Authors: J. D. Robb
Tags: #Fiction, #General, #Mystery & Detective, #New York (N.Y.), #Women Sleuths, #Detective and mystery stories, #Mystery Fiction, #Murder, #Police, #Suspense, #Mystery, #Police Procedural, #Suspense Fiction, #Teenage girls, #Political, #Policewomen, #American Mystery & Suspense Fiction, #Detective, #Mystery & Detective - Women Sleuths, #Fiction - Mystery, #Mystery & Detective - Police Procedural, #Eve (Fictitious character), #Dallas, #Dallas; Eve (Fictitious Character)
Kindred in Death
By J.D. Robb
A lie which is half a truth is ever the blackest of lies.
SHE’D DIED AND GONE TO HEAVEN. OR BETTER, BECAUSE who knew if there was really good sex and lazy holiday mornings in heaven. She was alive and kicking.
Well, alive anyway. A little sleepy, a whole lot satisfied, and happy the end of the Urban Wars nearly forty years before had resulted in the international Peace Day holiday.
Maybe the Sunday in June had been selected arbitrarily, and certainly symbolically—and maybe remnants of that ugly period still littered the global landscape even in 2060—but she supposed people were entitled to their parades, cookouts, windy speeches, and long, drunk weekends.
Personally, she was happy to have two days off in a row for any reason. Especially when a Sunday kicked off like this one.
Eve Dallas, murder cop and ass-kicker, sprawled naked across her husband, who’d just given her a nice glimpse of heaven. She figured she’d given him a good look at it, too, as he lay under her, one hand lazily stroking her butt and his heart pounding like a turbo hammer.
She felt the thump on the bed that was their pudgy cat, Galahad, joining them now that the show was over.
She thought: Our happy little family on a do-nothing Sunday morning. And wasn’t that an amazing thing? She had a happy little family—a home, an absurdly gorgeous and fascinating man who loved her, and—it couldn’t be overstated—really good sex.
Not to mention the day off.
She purred, nearly as enthusiastically as the cat, and nuzzled into the curve of Roarke’s neck.
“Good,” she said.
“At the very least.” His arms came around her, such good arms, in an easy embrace. “And what would you like to do next?”
She smiled, loving the moment, the lilt of Ireland in his voice, the brush of the cat’s fur against her arm as he butted it with his head in a bid for attention.
Or most likely breakfast.
“Pretty much nothing.”
“Nothing can be arranged.”
She felt Roarke shift, and heard the cat’s purring increase as the hands that had recently pleasured her gave him a scratch.
She propped herself up to look at his face. His eyes opened.
God, they just killed her, that bold, brilliant blue, those thick, dark lashes, the smile in them that was hers. Just hers.
Leaning down, she took his magic mouth with hers in a deep, dreamy kiss.
“Well now, that’s far from nothing.”
“I love you.” She kissed his cheeks, a little rough from the night’s growth of beard. “Maybe because you’re so pretty.”
He was, she thought as the cat interrupted by wiggling his bulk under her arm and bellying between them. The carved lips, the sorcerer’s eyes, and sharp, defined bones all framed in the black silk of his hair. When you added the firm, lanky body, it made a damn perfect package.
He managed to get around the cat to draw her down for another kiss, then hissed.
“Why the hell doesn’t he go down and pester Summerset for breakfast?” Roarke nudged away the cat, who kneaded paws and claws, painfully, over his chest.
“I’ll get it. I want coffee anyway.”
Eve rolled out of bed, walked—long, lean, naked—to the bedroom AutoChef.
“You cost me another shag,” Roarke muttered.
Galahad’s bicolored eyes glittered, perhaps in amusement, before he scrambled off the bed.
Eve programmed the kibble, and since it was a holiday, a side of tuna. When the cat pounced on it like the starving, she programmed two mugs of coffee, strong and black.
“I thought about going down for a workout, but sort of took care of that already.” She took the first life-giving sip as she crossed back to the platform and the lake-sized bed. “I’m going to grab a shower.”
“I’ll do the same, then I can grab you.” He smiled as she handed him his coffee. “A second workout, we’ll say. Very healthy. Maybe a full Irish to follow.”
“You’re a full Irish.”
“I was thinking breakfast, but you can have both.”
Didn’t she look happy, he thought, and rested—and altogether delicious. That shaggy cap of deer-hide hair mussed about her face, those big dark eyes full of fun. The little dent in her chin he adored deepened just a bit when she smiled.
There was something about the moment, he thought, moments like this when they were so much in tune, that struck him as miraculous.
The cop and the criminal—former—he qualified, as bloody normal as Peace Day potato salad.
He studied her over the rim of his cup, through the whiff of fragrant steam. “I’m thinking you should wear that outfit more often. It’s a favorite of mine.”
She angled her head, drank more coffee. “I’m thinking I want a really long shower.”
“Isn’t that handy? I think I want the same.”
She took a last sip. “Then we’d better get started.”
Later, too lazy to dress, she tossed on a robe while Roarke programmed more coffee and full Irish breakfasts for two. It was all so . . . homey, she thought. The morning sun streamed in the windows of the bedroom bigger than the apartment she’d lived in two years before. Two years married next month, she thought. He’d walked into her life, and everything had changed. He’d found her; she’d found him—and all those dark places inside both of them had gotten a little smaller, a little brighter.
“What do you want to do next?” she asked him.
He glanced over as he loaded plates and coffee onto a tray to carry it to the sitting area. “I thought the agenda was nothing.”
“It can be nothing, or it can be something. I picked yesterday, and that was lots of nothing. There’s probably something in the marriage rules about you getting to pick today.”
“Ah yes, the rules.” He set the tray down. “Always a cop.”
Galahad padded over to eye the plates as if he hadn’t eaten in days. Roarke pointed a warning finger at him, so the cat turned his head in disgust and began to wash.
“My pick then, is it?” He cut into his eggs, considering. “Well, let’s think. It’s a lovely day in June.”
His brow lifted. “You’ve a problem with June, or lovely days?”
“No. Shit. June. Charles and Louise.” Scowling, she chewed bacon. “Wedding. Here.”
“Yes, next Saturday evening, and as far as I know that’s all under control.”
“Peabody said because I’m standing up for Louise—the matron of honor or whatever—I’m supposed to contact Louise every day this week to make sure she doesn’t need me to do something.” Eve’s scowl darkened as she thought of Peabody, her partner. “That can’t be right, can it? Every day? I mean, Jesus. Plus, what the hell could she need me to do?”
She stopped eating, narrowed her eyes at him. “Errands? What do you mean by errands?”
“Well now, I’m at a disadvantage having never been a bride, but best guess? Confirm details with the florist or caterer, for instance. Go shopping with her for wedding shoes or honeymoon clothes or—”
“Why would you do that?” Her voice was as thoroughly aggrieved as her face. “Why would you say these things to me, after I rocked your world twice in one morning? It’s just mean.”
“And likely true under other circumstances. But knowing Louise, she has it all well in hand. And knowing you, if Louise wanted someone to shop for shoes, she’d have asked someone else to stand up for her at her wedding.”
“I gave the shower.” At his barely smothered laugh, she drilled a finger into his arm. “It was here, and I was here, so that’s like giving it. And I’m getting a dress and all that.”
He smiled, amused by her puzzlement—and mild fear—when it came to social rites. “What does it look like, this dress?”
She stabbed into her eggs. “I don’t have to know what it looks like, exactly. It’s some sort of yellow—she picked out the color, and she and Leonardo put their heads together on it. The doctor and the designer. Mavis says it’s mag squared.”
She considered her friend Mavis Freestone’s particular style. “Which is kind of scary now that I think about it. Why am I thinking about it?”
“I have no idea. I can say that while Mavis’s taste in fashion is uniquely . . . unique, as your closest friend she understands perfectly what you like. And Leonardo knows exactly what suits you. You looked exquisite on our wedding day.”
“I had a black eye under the paint.”
“Exquisite, and absolutely you. As for etiquette by Peabody, I’d say contacting Louise wouldn’t hurt, just letting her know you’re willing to help out should she need it.”
“What if she does need it? She should’ve asked Peabody to do this instead of having her second in command, or in line. Whatever the thing is.”
“I think it’s called bridal attendant.”
“Whatever.” With an impatient hand, Eve waved the term away. “They’re tight, and Peabody really gets into this . . . female thing.”
The insanity of it, as far as Eve was concerned. The fuss, the frills, the frenzy.
“Maybe it’s weird because Peabody used to date Charles, sort of, before she hooked up with McNab. And after, too.” Her brow furrowed as she worked through the tangles of the dynamics. “But they never banged each other, personally or professionally.”
“Who Charles and McNab?”
“Stop it.” It got a quick laugh out of her before she thought about errands and shopping. “Peabody and Charles never got naked when Charles was a pro. Which is also weird that he was a licensed companion when he and Louise hooked up, and the whole time they’re dating—and getting naked—it doesn’t bother her that he’s getting naked with other people, professionally. Then he quits without telling her and trains to be a therapist and buys a house and does the proposing deal.”
Understanding, Roarke let her run it through, fast words and jerky logic as she shoveled in eggs, potatoes, bacon. “All right, what’s all this about really?”
She stabbed eggs again, then put the fork down and picked up her coffee. “I don’t want to screw it up for her. She’s so happy, they’re so happy—and this is a really big deal for her. I get that. I really do get that, and I did such a crap job on ours. The wedding thing.”
“I’ll be the judge of that.”
“I did. I dumped everything on you.”
“I believe you had a couple of murders on your hands.”
“Yeah, I did. And of course you don’t have anything to do but sit on your giant piles of money.”
He shook his head and spread a bit of jam on a triangle of toast. “We all do what we do, darling Eve. And I happen to think we do what we do very well.”
“I wigged out on you, pissed you off, the night before the wedding.”
“Added a bit of excitement.”
“Then got drugged and kicked around at my own drunk girl party at a strip club before I made the collar, which was fun in retrospect. But the point is, I really didn’t do the stuff, so I don’t know how to do the stuff now.”
He gave her knee a friendly pat. For a woman of her sometimes terrifying courage, she feared the oddest things. “If there’s something she needs you’ll figure out how to do it. I’ll tell you, when you walked toward me that day, our day, in the sunlight, you were like a flame. Bright and beautiful, and took the breath right out of me. There was only you.”
“And about five hundred of your close friends.”
“Only you.” He took her hand, kissed it. “And it’ll be the same for them, I wager.”
“I just want her to have what she wants. It makes me nervous.”
“And that’s friendship. You’ll wear some sort of yellow dress and be there for her. That will be enough.”
“I hope so, because I’m not tagging her every day. That’s firm.” She looked at her plate. “How does anyone eat a full Irish?”
“Slowly and with great determination. I take it you’re not determined enough.”
“Well then, if that takes care of breakfast, I’ve had my thought.”
“On what to do next. We should go to the beach, get ourselves some sand and surf.”
“I can get behind that. Jersey Shore, Hamptons?”
“I was thinking more tropical.”
“You can’t want to go all the way to the island for one day, or part of one day.” Roarke’s private island was a favored spot, but it was practically on the other side of the world. Even in his jet it would take at least three hours one way.
“A bit far for an impulse, but there are closer. There’s a spot on the Caymans that might suit, and a small villa that’s available for the day.”
“And you know this because?”
“I’ve looked into acquiring it,” he said easily. “So we could fly down, get there in under an hour, check it out, enjoy the sun and surf and drink some foolish cocktails. End the day with a walk along the beach in the moonlight.”
She found herself smiling. “How small a villa?”
“Small enough to serve as a nice impulse holiday spot for us, and roomy enough to allow us to travel down with a few friends if we’ve a mind to.”
“You’d already had this thought.”
“I had, yes, and put it in the if-and-when department. If you’d like it, we can make this the when.”
“I can be dressed and toss whatever I’d need for the day in a bag in under ten minutes.”
She leaped up, bolted toward her dresser.
“Bag’s packed,” he told her. “For both of us. In case.”
She glanced back at him. “You never miss a trick.”
“It’s rare to have a Sunday off with my wife. I like making the most of it.”
She tossed the robe to pull on a simple white tank, then grabbed out a pair of khaki shorts. “We’ve had a good start on making the most. This should cap it off.”
Even as she stepped into the shorts, the communicator on her dresser signaled. “Crap. Damn it. Shit!” Her stomach dropped as she read the display. Her glance at Roarke was full of regret and apology. “It’s Whitney.”
He watched the cop take over, face, posture, as she picked up the communicator to respond to her commander. And he thought, Ah well.
“Lieutenant, I’m sorry to interrupt your holiday.” Whitney’s wide face filled the tiny screen, and on it rode a stress that had the muscles tightening at the back of her neck.
“It’s no problem, Commander.”
“I realize you’re off the roll, but there’s a situation. I need you to report to Five-forty-one Central Park South. I’m on scene now.”
“You’re on scene, sir?” Bad, she thought, big and bad for the commander to be on scene.