Loyalty in Death:In Death 09

By: J. D. Robb


On-screen, an elegant party was happening in black and white.

But it was the man, stretched out comfortably on the plush sofa, a glass of wine in his hand, who drew and commanded attention.

However romantic and sensual those old videos with their atmospheric shadows, their mysterious tones could be, the man who watched them was only more so. And he was in three glorious dimensions.

Indeed, he was dressed in black and white, the collar of his soft white shirt casually unbuttoned. At the end of long legs clad in dark trousers, his feet were bare. Why, she wondered, she should find that so ripely sexy, she couldn’t say.

Still, it was his face that always drew her, that glorious face of an angel leaping into hell with the light of sin in his vivid blue eyes and a smile curving the poetic mouth. Sleek black hair framed it, falling nearly to his shoulders. A temptation for any woman’s fingers and fists.

It hit her now, as it often did, that she’d started falling for him the moment she’d seen that face. On her computer screen in her office, during a murder investigation. When he’d been on her short list of suspects.

A year ago, she realized. Only a year ago, when their lives had collided. And irrevocably changed.

Now, though she’d made no sound, came no closer, he turned his head. His eyes met hers. And he smiled. Her heart did the long, slow roll in her chest that continued to baffle and embarrass her.

“Hello, Lieutenant.” He held out a hand in welcome.

She crossed to him, let their fingers link. “Hi. What are you watching?”

“Dark Victory. Bette Davis. She goes blind and dies in the end.”

“Well, that sucks.”

“But she does it so courageously.” He gave her hand a little tug and urged her down on the sofa with him.

When she stretched out, when her body curved easily, naturally against his, he smiled. It had taken a great deal of time and a great deal of trust between them to persuade her to relax this way. To accept him and what he needed to give her.

His cop, he thought as he toyed with her hair, with her dark corners and terrifying courage. His wife, with her nerves and her needs.

He shifted slightly, content when she settled her head on his shoulder.

Since she’d gone that far, Eve decided it would be a pretty good idea to pull off her boots and to take a sip from his glass of wine. “How come you’re watching an old video like this if you already know how it ends?”

“It’s the getting there that counts. Did you have dinner?”

She made a negative sound, passed him back his wine. “I’ll get something in a bit. I got hung up on a case that came in right before end of shift. Woman screwed a guy to the wall with his own drill.”

Roarke swallowed wine, hard. “Literally, or metaphorically?”

She chuckled a little, enjoying the wine as they passed the glass back and forth. “Literally. Branson 8000.”

“Ouch.”

“You betcha.”

“How do you know it was a woman?”

“Because after she pinned him to the wall, she called it in, then waited for us. They were lovers, he was playing around, so she drilled a two-foot steel rod through his cheating heart.”

“Well, that’ll teach him.” Ireland cruised through his voice like whiskey and had her tilting her head to look up at him.

“She went for the heart. Me, I’d’ve screwed it through his balls. More to the point, don’t you think?”

“Darling Eve, you’re a very direct woman.” He lowered his head to touch his lips to hers—one brush, then two.

It was her mouth that heated, her hands that reached up to fist in his thick, black hair and drag him closer. Take him deeper. Before he could shift to set the wine aside, she flipped over, knocking the glass to the floor as she straddled him.

He lifted a brow, eyes glinting, as he used his nimble fingers to unbutton her shirt. “I’d say we know how this one ends, too.”

“Yeah.” Grinning, she bent down to bite his bottom lip. “Let’s see how we get there this time.”





chapter two


Eve scowled at her desk-link after she’d finished her conversation with the PA’s office. They’d accepted a plea of man two on Lisbeth Cooke.

Second-degree manslaughter, she thought in disgust, for a woman who had cool-headedly, cold-bloodedly ended a life because a man couldn’t control his dick.

She’d do a year at best in a minimum-security facility where she’d paint her nails and brush up on her fucking tennis serve. She’d very likely sign a disc and video deal on the story for a tidy sum, retire, and move to Martinique.

Eve knew she’d told Peabody to take what you could get, but even she hadn’t expected it to be so little.

She damn well let the APA—and she’d told the spineless little prick in short, pithy terms—inform the next of kin why justice was too overworked to bother—why it had been in such a fucking hurry to deal it hadn’t even waited to settle until she’d finished her report.

Setting her teeth, she rapped a fist against her computer in anticipation of its vagaries and called up the ME’s report on Branson.

He’d been a healthy male of fifty-one, with no medical conditions. There were no marks or injuries to the body other than the nasty hole made by a whirling drill bit.

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