I WAS TRYING to figure out what’s wrong with Morgue File, when my First Reader reminded me . . . it’s not about heads in a box. It’s about
Cauley and Logan.
*insert head smack and a big Duh!*
I’m reading all the Robert Parker books I never got around to, and one of them is called Play Mates, about a basketball star, and I hadn’t read it because I don’t like basketball. And then I realized, it’s not about basketball, dummy, it’s about Spenser, one of the best characters ever written. I never get tired of him~I mean really, with dialogue like “I am trustworthy, loyal and helpful. But I struggle with obedient” how could you go wrong?
So, I’m revising Morgue File, and ramping up the sexual tension between Cauley and Logan, reminding myself with each swipe of my red pen, it’s not about heads in a box . . .
“Well, this is disappointing. I thought you’d be naked.”
“It’s nude,” I said. “And the nude portion of the festivities were last night,” I buckled into the passenger side of Logan’s battered blue Bureau car. I thought I heard him choke.
After four hours of sitting on a rock surrounded by naked people, getting hungry and sunburned and cranky, I decided GiftedStephanie was probably a no show.
“So, is that what it’s like being on a stakeout?” I said, tightening the top on a bottle of murder-red nail polish and admiring my freshly tipped toes. “You sit on a rock and wait for hours for something to happen?”
“Yeah, except for the nudists.” He grinned. “And probably most of us don’t paint our toes. You got any aloe?”
“What?” I frowned, pulling his rearview mirror so I could look at my face. I immediately wished I hadn’t. Red and white stripes streaked my face, apparently where I hadn’t spread the sunscreen evenly. “Yikes,” I said and he grinned.
“Next time call me and I’ll help you with the suntan lotion,” he said.
“Yeah, well, I don’t know if there’s going to be a next time—my source didn’t show.”
“Source of what?” he said and I sighed.
“I was meeting a confidential source and I didn’t go alone, Beckett and Jenks went with me,” I said.
“Yeah. That’s why I’m driving you home…not that I’m complaining…”
“The guys were playing poker and they were winning, so I called you. I figure you owed me one for leaving me with that toad last night.”
Logan chuckled. “I owe you for a lot more than that.”
We pulled into my driveway and Marlowe bounded out of the car, bounding and yipping with a whole body wag around Logan as we headed up the wide, white steps of the front porch. I knew how the dog felt. Since Logan called to tell me was back in town, I felt like I’d been plugged into an electric socket and set on hold. He must have sensed the tension, because he paused near the top step so that I was nearly eye-level with him. When he’s gone, I forget just how tall he really is, just how dark his eyes are, just how strong the pull is . . .
And then he kissed me.
His lips barely brushed mine as his large palm pressed warm against the small of my back and he kissed me again, harder this time and my breath went away.
“I missed you, kid,” he said, his voice like a shot of good whiskey.
I gasped, answering his kiss with my own.
He groaned and I pulled him up the step, so I had to reach up to my tiptoes, my arms sliding around his neck and then he kissed me hard, backing me into the doorway, where he stopped.
Marlowe growled. I knew how he felt.
I blinked up at Logan, confused, but he took me by the shoulders and set me aside, his finger to his lips. Marlowe bristled and in a split second, Logan kicked open my door.
“What the–?” I stammered as Logan yelled, “Freeze! FBI!”
Marlowe was in the door like a streak of silver lightning, teeth flashing as he went. Logan was right behind him, weapon drawn.
“Hey, hey, hey!” yelped a tall, blond man who’d been lounging on my sofa, drinking my last Corona Lite beer and watching my television.
Marlowe seized his arm, his sharp teeth sinking into flesh and the man howled in pain. The beer went flying and before I could say a word, Logan had the guy on the floor, his un-Marlowe’d arm wrenched behind his back.
“Cauley!” the man yelped. “Get them off me!” he yelled. “Tell them I’m your husband!”
“Ex” I said. “He’s my ex-husband.”
Logan let go with some reluctance, I thought, and Dr. Frank “Fetch” Peters staggered to his feet, favoring both arms and trying to send me one of his trademark, make-you-melt grins.
I scowled at him.
The toad, it seemed, was back.