Read Intimate Danger (Empire Blue) Online
Authors: D.C. Stone
Cover Artist: Sour Cherry Designs
Editor: Laurie Temple
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
WARNING: The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. No part of this book may be used or reproduced electronically or in print without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in reviews.
This is a work of fiction. All names, characters, and places are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
There’s an old saying: “It takes a village to raise a child.” That quote could also be used toward the publication of a novel. There are so many people I want to thank, and of course I’m sure I’ll forget someone, but here it goes.
To Pam R: Thank you for being my muse, for listening to my endless chatter about crime, boys, and all things I plan to do in order to make it that much harder for my fictional characters. Without you, there’d be no story to tell.
To Lea B: Your endless support means more than words could ever explain. You fell in love with Trent and Charlie at page one and continued to rally and support the submission and publication of this piece. You are my sister from another mother, and will always have a place in my heart.
To Bob: Your guidance is unending and I’m forever grateful to have you on my side as my “cheerleader.” Thank you.
To my husband, David: Your support knows no bounds. Thank you for your patience and input, your love and humor, and overall, just helping me fit all different aspects of our “crazy life” together.
To my editor, Laurie: Without you, this story wouldn’t shine. You rock my socks.
To Evernight: Thank you for giving this story a chance.
Empire Blue, 1
Copyright © 2014
He moved closer, his hot breath creating round white circles on the glass pane. Twigs snapped beneath his feet as he shifted, the sound loud. The darkness of the night enhanced each whisper, every impatient move. An owl above sent a call of dominance through the air with a hoot. Leaves crunched under his feet as he adjusted his weight. He wanted to be closer, yet couldn’t get close enough. The wind rustled, and cool air blew across his body and invaded the hefty jacket wrapped around him
, but did nothing to decrease the heat building within.
Standing outside her window, his gaze caressed her body, and his hands itched to make it a physical one as she teased him with her slow, sultry ways. Didn’t matter
that she didn’t know he was there, didn’t matter if the tease was imagined. All of these details were unimportant.
A small smile played on the edges of her lips
. Secret musings, her thoughts as clear as a picture across her face.
He wanted inside her head,
yearned to feel the things she did, the brush of lace, the taboo of wearing things he shouldn’t…against his skin. With his attention riveted, the surroundings fell away until she was all he saw.
She undid the bottom button of her white blouse and let the silk slide off her shoulders. The garment wisped to the floor, dancing as if joining the dark-haired beauty in her unknowing erotic striptease. He tracked the fabric, taking it all in, never getting enough. He wanted to remember this, craved to possess. The shirt settled at her feet, and his regard moved up, savoring every inch of her legs,
then over the rounded curve of her lush bottom. Her delicate hands moved in quick movements to undo the skirt hanging from her hips. One snap, two, the slide of a zipper and a push, and the material joined its discarded mate on the floor.
He groaned, rubbed the increasing pressure in his groin. His other hand tightened against his
jeans, bunching the rough cloth in his fist in an attempt to stay rooted to the spot. He wanted to break down the wall between them, jump through her window. To give into the temptation to touch her. He refrained. Despite the barriers, he could get inside. The locks of this small town were worthless. The thin windows, too. Nothing offered a challenge. Nothing but this dark haired beauty.
He would make her wait. Tease time and build the anticipation. Then,
after the tension coiled, he’d give in. The first touch of his skin against hers would be heaven, the contact like the first sip of tequila to a dehydrated alcoholic.
ow, he just watched.
Smooth skin filled his vision, eating the contrast of caramel coloring with beautiful ivory lace covering her hidden treasures. Her body, while magnificent with toned legs
and curves smoother than a sand dune in the Nevada desert, didn’t hold his attention. Instead, his concentration latched onto the cloth wrapped around her like a long awaited lover’s grip.
A thin thong
clung to her curvy hips like a peach holding its pit, cocooning the surprise beneath. Her bra held twin handfuls of flesh in a loving embrace only a new mother could rival. The ache increased between his legs, and he squeezed his erection to relieve the pressure. Breath panted through his parted lips. His face grew sweaty under the cloth, and his body heated to an inferno that contended with lava.
He wanted her.
He had to wait.
The man inched closer, fascinated.
Her breasts jutted out,
and her back arched as she reached behind and unsnapped the clasps.
shuttered as he increased his grip. The material flitted down to join the rest of her clothing, baring mounds just heavy enough to fit in his hands. Dark brown areolas stared back at him, and the tension building in his stomach spread.
God, so good.
He squeezed his length, pushed his grip harder, and wished like hell his jeans weren’t in the way. Warmth gathered in his stomach, his testicles drew close, and the precipice broke.
The hand clenching his jeans slapped against the wall
, and the sound startled the dark haired beauty inside. Hot pulses of liquid escaped his body, and his erotic pleasure heightened.
The woman turned to stare at the window, her eyes widening as she caught sight of his covered face. She screamed,
and her hands moved to cover exposed flesh in instinct.
and fury etched on her face screamed through her lungs and drew out his gratification. He shuddered as the last of the orgasm faded. She dashed across the room, and he pivoted, leaving the spot he had kept warm for the past hour. Getting away meant he could continue with his game. He’d watch. Wait. For the right time to strike.
Charlie ran outside in her bathrobe and panties, her Glock a warm, yet reassuring weight between her palms. She scanned the yard, squinted her eyes, and tried to look beyond the line of trees separating her house from the Hudson River. Nothing moved but the sway of branches in the wind, and all the normal sounds of the woods went mute, as if even the animals knew there was a predator lurking among them.
“Hey, asshole,” she called, her fury a real and living thing inside her veins.
She’d been stupid not to check her window before undressing, but dammit, this was Nyack. A place where the residents didn’t cause problems, a town that barely had much of a police force. “I know you’re out there. Show yourself and maybe I’ll go easy on your perverted ass.” She winced. Okay, so maybe she should have gone for a more diplomatic approach, especially considering she was in her underthings.
Two weeks ago,
she had responded to a call at Mrs. Craw’s, who reported seeing a figure outside her window. Then, last week there had been Mr. Herbert’s sixteen-year-old daughter who claimed a masked man had been at her window as she undressed. Having a Peeping Tom in the small town outside of Nyack wasn’t something anyone had considered. Now? Charlie was sure of it. And she wanted to bring this schmuck in.
was sick of it, and it needed to stop…now.
Unfortunately, as it stood, and as silence
met her red-hazed anger, this suspect kept slipping out of their grasp and they didn’t have a single lead to catching the pervert.
Goosebumps erupted along her skin as a warm breeze blew across her body. The shiver that
wracked her wasn’t from the fact she was damn near naked, but had more to do with the prickling sensation that she was being watched. She tightened her grip on her Glock and ground her teeth together, wondering about her options. She could go in and lock the doors, pull the shades, and report this to the chief tomorrow.
Chief Woolsey would lose his head and spend all day hovering over her as if she, the only female detective on Nyack PD’s payroll, needed protection.
Two, she could go back inside, grab her cell and call for reinforcements. But that would mean the possibility of this guy slipping through her yard again and getting away. Sure, she was down by the river and her lot was surrounded by two others, but unless this guy was some Navy SEAL or had a boat waiting for him, she didn’t think he’d be able to slip by without her noticing.
Or three, she could pull on her big girl panties
, or thong in this case, and go find the guy herself. Now. Right here. With nothing but her flimsy bathrobe, panties, and her Glock.
Option three it was. She knew it was stupid, but her emotions were a mess and on top of the already heightened vulnerability of the town, her patience was running thin.
She reached in
, felt along the inside wall next to her backdoor, and cut the outside light. While it illuminated her backyard, she needed to be able to see past the shadows. She also needed to be able to protect herself as much as she could, and with the light shining on her every movement—and in her sexy underthings—it wasn’t something she wanted on display. Who gave a shit if this guy already saw everything. He wasn’t going to get another shot at it.
Stepping cautiously away from the back deck, she made her way across the wide yard and toward the tree line. Fifteen minutes
later she was back at her door and glaring into the silent and empty expanse of her property. Nothing had been found, no tracks, no boat, and certainly no pervert. She sighed, went inside and locked the door, set the alarm, and then made a point of going to each window and closing the curtains with a snapping finality. The chief was going to lose his damn mind.
Detective Charlese “Charlie” Lopez plucked the greasy fast-food bag off the desk, ignoring Peter’s supplicating words, and chucked it in the trash.
“That stuff is going to kill you, Pete.”
He looked at her, his brown eyes pleading as she slid into her seat. Before he could start, she shook her head, opened a drawer, and tossed him a Ready Pac Tuna.
He snorted in disgust, his face scrunched in displeasure. His head dropped between his shoulders and he rubbed his short brown hair, cut in a high and tight, with furious, exaggerated movements. She really did feel for him.
The man was a creature of habit to his junk food. She was the same when it came to her love of romance novels. Not that she’d ever admit that to this group of cops. The jokes around the station would take months, if not years, to cease. Holding your own as one of the only female cops on the squad was hard enough. Hiding your femininity was harder.
“Come on, Charlie. I waited in line twenty minutes for that.” He motioned a big hand toward the metal container where she
’d thrown his lunch.
Sounds of the precinct hard at work filled the air around them. Dispatch calling codes of response shrieked through radios, crude jokes sounded
occasionally, and barks of laughter filled in the gaps. Unease and exhaustion weighed on her shoulders. After the Peeping Tom last night, she’d barely been able to sleep, kept jumping at every noise, and eventually, at about four a.m. this morning, had fallen into a deep sleep. Three hours later, she’d managed to tumble out of bed. One look in the mirror at the bloodshot eyes with heavy shadows beneath and her dark brown hair sticking out in different directions had horrified her. It’d also helped her decide she needed to step up her game and find this asshole of a pervert. She could handle herself, was a cop and had been raised by a cop. Hell, she’d practically been raised by half the police department. But to leave that kind of fear on the shoulders of one of her peace abiding citizens?
She leaned forward, setting her elbows on the cool surface of the desk and gestured to his stomach. “Your shirt is dialing nine-one-one, and I’m responding.” She narrowed her eyes to where she pointed. “Good God, did you manage to get any of it in your mouth?”
He responded with another snort, picked up a white napkin, and attempted to wipe away the red stain. His efforts
managed to make things worse.
“You’re not supposed to rub it in. You’re supposed to—” She s
napped her jaw shut, noticed the existing stains lingering on his “use-to-be” white shirt and shook her head, leaning back in the squeaky chair. “Never mind.”
“What?” He stopped rubbing and glanced up,
his eyebrows pinched together.
She pushed a dark curl that had escaped from her ponytail behind her ear, gave him a lopsided grin, and decided to change tactics. “Didn’t Martha pack your lunch today?”
Wariness entered his eyes. “She did…”
She arched a brow
, let the seconds tick in silence. She could wait him out all day.
“For the love of—come on, Charlie. You don’t expect me to eat that!” He pointed to a white container
on the edge of his desk. Something suspiciously looking like ground carrots sat inside, the color horrendous and unappetizing. She would never admit it to him, though. She stood with Martha on this. After Peter Colter’s second heart attack last spring, she joined his wife’s focus in helping the overweight detective get healthy. She risked a glance at his protruding stomach.
Or, on second thought, at least healthier.
She shrugged. “I don’t expect you to, but Martha does.”
whimpered. The grown man actually wined like a two-year-old child. “Help me, you’re Mexican—”
“Puerto Rican,” she interrupted, aghast.
“So you can cook, right?” he pleaded.
She gave him her
“you’re crazy” look and smacked her hand on the desk between them. “Excuse me? Because I’m Latina, I can cook? What, you want me to go whip you up some rice and beans? Some
arroz con dulce
?” She emphasized her roots and brought out the accent and her temper, when really, she didn’t blame the poor bastard. Diets sucked.
Peter winced. “Too much?”
She nodded and lifted her brows. “Just a bit.”
“Sorry, Charlie.” He smirked
and tossed her a sheepish grin