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Taste of Sin

Interracial Romantic Suspense

Miss Brandy K



Published by Heartthrob Publishing

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"I mean, if you're offering, I could just step outside a minute, I'm sure the water is still hot."

She hadn't realized she was getting closer to him, nor him closer to her, until she could feel the hot droplets of water still hanging to his skin starting to sink into her sweater as they stood, her chest pressed against him.

His free hand tested the shape of her cheek, and then she reached up for his lips and they kissed, and Jamelia knew that she was already gone, even if it was only for a little vacation fling.

His other hand wrapped around, taking a grip of her bottom. If she didn't have much pride in her chest, it only made her feel better about the way that men looked at her ass. She liked the feeling of his fingers digging in, and she liked the way that taking the grip brought something out in him, something that made him take the kiss deeper.

"Do you have protection?" He breathed.

"I'm safe," she said. She'd been on B.C. since before she moved to California to help deal with the cramps, and now it seemed like she was the lucky one.

"Are you sure it's okay?"

She pulled away from him for a moment. She could see the hunger in her eyes, but he had asked for this.

"I'm on birth control, I'm clean, I don't—" She blinked, the next part making her stumble a little bit in her quest to get him into bed. "I don't usually do this?"

"Neither do I, but—when in Rome, right?"

"Shut up and kiss me."

Roy did as he was told, pulling her up to set her on the counter. The way he did it was like she didn't weigh more than a bowling ball. She scooted her hips up to help him get the sweatpants off, and then he was kissing her again, holding her head up with one hand as his other explored her body.

His dancing fingers found their way to her core, his palm pressing against her mons as his fingers spread her folds and teased the hard, pleasurable nub at the top. A spasm shot through her, shooting her eyes open wide for an instant before she let them slip closed again.

He started to probe her depths, finding them already slick with arousal, and then curled his fingers, stirring up pleasure that Jamelia hadn't felt in any of the exploration she'd done of her own body before.

She tried to catch her breath, tried to regain her composure. Roy added another finger and kept stroking that spot inside her, her body tightening, her back betraying her and offering her breasts to him in spite of her embarrassment.

He let her head down just slowly enough to avoid banging into the mirror behind her, and then yanked her sweater up.

"God, you have great tits," he growled, his voice ragged with arousal.

"No I don't." She could barely get the words out, as his fingers continued to take her breath away from her.

"Shut up," he commanded, and she couldn't argue with him any more. He pulled the orgasm forcibly out of her and left her pooled up on the counter for a moment before wrapping his arms around her and carrying her out of the bathroom and dropping her ass-first onto the bed.

"You're sure about this?"

Jamelia answered by pulling her legs apart a little more for him. He took one ankle in his hands and lifted it over his shoulder, then lined himself up against her waiting lips and slid inside.

God, she hadn't—this was—she couldn't find words to describe any more. She could feel his cock jerk with every deep thrust inside, could feel him hitting her perfectly, deep enough that it almost hurt. His cock stretched her just to the point of pain, the spiral of feelings and emotions driving Jamelia absolutely crazy.

Reason tumbled off a cliff, and the delicious feeling of oblivion right around the corner, about to overtake her, forced her hips to push back against him, the sound of skin slapping against skin filling the hotel to harmonize with a voice of pleasure that sounded remarkably like her own.

Roy pulled hard on her nipples and hit her again right where she needed it, and then her entire body tensed up as an orgasm ripped through her. She could feel his rhythm getting erratic, as well, as he got close. She could feel him much more closely, now, as her body tried to learn every nook and cranny of his cock in the time it took for her orgasm to subside.

When he finally slid into her, jabbing against something deep inside her, one last time and started to cum, she felt another shock of pleasure run through her, prolonging the orgasm another precious few seconds as he twitched with each potent, ropy shot of cum.

He looked at her for a long moment before leaning down and kissing her.

"Is it always like that?"

Roy smiled at her. "More or less."

"Can you fit in my suitcase, then? I need to take you home with me."

He moved his still semi-hard cock inside her and stoked the fire inside her that she'd thought had died down after her orgasm.

"No, not quite. But I've still got plenty of time left in the day."

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Do I have to spell it out for you?

One


Jamelia Brown had already put her badge on its usual place right on her belt, and didn't realize that it shouldn't have been there until she was already out the door. It was odd, not being on-duty. She had forced herself not to even bring it with her, and then somehow it had ended up in her luggage anyway. Her work suit—that is to say, her only suit—was there, too, and she had laid everything out the way she always did at home.

Only, she wasn't at home, and she wasn't going to work. Which should have made it uncomfortable and unusual to go around getting ready for work, but somehow she had barely realized that she was doing it.

When she had finally been told, point blank, that she needed a vacation, she thought it would be a relief. She'd finally have time to pick skiing back up again. She hadn't been on a mountain since she was fifteen years old, and now here she was, with a great view of the Tetons. Jamelia stripped off the suit, already regretting bringing it.

Those weren't the kinds of clothes that you needed on a skiing trip. But the ever-present 'what if' was always there. What if she needed to impress someone? What if she needed to look serious? What if she had to have a suit for something?

She hung it back up on the rack, promising herself that this time she wouldn't go straight for it the next morning. Then she changed into tight-fitting winter clothes that didn't flatter her breasts nearly as much as she might have liked. Then again, she thought, there wasn't nearly enough of them to be flattered, looking down at them sadly. Barely enough to fill her small hands.

She moved on from beating herself up over it and forced herself to keep on going. She slipped her wallet into her pocket on the way out and grabbed the keys to the rental car. She didn't need a new car, but it was impressing her enough that if she did, she might buy one. Reasonable, solid gas mileage, comfortable—it was a nice experience. Almost nothing like the heap she drove to work every morning, but it couldn't have the history she had with that old Jeep.

Her first stop was by the ski rentals. A man who looked like he thought he was God's gift to women smiled at her with a grin that reminded her of David Hasselhoff and asked if she needed any instruction. For such a pretty lady, he could always justify a discount, no problem.

She didn't have the heart to tell him no, so instead she told him hell no, and if he gave her a line like that again, he'd be taking a ride down the mountain on a stretcher. He laughed like she'd been joking, and maybe she had been. Somehow she suddenly wanted the suit back, and the badge that went along with it, just so she could prove that she was off-limits as long as she wanted to be.

Jamelia carried a pair of skis over to the counter, where David Hasselhoff still leaned back, giving her a smile that you could run a deep-frier with, and paid for her skis and poles. The man took her ID and, to Jamelia's great frustration, read her name out loud. How terribly predictable.

She took her card back once they'd run the credit through and seen that she wasn't likely to run off with their equipment, and huffed out of the room. She'd been expecting something like this pretty much since she started working at the station. It had made it easier not to go on vacation, when she realized that every vacation would be full of assholes trying their best to ruin her time.

She stepped into line behind a couple of teenagers who looked like they had all the money in the world and had decided to come to Wyoming as a change of pace from Switzerland. They were talking about the usual sort of nothing that she had come to expect from rich teenagers.

Jamelia closed her eyes a minute to try to calm herself down. She was being a bitch and she knew it. That generally meant, and this was the challenge, that she had to stop. But it was just so tempting, and there wouldn't be many other chances to confirm that she'd been absolutely right to forgo vacation time for seven years running.

But according to the Captain, while that was all fine and good for most of them, she was getting wound up way too tight, and she needed a break. Specifically her, as if she was doing something wrong getting the highest close-rate in the county.

Well, whatever it was, it wasn't a complaint. They gave her full pay for a week's vacation, and she intended to use it either getting back into her childhood hobby, or proving that there was no reason to take vacations. Either seemed about as good as the other, because even if she didn't have a good time, she was going to have a good time giving the Captain shit about it afterward, and that would more than make up for the week of dealing with assholes.

Besides, out there in the cold, she always had the option of popping in her ear-buds, and then she wouldn't hear a god damn thing. She took one step closer to the front of the line, not far now. Half of the teenagers had left and the others had continued the conversation as if they hadn't noticed their friends' absence.

Jamelia finally decided to stop subjecting herself to the frustration and nestled one of the earphones into her ear, enjoying the tight fill inside. Then she pulled out her phone and started the music. In for a penny, in for a pound, she figured. So she'd made a playlist full of songs that she'd loved as a teenager, and she was going to make a very strange weekend of reliving her life before the move out to the coast.

She kept the music quiet enough that she could almost hear over it, and kept her other ear open. As if any moment she might suddenly need to hear something. A voice behind her was accompanied by a tap on the shoulder.

"You new in town?"

She craned her neck over, not wanting to get her skis turned around. "Just visiting," she said.

The man behind her was hard to see through all the clothing, but his voice was at least friendly enough. She gave him a chance to say something more.

"Yeah—I guess we all are, aren't we? Or, most of us, anyway. I just—well, I was behind you in the ski rental, and I'm sorry how those guys treated you."

"Yeah, well." Jamelia could hear how bitchy her voice sounded, but with Britney Spears pumping quietly in her ears she was starting to feel better, so she really hadn't planned on being any ruder than normal. "Sometimes you have to deal with it."

"Well, maybe someone should give them a talking-to."

Jamelia liked the sound of that. Maybe they would like talking to her. She was good at talking, when she wanted to be. She was especially good at talking when there was something on the line. And she was an exceptional talker when the guy was across a metal table, handcuffed down and she could smell the scumbag on him.

Well, the handcuffs would be difficult, but the rest—they sounded perfect for it, frankly. The man behind her pulled his scarf down and his hat off, then held out his hand.

"I'm Roy."

Jamelia took it, still trying to turn as little as possible.

"Jamelia."

"Well, Jamelia, it looks like we're up."

Sure enough, the last remaining teenagers had found their seats and were starting to slowly move up and away to the top of the mountain. Jamelia moved over to get into the lift, and Roy moved up beside her.

She still couldn't see much of him, but from what she could see, she wanted to see more. The man had a military-looking haircut and the jaw to match it, with pretty eyes and a thin smile. She'd never used the word 'dreamy' before, but then again, she'd never seen someone who looked like Roy did.

Two


The way up the mountain wasn't as quiet as she'd wanted it to be before. Roy seemed to have taken her manners as permission to talk to her most of the way up, but somehow she wasn't as frustrated by it as she thought she would be. The man kept himself to the usual topics. How much skiing had she done, did she watch any sports, see any good movies lately. She noticed that he hadn't talked about work, though. Not even one word.

Maybe he was like those teenagers. He didn't look like it. Pressed in close, she could feel that it wasn't his coat that made him look bulky. He had broad shoulders and the feeling of his muscles under the coat made her wonder what he looked like in regular clothes.

Living in California had certain advantages, or perhaps disadvantages. Bodybuilding gorillas came through the station more often than was likely represented by their actual numbers, and a man who spent twenty hours a week in the gym wasn't likely to impress compared to some of them.

That didn't change how she felt about a man who looked like he took care of himself, though. The difference was subtle, but she could tell it with one glance. Well, normally she could. Most of the folks on the mountain had on a heavy down coat over their sweaters over their shirts, and it tended to make everyone look like a little roly-poly.

As much as she hated to admit it, the effect on her was the same. She was trim, even small, but with two coats on to keep the cold out she looked like a completely different person. Like a teenager, she thought, and not in a good way. Not an "energy to fuck all night, experienced enough to know what she was doing" kind of way; more like a "wearing mom's makeup and clothes don't fit" kind of way.

If it weren't for their coincidental timing, looking like this, a guy like Roy wouldn't have looked at her twice. But that was no reason to blow him off, not with the way he looked.

She let him talk. His voice was soothing. More soothing than music that had aged like milk. She fished the phone out of her pocket, her gloves making it hard to get a grip that she was sure of before she pulled it out. Then she changed the playlist. The soft guitar kicked in a moment after the piano, and when the trumpet melody hit she was already feeling better than she had for the entirety of Britney's first three songs.

They jumped one right after the other, and made it out of the landing zone double-quick. The skis felt strange on her feet, but the minute she started moving she was already feeling that familiarity that she'd left behind a little more than ten years ago.

When a familiar jacket lined up next to her on the intermediate slope, she found herself raising an eyebrow at him. He shouted to be heard over the ear-buds he'd watched her fit into her ears, but she could have heard him if he spoke softer.

"I'll race you. If I win, let me buy you a cup of coffee."

She laughed, exaggerating the motion, and then took off suddenly. It took him a moment to react. By that point she already had a good lead on him, and she was going to use every bit of it to beat him down as best she could.

He might be good-looking, but she had a decade of experience to work off. It was just that she hadn't had that experience in a long time. And what was more, this place was new to her. She'd never seen these slopes in her life, but as she started moving, starting with practicing shifting her weight left and right.

Roy was going to catch her if she kept up like this. She ducked her head a little and worked her way up to a good speed. There wasn't going to be much challenge, not compared to what she remembered with her head, but she hadn't been doing this in a long time, and her reflexes weren't what they should have been for anything more advanced than this.

She dodged around a bump that would have slowed her down. Still, Roy was catching her. If she wasn't lucky, he'd make it before she got down the hill. She wouldn't mind a cup of coffee, and she would mind the company less. But that didn't mean that she didn't want to win, neither.

He came up alongside and made a quick, informal salute as he passed. Then he was gone, and picking his way further down the mountain, at first only a few inches ahead and then a few yards. Jamelia cursed and crouched lower, trying to minimize the resistance she was catching on the air.

Comfort be damned. At some point her reflexes would take over or she'd flip head-over-heels into the snow, but losing wasn't an option. There was no way in hell she was going to accept that. But she could already see the end of the trail coming up.

She tried to will herself faster, started catching Roy up ahead. He looked over his shoulder at her, checking to see if she was closing the gap, and then suddenly one of his feet slipped sideways and he took a tumble.

Jamelia turned her skis and let herself slide along the snow. It was cold and it was wet, but even if she was off-duty and a thousand miles away she was still a cop and still had a responsibility to make sure that he was okay. To her relative pleasure, Jamelia found Roy already straightening himself up. He pulled his scarf down and barked out a laugh.

She reached over to help him up, waiting for him to get steady. Then, as soon as he looked even remotely upright, he shot off again. The surprise was too much to catch up with, only a few hundred feet from the finish. She pulled up thirty seconds after him.

"That's my win," she said, letting her competitive edge touch her voice a little more than she might have wanted.

"Nope. I got down first, and you have to take me up on my offer."

"No way, Jose. I won that. You fell down, automatic disqualification."

"Well, that doesn't sound right to me, and pretty girls don't always get their way."

The grin on his face told her how pleased he was with himself, and she couldn't bring herself to refuse.

"Neither do pretty guys, Roy. But we'll compromise. I'll buy yours, you buy mine. How's that?"

"You better watch out, I get a double-shot with extra whipped cream. It'll be like, fifteen dollars."

Jamelia rolled her eyes beneath the ski goggles. "How will I ever afford such extravagant coffee?"

Three


Jamelia had never taken twenty minutes to get dressed before, not even when she had put on her work clothes that morning. But now it seemed like impressing was exactly what she was hoping to do, and now she was realizing that all she had were clothes that were perfect for relaxing and nothing else, or winter clothes she was going to wear on the mountain.

Then it came to a choice between something that almost approximated reasonably casual, or figure out a way to explain wearing a jacket and slacks to a casual coffee date.

She forced herself to choose the casual clothes, in spite of her mind immediately latching onto the chance to wear the usual suit. Something about it was alluring to her, even if it took her already decidedly average-at-best breasts and minimized them further until she looked like a man. The comfort, or the repeated self-assurance that she had brought it specifically to impress someone if the chance had arisen.

Now that it had, she realized how stupid that idea had been. She'd wasted space in her luggage by bringing it. Still, that was, at the very least, a good lesson if she ever took a second vacation. Leave work clothes at home, because no matter how much you like wearing them you're not going to wear them.

She made her way back downstairs, decidedly unhappy with her clothes. They made her look like a slob. Like the beach-bum kids who wore pajamas everywhere, and thought that was an appropriate look in public. She didn't think that, but she hadn't expected to go out much at all. Room service, nothing more.

Roy, on the other hand, looked every bit as good as she thought he would. Naturally broad shoulders and just enough muscle to look like he wouldn't run into trouble. He moved with a slow, easy grace now that he was off the skis. His clothes, on the other hand, weren't much better than hers. A sweater proclaiming his presumable graduation from University of Virginia that looked like he only wore it in the cold when he was at home sipping on hot chocolate, and well-worn blue jeans. The look seemed to fit him, though.

His face split into a grin when he saw that her coming out of the elevator.

"Hey, you all set?"

She hefted her purse in one hand to show that she had it, and he halfway-turned toward the resort restaurant, watching to see if she came along. They went through the fifteen-foot-wide door side-by-side. The sign said 'seat yourself,' so they did, settling into a table that would hopefully be visible enough for the waitress to see. Roy gave a small wave the minute she turned in their direction anyways.

"So, what brought you out here?"

Jamelia rolled her eyes. "Boss told me he was giving me a week's vacation whether I wanted it or not, so—"

"So you thought you'd come out here and take advantage of the season?"

"More or less. My parents used to live out East, right by a ski resort, so we'd go out every winter. Then my dad got a transfer, and a promotion to go with it, but he was too busy to take us out. By the time things slowed down, I was in college, and too busy for vacations."

"You sure we aren't related?" He laughed. "I have about the same story, only the other way 'round. We started in Colorado, then moved down to Alabama just in time for High School, so I could stick out like a sore thumb."

The waitress came up, and they gave their orders. Jamelia got herself a hot chocolate. Too much caffeine this late, and she'd never get to sleep. She didn't need an early morning, but that didn't mean that she was going to wreck her sleep schedule just because it was a vacation.

Roy raised his eyebrows when she suggested it, then gave a considering nod and changed his order from a plain coffee with cream to a hot chocolate as well.

He turned back. "You ever had sweet tea?"

"I don't think so. Nobody ever called it that, anyway."

"I'm sorry—I meant sweet-tea." He said it again, so that it sounded almost like it was one word, just running all together. "It's the state drink down there." He made a face and then used a mocking voice. "'You don't drink sweet-tea? Why, what on Earth—…' So I got into U Virginia, and didn't look back."

She nodded, smiled at the waitress who brought the mugs of hot chocolate over for them, and took a sip. Definitely hot, definitely chocolate.

"I'm sorry, I guess I should have asked. What did you study?"

"Oh, this and that." An avoidance. She hadn't read him wrong on the way up the mountain. Whatever he did for work, he sure as hell didn't want to talk about it.

"Were you good at this and that?"

"Graduated top of my class."

"And you still had time to get into the gym?" Jamelia pinched her lips to keep them twisting into a grin.

"Well, thank you for noticing, at least. Everyone I know is, aw, I dunno. Twice this big. Half of them, anyway. I'm the little guy."

"I know how you feel. I'm living in L.A. and it seems like any time you want to go to the beach, you see these guys with chests larger than mine."

"Oh, I'm sure you do alright for yourself." He smiled. "Don't be so hard on yourself."

"I'm not," she growled, her mind now stuck on the differences between them. Here she was, looking nothing like the ideal bimbo bodies who the gorillas usually had on their arms. And there he was, looking like he'd been the star quarterback in high school, and then in college, and then stayed in that shape ever since.

"Well—don't take this the wrong way, but I think you look great."

She wanted to tell him that he was either wrong or lying. She knew all about this act, since she heard it about once a month whenever someone thought they could get out of an interrogation by buttering her up.

But Roy wasn't a suspect, and he seemed for all the world like a nice enough guy. She needed to stop thinking about work, but it seemed as if it was the only way she could think about much of anything.

The waitress came around asking if they needed a refill, and Roy told her that they just needed a check. Jamelia pushed herself up, ostensibly to go to the bathroom, with every intention of catching the waitress and paying for the whole thing herself.

She took a step away, and Roy called after her to put it all on his room bill, after all. The dirty rotten scoundrel had beaten her at her own game! Jamelia couldn't help noticing that his room was on her floor. In fact, more than that, he was only a few doors down. The idea that he had been there, maybe grabbing a shower to warm up after the tumble he took on the mountain… only a few short and easy doors down…

Jamelia blushed. No. Down, girl.

She let her frustration play out in exaggerated strokes across her face as she sat back down.

"I knew it," Roy said, another smile twisting across his face. "You were planning on trying to take my win away from me, after all."

"And then you had to go and rain on my parade."

"How about I let you treat me if you can beat me tomorrow?"

Jamelia let a triumphant smile show. "Oh, sure. But this time, we'll be taking the big boy slopes."

Roy returned her smile. "I wouldn't have it any other way."

Four


She didn't like thinking this way. It wasn't love, but she sure didn't like whatever it was. Whatever she was feeling, it was going straight to her head. More worryingly, it was going other places, as well. Places that didn't usually get too excited when she saw a moderately attractive guy.

None of this was normal, but then again, maybe it was that she wasn't going to see him again after she went back to L.A. on Monday. She wasn't opposed to it, per se, but he was in Virginia, she was in California. They couldn't get further apart without having planned it.

She opened the blinds. Still dark, but not too dark to see the heavy snow pouring down. Not enough to see the four solid inches that had accumulated just on the windowsill.

So much for beating Roy down the mountain. She put on another sweater. She had more than one, after all. The chances were slim that he'd see her, slimmer still that he would judge her for wearing the same sweater twice. Most people didn't rise at five in the morning, after all. And sweaters were re-wearable.

Neither of those things, though, helped her not to worry about it. In fact, they didn't even help a little bit. Jamelia put her wallet into the pocket of her leggings again. She was looking more and more like she wore pajamas all the time every day. The vacation had been interesting so far, and she still had four more days to go before she had to get back on a plane, but she couldn't afford another one. By the time she came back from a second trip, if she sat down on the curb a minute, people would start dropping change in her lap.

She pulled the door open and stepped into the hall, turning to check that the door was pulled shut. She was already moving before she turned her head back, and that was how she managed to bump hard into Roy. The liquid covering him looked damn hot, and he certainly reacted that way.

"Oh, Jesus. I'm sorry. Shit. Um." She fished the key to her room out of her wallet and opened the door. "Come on. We'll get you cleaned up."

She helped him up from the ground, bending down past him to pick up the now-crumpled paper cup that had been full of hot coffee.

"Hop in the shower, I'll… um… I can go grab some clothes from your room if you want."

"I'll be fine," he said, already closing the shower curtain up, still fully-clothed. A moment later, a shirt came popping up over the rail, and then sweatpants, and by that point Jamelia decided it was better that she left. She called from outside the bathroom. "Jeez, I'm so sorry. I didn't see you, and—"

"I'm fine, Jamelia. Don't worry about it. I assume you've seen the alert."

She hadn't. "Alert?"

"Blizzard advisory. They're closing down the mountain until it clears up. Could be done tonight, or it could be days. No way to be sure."

"That's a let-down," she said, as much to herself as to him.

"I know you were looking forward to getting spanked out there, but it'll be okay."

She heard the water turn off, heard the curtain going. She imagined what it must have looked like, and then a moment she had most of her question answered when the door opened inches to her right, followed by a brief puff of steam.

"Are you okay? No burns or anything? We can get a medic if—"

She turned to look at him while she talked, and only then did she notice that he wasn't wearing anything but a towel held up by his left hand. She had to take back her earlier assessment. He didn't look natural at all.

Roy looked like he could have been carved out of marble, if Michelangelo had needed a model. He smiled at her. "I'll just borrow this, and then I'll have to go replace my coffee."

"I needed a cup, myself," Jamelia confessed.

"You want me to spill it on you, so we're even?"

"You just want to catch me coming out of the shower," Jamelia teased.

She was treading on dangerous territory, now. She might have seemed playful to him, and that was exactly how she meant to sound, but part of her absolutely wanted to get caught coming out of the shower, if he was going to feel one tenth as aroused by her as she was of him.

"I mean, if you're offering, I could just step outside a minute, I'm sure the water is still hot."

She hadn't realized she was getting closer to him, nor him closer to her, until she could feel the hot droplets of water still hanging to his skin starting to sink into her sweater as they stood, her chest pressed against him.

His free hand tested the shape of her cheek, and then she reached up for his lips and they kissed, and Jamelia knew that she was already gone, even if it was only for a little vacation fling.

His other hand wrapped around, taking a grip of her bottom. If she didn't have much pride in her chest, it only made her feel better about the way that men looked at her ass. She liked the feeling of his fingers digging in, and she liked the way that taking the grip brought something out in him, something that made him take the kiss deeper.

"Do you have protection?" He breathed.

"I'm safe," she said. She'd been on B.C. since before she moved to California to help deal with the cramps, and now it seemed like she was the lucky one.

"Are you sure it's okay?"

She pulled away from him for a moment. She could see the hunger in her eyes, but he had asked for this.

"I'm on birth control, I'm clean, I don't—" She blinked, the next part making her stumble a little bit in her quest to get him into bed. "I don't usually do this?"

"Neither do I, but—when in Rome, right?"

"Shut up and kiss me."

Roy did as he was told, pulling her up to set her on the counter. The way he did it was like she didn't weigh more than a bowling ball. She scooted her hips up to help him get the sweatpants off, and then he was kissing her again, holding her head up with one hand as his other explored her body.

His dancing fingers found their way to her core, his palm pressing against her mons as his fingers spread her folds and teased the hard, pleasurable nub at the top. A spasm shot through her, shooting her eyes open wide for an instant before she let them slip closed again.

He started to probe her depths, finding them already slick with arousal, and then curled his fingers, stirring up pleasure that Jamelia hadn't felt in any of the exploration she'd done of her own body before.

She tried to catch her breath, tried to regain her composure. Roy added another finger and kept stroking that spot inside her, her body tightening, her back betraying her and offering her breasts to him in spite of her embarrassment.

He let her head down just slowly enough to avoid banging into the mirror behind her, and then yanked her sweater up.

"God, you have great tits," he growled, his voice ragged with arousal.

"No I don't." She could barely get the words out, as his fingers continued to take her breath away from her.

"Shut up," he commanded, and she couldn't argue with him any more. He pulled the orgasm forcibly out of her and left her pooled up on the counter for a moment before wrapping his arms around her and carrying her out of the bathroom and dropping her ass-first onto the bed.

"You're sure about this?"

Jamelia answered by pulling her legs apart a little more for him. He took one ankle in his hands and lifted it over his shoulder, then lined himself up against her waiting lips and slid inside.

God, she hadn't—this was—she couldn't find words to describe any more. She could feel his cock jerk with every deep thrust inside, could feel him hitting her perfectly, deep enough that it almost hurt. His cock stretched her just to the point of pain, the spiral of feelings and emotions driving Jamelia absolutely crazy.

Reason tumbled off a cliff, and the delicious feeling of oblivion right around the corner, about to overtake her, forced her hips to push back against him, the sound of skin slapping against skin filling the hotel to harmonize with a voice of pleasure that sounded remarkably like her own.

Roy pulled hard on her nipples and hit her again right where she needed it, and then her entire body tensed up as an orgasm ripped through her. She could feel his rhythm getting erratic, as well, as he got close. She could feel him much more closely, now, as her body tried to learn every nook and cranny of his cock in the time it took for her orgasm to subside.

When he finally slid into her, jabbing against something deep inside her, one last time and started to cum, she felt another shock of pleasure run through her, prolonging the orgasm another precious few seconds as he twitched with each potent, ropy shot of cum.

He looked at her for a long moment before leaning down and kissing her.

"Is it always like that?"

Roy smiled at her. "More or less."

"Can you fit in my suitcase, then? I need to take you home with me."

He moved his still semi-hard cock inside her and stoked the fire inside her that she'd thought had died down after her orgasm.

"No, not quite. But I've still got plenty of time left in the day."

Five


The phone in her pocket felt heavier now that it had Roy's phone number in it. As if somehow the fact that she could call him if she ever, by some strange miracle, made it into Virginia was a sacrosanct promise. It shouldn't have felt as uncomfortable as it did, but she couldn't make the discomfort go away. So instead she turned it off and tossed it on the couch in her suite and laid back on the bed.

Nothing to watch on the TV, at least nothing without charging ten more dollars to her room bill at the end of the week. She wanted to see Roy again. Somehow they'd find a way to fill the hours, she knew. She had a sneaking suspicion how they'd do it, too, and she didn't mind that one bit.

But he was heading back to Virginia in the morning. Something came up, it was an emergency, so sorry. She thought about texting him for a minute. She even sat up, a few short movements away from standing up to go get her phone.

What would that have said about her, though? She wasn't trying to be clingy, but with the resort snowed in for what seemed to be the rest of the week, what else was she supposed to do? An old game console was in the cabinet beneath the TV, tied to the wall with a braided steel cable as if someone was going to be desperate to steal the hotel's fifteen year old technology.

She leaned back again. She didn't need more sleep. She didn't want more sleep. She wanted to have something to do. This was exactly why she never took vacations. There was plenty of fun to be had for a little while, enjoying sex with Roy. Then something came up, like something always does, and that was gone. Now she had a whole lot of nothing to do and a badge in her jacket pocket that said she was special somewhere else.

That was the other part that frustrated her. Her time on the job had gotten her a little stressed, sure. But being a detective meant that people's lives relied on you doing your damn job. Maybe a little bit of stress was part of the job. Had they ever thought of that?

Because every time some son of a bitch gets away with murder, gets away with rape, even gets away with a little armed robbery—that's a guy who knows, who's been shown, that the cops can't touch him. The first time is hard. It's scary. You never know. Maybe the police will catch you. Maybe they're going to put a ton of man-hours into the case and put the pieces together.

There are always pieces. Sometimes they're not the right pieces for a conviction, but the guy who works the case—he knows who did it. That's how it always was for her. Sometimes it was the wrong evidence, but she always knew. The work was making it stick, and that was a matter of combing the scene, compiling evidence, and finding the way that the puzzle pieces fit together into something like a compelling picture that says to the District Attorney, and then says to the jury, that this is the only guy who could have possibly done it.

Maybe everyone else had a family. Maybe they had their departmental bowling team, maybe they had their damn cocktail parties with the Mayor's office. Maybe those things were more important than making sure another woman didn't get raped tonight. But not for Jamelia. She sat up again, this time went over and reached for the phone. She had to look up times to get home. She had a job to do, and she had no reason not to be there. Especially not when the slopes were closed.

She canceled her tickets for Saturday morning. They didn't promise a refund but then they said that if they issued one, it wouldn't be for another day or two. Either way, she wasn't going to be on that airplane.

Tomorrow morning, six A.M. flight. She'd have to get up a little early, but that didn't matter. Five was sleeping in for her, anyways. She had to go back to sleep after she woke up a sweaty mess about every night. There was a time, before she joined the force, where it would keep her awake all night. No matter what time she went to bed, three or four in the morning she would be wide awake, images flashing in her head that she would never be able to get out.

She shook her head and pulled a water bottle out of the fridge, took a sip and used it to down her pills. Then she took a deep breath and laid back on the bed. She could go to sleep in a couple of hours, set an alarm for three-thirty. She would probably turn it off again before it went off, but the security would be nice to have until she knew she was up.

How in the hell was she supposed to pass the time, though? She took a deep breath. The only thing to do, then, was to find something else to do. She'd take a walk, maybe. There probably wasn't much to see. Families on vacation at the off-brand 'great spot' who had just as little to do as she did.

Well, either way, she could at least get something to eat. That would give her something to do, even if it didn't keep her busy for the three hours she had to kill before she could justify sleeping. She put on the work suit, already getting back into that mindset. It wasn't as if she had to worry about the impression she'd make on Roy.

He wasn't going to think she was a hard ass when he didn't see her. And she wasn't going up the mountain, either, because the blizzard had closed the way for emergency vehicles and it would be unsafe to wind down the mountain at twenty miles over the speed limit or something. She rolled her eyes.

It was their mountain, they could do whatever they wanted with it. But that was absurd. There were still cars pulling into the parking lot, even now. Obviously someone could get up the mountain. Were ambulance drivers prone to driving like madmen all of a sudden? If a dozen or more people a day could safely make it, with no wild stories of armies of people who hadn't, then every ambulance driver that Jamelia had ever known could make it.

She settled herself into the restaurant. She thought about sitting up at the bar, but it would have sent the wrong message. She wanted to take up as little space as possible, not get picked up one last time for the night. That thing with Roy had been a mistake. She pulled out her phone and scrolled down to his entry in her contacts list.

Her thumb hovered over it for a minute, hesitating for a moment. Then she long-pressed on it and hit 'delete.' A message asked her if she was sure, and she said she was. She would love to see him again. He was a great guy and she'd had a great time. But that wasn't the same thing as being a real relationship and it sure enough wasn't enough for her to keep a number in her phone in the hope that one of them moved across the country to have a repeat performance.

Six


Who the hell was awake at this hour?

Jamelia looked up at the corner of her phone screen to check the time before she answered the call. It was earlier than she thought. Only midnight. She was awake at this hour, when she wasn't on vacation. The number wasn't one she recognized, but there were precious few that she would. Dad's ringer said "Dad," but he wasn't going to call.

Becca's said her name as well, but it obviously wasn't either of them. And it wasn't Roy because it was a 213 number, and that meant L.A.

Finally she picked up the phone on the fourth ring.

"Jamelia Brown speaking."

"Jamelia, I know we told you that you need a vacation."

The captain, then. Okay.

"And I'm taking one, just like you said. I might not have wanted to, but I can take orders, at least. Sir."

"That's not why I'm calling Jamelia. There's been… something happened. You should come in as soon as you get the chance."

"I'll be in town tomorrow morning."

"You're serious. Jamelia, where did you go for your vacation, your neighbor's house?"

"I'll see you in the morning, Captain."

"Jamelia, I just want to say, before you have to get into all this shit… I'm sorry."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"You'll know what I mean when it's important. Now get to sleep, if you're really going to be back by morning you need it. You need to sleep more."

Jamelia was wide awake now. Four hours was plenty, and she still had to get to the airport. Three hours was enough time to get a cup of coffee, take a ride through town and maybe get breakfast before they went up. Plenty of time to wonder what the hell the Captain was sorry about.

No, not wonder. She was worried. That old son of a gun wasn't the kind of person to be sorry for calling her in early. They understood each other, and he understood that getting called in would probably be a godsend for her. Work was all Jamelia had, outside of Becca, and even then they hadn't spoken in a few years.

Not since Becca had gone to live with their father, and that was just how it would have to be.

Well, maybe things would be fine. Maybe she was overthinking it. But she didn't think so. She didn't think so one damn bit. Whatever had Captain Blunt calling at midnight to tell her to get her ass back in town at first convenience, it was something big. If he was apologizing, then she was right to worry.

Had something happened to her father? That was a best-case scenario, but her relationship with dear old dad wasn't something that she wore on her sleeve. So Captain would have been worried about how she'd take it. He would probably worry more when she took it about as well as being told that they'd had to buy a different brand of coffee this week.

Most people who reacted that way, they reacted that way because they were so upset that they weren't registering what had happened. Shock, they called it. Jamelia had seen people in shock, and it was disturbing to say the least. People get hurt, then they think that they're immortal because they're so high on an absurd cocktail of chemicals that they don't realize what the hell they're doing.

She pushed herself out of bed and dressed. She tried to take it slowly but she was out the door in ten minutes anyways. She'd packed the night before, and now it was just a matter of getting her suit on, shoes on, tied, and out.

She checked out and fit herself into the comfortably small seat of the compact rental she'd gotten. It was just as nice as she remembered it being. It still ran better, quieter, and cheaper than the Jeep, but it still didn't have the character. In other words, just the way she'd left it.

The way down the mountain wasn't as bad as they made it sound. Sure, a couple of corners made her a little nervous, but they'd made her nervous on the way up the mountain too, and that was when they were still relying on artificial snow because the first snowfall hadn't hit yet for the year.

Now there were high berms of snow on the low side of the road and it created a strange claustrophobia as every curve became blind, and she had no way of knowing whether or not there was a car about to come blazing around the next corner until she made the turn.

Okay, maybe that wasn't super safe for ambulance drivers, after all. They made risky choices when they thought they could afford it. For speed. Passing folks, stuff like that, and with all these blind corners that turned into a logistical and safety nightmare.

Still, for someone taking it slow, it didn't present a problem. Not even at one in the morning. She hit the city by two, and was sitting down in a twenty-four hour nationwide diner chain that claimed their eggs couldn't be beaten. How someone could make that claim, she would never know, because as far as Elle was aware everyone could at least sort-of cook eggs, and they mostly tasted about the same.

She got waffles instead, and asked for extra butter, because she didn't have the type of body that tended to need to worry about her arteries, and with the way that she often lost herself in her work she wasn't about to get that kind of body, either.

The waitress walked away still writing on her order pad and came back a few seconds later with Jamelia's water. She took a deep drink. She'd never been to Wyoming, but she could see the charm. The mountain was beautiful, and the view of the town down below was a sight to behold, when she could see it after the rain cleared.

This had all the makings of a great trip. She met a guy who happened to live on the wrong coast, but a guy nonetheless. More than she could say for the past ten years in L.A. The skiing, for the amount she'd been able to do, had been great. The views—gorgeous.

Then it turned out that she couldn't bear to be away from work for more than three fucking days and back on the plane she was already going. The fact that the captain had called her specifically to tell her to get her ass back into town, well that was just icing on the cake, after all. She was going to be there anyways, now she just had more motivation.

Jamelia put her earphones in and turned her music back on. The interplay of the instruments was why she listened to jazz. Kept her mind moving. Now more than ever, she just needed to keep moving, long enough to get back into town and find out what the hell the Captain had been so worried about.

Maybe he'd let her work on something again. Not necessarily likely, she knew. There was a reason she'd been told to take a vacation, and whether she agreed with it or not, she doubted that Captain Blunt would change his mind just because she'd gotten a little bored out there.

But that didn't mean that a girl didn't have the right to dream, and vacations didn't stop bad guys.

Seven


Jamelia felt strangely numb. She hadn't realized that she could feel this way, but it was how she felt and it wasn't going to go away no matter what she did. So she might as well get used to the idea that she was going to be numb for a while. Shock might have been the right word.

It wasn't her first time seeing a body. She saw them all the time, and most of the time they looked much worse than this. With her eyes taped shut, Becca looked as if she was sleeping lying there on that slab.

Jamelia turned to ask the Captain what had happened, what the scene looked like, but he had left. A minute to grieve by herself. She leaned on her arms, her hands bearing the weight of a body that didn't know exactly how to hold itself up any more.

"What were you doing in California?" Jamelia could feel the anger building inside her, the anger that would prop her up. It would be the thing that kept her moving in the days to come. Anger at herself. At her sister. But most of all, anger at the son of a bitch who had done this.

Rebecca wasn't going to answer her, but Jamelia gave her time regardless. She had always been the good sister. The good daughter. It was no trouble for her to drop everything for Dad. If it would help, of course she would go. It was no trouble, after all.

It didn't matter that she would have to give up her silicon valley internship, the one that she had been working for since practically the day they had come out to California.

More upsetting, though, was seeing herself lying there on the slab. Identical twins. Which also, Jamelia thought with a sour sarcasm, meant that now her boss knew what her tits looked like. The thought hit a darkly humorous funny bone, but her frustration and anger deadened it. She took comfort in the fact that at least he was old enough to be her grandfather, so hopefully he hadn't thought too much about it.

Jamelia wanted to kiss her sister goodnight, one last time. Press her lips against the forehead that so perfectly matched her own, and send her sister off with good wishes.

But there was nowhere to send her sister off to. She was dead, she hadn't just gone to sleep for a while. Jamelia grit her teeth and walked out.

"Jamelia, if you need more time—"

"I was tearing my hair out, Captain. If you take me off the active roster, I don't know what I'd do."

"Watch some daytime television, maybe," he suggested, but there was no heart in the joke.

"Something like that, yeah."

"I don't know that we exactly needed you to identify the body—she had her I.D. and, I mean…"

"I know exactly what you mean. But legalities are legalities."

"Do you have a way to contact your father? He'll want to know."

She tried to keep herself from blurting out that there was no reason to assume that. He hadn't cared when Mom died, why would Becca be any different? That wasn't a conversation she wanted to have with her boss, though.

"Who's on the case?"

"Assanti's lead, but—"

"Assanti? You've got to be kidding me. Vic, please, just—"

The Captain's thick eyebrows tightened. "Russo, you know I cannot. I know how you're feeling, alright?"

"He has a, what, seven in ten record?"

"He's the next best behind yours, and you know that."

"Compared to five in six. And the other one, he always comes in on something else sooner or later."

"I know, Jamelia, but I just can't give you the case. I know you want it, and I know you'll show it every bit of your considerable talent. But I can't, not even if I wanted to. It's a conflict of interests, and everyone knows it. I'd be in the shit before you could say 'you're fired.' "

Jamelia let out a breath. "Then I'll just look into it on my own."

"Russo, you know I can't let you do that. I don't want to, but I will suspend you if I have to."


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