Ritual in Death:In Death 27.50(2)

By: J. D. Robb

“Yeah.” Eve controlled the urge to smirk. “That’s about it.”

“Being married to Roarke’s action enough. Are you still dangerous ?” Maxia asked him.

“Domesticated.” He lifted Eve’s hand, kissed it. “Entirely.”

“I don’t believe that for a minute. Oh, there’s Anton. I need to snatch him away and bring him over to meet you.”

Eve took a long, long drink of champagne.

“We’ll meet this Anton, mingle another twenty,” Roarke said, the faint hint of Ireland in his voice, “and slip out and away.”

Eve felt a tingle of joy, right down to her numbed toes. “Seriously?”

“I never intended to stay above an hour or so. And certainly owe you for the points I’m making by bringing a Homicide cop to the party.”

“It’s all paperwork,” Eve said dryly.

He skimmed a finger down her arm, where a knife had slashed only days before. “Yes, your work is nothing but tedium. But I have to agree with Maxi. You don’t look very coplike tonight.”

“Good thing I don’t have to chase down any psycho killers. I’d fall off these stupid shoes and embarrass myself.” She curled her toes in them—or attempted to while she flicked a hand at the short, choppy crop of brown hair she’d recently taken the scissors to herself. Old priceless diamonds dripped from her ears. “I don’t get parties like this. People standing around. Talk, talk, talk. Why do they have to get all dressed up to do that?”

“To show off.”

She thought about that over another sip of wine. “I guess that’s it. At least I don’t have to gear up like this for the shower deal for Louise. Still, another party. More talk, talk, talk.”

“It’s a ritual, after all. When a friend’s about to marry, her friends gather together, with gifts, and . . . well, I have no idea what happens then.”

“If it’s anything like mine, some of them drink till they puke, and others strip it off and dance.”

“Sorry I’ll miss it.”

“Liar.” But she grinned at him.

“Here we are!” Maxia came back, towing a portly, mustachioed man somewhere on the shady side of sixty. On his arm like a whippy vine twined a woman well shy of thirty with full, pouty lips, a bored expression, and a short red dress that covered very little of her expansive breasts.

“You simply must meet A nton and his lovely companion. It’s Satin, isn’t it?”

“Silk,” the bored blonde corrected.

“Of course it is.”

Eve caught the quick glint in Maxia’s eyes and understood she’d mistaken the name deliberately. And liked her better for it.

“Actually we met a few years ago.” A nton stuck out a wide, pudgy hand. “At Wimbledon.”

“It’s nice to see you again. My wife, Eve.”

“Yes, the American cop. A pleasure, Detective.”

“Lieutenant.” Eve glanced down at Silk’s sky-high heels. Just heels, she noted, with the feet arched into them bare on top. “I heard about those.” She pointed. “People are actually wearing invisible shoes.”

“They’re not available to the public for another three weeks.” Silk tossed her long mane of hair. “Sookie pulled some strings.” She plastered herself against Anton/Sookie.

“Anton’s produced several films about crime and police and so on,” Maxia commented. “So I thought he’d enjoy meeting one of New York’s Finest.”

“British-style procedurals.” Anton patted Silk’s hand as she tugged at him like a petulant child. “What we like to think of as crackling whodunits—with plenty of sex and violence,” he added with a laugh. “And a slight connection with reality, as you’d know. I have been thinking about using an American setting, so I—”

“I don’t see why a girl would want to be a cop.” Silk frowned at Eve. “It’s not very feminine.”

“Really? It’s funny because I don’t see why a girl would want to be a bimb—”

“What is it you do?” Roarke cut Eve off, smoothly—giving her only the slightest pinch on the ass.

“I’m an actress. I just finished shooting a major role in Sookie’s next vid.”

“Victim, right?” Eve asked.

“I get to die dramatically. It’s going to make me a star, isn’t it, Sookie?”

“Absolutely, sweetheart.”

“I want to go. There’s nothing happening here. I want to go dancing, go some place with some action.” She tugged hard enough to pull Anton back a few steps.