Read Twice Cursed Online

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

Twice Cursed (9 page)

BOOK: Twice Cursed
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Yes. I’m Lily Saburi. I
have a ten o'clock appointment with Chief Phillips.”


Certainly. One moment
please.”

The woman picked up the phone, and
Lily guessed it was yet another buffer. Something was up, she’d
felt it the moment she’d walked into the building, and knew it was
more than just the day-to-day stress of dealing with New York’s
criminal element.

The woman hung up and smiled again,
handing Lily a building pass. “Go ahead on up. Seventh floor.
They’re waiting for you.”

It had been a while since she’d been
at police headquarters, and the lobby was just as busy as she
remembered. Visitors to One Police Plaza often expected something
resembling the set from NYPD Blue or CSI New York. Fact was the
building functioned not only as headquarters for one of the largest
police departments in the country, but also the polished face of
the NYPD. The people who walked its halls possessed the same hard
edges screenwriters try to give their actors, but here those
characteristics were hard earned. The grit may have been
spit-polished till it shined, but it was still there
underneath.

As she got into the elevator, the
underlying unease she’d noticed at security ratcheted up a notch.
She knew the feeling wasn’t hers, and as the elevator climbed, the
uneasiness grew until it practically jumped out at her when the
doors slid open on the seventh floor.

She stumbled out of the elevator and
dropped her purse, the sense of foreboding gripping her full
force.

An overweight man in an ugly brown
suit looked up from behind half-moon glasses, as he sat at his desk
off to the side of the elevators. “May I help you?”

People milling around turned in her
direction, and three sets of eyes, each one more quizzical than the
last, inspected Lily as she steadied herself. “Yes,” she said,
straightening her jacket. She bent to retrieve her purse. “I’m here
to see Chief Phillips. He’s expecting me.”

The man checked her I.D. and her
building pass, then hefted himself out of his seat. “This way,
please.”

He led her down the corridor to an
office in the back, sweating and red-faced from the exertion. He
knocked on the door, and a muffled, “come in” echoed from the other
side of the door.


He’s all
yours.”


Thank you,” Lily said,
watching him trundle back to his desk.

She’d worked many cases for the Chief
of Detectives, but had never actually been to his office. So why
the invitation now? Her guess, the brass had insisted on it. They
wanted to see her to pull something out of her hat.

Without hesitation, she turned the
knob and opened the door. The room was large, with black leather
and chrome furniture, and a wall of frameless glass windows
overlooking the grounds.

Besides the Chief of Detectives, there
were two other men in the room. Talk about home court advantage.
She took a deep breath and steeled herself. Bring on the rabbits,
baby.


Lily. Good. Glad you could
make it,” Mark Phillips said, coming around the end of his desk to
take her hand. “It’s good to see you. I hope you got my note about
Terry…I’m so sorry.”

She shook his hand. “Yes…thanks. It’s
good to see you too, Mark.” The minute her fingers clasped his, she
knew his words were genuine, and she gave his hand a little
squeeze. “So, what’s so important you couldn’t bring me up to speed
on the phone?”


Please, sit down. Let me
introduce you to Detective Sergeant, Michael Shaw and Detective
Ryan Martinez. They’ll be working closely with you on this case,
should you choose to take it.”

Lily nodded to each. “Pleased to meet
you.”

Phillips leaned on the front edge of
his desk and exhaled. “I’m not really sure where to begin.” He
gestured futilely. “We’ve had three separate, multiple homicides in
the past month. That’s a lot, even for a city this size. But what’s
worse, each one a veritable bloodbath. The first took place about a
month ago near the Roosevelt Island Bridge, the next, in Hell’s
Kitchen a couple of weeks later, and the latest down on Ninth
Avenue in the East Village. All less than savory locations, if you
know what I mean. We’re really up against it this time
Lily…”


What Chief Phillips means,
is we are at a dead end.” Detective Sergeant Shaw interrupted. “In
each case, we found only D.O.A.s, and the crime scenes didn’t
provide much in terms of leads or evidence.”

Lily didn’t miss the look that passed
between Shaw and Martinez. Shaw was a skeptic, and probably had
balked at the idea of having to work with her. Well, what else was
new?

That one look told her both detectives
had more up their sleeves than they were willing to share. It was
rabbit-pulling time, and her magic hat was primed and
ready.

She leaned back and crossed her legs,
her elbows on either arm of the chair, and her fingers laced
together in front. Detectives were specialized, trained in the art
of interpreting body language and reading between the lines. Lily
wanted it clear, if unspoken, that she had nothing to fear and
nothing to hide.


One doesn’t need to be a
profiler, gentlemen, to see there’s more here than meets the eye.
You’ve gathered hard facts about this difficult case, and as Chief
Phillips has explained, you are to be commended. You’re seasoned
veterans, and doubtful about me, and what I can bring to the case.
That’s understandable. What I do can’t always be quantified. I,
myself, don’t always understand how I know what I know.”

Lily paused, waiting for someone to
interject, but no one said a word. The hostility coming from Shaw
was palpable, and her earlier suspicions ratcheted up a notch. The
man wasn’t just skeptical; he would derail her entire role in this
case if he got the chance.

On the other hand, Martinez’s
curiosity was piqued. Unlike Shaw, whose body language was closed
and defensive, Martinez leaned forward in his chair, his eyes
trained exclusively on hers.

She glanced up at Mark, and at his
nod, continued.


Regardless of whether you
choose to believe it or not, the truth is, I see things, feel
things and know things others don’t. It’s called parapsychology,
and I understand how hard it is to put faith in anything
labeled
beyond normal
. Profiling goes hand in hand with psychic ability. However,
that doesn’t mean I want to be a one-woman show. I want this to be
a team effort.”

Shaw’s face looked as if he’d sucked
on a lemon. He cleared his throat, and with a grunt, shifted in his
seat. But Phillips was resolute, no matter how much the Detective
Sergeant resented the idea. The hierarchy of the police department
was a political hornets’ nest, and perhaps that was the reason for
his overblown opposition. His authority had been subject, and
subsequently overruled.


What can we do to help?”
Martinez asked, obviously ignoring Shaw’s disapproving
cough.

Lily ignored him, as well. “I’m a
purist, as Chief Phillips will attest to, and prefer you not to
tell me the specifics. The only thing I need is a jumping-off
point. That way, there won’t be a question about what I learn
versus what you’ve told me. It’s the way I do things, allowing for
us to work together rather than against each other…or God forbid,
have the situation become a battle of one-upmanship.”

Phillips’s face was a full-on smirk.
“I see your leave of absence hasn’t tempered you one bit. Good,
because we’re going to need every ounce of that infamous tenacity
to solve this case.”

Lily couldn’t help but smile. She
should have known Mark would have her back. “Besides having little
evidence and only D.O.A.s, was there anything about the crime
scene, anything unusual that might give me a place to
start?”


Take a look for yourself,”
Phillips said, gesturing for Martinez to hand over the case file
and the Medical Examiner’s report.


I thought you just said
you didn’t want specifics,” Shaw objected, crossing his arms in a
huff.

Lily shot him a look, taking the file
from Martinez’s hand. The detective’s fingers brushed hers in the
transfer, and a rush of disjointed images and thoughts spilled into
her mind. She sucked in a breath and locked her narrowed gaze on
his.

Phillips pushed himself up from the
edge of his desk. “What? What just happened?”

Lily’s eyes didn’t leave Martinez’s as
she answered. “I need to get to the morgue…now.”

 

***

 

The elevator doors slid closed, and
Martinez pushed the button for the ground floor. He looked straight
ahead at nothing, though the weight of Lily’s stare was heavy and
intent.


How did you know each
victim had been drained dry?”

Martinez’s head whipped around, and
his mouth fell open. She couldn’t have stunned him more if she
suddenly grew scales and swallowed a live rat. Still, she stood
unflinching, with her arms crossed in front of her chest and her
eyes fixed on his, almost daring him to lie.


I don’t know what you’re
talking about.”

Lily exhaled. “You know exactly what
I’m talking about, and don’t tell me your theory was just an
educated guess. You knew. I saw your thoughts,” she said, her
finger jabbing the air between them.

In a heartbeat, she had gone from
teamwork cheerleader to a dagger-eyed complainant. He hadn’t said a
word to anyone about what he had sensed, and he certainly hadn’t
included it in the police report. What was her game?

His guard way up, Martinez pressed his
lips together, collecting himself before he started an all-out war.
“First off, don’t point your finger at me. It’s rude, and I don’t
appreciate it. Secondly, lose the accusatory attitude or this
conversation is over. Shaw may doubt your specialized set of
talents, but that doesn’t mean I share his skepticism. I asked what
I could do to help. Remember? He’s the one who wanted to keep
things hush-hush until he was satisfied you weren’t some kind of a
kook. I’ll be the first to admit there’s more to this than what
we’re seeing, so why don’t you just back the hell off?”

Now it was his turn to
stare
her
down.
Angry, he shrugged into his overcoat, stretching out the tension in
his shoulders and neck. Neither said a word as the elevator opened
onto the main lobby.

He never lost his cool, not even when
he dealt with the rat squad over at Internal Affairs. So why was he
allowing this woman to get under his skin? The chief wanted them to
work together, so he’d play nice with the psychic, even if it meant
biting his tongue until he tasted blood.


Since I’ve been appointed
the designated driver, I suggest we take one car. Traffic is a mess
down here no matter what time day, and parking is bound to be an
issue. My car is in the municipal lot next door, unless you’d
prefer to follow me over. The D.O.A.s for this case are being held
at the morgue at Bellevue Hospital.”

Lily shook her head. “No, it’ll be
easier if I go with you than take my own car. I can always catch a
cab home from there if we’re not needed back this way. If you’ll
excuse me, I just need to make a quick call.” She walked away,
already scrolling through the numbers on her cell phone before
Martinez could object.

He watched her expression
change from resolute, to irritated, to sarcastic and back again,
before she hung up and walked back toward him. Great. She was a
veritable mood swing acrobat.
Did Phillips
say psychic or psycho? Play nice…you said you’d play
nice.


Ready?” she
asked.

The two walked in silence across the
frozen sidewalk, taking the outside elevator to the second level of
the parking garage.

Rows of patrol cars and other official
vehicles were parked on a diagonal across from the elevators. “This
way,” Martinez said, gesturing toward the far corner, and the
jet-black Chevy Camaro parked along the wall. A telltale chirp
echoed through the concrete parking structure as he unlocked the
doors. “Get in.”

Lily buckled her seatbelt as he put
the car in gear and backed out of the space. “I’m sorry, Detective.
I apologize for being so abrupt. It’s just, images come unbidden
sometimes, and when you handed me the file…”

She stopped, and Martinez glanced over
to her in the passenger seat.


It’s okay…I get it. And
it’s Ryan.”


Ryan?”


My first name. When we’re
alone, we can forego departmental formalities, since you’re not
exactly personnel,” he said, as they headed down the exit ramp and
out of the parking garage.


All right. Will you answer
my question then, Ryan? How did you know about the
victims?”


I haven’t the faintest
idea how I know what I know,” he said, leaning over the steering
wheel, watching for an opportunity to merge into
traffic.

Lily raised an eyebrow.
“None?”


Nope. I just know. It’s
been that way for as long as I can remember. Maybe that means I’m a
bit of a psychic too,” he answered, pulling out into the
street.

BOOK: Twice Cursed
11.74Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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