Home > In Death #31 - Indulgence in Death

In Death #31 - Indulgence in Death
Author: J.D. Robb


J.D. Robb - In Death #31 - Indulgence in Death

Indulgence in Death (In Death #31)
J.D. Robb

mystery/romance/sf/thriller/fantasy

 

1

THE ROAD WAS A KILLER, HARDLY WIDER THAN a decent stream of spit and snaking like a cobra between giant bushes loaded with strange flowers that resembled drops of blood.

She had to remind herself that the trip had been her idea—love was another killer—but how could she have known driving in western Ireland meant risking life and limb at every curve?

Rural Ireland, she thought, holding her breath as they zipped around the next turn on the Journey of Death. Where the towns were barely a hiccup on the landscape, and where she was pretty damn sure the cows outnumbered the people. And the sheep outnumbered the cows.

And why didn’t that cause anyone concern? she wondered. Didn’t people consider what could happen if armies of farm animals united in revolt?

When Murder Road finally carved its way out of the blood-drop bushes, the world opened up into fields and hills, green, green, eerily green against a sky stacked with clouds that couldn’t decide if they wanted to rain or just sit there ominously. And she knew those dots all over the green were sheep and cows.

Probably discussing war strategy.

She’d actually seen them hanging around those weird—and okay, a little bit fascinating—stone ruins. Towering, tumbling places that had maybe been castles or forts. A good place for armies of farm animals to plot their revolt.

Maybe it was beautiful in a hang-the-painting-on-your-wall kind of way, but it just wasn’t natural. No, it was too natural, she corrected. That was the deal, too much nature, too much open. Even the houses scattered over the endless landscape insisted on decking themselves out with flowers. Everything blooming, colors smashed against colors, shapes against shapes.

She’d even seen clothes hanging on lines like executed prisoners. It was 2060, for God’s sake. Didn’t people out here own drying units?

And speaking of that—yeah, speaking of that—where was all the air traffic? She’d barely spotted a handful of airtrams, and not a single ad blimp lumbered overhead blasting out its hype on sales.

No subway, no glide carts, no tourists blissfully providing marks for street thieves, no maxibuses farting, no Rapid Cab drivers cursing.

God, she missed New York.

She couldn’t even risk driving to take her mind off it, as for some cruel, inexplicable reason people over here insisted on driving on the wrong side of the road.

Why?

She was a cop, sworn to protect and serve, so she could hardly get behind the wheel on these death-trap roads where she’d probably end up mowing down innocent civilians. And maybe some farm animals while she was at it.

She wondered if they’d ever get where they were going, and what the odds were of getting there in one piece.

Maybe she should run some probabilities.

The road narrowed again, boxed in again, and Lieutenant Eve Dallas, veteran murder cop, pursuer of psychopaths, serial killers, homicidal deviants, fought to hold back a squeal as her side of the car lightly kissed the hedges.

Her husband of two years—and the reason she’d suggested this leg of their vacation—took his hand off the wheel to pat her thigh. “Relax, Lieutenant.”

“Watch the road! Don’t look at me, look at the road. Except it’s not really a road. It’s a track. What are these damn bushes, and why are they here?”

“It’s fuchsia. Lovely, aren’t they?”

They made her think of blood spatter, possibly resulting from a massacre by a battalion of farm animals.

“They ought to move them away from the stupid road.”

“I imagine they were here first.”

Ireland wound through his voice a lot more appealingly than the road wound through the countryside.

She risked a glance in his direction. He looked happy, she realized. Relaxed, happy, at ease in a thin leather jacket and T-shirt, his black hair swept back from that amazing face (another killer), his eyes so rich a blue it made the heart ache.

She remembered they’d nearly died together a few weeks before, and he’d been badly wounded. She’d thought—she could still remember that breathless instant when she’d thought she’d lost him.

And here he was, alive and whole. So maybe she’d forgive him for being amused at her expense.

Maybe.

Besides, it was her own fault. She’d suggested they take part of their vacation, their anniversary celebration, here so he could visit the family he’d only recently discovered. She’d been here before, after all.

Of course, that trip she’d taken in a jet-copter.

When he slowed as they entered what could very loosely be called a town, she breathed a little easier.

“Nearly there now,” he told her. “This is Tulla. Sinead’s farm is a few kilometers from the village.”

Okay, they’d made it this far. Ordering herself to settle down, she scooped a hand through her choppy cap of brown hair.

“Look there. The sun’s breaking through.”

She studied the miserly opening in the gray, and the watery beam that struggled through. “Wow, the light. It’s blinding.”

He laughed, reached out to smooth a hand over the hair she’d just ruffled. “We’re out of our element, Lieutenant. Maybe it’s good for us to be out of the norm now and again.”

She knew her norm. Death, investigation, the insanity of a city that ran instead of walked, the smells of a cop shop, the rush and the burden of command.

Some of that had become Roarke’s norm in the last couple years, she mused. He juggled that with his own world, which was buying, selling, owning, creating pretty much every freaking thing in the known universe.

His beginnings had been as dark and ugly as hers. Dublin street rat, she thought, thief, conniver, survivor of a brutal, murderous father. The mother he’d never known hadn’t been so lucky.

From that, he’d built an empire—not always on the sunny side of the law.

And she, cop to the bone, had fallen for him despite the shadows— or maybe because of them. But there was more to him than either of them had known, and the more lived on a farm outside of the little village of Tulla in County Clare.

“We could’ve taken a copter from the hotel,” she said to him.

“I like the drive.”

“I know you mean that, so it makes me wonder about you, pal.”

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