no. 6, Alternate
V. P. Trick
This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device.
She’s a smart, somewhat delusional, shy but cocky female writer with no family but for a couple of odd friends whose past company have given her plenty of reasons to hate cops. Until him. Sometimes, though, he’s too close for comfort.
These days, all she wants is to work on her story, a fable this time, and maybe paint a little. But as always when old friends ask for favours, she too readily agrees to help. She’s now stuck playing hostess on a tacky web series. The Big guy is less than pleased since the friend is related to her late ex. To make matters worse, she’s somewhat deferring their house shopping. But, surely, the infuriating man did not expect her to move into a porn palace without a single café in the vicinity!
He’s a tough, no-nonsense, chief homicide detective, more bent on getting results than following the law, with nothing to lose. Until her. He does things his way, and does them thoroughly, including her. Yes, the two love each other. Sparks fly, and off they go again. Old friends, dead bodies, part-time jobs make for a challenging relationship.
And just when they’re in the middle of a discussion, he’s called to a crime scene. He brings her along. Think of it as therapy, Angel. At the site, a bodiless leg dangles from a butcher’s shop sign. A riddle tattooed on the thaw skin taunts them. Another sicko loose in the city.
“It looks funny,” she said from six steps back.
I didn’t have to wait long now, did I, for your damn curiosity to bring you closer? Her observation mode (her f*****g research as she called it) had activated. “It’s a limb hanging from a butcher’s sign, Babe. What do you expect?”
“I meant the skin. It looks weird.”
He motioned the medical examiner over. The med guy never said anything unless he had had his hands on the body for a couple of hours, but he did venture a few educated guesses. “Unofficially, it’s possible the appendage was drained.”
“Emptied of its blood. And frozen. That would explain its shape and colour. Now gentlemen, if you don’t mind, I’d like to get back to the leg officially since, after all,” the guy concluded, “that’s why you called me here, and in this weather, the thing is rapidly decomposing.”
At that, Chris caught her scrunching her nose and frantically batting her eyelids. Had she been breathing through her mouth the whole time?
“How long is it going to stay there?”
The men shrugged. “As long as it takes.” Therapy, Princess.
Time to get her closer. With his hand on the small of her back, he pushed her gently. Three steps forward, she froze again and dug in her heels. They were close enough now for the remnant to smell even if they were downwind. He smiled. This crime scene tour was f*****g therapy for both of them. He might even consider having her back at the office, handcuffed to her desk, though, but back nonetheless.
“What’s that black dotted line on the thigh’s inner side?” She wanted to know. Still too far to see clearly, Princess?
“A tattoo. A riddle.”
Was she or wasn’t she going to take another step? He hid a grin and waited. Your call, Pussycat. When she fished out her phone, he gave her a silent count of five before stepping in front of her. With her a*****e hacker friend Mario constantly upgrading the apps and functionalities of her mobile phone, he had no way of knowing just how many pictures she had taken in those five seconds. Those seconds had been excruciating. Allowing her to research the leg might be a form of healing for her, but it was far from soothing for him.
She put the phone back in her pocket. She started frowning, swallowed hard, a sure sign her imagination was going into high gear. Therapy was over. He drove her home. “I want your word you won’t leave town, Pussycat.”
“Really, Big guy,” she smirked and rolled her eyes heavenward. “Why would I-”
“Fine. I promise I will stay in town.”
She didn’t leave. She didn’t need to. There were plenty of places to run off to in the city, wasn’t there?