Acapulco Black Book is a Detective Emilia Cruz story. It is a “work-in-progress” exclusive to the Mystery Ahead newsletter.
Emilia took her coffee back to her desk to check her inbox before the morning meeting. She’d just clicked to open an email from Doctoro Antonio Prade, the coroner, when Silvio’s office door opened.
A man dressed in back stepped out, still talking over his shoulder to Silvio. Emilia nearly choked on a mouthful of hot brew when she recognized Victor Obregon Sosa, the head of the police union for the state of Guerrero. He was also the brother of Silvio’s late wife and had stymied Silvio’s career for years in an effort to break up his
sister’s marriage. Isabel’s death had led to an uneasy true between the two men, but animosity always simmered just below the surface.
As Silvio’s partner before his promotion to lieutenant, Emilia had been on the receiving end of Obregon’s ruthless attention herself.
Handsome, powerful, and vindictive, Obregon used the police union as a weapon. He was a hawk, always circling above looking for prey. Every interaction with him was laced with tension and distrust. There was always a hidden agenda in his back pocket.
He made little distinction between his professional and personal appetites. Although never directly stated, Obregon made it clear that there was an offer on the table if Emilia cared to accept. Any time, any place.
It was ridiculous. Emilia was committed to Kurt. Yet the way Obregon brazenly raked his eyes over her could reduce Emilia to a handful of iron filings drawn to a magnet. The more she fought against it, the more sexual tension Obregon exuded. It was in every half-smile, lingering glance, and seemingly innocent question; an ember waiting to
be fanned into a fire that would destroy her, body and soul.
Emilia slouched down, trying to hide behind the computer monitor. Hopefully, Obregon would walk through the squadroom and out the door without speaking to her. But it was not to be.
“Detective Cruz.” Obregon strode over to her desk, the line of his perfectly tailored black suit jacket wrinkling as he reached inside to pull out a pair of sunglasses. “Just who I needed to see.”
“Good morning.” Heart sinking, Emilia shut down her email program.
“I was just mentioning to Lieutenant Silvio that the union will be representing you to the inquiry panel.”
“Excuse me?” Emilia stood up, but kept her desk between them.
“The department is convening a board of inquiry into your actions in Colonia Alta Progreso earlier this week,” Obregon said.
“A board of inquiry?” Emilia tried not to show how surprised she was. The only thing notable about a shooting in Acapulco was that a cop had actually stopped one. That was hardly a reason to convene a board of inquiry.
Obregon tapped the sunglasses against a thumbnail and gave her the hungry look of a hawk spotting a mouse. “Without waiting for backup, a female officer discharged her weapon, resulting in the death of one civilian and critical wounding of another. Rather unusual circumstances.”
“The department can certainly hold an inquiry,” Emilia said. “But I stand by my report of the incident. They were attacking a residence. When I identified myself, they attacked me. I shot both in self-defense.”
“Yes, I’ve read your report. It left out how you knew where and when these two particular sicarios would mount an assault.”
For a second, the squadroom floor shifted under Emilia’s feet. Her police career, not to mention her life, could be in real jeopardy if the board decided that a rival gang had bribed Emilia to take down the sicarios.
“I was simply at the right place at the right time,” Emilia said. Even to her ears, the words sounded lame.
“You’ll need to expand your report. What route you took and why. Traffic and such.” Obregon’s eyes lingered on Emilia’s cotton blouse before lazily meeting her stare. “While you’re doing that, remember who’s going to represent you to the board. I’m sure you want your best interests to be at the top of their agenda. Wouldn’t want your
career hanging by a thread, now would we?”
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