Wrapping up a normal day at the office, criminal psychologist Kieran Finnegan is accosted by a desperate woman who shoves an infant into her arms and then flees, only to be murdered minutes later on a busy Manhattan street.
Who was the woman? Where did the baby come from? Kieran can’t stop thinking about the child and the victim, so her boyfriend, Craig Frasier, does what any good special agent boyfriend would do—he gets the FBI involved. And asks Kieran to keep out of it.
But the Finnegans have a knack for getting into trouble, and Kieran won’t sit idle when a lead surfaces through her family’s pub. Investigating on her own, she uncovers a dangerous group that plays fast and loose with human lives and will stop at nothing to keep their secrets—and they plan to silence Kieran before she can expose their deadly enterprise.
The pub itself—and her brothers, upon occasion!—had been too involved in deadly activities taking place in the city. She’d actually met Craig in the middle of a diamond heist—a situation Danny had ridiculously gotten her into while attempting to help a friend—and Kevin had recently been a suspect in a murder when an actress he’d been dating had been found dead in the church-turned-nightclub that backed up to the alley just behind the pub. The good thing was that they were all friends with Egan and the FBI. By tradition, of course, they always hosted police officers from the local precinct and firefighters from the fire hall down the street. After all, being a cop had once been a major Irish occupation—and the city had certainly been filled with the Irish!
“It’s Saturday—I thought I’d help out around here.”
“And you are always a help,” he told her. “But as you can see, the cleaning crew was already in. We don’t open the doors until eleven thirty. Chef is busy…we have a full staff on. In fact, I think we probably have one server too many today. Sounds ridiculous, but if I don’t give them all enough tables, they can’t make it in their tips.”
“Ah, and no worries!” came a cheerful cry. Mary Kathleen came through the tables in the dining room, having just left the kitchen, or so it appeared. She was wearing a light spring jacket and carried a large disposable takeout tray. “Kieran, hello there, me love!” Mary Kathleen paused to kiss Kieran on the cheek. “I’m off to the mission by St. Peter’s.”
“That’s so nice!” Kieran told her. She’d known that—a few times a month, at least—Mary Kathleen volunteered at a mission soup kitchen just down the block off Church Street by old St. Peter’s.
The mission concentrated on immigrants who needed support—on seeing that they were fed, first and foremost, and then offering information on citizenship, green cards, work and whatever else might be necessary for someone newly arrived to the country, searching for the American dream.
“Chef has given me a great big dish of shepherd’s pie!” Mary Kathleen said, nodding affectionately toward Declan. “Thanks to the generous soul of your brother Declan. Well, actually, thanks to the largesse of all the Finnegan family.”
“Oh, no, that’s all Declan. He makes the decisions,” Kieran said. “But I’m awfully glad. I know that we were all—and different family members have been through the decades—immigrants. I’m delighted we’re helping people.”
She looked around the spotless, still-empty pub.
“Want some help at the mission or whatever it is?”
“Soup du Jour!” Mary Kathleen told her. “It’s great—the Catholics and Anglos and Jewish community and members of several of our NYC mosques came together to fund it. All are truly welcome—and we do mean all. It would be great if you came with me! Super. People will love you. Oh, and don’t go thinking they’re all dirty, that the people who come in are sleeping in doorways and the like. Many work hard—it’s just a difficult thing to come into this country sometimes and instantly make a living, especially in an expensive city like New York.”
“Naturally,” Kieran said. “And yet we—as Americans, who really have it pretty good—like to whine!”
Mary Kathleen laughed. “There’s absolutely nothing wrong with my beautiful adopted homeland. But here’s the thing—people come here because we can whine. Complaining is the God-given right of every American! You just have to remember that throughout history, people have come here for a dream. And right here in good old NYC, there used to be notes on the doors of all kinds of businesses that said No Irish! We have to watch out for prejudice against any new group. People still come for the same American dream.”
“And even when we think we’re a mess, we’re still the best kind of mess?” Kieran said. She smiled. Mary Kathleen was going to be a wonderful sister-in-law.
“‘Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time,’” Kieran quoted. “Churchill, 1947, to the House of Commons—if I remember right!”
“Yes, except I’ve been told that he was quoting a predecessor,” Mary Kathleen said. “Anyway, the point is, people do come here for a dream. And sometimes, it’s damned hard to realize. In fact, it can be a nightmare for some. They fall on hard times.”
“Please, I hope you know me better than thinking I would be dismissive or mean in any way. I wasn’t thinking of judging anyone, really,” Kieran assured her. “I was just thinking…”
Declan suddenly strode directly between the two of them.
“Kieran was thinking she needed to be occupied—or she’d drive us all crazy,” Declan said. “Thank the Good Lord, Mary Kathleen. It’s a true kindness you can give her something to do! Go on, Kieran—dish out some soup. It is a very good thing to do. And when you’re done, if you’re still walking around like a caged cat, Kevin has to learn some lines for a guest shot on a cop show. You can give your twin a hand!”
“Cool. Of course, I’ll run lines with my twin,” Kieran said.
“Ah, yes, poor lass!” Mary Kathleen said. “You do need to be occupied. You canna quit thinking about that poor murdered woman and the wee babe? I don’t blame you. So sad. And they still can’t find out who the woman was—and they have no idea as to where to find the babe’s mother?”
“No, not yet. Not that I’ve heard about,” Kieran said.
“They will,” Declan assured her.
“Of course,” Kieran said. She took the large dish from Mary Kathleen. “We’re out of here!” she told Declan.
“Go forth and be bountiful,” Declan said drily.
She made a face at him again.
But he was right, of course. She was very, very glad to have something to do.
About the Author
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Heather Graham has written more than a hundred novels. She’s a winner of the RWA’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Thriller Writers’ Silver Bullet. She is an active member of International Thriller Writers and Mystery Writers of America. For more information on Heather and her work, check out her websites: TheOriginalHeatherGraham.com, eHeatherGraham.com, and HeatherGraham.tv. You can also find Heather on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.