Mavis Freestone is one of Dallas’s oldest friends. Mavis and Eve and complete opposites. Mavis is a tiny sprite of a woman who is constantly changing her hair and eye color and wears the craziest outfits. They met after Eve busted Mavis for picking pockets and grifting on more than one occasion. Mavis got off the streets and was singing at local nightclubs like the Blue Squirrel. With the help of Dallas and Roarke, Mavis was finally able to launch her singing career and now has many successful albums and vids. Mavis is now married to the successful fashion designer, Leonardo and they have a baby girl, Bella Eve.
She eyed the gold foil and elaborate bow on the package she held with more suspicion than pleasure. “I don’t know who’d be sending me anything.”
“There’s a card,” Mavis pointed out dryly. “You could always read it. There might be a clue.”
“Now look who’s cute.” Eve tugged the card out of its gold envelope.
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 tine 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 both to roll her eyes again. When Eve said confidential, no amount of cajoling, pleading or whining would 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. Maybe rubies. You’d look sensational in rubies.”
She ripped ruthlessly through the pricey paper, tossed aside the lid of the box, and pludged 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?”
“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.”
– Naked in Death
“Do you know what you’ve got here, Dallas?”
“What you’ve got,” Mavis began as she frog kicked her way over to the float that held her glass, “is a grade one fantasy. The kind you can’t get from the top-line VR goggles.” She took a long sip of icy champagne. “You’re not going to get all weirded out and blow it, are you?”
“What are you talking about?”
“I know you. You’ll pick it apart, question everything, analyze.” Noting Eve’s glass was empty, Mavis did the honors. “Well, I’m tell you, pal. Don’t.”
“I don’t pick things apart.”
“You’re the champion picked—pick it part—damn it, pick it aparter. Whew. Try saying that five times fast when your tongue’s numb.” She used a bare hip to nudge Eve over and squeezed in next to her. “He’s crazy about you, isn’t he?”
Eve jerked her shoulders and drank.
“He’s rich, I mean meg rich, gorgeous as a god, and that body—“
“What d’you know about his body?”
“I got eyes. I use ‘em. I’ve got a pretty good idea of what he looks like naked.” Amused by the glint in Eve’s eyes, Mavis licked her lips. “Of course, any time you want to fill in the missing details, I’m here for you.”
“What a pal.”
“That’s me. Anyway, he’s all that stuff. Then there’s that power trip. He’s got all that power, sort of shoots out from him.” She highlighted the statement by splashing up water. “And he looks at you like he could eat you alive. In big…greedy…bites. Shit, I’m getting hot.”
“Keep your hands off me.”
Mavis snorted. “Maybe I’ll go seduce Summerset.”
“I don’t think he has a dick.”
“Bet I could find out.” But she was just too lazy at the moment. “You’re in love with him, aren’t you?”
“Summerset? I’ve had a hell of a time controlling myself around him.”
“Look me dead in the eyes. Come on.” To ensure obedience, Mavis snagged Eve’s chin, swiveled until they were face to face, glassy eye to glassy eye. “You’re in love with Roarke.”
“It looks that way. I don’t want to think about it.”
“Good. Don’t. Always said you though too damn much.”
– Glory in Death
Trapped, Eve avoided the rainbow chair and took the traditional rocker in neon pink. She braced herself when Mavis leaned over and laid the baby in her arms.
No poopie, at least, Eve reminded herself, and stared down as Belle stared up. “I don’t like the way she’d looking at me. Like she’s planning something.”
“She’s figuring you out, that’s all. You can rock her” Mavis suggested.
“I’m not moving. Something may happen.” And at that moment, Belle poked out her bottom lip, then scrunched up her pretty face. Then let out a pitiful wail.
“Okay, time’s up,” Eve decided, absolutely. “Come and get her, Mavis.”
“She’s just hungry. I was going to feed her before, but she needed changing first.”
To Eve’s relief, Mavis took the baby and sat in the rainbow chair. Then to Eve’s astonishment, Mavis tugged at the frog prince. Her breast popped out, and Belle’s mouth latched on like a hungry leech.
“There you are, my baby. There you go. Mommy’s milk train is in the station.”
“You both really got the hang of that.”
“We’re a mag team. Leonardo, would you mind if we had a little all-girl time?”
“Absolutely not.” But he bent first to kiss his wife, then his daughter. “My beauties. My angels. I’ll be right out in my studio if you need me.”
He set something frothy in the holder of the system chair, then gave Eve her wine.
In the ensuing silence all Eve could hear was an active sucking sound.
“So…” Mavis nursed and rocked, nursed and rocked. “Why haven’t I heard any media dirt about a blonde fuckhead found floating in the East River?”
Eve lifted her wine, set it down. And did what she’d need to do all day. She cried like a baby.
“Sorry. Sorry.” When she had herself under some control, she scrubbed her face. “That was bottled up, I guess.” She saw Mavis had tears of sympathy on her cheeks, and had shifted Belle to the other breast. “I shouldn’t be here like this. It probably screw up the milk or something.”
“My milk’s completely uptown. Tell me what’s going on.”
“I don’t know. I just don’t know. He’s…she’s…Fuck, Mavis. Fuck.”
“You’re not going to tell me Roarke’s doing her, because NPW—no possible way. He wouldn’t. All guys have the small jerk gene, it makes them guys. But only some have the big jerk gene. He doesn’t.”
“No, he’s not doing her. But he used to.”
“I used to pick pockets. You used to arrest me.”
– Innocent in Death