Title: PUBLISH OR PERISH
Author: Kerry Blaisdell
Genre: Romantic Suspense
IN THE CUTTHROAT WORLD OF BIOMEDICAL RESEARCH…
When computer whiz Emma O’Manny’s scientist husband dumps her on Valentine’s Day, vandalizing his office seems like a justifiable—if petty—response. But then Dan’s small plane crashes under mysterious circumstances, and Emma’s suddenly the prime suspect in a double homicide. Worse, Dan may have faked important vaccine safety research, to further his career—and the digital trail leads to Emma. Can she determine which data is correct, to prove her innocence? Or will Dan keep controlling her life, even from the grave?
…THE FIRST TO PUBLISH WINS…
Detective Vin Bronislovas came to Portland to rebuild his reputation, after nearly blowing a years-long investigation by believing the lies of a mobster’s daughter. A single misstep—like falling for another suspect—would destroy his career and ruin his life. But when the killer strikes again, and Emma and her children are threatened, Vin must choose between the Job and love. Can he trust his gut? Or will repeating his past mistakes allow a murderer to go free, and potentially put millions of children at risk from an unsafe vaccine?
…AND ANYONE CAN MAKE A KILLING. ANYONE.
Day One, Hour Two on the Job, stuck in a cruiser, staring at a gas station while they drank their coffee and waited for something—anything—to come across the scanner. And so far, Vin Bronislovas was unimpressed with the kid they’d given him as a partner.
Except it was the other way around. He might be twenty years older than Joey Zitface, and have come from a precinct in South Deering, Chicago—Area 51, for cripe’s sake—to l’il ole Portland, Oregon, but he was the new guy. He was the rube.
Damn it. Bad enough the state-to-state move meant he’d had to go through the Academy a second time—the Advanced Academy, but still—did he have to start at the bottom when he got out? If only the detective position he’d coveted hadn’t vanished in a puff of bureaucratic smoke. If he hadn’t promised Azi they’d be here for Thanksgiving, and Tony hadn’t kicked his renters out to give them a place to live.
If, if, if.
He’d had to leave Chicago. Even now, six months later, he would’ve taken a desk job, anything, to get away—from the Deering Darling—the Long Island Lolita of the Midwest.
At least the uniform spot had materialized. And the low-key northwest lifestyle was exactly what he wanted. Quiet. Simple. Not complicated and messy, like Chicago.
If only his partner wasn’t a twelve-year-old.
Right on cue, the kid piped up again. “So, what does Vytautas Bronislovas mean, anyway? It’s Polish, right?”
Vin deliberately unclenched his jaw, reminding himself most people would’ve guessed Russian, which was worse. “Lithuanian. From Lithuania.”
“Lithuania? Where’s that?”
Vin closed his eyes, waited a beat, then said, “Next to Poland.”
“Oh. So they’re, like, the same?”
“Not really.” Shut up. Just shut up while you can.
“So what does it mean?”
Vin sighed. Shrugged his shoulders, working the kinks out, his duty belt creaking. Drank from the paper cup he held. The station coffee was better here. Northwesterners knew how to do coffee—and beer. He took another sip. Joey looked at him expectantly. Ah, fuck it.
“Vytautas means ‘chasing the people.’ Bronislovas means ‘protection and glory.’”
Joey’s jaw dropped. “You’re kidding, right?”
“’Cause that’s as bad as my phys ed teacher, Mr. Court. I’m not making this up. Your dad’s a cop, too, right?”
Another sigh. “Was. Yes. He’s dead.”
“Funny sense of humor. How’d he know you’d go on the Job?”
“I have no idea.” Vin should have picked another profession on purpose. But this was what he wanted to do—always had, and nothing else mattered.
“Hey—what about Tony? That’s Italian.”
The kid actually sounded suspicious and for the first time in a long while, a smile sneaked onto Vin’s face. Joey was persistent, he’d give him that. In less than an hour he’d weaseled out most of Vin’s vitals, including that he had four brothers, three sisters, and a dozen nieces and nephews; that Tony was the only sibling not still in Chicago; and that Vin and his Uncle Azi had moved here last fall, were crashing at Tony’s rental house, and were neither of them encumbered by anyone of the female persuasion.
Thank God. The last thing Vin wanted was a woman needling her way between him and Azi. Az was a handful all on his own.
Vin scowled out the window, then realized Zitface still waited for an answer. Cripes.
“Tony’s short for Antanas—Lithuanian for Anthony.”
“Like Vin for Vytautas?”
“Does Vytautas mean Vincent?”
The radio crackled on. Joey zeroed in on it—more points for him—and when the dispatcher finished, he yanked his seatbelt on. “That’s us!”
“Relax, kid. It’s just a tripped alarm. Probably the owner punched his code in wrong. Happens all the time.”
The look Joey shot him was expressive and explicit. “You’re shitting me, right?”
The look Vin shot back was equally so. “What?”
Rolled eyes. You’re-a-dumbass shake of the head. You-don’t-know-how-stupid-you-are twitch of the lips.
“Not just any alarm.” Joey shoved the car in gear and screeched right onto Sam Jackson Park Road. “The only alarm on the Hill that bypasses campus security and goes straight to us. OSHU authorized it last month. Big dealy bop PI, researching vaccines or something.”
“PI?” Vin had only learned today that the OSHU campus, or the Hill as it was called, would be his beat, and while he knew it was a teaching and research hospital, he had no clue how it worked. South Chicago hadn’t been a hotbed of biomedical science. More like of drug and gang violence.
“Principal Investigator,” Joey explained, as he veered back and forth up the twisting, two-lane road carved onto the hillside, knocking Vin hard against the door.
“Jeez. Whose bright idea was it to put a hospital up on a hill with lousy street access? Slow down, will you? I’m telling you—I’ve got a feeling about this. We’ll get up there and find the monkeys got out of the cage or something. This isn’t a career-breaker call.”
“No. But it could be a career-making one.”
Vin just shook his head. Kids. Who the hell let kids become cops anyway? He’d never been that young, had he?
Surreptitiously he gripped the oh-shit handle and hoped they weren’t about to careen off the edge into the canyon. Oh for the unending flat of the Midwest. At least when you floored it, you went in a straight line. None of this hairpin curve crap.
Then he grinned for real. Ah, fuck it. At least they were moving.
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Kerry Blaisdell is the award-winning author of The Dead Series, including DEBRIEFING THE DEAD—2019 Royal Palm Literary Award for Best Published Fantasy, RONE Award for Best Long Paranormal, HOLT Medallion Literary Award for Best Paranormal & Best First Book, and Romance Writers of America RITA® Award finalist—and its sequel, WAKING THE DEAD, which InD’tale Magazine recommends for “fans of television shows like ‘Constantine’ or ‘Supernatural.'” She also writes award-winning Romantic Suspense and Historical Mystery. She has a Bachelor of Arts from UC Berkeley in Comparative Literature (French/Medieval English), and a Master’s in Teaching English and Advanced Mathematics from the University of Portland. Kerry lives in the gorgeous Pacific Northwest with her family, assorted cats and dogs, and more hot pepper plants than anyone could reasonably consume.
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