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Authors: Harper Bentley

Under the Gun (CEP Book 3)

BOOK: Under the Gun (CEP Book 3)
8.69Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub






Under the Gun

(CEP #3)



Harper Bentley





Check out other titles by Harper Bentley:

The Powers That Be series:

Gable (The Powers That Be Book 1)

Zeke (The Powers That Be Book 2)

Loch (The Powers That Be Book 3)

Ryker (The Powers That Be Book 4)

CEP series:

Being Chased
(CEP #1)

Unbreakable Hearts (CEP #2)

The High Rise series

The Fighter

Serenity Point series:

Bigger Than the Sky (Serenity Point Book 1)

Always and Forever (Serenity Point Book 2)

True Love series:

Discovering Us (True Love #1)

Finding Us (True Love #2)

Finally Us (True Love Book 3)

True Love: The Trilogy: The Complete Boxed Set


Copyright © 2016 Harper Bentley


Digital Edition: July 2016


Editors: Franca, Mel & Sam


Cover image licensed by Shutterstock


Cover Photo design by Jada D’Lee Designs


All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the written permission of the author, except for the use of brief quotations in a book review. This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locations is entirely coincidental. All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior express, written consent of the author




To Mayme

Who wrung her hands

when it rained








Kane Caldwell
, for putting up with my special brand of crazy. I’ve learned so much in such a short time ;) You inspire me to want to be a better writer just like you (which will never be possible since you knocked it out of the park the first go round so I’ll always be playing catch-up *annoyed huff*) but one can still dream ;) Thanks, honey, for the sessions & always being there to make me smile or laugh when I need it most! xo

To Franca, Mel & Sam, Thank you for always being at the ready. I’d love say never again but you know I’d be lying lol You’re all amazing! Love you guys!

To Amy & the Hellbenders, Love love love you! You make me laugh every day & for that I’m SO fricking grateful! Thank you for the encouragement. You guys frickin’ rock my world!

TC Matson
Anne Mercier
, I can always count on your encouragement & I hope you feel the same! We be cheerleaders RAH! ;) Love you tons <3

Amy Dunlap, Best damned PA out there! And personal therapist when I can’t focus. You’re gonna start charging, aren’t you? Dammit… Love you, sis!  

Erin Spencer, Thank you for always hooking me up at the last minute. I’m thinking you’re starting to figure out my MO now so I’m past the shocking you stage. <3 you more!

To the many bloggers who’ve spread the word about my books, thank you x a kabillion. Know that you are appreciated GOBS!

And to the readers, this is all for you. Thank you for making my dreams come true <3


Table of Contents


Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20


About the author:


Chapter 1


“And then I reach a hand out from under the bed where I’m hiding and jerk her by the ankle, knocking her down and pulling her underneath with me. Then I cover her mouth to keep her from screaming so Mom and Dad don’t come see what’s going on. Next…I stab her in the neck fifty-two times, once for each week in the year that she’s bugged the shit out of me.”

Quinn McDonnell nodded at the thirteen-year-old boy who sat squirming uncomfortably on the couch across from her as she wrote notes on her memo pad about the boy’s aggressive daydreams and what was triggering them. What she really wanted to write was, “Dear Parents of Jeremiah, Get your five-year-old daughter the hell out of the house now, then lock his ass up.”

But she was a psychologist who specialized in adolescents and recognized more often than not that what these kids said was just their letting frustrations out. What Jeremiah had shared was extremely graphic but she also knew that talking about these horrid fantasies usually did the trick—her patients just needed to reveal their bad thoughts then be told that they themselves weren’t bad for thinking that way, especially when it was about someone they were supposed to love.

Or so she hoped.

The boy talked a bit more about his feelings toward his sister before Quinn wrapped things up.

“Well, Jeremiah, I understand your feeling that way. A lot of times, younger siblings can be very annoying. My little sister used to drive me crazy, but we made it to adulthood with only a few battle scars.” She smiled reassuringly at him and saw instant relief on his face. At least he’d felt guilty for thinking about hurting his little sister, thank God. “Everyone has bad thoughts, but it’s good to tell someone about them, get them out there and move on.” She smiled at him again then looked at the clock on the table by her chair. “Does that make sense?” At his timid nod, she stated, “Okay, well, that’s our time for today. I’ll see you next Tuesday at five?”

He nodded shyly again, stood and walked to the door. Quinn continued writing notes but realizing he hadn’t left, looked up and asked, “Yes?”

“Thank you, Dr. McDonnell. I feel a lot better. Thinking that way about Marcy gave me the creeps.” He frowned.

She chuckled softly to lighten the mood. “Like I said, it’s perfectly natural to have bad thoughts, Jeremiah. So long as you know not to act on them, you’re fine.”

He bit his lip as he nodded once more and she again saw his mollification. He stood there a couple seconds more before finally giving her a small smile and leaving the room.

When the door clicked shut, Quinn took in a breath and blew it out heavily, closing her eyes and shaking her head a couple times. For the most part, she loved her job, loved helping people, loved helping kids understand that what they were going through, most of the time, was normal. But then there were moments she wanted to throw in the towel and become a director on a cruise line so she could stay gone for a long time. A very long time. As she finished her notes, she snorted at the thought of booking Barry Manilow for a show and begging him to let her duet with him on a rendition of “Copacabana.”

As she logged Jeremiah’s notes into her computer, she saw from reading over what was already entered into his file that what he seemed most to be suffering from was being the big brother to a spoiled younger sister. Quinn hoped she could help him understand that without being too candid. Didn’t want to rock the boat with the parents. She fired up the encryption software she used for her case files locking up everything all neatly and tidily with a click of a key on her keyboard then reached for her phone, dialed, and put it on speaker.

“It’s finally fuckin’ Friday,” she said when her best friend Tilly Osby answered.

Tilly laughed. “For real.”

Quinn stretched her arms over her head as she sat back in her chair. “We still on for Scarpetta tonight?”

“Yes. But John can’t be there. Hank called an hour ago. John just left to go after a skip upstate.”

Putting her feet up on her desk and giving them a break from the five-inch stilettos she wore, Quinn turned her chair a bit toward the window so she could look out at the skyline. Her office was on the twenty-first floor in a building on the Upper West Side in Manhattan, New York, and she paid a shit ton of money for the view, but it was definitely worth it. Sometimes just a single glance out her window helped bring her back to reality, center her, especially after hearing a particularly brutal story from a client. And if she got paid for every time she’d had to venture a peek outside from some of the stories she’d heard, well, her office rent would probably be secured for at least a year.

“I thought it was just us girls anyway?” she asked Tilly and heard her friend sigh.

“It was, but John’s been watching things around here like a hawk the past two days. If you’d answer your phone, I could’ve told you.”

“Why? What’s going on?”

Tilly sighed again and Quinn picked up on her uneasiness when she spoke. “I guess the Morettis have announced a formal vendetta against CEP for a guy John brought in a year and a half ago. The guy’s supposedly a key witness in putting one of them away. Hank issued a statement that CEP was only doing what it was hired to do, that they have no vested interest in the witness, and that neither Hank nor his employees know where this guy’s being held, trying to get the Morettis off their backs. Obviously, it hasn’t worked.”

Tilly’s husband John worked as a bounty hunter for CEP, Citadel Executive Protection, a security company in New York City that also specialized in bodyguards, surveillance and private investigations. Hank Murphy, ex-Navy SEAL and all-around badass, was the owner and took good care of his men, but Quinn knew that Tilly had never been a fan of her husband’s job, knowing how dangerous it was, and she knew this latest situation wasn’t doing anything to put CEP into her best friend’s good graces.

“I’m sure John’s going to be fine, Till. He always is.” She heard her best friend draw in a breath and let it go, knowing she’d always worry about her husband. “We’re still on, though, right? I mean, I’m not trying to be a bitch ‘cause you know there’s no trying to it, but if I don’t get my branzino I’ll die. Just saying,” Quinn semi-threatened.

BOOK: Under the Gun (CEP Book 3)
8.69Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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