USA Today Bestselling Author
When several members of a search and rescue team die in an accident, followed by several more team members who are murdered, Jace is ordered to sort it out.
Working for a large insurance company had always been great for Emily, until she is handed several files all from the same family. Men she knew… intimately. Afraid there is too much going on in the background she contacts Legendary Securities for help.
As the investigation develops, more bodies turn up, along with jealousy, greed and insurance payouts that just maybe shouldn’t have been paid.
She pairs up with the sexy Jace as they delve into the twisted and personal cases and race to stop another murder from taking place right in front of them…
A phone call from Merk’s brother Terkel, who has some interesting psychic abilities gives the team a bit of a heads up regarding some deaths within TxSAR. Four cousins two in the line of duty, two under suspicious circumstance. A call from first TxSAR then a visit from a woman with the insurance company holding their policies guarantees this investigation.
Emily is the investigator for the insurance company, she also has history with the people who are dead. Her boss is overlooking the fact she knows the people involved and allows for the hiring of the independent investigators. Little do they know that no stone is going to be left unturned.
This is a favorite scene where Emily realizes how thorough these guys are.
“It is my priority,” she said calmly. “But it’s not as simple as typing the name into the database. These names are not necessarily the names on the policies. People marry, get divorced. They change their names. … Nobody ever thinks to update an insurance policy.”
Jace sat back with a surprised look on his face. “That makes sense.”
“Like a painting, we need to have a paper trail to follow,” she said. “It has to be legal. They have to prove they are who they say they are before we write a check.”
“Will that paper trail be in the archives?” Logan asked.
She glanced at him. “It’s likely to be in the notes. But, if some of these records go back twenty years, … we didn’t have digital records back then. We’ll find scanned documents and old paper documents with notes written as well as they could’ve been. But there could be gaps in the information. I will do what I can. Also I promised Ice that I would look for other family members. It would be helpful if we knew from the family themselves who might have an insurance policy because I represent only one of many insurance companies. It would make sense to think that some would have insurance policies with other companies.”
“And yet, if they didn’t, then that would be another line to tug because then the insurance company would also be a common denominator.”
“That’s possible. I don’t think it’s very likely. Insurance companies are very competitive. So there are many reasons for somebody to come to our company versus another one.”
“Unless someone in the family either worked in the company or knew somebody who did—other than you.” Jace leaned forward, his fingers tapping the table. “We need a list of past employees, particularly fired or disgruntled ones who could have accessed the policies.”
She winced. “And that could be a whole lot harder to find.”
Jace gave her a flat stare. “Why is that?”
“Because that information is confidential and might need a warrant,” she reminded him gently. “I’ll help you as much as I can within the parameters I’m allowed. And I know Wilson will be on board to go right to the edge, but I don’t know if the employee list is included in that or not.” When Jace opened his mouth to protest, she held up her hand. “I will check it out and do what I can. When I know something, I’ll pass it on to you. But, if you got a warrant, that would be much better.”
Jace narrowed his gaze and settled back in his chair. “And we might have to, but that will be a last resort. But the faster we get information, the faster this will go.”
“I need more hands,” she muttered.
“While we can get the information on our own, I presume you don’t want us hacking into your system,” Logan said with a big grin.
Her gaze flew to him in horror. “Please don’t do that. Please don’t even suggest something like that, even as a joke.”
“Why?” Jace asked sharply. “Has the company been hacked?”
She picked up her coffee cup and took a sip. “Before I started working here, some of our files were hacked. To this day, we’re not exactly sure what was accessed. Obviously our security is much stronger now. But, at the time, nobody understood how far into our database a hacker could go.”
Logan whistled low and hard. “Wow. That completely opens up the suspect list.”
“Because now there are a lot of people who would’ve known who had policies and would also have the personal information as to who was related and who were the beneficiaries. This may have nothing to do with the individual family members,” Jace said. “It could very well be the hackers found several policy holders within the one family and just rolled a dice to choose the next victim.”
“Or they played that long game that Jace and I were talking about, and they have an end result,” Logan said.
Jace nodded. “This is a very interesting element.” He picked up his phone and said, “I’ll send Levi and Detective Dickerson a note about this.”
She reached across and covered his hand with hers. “Please try to keep this confidential. If any of this gets out to the public, the insurance company will face a horrific backlash.”
He studied her face for a long moment, then nodded. “I will do what I can. But this is not information we can hide, not when four people have potentially been murdered for their policies. Someone had to know they had the policies.”
Logan leaned forward and tapped her notepad. “And that means we need to know every policy handed out that the hackers accessed.”
She stared at him in horror. “Do you understand how many thousands of names that is?” She shook her head. “I can get through all this stuff, but you’re asking for weeks’ worth of work. And that’s only if the company approves this. Which I highly doubt. We need more justification for that amount of work.”
Logan sat back and drummed the tabletop. “Let’s start with everyone within Austin and the surrounding areas.”
She glanced at him.
“Any way to narrow those fields down by profession or as TxSAR members?” Jace asked, turning to Emily.
She shook her head. “Not really. Sometimes forty years go by since the first policy was taken out, and people don’t update the information when they marry or divorce. Sometimes people even forget about their policies.”
“Let’s think about this specifically so we can shorten the list.”
“What we need is the names of beneficiaries, their addresses …” Logan said, staring off into space. “But then we also need the sex and potentially the rest of that person’s family tree. What if we create a program to do that?”
“If we had the list of names, then, yes.”
Jace glanced at Emily. “You can get the list of names and any of the database information that comes with it, such as the address, sex, age, and the beneficiary. Then maybe we’ll take all that information and sort it into something a little more usable.”
She pinched the bridge of her nose. “I have to get permission. This is confidential information.”
“It’s all confidential information. But the fact is, somebody’s already had access to it. So we’re years behind them. They’ve had that long to make plans.”
She tossed down her pen and raised both hands in surrender. “But this is all conjecture,” she exclaimed. “We don’t even know that Ronnie and Howard’s deaths were anything but an accident.”
“That’s true. But we do know about Lyle Cowichan and Richard Manton.”
She pointed a finger at him and shook it. “Those two are for the police to sort out. And we have no way of knowing who might have killed them. Even assuming Sicily knows about the life insurance—and one million dollars is hard to walk away from—thinking about something is a very different thing than doing something concrete about it. Now if she had someone to help …”
“Particularly when she already has the weapon, her ex-boyfriend.”
“But we don’t know that,” she reminded him, yet vividly remembered the guy standing by the white SUV kissing Sicily in her driveway. Should she tell them now about that? She was an investigator and knew all possibilities should be considered. Would telling them about Sicily bring too much attention on her? God knew Emily had no reason to protect Sicily. But Emily’s job was to do right by the people who bought these policies to take care of their loved ones afterward. “I understand we have to follow all these trails, but it’ll take time.”
“And we’re here,” Logan said, “to make sure that the time happens a whole lot faster than if you were left to your own devices. So get permission from your boss or from his bosses or whoever to get the list of names from all payouts before the breach and the security was boosted. You can do that without showing us the results. Then do a search of those names related to the four cousins’ families. Also check Ice’s list of TxSAR members killed. Depending on what you find—if you find anything—then we can see what the next step is. Obviously we need this kept aboveboard so the evidence doesn’t get thrown out in court.”
She sank back in her chair, holding her cup of coffee close to her chest as she studied the men. She didn’t have any reason to argue, but it was a ton of work, and, maybe more than anything, she was scared. Scared of what they might find. “This could get really ugly,” she said weakly.
Mayer, Dale. Jace’s Jewel: A SEALs of Honor World Novel (Heroes for Hire Book 11) . Valley Publishing Ltd. Kindle Locations (724-793). Kindle Edition.
Nothing is straight forward, and there are many twists and turns to this tale. Not helping is the reluctance of Emily’s boss Wilson to push for the main offices cooperation.
I love the way Jace and Logan interrogate the TxSAR people and manage to get information these people don’t know they have. All while cooperating with the local law enforcement in the investigation of the two that were suspicious. The slow but steady build of the relationship between Jace and Emily is perfect in every way.
Love the suspense, the intrigue, the emotion and the ending I didn’t see coming.
5 Contented Purrs for Dale!
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Dale Mayer is a USA Today bestselling author best known for her Psychic Visions and Family Blood Ties series. Her contemporary romances are raw and full of passion and emotion (Second Chances, SKIN), her thrillers will keep you guessing (By Death series), and her romantic comedies will keep you giggling (It’s a Dog’s Life and Charmin Marvin Romantic Comedy series).
She honors the stories that come to her – and some of them are crazy and break all the rules and cross multiple genres!
To go with her fiction, she also writes nonfiction in many different fields with books available on resume writing, companion gardening and the US mortgage system. She has recently published her Career Essentials Series. All her books are available in print and ebook format.