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«Kindred In Death», J. Robb

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Eve Dallas and husband Roarke – #35, 2009

Welcome, kindred glooms!

Congenial horrors, hail!

– JAMES THOMSON

A lie which is half a truth is

ever the blackest of lies.

– TENNYSON

 

1

SHE’D DIED AND GONE TO HEAVEN. OR BETTER, BECAUSE who knew if there was really good sex and lazy holiday mornings in heaven. She was alive and kicking.

Well, alive anyway. A little sleepy, a whole lot satisfied, and happy the end of the Urban Wars nearly forty years before had resulted in the international Peace Day holiday.

Maybe the Sunday in June had been selected arbitrarily, and certainly symbolically-and maybe remnants of that ugly period still littered the global landscape even in 2060-but she supposed people were entitled to their parades, cookouts, windy speeches, and long, drunk weekends.

Personally, she was happy to have two days off in a row for any reason. Especially when a Sunday kicked off like this one.

Eve Dallas, murder cop and ass-kicker, sprawled naked across her husband, who’d just given her a nice glimpse of heaven. She figured she’d given him a good look at it, too, as he lay under her, one hand lazily stroking her butt and his heart pounding like a turbo hammer.

She felt the thump on the bed that was their pudgy cat, Galahad, joining them now that the show was over.

She thought: Our happy little family on a do-nothing Sunday morning. And wasn’t that an amazing thing? She had a happy little family-a home, an absurdly gorgeous and fascinating man who loved her, and-it couldn’t be overstated-really good sex.

Not to mention the day off.

She purred, nearly as enthusiastically as the cat, and nuzzled into the curve of Roarke’s neck.

“Good,” she said.

“At the very least.” His arms came around her, such good arms, in an easy embrace. “And what would you like to do next?”

She smiled, loving the moment, the lilt of Ireland in his voice, the brush of the cat’s fur against her arm as he butted it with his head in a bid for attention.

Or most likely breakfast.

“Pretty much nothing.”

“Nothing can be arranged.”

She felt Roarke shift, and heard the cat’s purring increase as the hands that had recently pleasured her gave him a scratch.

She propped herself up to look at his face. His eyes opened.

God, they just killed her, that bold, brilliant blue, those thick, dark lashes, the smile in them that was hers. Just hers.

Leaning down, she took his magic mouth with hers in a deep, dreamy kiss.

“Well now, that’s far from nothing.”

“I love you.” She kissed his cheeks, a little rough from the night’s growth of beard. “Maybe because you’re so pretty.”

He was, she thought as the cat interrupted by wiggling his bulk under her arm and bellying between them. The carved lips, the sorcerer’s eyes, and sharp, defined bones all framed in the black silk of his hair. When you added the firm, lanky body, it made a damn perfect package.

He managed to get around the cat to draw her down for another kiss, then hissed.

“Why the hell doesn’t he go down and pester Summerset for breakfast?” Roarke nudged away the cat, who kneaded paws and claws, painfully, over his chest.

“I’ll get it. I want coffee anyway.”

Eve rolled out of bed, walked-long, lean, naked-to the bedroom AutoChef.

“You cost me another shag,” Roarke muttered.

Galahad’s bicolored eyes glittered, perhaps in amusement, before he scrambled off the bed.

Eve programmed the kibble, and since it was a holiday, a side of tuna. When the cat pounced on it like the starving, she programmed two mugs of coffee, strong and black.

“I thought about going down for a workout, but sort of took care of that already.” She took the first life-giving sip as she crossed back to the platform and the lake-sized bed. “I’m going to grab a shower.”

“I’ll do the same, then I can grab you.” He smiled as she handed him his coffee. “A second workout, we’ll say. Very healthy. Maybe a full Irish to follow.”

“You’re a full Irish.”

“I was thinking breakfast, but you can have both.”

Didn’t she look happy, he thought, and rested-and altogether delicious. That shaggy cap of deer-hide hair mussed about her face, those big dark eyes full of fun. The little dent in her chin he adored deepened just a bit when she smiled.

There was something about the moment, he thought, moments like this when they were so much in tune, that struck him as miraculous.

The cop and the criminal-former-he qualified, as bloody normal as Peace Day potato salad.


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