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Home > In Death #7 - Holiday in Death(8)

In Death #7 - Holiday in Death(8)
Author: J.D. Robb


My True Love.

Yes, someone had loved her enough to kill her. Eve knew that kind of love existed, bred, festered. She’d been the recipient of that hot and twisted emotion. And survived it, she reminded herself and engaged her ‘link.

“Got the tox report on Hawley yet, Dickie?”

The long-suffering and homely face of the chief lab tech filled the screen. “You know how things get clogged up here during the holidays. People whacking people right and left, technicians putzing around with Christmas and Hanukkah shit instead of doing their jobs.”

“Yeah, my heart’s bleeding for you. I want the tox report.”

“I want a vacation.” But muttering, he shifted and began to call something up on his computer. “She was tranq’d. Over-the-counter stuff, pretty mild. Given her weight, the dosage wouldn’t have done much more than make her stupid for ten, fifteen minutes.”

“Long enough,” Eve murmured.

“Indications are a pressure injection, upper right arm. Likely felt like she’d just downed a half dozen Zombies. Results: dizziness, disorientation, possibly temporary loss of consciousness, and muscular weakness.”

“Okay. Any se**n?”

“Nope, not one little soldier. He condomized or her BC killed them. We still need to check on that. Body was sprayed with disinfectant. Traces of it in her vagina, too, which would have killed off some of the warriors. We got nothing off her. Oh — one more. The cosmetics used on her don’t match what she had in her place. We’re not finished with them yet, but prelim indicates they’re all natural ingredients, meaning high dollar. Odds are he brought them with him.”

“Get me brand names as soon as you can. It’s a good lead. Nice job, Dickie.”

“Yeah, yeah. Happy f**king holidays.”

“Same to you, Dickhead,” she muttered after she logged off. And rolling some of the tension out of her shoulders, she headed through the iron gates toward home.

She could see the lights in the windows beaming through the winter dark — tall windows, arched windows in towers and turrets — and the long sweep of the main floor.

Home, she thought. It had become hers because of the man who owned it. The man who loved her. The man who’d put his ring on her finger — as Jeremy had wanted to do with Marianna.

She turned her wedding band with her thumb as she parked her car in front of the main entrance.

She’d been everything, Jerry had said. Even a year before she wouldn’t have understood that. Now she did.

She sat where she was a moment, dragged both hands through her already disordered cap of hair. The man’s grief had wormed its way into her. That was a mistake; it wouldn’t help and could possibly hinder the investigation. She needed to put it aside, to block out of her mind the devastation of emotion she’d felt from him when he’d all but collapsed in her arms.

Love didn’t always win, she reminded herself. But justice could, if she was good enough.

She got out of her car, left it where it was, and started up the steps to the front door. The minute she was inside, she peeled out of her leather jacket and dropped it carelessly over the elegant newel post banking the curve of stairs.

Summerset slipped out of the shadows and stood, tall, bony, eyes dark and disapproving in a pale face. “Lieutenant.”

“Leave my vehicle exactly where it is,” she told him and swung toward the stairs.

He sniffed, an audible sucking of air through his nose. “You have several messages.”

“They can wait.” She kept climbing and began to fantasize about a hot shower, a glass of wine, and a ten-minute nap.

He called after her, but she’d already stopped listening. “Bite me,” she said absently, then opened the door to the bedroom.

Everything inside her that had wilted, bloomed.

Roarke stood in front of the closet, stripped to the waist, his beautiful back muscles rippling subtly as he reached in for a fresh shirt. He turned his head, and the full power of that face struck her. The poet’s mouth curved, the rich blue eyes smiled as he shook back his glorious mane of thick black hair.

“Hello, Lieutenant.”

“I didn’t think you’d be back for a couple of hours anyway.”

He laid the shirt aside. She hadn’t been sleeping well, he thought. He could see the fatigue, the shadows. “I made good time.”

“Yeah, you did.” Then she was going to him, moving fast, almost too fast to see the quick light of surprise, the deepening of pleasure in his eyes. His arms were open for her when she got there.

She drew in his scent, deeply, ran her hands up his back, firmly, then turned her face into his hair and sighed, once.

“You did miss me,” he murmured.

“Just hold on for a minute, okay?”

“As long as you like.”

Her body fit with his; somehow it simply fit like one piece of a puzzle inter-linking with another. She thought of the way Jeremy Vandoren had showed her the ring, the glinting promise of it.

“I love you.” It was a shock to feel the raw tears in her throat, an effort to swallow them back. “I’m sorry I don’t tell you often enough.”

He’d heard the tears. His hand slid up to cradle the back of her neck, to rub gently at the tension he felt knotted there. “What is it, Eve?”

“Not now.” Steadier, she drew back, framed his face with her hands. “I’m so glad you’re here. I’m so glad you’re home.” Her lips curved as she leaned in and slanted them over his.

Warmth, welcome, and the underlying shimmer of passion that never seemed fully sated. And with it, sheltered in it, she could for a little while push everything outside but this.

“Were you changing clothes?” she asked against his mouth.

“I was. Ummm. A little more of that,” he murmured and nipped at her bottom lip until she shivered.

“Well, I think it’s a waste of time.” To prove it, she slipped her hands between their bodies and unbuttoned his trousers.

“You’re absolutely right.” He pressed the release on her shoulder holster and shoved it aside. “I love disarming you, Lieutenant.”

In a quick move that had his brow arching, she twisted and had him pressed against the closet door. “I don’t need a weapon to take you, pal.”

“Prove it.”

He was already hard when her hand curled around him. The blue of his eyes deepened with dark, dangerous lights flickering in them.

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