A Convenient Proposal

Book Two of the Shannon Sisters Series

She was doing her duty. Now he'll do his...

She was doing her duty. Now he’ll do his…

While investigating a local murder, Kelly Shannon, an officer with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, is forced to kill in the line of duty. Afterward she feels the terrible responsibility of having taken a human life. Especially in this case, where she’s killed the father of two young children.

Because the children’s mother falls apart after her husband’s death, his brother, Mick Mizzoni, steps in. But juggling the demands of his job with the needs of a three-year-old and a five-year-old is difficult.

Kelly feels that the only way she can cope with her guilt is by helping these children. So she makes Mick an offer…an offer he can’t refuse.

The real problems begin when Kelly starts falling in love with Mick.

Book Extras

A Convenient Proposal
  • Welcome to book 2 in the Shannon Sisters trilogy
  • "Shooting to kill is officer's nightmare." This is the headline that caught my eye a few years ago when I was reading the Calgary Herald at my breakfast table. Years of westerns, cop shows and mystery novels had ingrained in me the simple maxim that good guys shoot bad guys. But I had never before contemplated the complex dilemma an officer faces when making the choice to pull the trigger and end another life.
  • That morning the seed for A Convenient Proposal was planted. I knew I wanted to write a story about a cop who responds strictly by the book in a dangerous situation, then reacts like a sensitive human being in the months that follow. That cop is Kelly Shannon, the youngest of the three Shannon sisters.
  • If you read the first book of this trilogy, A Second-Chance Proposal, you may have wondered what Kelly was doing during her lengthy, unexplained absences from the Larch Lodge Bed and Breakfast near the end of the story. She wasn't at work--she'd been suspended, remember?--and she certainly wasn't out having fun. Now I invite you to find out. To dive into Kelly's story and meet the children and the man who will change her life forever.

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She couldn't stop shaking as she stared at the gun--her own Smith & Wesson--in a carefully labeled plastic bag. The weapon was Crown evidence--she wouldn't see it again for months.

On second thought, make that ever.

A Convenient Proposal"You'd better sit down, Kelly."

"What?" RCMP officer Kelly Doherty looked from the .38 to the familiar face of her commanding officer, Staff Sergeant Springer.

That brief thought of her future, of there being moments, days, years following this one, made her so damn weary. All she wanted was to curl up on the rain-dampened ground and be left alone. But Springer hadn't left her side since he'd arrived at the Thunder Bar M forty minutes ago.

"Let me take you to your car. You need to get off your feet."

If Kelly hadn't already understood the gravity of the situation, the Staff Sergeant's consideration and gentle tone would've tipped her off.

"I'm fine," she tried to protest, but large, well-muscled Springer put a hand to her elbow and courteously led the way to her patrol car. She noted her driver side door was still open, from that moment when she'd leapt out--galvanized by the sight of Danny Mizzoni holding a gun to her sister's head.

Springer settled her in the passenger side of the car, then checked his watch. "Backup from Calgary should be here shortly."

Kelly leaned back on the headrest and closed her eyes briefly. Sitting wasn't such a bad idea. Her trembling was getting worse. Springer must have noticed, too, because he found a blanket and settled it over her lap.

"Thanks." She knew this moment of calm wouldn't last long. Once the officers from Ident and the Major Crimes Unit arrived, there would be hours, if not days, worth of work to be done. She'd seen it before.

Homicides were rare in the rustic mountain community of Canmore Alberta, but two and a half years ago a young girl, Jilly Beckett, had been deliberately shot dead on this very property. Kelly had worked on that case.

But she wouldn't be working on this one.

"Someone from MAP will be here shortly, too." Springer patted her shoulder.

The representative from the Member Assistance Program would guide her through the next few hours. She would be suspended from duty of course. There would be an investigation. Springer had already notified her of her rights. At some point she would need to hire a lawyer.

Anxiety set off another spasm of trembling. Kelly filled her lungs with air, then groped for the badge she'd always worn so proudly. Being a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police meant carrying on a tradition of honor. A tradition she was no longer worthy of.

"I suppose you'll want this," she said, fumbling with the catch.

"Not now, Kelly." Springer put a hand on her shoulder and squeezed. "Not now."

The wail of approaching sirens crescendoed with the rumbling of tires on gravel, as the squad cars from Calgary arrived. Kelly watched them stream onto Thunder Bar M land. They parked in a long line behind the ambulance, where the paramedics were standing by the open back doors and watching calmly, knowing it would still be some time before the coroner gave them permission to move the body.

Car doors and voices slammed into the afternoon quiet. Springer's hand tightened on her shoulder. She would soon be taken to the station, while these men and woman worked at recording the details of the crime scene, collecting and cataloguing every shred of potential evidence.

How Dylan must hate this, she thought, having his land overrun with police and emergency workers. She wondered about her sister, Cathleen, and hoped she was recovering from the shock of having Danny Mizzoni's gun held to her head. Dylan and Cathleen were out by the creek now. Sharon, Danny's wife--widow--and two kids, were in the kitchen with Danny's brother.

Thinking of those innocent bystanders, Kelly couldn't hold back a groan. Their pain, their anger, she could only imagine. Oh, what had she done?

The body was still prone on the top step of the verandah. Her shot had struck Danny square in the chest. Death had been close to instantaneous.

"You did exactly what you were supposed to do." Springer had crouched beside her. He was talking like a coach, preparing her for the last game of the season. "You followed procedure every step of the way. Don't worry, Kelly. You're young, you'll get over this. Everything's going to work out fine."

The arrival of the team from Calgary had transformed the quiet crime scene into a bustling center of activity. Kelly watched the photographer check the lighting before taking some stills of the body. Someone else leaned over to examine the bullet wound in the victim's chest.

So much blood.

Kelly looked away. A woman approached her from one of the parked police cars. Mid thirties, dark short hair, tentative smile. Probably with Member Assistance. Springer obviously thought so too. He let go of Kelly's shoulder and stood.

"Staff Sergeant Springer," he said, stepping forward to meet the new arrival.

"Corporal Webster," said the woman.

Kelly glanced back at the body. One of the Ident men was making a chalk outline of his position on the rotting wood porch. From the corner of her eye, Kelly noticed movement from the back of the house.

The victim's brother, also the editor of the Canmore Leader, was coming to check things out. He'd been en route to Calgary when Dylan had called him on Sharon's instructions. As a result, he'd made it here even before the squad cars from Canmore. Now the broodily handsome man circled the busy police officers, his body visibly tense, his expression grim.

A Convenient ProposalAbruptly he switched directions to face her. Kelly didn't allow herself to shift her gaze or even blink. She felt his condemnation, the current of loathing traveling from man to woman the way electrical energy had passed from the clouds to the earth in the storm earlier.

As the moment between them stretched, she fought back the instinct to tell him she was sorry. No matter what words she chose, they would come out sounding trite.

Besides, apologies for homicides were rarely accepted.

End of Excerpt

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A Convenient Proposal is available in the following formats:

A Convenient Proposal by CJ Carmichael
March 1, 2002
ISBN: 0373710445