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
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
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
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
Leaning down, she took his magic mouth with hers in a deep,
“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
“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
“You’re a full Irish.”
“I was thinking breakfast, but you can have
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
The cop and the criminal --- former --- he qualified, as bloody
normal as Peace Day potato salad.
He studied her over the rim of his cup, through the whiff of
fragrant steam. “I’m thinking you should wear that
outfit more often. It’s a favorite of mine.”
She angled her head, drank more coffee. “I’m
thinking I want a really long shower.”
“Isn’t that handy? I think I want the
She took a last sip. “Then we’d better get
Later, too lazy to dress, she tossed on a robe while Roarke
programmed more coffee and full Irish breakfasts for two. It was
all so . . . homey, she thought. The morning sun streamed in the
windows of the bedroom bigger than the apartment she’d lived
in two years before. Two years married next month, she thought.
He’d walked into her life, and everything had changed.
He’d found her; she’d found him --- and all those dark
places inside both of them had gotten a little smaller, a little
“What do you want to do next?” she asked him.
He glanced over as he loaded plates and coffee onto a tray to
carry it to the sitting area. “I thought the agenda was
“It can be nothing, or it can be something. I picked
yesterday, and that was lots of nothing. There’s probably
something in the marriage rules about you getting to pick
“Ah yes, the rules.” He set the tray down.
“Always a cop.”
Galahad padded over to eye the plates as if he hadn’t
eaten in days.
Roarke pointed a warning finger at him, so the cat turned his
head in disgust and began to wash.
“My pick then, is it?” He cut into his eggs,
considering. “Well, let’s think. It’s a lovely
day in June.”
His brow lifted. “You’ve a problem with June, or
“No. Shit. June. Charles and Louise.” Scowling, she
chewed bacon. “Wedding. Here.”
“Yes, next Saturday evening, and as far as I know
that’s all under control.”
“Peabody said because I’m standing up for Louise ---
the matron of honor or whatever --- I’m supposed to contact
Louise every day this week to make sure she doesn’t need me
to do something.” Eve’s scowl darkened as she thought
of Peabody, her partner. “That can’t be right, can it?
Every day? I mean, Jesus. Plus, what the hell could she need me to
She stopped eating, narrowed her eyes at him. “Errands?
What do you mean by errands?”
“Well now, I’m at a disadvantage having never been a
bride, but best guess? Confirm details with the florist or caterer,
for instance. Go shopping with her for wedding shoes or honeymoon
clothes or --- ”
“Why would you do that?” Her voice was as thoroughly
aggrieved as her face. “Why would you say these things to me,
after I rocked your world twice in one morning? It’s just
“And likely true under other circumstances. But knowing
Louise, she has it all well in hand. And knowing you, if Louise
wanted someone to shop for shoes, she’d have asked someone
else to stand up for her at her wedding.”
“I gave the shower.” At his barely smothered laugh,
she drilled a finger into his arm. “It was here, and I was
here, so that’s like giving it. And I’m getting a dress
and all that.”
He smiled, amused by her puzzlement --- and mild fear --- when
it came to social rites. “What does it look like, this
She stabbed into her eggs. “I don’t have to know
what it looks like, exactly. It’s some sort of yellow --- she
picked out the color, and she and Leonardo put their heads together
on it. The doctor and the designer. Mavis says it’s mag
She considered her friend Mavis Freestone’s particular
style. “Which is kind of scary now that I think about it. Why
am I thinking about it?”
“I have no idea. I can say that while Mavis’s taste
in fashion is uniquely . . . unique, as your closest friend she
understands perfectly what you like. And Leonardo knows exactly
what suits you. You looked exquisite on our wedding day.”
“I had a black eye under the paint.”
“Exquisite, and absolutely you. As for etiquette by
Peabody, I’d say contacting Louise wouldn’t hurt, just
letting her know you’re willing to help out should she need
“What if she does need it? She should’ve asked
Peabody to do this instead of having her second in command, or in
line. Whatever the thing is.”
“I think it’s called bridal attendant.”
“Whatever.” With an impatient hand, Eve waved the
“They’re tight, and Peabody really gets into this .
. . female thing.”
The insanity of it, as far as Eve was concerned. The fuss, the
frills, the frenzy.
“Maybe it’s weird because Peabody used to date
Charles, sort of, before she hooked up with McNab. And after,
too.” Her brow furrowed as she worked through the tangles of
the dynamics. “But they never banged each other, personally
“Who Charles and McNab?”
“Stop it.” It got a quick laugh out of her before
she thought about errands and shopping. “Peabody and Charles
never got naked when Charles was a pro. Which is also weird that he
was a licensed companion when he and Louise hooked up, and the
whole time they’re dating --- and getting naked ---
it doesn’t bother her that he’s getting naked with
other people, professionally. Then he quits without telling her and
trains to be a therapist and buys a house and does the proposing
Understanding, Roarke let her run it through, fast words and
jerky logic as she shoveled in eggs, potatoes, bacon. “All
right, what’s all this about really?”
She stabbed eggs again, then put the fork down and picked up her
coffee. “I don’t want to screw it up for her.
She’s so happy, they’re so happy --- and this is a
really big deal for her. I get that. I really do get that, and I
did such a crap job on ours. The wedding thing.”
“I’ll be the judge of that.”
“I did. I dumped everything on you.”
“I believe you had a couple of murders on your
“Yeah, I did. And of course you don’t have anything
to do but sit on your giant piles of money.”
He shook his head and spread a bit of jam on a triangle of
toast. “We all do what we do, darling Eve. And I happen to
think we do what we do very well.”
“I wigged out on you, pissed you off, the night before the
“Added a bit of excitement.”
“Then got drugged and kicked around at my own drunk girl
party at a strip club before I made the collar, which was fun in
retrospect. But the point is, I really didn’t do the stuff,
so I don’t know how to do the stuff now.”
He gave her knee a friendly pat. For a woman of her sometimes
terrifying courage, she feared the oddest things. “If
there’s something she needs you’ll figure out how to do
it. I’ll tell you, when you walked toward me that day, our
day, in the sunlight, you were like a flame. Bright and beautiful,
and took the breath right out of me. There was only you.”
“And about five hundred of your close friends.”
“Only you.” He took her hand, kissed it. “And
it’ll be the same for them, I wager.”
“I just want her to have what she wants. It makes me
“And that’s friendship. You’ll wear some sort
of yellow dress and be there for her. That will be
“I hope so, because I’m not tagging her every day.
That’s firm.” She looked at her plate. “How does
anyone eat a full Irish?”
“Slowly and with great determination. I take it
you’re not determined enough.”
“Well then, if that takes care of breakfast, I’ve
had my thought.”
“On what to do next. We should go to the beach, get
ourselves some sand and surf.”
“I can get behind that. Jersey Shore, Hamptons?”
“I was thinking more tropical.”
“You can’t want to go all the way to the island for
one day, or part of one day.” Roarke’s private island
was a favored spot, but it was practically on the other side of the
world. Even in his jet it would take at least three hours one
“A bit far for an impulse, but there are closer.
There’s a spot on the Caymans that might suit, and a small
villa that’s available for the day.”
“And you know this because?”
“I’ve looked into acquiring it,” he said
easily. “So we could fly down, get there in under an hour,
check it out, enjoy the sun and surf and drink some foolish
cocktails. End the day with a walk along the beach in the
She found herself smiling. “How small a villa?”
“Small enough to serve as a nice impulse holiday spot for
us, and roomy enough to allow us to travel down with a few friends
if we’ve a mind to.”
“You’d already had this thought.”
“I had, yes, and put it in the if-and-when department. If
you’d like it, we can make this the when.”
“I can be dressed and toss whatever I’d need for the
day in a bag in under ten minutes.”
She leaped up, bolted toward her dresser.
“Bag’s packed,” he told her. “For both
of us. In case.”
She glanced back at him. “You never miss a
“It’s rare to have a Sunday off with my wife. I like
making the most of it.”
She tossed the robe to pull on a simple white tank, then grabbed
out a pair of khaki shorts. “We’ve had a good start on
making the most. This should cap it off.”
Even as she stepped into the shorts, the communicator on her
dresser signaled. “Crap. Damn it. Shit!” Her
stomach dropped as she read the display. Her glance at Roarke was
full of regret and apology. “It’s Whitney.”
He watched the cop take over, face, posture, as she picked up
the communicator to respond to her commander. And he thought,
“Lieutenant, I’m sorry to interrupt your
holiday.” Whitney’s wide face filled the tiny screen,
and on it rode a stress that had the muscles tightening at the back
of her neck.
“It’s no problem, Commander.”
“I realize you’re off the roll, but there’s a
situation. I need you to report to Five-forty-one Central Park
South. I’m on scene now.”
“You’re on scene, sir?” Bad, she thought, big
and bad for the commander to be on scene.
“Affirmative. The victim is Deena MacMasters, age sixteen.
Her body was discovered earlier this morning by her parents when
they returned home from a weekend away. Dallas, the victim’s
father is Captain Jonah MacMasters.”
It took her a moment. “Illegals. I know of Lieutenant
MacMasters. He’s been promoted?”
“Two weeks ago. MacMasters has specifically requested you
as primary. I would like to grant that request.”
“I’ll contact Detective Peabody
“I’ll take care of that. I’d like you here
“Then I’m on my way.”
She disengaged the communicator, turned to Roarke.
“Don’t.” He crossed to her, tapped his
fingertip on the shallow dent in her chin. “A man’s
lost his child, and that’s a great deal more important than a
bit of beach. You know him?”
“Not really. He contacted me after I took Casto
down.” She thought of the wrong cop who’d gone after
her at her wedding eve party. “MacMasters wasn’t his
LT, but he wanted to give me a nod for closing that case, and
taking down a bad cop. I appreciated it. He’s got a
rep,” she continued as she changed the holiday shorts for
work trousers. “A good, solid rep. I hadn’t heard about
his promotion, but I’m not surprised by it.”
She tidied her choppy cap of hair by raking her fingers through
it. “He’s got about twenty years on the job. Maybe
twenty-five. I hear he draws a hard line and sticks to it, makes
sure those serving under him do the same. He closes
“Sounds like someone else I know.”
She pulled a shirt out of the closet. “Maybe.”
“Whitney didn’t tell you how the girl was
“He wants and needs me to come in without any
preconceptions. He didn’t say it was homicide. That’s
for me and the ME to determine." She picked up her weapon harness,
strapped it on. Pocketed her communicator, her ’link, hooked
on her restraints. She didn’t bother to frown when Roarke
offered her the summer-weight jacket he’d selected out of her
closet to go over her sidearm. “Whitney’s being there
means one of two things,” she told him. “It’s
hinky, or they’re personal friends. Maybe both.”
“For him to be on scene . . .”
“Yeah.” She sat to pull on the boots she preferred
for work. “A cop’s kid. I don’t know when
I’ll get back.”
“Not an issue.”
She stopped, looked at him, thought about bags packed just in
case, and walks in the tropical moonlight. “You could fly
down, check this villa out.”
“I’ve work enough I can see to here to keep me
busy.” He laid his hands on her shoulders when she rose, laid
his lips on hers. “Get in touch when you have a better handle
on the situation.”
“I will. See you then.”
“Take care, Lieutenant.”
She jogged downstairs, barely breaking stride when Summerset,
Roarke’s man of just about everything and the pebble in her
shoe, materialized in the foyer.
“I was under the assumption you were off duty until
“There’s a dead body, which unfortunately
isn’t yours.” Then she paused at the door. “Talk
him into doing something that’s not work. Just because I have
to . . .” She shrugged, and walked out to meet death.
Few cops could afford to live in a single-family residence on
the verdant edges of Central Park. Then again, few cops --- well,
none other than herself --- lived in a freaking castle-manor estate
in Manhattan. Curious about how MacMasters managed his digs, she
did a quick run on him as she navigated the light holiday morning
MacMasters, Captain Jonah, her dash comp told her, born March
22, 2009, Providence, Rhode Island. Parents Walter and Marybeth nee
Hastings. Educated Stonebridge Academy, further education Yale,
graduated 2030. Married Franklin, Carol 2040, one offspring,
female, Deena, born November 23, 2043. Joined NYPSD September 15,
2037. Commendations and honors include ---
“Skip that. Finances. Where’s the money come
Working . . . Current worth approximately eight million, six
hundred thousand. Inherited a portion of grandfather’s
estate. MacMasters, Jonah, died natural causes June 6, 2032,
founder Mac Kitchen and Bath, based in Providence. Company’s
current worth ---
“Good enough. Asked and answered.”
Family money, she thought. Yale educated. Ends up an Illegals
cop in New York. Interesting. One spouse and a twenty-year
marriage, commendations and honors on the job. Promoted to captain.
It all said what she already knew of him.
Now this solid cop she barely knew had specifically requested
her as primary in the investigation of his only child’s
death. Why was that? She wondered.
When she reached the address she pulled in behind a
black-and-white. As she engaged her On Duty light, she took a
survey of the house. Nice digs, she thought, and got out to
retrieve her field kit. And, though she was in danger of overusing
the word, it struck her as solid.
Pre–Urban Wars construction, nicely rehabbed so it
maintained its character, showed a few scars. It looked dignified,
she thought, the rosy brick, the creamy trim, the long windows ---
currently shielded with privacy screens, every one.
Pots of colorful flowers stood guard on either side of the short
flight of stone steps, a pretty touch she supposed. But she was
more interested, as she stepped over and crossed the sidewalk, in
Full cameras, view screen, thumb pad, and she’d bet
voice-activated locks with a coded bypass. A cop, and particularly
one with good scratch, would be sure to fully protect his home and
everything --- everyone in it.
And still his teenage daughter was dead inside.
You could never cover all the bases.
She took her badge out of her pocket to flash the uniform at the
door, then hooked it to her waistband.
“They’re waiting for you inside,
“Are you first on scene?”
“No, sir. First on scene’s inside, along with the
commander and the captain and his wife. My partner and I were
called in by the commander. My partner’s on the
“Okay. My partner will be arriving shortly. Peabody,
“I’ve been apprised, Lieutenant. I’ll pass her
Not a rookie, Eve thought as she waited for him to pass her in.
The uniform was both seasoned and tough. Had Whitney called him in,
or the captain?
She glanced to the left, to the right, and imagined people in
the neighboring houses who were awake and at home keeping watch,
but too polite --- or too intimidated --- to come out and play
She stepped in to a cool, wide foyer with a central staircase.
Flowers on the table, she noted, very fresh. Only a day, maybe two
old. A little bowl that held some sort of colored mints. Everything
in soft, warm colors. No clutter, but a pair of glossy purple
sandals --- one under, one beside a high-backed chair.
Whitney stepped out of a doorway to the left. He filled it, she
thought, with the bulk of his body. His dark face was lined with
concern, and she caught the glint of sorrow in his eyes.
And still his voice was neutral when he spoke. Years of being a
cop held him straight.
“Lieutenant, we’re in here. If you’d take a
moment before going up to the scene.”
“Before you do, I’ll thank you for agreeing to take
this case.” When she hesitated, he nearly smiled. “If I
didn’t put it to you as your choice, I should
“There’s no question, Commander. The captain wants
me, he’s got me.”
With a nod, he stepped back to lead her into the room.
There was a little jolt, she could admit it, when she saw Mrs.
Whitney. The commander’s wife tended to intimidate her with
her starched manner, cool delivery, and blue blood. But at the
moment, she appeared to be fully focused on comforting the woman
beside her on a small sofa in a pretty parlor.
Carol MacMasters, Eve concluded, a small, dark-haired beauty to
contrast Anna Whitney’s blonde elegance. In her drenched
black eyes, Eve read both devastation and confusion. Her slight
shoulders shivered as if she sat naked in ice.
MacMasters rose as she came in. She judged him at about
six-four, and lean to the point of gangly. His casual dress of
jeans and T-shirt coincided with returning from a brief holiday.
His hair, dark like his wife’s, had a tight curl and remained
full and thick around a lean face with deep cheek grooves that may
have been dimples in his youth. His eyes, a pale, almost misty
green, met hers levelly. In them she saw grief and shock, and
He moved to her, held out a hand. “Thank you. Lieutenant .
. .” He seemed to run out of words.
Captain, I’m very sorry, very sorry for your
“She’s the one?” Carol struggled up even as
tears spilled down her cheeks. “You’re Lieutenant
“Yes, ma’am. Mrs. MacMasters --- ”
“Jonah said it had to be you. You’re the best there
is. You’ll find out who . . . how . . . But she’ll
still be gone. My baby will still be gone. She’s upstairs.
She’s up there, and I can’t be with her.” Her
voice pitched from raw grief toward hysteria. “They
won’t let me go be with her. She’s dead. Our
“Here now, Carol, you have to let the lieutenant do what
Mrs. Whitney stood up to drape an arm around Carol.
“Can’t I just sit with her? Can’t I just ---
“Soon.” Mrs. Whitney crooned it. “Soon.
I’ll stay with you now. The lieutenant is going to take good
care of Deena. She’ll take good care.”
“I’m going to take you up,” Whitney said.
Mrs. Whitney nodded.
Starched and intimidating, Eve thought, but she would handle a
grieving mother and a devastated father.
“You need to stay down here, Jonah. I’ll be down
“You’re friends with the victim’s parents off
the job?” Eve asked.
“Yes. Anna and Carol serve on some committees together,
and often spend time with each other. We socialize. I brought my
wife as a friend of the victim’s mother.”
“Yes, sir. I believe she’ll be a great help in that
“This is hard, Dallas.” His voice leaden, he started
up the steps.
“We’ve known Deena since she was a little girl. I
can tell you she was the light of their hearts. A bright, lovely
“The house has excellent security from my eyeball of it.
Do you know if it was activated when the MacMasters returned this
“The locks were. Jonah found the cameras had been
deactivated, and the discs for the last two days removed. He
touched nothing,” Whitney added, turning left at the top of
the stairs. “Allowed Carol to touch nothing --- but the girl.
And he prevented his wife from moving the body or disturbing the
scene. I’m sure we can all understand there were a few
moments of shock.”
“Yes, sir.” It was awkward, she thought, and
uncomfortable to be thrust in the position of interviewing her
commander. “Do you know what time they returned home this
“At eight-thirty-two, precisely. I took the liberty of
checking the lock log, and it confirmed Jonah’s statement to
me. I’ll give you a copy of the statement from my home
’link log. He contacted me immediately, requesting you, and
requesting my presence if possible. I didn’t seal the scene
--- her bedroom. But it is secure.”
He gestured, stood back. “I think it best if I go down,
let you proceed. When your partner arrives, I’ll send her
He nodded again, then sighed as he looked at the open bedroom
door. “Dallas . . . It’s very hard.”
She waited until he’d turned away, started down the
stairs. Alone, she stepped to the doorway and looked at the young,
dead Deena MacMasters.
Excerpted from KINDRED IN DEATH © Copyright 2011 by J. D.
Robb. Reprinted with permission by Berkley. All rights