Home > Killian (Hope City #8)

Killian (Hope City #8)
Author: Kris Michaels

Chapter 1



“You made assurances.” The distinct accent of this caller sent a chill down his spine.

He glanced down the corridor. It was late and the building was nearly vacant, but still, he cupped his hand over the phone and whispered, “I can’t force them, you need to offer more.”

“We’ve paid very well.”

“Obviously, getting this done is going to cost more.” God, he hoped his voice wasn’t shaking. He gripped the burner phone in a death grip. He was stuck between an immovable object and a wrecking ball. Said wrecking ball was hurtling toward him now.

“Our mutual friends indicated you could be trusted to get the jobs done.”

“Our mutual friends are in jail or dead. Caution and discretion are needed because I do not intend to join our acquaintances and I don’t believe you want to do so, either.”

“Is that a threat?” Icy coldness blasted through the connection.

He glanced down the hallway again before he hissed, “I’m not making threats. I just relay the information I’m able to obtain.”

“No, your gambling debts in Atlantic City were paid in full to perform a specific function here in Hope City. You assured us your connections would be responsive and cooperate.”

“Two are cooperating. But we need more people to fall in line and that is going to take money or…” He couldn’t bring himself to say it.

“The ‘or’ is our specialty. I will need the names of those who are not willing to cooperate.”

“Perhaps I can try one more time…”

“Names. Now.”

He whispered the three names as he speed-walked down the hallway and out of the building. The solid door closed firmly behind him with a clunk.

“We will be in contact. You know what you need to do.”

He pushed the button on his key fob and opened the doors to his late-model maroon-colored sedan. “I’m well aware of what you require. I have ways of keeping my ear to the ground.”

“Make sure you do, or perhaps your ear will end up under the ground.” The line went dead.

He flopped into his car and stared at the building where he enjoyed respect and status. How had he fallen so? Where had it gone so wrong?



“Where are you hiding? Where is the connection? Is there a connection? Am I insane?” Bekki King leaned over her desk in her condo’s small office and mumbled the question to herself. There was corruption and then there were criminals. Her family hunted the criminals while her goal in life was to root out the corruption that slinked along the corridors of City Hall. Just starting this investigation, there were a lot of pieces that weren’t adding up. She had the suspected City Hall players on one side of the net, the people who profited from construction projects that appeared to be expedited through Hope City’s approval systems on the other side. Councilman Davis sat on one side of the net, yet there had to be more.

Where was the common thread? There had to be others, but who, and how were they benefiting? She’d been digging since long before Perkins Electrical Company reared its ugly head. Sandy and Rory had filled her in on the ties to the Russian Mafia. Her father’s voice rumbled through her head, “Let investigators uncover the crime, you do the reporting.”

Bekki talked back to herself, “Sorry, Pops. Perkins was stupid and got caught. There’s more here, I can feel it. There has to be.” She stared at her notes. Her primary focus had been on that asshole scumbag Councilman Davis. The man sat on the city council’s Planning and Land Use Management and Economic Development committees and several other boards that regulated businesses in Hope City. According to Brie, he’d wanted a bribe to put through her request to organize the restaurants in Hope City to donate food the establishments couldn’t use to local shelters. Well, she’d fix that in short order. She had an appointment with Davis next week to conduct a ‘public servant’ interview. Before that, she had meetings with several entities who’d been tabled by Davis, or at least that’s the way it appeared when she went through the meeting minutes. She wanted to place Davis’ feet against the fire and grill him until he was toasty. The jerk. She’d definitely use her job to shine a spotlight on the slimeball. The International Space Station would be able to see the man glow when she was done with him.

So, with a plan to put Davis in his place and let the population of Hope City know what a douche he was, she eyed the parcels of information she had.

Tri-County Construction, Apex Construction, and Ganas Construction were the three largest construction companies in Hope City and the main players in 80 percent of the City’s massive rehabilitation effort at the Harbor, and they would be the ones to profit from favors, shortcuts, and people looking the other way… which Perkins Electrical had proved was happening. Her gut told her there was so much more lurking under the surface at City Hall. Davis was dirty, his conversation with her sister Brie sealed that fact. But investigative reporting meant doing the leg work. She glanced at the stack of compact disks that sat on top of her desk. Every committee meeting that Davis attended in the last three years. She had months of research to conduct before she brought this story to her producer. The scope of this report—if it panned out—could make her career. She enjoyed minor celebrity now, but with this tell-all report, she could launch her investigative reporting career into the major markets, or maybe, just maybe, a syndicated national show.

She sighed and slouched in her chair. Staring out of her window, she saw nothing but the thoughts in her mind. A connection was what she was lacking. Discovering the linchpin between Davis and the construction companies was job number one. In order to do that, she’d been talking to City Hall workers where they congregated—lunch trucks, bars, and coffee shops, and she was building quasi-friendships with several clerks in the planning and zoning offices. Some people she talked to clammed up when it came to the day-to-day work they did, especially when she asked pointed questions. The code enforcement offices were the worst, so she was focusing on a way to get close to an inspector or two. But she needed an in, a way to talk with them that didn’t seem like the onus was on them.

She glanced at the notes which listed the construction companies again. She had a way into one of the companies. Ganas Construction. Her sister was marrying Ryker Terrell, who was the half-brother of Killian Ganas, the owner of Ganas Construction. She pulled the folder she’d filled on Ganas Construction. The company seemed to come out of nowhere about five years ago, around the same time Councilman Davis started his work on the Planning and Land Use Management and Economic Development committees. She flipped through the public records filed by Ganas Construction. What she needed now was time to review countless meetings, to see where Davis or anyone else intervened. Had anyone pushed a company or argued for one vendor over the others? Maybe someone rushed through approvals for one of the companies over the others. The time suck would be worth it if she could prove someone at City Hall and the general contractors were in bed together.

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