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30 Seconds Before

Prequel to 30 Seconds

The Wild Rose Press

Heat Rating: SENSUAL
Word Count: 17,065
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Blake Herro is a cop in the Cleveland Police Force. Ever since he was a child, he wanted to do right by the city he loved by cleaning up the streets and protecting its citizens. Red, a notorious mobster, has other plans.

On a bitter December night, ten police officers are drawn into a trap and killed by Red’s followers. Blake wants to bring down the Mob to avenge his fallen brothers and to prevent other cops from being murdered. Except the only way he can do that is by infiltrating the Mob.

Every minute he’s with these mobsters he’s in danger. Around every corner lies the threat of coming face to face with a gun. Will he make it out of the Mob alive, or will he be their next victim?

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Bullet pops didn’t break the hush over the intersection. A moan was the only sound that touched his ears. He whipped around and followed the groans to an officer with three gunshot wounds to his chest. After stashing his handgun in the holster at his hip, he dropped to his knees, stripped off his jacket, and pressed it to the officer’s chest. With his other hand, he unclipped the radio from his shoulder and shouted into it.

“We need a bus at Roosevelt and Babcock. About a dozen officers are down with GSWs to the head, chest, and extremities.” He dropped the radio, letting it swing back and forth. As he applied pressure to the gushing holes in the officer’s chest, time tiptoed by, drawing out every second to a minute.

“Stay with me, man,” Blake said, not liking the glassy look in the officer’s eyes. “Hold on. A bus is coming, just hold on.” He peered around, willing the ambulances to arrive faster, and spotted Max with another officer across the way. Max’s hands were clamped around a wound in the officer’s neck.

Blake continued to scan the rooftops, windows, and corners for signs of the perps. His gaze lowered to the ground. Too many officers needed help. He strained his eyes to see if the nearest officer was still breathing, but the darkness and flashing lights obscured his vision.

Dread was ripe in his veins, twining his intestines into knots. The assailants who attacked the officers could be lurking nearby, watching, and putting him in their sights. Being out in the open with nothing but his Kevlar vest as protection was not where he wanted to be, but the officer he was helping would bleed out if he moved.

Blake studied the officer. His lips were an unnatural shade of blue. He was shivering from the frigid December night as well as blood loss.

“Did you see them?” Blake asked. “Do you know who did this?”

The officer’s lips moved.

Blake leaned forward, bringing his ear to the officer’s mouth. “What was that?”

The officer took a shuddering breath. “Red.”

The name came out on a sigh that sent shivers around Blake’s vertebra. After working in Cleveland as a police officer for ten years, since he was a fresh-faced nineteen-year-old rookie, he had heard the name countless times, knew what it meant.

Red operated a crime ring based in Ohio. He and his minions were notorious, dangerous, and ruthless. His objective wasn’t money, weapons, or drugs, but to slaughter police officers.

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