Unbound - R. C. Butler - ebook
Opis

When a high profile socialite is found dead, posed in an extremely provocative position, Lieutenant Ellison Frost must set aside her personal connection in pursuit of the truth. As the case pushes into the reaches of the victim's sexually deviant lifestyle, Frost must battle exposing her own private life and the duality it has become.Can she solve the case without exposing her twisted desires and risking her career? Does she continue to hide the shackles that restrain her or simply throw them to the light and forever be Unbound?This book contains graphic sexual content and is not intended for anyone present at the author's birth.

Ebooka przeczytasz w aplikacjach Legimi na:

Androidzie
iOS
czytnikach certyfikowanych
przez Legimi
Windows
10
Windows
Phone

Liczba stron: 374

Odsłuch ebooka (TTS) dostepny w abonamencie „ebooki+audiobooki bez limitu” w aplikacjach Legimi na:

Androidzie
iOS

Unbound

This book is a work of fiction, the characters, incidents and dialogues are products of the author’s imagination and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Copyright © 2015 by R. C. Butler

First Printing, 2015

Warning: This book contains graphic sexual material and is not intended for anyone present at the author’s birth.

All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the author, except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

Published by: Bulldog Press

Submissive:: (n) /sub-mis-iv/:  One who finds empowerment through yielding to another.

Prologue

The preparation, while half the fun, was now complete. It was time for the job to begin. Entering the hotel bar, a soft suede sports coat slung over his shoulder, Sebastian paused and leaned against the doorway to take in the room. It was a classy establishment with all the perks expected in a five-star resort destination. Dim lights shone down from the glacial chandeliers, casting a shimmer across the dark mahogany bar. The patrons? High-class executives sipping scotch and martinis. He let his gaze scan the crowd and settle on his prey. A stunning woman seated at the bar with a highball in hand. Her elegant black dress cascading off her shoulders in a deep v, showing just the right amount of cleavage for the status of the room.

Her demure eyes glanced his way, passing over him, recognition and interest not evident in the least. Her attention, instead, was captivated by the sleazy businessman in the thousand dollar suit seated next to her. Sebastian could hear the whispered giggles as he slid up to the bar. She shifted her back to him as if he barely existed.

He should have been angry, hurt, but instead he smiled to himself. They’d played this game before and he knew the rules. He knew the tease and how much his effort would be rewarded. Ordering a gin and tonic, he relaxed, listening to the soft conversation.

The ‘suit’ was trying hard, complimenting her, flirting and attempting to be witty and charming. His attempts were rewarded but he suspected her attention was not entirely personal. An amazing woman such as her, dressed to the nines and relaxing, alone, in this locale? He was certain her company was going to cost him and, while he was more than willing to pay, he was unsure how to broach the subject. His eyes searched for the answer, for a way in.

“Such a good night, I’m glad I chose to start my evening here. It makes the job so much more enjoyable,” she whispered and he saw his opening.

“The job, and just how well does it pay?” he asked coyly.

She smiled sheepishly, extending the act for both men’s benefit. “Depends on how ‘hard’ the work is but I usually clear about three grand.” She winked and the ‘suit’s’ face tightened, trying to hide an involuntary reaction to the number while maintaining his calm composure.

“It just so happens I’m looking for an employee and that number fits the budget well,” he responded.

“Sounds promising, let’s finish these drinks and get to the contract, baby,” she giggled, her eyes screaming out with passion and lust.

The ‘suit’ reached for her hand and Sebastian realized it was his turn, his move in their game. Reaching out he slid a hand gently up her forearm from behind and the ‘suit’s’ eyes snapped to him in surprise. She put on a show of mock irritation but they could all sense her arousal growing.

The ‘suit’s’ anger flared but before he could react Sebastian leaned in between the two of them, whispering softly.

“Sir, I’m sure you do not wish to make a scene. I happen to be a ‘vice’ detective,” He gestured coyly to the badge strapped to his belt, “and while your exchange was fun to watch, I am afraid I can’t let it slide. The hotel management has asked us to clean things up, so to speak. Now, I suggest you smile, pay for the lady’s drink and make your way to the exit before things get embarrassing.”

The ‘suit’s’ eyes grew with anger and fear as he tossed a few bills on the bar and quickly retreated. Sebastian grasped the lady’s wrist and walked her out of the lounge and into the lobby. Her eyes danced, not of fear but excitement as she tried to hide her smile. Entering the lobby, he slid her arms behind her back and quickly snapped on a pair of service issue cuffs. The tight metal grasped her wrists and lust flared in her eyes.

“Officer, surely there is some way we can work this out,” she whisper breathlessly.

“Really?” he asked, unimpressed. “Do you honestly think you can flirt your way out, my dear? No, you are a whore. Perhaps a high class whore, working the rich and immoral, but a whore none the less and you need to be punished.” Sebastian’s voice was firm and commanding, it’s what she needed, what she wanted.

“Please, I can’t be arrested, my husband would never understand. There must be something else I can do, some other way I can make restitution. I’ll do anything.” Her begging had certainly improved since last they played. A tear slid down her cheek. He was impressed that she could get there with her arousal and passion fighting to push out all other emotions.

“Oh, you will be punished whore and you will feel the pain of retribution.” He grabbed her arms, leading her towards the front doors. Her eyes dropped in fear but lit up instantly as they turned, quickly, into an elevator heading up. An elderly lady scrambled off the lift, giving them a glaringly judgmental stare.

“Police business, ma’am,” Sebastian nearly snickered as he passed the woman and the elevator doors slid shut.

The elevator, now empty, was lined with mirrored glass and he could see her lust filled eyes staring him down in the reflection. He pressed the button for the top floor and the motors went to work, beginning their ascent. As they passed the second floor Sebastian quickly hit the emergency stop button, turning the woman to the wall and shoving her forward. He kicked her legs apart slightly and began to run his hands down her shoulders, around the sides of her chest and across her firm stomach. He felt her body respond, the goose-bumps forming as her heart-rate soared.

“I’m not about to leave myself in a position of vulnerability. Do you have anything concealed on you, whore?” he whispered, his hot breath caressing her neck while his hands slowly passed over her firm breasts. Her nipples tightened, straining in the confines of the soft fabric. With a smile, he pinched them lightly and watched the arousal flood her face. She struggled to maintain her composure, her breath coming in soft gasps as his body pressed against her, his hard cock just inches below the reach of her cuffed hands.

Sebastian bent to his knees and ran his hands over her hips, across her ass and slowly down the soft skin of her outer legs. Crossing his hands, he began to run them up the inside of her calves, past her knees, beneath her dress and up her inner thighs. She quivered and he could feel the moistness of her pussy emanating as he grew ever closer to the prize. Her lust was overpowering and he could see that it had taken over. He’d done as intended and took pride in the result. Standing quickly, he pulled her off the wall by her cuffed wrists, pressed the emergency stop once again to resume their ride, and smiled coyly.

“It appears you’re clean, nothing concealed and nowhere to do so, but I’ll do a more thorough search in a moment,” his voice commanding and confident.

The shock of the abrupt stop left her in a state of confusion, her mind a mess. For a moment she forgot her part and dropped her guard.

“But… I thought… why did you…?” she stammered.

“Why did I what? Not trust you? Do my job? Listen, you don’t question what I do. You simply obey, you do as you’re told and you respond how and when I tell you to. Otherwise, we will deal with your punishment in a more formal setting.” The tone of his voice snapped her back into her role, her eyes steeling over. The lust and passion not forgotten, but buried behind the persona she had taken on.

“Do you understand me?”

She shifted her gaze to the floor showing pure submission and Sebastian’s heart fluttered. He knew what was coming and he knew he was powerless to stop it. It happened in every game.

“Yes, Sir,” she whispered and his entire body flushed with passion. She owned him. The power shift was obvious. Two simple words and he was hers.

The elevator stopped abruptly and he struggled to regain his role. Grasping the back of her neck lightly, he pulled her into the hall. She smiled, knowing she had just taken him to a new high. Sebastian let the smirk slide, for now. Instead, pulling open the door to room 1422, he matched the smile and walked her through the threshold.

“Time for your punishment, my little whore. I hope you are prepared.”

Her body tightened as they entered the room, not from fear so much as surprise at its transformation. She had not expected the room to be cleared of its mundane hotel furnishings nor was she prepared for the play room he had concocted in its place. The blackout shades were drawn, the lights dim with a fleck of candlelight shimmering across the walls. The hotel bed had been removed and in its place sat a large king+ four-poster adorned with her personal restraints. Beneath the window was a long, narrow oak table with a selection of plugs, gags, cuffs and crops laid out meticulously. Hanging in the center of the bed, suspended from the ceiling by a series of pulleys and nylon ropes, was a leather bodice style harness. Her lips curled into a slight smile but catching his stern gaze she averted her eyes back to the floor, biting her lower lip and knowing exactly what the look of submission would do to him.

Sebastian fought to contain his composure but the lust was taking over. He knew what she needed and his entire being was pushing him to give it to her. Knowing that the game still needed to be played did little to control his impulses. She giggled softly and he realized she had done this on purpose. Her ace in the hole.

“What’s so funny whore? Are you amused by my playroom. I dare you to laugh again!”

Her face flushed, the mischief draining away as his stern voice echoed throughout the room. He reached behind her and snapped the metal cuffs free, rubbing her wrists gently to help reduce the sting left behind.

“Time for your strip search, lose the clothing, NOW!”

She slowly removed her dress, mocking a look of panic and embarrassment.

“Oh, don’t even pretend, slut. Modesty doesn’t suit you.”

The black fabric fell to her ankles and his blood began to boil as he admired her form in nothing but black stockings, a silk garter and four inch stilettos. Her body, beautiful and begging to be taken. He stammered momentarily, catching his breath.

“Open your mouth!”

She followed the order and he gently rubbed a finger around her soft lips and across her tongue. The tenderness and passion of the moment lost on neither of them.

“Nothing hidden there,” he commented, “but there are other places of concealment, aren’t there, baby? Kneel on the bed facing the wall. I need to know if you’re hiding anything.”

“You’d better search deep,” she whispered, breathlessly. “You can’t be too careful, can you?”

Without hesitation she assumed the position, she played the game well but knew his orders were to be followed. She knew the pleasure it gave him. He ran a finger gently across the smooth lips of her pussy. She couldn’t hide the moistness, the want, the need. Inserting it gently, mocking a search, he felt her body respond. Every nerve in overdrive. Every other thought pushed away as lust took over. She clenched against his finger as he slid it deeper and gasped when he abruptly removed it leaving her void and yearning.

“Nothing there either, but I do believe you are enjoying the search just a bit too much my little whore. I’m positive a high class lady such as yourself would not be out propositioning without some form of protection. I suppose there is only one more place to check.”

Instinctively and without order she reached back and spread herself wide for him. Her heart raced, her body tingled and she waited in anticipation. He pulled a bottle of lube from the oak table, placed a small amount in his hand and warmed it seductively with his breath. Her body flushed in anticipation as he gently circled her ass with the warm lube and began to slide a finger inside. She clenched only momentarily before relaxing and savoring the feeling.

“Interesting. You appear to have nothing concealed but just to be safe let’s make sure that anything you have hidden stays that way”

Sebastian pulled a two-inch, glass anal plug from the table, coated it in lube and gently coaxed it inside her, watching her shiver as her body accepted it.

“Beautiful! A whore should never be without her jewelry. Oh, but it appears I have forgotten some.”

He picked up two emerald encrusted nipple clamps and walked beside the bed for better access to her beautiful tits.

“If you move you will be restrained, if you so much as moan you will be gagged. Do you understand me, my whore?”

“Yes, sir.”

He shuddered at the response before reaching down and gently applying the clamps to her swollen nipples. She flinched and let out a soft “ooooh” in response.

He nearly laughed, knowing she was playing him, knowing how much she enjoyed the clamps and how easy it was for her to take them.

“Sorry sir, please don’t restrain and gag me,” she whispered innocently.

What could he do? She played his own words against him, and, as much as he wanted to prolong the game, the anticipation, he knew what she needed. She had forced his hand and, as with all things, he was powerless to resist. Reaching up, he pulled her arms out, spread-eagle, towards the bedposts. He could see her smiling, knowing that she had won this round and bent him to her will. He slid the suede cuffs around her wrists, the softness of the material tender yet perfect as the ropes were pulled tight, stretching her arms just enough to make her feel helpless and happy.

Sebastian grabbed a black riding crop from the table and positioned himself at her side, gently caressing her exposed ass with the soft luxurious leather.

“We will forgo the gag for a moment. Time for your payment, my dear, how many do you think you deserve for your transgressions this evening?”

She paused as if thinking. “Umm… five, sir?” It was not a question, despite the tone.

His blood tingled as he raised the crop, watching her body relax in eager anticipation. The leather stung slightly as it connected with her flesh and a soft moan of pleasure escaped her lips. She was lost in the moment. The role she’d been playing, behind her. The game, forgotten as her body reacted on pure instinct.

Her lust grew with each stroke, the juices running softly down her legs, her mind a mixture of pleasure and pain.

On the fifth stroke her body bucked and thrashed in a long, deep orgasm bringing a tight smile to Sebastian’s face.

“Please, I need you, sir.”

He required no further encouragement as he knelt in front of her restrained body and watched her luscious lips slide around his engorged cock. Her mouth, so soft and wet, slid across his length. The image sent him to new heights.

Sebastian could feel his cock pulsing, begging for more as she slowly devoured him. Reaching back, he quickly removed the cuffs from the ropes they were attached to, slid her wrists behind her back and fastened them together. He pulled the leather harness from above her and strapped it across her chest and shoulders for support while she worked him deeper into her throat. He was building towards a powerful orgasm but wanted more, needed more.

He pulled himself from her mouth and rolled beneath her, pulling a rope attached to the harness to lift her chest and balance her above him. She adjusted off her knees, squatting above his hard cock and slowly lowered herself onto him. He couldn’t help but moan as her pussy encased him. The sight one of dreams, cuffed and harnessed for balance, she rode him, her beautiful tits bouncing with every stroke.

Her body begged for release as he reached up and pulled lightly on the nipple clamps. Her mind, so in the throes of passion, interpreted the pain as pleasure, tossing her over the edge into a long hard climax. She collapsed on top of him, taking him deep.

Her face filled with lust and satisfaction, her gorgeous body convulsing and sending him over the edge. He came hard, relief and pleasure pulsing through his body. They laid there, unable to move, for what felt like an eternity and only a second all in one. He gently removed her cuffs and harness, slid her down beside him on the black satin sheets and pulled her close. Holding her, caressing her hair and tracing soft kisses across her neck.

“So perfect,” he whispered.

“Yes, it was. Thank you for setting this up. I needed it.”

Chapter One

A cell phone chirped, indicating an incoming message and stirring Ell Frost from her slumber. Her mind was foggy. She reeled for a second, unsure of her location, before the events of the previous night came rushing back. The hotel bar, the elevator and of course the improvised playroom she had awoken in. She could feel Sebastian’s strong arms still wrapped around her, holding her close. She’d never experienced a feeling as safe and satisfying as waking in his arms. How she wished it could always be that way. A ping of regret crept up before she could raise her guard, knowing it could never be.

The cell phone chirped again and Ell glanced around the room in search of the source. She knew it was hers as Sebastian refused to turn his on when they were together. A professional courtesy, perhaps, but she found it romantic.

She arrived the night before with nothing, but Sebastian always took care of the details, it was one of the things she enjoyed about him. She knew he would not forget anything she needed. Rolling to her back to help in her survey of the room, she felt him shift and begin to wake.

“It’s in the top dresser drawer along with your clothes for the day,” he murmured peacefully, in a state of near sleep.

Ell gave him a soft, gentle kiss and extracted herself from his arms. She strolled across the room, her naked, toned body just visible in the low light. She could feel his eyes on her, making her shiver as she pulled open the drawer and grabbed her iPhone. ‘Fully charged’, she thought, why was she not surprised?

There were three texts, each more urgent than the last and all of them from her partner Enrique Shaw.

“Shit,” she mumbled, “Looks like Rique’s got a live one. I’ve got to get dressed and hit the station or I’ll never hear the end of it.”

“Do what you need, Ellison, I’ll take care of this,” he said, circling a finger around the room. She smiled at the use of her full name, only Sebastian used it.

She flopped down on the bed again, her auburn hair flowing around her face, encasing her beautiful smile. “Thanks again for last night. You have no idea how much I needed a little stress relief. Things have been too hectic lately.”

He smiled up at her, pulling her down into a long deep kiss. “You know I’m here for you. Always.”

‘If only that were true,’ she thought but quickly brushed it off. “Thanks,” she said, slipping into her jeans and button down grey dress shirt. She circled the bed and grabbed the police shield from his belt, securing it to her own. “I’m probably going to need this,” she laughed, bringing a smile to his face.

“A little bit ironic, but so much fun,” he responded.

Grabbing her purse she pulled out two hundred in cash and laid it on the oak table on top of the black leather crop. ‘So worth it,’ she thought with a sly grin.

“A little something extra,” she winked.

He frowned up at her, “Ellison, don’t. You know the agency takes care of that.”

She leaned in for one last kiss before heading for the door, whispering, “But it was worth so much more.”

Without glancing back, she strode from the room, a renewed confidence in her gate as she put the evening behind her and summoned up the cold, dispassionate persona of Lieutenant Ell Frost. She knew the persona was a falsehood but it was a required one when dealing with the stress of the job.

Exiting the elevator on the main floor, she headed for the concierge desk before noticing her Mercedes S550 conveniently situated at the front doors, a valet ready to hand her the keys. Smiling, she shook her head knowing Sebastian had taken the liberty of calling down as soon as she left the room. What she wouldn’t give to have a man like that in her life. If only things were different.

She flipped the valet a twenty, grabbed her keys and settled into the soft leather driver’s seat. The S550 wasn’t exactly department issue, but it was reliable, comfortable and so sexy. Ell couldn’t resist it. Activating the Bluetooth link, she made a quick call to her partner as she pulled out of the parking lot, the purr of the engine barely noticeable in the background.

“About time, L.T. Out on a hot date or something?” barked Rique as the call connected. If only he knew.

“Yeah, and your dad says hi,” she smirked in return.

“Like he could land a fine piece like you,” laughed her partner in retort.

“So what’s the emergency, Rique? And it better be good, I’m supposed to be on the first eight hours of a seventy-two hour leave.”

“Yeah, but you know how much we miss that pretty face. Place just ain’t the same without it, L.T.”

Ell smiled and rolled her eyes. “Less sucking up and more information, Shaw.”

“Not much information to give, I’m on my way to midtown on a possible one-eight-seven. Dispatch came down straight from the Commander which means the mayor’s pulling strings again and the vic’s either a VIP or a known associate. Either way, it’s high profile, which means I have to call in the big guns. Can’t let us lowly detectives handle the important ones on our own.”

“Well, don’t I feel special,” she replied with mock enthusiasm. “Text me the location and make sure the scene’s still fresh when I get there.”

She disconnected abruptly, pulled up her messages on the window display and up shifted as she merged onto the freeway. From fun and fantasy to death and decay in less than ten minutes, and she thought the S550 moved quick!

Running a search on her way, Ell discovered that the penthouse apartment belonged to Ms. Deedrie Bouton which explained the mayor’s involvement. The Bouton family was one of his honor’s largest benefactors. With holdings in real estate, telecommunications, and pharmaceuticals they had the money to sway his interest. If the Bouton family was involved the press would be as well. Slowing the Mercedes and pulling to the curb, she could see that the circus had already begun. The uniforms were doing a decent job keeping the paparazzi behind the yellow tape and away from the building, but the crowd was growing and it would only be minutes before the major networks had vans on-site.

“Bloody lovely,” she muttered stepping out of the car and heading for the door. She badged her way past a couple uniforms who barley looked at her credentials, reminding her of the night before and how easy it was for someone else to assume her role, temporarily. ‘Just takes confidence and little swagger,’ she mused.

Rique was waiting for her inside the apartment lobby and he appeared stressed and unhappy.

“God damn press, they’re like vultures waiting for the next juicy meal.”

“And who’s on the menu this morning?” she asked, fearing the worst.

“None other than the tabloid queen herself, of course, and the scene’s not pretty, L.T. Not sure what this girl was into, but that room is like nothing I’ve ever seen.

“Well aren’t you the little daffodil, Rique. Let’s see what we’ve got.”

They stepped into the luxurious elevator and waited as it whisked them towards the twenty-sixth storey penthouse. Ell looked over at her partner. His Latin decent and muscular physique were nice, not her style, but nice. He was dressed in the typical detective suit, stylish but practical, and it hung well on him. As her eyes crossed over the shield clipped to his belt her mind began to wander to a similar elevator ride the night before. She could almost feel the passion, the anticipation. It was so close to the surface but now buried beneath the job. How quickly the situation can shift and yet never truly disappear.

The doors opened to a luxurious foyer filled with uniformed police officers and crime scene techs. The energy of the scene was typical for a high profile case. All hands on deck and everyone on their best behavior. Rique led the way past the uniforms, down a large hallway towards the master bedroom. The scene had been preserved, the techs concentrating on the points of access until the primary investigator gave the all clear on the bedroom.

Rique watched her closely as she entered the room and took in the scene. The look of shock and awe he expected was nowhere to be seen. Ell scanned the room casually, a large master suite with dark redwood furnishings and high end art adorning the walls, a peaceful and serene retreat if not for the bed and the area around it. The bed, a large king, was the focus of her attention. To its left was a small wooden table, its surface cluttered with bottles of lube, ropes, dildos, floggers and crops. The items scattered the surface with no care to organization as if discarded in haste. In the center of the bed lay Deedrie Bouton, the black sheep of the Bouton family. Identification had not been formally confirmed but Ell knew it was her. Half the free world could have identified her after her fall from grace. The tabloids had covered Deedrie’s drug addicted, party fuelled, self-implosion for the past six months. How crazy would the stories be if they could see her now? Hogtied with soft leather cuffs, she was face down in the center of the elegant bed, an anal ball-hook inserted and fasten to a leather collar by a black nylon rope. Her mouth was propped open with the help of a ring gag and her knees held apart by a two foot metal spreader bar.

Under more relaxed circumstances Ell would have been aroused. As it was, she felt that side of her pushing to escape, but it was restrained by a deep sense of pity. She understood the fear of being discovered this way and how it would be handled by the press. She felt Rique’s eyes on her, examining her reaction as she stepped over a discarded whip and approached the body.

Deedrie had been a beautiful woman, athletic and toned in her youth, but the last six months of partying had taken its toll. Her body now showed signs of abuse and malnutrition. Her muscle tone had begun to fade and her recent breast augmentation seemed unnatural and awkward on her slender frame. Through it all, however, her eyes were what captivated the public. They shone with a passion for life and even as her body faded away, those eyes remained bright. Until now. Lying there dead, in what should have been a highly passionate moment, the spark had disappeared completely. Ell felt for the woman, through all her troubles, she didn’t deserve this.

“I don’t know how you do it, L.T. A scene like this and yet not even a modicum of shock on your face,” quipped Rique as he joined her beside the bed.

“I’ve seen worse,” she responded adding a silent self thought to the end. ‘I’ve done worse.’

“Initial M.E. report indicates strangulation, Sanders is thinking a garrote of some type. Possibly some of the rope based on the ligature marks on the neck.”

Ell glanced at the woman’s neck, careful not to touch the body as she bent for a closer look. As reported, a deep red ligature mark could be seen peeking out from beneath the collar.

“Did Sanders move anything?”

“Says no. You know the drill, L.T. Initial on-site, visual only. Once you clear it he’ll do a more thorough and mold the marks for analysis. He should be able to get a more definitive C.O.D. Based on lividity, he has an initial time of death between ten p.m. and two a.m. but figures he can tighten it up at the morgue.”

Ell gave the body a quick once over, trying not to let the visual affect her. She’d been in similar positions and though the feeling was one of high restraint she absolutely adored it. Yearned for it. Did Deedrie feel that lust or was her experience purely fear?

Ell took a quick, rudimentary look around. “Have the techs pack up all her personal files, purse, etc. and tell them I want the report by end of day. Who found the body?”

“S.O.P, gotcha,” Rique flipped through his notebook. “Body was found at 5:43 a.m. by a member of the cleaning service. Debbie Flanto. Arrived at 5:30 a.m. to start her day. She passed by the open door shortly after. Says she was shocked at the site and screamed. When Ms. Bouton didn’t respond she ran to the kitchen and called nine-one-one. Emergency call was logged and recorded at 5:44 a.m. I’m having the file sent to the precinct for review.”

“So, she didn’t enter the scene?”

Rique shrugged, holding his hands palms up. “Says she didn’t but… you know.”

“Yeah, I know. Witnesses lie. And doesn’t that make our life so much more exciting? Not much we can do here except dodge the press and get in the way. Let’s head back to the precinct and see what we can work up.”

On the way back to the elevator Ell glanced at her partner. “You bring your personal or do you need a lift?”

“Caught a ride over in a squad.”

“Then I suppose you’re with me,” she said entering the elevator.

“As always, L.T... and I adore every moment of it,” Rique responded with a large sarcastic grin. “Can I drive?”

Ell laughed as the elevator doors closed in front of her.

Chapter Two

The press had swarmed the eleventh precinct before they could arrive. Word had spread and every reporter in the city was scrambling to be the first to garner the gruesome details of the débutante’s final fall from grace. Based on the questions yelled, incoherently, from behind the recently erected police barrier in front of the main doors, Ell knew they had a leak somewhere at the scene. She had not released any details yet the victim’s identity was out as were far too many details about the scene. It was concerning. Everyone at the victim’s apartment, with the exception of Debbie Flanto, was on her payroll. ‘Please let her be the leak’, she muttered to herself but knew it was unlikely.

Slightly pissed by the unneeded commotion, she threw open the doors and stormed down the hall to her office, leaving Rique to give the standard ‘no comment’ and ‘active investigation’ brush off. Glancing quickly at the robbery/homicide bullpen on her way, she noticed it was nearly deserted. A few of her detectives were still at the Bouton scene, being high profile and all, but the serene quiet of the room was odd. Stopping short, she leaned against the doorway.

“Baker, where the hell is everyone?”

The tall redheaded detective snapped her head around with a surprised smile. “Lieutenant. I… I didn’t expect to see you today. I thought you were on leave?”

Ell’s composure softened at the sweet smile as she gave the young woman a quick once over. The twenty four year old, Jamie Baker, had been on her detail for a little over a year and the sight of her tight body, cute smile and luscious full lips still made Ell’s mind wander. With every glance she could feel her lust rising, thoughts of the young redhead, wrapped in black leather, standing over her with a soft riding crop started to push through her composure. It was a reoccurring fantasy but one her professional ethics stopped her from pursuing.

“Deedrie Bouton,” she responded, shaking off the thought.

Baker flashed a knowing look. “Let me guess, his honor’s worried about optics.”

“Goes with the rank. We can’t let the press realize that the detectives actually solve these things. They need us paper pushers leading the charge.” Ell gave her a quick wink. “So what’s with the ghost town?”

“Donnely and Sharp are down in interrogation one wrapping up the Costigan double. Slick and Rook just caught a domestic gone bad and Jones is down in requisitions.”

Ell rolled her eyes and Baker laughed. “Yeah, she’s still trying to get that p.o.s. department issue transpo upgraded. She said you signed off on it but req’s been giving her the paper shuffle run around. Haven’t seen Rique yet, but I think he’s with the rest of the crew on Bouton.”

“I left him out front with the vultures,” smiled Ell. “Tell Jones I’ll deal with req, I don’t want you two riding around in that death trap.”

“We’re willing to trade if you’re feeling that bad about it.” Baker gave her a wink, her cute smile throwing Ell off balance again. ‘What is it about redheads?’ she wondered.

“I’d hate to spoil you,” she laughed flirtatiously, knowing it was a lie. How she wanted to spoil this girl, in so many ways.

Turning on her heels, Ell headed across the hall, closing her office door behind her and reprimanding herself for losing her composure. Ell’s office was little more than a closet with a locking door, an old army surplus metal desk and the world’s most uncomfortable guest chair. After two weeks of physiotherapy she had finally been able to convince requisitions to provide her with an ergonomic Aeron desk chair. It was her one solace in her own private cell. Well, that and her computer. A little flirting with that sexy young man, Rob, in I.T. had paid off in full. For the last year and a half her computer was never lacking.  She had dual monitors being powered by some geek speak mega graphics card that meant nothing to her. The machine was one of the quickest she’d ever used. She was at the top of the list for upgrades and she always made sure she was there to receive them. It was the least she could do for the personal service. Besides, he was great company and she rarely turned that down.

She settled in behind her desk, entered her password twice before getting the cryptic connection of random numbers and letters correct and was immediately greeted with a blank screen and security alert.

“Due to new departmental regulations and the nature of ongoing investigations, the files held by all ranking officers must now be fully encrypted. Please contact Information Services at ext 190 to schedule the required maintenance.”

‘Bloody bureaucrats,’ she thought, grabbing for the handset to her phone. She ignored the number listed in the alert and immediately dialed extension 1911.

“Long distance emergency, you’ve got Rob.”

Ell groaned at the running joke about his random phone extension.

“Not yet but if you play your cards right I may,” she replied in a flirty tone.

“Be careful Lieutenant, I’m holding a ‘pair’ of eyes for you and you’re likely to lose this hand.”

“Awe, but you just made me ‘flush’ so I suppose I clean up.”

Rob let out a quick laugh and turned things back to business. “Let me guess, ranking officer encryption yadda yadda.”

“Yeah, and no I haven’t got a clue what that means other than I’m stuck here twiddling my thumbs waiting for my ever efficient I.T. slave boy to come work his wonders,” she replied.

“Unfortunately, you’re going to be waiting longer than you want. They’ve got me doing the rounds on this. Normally I’d have slated you in this morning but, since you’re on leave, I booked you for first thing Wednesday. I assume you got pulled in on Bouton?”

“You know how it is. Money gets rank. So I’m dead in the water for the next seventy-two? Not going to work, Rob. The mayor’s pushing and I need my station. Rique’s antique would still be booting up by the time we have this thing solved.”

“Tell you what, since I’m itching to see this ‘flush’, I’ll bump Santinger’s upgrade to lunch and be there in about thirty. Just don’t tell him. The guy’s a bit of a prick.”

“Your secret’s safe with me, thanks.”

‘Thirty minutes?’ thought Ell. ‘That should be plenty of time to rattle some chains and get things moving in the right direction.’

She quickly dialed ext 201. On the fourth ring a high pitched unhappy voice answered. “Requisitions, hold please.”

“No,” responded Ell.

The voice on the other end stumbled, having not expected a response. “Uhh, pardon? I need to put you on hold.”

“No you don’t and I wouldn’t recommend doing so. You just put someone on hold in order to answer my call. In doing so, you have impressed upon that person that an unknown caller held more importance than they did. Are you about to tell me that I am now being delegated to a position of importance lower than that of an unknown caller as well?”

“But… I… who is this?”

“Seriously? If you take a moment to look at the display on your phone you will see ext 921- L.T. Ell Frost. Had you done so before answering, you’d have known if my call rated high enough importance to place your previous call on hold. For future record, unless the chief is on your other line, it does.”

“What can I help you with, Lieutenant Frost?” the voice had gone from flustered to cold.

“I authorized a transpo upgrade for Detectives Baker and Jones over two weeks ago and it seems your department can’t manage to find or deliver them their new keys.”

“As I just explained to Ms. Jones…”

“Detective Jones,” interrupted Ell.

“Yes,” snapped the lady in a frustrated tone. “As I explained to ‘Detective’ Jones, the upgrade is being processed and they will be notified as soon as the new vehicle is prepared.”

“Prepared? Do we have a crew of mechanics assembling this vehicle from spare parts? Listen, ma’am, there are over ten unmarked cars sitting in the parkade for random rotation. Each of them is in fine condition and fully outfitted for the detective’s requirements. I expect the keys to one of these delivered to Robbery/Homicide, by end of shift.”

“Lieutenant, there are procedures that need to be followed.”

“Then follow them quickly. I have two detectives riding around in a deathtrap that is likely uninsurable. They’ve been stranded on duty five times in the last three months. Either the keys are in my department by end of shift or I’ll be in yours.”

Without waiting for a response Ell hung up and dialed ext 301 for Crime Scene.

“Lieutenant Frost,” answered the stern but polite voice of James Lund, head of CSI. “Bouton scene evidence is just rolling in now. Materials are being catalogued and will be delivered to you within the hour. I expect to have a preliminary report to you by end of day but it may depend on this damn I.T. encryption upgrade. We’re all hands on deck down here, and thanks to ‘his honor’ you just became our top priority.”

Ell smiled to herself. “It’s a relief to work with a professional for once. Thanks James, let me know if there is anything you guys need down there. These high profiles are a bitch but our job relies on yours.”

“Don’t I know it. Some doughnuts and a thirty hour day may help but we’ll get you what you need, Ell.”

“I’ll see what I can do about that thirty hour day but no promises, my time machine’s been really glitchy this week,” laughed Ell. “Thanks again James, I won’t keep you.”

As soon as she hung up, the phone began to ring. Glancing at the display she smiled and picked up.

“Sanders, you beat me to the punch, I was just about to call you.”

“I just got back to the morgue. It was a bloody nightmare getting her out of there. The vultures are already circling.”

“I’ll do what I can to keep the press fed but I need something to give them. What can you tell me?”

“Nothing yet other than what I gave Rique on-site. Swing by here in about three hours and I’ll give you a full run down. I should have a definite C.O.D and much tighter timeline.”

“Sounds good. Text me if anything revealing comes up. Brass is pushing on this one and we need to hit it hard.”

“Will do, now go harass Lund and stay off my ass.”

Ell laughed, “Already ahead of you, see you in three.”

With the preliminaries out of the way and the troops all on board, Ell headed across the hall to the bullpen. Jones and Baker were flipping through Rique’s notes as he assembled the timeline, victim and witnesses on the “Kill” board. Ell took a moment to watch Jones and Baker together, bantering back and forth over the details and relevance. They made a great pair. Jones, a heavier set, Latin woman in her mid thirties, offset the youth and exuberance of Baker well. The two had closed some big cases in the year they’d been partnered and Ell had never heard about so much as a minor squabble between them.

“Jones, what’s your current active?” she asked from the doorway.

“We just cleared up the Donaldson case last night. D.A. figures it’s a slam dunk with the roommate’s confession. We’ve got the Brunsen break-in ongoing but it looks like a bullshit insurance fraud, and we pulled two cold cases earlier this week that appear to have some similarities. Thought we’d dig and look for a tie-in.”

“How cold?”

“Nearly freezing, twenty-two years. Figured with the DNA advances we might get a hit. Lab keeps the samples active for twenty-five so it’s something, but it’s slim.”

“Ok, work it in when you can but it’s not a priority, and see if you can’t pawn off the Brunsen case on Fraud. I want you and Baker on Bouton with us. It’s going to be leg work but it needs to be discreet. I need you canvassing the building and talking to known associates both pre and post meltdown. Someone out there knows what Deedrie was into, and we need to determine if the body was staged and how the scene ties in. I don’t buy the ‘playtime got too kinky’ angle here, there’s something too obvious about it.”

“I’ll get Fraud on the line,” said Baker, heading for her desk, “then we will coordinate with Detective Shaw. Anything else, Lieutenant?” Her smile and the possibilities embedded in the question brought back the familiar feelings of lust. Ell fought to remain in control.

“Yeah, get a couple dozen doughnuts sent down to Lund in CSI. Charge it to my personal.”

Rique cleared his throat, a huge fake smile on his face.