Out of this World
Love, Supernatural StyleOut Of This World, "Interlude in Death" by J. D. Robb
Love is the universal language. And nowhere is this more apparent than in these extraordinary stories from four of today’s hottest authors. From a futuristic cop caught in a crisis of the heart to a smoldering vision of an unusual love triangle, from the hunger for a human touch on an alien planet to a witch’s desperate search for the love of one man, these tales of paranormal romance will transport you to a time and a place you’ve never been before….
New York Times bestselling author J. D. Robb—with a new Lieutenant Eve Dallas story
New York Times bestselling author Laurell K. Hamilton—with a new Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter tale
USA Today Bestselling Authors, Susan Krinard and Maggie Shayne
"What's this about, Commander?"
"Belle was right. I admire your work. I was intrigued to find us on the same program. You don't generally accept speaking engagements."
"No. I like the streets."
"So did I. It's like a virus in the blood." He leaned back, nursed his drink. The faint tremor in his hand surprised her. ``But working the streets doesn't mean being on them, necessarily. Someone has to command-from a desk, an office, a war room. A good cop, a smart cop, moves up the ranks. As you have, Lieutenant."
"A good cop, a smart cop, closes cases and locks up the bad guys."
He gave one short laugh. "You think that's enough for captain's bars, for a command star? No, the word 'naive' never came up in any of the reports I've read on you."
"Why should you read reports on me?"
"I may be retired from active duty, but I'm still a consultant. I still have my finger in the pie." He leaned forward again. "You've managed to work and close some very high-profile cases in the murder book, Lieutenant. While I don't always approve of your methods, the results are unarguable. It's rare for me to judge a female officer worthy of command."
"Excuse me. Back up. Female?"
He lifted his hand in a gesture that told her he'd had this discussion before and was vaguely weary of it. "I believe men and women have different primary functions. Man is the warrior, the provider, the defender. Woman is the procreator, the nurturer. There are numerous scientific theories that agree, and certainly social and religious weight to add."
"Is that so?" Eve said softly.
"Frankly, I've never approved of women on the force, or in certain areas of the civilian workplace. They're often a distraction and rarely fully committed to the job. Marriage and family soon-as they should for women--take priority."
"Commander Skinner, under the circumstances, the most courteous thing I can think of to say is you're full of shit."
He laughed, loud and long. "You live up to your reputation, Lieutenant. Your data also indicate that you're smart and that your badge isn't something you just pick up off the dresser every morning. It's what you are. Or were, in any case. We have that in common. For fifty years I made a difference, and my house was clean. I did what had to be done, then I did what came next. I was full commander at the age of forty-four. Would you like to be able to say the same?"
She knew when she was being played, and kept her face and tone neutral. "I haven't thought about it."
"If that's true, you disappoint me. If that's true, start thinking. Do you know, Lieutenant, how much closer you would be right now to a captaincy if you hadn't made some ill-advised personal decisions?"
"Really?" Something began to burn inside her gut. ``And how would you know the promotion potential of a homicide cop in New York?"
"I've made it my business to know." His free hand balled into a fist, tapped lightly, rhythmically on the tabletop. "I have one regret, one piece of unfinished business from my active duty. One target I could never keep in my sights long enough to bring down. Between us, we could. I'll get you those captain bars, Lieutenant. You get me Roarke."
--From "Interlude in Death" by J.D. Robb, featured in the Out of This World anthology, (c) August 2001 by Nora Roberts, Jove Publications, a division of Penguin Putnam, Inc., used by permission
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