Naked in death, p.6
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       Naked in Death, p.6

         Part #1 of In Death series by J. D. Robb  
As she read over Eve’s shoulder, Mavis let out a low whistle. “Not the Roarke! The incredibly wealthy, fabulous to look at, sexily mysterious Roarke who owns approximately twenty-eight percent of the world, and its satellites?”

  All Eve felt was irritation. “He’s the only one I know.”

  “You know him.” Mavis rolled her green shadowed eyes. “Dallas, I’ve underestimated you unforgivably. Tell me everything. How, when, why? Did you sleep with him? Tell me you slept with him, then give me every tiny detail.”

  “We’ve had a secret, passionate affair for the last three years, during which time I bore him a son who’s being raised on the far side of the moon by Buddhist monks.” Brows knit, Eve shook the box. “Get a grip, Mavis. It has to do with a case, and,” she added before Mavis could open her mouth, “it’s confidential.”

  Mavis didn’t bother to roll her eyes again. When Eve said confidential, no amount of cajoling, pleading or whining could budge her an inch. “Okay, but you can tell me if he looks as good in person as he does in pictures.”

  “Better,” Eve muttered.

  “Jesus, really?” Mavis moaned and let herself fall onto the sofa. “I think I just had an orgasm.”

  “You ought to know.” Eve set the package down, scowled at it. “And how did he know where I live? You can’t pluck a cop’s address out of the directory file. How did he know?” she repeated quietly. “And what’s he up to?”

  “For God’s sake, Dallas, open it. He probably took a shine to you. Some men find the cool, disinterested, and understated attractive. Makes them think you’re deep. I bet it’s diamonds,” Mavis said, pouncing on the box as her patience snapped. “A necklace. A diamond necklace. Maybe rubies. You’d look sensational in rubies.”

  She ripped ruthlessly through the pricey paper, tossed aside the lid of the box, and plunged her hand through the gold-edged tissue. “What the hell is this?”

  But Eve had already scented it, already—despite herself—begun to smile. “It’s coffee,” she murmured, unaware of the way her voice softened as she reached for the simple brown bag Mavis held.

  “Coffee.” Illusions shattered, Mavis stared. “The man’s got more money than God, and he sends you a bag of coffee?”

  “Real coffee.”

  “Oh, well then.” In disgust, Mavis waved a hand. “I don’t care what the damn stuff costs a pound, Dallas. A woman wants glitter.”

  Eve brought the bag to her face and sniffed deep. “Not this woman. The son of a bitch knew just how to get to me.” She sighed. “In more ways than one.”

  Eve treated herself to one precious cup the next morning. Even her temperamental AutoChef hadn’t been able to spoil the dark, rich flavor. She drove to the station, with her faulty heater, under sleeting skies, in a wild chill that came in just under five degrees, with a smile on her face.

  It was still there when she walked into her office and found Feeney waiting for her.

  “Well, well.” He studied her. “What’d you have for breakfast, ace?”

  “Nothing but coffee. Just coffee. Got anything for me?”

  “Ran a full check on Richard DeBlass, Elizabeth Barrister, and the rest of the clan.” He handed her a disc marked Code Five in bold red. “No real surprises. Nothing much out of the ordinary on Rockman, either. In his twenties, he belonged to a paramilitary group known as SafeNet.”

  “SafeNet,” Eve repeated, brow wrinkling.

  “You’d have been about eight when it was disbanded, kid,” Feeney told her with a smirk. “Should have heard of it in your history lessons.”

  “Rings a distant bell. Was that one of the groups that got worked up when we had that skirmish with China?”

  “It was, and if they’d had their way, it would have been a lot more than a skirmish. A disagreement over international space could have gotten ugly. But the diplomats managed to fight that war before they could. Few years later, they were disbanded, though there are rumors on and off about a faction of SafeNet going underground.”

  “I’ve heard of them. Still hear about them. You think Rockman’s involved with a fanatic splinter group like that?”

  It only took Feeney a moment to shake his head. “I think he watches his step. Power reflects power, and DeBlass has plenty. If he ever gets into the White House, Rockman would be right beside him.”

  “Please.” Eve pressed a hand to her stomach. “You’ll give me nightmares.”

  “It’s a long shot, but he’s got some backing for the next election.” Feeney moved his shoulders.

  “Rockman’s alibied, anyway. By DeBlass. They were in East Washington.” She sat. “Anything else?”

  “Charles Monroe. He’s had an interesting life, nothing shady that shows. I’m working on the victim’s logs. You know, sometimes if you’re careless in altering files, you leave shadows floating. Seems to me somebody just kills a woman could get careless.”

  “You find a shadow, Feeney, clear away the gray, and I’ll buy you a case of that lousy whiskey you like.”

  “Deal. I’m still working on Roarke,” he added. “There’s a guy who isn’t careless. Every time I think I’ve gotten over one wall of security, I hit another. Whatever data there is on him is well guarded.”

  “Keep scaling those walls. I’ll try digging under them.”

  When Feeney left, Eve shifted to her terminal. She hadn’t wanted to check in front of Mavis, and preferred, in this case, using her office unit. The question was simple.

  Eve entered the name and address of her apartment complex. Asked: Owner?

  And so the answer was simple: Roarke.

  Lola Starr’s license for sex was only three months old. She’d applied for it on her eighteenth birthday, the earliest possible date. She liked to tell her friends she’d been an amateur until then.

  It was the same day she’d left her home in Toledo, the same day she’d changed her name from Alice Williams. Both home and name had been far too boring for Lola.

  She had a cute, pixie face. She’d nagged and begged and wept until her parents had agreed to buy her a more pointed chin and a tip-tilted nose for her sixteenth birthday.

  Lola had wanted to look like a sexy elf and thought she’d succeeded. Her hair was coal black, cut in short, sassy spikes. Her skin was milk white and firm. She was saving for enough money to have her eyes changed from brown to emerald green, which she thought would suit her image better. But she’d been lucky enough to have been born with a lush little body that needed no more than basic maintenance.

  She’d wanted to be a licensed companion all of her life. Other girls might have dreamed of careers in law or finance, studied their way into medicine or industry. But Lola had always known she was born for sex.

  And why not make a living from what you did best?

  She wanted to be rich and desired and pampered. The desire part she found easy. Men, particularly older men, were willing to pay well for someone with Lola’s attributes. But the expenses of her profession were more stringent than she’d anticipated when she’d dreamed away in her pretty room in Toledo.

  The licensing fees, the mandatory health exams, the rent, and sin tax all ate into profits. Once she’d finished paying for her training, she’d only had enough left to afford a small, one-room apartment at the ragged edges of Prostitute Walk.

  Still, it was better than working the streets as many still did. And Lola had plans for bigger and better things.

  One day she’d live in a penthouse and take only the cream of clients. She’d be wined and dined in the best restaurants, jetted to exotic places to entertain royalty and wealth.

  She was good enough, and she didn’t intend to stay at the bottom of the ladder for long.

  The tips helped. A professional wasn’t supposed to accept cash or credit bonuses. Not technically. But everyone did. She was still girl enough to prefer the pretty little gifts some of her clients offered. But she banked the money religiously and dreamed of her penthouse.

  Tonight, she was going to entertain a new client, one who had requested she call him Daddy. She’d agreed, and had waited until the arrangements were made before she allowed herself a smirk. The guy probably thought he was the first one to want her to be his little girl. The fact was, after only a few short months on the job, pedophilia was rapidly becoming her specialty.

  So, she’d sit on his lap, let him spank her, while telling her solemnly that she needed to be punished. Really, it was like playing a game, and most of the men were kind of sweet.

  With that in mind, she chose a flirty skirted dress with a scalloped white collar. Beneath she wore nothing but white stockings. She’d removed her pubic hair, and was as bare and smooth as a ten year old.

  After studying the reflection, she added a bit more color to her cheeks and clear gloss on her pouty lips.

  At the knock on the door she grinned, and her young and still guileless face grinned back in the mirror.

  She couldn’t yet afford video security, and used the Judas hole to check her visitor.

  He was handsome, which pleased her. And, she assumed, old enough to be her father, which would please him.

  She opened the door, aimed a shy, coy smile. “Hi, Daddy.”

  He didn’t want to waste time. It was the one asset he had little of at the moment. He smiled at her. For a whore, she was a pretty little thing. When the door was shut at his back, he reached under her skirt and was pleased to find her naked. It would speed matters along if he could become aroused quickly.

  “Daddy!” Playing her part, Lola let out a shrieking giggle. “That’s naughty.”

  “I’ve heard you’ve been naughty.” He removed his coat and set it neatly aside while she pouted at him. Though he’d taken the precaution of clear sealing his hands, he would touch nothing in the room but her.

  “I’ve been good, Daddy. Very good.”

  “You’ve been naughty, little girl.” From his pocket he took a small video camera, which he set up, aimed toward the narrow bed she’d piled with pillows and stuffed animals.

  “Are you going to take pictures?”

  “That’s right.”

  She’d have to tell him that would cost him extra, but decided to wait until the deed was done. Clients didn’t care to have their fantasies broken with reality. She’d learned that in training.

  “Go lie down on the bed.”

  “Yes, Daddy.” She lay among the pillows and grinning animals.

  “I’ve heard you’ve been touching yourself.”

  “No, Daddy.”

  “It isn’t good to tell lies to your Daddy. I have to punish you, but then I’ll kiss it and make it better.” When she smiled, he walked to the bed. “Lift your skirt, little girl, and show me how you touched yourself.”

  Lola didn’t care for this part. She liked being touched, but the feel of her own hands brought her little excitement. Still, she lifted her skirt, stroked herself, keeping her movements shy and hesitant as she expected he wanted.

  It excited him, the glide of her small fingers. After all, that was what a woman was made for. To use herself, to use the men who wanted her.

  “How does it feel?”

  “Soft,” she murmured. “You touch, Daddy. Feel how soft.”

  He laid a hand over hers, felt himself harden satisfactorily as he slipped a finger inside her. It would be quick, for both of them.

  “Unbutton your dress,” he ordered, and continued to manipulate her as she opened it from its prim collar down. “Turn over.”

  When she did, he brought his hand down on her pert bottom in smart slaps that reddened the creamy flesh while she whimpered in programmed response.

  It didn’t matter if he hurt her or not. She’d sold herself to him.

  “That’s a good girl.” He was fully erect now, beginning to throb. Still, his movements were careful and precise as he undressed. Naked, he straddled her, slipped his hands beneath her so that he could squeeze her breasts. So young, he thought, and let himself shudder from the pleasure of flesh that had yet to need refining.

  “Daddy’s going to show you how he rewards good girls.”

  He wanted her to take him into her mouth, but couldn’t risk it. The birth control her file listed she used would eradicate his sperm vaginally, but not orally.

  Instead, he vaulted up her hips, taking the time to stroke his hands over that firm, young flesh as he drove himself into her.

  He was rougher than either of them expected. After that first violent thrust, he held himself back. He had no wish to hurt her to the point where she would cry out. Though in a place such as this, he doubted anyone would notice or care.

  Still, she was rather charmingly unskilled and naive. He settled on a slower, more gentle rhythm, which he discovered drew out his own pleasure.

  She moved well, meeting him, matching him. Unless he was very mistaken, not all her groans and cries were simulated. He felt her tense, shudder, and he smiled, pleased that he’d been able to bring a whore to a genuine climax.

  He closed his eyes and let himself come.

  She sighed and cuddled into one of the pillows. It had been good, much, much better than she’d expected. And she hoped she’d found another regular.

  “Was I a good girl, Daddy?”

  “A very, very good girl. But we’re not done. Roll over.”

  As she shifted, he rose and moved out of camera range. “Are we going to watch the video, Daddy?”

  He only shook his head.

  Remembering her role, she pouted. “I like videos. We can watch, and then you can show me how to be a good girl again.” She smiled at him, hoping for a bonus. “I could touch you this time. I’d like to touch you.”

  He smiled and took the SIG 210 with silencer out of his coat pocket. He watched her blink in curiosity as he aimed the gun.

  “What’s that? Is it a toy for me to play with?”

  He shot her in the head first, the weapon barely making more than a pop as she jerked back. Coolly, he shot again, between those young, firm breasts, and last, as the silencer eroded, into her smooth, bare pubis.

  Switching the camera off, he arranged her carefully among blood-soaked pillows and soiled, smiling animals while she stared up at him in wide-eyed surprise.

  “It was no life for a young girl,” he told her gently, then went back to the camera to record the last scene.

  chapter five

  All Eve wanted was a candy bar. She’d spent most of the day testifying in court, and her lunch break had been eaten up by a call from a snitch that had cost her fifty dollars and gained her a slim lead on a smuggling case that had resulted in two homicides, which she’d been beating her head against for two months.

  All she wanted was a quick hit of sugar substitute before she headed home to prep for her seven o’clock meeting with Roarke.

  She could have zipped through any number of drive-through InstaStores, but she preferred the little deli on the corner of West Seventy-eighth—despite, or perhaps because of the fact that it was owned and run by Francois, a rude, snake-eyed refugee who’d fled to America after the Social Reform Army had overthrown the French government some forty years before.

  He hated America and Americans, and the SRA had been dispatched within six months of the coup, but Francois remained, bitching and complaining behind the counter of the Seventy-eighth Street deli where he enjoyed dispensing insults and political absurdities.

  Eve called him Frank to annoy him, and dropped in at least once a week to see what scheme he’d devised to try to short credit her.

  Her mind on the candy bar, she stepped through the automatic door. It had no more than begun to whisper shut behind her when instinct kicked in.

  The man standing at the counter had his back to her, his heavy, hooded jacket masking all but his size, and that was impressive.

  Six-five, she estimated, easily two-fifty. She didn’t need to see Francois’s thin, terrified face to know there was trouble. She could smell it, as ripe and sour as the vegetable hash that was today’s special.

  In the seconds it took the door to clink shut, she’d considered and rejected the idea of drawing her weapon.

  “Over here, bitch. Now.”

  The man turned. Eve saw he had the pale gold complexion of a multiracial heritage and the eyes of a very desperate man. Even as she filed the description, she looked at the small round object he held in his hand.

  The homemade explosive device was worry enough. The fact that it shook as the hand that held it trembled with nerves was a great deal worse.

  Homemade boomers were notoriously unstable. The idiot was likely to kill all of them by sweating too freely.

  She shot Francois a quick, warning look. If he called her lieutenant, they were all going to be meat very quickly. Keeping her hands in plain sight, she crossed to the counter.

  “I don’t want any trouble,” she said, letting her voice tremble as nervously as the thief’s hand. “Please, I got kids at home.”

  “Shut up. Just shut up. Down on the floor. Down on the fucking floor.”

  Eve knelt, slipping a hand under her jacket where the weapon waited.

  “All of it,” the man ordered, gesturing with the deadly little ball. “I want all of it. Cash, credit tokens. Make it fast.”

  “It’s been a slow day,” Francois whined. “You must understand business is not what it was. You Americans—”

  “You want to eat this?” the man invited, shoving the explosive in Francois’s face.

  “No, no.” Panicked, Francois punched in the security code with his shaking fingers. As the till opened, Eve saw the thief glance at the money inside, then up at the camera that was busily recording the entire transaction.

  She saw it in his face. He knew his image was locked there, and that all the money in New York wouldn’t erase it. The explosive would, tossed carelessly over his shoulder as he raced out to the street to be swallowed in traffic.

  She sucked in a breath, like a diver going under. She came up hard, under his arm. The solid jolt had the device flying free. Screams, curses, prayers. She caught it in her fingertips, a high fly, shagged with two men out and the bases loaded. Even as she closed her hand around it, the thief swung out.

 
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admin 22 September 2018 10:45
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