Conspiracy in death, p.34
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       Conspiracy in Death, p.34

         Part #8 of In Death series by J. D. Robb



  "Get Commander Whitney out of bed."


  "Tell him Captain Feeney respectfully requests his administrative ass on-scene here as soon as possible."

  Peabody cleared her throat. "Is it okay if I rephrase that slightly?"

  "Just get him here." With that, Feeney walked over to take a look at Dallas's good work.

  • • • •

  She was dead asleep when the 'link beeped. For perhaps the first time in her life, she simply rolled over and ignored it. When Roarke shook her shoulder, she just grunted and yanked the cover over her head.

  "I'm sleeping here."

  "You just had a call from Whitney. He wants you in his office at Central in an hour."

  "Shit. That can't be good." Resigned, she pushed the covers back, sat up. "The test results and evaluation can't be in yet. It's too early. Goddamn it, Roarke. I'm busted."

  "Let's go in and find out."

  She shook her head, dragged herself out of bed. "This isn't for you."

  "You aren't going in alone. Pull yourself together, Eve."

  She bit down on the despair, rolled back her shoulders, and looked at him. He was already in a business suit, his hair shining and sleek. The bruise on his cheekbone had nearly faded away with treatment, but the shadow of it added just a hint of the dangerous.

  "How come you already are?"

  "Because staying in bed half the morning unless sex is involved is a waste of time. Since you didn't appear to be cooperative in that area, I started my day with coffee instead. Stop stalling and go take your shower."

  "Okay, fine, great." She stalked into the bathroom so they could worry in different rooms.

  She refused breakfast. He didn't press. But as he drove downtown, she reached for his hand. He held it until he'd parked at Central and turned to her.

  "Eve." He cupped her face, relieved that though she was pale, she didn't tremble. "Remember who you are."

  "I'm working on it. I'll be all right. You can wait here."

  "Not a chance."

  "Okay." She took a bracing breath. "Let's do it."

  They rode in silence. As cops piled off and on the elevator from floor to floor, gazes flickered toward her, then away. There was nothing to be said, and no way to say it.

  Her stomach rolled as she stepped off, but her legs were steady as she approached the outer office of the commander.

  The door was open. Whitney stood behind his desk and gestured her inside. His gaze shifted briefly to Roarke.

  "Sit down, Dallas."

  "I'll stand, sir."

  They weren't alone in the room. As before, Tibble stood at the window. Others sat silently: Feeney with his morose face, Peabody with her lips clamped tight, Webster eyeing Roarke specutively. Before Whitney could speak again, Mira hurried in.

  "I'm terribly sorry to be late. I was with a patient." She took a seat beside Peabody, folded her hands.

  Whitney nodded, then opened the center drawer of his desk. He took out her badge, her weapon, laid them in the center. Her gaze lowered to them, lingered, then lifted without expression.

  "Lieutenant Webster."

  "Sir." He rose. "The Internal Affairs Bureau finds no cause for sanction or reprimand or for further investigation into the conduct of Lieutenant Dallas."

  "Thank you, Lieutenant. Detective Baxter is in the field, but his investigative report on the homicide of Officer Ellen Bowers has been written and filed. The case has been closed, and Lieutenant Dallas is cleared of any suspicion or involvement in that matter. This confirms your evaluation, Dr. Mira."

  "Yes, it does. The test results and evaluation clear the lieutenant in all areas and confirm her aptitude for her position. My reports have been entered into the subject's file."

  "So noted," Whitney said and turned back to Eve. She hadn't moved, hadn't blinked. "The New York Police and Security Department offers its apologies to one of its finest for an injustice done to her. I add my own personal apology to it. Procedure is necessary, but it is not always equitable."

  Tibble stepped forward. "The suspension is lifted and will be expunged from your record. You will not be penalized in any way for the enforced time away from the job. The department will issue a statement to the media detailing what facts are deemed pertinent and necessary. Commander?"

  "Sir." Whitney's face remained passive as he picked up her badge, her weapon, held them out. Emotion sparked in his eyes when she simply stared at them. "Lieutenant Dallas, this department and myself would suffer a great loss if you refuse these."

  She remembered to breathe and lifted her gaze, met his, then reached out and took what was hers. Across the room, Peabody sniffled audibly.

  "Lieutenant." Whitney offered his hand across the desk. A rare grin broke out on his face when she clasped it. "You're on duty."

  "Yes, sir." She turned, looked straight at Roarke. "Just let me get rid of this civilian." Watching him, she tucked away her badge, shrugged into her harness. "Can I see you outside a minute?"


  He sent the sniffling Peabody a wink and walked out after his wife. The minute they were out of view, he spun her around, kissed her lavishly. "It's nice to see you again, Lieutenant."

  "Oh God." Her breath hitched in and out. "I've got to get out of here without…you know."

  "Yes." He wiped a tear off her lashes. "I know."

  "You have to go or I'll fall apart. But maybe you could be around later, so I could."

  "Get to work." He tapped a finger on her chin. "You've been loafing long enough."

  She grinned, swiped the back of her unsteady hand inelegantly under her nose as he walked away. "Hey, Roarke?"

  "Yes, Lieutenant?"

  She laughed, rushed at him, leaped, and gave him a hard, smacking kiss. "See you."

  "You certainly will." He flashed her one last devastating grin before the elevator doors closed him in.

  "Lieutenant Dallas, sir." Peabody snapped to attention, a dopey grin on her face when Eve turned around. "I didn't want to interrupt, but I'm ordered to return your communicator." She dashed forward, shoved it into Eve's hand, and bounced her up and down in a hug. "Hot damn!"

  "Let's maintain a little dignity here, Peabody."

  "Okay. Can we go out later to celebrate and get drunk and stupid?"

  Eve pursed her lips in thought as they headed for the glide. "Got plans tonight," she said thinking of that last flashing grin of Roarke's, "but tomorrow works for me."

  "Frigid. So look, Feeney said I should tell you we've still got some details to wrap up to close this case good and tight. International connections, the East Washington angle, a full sweep of staff at the Drake, coordinating cooperative investigations with CPSD."

  "It'll take some time, but we'll clean it up. Vanderhaven?"

  "Still at large." She sent Eve a sidelong look. "Waverly's out of the health center. He's cleared to be interviewed any time, and he's already singing out names hoping for leniency. We figure he'll spit out Vanderhaven's hole. Feeney figured you'd want to take the interview."

  "He figured right." Eve hopped off the glide, changed directions. "Let's go kick some ass, Peabody."

  "I love when you say that. Sir."



  J. D. Robb, Conspiracy in Death

  (Series: In Death # 8)




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