Excerpt from Savage Rendezvous

      Stuck at a dead end, Nickie pushed her laptop away. "Police work should be more like television," she whined. "Every case solved with fast action, loads of obvious clues, and all in a half hour." Before her eyes crossed from staring at her screen another moment, she closed them and rested her head on her desk.

     Even sealed, her eyes betrayed her. She saw the leads that still needed to be followed and reports yet to be completed.
     Strong hands slithered up her shoulders, kneading the knots as they traveled up her neck. The reaction from her body wasn't what she assumed Duncan was aiming for. He laced his fingers through her hair, massaging her scalp, making every muscle in her body a puddle of mush.
     There was only so much a woman could take.
     She lifted her head and swiveled her chair 180 degrees. Straddling his legs, she locked the tops of her boots behind him and pulled him closer.
     "You're not sleepy anymore?" he crooned low and sexy.
     She didn't answer with words but slipped her fingers in his waist band. He tucked his hands under her backside and lifted, wrapping her legs the rest of the way around him. Heat found heat.
     "You promised me a painting," he said as his teeth grazed her neck.
     How could she possibly argue when he did that? Regardless, her nerves lifted. Glancing down, she noticed she'd chosen her raspberry pink blouse that morning. It still held creases from wearing her gun holster all day. Her pants were too tight, her boots too tall. She liked it that way, but for a Duncan Reed painting? It made the differences between the two of them much too real. He was Duncan Reed. His paintings hung in the homes of politicians, the dripping rich and people so famous even she knew who they were. She, on the other hand, was just... Nickie.
     "Now?" she asked. "Wearing this?"
     His head lifted quickly, looking at her through squinted eyes nearly as dark as his chocolate brown hair. A smile, evil and glorious, slowly spread across his face.
     Her phone buzzed on her hip. It was the ring tone for forwarded calls from the police station. Giving him the most apologetic look she could muster, she pulled it from her pocket and answered. "Savage."
     "Savage," the voice on the other end repeated.
     She didn't recognize it or understand why the nerves at the back of her neck came alive and pricked her.
     "Nickie Savage. You changed your name. How sweet."
     No. Her eyes darted from one side of Duncan to the other. Her legs dropped from around him and hit the floor with a thud.
     "You were never a Nicole Monticello. Nickie Savage suits you."
     Now, she remembered. Sixteen years couldn't erase the memory of the voice. She couldn't speak, couldn't move.
     "I see you recognize me. Also, sweet." He laughed. It was the same laugh that haunted her dreams for years. The laugh he once used as he put the scars on her back. The scars Nickie had yet to explain to Duncan.


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