Thursday, April 24, 2008

Christmas Noir excerpt from Rated: X-Mas by Barbara Karmazin

Christmas Noir by Barbara Karmazin. A cop and her partner and …

Rated X-Mas: Christmas Noir
Loose Id, LLC (originally July 31, 2007)
ISBN: 978-1-59632-367-4


Shannon gritted her teeth, paced back and forth, and counted to ten. Her hands were clenched so tight that her fingernails cut into her palms, but it was either that or pull her hair out in sheer frustration. Besides, turning around and assaulting two police detectives would only make the situation worse, not better, for her. “This is crazy! You can’t do this to me.”

The male detective, Fergus Desoto, spoke in slow, reasonable tones. His voice had a lovely Spanish lilt that sent every nerve ending on her body into super tingle. “We don’t like this any more than you do. It’s orders. We don’t have any other choice. It’s either this or put you into protective custody.”

Shannon whirled around. “Protective custody? You’d put me in jail? I’m not the murderer. Shouldn’t you be focusing your energies on capturing whoever’s killing herms instead of harassing me?”

The female detective, Tannamae Jones, had soft brown skin, almond-shaped eyes, and loose, black curls that gave her an exotic, almost magical appearance. Five-six was the minimum height for police officers. She must have barely squeaked by that requirement. Standing above her, Shannon felt like a clumsy elephant in her six-foot-tall frame.

Fergus splayed his hand across the small of Tannamae’s back and guided her to the other side of the table. She tilted her head to the side, flashed a seductive smile at him while he pulled out a chair for her. When she sat down, he moved behind her chair and rested his hand upon her shoulder.

Shannon sucked in a deep breath. Her throat ached. Detectives Tannamae Jones and Fergus DeSoto were more than just partners. They were lovers. Why couldn’t she have someone give her little touches and looks like that?

Tannamae held up her hand. She had short, clean nails and delicate wrists. Plus, she worked out regularly; Shannon was sure of that because the muscles in her arms were whipcord-hard. “We’re not harassing you. It’s your choice. You know the law mandates protective custody for potential victims of domestic violence. You qualify because of the threatening note you received with the holopic images of the latest victim. Either accept that we’re moving in with you until this case is solved, or accept protective custody in a more secure establishment.”

Shannon bit back a weary sigh. They were right. That particular law was an offshoot from domestic violence cases where the police hadn’t protected potential victims to the fullest extent possible. Even though this murder didn’t appear to be a domestic violence case, they couldn’t be sure and had to abide by the letter of the law. She didn’t have any other choice but to let them move in with her until the murderer was captured or killed. “All right. You can stay. I’ll tell the house droid to put clean sheets in the spare bedroom.”

Tannamae shook her head. “One of us must remain within three feet of you at all times. Would you be more comfortable having a man or a woman bunked down in your bedroom with you?”

Shannon stopped, crossed her arms under her breasts, and took her time looking them over from head to toe. Good. A blush darkened both detectives’ faces now. Served them right for doing this to her. If she called their bluff, would they back off and give her a semblance of privacy? What the hell? She might as well stick it to them deep and dirty. “It doesn’t matter who sleeps in my bed. I’m a herm, a shemale with breasts and a penis. Both sexes turn me on.”

She placed her hands on her hips and smiled a slow, seductive smile. “I’m going to take a shower now. Do you want to watch?”

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