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The Devil’s Due

A Cooper & McCall Scottish Crime Thriller

Ramsay Sinclair

Contents

Prologue

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

8. McCall

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

12. McCall

13. McCall

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

17. McCall

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

21. Lucy

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Epilogue

A Message from the Author

Prologue

“Ready?” McCall was looking at me with that annoyingly… nice expression on her face. Looking around the bare sports hall filled to its brim with reporters and citizens alike, I realised this was already pissing me off to high hell and back.

“Ready enough to punch those stupid handheld recorders out of their hands,” I mumbled, loosening the silk tie restricting any room I had left to breathe. Was it just me, or was this room getting hotter by the minute?

In all honesty, the reporters and I don’t exactly see eye to eye. More like… eye to stomach. Well, probably lower than the stomach, if you get my gist.

“Sometimes, I think you can be too Scottish,” McCall huffed, shooting me a disapproving sideways glance. Gingery wisps of hair poked out from her ponytail. And she calls me too Scottish?! She’s got the Scots temper, that’s for sure.

Someone mentioned our names somewhere in the distance, meaning they’re ready for us. As I walked towards the makeshift stage, my vision blurred slightly as a familiar ringing echoed in both ears. Attempting to focus solely on reaching the stage, I sensed burning glares from approximately seventy seated individuals. They’re murmuring to each other already, even though the grilling hadn’t even begun yet.

McCall sat down in her navy chair, matching a large police logo on the backdrop behind us. I followed suit, flumping down next to my partner. That’s when I noticed the cameraman zooming in on my face. I glared, catching his eye, and he pulled the focus back apologetically.

There was a slight clamour of reporters talking over each other until one voice cut through the rest. A familiar woman dressed in a stuffy blazer and pencil skirt ensemble. Georgina Ryder. Of course, it’s her.

“DI Finlay Cooper--”

“Glad I wore this.” I held up my ID card sarcastically, throwing it onto our designated table. It contained all sorts: Microphones, water, cue cards. Most importantly, it was a good table for resting my elbows on.

Georgina Ryder stared at me in contempt. I raise my eyebrows as if to say, ‘Carry on’.

“DI Finlay Cooper,” Georgina stated again, glancing towards a bunch of hand-typed notes. “You’re taking time off for ‘medical reasons’. Is this proof that you can’t cope with pressures of the force, as often speculated around the bay?”

Everyone stared, watching as I cleared my throat and moved closer to the microphone.

“No.”

I sat back again. Nothing left to say to that prying woman. McCall gave me a look of contempt. Those happened quite often. McCall spoke up instead, answering more calmly than I would ever be able to muster.

“I think, looking back at a long history of investigating and solving various cases, that DI Cooper has proven he’s more than capable of coping with police pressure. This is our job, and we were hired accordingly. If DI Cooper were less than able to complete his work, he wouldn’t be part of our team.”

The audience appeared less than convinced. Bloody media, pouring doubt into their heads and scaring people senseless. Even the cameraman looked as though he had doubts about my ability. At this point, I’d question myself.

Georgina started again. “Finlay Cooper has been a major part of local news headlines in most months. Especially during these last few years.” She paused to take a breath. So I seized the moment.

“It’s still DI Cooper, thanks for asking,” I interrupted. “If it weren’t for journalists swarming around our cases and private lives, there wouldn’t be doubt in the public’s minds about the safety of their hometown. Pressure doesn’t come from our victims; it comes from speculation.” I took a sip of water. Headlining the local news and public speaking was thirsty work. Could have done with some jammie dodgers on the table as well, to be honest.

Georgina Ryder scowled directly at me with thinly pursed lips. I scratched my neck awkwardly, waiting for her to finish scrutinizing me. Acrylic nails tapped rhythmically against a wad of paper notes, enough to make any man shudder in disgust.

“Is it true you’re engaged?”

Bloody hell. Since when did reporters get away with being so intrusive? Overly intrusive. It’s their job to get answers, but this amount of stalking was surely illegal. Harassment. And boy, does she enjoy harassing me. Luckily, she had her sources twisted, for we were already married. I hid my hands under our table to stop people from spotting my ring.

“That has nothing to do with you or the interview. Sit down,” I snapped.

Georgina Ryder sat down slowly, a smirk covering her smug face. Many words crossed my mind, none of them particularly complimentary.

“You.” I pointed towards a random guy in the crowd of faces. “Got anything productive to add to this interview? Preferably questions about our line of work.”

The guy I pointed towards seems young. Probably his first job in the industry, judging by his abundance of nerves. He stood up slowly, demonstrating an unusual choice of attire to the room. Brown suit trousers and a dark blue shirt, like a kid who’s raided his dad’s wardrobe. The skinny kid stuttered before finally asking a valid question.

“N-Now that you are taking some time away, who will act in your position? Can we rest assured Dalgety Bay will continue to be as protected as it is now?”

Some of the crowd nodded in agreement to the kid’s question.

“Well. My partner here, DS McCall, as most of you already know, has worked closely with me for a long time now. She’s the most suitable replacement, and everyone from our team agrees.” I nodded to McCall, redirecting viewing attention over to her.

“I’ll be taking over DI Cooper’s duties for the time being until his anticipated and well-awaited return.

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