Slave to Love(5)

By: Nikita Black


“Yeah, I got it.”

What she got was a severe desire to smack him and his condescending demeanor back to the Stone Age. He might have the body of a god, but as a working partner he obviously left a lot to be desired. At least for her. She hadn’t escaped the emotional abuse of one rude and overbearing man just to trade him in for another. Lt. Bridger, her boss at SIS, was nothing like this. On the other hand, Lt. Bridger wasn’t the lead detective for Homicide, where she desperately wanted to be.

She took a deep, cleansing breath.

Turning down this opportunity would kill her. Somehow she had to find a way to work with this Neanderthal, without decking the man, and with him her career. Hell, she’d lived through her father. She’d live through McGraw, too.

She looked him in the eye. “Why me?”

Surprise flashed across his face before he quickly masked it. He stepped in front of her. “What's the matter? You don’t want the assignment? I’d heard you’d do anything to get into Homicide.”

She froze at his tone when he said “anything,” her face suddenly heating. No. He couldn’t possibly have meant that the way it had sounded. Not spoken so blatantly in front of his lieutenant, his partner and the Chief, for godsakes.

“I want nothing more than to work in Homicide, sir. But is it out of line to wonder about your motivation in choosing me?”

“Why? You have a problem with leather?”

“No. I have a problem being treated like an idiot, McGraw. I'm sure there must be a dozen female candidates willing to be your slave. Why me?”

He stepped closer and got right in her face, speaking in a low voice, for her ears only. “I want you for my pleasure slave, Caroline. Nobody else. I don’t need any other reason.”

Stunned, she stared up into his simmering gaze. He stared back with a look that covered her entire body in goosebumps. For a breathtaking instant she wondered again if he could be talking about something other than undercover work.

“I...”

The look of raw demand in his eyes, real or imagined, threw her as nothing else could have. There was a dark hunger lurking deep in them—a darkness she responded to on a purely primal level. A hunger she wanted nothing more than to arouse and incite, drive into the open so it would be forced to acknowledge its lust for her. If only she dared...

“I—”

The passion in Mick's eyes suddenly vanished and he dropped her wrist. “But if you don't think you can hack it, we'll find someone else.”

It was like being dashed with water. Ice water. Get real, Caro. This was the Iceman—cold and remote, anything but passionate, even about the job he was so good at.

“This has to be your decision, Officer Palmer,” the Chief said. “We'll be working with Detective Cody here, and LAPD, to have people watching you at all times. But I won't lie. It's a dangerous assignment.”

She stuck her unsteady hands under her armpits. “That doesn't worry me.” The last thing she was concerned about was her physical safety.

The shrill of the phone on Mick's desk made her jump. He answered with a curt hello, and listened grimly. His eyes met Bobby's across the room and some silent communication in them made his partner come to attention. “Okay. We'll be right there.”

McGraw's steely gaze drew a bead on her and she shivered involuntarily. “Make up your mind, rookie,” he growled. “This is the last time you'll get the offer.”

She drove her fingers through her hair, warring with herself. She so badly wanted the chance to prove she could cut it in Homicide. But it would mean working with a man who was already making her crazy. Between wanting to seduce him and wanting to kill him, she was afraid of what might happen.

But she was more afraid she’d never get the chance again. Swallowing the knot of irrational fear lodged in her throat, she gathered her courage and prayed she wasn't making the biggest mistake of her career.

“All right, Detective. I'll do it.”

With the sinking, fatalistic certainty that her life would never be the same again, she heard him say, “Good. Get your gear together and come with us. They just found another couple of bodies.”





Chapter 2

“More Teddies?” the Lieutenant asked sharply as Mick reached for his jacket.

“Looks like it,” Mick said.

“He’s escalating,” Bobby said worriedly. “It’s only been two weeks since the last one.”

“Yep,” Mick said. Now the insanity would start in earnest. One crime like this was terrible. Two crimes made people nervous. Three crimes caused an outright panic.

“Report in as soon as you've got the preliminary,” Trujillo said, moving to the door. “Don't worry about anything you have going at SIS,” he told Caroline. “I'll let Julio know you've been reassigned.”