Dreaming the Detective (NightDreamz 1)
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Copyright ©2013 Marie Treanor
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Lust flared in the region of her stomach, and sank deliciously lower.
Flashes from the neon sign across the street filtered through the blinds, flickering up the room's dingy walls and across the two pairs of hands resting on the table. Hers looked pale in the dirty light, her fingers twisting together with a nervousness that was natural in the circumstances, but had more to do with sexual desire than with fear. The cop's were clasped in front of him, large, capable and unnaturally still.
She glanced from his long fingers to his shadowed face, felt again that delicious little frisson that had swirled up her spine when he'd first entered the room. Dark, hooded eyes, hollow cheeks beneath prominent bones, a slightly hooked nose, a strong chin that was more pointed than square. It was hard to tell his skin tone in the dim light from the bare bulb dangling in the ceiling, but it looked a tempting shade of Mediterranean brown.
There wasn't much else to see. As if he'd been on his way out when hit with this distraction, he wore a long, belted raincoat which, although open to reveal a suit worn with a white shirt and dark, loosened tie, disguised the build of his body. A trilby hat shaded his face even further.
Maybe he looked too much like an old noir movie character. He was the cop, and yet every instinct told her he had something to hide.
She said lazily, "I'll tell you mine if you tell me yours."
One eyebrow lifted beneath the hat brim. "Detective Salvator." His voice was low and deep. She could imagine it threatening, chilling, but right now, it sounded strong and mysterious and sexy as sin.
She felt like purring, made do with a smile. "Azalea."
Beside her, the uniformed cop who'd arrested her in the bar, clicked his tongue with annoyance. She'd refused to give him any name at all.
Salvator didn't spare him a glance. "Azalea what?"
She thought about it. "Smith."
Salvator didn't release her gaze. Dark eyes, she thought, shouldn't be so penetrating, so... unforgiving. They should be soft and melting. Oh but she could make them so... Her heart fluttered with anticipation.
The uniform said bitterly, "Smith my ass! It's like getting blood out of a stone, talking to her. A night in the slammer and she'll be more inclined to co-operate."
"Maybe," Salvator said neutrally. "You frightened of someone, Azalea?"
She fluttered her eyelashes. "You mean someone other than you?"
He didn't even blink, let alone shift in his seat or blush. "Other than the entire police force."
She shrugged. "I've no reason to be frightened of anyone."
His gaze dropped to her hands on the table, and she saw she was absently stroking the middle finger of her left hand with the forefinger of her right.
"You sure about that, Azalea?" he asked.
By way of an experiment, she straightened her middle finger and brought her thumb into play to stroke it from two angles at once. This time, his gaze lifted just a little too quickly. Although she still couldn't read his expression, she knew a surge of amused triumph because she could swear now he wasn't unaffected. And by such a silly, absentminded gesture. At least at first.
"I'm sure," she said.
Salvator moved his hands off the table at last. One delved into his coat pocket and then he threw a small packet onto the middle of the table.
"Recognize that?" he asked.
The uniformed cop beside her gave a strangled grunt. Salvator said, "Officer O'Hare here found it on your person when he arrested you."
"Trust me, he found more than that," Azalea said dryly.
"What do you mean?"
"I mean his hands were everywhere. Even on the labels of my underwear."
"Not true," spluttered the uniformed cop as Salvator eyed him coldly.
"For future discussion," the detective said. "For now, let's stick to this packet. It'll get you ten years. Plus whatever for soliciting."
"I was not soliciting," Azalea said firmly. "I was talking to two men in a bar. No crime in that." One of them had been quite handsome and appealing, although lacking the sucker punch effect of the man sitting opposite her now.
He stirred. "Did one of those men give you this? Or were you going to pass it to them before the police showed up?"