“Here.” After another dip into her closet, he came out with a pair of half-boots in rich chestnut brown leather.
“Where’d those come from?”
“The closet fairy.”
She frowned at the boots suspiciously, poked a finger into the toes, “I don’t need new boots. My old ones are all broken in.”
“That’s a polite term for what they are. Try these.”
“Just gonna mess them up,” she muttered, but sat on the arm of the sofa to pull them on. They slid onto her feet like butter. Which only made her eye him narrowly. He’d probably had them hand-tooled for her in one of his countless factories and they surely cost more than a New York murder cop made in two months. “How about that. The closet fairy seems to know my shoe size.”
“An amazing fellow.”
“I suppose it’s useless to tell him that a cop doesn’t need expensive boots that were portably sewn together by some little Italian nun when she’s clocking field time or hoofing it or knocking on doors.”
“He has a mind of his own.” He skimmed a hand through her hair, tugged just enough to tip her face up to his. “And he adores you.”
– Reunion in Death
“You know what I liked even more than geometry? Finding the blind spots on the security cams,” he said. “Which, in fact, geometry helped me with. Then snagging some sweet young thing, and—“
He snagged her, whipped her around, back to the wall, and, grinning, kissed her lavishly.
His mouth managed just what geometry did. It fuzzed her mind.
“Work now, tonsil hockey later.”
“You romantic fool.”
– Innocent in Death
He lifted her hand, nipped at her knuckles. “I wouldn’t be able to nibble on you along the way.”
“I’m on duty here.”
“No, you’re not. Your shift ended an hour ago.”
She smirked at him. “I took an hour’s personal time, didn’t I?”
“So you did.” He shifted closer, and his hand slid up her thigh. “You can go back on the clock when we get there, but for now…”
She narrowed her eyes as they swung to the curb. “I haven’t gone off the clock, ace. Move your hand, or I’ll have to arrest you for assaulting an officer.”
“When we get home, will you read me my rights and interrogate me?”
She snorted out a laugh. “Pervert,” she muttered and climbed out of the car.
“You smell better than a cop’s supposed to.” He sniffed at her as they walked toward the dignified entrance of the brownstone.
“You squirted that stuff on me before I could dodge.” He tickled her neck, made her jerk back. “You’re awfully playful tonight, Roarke.”
“I had a very satisfying lunch,” he said soberly. “Put me in a cheerful mood.”
She had to grin.
– Loyalty in Death
He came back with a tall glass filled with amber liquid. “Drink it.”
“You’re not tranqing me.”
“I can pour it down your throat. I’ve done it before.” He leaned over until their faces were close, and the bitter anger in his eyes made her want to shrink away. “I won’t let you make yourself sick. You’ll drink this, Eve, and you’ll do what I tell you, or I’ll make you. We both know you’re too damn tired to stop me.”
She snatched the glass, and though she thought there would be lovely satisfaction gained from heaving it across the room, she didn’t think she was up to dealing with the consequences. Her eyes burned into his over the rim as she gulped it down.
“There. Happy now?”
“You’ll have something solid later.” He bent down to tug off her boots.
“I can undress myself.”
“Shut up, Eve.”
For form’s sake, she tried to tug her foot free, but he simply held on and pried it off her boot. “I want a shower and a meal, and I want you to leave me alone.”
He pulled off the other boot, then started on the buttons of her shirt.
“Did you hear me? I said leave me alone.” The fact that she could hear the petulance in her own voice only added depression to exhaustion.
“Not in this or any other lifetime.”
“I don’t like to be taken care of. It irritates me.”
“Then you’re going to be irritated for quite a while.”
“I’ve been irritated since I met you.” She closed her eyes on that, but thought she caught a nicker of a smile around his mouth.
– Holiday in Death
“You don’t have to do anything until you feel easier about it.” She lifted a hand, stroked his hair. “Give yourself a break.”
“I couldn’t tell you straight off.” He looked at her now. “Couldn’t get the words out. Shutting you out was easier. Easier yet, it seems, was taking some of that guilt and frustration out on you.”
“Not so easy when I knocked you on your ass.”
He leaned over, kissed her softly. “Thanks for that.”
“I’m sorry I left you alone last night. You had a nightmare.”
“I’d say we both did. We’ll figure this out, Roarke.”
“Not so much to…” Her face blurred, doubled, shimmered briefly into focus again. “Ah, fuck me. You tranq’d the soup.”
“Yeah, I did.” Her tone was cheerful as she took the bowl before it tipped out of his limp fingers. “You need to sleep. Let’s get you into bed while you can still walk. I can’t carry you the way you do me.”
“You’re enjoying this part.”
“Well, duh.” She got his arm around her shoulders, hers around his waist, and hauled him up. “And I’m beginning to see why you get such a charge out of putting me under when you think I need it. It makes me feel all righteous and gooey inside.”
“Let’s complete the reversal,” he managed in a voice slurring with the drug, “and say, ‘Bite me.’”
– Portrait in Death
“Let’s build a snowman.”
He surprised her, constantly, but this time, she simply gaped. “You want to build a snowman?”
“Why not? I’d thought we’d fly out, spend the weekend in Mexico, but…” Still holding her hand, he looked out the window and smiled. “How often do we have an opportunity like this?”
“I don’t know how to build a snowman.”
“Neither do I. Let’s see what we can come up with.”
She did a lot of muttering, came up with alternate suggestions that included mindless sex in a warm bed, but in the end, she found herself bundled from head to foot in extreme climate gear and stopping out into the teeth of the blizzard.
“Christ, Roarke, this is crazy. You can’t see five feet.”
“Fabulous, isn’t it?” Grinning, he linked his gloved hand with hers and pulled her down the snow-heaped steps.
“We’ll be buried alive.”
He simple reached down, took a handful, fisted it. “Packs pretty well,” he observed. “I never saw much snow as a boy. Dublin’s for rain. We need a good base.”
Bending down, he began to mound snow.
Eve watched for a moment, amazed at how intent her sophisticated husband, sleek in his black gear, scooped and packed snow.
“Is this an ‘I was a deprived child’ thing?”
He glanced up, one brow lifting. “Weren’t we?”
She picked up a handful of snow, absently patted it onto the mound. “We’ve pretty well made up for it,” she murmured, then frowned. “You’re making it too tall. It should be wider.”
He straightened, smiled, then framed her face with snow-covered hands, kissing her when she squealed. “Pitch in or back off.”
She wiped the snow off her face, sniffed. “I’m going to build my own and he’ll kick your snowman’s butt.”
“I’ve always admired your competitive streak.”
“Yeah, well, be prepared to be amazed.”
She moved off a bit and began to dig it.
She didn’t consider herself artistic, so went with her strengths: muscle, determination, and endurance.
The form she worked on might have been slightly lopsided, but it was big. And when she glanced over at Roarke, she noted with glee that hers had his by a good foot.
The cold stung her cheeks, her muscled warmed with exercise, and without realizing it, she relaxed. Instead of unnerving her, the sheer silence soothed. It was like being in the center of a dream, one without sound, without color. One that lulled the mind and gave the body rest.
By the time she got to the head, she was packing and shaping with abandon. “I’m nearly done here, pal, and my guy is guilt like an arena ball tackle. Your pitiful attempt is doomed.”
“We’ll see about that.” He stepped back, studied his snow sculpture with narrowed eyes, then smiled. “Yes, this works for me.”
She tossed a look over her shoulder and snorted. “Better bulk him up before my guy chews him up and spits him out.”
‘No, I think this is the right shape.” He waited while Eve patted her snowman’s bulging pecs, then trudged through the snow toward him.
Her eyes went to slits. “Yours has tits.”
“Yes, rather gorgeous ones.”
Stunned, Eve clamped her hands on her hips and stared. The figure was sleek and curvy, with enormous snow breasts that had been shaped into wicked points.
Roarke stroked one snowy breast lightly. “She’ll lead your pumped-up slab of beef there around by the nose.”
Eve could only shake her head. “Pervert. Those boobs are way out of proportion.”
“A boy needs his dreams, darling.”
– Conspiracy in Death