Excerpt from Dark Vengeance

     
     Duncan walked into the apartment of the man he knew was involved in the attempted murder of his aunt.
     Detective Nickie Savage handed him gloves and told him not to touch anything. Twice. Even with the gloves.
     Nickie was thorough, he had to admit. Although he didn't want to admit anything about her at that moment. The detective was proving far too inquisitive, too smart and too complicated.
     Working with three local officers, they leafed through every book in the apartment, and carefully removed each desk, dresser and kitchen drawer for anything stored in the back space before calling it a wrap.
     Not once did Nickie mention their prior discussion. He wasn't sure what to think about that, except it made him all the more aware of what he'd dug up on her. His aunt was the only person alive who knew about his... issue. Not even his uncle or brother had any idea.
     Then, one day, out of the blue, his aunt had asked him why he didn't just tell people. It was the same question the detective had asked just a few hours ago.
     Duncan rubbed his hand along the back of his neck. What was Nickie going to do with the information? She had no proof, of course. But the way she avoided eye contact with him was disconcerting. Disconcerting yet damned intriguing.
     Nickie, the detective with long, honey wheat hair, black, worn-leather boots, snug slacks and a badge.
     Her movements looked rehearsed. Write in her notebook, place item in evidence bag, write on the bag with a marker, write more in her notebook. Rinse and repeat.
     The locals working with them were actually careful and rather neat. Savage even more so. Their search was not at all like the movies where dresser drawers are overturned and mattresses cut. Duncan looked around the man's open living room. The place hadn't been ransacked but it was definitely disheveled, and it gave him a sort of satisfaction.
     The only thing missing was the tower and monitor Nickie confiscated, along with some files and papers Duncan wasn't privy to know about... yet. He had all the pass codes he needed to get that information.
     Nickie rested her thigh on the corner of a computer desk, and cocked her head at him. "You never hacked into my past."
     He couldn't decide if it was a question or an accusation. "Yes I did... do a search on your past. You know that. As you did on mine." Curious, he lifted a single brow to her, waiting for what she was getting at.
     "No. No, you didn't. Not my missing year."
     Well, shit. Now he wanted to. But he had rules. No stealing. No cheating. No hacking into someone's life without permission, or at least due reason.
     His sudden curious-as-hell status probably didn't count as due reason.
     "No. I didn't," he said flatly.
     She stepped to him, grabbed the collar of his shirt with both hands and raised herself up until her lips just brushed his. Her scent was so close, he could nearly taste it. Lavender. He was used to women throwing themselves at him but this was profoundly different. She was different. This was more of a challenge than a kiss. Like a threat. After a much too short meshing of her soft, full lips, she pushed away.
     "Oh no you don't." He took hold of her shoulders and pulled her back to him. Going from zero to sixty in seconds, he parted her lips with his tongue and dove in. She tasted as smart and sophisticated as her scent. He sensed her chaos and his confusion. What he didn't feel was what he was accustomed to; bony hips, pencil thin arms and breasts that were four sizes too big for a body. Nickie was fit, toned, soft and all woman.
     Their arms circled each other in a dance of reason. Heat built. Their knees tucked between each other's. He ran a hand up her arm.
     As their mouths tangled, he slithered his hand into the locks of honey, lacing his fingers through the smooth waves. This shock on his system was something he never allowed.
     She pulled away and this time locked her elbows, arms outstretched. She took two, deep sexy breaths and licked her lips. "Show me what you found, Duncan. Then, let's grab a bite to eat before we bag us an ex-fireman."
 
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