Slave to Love(2)

By: Nikita Black

Caro crossed her arms under her breasts. “Everyone who?” He might be the reigning god of Homicide, but she really did have a ton of work to do before going home. And her chances of working for McGraw anytime in the near future were somewhere between slim and none. “Look, I'm not going anywhere until you tell me what's going on.”

“Chief Trujillo will explain when we get there,” McGraw said, stepped back and looked at her with an iron-willed expectancy. The good detective was obviously not used to anyone balking at his orders. Of course, the minute he'd mentioned the Chief, she knew he’d won this little battle.

“At least let me change out of these clothes,” she said, frowning at her attire. Hooker gear was not her first choice for an interview with the chief of police.

“Don't worry about it.” McGraw turned on a heel and headed toward the door. “No one will even notice.”

She gritted her teeth and whipped a quelling glare at Julio, who chuckled behind her.

He raised his hands in mock surrender. “Now, now, querida. The man may be blind, but he's in Homicide. Do you realize what this means?”

“I'm a murder suspect?”

Julio winked, and whispered, “All your favorite fantasies may come true in one fell swoop.”

She gave a derisive snort. “Shut up, Julio.” Would she never live down that tiny crush she’d had on McGraw after seeing him for the first time? She rued the day she’d confessed it to her partner. But he’d gotten her wondering just what the hell was going on.

It had been her goal to work in Homicide ever since joining the force. She'd started out across the street in Traffic—of course, she was a woman, wasn't she? When she'd put in for a transfer a year ago, the male powers-that-be agreed she had the brains for it, but decided she'd be more useful in Special Investigations—the vice squad. Something to do with her legs in a short skirt, no doubt. Up until now she'd been pretty much stuck on the anti-prostitution team. She was good at it, and she’d actually learned a thing or two in the way of street-smarts. And to be honest, she'd just as soon not get involved with drugs or gangs anyway. But if she had her preference she'd take a nice, clean murder any day of the week.

Unfortunately, until this point Homicide was as big a fantasy as seeing Mick McGraw naked.

Slinging her purse over her shoulder, she made a face at Julio and hurried after McGraw, who paused at the door and waited for her to go through. She smiled at the old school gesture, and geared up for the rest of the hike to the second floor.

She tried not to swing her hips, but she knew he was watching her backside. She could feel his eyes on her body all the way to the elevator. Well, who could blame him? She looked good. Yeah, it had taken her years to come to that realization—twenty-nine to be exact—but during her five years in L.A. her confidence had peaked. Before coming to California she’d felt insecure and awkward in her own skin and with every wayward thought or impulse. Her daddy had seen to that. With her and Mama, it was his way or the highway. Finally choosing the highway had been the best decision of Caro’s life. Mama’d never had the guts. But since moving away from home, Caro had come into her own as a person...and as a woman.

Sure, her hips were too wide and her top too small, but she'd learned that didn't matter. It was attitude that made a woman sexy. Daddy hadn’t liked attitude. But she wasn’t in Daddy’s power any longer. She’d found her own.

Along the way, she’d found out something else about power. Something important. As strange as it seemed, dressing as a hooker, and therefore putting her sexuality out there for all to see, it had allowed her to become just one of the guys, and be more professional in the job. She’d seen how far baggy uniforms and androgynous haircuts had gotten most women in the department. The way Caro figured, the male officers were so busy trying to imagine what was under the sexless attire they never forgot the wearers were women. With Caro, there was never any doubt. Therefore most of the men got past it in a hurry. Those who didn’t were quickly set straight.

Well, except for the Iceman, of course. He pointedly ignored her femininity, as he did with all females.

They got to the elevator and sized each other up as they rode up one floor. Normally she'd have taken the stairs, but evidently McGraw didn't trust himself not to look up her skirt. She gave him a smile but remained as silent as he. When they got off she stopped to get a drink from the water fountain by the restrooms, to rinse the streets from her suddenly dry mouth.

“I've always wondered why hookers wear panty hose,” he remarked, leaning a hip against the wall as he clinically observed her bending over the fountain. “Seems like they'd just get in the way.”