Naked in death, p.15
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       Naked in Death, p.15

         Part #1 of In Death series by J. D. Robb  
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  Shaken, she set her cup down. “I suspect DeBlass put the pressure on about Testing. He doesn’t trust me, or he hasn’t decided I’m competent to head the investigation. And he had Feeney and me followed from East Washington.” She let out a long breath. “How do you know he’s digging on me? Because you are?”

  He didn’t mind the anger in her eyes, or the accusation. He preferred it to the worry another might have shown. “No, because I’m watching him while he’s watching you. I decided I’d find it more satisfying to learn about you from the source, over time, than by reading reports.”

  He stepped closer, skimmed his fingers over her choppy hair. “I respect the privacy of the people I care about. And I care about you, Eve. I don’t know why, precisely, but you pull something from me.”

  When she started to step back, he tightened his fingers. “I’m tired of every time I have a moment with you, you put murder between us.”

  “There is murder between us.”

  “No. If anything, that’s what brought us here. Is that the problem? You can’t shed Lieutenant Dallas long enough to feel?”

  “That’s who I am.”

  “Then that’s who I want.” His eyes had darkened with impatient desire. The frustration he felt was only with himself, for being so impossibly driven he might, at any moment, beg. “Lieutenant Dallas wouldn’t be afraid of me, even if Eve might.”

  The coffee had wired her. That’s what had her system so jittery with nerves. “I’m not afraid of you, Roarke.”

  “Aren’t you?” He moved closer, curling his hands on the lapels of her shirt. “What do you think will happen if you step over the line?”

  “Too much,” she murmured. “Not enough. Sex isn’t high on my priority list. It’s distracting.”

  The temper in his eyes lighted to a laugh. “Damn right it is. When it’s done well. Isn’t it time you let me show you?”

  She gripped his arms, not sure if she intended to move in or away. “It’s a mistake.”

  “So we’ll have to make it count,” he muttered before his mouth captured hers.

  She moved in.

  Her arms went around him, fingers diving into his hair. Her body slammed into his, vibrating as the kiss grew rough, then nearly brutal. His mouth was hot, almost vicious. The shock of it sent flares of reaction straight to her center.

  Already, his fast, impatient hands were tugging her shirt from her jeans, finding her skin. In response, she dragged at his, desperate to get through silk and to flesh.

  He had a vision of himself dragging her to the floor, pounding himself into her until her screams echoed like gunshots, and his release erupted like blood. It would be quick, and fierce. And over.

  With the breath shuddering in his lungs, he jerked back. Her face was flushed, her mouth already swollen. He’d torn her shirt at the shoulder.

  A room filled with violence, the smell of gunsmoke still stinking the air, and weapons still within reach.

  “Not here.” He half carried, half dragged her to the elevator. By the time the doors opened, he’d ripped aside the torn sleeve. He shoved her against the back wall as the doors closed them in, and fumbled with her holster. “Take this damn thing off. Take it off.”

  She hit the release and let the holster dangle from one hand as she fought open his buttons with the other. “Why do you wear so many clothes?”

  “I won’t next time.” He ripped the tattered shirt aside. Beneath she wore a thin, nearly transparent undershirt that revealed small, firm breasts and hardened nipples. He closed his hands over them, watched her eyes glaze. “Where do you like to be touched?”

  “You’re doing fine.” She had to brace a hand on the side wall to keep from buckling.

  When the doors opened again, they were fused together. They circled out with his teeth nipping and scraping along her throat. She let her bag and her holster drop.

  She got a glimpse of the room: wide windows, mirrors, muted colors. She could smell flowers and felt the give of carpet under her feet. As she struggled to release his slacks, she caught sight of the bed.

  “Holy God.”

  It was huge, a lake of midnight blue cupped between high carved wood. It stood on a platform beneath a domed sky window. Across from it was a fireplace of pale green stone where fragrant wood sizzled.

  “You sleep here?”

  “I don’t intend to sleep tonight.”

  He interrupted her gawking by pulling her up the two stairs to the platform and tumbling her onto the bed.

  “I have to check in by oh seven hundred.”

  “Shut up, lieutenant.”

  “Okay.”

  With a half laugh, she rolled on top of him and fastened her mouth to his. Wild, reckless energy was bursting inside her. She couldn’t move quickly enough, her hands weren’t fast enough to satisfy the craving.

  She fought off her boots, let him peel the jeans over her hips. A wave of pleasure rippled through her when she heard him groan. It had been a long time since she’d felt the tension and heat of a man’s body—a very long time since she’d wanted to.

  The need for release was driving and fierce. The moment they were naked, she would have straddled him and satisfied it. But he flipped their positions, muffled her edgy protests with a long, rough kiss.

  “What’s your hurry?” he murmured, sliding a hand down to take her breast and watching her face while his thumb quietly tortured her nipple. “I haven’t even looked at you.”

  “I want you.”

  “I know.” He levered back, running a hand from her shoulder to her thigh while his gaze followed the movement. The blood was pounding in his loins. “Long, slim . . .” His hand squeezed lightly on her breast. “Small. Very nearly delicate. Who would have guessed?”

  “I want you inside me.”

  “You only want one aspect inside you,” he murmured.

  “Goddamn it,” she began, then groaned when he dipped his head and took her breast into his mouth.

  She writhed against him, against herself as he suckled, so gently at first it was torture, then harder, faster until she had to bite back a scream. His hands continued to skim over her, kindling exotic little fires of need.

  It wasn’t what she was used to. Sex, when she chose to have it, was quick, simple, and satisfied a basic need. But this was tangling emotions, a war on the system, a battering of the senses.

  She struggled to get a hand between them, to reach him where he lay hard and heavy against her. Pure panic set in when he braceleted her wrists and levered her hands over her head.

  “Don’t.”

  He’d nearly released her in reflex before he saw her eyes. Panic yes, even fear, but desire, too. “You can’t always be in control, Eve.” As he spoke he ran his free hand over her thigh. She trembled, and her eyes unfocused when his fingers brushed the back of her knee.

  “Don’t,” she said again, fighting for air.

  “Don’t what? Find a weakness, exploit it?” Experimentally, he caressed that sensitive skin, tracing his fingers up toward the heat, then back again. Her breath was coming in pants now as she fought to roll away from him.

  “Too late, it seems,” he murmured. “You want the kick without the intimacy?” He began a trail of slow, open-mouthed kisses at the base of her throat, working his way down while her body shivered like a plucked wire beneath his. “You don’t need a partner for that. And you have one tonight. I intend to give as much pleasure as I get.”

  “I can’t.” She strained against him, bucked, but each frantic movement brought only a new and devastating sensation.

  “Let go.” He was mad to have her. But her struggle to hold back both challenged and infuriated.

  “I can’t.”

  “I’m going to make you let go, and I’m going to watch it happen.” He slid back up her, feeling every tremble and quake, until his face was close to hers again. He pressed his palm firmly on the mound between her thighs.

  Her breath hissed out. “You bastard. I can’t.”

  “Liar,” he said quietly, then slid a finger down, over her, into her. His groan melded with hers as he found her tight, hot, wet. Clinging to control, he focused on her face, the change from panic to shock, from shock to glazed helplessness.

  She felt herself slipping, battled back, but the pull was too strong. Someone screamed as she fell, then her body imploded. One moment the tension was vicious, then the spear of pleasure arrowed into her, so sharp, so hot. Dazed, disoriented, she went limp.

  He went mad.

  He dragged her up so that she was kneeling, her head heavy on his shoulder. “Again,” he demanded, dragging her head back by the hair and plundering her mouth. “Again, goddamn it.”

  “Yes.” It was building so quickly. The need like teeth grinding inside her. Free, her hands raced over him, and her body arched fluidly back so that his lips could taste where and how they liked.

  Her next climax ripped through him like claws. With something like a snarl, he shoved her onto her back, levered her hips high, and drove himself inside her. She closed around him, a hot, greedy fist.

  Her nails scraped at his back, her hips pistoned as he plunged. When her hands slid weakly from his sweat-slicked shoulders, he emptied himself into her.

  chapter eleven

  She didn’t speak for a long time. There really wasn’t anything to say. She had taken an inappropriate step with her eyes wide open. If there were consequences, she would pay them.

  Now, she needed to gather whatever dignity she could scrape together and get out.

  “I have to go.” With her face averted, she sat up and wondered how she was going to find her clothes.

  “I don’t think so.” Roarke’s voice was lazy, confident, and infuriating. Even as she started to get off the bed, he snagged her arm, overbalanced her, and had her on her back again.

  “Look, fun’s fun.”

  “It certainly is. I don’t know as I’d qualify what just happened here as fun. I say it was too intense for that. I haven’t finished with you, lieutenant.” When her eyes narrowed, he grinned. “Good, that’s what I wanted to—”

  He lost his breath and with it the words when her elbow shot into his stomach. In the blink of an eye, she’d reversed their positions. That well-aimed elbow was now pressing dangerously on his windpipe.

  “Listen, pal, I come and go as I please, so check your ego.”

  Like a white flag, he lifted his palms out for peace. Her elbow lifted a half inch before he shifted and sprang.

  She was tough, strong, and smart. That was only one more reason why, after a sweaty struggle, she was infuriated to find herself under him again.

  “Assaulting an officer will earn you one to five, Roarke. That’s in a cage, not cushy home detention.”

  “You’re not wearing your badge. Or anything else, for that matter.” He gave her a friendly nip on the chin. “Be sure to put that in your report.”

  So much for dignity, she decided. “I don’t want to fight with you.” It pleased her that her voice was calm, even reasonable. “I just have to go.”

  He shifted, watched as her eyes widened, then fluttered half closed when he slipped inside her again. “No, don’t shut your eyes.” His voice was whisper rough.

  So she watched him, incapable of resisting the fresh onslaught of pleasure. He kept the rhythm slow now, with long, deep strokes that stirred the soul.

  Her breath quickened, thickened. All she could see was his face, all she could feel was that lovely, fluid slide of his body in hers, the tireless friction of it that had an orgasm shivering through her like gold.

  His fingers linked with hers, and his lips curved on hers. She felt his body tighten an instant before he buried his face in her hair. They lay quiet, bodies meshed but still. He turned his head, pressed a kiss to her temple.

  “Stay,” he murmured. “Please.”

  “Yes.” She closed her eyes now. “All right, yes.”

  They didn’t sleep. It wasn’t fatigue so much as bafflement that assaulted Eve when she stepped into Roarke’s shower in the early hours of the morning.

  She didn’t spend nights with men. Always she’d been careful to keep sex simple, straightforward and, yes, impersonal. Yet here she was, the morning after, letting herself be pummeled by the hot pulse of his shower sprays. For hours, she’d let herself be pummeled by him. He’d assaulted then invaded parts of her she’d thought impregnable.

  She was trying to regret it. It seemed important that she realize and recognize her mistake, and move on. But it was difficult to regret anything that made her body feel so alive and kept the dreams at bay.

  “You look good wet, lieutenant.”

  Eve turned her head as Roarke stepped through the criss crossing sprays. “I’m going to need to borrow a shirt.”

  “We’ll find you one.” He pressed a knob on the tiled walls, cupped his hand under a fount to catch a puddle of clear, creamy liquid.

  “What are you doing?”

  “Washing your hair,” he murmured and proceeded to stroke and massage the shampoo into her short, sopping cap of hair. “I’m going to enjoy smelling my soap on you.” His lips curved. “You’re a fascinating woman, Eve. Here we are, wet, naked, both of us half dead from a very memorable night, and still you watch me with very cool, very suspicious eyes.”

  “You’re a suspicious character, Roarke.”

  “I think that’s a compliment.” He bent his head to bite her lip, as the steam rose and the spray began to pulse like a heartbeat. “Tell me what you meant, the first time I made love to you, when you said, ‘I can’t.’ ”

  He angled her head back, and Eve closed her eyes in defense as water chased the shampoo away. “I don’t remember everything I said.”

  “You remember.” From another fount, he drew pale green soap that smelled of wild forests. Watching her, he slicked it over her shoulders, down her back, then around and up to her breasts. “Hadn’t you had an orgasm before?”

  “Of course I have.” True, she’d always equated them with the subtle pop of a cork from a bottle of stress, not the violent explosion that destroyed a lifetime of restraint. “You’re flattering yourself, Roarke.”

  “Am I?” Didn’t she know that those cool eyes, that wall of resistance she was scrambling to rebuild was an irresistible challenge? Obviously not, he mused. He tugged lightly at her soap-slicked nipples, smiling when she sucked in a breath. “I’m about to flatter myself again.”

  “I haven’t got time for this,” she said quickly, and found her back pressed against the tile wall. “It was a mistake in the first place. I have to go.”

  “It won’t take long.” He felt a hard slap of lust when he cupped her hips, lifted her. “It wasn’t a mistake then, or now. And I have to have you.”

  His breath was coming faster. It stunned him how much he could want her still, baffled him that she could be blind to how helpless he was under the clawing need for her. It infuriated him that she could, simply by existing, be his weakness.

  “Hold onto me,” he demanded, his voice harsh, edgy. “Goddamn it, hold onto me.”

  She already was. He pierced her, pinned her to the wall with an erection that filled her to bursting. Her frantic, helpless mewing echoed off the walls. She wanted to hate him for that, for making her a victim of her own rampant passions. But she held onto him, and let herself spin dizzily out of control.

  He climaxed violently, slapped a hand on the wall, his arm rigid to maintain balance as her legs slid slowly off his hips. Suddenly he was angry, furious that she could strip away his finesse until he was no more than a beast rutting.

  “I’ll get you a shirt,” he said briskly, then stepped out, flicking a towel from a rack, and leaving her alone in the billowing steam.

  By the time she was dressed, frowning over the feel of raw silk against her skin, there was a tray of coffee waiting in the sitting area of the bedroom.

  The morning news chattered quietly on the view screen, the curiosity corner at the lower left running fields of figures. The stock exchange. The monitor on a console was open to a newspaper. Not the Times or one of the New York tabs, Eve noted. It looked like Japanese.

  “Do you have time for breakfast?” Roarke sat, sipping his coffee. He wasn’t able to give his full attention to the morning data. He’d enjoyed watching her dress: the way her hands had hesitated over his shirt before she’d shrugged into it, how her fingers had run quickly up the buttons, the quick wriggle of hip as she’d tugged on jeans.

  “No, thanks.” She wasn’t sure of her moves now. He’d fucked her blind in the shower, then had withdrawn to play well-mannered host. She strapped into her holster before crossing to accept the coffee he’d already poured her.

  “You know, lieutenant, you wear your weapon the way other women wear pearls.”

  “It’s not a fashion accessory.”

  “You misunderstand. To some, jewelry is as vital as limbs.” He tilted his head, studying her. “The shirt’s a bit large, but it suits you.”

  Eve thought anything she could wear on her back that cost close to a week’s pay couldn’t suit her. “I’ll get it back to you.”

  “I have several others.” He rose, unnerving her again by tracing a fingertip over her jaw. “I was rough before. I’m sorry.”

  The apology, so quiet and unexpected, embarrassed her. “Forget it.” She shifted away, drained her cup, set it aside.

  “I won’t forget it; neither will you.” He took her hand, lifted it to his lips. Nothing could have pleased him more than the quick suspicion on her face. “You won’t forget me, Eve. You’ll think of me, perhaps not fondly, but you’ll think of me.”

  “I’m in the middle of a murder investigation. You’re part of it. Sure, I’ll think of you.”

  “Darling,” he began, and watched with amusement as his use of the endearment knitted her brow. “You’ll be thinking of what I can do to you. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to do more than imagine it myself for a few days.”

 
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admin 22 September 2018 10:45
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