already know what you have in mind.”
“Good, then I won’t have to waste any
time on unnecessary explanations. Eat up.”
“I’m done.” Janet pushed her plate away.
The prospect of making love to Dennis was a lot more appetizing. Besides, there
were other benefits as well. Replacing food with sex did wonders for your body.
She had already dropped five pounds without making any changes in her diet
other than occasionally replacing meals with sex. What girl, even with the most
perfect body, wouldn’t be delighted by such news?
“You call that done?” Dennis eyed her
barely touched plate.
“I’m not that hungry.”
“I can’t risk you being malnourished,”
said Dennis, picking up a fork and scooping some eggs onto it. “Open up.”
Janet did as she was told. The eggs were
good, even if she said so herself. Perhaps she would finish her breakfast after
“Good.” Dennis grabbed a piece of bacon
and brought it to her lips. “Take a bite.” Just then Dennis’s cell phone rang.
“You should get it. It might be
“Right now nothing is more important to
me than feeding my girlfriend.” Dennis lifted a forkful of eggs to Janet’s
mouth. Before Janet had the chance to take a bite, her landline began to ring.
“Somebody is being real insistent. Let
it go to voicemail.” Dennis shrugged.
The answering machine turned on. “Janet?
I’m sorry to bother you on a Saturday. This is Ham Kirk. I was wondering if
Dennis is there with you. Something important has come up—”
Janet sighed. “You’d better get it.”
“I guess so.” Dennis rose from his chair
and reached for the phone.
It had been a little over six months
since Dennis and Janet started working for Ham Kirk. Ham used to be their boss
when both of them worked for the Treasury Investigations Department. At the
Treasury, their specialty had been busting white collar crimes. The job had
been rewarding, but there had been too much red tape, so when Ham offered them
to work for his own agency, they both loved the idea; no red tape and, best of
all, a twenty percent raise.
Janet wondered what kind of an
assignment prompted Ham to call on a Saturday. They had been busy at the
agency, but Ham had a firm rule about work-free weekends, so what was it that
made him break his rule? She did not have to wonder for long, as Dennis had
hung up the phone after speaking with Ham for only a few minutes.
“So, what did Ham say?” Janet asked
after Dennis failed to produce any details about the conversation.
Dennis frowned. “Not much. He wants us
to meet him at the office.”
“He said it’s really important.”
“Then we should go. Did he at least give
you an idea what it’s about?”
“No. He said it was too important to
discuss over the phone.”
“Hmm, that’s not like Ham to be so
cryptic,” Janet paused.
“You’d better go get dressed,” said
Dennis. “I’m going to clean up.”
“You are the best.” Janet planted a kiss
on Dennis’s lips.
“Careful babe, or we’ll be late for our
meeting with Ham,” Dennis whispered after their kiss turned out to be much
longer than Janet had intended.
“You’ve got a point. Wouldn’t want to
disappoint our boss, but that doesn’t mean that you should be deprived of a
little preview,” Janet whispered. She pulled away from Dennis and headed into
the bedroom, playfully swinging her hips.
“You’re a tease, Janet Maple,” Dennis
called after her. “Just wait until I get my hands on you tonight.”
Relishing Dennis’s threat, Janet
surveyed her closet for suitable attire for their meeting with Ham. It was
work, but it was also the weekend, and she wanted to look at least somewhat
sexy. She settled on a knit wrap dress of electric blue, pairing it with black
pumps and a pair of gold hoop earrings.
When she returned to the kitchen she
found that not only had Dennis cleared away the table, but he was also already
dressed. “Well, that was quicker than usual,” Dennis remarked, eyeing her.
“Nice dress, by the way.”
“How did you manage to—”
“Clean the table and get dressed while
you dolled yourself up?” Dennis finished the question for her. “I told you, I’m
“Race you to the elevator!” Janet
grabbed her purse and rushed for the door. She hurriedly pushed the elevator
button. The elevator door opened just as Dennis appeared in hallway.
“Do you want me to lock your apartment
door or are you going to leave without me?” he called out.
“Damn, I forgot that part. Lock it up;
I’ll wait,” Janet called back.
A few moments later Dennis joined her in
the elevator. “Were you really going to leave without me?” he asked, wrapping
his arms around her and drawing her into a long, passionate kiss.
“You know I wasn’t,” Janet gasped.
“Whatever it is Ham wants from us this morning, it’d better be important,” she
Luckily, there was a cab about to unload
a passenger right by the curb of Janet’s building. Dennis used the pretext of
gallantry to nix the claim of the man a few paces away from them who had been
about to lunge for the same cab and held the door open for the elderly lady
exiting the cab. Janet instantly recognized her neighbor, Mrs. Chapman.
“Dennis, how nice to see you!” Mrs. Chapman
leaned on Dennis’s hand. “It’s so nice to know that there are still chivalrous
young men out there. You hold on to him, Janet,” she added.
“Oh, don’t you worry. I don’t plan on
letting go of him,” Janet assured her.
“Young people in love!” Mrs. Chapman
exclaimed, dabbing her eyes.
Janet felt Dennis’s hand graze her
behind as he ushered her into the car. She threw him a playful glace. Too bad
they had to go into the office.
A fifteen-minute cab ride later, Dennis
and Janet were approaching the headquarters of Ham Kirk’s private intelligence
agency. Although “headquarters” was probably too grand a word; the agency
occupied a suite of four rooms in a nondescript building located on one of the
side streets that ran like a maze in downtown Manhattan. There was no gleaming
sign announcing its presence in the building lobby, but only a small listing in
the table of building offices that read Kirk & Associates.
“Janet, Dennis, thank you so much for
coming to see me on such a short notice,” Ham Kirk greeted them.
“It’s no problem, Ham. We’re always glad
to help,” Dennis replied for both of them.
Yes, we are, Janet thought, even when
we’d rather be doing other things, like having hot, passionate sex. She felt
herself blushing from her own thoughts. What was wrong with her? It was all
Dennis’s fault; his hot body and dirty mind turned her into a horny, wild
creature she barely recognized as herself. “How can we help, Ham?” Janet asked,
willing her thoughts into submission.
“Please, have a seat.” Ham pointed at
the chairs facing his desk. “I have some really exciting news.”
“We’re listening, Ham,” said Dennis.
“What is it that you need us to do?”
“I’ve just received a contract for
vetting a future candidate for the New York senator seat. The party wants us to
do a thorough background check before his candidacy is officially announced and
the campaign begins.”
“Doesn’t the party have its people to do
this kind of work?” Dennis asked.
“I don’t have much confidence in the
bozos that are doing background checks for the government. As you might have
guessed, I am not alone in my opinion or we wouldn’t be getting so much work in
this little agency of ours. Remember the scandal with the previous candidate?
We really need to put our best foot forward on this. The party management has
made it clear that they can’t afford another blow-up.”
“With all due respect, Ham, we weren’t
the ones vetting their previous candidate.”
Ham nodded, smiling by way of answer.
“You can count on us, Ham,” Janet
assured him. Since they started working for Ham’s agency, Janet and Dennis had
conducted several background investigations on candidates for various political
posts. These assignments were always top secret and were carried out at the
request of government agencies where Ham had many friends who trusted his
skill, discretion, and expertise.
“If we do a good job on this, we could
become the party’s agency of choice for these types of assignments. Time is of
the essence. If there are unsavory things to be found, the party senior
management wants to be notified immediately—”
“So that if we find something that’s not
kosher, they could keep it in the family,” Dennis cut in.
“Exactly.” Ham nodded.
“I got it, sir,” Dennis replied
matter-of-factly. “First things first; we’ll need his name.”
“Julius Libby,” Ham pronounced the name
“Sounds like you dislike the fellow
already,” said Dennis.
“I dislike all politicians,” Ham
replied. “I’ve never met one who didn’t have skeletons in his closet. The only
question is how bad the skeletons are, and that I will leave up to you and
Janet to find out. You’ll find all the information that you need in this file.”
Ham handed Dennis a manila folder.