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The rain was light and cold as it hit Embry Clark’s face as she waited under her jacket for a cab to pull over in New York City. Her detective work had brought her here from New Orleans, where she had moved to with her parents at the young age of seven. She glanced at her watch and huffed and waved another taxi down but to no avail.
“I guess cab drivers don’t like working here,” she muttered to herself, shaking off the fallen water from her jacket.
Embry tried once more to hail a cab but they just drove on by. She let out an aggravated growl and ran to the nearest covering out of the cold rain. Embry looked up and down the busy street of the city and wondered how others could get a cab but her. Maybe she should stick out her leg and show skin?
She shrugged and went back to the area she failed and waved her hand like she was trying to fly, only for her jacket to fall on the wet pavement.
“Great!” she said angrily, picking up her soaked jacket. “Can this day get any worse?!”
Soon after those words slipped her lips, a car drove by fairly quick and splashed her, soaking her head to toe. Embry blinked in disbelief and stomped one foot letting out a growl of annoyance. Pass-bys chuckled or stared at her disheveled self. She shot them a look and started to make her way back to the covering when someone grasped her arm gently.
Embry glanced down at the firm yet gentle hand that held hers and traced the path to the owner. A young man around her age with jet black hair and smiling ocean blue eyes waved down an oncoming cab with success.
“I couldn’t help but notice you were struggling,” he chuckled, looking her over.
She blinked, her mouth open ready to retort but drew her hand back and looked at the ground embarrassed.
“Thanks, but I had it under control,” she muttered as he opened the car door.
“I’m sure you did,” he chuckled and motioned for her to enter.
While she was climbing into the cab, he was speaking to the driver through the passenger window. He spoke a brisk Italian phrase and tapped on the top of the car.
“You have a nice day, Miss,” he said, shooting her a charming smile and tapping the top of the car again.
She watched him walking off out of the back window, glancing back once then continuing to walk. What a strange man, she thought to herself as she dug in her bag for something to clean up a bit.
“I need to go to the police department in Manhattan,” she instructed. “Also, I’m a bit late.”
“No worries,” the driver smiled in the rearview. “I’ll get you there as quick as a flash. What’s your business there if I may ask?”
“You may not,” Embry said, wiping her face with a cloth she found in her bag. “It’s confidential.”
The man nodded. “Oh I see. You’re a cop then?”
She glared at him through the mirror and said nothing for a moment. “Detective.”
His eyes lit up. “My father was a detective when I was just a boy. He was a darn good one at that!”
Embry nodded and pulled her phone and earphones out. As if getting the hint the man shut up and the rest of the drive was quiet.
As the scenery passed by, Embry spaced out, not realizing the cab driver had been talking to her frantically. She felt a tap on her leg and her guard went up.
“Miss, there’s a problem,” the driver repeated, pointing ahead. “There’s a mean group of men up there not letting a lot of people pass.”
Embry’s eyebrows furrowed and she sat up to get a closer look. “Has anyone called the police?”
He shrugged. “If this is the group I’m thinking of, the police don’t even mess with them. They’re mean and ruthless.”
Embry just stared out the windshield and watched as a few men went around removing people from their cars. Fathers, mother, and young boys. Her eyes widened as one of the men struck a child in the face. The mother screamed but only to be struck herself.
Her mouth dropped and she grabbed the handle to open the door. The cab driver quickly locked it.
“Unless you want to die a quick death, I would recommend leaving it alone,” he said, fear in his eyes. “I lost a cousin to these men. He owed them money and when he didn’t pay it, they broke into his house late at night and murdered him. Please miss. You’re young and have your whole life ahead of you.”
“I’m a detective,” she argued but he shook his head.
“Detective maybe, but you’re not a cop or military,” he said. “Please…”
Embry stared at him then at the group of men who were taking the young boy and gathering them in a large truck. She clenched her teeth but took her hand off the handle and watched in dismay as they drove off.
“I don’t think I got your name,” she said, putting a hand on his shoulder.
“Lorenzo,” he said with a sad smile.
“Lorenzo, I’m going to need you to pull forward so I can speak to these nice folks,” Embry said, sitting back in her seat and crossing her arms to show she was serious.
He nodded and slowly weaved through the cars of distressed people. The cries of people made both of them tense up. He stopped the car when a crying woman stepped in front. She was frantic and screaming they took my baby!
Embry asked Lorenzo to unlock the car. Her detective instincts were kicking in. This would be a good case to crack and bring to an end. If the city police were too afraid to face this group of criminals, she would!