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When life hands you peaches, make sangria!

Tara Holloway Death and Taxes Series #4
St. Martin's Press
February 2013
On Sale: January 29, 2013
Featuring: IRS Special Agent Tara Holloway; IRS Special Agent Eddie Bardin; IRS Special Agent Nick Pratt
336 pages
ISBN: 1250023068
EAN: 9781250023063
Kindle: B008PBYVMO
Mass Market Paperback / e-Book
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"KELLY'S PROTAGONIST [IS] A KINDRED SPIRIT TO STEPHANIE PLUM: FEISTY AND TENACIOUS...LAUGHS AND NONSTOP ACTION." RT BOOK REVIEWS

When it comes to exposing tax fraud, Tara and her partner Eddie are really cleaning up. From their brilliant takedown of the disappearing "Tax Wizard" to their perfectly planned downfall of the "Deduction Diva," they've earned the respect of their peers at Criminal Investigations. Now Tara's ready to celebrate with an ice–cold pitcher of peach sangria—even if her next case is totally the pits...

Tara's looking forward to a challenge but, back at the office, everyone's looking for love. Her boss Lu "The Lobo" Lobozinski and office virgin Josh Schmidt are signing up for an online dating service, and—to Tara's dismay—so is her crush, Special Agent Nick Pratt. Tara's trying to act chill. But when she learns that her next case involves cash–funneling to terrorists, it's not just her love life that's on the rocks. It's her life, period.

Excerpt

Chapter One

Deductive Reasoning

On a Monday morning in late September, Eddie Bardin and I donned our ballistic vests, slid our Glocks into our ankle holsters, and headed out of downtown Dallas in a plain white government–issue sedan that smelled faintly of French fries.

Eddie leaned toward the door and checked himself in the side mirror. "How do I look?""

What my response lacked in decorum it made up for in sincerity. "Like an idiot."

Then it's the perfect disguise."

With the shiny gold chains, sagging jeans that exposed polka–dot boxers, and untied hi–top basketball shoes, he looked like a hip–hop singer or a wannabe gangster. The disguise was a far cry from Eddie's usual attire of classic business suits and silk ties. I, too, wore a disguise, though mine was far more subtle. In blue jeans, sneakers, and a Dallas Mavericks T–shirt, I was undercover as a retail sales associate from a sporting goods store at a nearby mall. As a final touch, I'd pulled my chestnut brown hair into a pony tail and topped it with a Texas Rangers baseball cap. Go team!

We were two IRS special agents on a mission. Today's mission would be taking down a tax preparer who called herself the "Deduction Diva." According to her glittery red advertising flyer, she provided clients with massage chairs and a complimentary glass of champagne while their returns were prepared. Hoity toity, huh?

With tax law growing increasingly complex, more people were turning to professional preparers. Entrepreneurs looking for a niche figured they'd cash in on the trend. Unfortunately, too many had jumped on the bandwagon. Tax preparation services had become a crowded market and preparers had resorted to gimmicks to grab the attention of potential clients. But where these people came up with the gimmicks God only knows.

After merging onto the freeway, I glanced over at my partner. "Don't you dare touch that stereo."

I slapped his hand away as he attempted to eject my Tim McGraw CD and slip in some soft jazz. Eddie might be African–American, but he was much more Kenny G than P. Diddy. I, on the other hand, was much more Lady Antebellum than Lady Gaga.

Yep, in many ways Eddie and I were polar opposites. He was tall and dark, a father of two who'd grown up and was now raising his family in the affluent north Dallas suburbs. I was a petite white woman, a recovering tomboy who'd grown up climbing trees, shooting BB guns, and swimming in the muddy creeks of the east Texas piney woods.

Dig a little deeper, though, and you'd find Eddie and I shared quite a few similarities. We'd both kicked academic ass in college, graduating at the top of our classes. We'd both taken jobs as special agents in IRS Criminal Investigations when we'd discovered that sitting at a desk all day didn't suit us. And we both wanted to see tax cheats get their due. Especially the Deduction Diva. She'd been cheating the government for years. The Diva's due was long overdue.

Twenty minutes later, I pulled the car into the lot of the suburban office park where the Diva's business was located and took a spot on the second row. Eddie opened the door and climbed out, a phony W–2 clutched in his hand. I sat in the car, snickering as he shuffled across the parking lot in his saggy jeans and entered the glass–front office space.

The audit department had referred the Diva's case to Criminal Investigations after examinations of several of her clients revealed a disturbing pattern. Each of their returns showed a significant loss on a vague "consulting" business. Suspiciously, the loss in each case was just enough to offset the client's other income, resulting in a refund of all taxes the client had paid in. When questioned by auditors, the clients pointed fingers at their tax preparer, claiming the Deduction Diva had devised the fraudulent scheme.

Though the Diva's clients were hardly innocent, as long as they made good on the taxes owed we'd let them slide with a stern warning. Criminal Investigations was more interested in nailing the preparer who'd perpetrated the fraud on a wide–scale basis. Besides, we'd need the clients to testify against the Diva should she plead not guilty. But just in case our potential witnesses decided to assert their Fifth Amendment right to remain silent, we were here to collect direct evidence of the Diva's fraud.

Catching tax cheats red handed was always a hoot. There's nothing quite as satisfying as seeing that oh–shit–they–got–me look in their eyes.



Start Reading DEATH, TAXES, AND PEACH SANGRIA Now

Death and Taxes



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