Immortal in death, p.1
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       Immortal in Death, p.1
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         Part #3 of In Death series by J. D. Robb  
Immortal in Death


  Table of Contents

  Title Page

  Copyright Page

  Chapter One

  Chapter Two

  Chapter Three

  Chapter Four

  Chapter Five

  Chapter Six

  Chapter Seven

  Chapter Eight

  Chapter Nine

  Chapter Ten

  Chapter Eleven

  Chapter Twelve

  Chapter Thirteen

  Chapter Fourteen

  Chapter Fifteen

  Chapter Sixteen

  Chapter Seventeen

  Chapter Eighteen

  Chapter Nineteen

  Chapter Twenty

  Teaser chapter

  Nora Roberts is the bestselling author of nearly 200 novels. Under the pen name J.D. Robb, she is author of the New York Times bestselling futuristic suspense In Death series, which features Lieutenant Eve Dallas and Roarke. More than 300 million copies of her books are in print, and she has had more than 150 New York Times bestsellers.

  Visit her website at www.noraroberts.com.

  Also by Nora Roberts writing as J.D. Robb:

  Naked in Death

  Glory in Death

  Immortal in Death

  Rapture in Death

  Ceremony in Death

  Vengeance in Death

  Holiday in Death

  Conspiracy in Death

  Loyalty in Death

  Witness in Death

  Judgment in Death

  Betrayal in Death

  Seduction in Death

  Reunion in Death

  Purity in Death

  Portrait in Death

  Imitation in Death

  Divided in Death

  Visions in Death

  Survivor in Death

  Origin in Death

  Memory in Death

  Born in Death

  Innocent in Death

  Creation in Death

  Strangers in Death

  Immortal in Death

  J. D. ROBB

  Hachette Digital

  www.littlebrown.co.uk

  Published by Hachette Digital 2010

  Copyright © 1996 by Nora Roberts.

  The moral right of the author has been asserted

  All characters and events in this publication, other than

  those clearly in the public domain, are fictitious

  and any resemblance to real persons,

  living or dead, is purely coincidental

  All rights reserved

  No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior permission in writing of the publisher, nor be otherwise circulated in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser

  A CIP catalogue record for this book

  is available from the British Library

  eISBN : 978 0 7481 2177 9

  This ebook produced by Jouve, France

  Hachette Digital

  An imprint of

  Little, Brown Book Group

  100 Victoria Embankment

  London EC4Y 0DY

  An Hachette UK Company

  The fatal gift of beauty

  - Byron

  Make me immortal with a kiss

  - Christopher Marlowe

  Chapter One

  Getting married was murder. Eve wasn’t sure how it had happened in the first place. She was a cop, for God’s sake. Throughout her ten years on the force, she’d firmly believed cops should stay single, unencumbered, and focused utterly on the job. It was insane to believe one person could split time, energy, and emotion between law, with all its rights and wrongs, and family, with all its demands and personalities.

  Both careers - and from what she’d observed, marriage was a job - had impossible demands and hellish hours. It might have been 2058, an enlightened time of technological advancement, but marriage was still marriage. To Eve it translated to terror.

  Yet here she was on a fine day in high summer - one of her rare and precious days off - preparing to go shopping. She couldn’t stop the shudder.

  Not just shopping, she reminded herself as her stomach clutched, shopping for a wedding dress.

  Obviously she’d lost her mind.

  It was Roarke’s doing, of course. He’d caught her at a weak moment. Both of them bleeding and bruised and lucky to be alive. When a man is clever enough and knows his quarry well enough to choose such a time and place to propose marriage, well, a woman was a goner.

  At least a woman like Eve Dallas.

  ‘You look like you’re about to take on a gang of chemi-thugs bare-handed.’

  Eve tugged on a shoe, flicked her gaze up and over. He was entirely too attractive, she thought. Criminally so. The strong face, poet’s mouth, killer blue eyes. The wizard’s mane of thick black hair. If you managed to get past the face to the body, it was equally impressive. Then you added that faint wisp of Ireland in the voice, and, well, you had one hell of a package.

  ‘What I’m about to take on is worse than any chemi-head.’ Hearing the whine in her own voice, Eve scowled. She never whined. But the truth was, she’d have preferred fighting hand to hand with a souped-up addict than discussing hemlines.

  Hemlines, for sweet Christ’s sake.

  She bit back an oath, watching him narrowly as he crossed the spacious bedroom. He had a way of making her feel foolish at odd times. Like now as he sat beside her on the high, wide bed they shared.

  He caught her chin in his hand. ‘I’m hopelessly in love with you.’

  There he was. This man with the sinfully blue eyes, the strong, gorgeous, somehow Raphaelite looks of a doomed angel, loved her.

  ‘Roarke.’ She struggled to hold back a sigh. She could and had faced an armed laser in the hands of a mad mutant mercenary with less fear than she faced such unswerving emotion. ‘I’m going through with it. I said I would.’

  His brow quirked, dark and wry. He wondered how she remained so unaware of her own appeal as she sat there, fretting, her poorly cut fawn-colored hair standing up in tufts and spikes, aroused by her restless hands, thin lines of annoyance and doubt running between her big, whiskey-colored eyes. ‘Darling Eve.’ He kissed her, lightly, once on the frowning lips, then again in the gentle dip in her chin. ‘I never doubted it.’ Though he had, constantly. ‘I’ve several things I have to see to today. You were late last night. I never had a chance to ask if you had plans.’

  ‘The stakeout on the Bines case went to after oh three hundred.’

  ‘Did you get him?’

  ‘Walked right into my arms - blissed on dreamers and a marathon VR session.’ She smiled, but it was the hunter’s smile, dark and feral. ‘Murdering little bastard came along like my personal droid.’

  ‘Well, then.’ He patted her shoulder before rising. He stepped down from the platform into the dressing area where he pondered a selection of jackets. ‘And today? Reports to file?’

  ‘I’m off today.’

  ‘Oh?’ Distracted, he turned back, a gorgeous silk jacket in deep charcoal in his hand. ‘I can reschedule some of my afternoon, if you like.’

  Which would be, Eve mused, a bit like a general rescheduling battles. In Roarke’s world, business was a complicated and profitable war. ‘I’m already booked.’ The scowl snuck back on her before she could stop it. ‘Shopping,’ she muttered. ‘Wedding dress.’

  Now he smiled, quickly, easily. From her, such plans were a declaration of love. ‘No wonder you’re so cranky. I told you I’d see to it.’

  ‘I’ll pick out my own wedding dress. And I’ll buy it myself. I’m not marrying you fo
r your damn money.’

  Smooth and elegant as the jacket he slipped on, he continued to smile. ‘Why are you marrying me, Lieutenant?’ Her scowl deepened, but he was, above all, a patient man. ‘Want a multiple choice?’

  ‘Because you never take no for an answer.’ She stood, shoving her hands into the front pockets of her jeans.

  ‘You only get a half point for that. Try again.’

  ‘Because I’ve lost my mind.’

  ‘That won’t win you the trip for two to Tropic World on Star 50.’

  A reluctant smile tugged at her lips. ‘Maybe I love you.’

  ‘Maybe you do.’ Content with that, he crossed back to her and laid his hands on her strong shoulders. ‘How bad can it be? You can pop a few shopping programs into the computer, look at dozens of suitable dresses, order in what appeals to you.’

  ‘That was my idea.’ She rolled her eyes. ‘Mavis ditched it.’

  ‘Mavis.’ He paled a bit. ‘Eve, tell me you’re not going shopping with Mavis.’

  His reaction brightened her mood a little. ‘She has this friend. He’s a designer.’

  ‘Dear Christ.’

  ‘She says he’s mag. Just needs a break to make a name for himself. He has a little workshop in Soho.’

  ‘Let’s elope. Now. You look fine.’

  Her grin flashed. ‘Scared?’

  ‘Terrified.’

  ‘Good. Now we’re even.’ Delighted to be on level footing, she leaned in and kissed him. ‘Now you can worry about what I’ll be wearing on the big day for the next few weeks. Gotta go.’ She patted his cheek. ‘I’m meeting her in twenty minutes.’

  ‘Eve.’ Roarke grabbed for her hand. ‘You wouldn’t do something ridiculous?’

  She tugged her way free. ‘I’m getting married, aren’t I? What could be more ridiculous?’

  She hoped he stewed over it all day. The idea of marriage was daunting enough, but a wedding - clothes, flowers, music, people. It was horrifying.

  She zipped downtown on Lex, braking hard and muttering curses at a sidewalk vendor who encroached on the lane with his smoking glide cart. The traffic violation was bad enough, but the scent of overcooked soydogs hit her nervous stomach like lead.

  The Rapid cab behind her broke the intercity noise pollution code by blasting his horn and shouting curses through his speaker. A group, obviously tourists, loaded down with palm cams, compumaps, and binoks gaped stupidly at the whizzing traffic. Eve shook her head as a quick-fingered street thief elbowed through them.

  When they got back to their hotel, they were going to find themselves several credits poorer. If she’d had the time and a place to pull over, she might have given the thief a chase. But he was lost in the crowd and a block across town on his air skates before she could blink.

  That was New York, she thought with a faint smile. Take it at your own risk.

  She loved the crowds, the noise, the constant frantic rush of it. You were rarely alone, but never intimate. That’s why she’d come here so many years ago.

  No, she wasn’t a social animal, but too much space and too much solitude made her nervous.

  She’d come to New York to be a cop, because she believed in order, needed it to survive. Her miserable and abusive childhood with all its blank spaces and dark corners couldn’t be changed. But she had changed. She had taken control, had made herself into the person some anonymous social worker had named Eve Dallas.

  Now she was changing again. In a few weeks she wouldn’t just be Eve Dallas, lieutenant, homicide. She’d be Roarke’s wife. How she would manage to be both was more of a mystery to her than any case that had ever come across her desk.

  Neither of them knew what it was to be family, to have family, to make a family. They knew cruelty, abuse, abandonment. She wondered if that was why they had come together. They both understood what it was to have nothing, to be nothing, to know fear and hunger and despair - and both had remade themselves.

  Was it just mutual need that attracted them? Need for sex, for love, and the melding of the two that she had never thought was possible before Roarke.

  A question for Dr. Mira, she mused, thinking of the police psychiatrist she often consulted.

  But for now, Eve determined that she wasn’t going to think about the future or the past. The moment was complicated enough.

  Three blocks from Greene Street, she seized her chance and squeezed into a parking space. After searching through her pockets, she found the credit tokens the aging meter demanded in its moronic and static jumbled tones and plugged in enough for two hours.

  If it took any more than that, she’d be ready for a tranq room and a parking citation wouldn’t bother her in the least.

  Taking a deep breath, she scanned the area. She wasn’t called this far downtown often. Murders happened everywhere, but Soho was an arty bastion for the young and struggling who more often debated their disagreements over tiny glasses of cheap wine or cups of cafe noir.

  Just now, Soho was full of summer. Flower vendors burst with roses, the classic reds and pinks vying with the hybrid stripes. Traffic droned and chugged on the street, rumbled overhead, puffed a bit on the rickety passovers. Pedestrians stuck mostly with the scenic sidewalks, though the people glides were busy. The flowing robes currently hot from Europe were much in evidence, with arty sandals, headdresses, and shiny ropes swinging from earlobes to shoulder blades.

  Oil, watercolor, and compu artists hawked their wares on corners and in storefronts, competing with food vendors who promised hybrid fruits, iced yogurts, or vegetable purees uncontaminated by preservatives.

  Members of the Pure Sect, a Soho staple, glided in their snowy, street-dusting gowns, their eyes glowing and their heads shaved. Eve gave one particularly devout-looking supplicant a few tokens and was rewarded with a beatific smile and a glossy pebble.

  ‘Pure love,’ the devotee offered her. ‘Pure joy.’

  ‘Yeah, right,’ Eve murmured and sidestepped.

  She had to backtrack to find Leonardo’s. The up-and-coming designer had a third-floor loft. The window that faced the street was crammed with fashions, blots and flows of color and form that had Eve swallowing nervously. Her taste leaned toward the plain - the drab, according to Mavis.

  It didn’t appear, as she took the people glide up to get a closer look, that Leonardo leaned toward either.

  The clutching in her stomach came back with a vengeance as she stared at the window display with its feathers and beads and dyed rubber unisuits. However much pleasure she would get from making Roarke wince, she wasn’t getting married in neon rubber.

  There was more, a great deal more. It seemed Leonardo believed in advertising in a big way. His centerpiece, a ghostly white faceless model, was draped in a collection of transparent scarves that shimmered so dramatically that the material seemed alive.

  Eve could all but feel it crawling over her skin.

  Uh-uh, she thought. No way in heaven or hell. She turned, thinking only of escape, and rapped straight into Mavis.

  ‘His stuff is so frigid.’ Mavis slipped a friendly, restraining arm around Eve’s waist and gazed dreamily into the window.

  ‘Look, Mavis—’

  ‘And he’s incredibly creative. I’ve watched him come up with stuff on screen. It’s wild.’

  ‘Yeah, wild. I’m thinking—’

  ‘He really understands the inner soul,’ Mavis hurried on. She understood Eve’s inner soul, and knew her friend was ready to bolt. Mavis Freestone, slim as a fairy in her white and gold rompers and three-inch air platforms, tossed back her curling mane of white-streaked black hair, judged her opponent, and grinned. ‘He’s going to make you the most rocking bride in New York.’

  ‘Mavis.’ Eve narrowed her eyes to forestall another interruption. ‘I just want something that won’t make me feel like an idiot.’

  Mavis beamed, the new winged heart tattoo on her biceps fluttering as she lifted a hand to her breast. ‘Dallas, trust me.’

  ‘No,
Eve said even as Mavis pulled her back to the glide. ‘I mean it, Mavis. I’ll just order something off screen.’

  ‘Over my dead body,’ Mavis muttered, clumping her way down to the street entrance, dragging Eve behind her. ‘The least you can do is look, talk to him. Give the guy a chance.’ She thrust out her bottom lip, a formidable weapon when painted magenta. ‘Don’t be such a squash, Dallas.’

  ‘Shit, I’m here, anyway.’

  Flushed with success, Mavis bounced to the whining security camera. ‘Mavis Freestone and Eve Dallas, for Leonardo.’

  The outer door opened with a grinding clunk. Mavis made a beeline for the old wire-screened elevator. ‘This place is really into retro. I think Leonardo might even stay here after he hits. You know, eccentric artist and all that.’

  ‘Right.’ Eve closed her eyes and prayed as the elevator bumped its way upward. She was taking the stairs down, absolutely.

  ‘Now, keep an open mind,’ Mavis ordered, ‘and let Leonardo take care of you. Darling!’ She positively flowed out of the dinky elevator and into a cluttered, colorful space. Eve had to admire her.

  ‘Mavis, my dove.’

  Then Eve was struck dumb. The man with the artist’s name was six-five if he was an inch and built like a maxibus. Huge, rippling biceps mountained out of a sleeveless robe in the eye-searing colors of a Martian sunset. His face was wide as the moon, its copper-toned skin stretched tight as a drumhead over razor-edged cheekbones. He had a small, glinting stone winking beside his flashing grin and eyes like gold coins.

  He swirled Mavis into his arms, off her feet, and around in one fast and graceful circle. And he kissed her, long, hard, and in a fashion that warned Eve the two of them had a great deal more going on than a mutual love of fashion and art.

 
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