Interlude in Death:In Death 12.50

By: J. D. Robb


The faces of murder were varied and complex. Some were as old as time and the furrows scoring them filled with the blood spilled by Cain. One brother’s keeper was another’s executioner.

Of course, it had been rather elementary to close that particular case. The list of suspects had been, after all, pretty limited.

But time had populated the earth until by the early spring of 2059 it so crawled with people that they spilled out from their native planet to jam man-made worlds and satellites. The skill and ability to create their own worlds, the sheer nerve to consider doing so, hadn’t stopped them from killing their brothers.

The method was sometimes more subtle, often more vicious, but people being people could, just as easily, fall back on ramming a sharpened stick through another’s heart over a nice patch of lettuce.

The centuries, and man’s nature, had developed more than alternative ways to kill and a variety of victims and motives. They had created the need and the means to punish the guilty.

The punishing of the guilty and the demand for justice for the innocent became—perhaps had been since that first extreme case of sibling rivalry—an art and a science.

These days, murder got you more than a short trip to the Land of Nod. It shut you up in a steel and concrete cage where you’d have plenty of time to think about where you went wrong.

But getting the sinner where justice deemed he belonged was the trick. It required a system. And the system demanded its rules, techniques, manpower, organizations, and loopholes.

And the occasional seminar to educate and inform.

As far as Lieutenant Eve Dallas was concerned, she’d rather face a horde of torked-out chemi-heads than conduct a seminar on murder. At least the chemi-heads wouldn’t embarrass you to death.

And as if it wasn’t bad enough that she’d been drafted to attend the Interplanetary Law Enforcement and Security Conference, as if it wasn’t horrifying enough that her own commander had ordered her to give a seminar, the whole ball of goddamn wax had to take shape off-planet.

Couldn’t hold the sucker in New York, Eve thought as she lay facedown on the hotel bed. Just couldn’t find one spot on the whole fucking planet that could suit up. Nope, just had to send a bunch of cops and techs out into space.

God, she hated space travel.

And of all the places in the known universe, the site-selection committee had to dump them on the Olympus Resort. Not only was she a cop out of her element, but she was a cop out of her element giving a seminar in one of the conference rooms in one of the ridiculously plush hotels owned by her husband.

It was mortifying.

Sneaky son of a bitch, she thought, and wondered if any of the muscles and bones in her body that had dissolved during landing on Olympus had regenerated. He’d planned it, he’d worked it. And now she was paying for it.

She had to socialize, attend meetings. She had to—dear Christ—give a speech. And in less than a week, she would have to get back on that fancy flying death trap of Roarke’s and face the journey home.

Since the idea of that made her stomach turn over, she considered the benefits of living out the rest of her life on Olympus.

How bad could it be?

The place had hotels and casinos and homes, bars, shops. Which meant it had people. When you had people, bless their mercenary hearts, you had crime. You had crime, you needed cops. She could trade in her New York Police and Security badge for an Interplanetary Law Enforcement shield.

“I could work for ILE,” she muttered into the bedspread.

“Certainly.” On the other side of the room, Roarke finished studying a report on one of his other properties. “After a while, you wouldn’t think twice about zipping from planet to space station to satellite. And you’d look charming in one of those blue-and-white uniforms and knee-high boots.”

Her little fantasy fizzed. Interplanetary meant, after all, interplanetary. “Kiss my ass.”

“All right.” He walked over, bent down and laid his lips on her butt. Then began working his way up her back.

Unlike his wife, he was energized by space travel.

“If you think you’re getting sex, pal, think again.”

“I’m doing a lot of thinking.” He indulged himself with the long, lean length of her. When he reached the nape of her neck, he rubbed his lips just below the ends of her short, disordered cap of hair. And feeling her quick shiver, grinned as he flipped her over.

Then he frowned a little, skimming a finger along the shallow dent in her chin. “You’re a bit pale yet, aren’t you?”

Her deep-golden-brown eyes stared sulkily into his. Her mouth, wide, mobile, twisted into a sneer. “When I’m on my feet again, I’m going to punch you in that pretty face of yours.”

“I look forward to it. Meanwhile.” He reached down, began unbuttoning her shirt.


“Thank you, Lieutenant.” Because she was his, and it continuously delighted him, he brushed a kiss over her torso, then tugged off her boots, stripped off her trousers. “And I hope we’ll get to the perversion part of our program shortly. But for now.” He picked her up and carried her out of the bedroom. “I think we’ll try a little postflight restorative.”