Holiday in Death - J. D. Robb Page 0,1

the AutoChef for coffee, then set a bowl of kibble on the floor. The cat attacked it as if it were his last meal, and left her to brood out the window.

Her view was the long sweep of lawn rather than the street, and the sky was empty of traffic. She might have been alone in the city. Privacy and quiet were gifts a man of Roarke’s wealth could easily buy. But she knew beyond the beautiful grounds, over the high stone wall, life pumped. And death followed it greedily.

That was her world, she thought now as she sipped the potent coffee and worked the stiffness of a still-healing wound out of her shoulder. Petty murders, grand schemes, dirty deals, and screaming despair. She knew more of those than of the colorful swirl of money and power that surrounded her husband.

At times like this, when she was alone, when her spirits were low, she wondered how they had ever come together — the straight-arrow cop who believed unwaveringly in the lines of the law, and the slick Irishman who’d tangled with and over those lines all of his life.

Murder had brought them together, two lost souls who’d taken different escape routes to survive and, despite logic and sense, had found each other.

“Christ, I miss him. It’s ridiculous.” Annoyed with herself, she turned, intending to shower and dress. The blinking light on her tele-link signaled a muted incoming. Without a doubt who was transmitting, she leaped at it and unblocked the silent code.

Roarke’s face popped on screen. Such a face, she thought, watching as he lifted one dark eyebrow. Poetically handsome, with black hair falling long and thick to frame it. The clever, perfectly sculpted mouth, the strong bones, the shocking intensity of brilliant blue eyes.

After nearly a year, just the sight of that face could send her blood humming.

“Darling Eve.” His voice was like cream over strong Irish whiskey. “Why aren’t you sleeping?”

“Because I’m awake.”

She knew what he’d see as he studied her. There was so little she could hide from him. He’d see the shadows of a bad night hounding her eyes, the paleness of her skin. Uncomfortable, she shrugged and pushed a hand through her short, disordered hair. “I’m going into Cop Central early. I’ve got paperwork to catch up on.”

He saw more than she realized. When he looked at her, he saw strength, courage, pain. And a beauty — in those sharp bones, that full mouth, those steady brandy-colored eyes — she was delightfully oblivious to. Because he also saw weariness, he changed his plans.

“I’ll be home tonight.”

“I thought you needed a couple of more days up there.”

“I’ll be home tonight,” he repeated and smiled at her. “I miss you, Lieutenant.”

“Yeah?” However foolish she considered the warm thrill, she grinned at him. “I guess I’ll have to make some time for you when you get here.”

“Do that.”

“Is that why you were calling — to let me know you’d be back early?”

Actually, he’d intended to leave a message that he’d be delayed another day or two — and to try to convince her to join him for the weekend on the Olympus Resort. But he only smiled at her. “Just wanted to inform my wife of my travel plans. Go back to sleep, Eve.”

“Yeah, maybe.” But they both knew she wouldn’t. “I’ll see you tonight. Uh, Roarke?”


She still had to take a bracing breath before she said it. “I miss you, too.” She cut the transmission even as he smiled at her. Steadier, she took her coffee with her as she went out to prepare for the day.

She didn’t exactly sneak out of the house, but she was quiet about it. Maybe it was barely five in the morning, but she didn’t doubt Summerset was around somewhere. She preferred, whenever possible, to avoid Roarke’s sergeant-major — or whatever term you’d use for a man who knew everything, did everything, and poked his bony nose into what Eve considered her private business entirely too often.

Since her last case had shoved the two of them closer together than either was comfortable with, she suspected he’d been avoiding her as carefully as she had him for the past couple of weeks.

Reminded of it, she rubbed a hand absently just under her shoulder. It still troubled her a bit in the morning, or after a long day. Taking a full blast from her own weapon was an experience she didn’t want to repeat in this or any other lifetime. Somehow worse was