Immortal in Death

By: J. D. Robb

CHAPTER ONE


Getting married was murder. Eve wasn’t sure how it had happened in the first place. She was a cop, for God’s sake. Throughout her ten years on the force, she’d firmly believed cops should stay single, unencumbered, and focused utterly on the job. It was insane to believe one person could split time, energy, and emotion between law, with all its rights and wrongs, and family, with all its demands and personalities.

Both careers — and from what she’d observed, marriage was a job — had impossible demands and hellish hours. It might have been 2058, an enlightened time of technological advancement, but marriage was still marriage. To Eve it translated to terror.

Yet here she was on a fine day in high summer — one of her rare and precious days off — preparing to go shopping. She couldn’t stop the shudder.

Not just shopping, she reminded herself as her stomach clutched, shopping for a wedding dress.

Obviously she’d lost her mind.

It was Roarke’s doing, of course. He’d caught her at a weak moment. Both of them bleeding and bruised and lucky to be alive. When a man is clever enough and knows his quarry well enough to choose such a time and place to propose marriage, well, a woman was a goner.

At least a woman like Eve Dallas.

“You look like you’re about to take on a gang of chemi-thugs bare-handed.”

Eve tugged on a shoe, flicked her gaze up and over. He was entirely too attractive, she thought. Criminally so. The strong face, poet’s mouth, killer blue eyes. The wizard’s mane of thick black hair. If you managed to get past the face to the body, it was equally impressive. Then you added that faint wisp of Ireland in the voice, and, well, you had one hell of a package.

“What I’m about to take on is worse than any chemi-head.” Hearing the whine in her own voice, Eve scowled. She never whined. But the truth was, she’d have preferred fighting hand to hand with a souped-up addict than discussing hemlines.

Hemlines, for sweet Christ’s sake.

She bit back an oath, watching him narrowly as he crossed the spacious bedroom. He had a way of making her feel foolish at odd times. Like now as he sat beside her on the high, wide bed they shared.

He caught her chin in his hand. “I’m hopelessly in love with you.”

There he was. This man with the sinfully blue eyes, the strong, gorgeous, somehow Raphaelite looks of a doomed angel, loved her.

“Roarke.” She struggled to hold back a sigh. She could and had faced an armed laser in the hands of a mad mutant mercenary with less fear than she faced such unswerving emotion. “I’m going through with it. I said I would.”

His brow quirked, dark and wry. He wondered how she remained so unaware of her own appeal as she sat there, fretting, her poorly cut fawn-colored hair standing up in tufts and spikes, aroused by her restless hands, thin lines of annoyance and doubt running between her big, whiskey-colored eyes.

“Darling Eve.” He kissed her, lightly, once on the frowning lips, then again in the gentle dip in her chin. “I never doubted it.” Though he had, constantly. “I’ve several things I have to see to today. You were late last night. I never had a chance to ask if you had plans.”

“The stakeout on the Bines case went to after oh three hundred.”

“Did you get him?”

“Walked right into my arms — blissed on dreamers and a marathon VR session.” She smiled, but it was the hunter’s smile, dark and feral. “Murdering little bastard came along like my personal droid.”

“Well, then.” He patted her shoulder before rising. He stepped down from the platform into the dressing area where he pondered a selection of jackets. “And today? Reports to file?”

“I’m off today.”

“Oh?” Distracted, he turned back, a gorgeous silk jacket in deep charcoal in his hand. “I can reschedule some of my afternoon, if you like.”

Which would be, Eve mused, a bit like a general rescheduling battles. In Roarke’s world, business was a complicated and profitable war. “I’m already booked.” The scowl snuck back on her before she could stop it. “Shopping,” she muttered. “Wedding dress.”

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