Authors: Marianne Morea
Tags: #werewolf, #werewolf and vampire, #werewolf family, #werewolf paranormal romance, #werewolf romance vampire romance paranormal romance thriller urban fantasy, #werewolf romance werewolves and shifters, #werewolf and vampire romance, #cursed by blood series, #urban fantasy suspense, #werewolf saga
Her expression soured again.
“Detective Sergeant Shaw will be so impressed. I’ll have to
remember to put in a good word for you with special
Are you always this
pleasant to work with, or is it just me?”
Lily exhaled sharply, shaking her
head. “I’m sorry. I’m not usually this prickly. It’s just I don’t
appreciate having to work against a stacked deck. Phillips’s word
should have been enough, if you know what I mean.” She paused.
“It’s hard enough doing what I do without having to deal with
attitude, as well as red tape.”
He smiled. “Understood. But let’s
remember who’s on which team, okay? That way we keep friendly fire
to a minimum. This case has thrown everyone for a loop, and I for
one hope you’re able to shed some light on what’s happened. You
talked about needing a jumping off point. We have dead bodies and a
cold crime scene. That’s it. Anything you can give us—location,
descriptions of faces, vehicles, anything— it would help a
I’ll certainly do what I
Martinez glanced at the petite honey
blonde in his passenger seat, watching again as her face showed
everything. For a psychic and a NYPD profiler, she certainly wore
her emotions on her sleeve. Not that it mattered much.
The buzz around the department said
she was formidable, and not just on the paranormal side. She had
the reputation for being deadly. A triple threat: Smart, beautiful
and as good with a gun as she was with the weird shit nobody wanted
God she smelled good.
Have you always been
No. I woke up one morning
after my parents died and voilà. People said my ability was a gift
that God had given me, a way to still talk to them. But I never
could. My talents never ran as far as that until
He looked directly at her. “What do
you mean? Like channeling the dead?”
Yes and no. I’m sure
you’ve heard about what happened to my partner. She was killed
quite suddenly, and for a little while, I was able to see and talk
No shit! What about
No. She moved on, went
into the light, or wherever it is spirits go. Since then, nothing.
Not that I’m upset about it or anything. The last thing I need is
for my life to turn into the movie Ghost Town.”
Sounds like it could be
pretty cool. Talking to stiffs would certainly make my job a lot
Lily smirked. “Yeah. Try living it
Martinez chuckled, pulling the car up
to a red light. He glanced sideways, but rather than finding the
amused sarcasm he expected, Lily’s expression was pensive, and he
wondered what shadows stirred behind her beautiful eyes.
I just get impressions,
you know, strange smells and such. I hear things too, faint sound
too low for most people to perceive. But even that small hint of
the unusual has more than a few people freaked out, and believe me,
I’ve caught flack about it,” he added, pressing a bit.
He watched her face, surprised at the
empathy he saw there. So the hard-ass paranormal investigator
understood what it felt like to wear a label. No big surprise
there, all things considered.
So, Phillips mentioned
you’re pretty handy with a gun.”
And reading between the
lines. I’d bet you’re dying to ask why and how, right?”
Very perceptive. But since
you brought it up…” he chuckled. “Your level of skill isn’t exactly
commonplace, especially for a woman, not unless you’re a covert
Special Ops Agent.”
She smiled. “No, nothing as
glamorous as that. My parents died when I was ten. After that, my
best friend’s family took me in and raised me. My foster dad was a
real outdoorsman. Hunting, fishing, camping, you name it—and the
rougher the conditions, the better. He was the original
He believed girls should
know how to protect themselves, but Terry—she wasn’t really into
the whole Annie Oakley thing. I loved it, though. He taught me how
to shoot—guns, rifles, bows and arrows—the crossbow was a favorite
of his. And he taught me to be wicked-quick with a hunting knife,
Ryan caught himself staring
at her, watching her mouth as she spoke. It was warm in the car,
and she had unbuttoned her coat. His gaze traveled from her face
and the curve of her jaw, down to where her cleavage peeked out
from the beneath the décolleté of her blouse. Her chest rose with
each breath, her full breasts unconsciously pushing against the
thin fabric. From nowhere, his fingers itched to sample the creamy
silk of her skin, and an image of her straddling him, her back
arched and breasts heaving flashed into his mind. He felt himself
grow hard. He blinked, giving his head a hard shake.
What the fuck…
You okay?” Lily reached
out, touching his forearm.
His cock jerked at the feel of her
soft fingers, and heat rushed into his groin. An almost
uncontrollable urge to grab her and force her into the backseat, to
take her, violently, with or without consent washed over him. He
yanked his arm away, causing the car to swerve in traffic to the
blare of car horns and expletives from other drivers.
Stay out of my head,
Saburi. You were brought in to investigate the stiffs, not me.” A
fine sheen of sweat broke out across his forehead. Never had he
felt such a callous rush where women were concerned.
Lily pressed her lips together.
“Saburi? What happened to first name basis? I thought we were on
the same page here. And just for the record, I don’t trespass in
people’s minds just for the hell of it. You looked freaked out for
a second, that’s all.”
I’m fine.” His words were
clipped and tight, and he ran the back of his hand across his
forehead, as much to clear his internal tension as clear away his
sweat. She unnerved him, and for more reasons than he cared to
admit. Thank God, irritation had trumped her powers of perception
for the moment, and she sat with her arms crossed, waiting for him
to answer. He took a deep breath, but kept his eyes trained on the
traffic. “We are on the same page. However, if you want us to stay
that way, I suggest you keep those antennae of yours pointed away
A confused frown spread across Lily’s
brow. “Have it your way…” She stopped and looked over at him. Ryan
tensed. If she got even a sniff of his little fantasy, it was game
Pokerfaced, he turned to meet her
Detective, whatever it was
you sensed, you’re going to have to share it with me at some
point,” she said softly.
Again, her expression didn’t match
what he expected, and it wasn’t lost on him that she’d caught
herself, dialing it down on the boss lady bit. She acted as if this
was routine, same shit different day, but maybe it wasn’t, and her
over the top attitude was just a cover. He unclenched his jaw and
exhaled quietly. Either way, it didn’t matter. He was here to
observe and to make sure she played by the rules.
Sorry,” he mumbled. “I get
touchy when it comes to talking about things I sense on the job.
I’m sure you can understand why.”
I do. Believe me, you’re
preaching to the choir. I’ve been queen of the freaks for more
years than I care to count, not that I think you’re a freak or
He gave her half a smile. “No harm, no
foul. But let’s take this step-by-step, okay? We still need to get
through your initial investigation at the morgue. How about we make
that our jumping off point into the world of weird,
His police radio chirped, and dispatch
interrupted in what sounded like a rush of crackling static. Ryan
squeezed the side button on his radio. “Ten-four,” he
What was that?”
He shrugged. “Central just confirmed
with the deputy M.E.”
Our meeting with him at
She leaned back in her seat, and
turned to face him. “Now? But we’re almost there. What if he wasn’t
around to confirm our meeting? Don’t they care about wasting
taxpayer money, not to mention our time?”
He grinned. “And how long did you say
you’ve been away?”
She exhaled, shaking her head. “Too
They parked on the street outside
Bellevue Hospital and got out of the car. The morgue was located in
a separate building, adjacent to the main hospital. Martinez
flashed his badge at the entrance, and reception buzzed them in
immediately. He knew the way like the back of his own hand, and led
Lily through a set of double doors and down the back corridor
toward a set of elevators marked ‘employees only’.
The facility was situated on the lower
level, and the elevator doors opened onto a stark white hallway.
“This is still a police matter, so let me do the talking, okay?” he
asked, stepping aside to let Lily pass. “Once we’re in, you can
take over from there.”
The fluorescent lights added to the
already sterile, empty feel of the place, and as they walked, the
sound of their footsteps echoed in the corridor. Martinez stopped
just outside another set of double doors.
Just so you know, the
bodies were tagged and bagged at the scene, but the deputy M.E.
should have pulled some from cold storage for us to start with,”
Martinez said with his hand on one of the doors.
As ready as I’ll ever be,”
Lily said, trying to squash the creepy feeling edging its way up
Martinez knocked before pushing the
doors open. The two entered and stood, waiting just inside. The
facility was a large rectangular shaped configuration, opening
directly into an area housing row after row of mortuary-style
refrigerated units. Forensic examination tables lined one side of
the room, each compartmentalized into individual operating suites,
complete with surgical lights and attached to stainless steel
counters, together with sinks and hoses.
Microscopes and medieval looking
instruments, skull saws and rib crackers, gleamed in the overhead
lights next to what looked to be deli slicing machines and grocery
Lily swallowed hard against
-like feeling that lurched in her stomach.
A man in a bloodstained lab coat
looked up from behind one of the stainless steel examination
tables. “May I help you?” he asked, his hand resting on top of a
body half covered with a blue sheet.
The man nodded. “What can I do for
I’m Detective Martinez.
Homicide,” he answered, flashing the man his badge. “This is Lily
Saburi. Special Services. I believe Detective Sergeant Shaw called
to let you know we were coming.”
Yes. Right this way.” He
led them to the far end of the refrigerated units. Lily shot
Martinez a questioning look, but he ignored it.
The deputy M.E. swept his hand toward
the stacked squares at the end of the row. “The drawers pertaining
to your case have been marked with post-its. Please take your time,
but I ask that you don’t disturb the bodies or remove them from the
cadaver trays. I have to head to pathology, but I’ll be back
Martinez nodded. “No
The doctor headed back toward the
double doors where they had first come in, and Martinez looked at
Lily. “Ladies choice,” he said with a sideways nod toward storage
Lily took a cleansing breath to ground
herself and center her focus. The underlying smell of disinfectant
stung the inside of her nose, and her stomach flip-flopped as
memories from the morgue in Portland where they prepared Terry’s
body to ship back to New York, rushed back.
Holding her breath, she swallowed,
forcing herself to focus. “That one,” Lily said, pointing toward
the first drawer on the bottom left.
Martinez pushed the lever down and
slowly pulled open the square, stainless steel door. Cold air
drifted out from the opening, along with a deep sense of
foreboding. The cadaver tray slid out from the refrigerated unit
without a sound, a narrow gurney on drawer glides. Lily shivered.
The body was covered with the same blue sheet they’d seen on the
one prepared for autopsy across the room.
He pulled the sheet back, exposing the
victim. The body was that of a young man, no more than eighteen or
twenty years old. Even with the medical examiner’s handiwork, it
was easy to see his throat and his chest had been ripped open prior
to death. The typical “Y” incision used in autopsies had navigated
through the ravaged and missing flesh. Martinez whistled low. “Wow.
This one is definitely 3D,” Martinez said, wiping his hands on his
pants. “Definitely Done Dancing.”
Oh, God.” Lily’s hand went
to her mouth, her stomach turning again. Her vision swam as a wave
of lightheadedness gripped her, and she clutched onto Martinez’s
arm for support.