Read an Excerpt
"Hold on a sec." Kate unhooked her black lace bra, lay back onto the all-white bed, pillows, silk spread pushed aside.
"I was just getting to that."
"The bedspread or my bra?"
"Who cares about the spread?" Richard smiled, crow's-feet deepening at the corners of his dark blue eyes.
"I do. And I'd think you would know that after almost ten years of marriage."
"Is this going to be a discussion?" Richard's lips grazed one of Kate's breasts.
Kate shivered, then sighed. "No discussion." She slid her arms over his neck, thinking how much she loved him, perhaps even more so now than she did when they had first met and he'd courted her -- Richard Rothstein the dashing bachelor lawyer, Kate McKinnon the Astoria cop. Talk about an odd couple. At least on the surface. Not so different once you stripped away Richard's glossy facade to find the boy from Brooklyn; or added the polished veneer that Kate had worked so hard to acquire after she'd left the force, returned to her first love, art history, earned the Ph.D. that became the art book that became her very own PBS series, Artists' Lives. All of it a surprise to her still.
If anyone had bothered to ask the young girl from Astoria where she'd be at forty she would never have predicted any kind of fame, certainly not riches. Exchange a row house for a penthouse? Sometimes even Kate had trouble believing it. She was lucky and she knew it. Perhaps that was why she devoted half her time to the educational foundation Let There Be a Future -- the one that funded inner-city kids from grade school through college.
Saving kids.Hell, she didn't need a psychiatrist to explain that one to her -- the motherless girl from Queens. Though when she could finally afford to she'd spent some time on the couch trying to get past it, or at least understand it: her mother's early death -- a suicide -- and all the guilt she'd felt, as if somehow she'd been the cause.
It was the shrink who got Kate to see that following in her father's footsteps -- becoming a cop -- had more than a little to do with trying to please him and make up for his losing his wife, who, by the way, if anyone cared, happened to be her mother.
Just about every other man in her family -- uncles, cousins -- had been a cop. Kate was the first woman. And even with her making detective in two short years, getting her father's attention and approval had proved elusive. But when they assigned her to runaways and she'd gotten the chance to save kids, it all became worth it. Back then, Detective McKinnon thought she could save everyone -- but those missing teens had taken a toll.
How many times can I have my heart broken?
A question she'd put to herself, her shrink, her chief in Astoria, and later to Richard, who had promised to try and mend the many fissures and cracks when he proposed marriage and offered her a way out. And so far he'd done a pretty good job.
"Love you," she whispered.
Richard smiled at his wife, took in her unconventional beauty -- the long straight nose, expressive brows over piercing green eyes. He ran his hand through her thick dark hair that Kate had only recently begun to spend way too much money on -- having the few gray strands spun into gold. A gift to herself for her forty-second birthday.
"Anyone ever tell you you're gorgeous?"
"No. Not recently." Kate leveled a stare at Richard. "Get it?"
Richard painted a sheepish grin across his features. "Sorry."
"Forgiven," said Kate, moving her hand down Richard's back and under the waistband of his pajamas -- ones she'd bought in Florence when she was there to deliver a lecture on up-and-coming American artists at the Accademia only last month.
Richard rolled off her, pushed his pajamas down, kicked until they fell off.
Sometimes, thought Kate, observing her tall, athletic husband kicking away, he seemed like a little boy, even with his forty-fifth birthday only a week away. Maybe, she mused, as he maneuvered himself back on top of her, all men are boys, which, at the moment, was just fine with her. Kate kissed his mouth, then ran her lips lightly over his ear.
Richard moved to Kate's neck, tongue skiing along her collarbone until reaching her breast.
Through half-closed eyes Kate took in Richard's brown-gray curls, freckles on the tops of his shoulders. Was it only a year ago she'd come so close to losing him; to believing he had betrayed her?
The Death Artist.
An image flashed behind Kate's eyes: Richard's onyx-and-gold cuff link half-hidden under the edge of a Persian rug, catching a hint of light, but enough to be noticed -- at the scene of a murder.
"Richard, you won't ever lie to me again, will you?"
Richard's shoulders sagged. "What? No. Why ... now?"
"Nothing. Sorry. Never mind."
Richard expelled a loud breath, sat up. "What's the matter?"
"Nothing. I -- I was just ... remembering,"
"We've been through it, haven't we, Kate? A dozen times. I thought it was ancient history."
"It is. Forgive me." Kate was sorry she'd spoken, wanted to take it all back, have Richard's hand on her thigh, tongue on her breast. "Tell you what," she said, laying her hand on his cheek, "I promise to shut up completely if you just go back to where you left off, okay?" Her fingers flitted over the hair on his chest, then down, lightly skimming his half-erect cock, back and forth, feeling it get hard again.
"Deal," said Richard, burying his head in her neck, adding a playful bite.
"You're not allowed to say anything, remember?"
Kate lay back, closed her eyes. But a second later another image flashed: a body on a kitchen floor -- and blood everywhere ...Color Blind. Copyright © by Jonathan Santlofer. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.