“Would you ladies like a lift?”
“Wow,” was all Peabody could manage as she scanned the car from bumper to bumper. It was a gleaming antique, a luxury from another era, and as romantic and tempting as sin.
“Don’t encourage him, Peabody.” When Eve started to climb in, Roarke took her hand and tumbled her into his lap. “Hey.” Mortified, she jabbed with her elbow.
“I love to fluster her when she’d on duty,” Roarke said, wrestling Eve back onto his lap. “And how was your day, Peabody?”
Peabody grinned, delighted to see her lieutenant flushed and cursing. “It just got better. If this thing has a privacy screen, I can leave you two alone.”
“I said not to encourage him, didn’t I?” This time her elbow had better aim, and Eve managed to slide off onto the seat. “Idiot,” she muttered at Roarke.
“She dotes on me so.” He sighed and settled back. “It’s almost smothering.”
– Rapture in Death
“Before I toddle off,” Eve interrupted, “and leave you boys to bask in the glow of mutual admiration, would you mind taking just a moment to distill this evidence into hard copy and disc for my pesky report?”
“Lieutenant.” Roarke laid a hand on McNab’s shoulder. “You’re embarrassing us with your praise and gratitude.”
“You want praise and gratitude?” On impulse, she grabbed Roarke’s face in her hands and kissed him hard on the mouth. Then – what the hell – she did the same to McNab. “I want the data within the hour,” she added as she strode out.
“Wow.” McNab press his lips together to hold on to the taste, then patted a hand on his heart. “The lieutenant has some great mouth.”
“Don’t make me hurt you, Ian, just when we’re beginning such a beautiful friendship.”
“She got a sister? Cousin? Maiden aunt?
“Lieutenant Dallas is one of kind.”
– Vengeance in Death
And her ‘link beeped.
“Damn it.” She crossed over to answer. “Dallas.”
“There she is. Hello, darlin’.”
“Roarke.” Every other thought flew out of her head, slapped away by love and worry. “Where are you?”
“In Dublin’s fair city.” He grinned at her.
“Are you…Are you drunk?”
“Well and truly pissed, that I am. We’re well into the second bottle now. Or maybe it’s the third. Who’s counting?”
“Me and my old boyhood mate, Brian Kelly. He sends all his love and devotion.”
“Right.” They’d gotten plowed before, foolishly buzzed on wine while on holiday. But she’d never seen Roarke stupidly drunk. His beautiful eyes were blurry, and his wonderful voice so thick with Ireland and slurred from drink, she could barely understand him. “You’re at the Penny Pig.”
“We’re not, no. I don’t believe. No,” he verified after glancing around. “Don’t appear to be in the pub. This much whiskey deserves a more private setting. We’re drunk in Bri’s flat. Come quite some ways from the shanties, Bri has. Nice cozy flat here. That’s him you hear signing now about Molly Malone.”
“Uh-huh.” So he was safe then, she thought, and wouldn’t go stumbling out of the pub and in front of a maxibus. “I guess it’s after midnight there. You should go lie down now, get some sleep.”
“Not ready to sleep, don’t want the dreams. You’d understand that, wouldn’t you, my one true love?”
“Yeah, I would. Roarke—“
“Found out some things today that I don’t want to think about quite yet. Drowning them for the night. Found out some things from one of my father’s old mates. Bastard. Didn’t kill him, you’ll be pleased to know. But I wanted to.”
“Don’t go anywhere tonight. Promise me you’ll stay in Brian’s flat. Drink yourself unconscious, but don’t go anywhere.”
“Not going anywhere till tomorrow. Heading west tomorrow.”
“West?” She got an image of cattle ranches and mountains and long, empty fields. “Where? What, Montana?”
He laughed until she thought he’d burst. “Christ, is it any wonder I’m besotted with you? West in Ireland, my darling, darling Eve. I’m bound for Clare tomorrow. Odds are they’ll kill me the minute they see my face—his face. But it has to be done.”
“Roarke, why don’t you stay with Brian anther day. Let things settle down some. Then…What the hell was that?” she demanded when she heard a violent crash.
“Ah, Brian’s down, and appears to have taken a table and lamp with him. Passed out flat on his face, poor sod. I’d best go try to haul his ass up and into bed. I’ll ring you up tomorrow. See that you take care of my cop. I can’t live without her.”
“Take care of my drunk Irishman. I can’t live without him either.”
He blinked those blurry eyes in confusion. “What, Brian?”
“No, you idiot. You.”
“Oh.” He grinned at her again, so foolishly her throat burned. “That’s good then. Makes us even. ‘Night now.”
“Good night.” She stared at the blank screen, wishing she could just reach through it and haul him back to where he belonged.
– Portrait in Death
“I asked for a warrant to access Cooke’s financial data.” She wiggled out of the dress, tossed it aside, then stood there, much to her husband’s interest, in two tiny scraps of black and high leather boots. “It came through during the dessert course.”
“I must have a whip around here,” he murmured.
Grinning, he started toward her, amused when her eyes narrowed threateningly. “Keep your distance, ace. I said I have work.”
“I can access that information in half the time you can. I’ll help you out.”
“I didn’t ask for help.”
“No. But we both know I can do it faster and interpret it without getting a tension headache. And all I want in return is one little thing.”
“What little thing?”
“That when we’re finished you’re still wearing this very interesting getup.”
“Getup?” She glanced over, caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror, and blinked in shock. “Jesus, I look like—“
“Oh yes,” Roarke agreed. “Yes, you do.”
– Loyalty in Death
“One could assume, justifiably, that after his period of mourning, he moved on, made a new life.”
“One could assume,” she replied.
“Not that I ever would, of course. Under similar circumstances, I’d wander aimlessly, a broken man, lost and without purpose.”
She looked at him skeptically. “Is that so?”
“Naturally. Now you’re supposed to say something along the lines of you having no life at all without me in it.”
“Yeah, yeah.” She laughed when he bit the fingers he’d been playing with. “So back to the real world.”
– Reunion in Death
When she opened the door she saw the rare jolt of shock on Roarke’s face, then the interest, then the gleam that had color rising up on her neck.
“What are you staring at?”
“I’m not entirely sure.” He stepped in before she could step out, then closed the door behind him.
“We’ve got to go. The ceremony starts in fifteen.”
“And it’s a five-minute walk. Turn around once.”
“I will not.” Another few seconds, she figured, and that damn flush would hit her cheeks. Mortifying her. “You’ve seen a cop in uniform before.”
“I’ve never seen my cop in uniform before. I didn’t know you had one.”
“Of course I’ve got one. We’ve all got one. I just never wear it. But this is…important, that’s all.”
“You look…” He traced one of her shiny brass buttons. “…amazing. Very sexy.”
“Oh, get out.”
“Seriously.” He leaned back to take it in. That long, lanky form did wonders, he thought, for the spit and polish, the crisp formal blues.
Medals, earned in the line of duty, glinted against the stiff jacket. She’d shined her black cop shoes—which he now imagined she’d kept buried in her locker—to mirror gleams. She wore her weapon at her hip, and her cap squared off on her short hair.
“Lieutenant,” he said with a purr in his voice. “You’ve got to wear that home.”
He grinned. “Guess.”
“You’re a sick, sick man.”
“We’ll play cops and robbers.”
“Out of my way, pervert.”
“One thing.” He had fast hands, and had dipped one down her starched collar before she could move. And pulled out, to his delight, the chain that carried the diamond he’d once given her. “That’s perfect, then,” he murmured, and tucked it away again.
“We’re not holding hands. I’m absolutely firm on that.”
“Actually, I was planning to walk a couple steps behind you, so I could see how your ass moves in that thing.”
– Imitation in Death