Naked in Death (In Death Series #1)by J. D. Robb, Nora Roberts
In a world of danger and deception, she walks the line--between seductive passion and scandalous murder...
Eve Dallas is a New York police lieutenant hunting for a ruthless killer. In over ten years on the force, she's seen it all--and knows her survival depends on her instincts. And she's going against every warning telling her not to get involved with Roarke, an… See more details below
In a world of danger and deception, she walks the line--between seductive passion and scandalous murder...
Eve Dallas is a New York police lieutenant hunting for a ruthless killer. In over ten years on the force, she's seen it all--and knows her survival depends on her instincts. And she's going against every warning telling her not to get involved with Roarke, an Irish billionaire--and a suspect in Eve's murder investigation. But passion and seduction have rules of their own, and it's up to Eve to take a chance in the arms of a man she knows nothing about--except the addictive hunger of needing his touch.
Hooked on Eve Dallas? Pre-order your copy of the newest book, DEVOTED IN DEATH, coming in September.
Read an Excerpt
NAKED IN DEATH
By J. D. ROBB
G. P. Putnam's SonsCopyright © 1995 Nora Roberts
All right reserved.
Chapter OneSHE WOKE IN THE DARK. THROUGH THE SLATS on the window shades, the first murky hint of dawn slipped, slanting shadowy bars over the bed. It was like waking in a cell.
For a moment she simply lay there, shuddering, imprisoned, while the dream faded. After ten years on the force, Eve still had dreams.
Six hours before, she'd killed a man, had watched death creep into his eyes. It wasn't the first time she'd exercised maximum force, or dreamed. She'd learned to accept the action and the consequences.
But it was the child that haunted her. The child she hadn't been in time to save. The child whose screams had echoed in the dreams with her own.
All the blood, Eve thought, scrubbing sweat from her face with her hands. Such a small little girl to have had so much blood in her. And she knew it was vital that she push it aside.
Standard departmental procedure meant that she would spend the morning in Testing. Any officer whose discharge of weapon resulted in termination of life was required to undergo emotional and psychiatric clearance before resuming duty. Eve considered the tests a mild pain in the ass.
She would beat them, as she'd beaten them before.
When she rose, the overheads went automatically to low setting, lighting her way into the bath. She winced once at her reflection. Her eyes were swollen from lack of sleep, her skin nearly as pale as the corpses she'd delegated to the ME.
Rather than dwell on it, she stepped into the shower, yawning.
"Give me one oh one degrees, full force," she said and shifted so that the shower spray hit her straight in the face.
She let it steam, lathered listlessly while she played through the events of the night before. She wasn't due in Testing until nine, and would use the next three hours to settle and let the dream fade away completely.
Small doubts and little regrets were often detected and could mean a second and more intense round with the machines and the owl-eyed technicians who ran them.
Eve didn't intend to be off the streets longer than twenty-four hours.
After pulling on a robe, she walked into the kitchen and programmed her AutoChef for coffee, black; toast, light. Through her window she could hear the heavy hum of air traffic carrying early commuters to offices, late ones home. She'd chosen the apartment years before because it was in a heavy ground and air pattern, and she liked the noise and crowds. On another yawn, she glanced out the window, followed the rattling journey of an aging airbus hauling laborers not fortunate enough to work in the city or by home 'links.
She brought the New York Times up on her monitor and scanned the headlines while the faux caffeine bolstered her system. The AutoChef had burned her toast again, but she ate it anyway, with a vague thought of springing for a replacement unit.
She was frowning over an article on a mass recall of droid cocker spaniels when her telelink blipped. Eve shifted to communications and watched her commanding officer flash onto the screen.
"Lieutenant." He gave her a brisk nod, noted the still wet hair and sleepy eyes. "Incident at Twenty-seven West Broadway, eighteenth floor. You're primary."
Eve lifted a brow. "I'm on Testing. Subject terminated at twenty-two thirty-five."
"We have override," he said, without inflection. "Pick up your shield and weapon on the way to the incident. Code Five, Lieutenant."
"Yes, sir." His face flashed off even as she pushed back from the screen. Code Five meant she would report directly to her commander, and there would be no unsealed interdepartmental reports and no cooperation with the press.
In essence, it meant she was on her own.
Broadway was noisy and crowded, a party that rowdy guests never left. Street, pedestrian, and sky traffic were miserable, choking the air with bodies and vehicles. In her old days in uniform she remembered it as a hot spot for wrecks and crushed tourists who were too busy gaping at the show to get out of the way.
Even at this hour steam was rising from the stationary and portable food stands that offered everything from rice noodles to soy dogs for the teeming crowds. She had to swerve to avoid an eager merchant on his smoking Glida-Grill, and took his flipped middle finger as a matter of course.
Eve double-parked and, skirting a man who smelled worse than his bottle of brew, stepped onto the sidewalk. She scanned the building first, fifty floors of gleaming metal that knifed into the sky from a hilt of concrete. She was propositioned twice before she reached the door.
Since this five-block area of West Broadway was affectionately termed Prostitute's Walk, she wasn't surprised. She flashed her badge for the uniform guarding the entrance.
"Yes, sir." He skimmed his official CompuSeal over the door to keep out the curious, then led the way to the bank of elevators. "Eighteenth floor," he said when the doors swished shut behind them.
"Fill me in, Officer." Eve switched on her recorder and waited.
"I wasn't first on the scene, Lieutenant. Whatever happened upstairs is being kept upstairs. There's a badge inside waiting for you. We have a homicide, and a Code Five in number eighteen-oh-three."
"Who called it in?"
"I don't have that information."
He stayed where he was when the elevator opened. Eve stepped out and was alone in a narrow hallway. Security cameras tilted down at her, and her feet were almost soundless on the worn nap of the carpet as she approached 1803. Ignoring the hand plate, she announced herself, holding her badge up to eye level for the peep cam until the door opened.
"Feeney." She smiled, pleased to see a familiar face. Ryan Feeney was an old friend and former partner who'd traded the street for a desk and a top-level position in the Electronics Detection Division. "So, they're sending computer pluckers these days."
"They wanted brass, and the best." His lips curved in his wide, rumpled face, but his eyes remained sober. He was a small, stubby man with small, stubby hands and rust-colored hair. "You look beat."
"So I heard." He offered her one of the sugared nuts from the bag he habitually carried, studying her, and measuring if she was up to what was waiting in the bedroom beyond.
She was young for her rank, barely thirty, with wide brown eyes that had never had a chance to be naive. Her doe-brown hair was cropped short, for convenience rather than style, but suited her triangular face with its razor-edge cheekbones and slight dent in the chin.
She was tall, rangy, with a tendency to look thin, but Feeney knew there were solid muscles beneath the leather jacket. But Eve had more-there was also a brain, and a heart.
"This one's going to be touchy, Dallas."
"I picked that up already. Who's the victim?"
"Sharon DeBlass, granddaughter of Senator DeBlass."
Neither meant anything to her. "Politics isn't my forte, Feeney."
"The gentleman from Virginia, extreme right, old money. The granddaughter took a sharp left a few years back, moved to New York and became a licensed companion."
"She was a hooker." Dallas glanced around the apartment. It was furnished in obsessive modern-glass and thin chrome, signed holograms on the walls, recessed bar in bold red. The wide mood screen behind the bar bled with mixing and merging shapes and colors in cool pastels.
Neat as a virgin, Eve mused, and cold as a whore. "No surprise, given her choice of real estate."
"Politics makes it delicate. Victim was twenty-four, Caucasian female. She bought it in bed."
Eve only lifted a brow. "Seems poetic, since she'd been bought there. How'd she die?"
"That's the next problem. I want you to see for yourself."
As they crossed the room, each took out a slim container, sprayed their hands front and back to seal in oils and fingerprints. At the doorway, Eve sprayed the bottom of her boots to slicken them so that she would pick up no fibers, stray hairs, or skin.
Eve was already wary. Under normal circumstances there would have been two other investigators on a homicide scene, with recorders for sound and pictures. Forensics would have been waiting with their usual snarly impatience to sweep the scene.
The fact that only Feeney had been assigned with her meant that there were a lot of eggshells to be walked over.
"Security cameras in the lobby, elevator, and hallways," Eve commented.
"I've already tagged the discs." Feeney opened the bedroom door and let her enter first.
It wasn't pretty. Death rarely was a peaceful, religious experience to Eve's mind. It was the nasty end, indifferent to saint and sinner. But this was shocking, like a stage deliberately set to offend.
The bed was huge, slicked with what appeared to be genuine satin sheets the color of ripe peaches. Small, soft focused spotlights were trained on its center where the naked woman was cupped in the gentle dip of the floating mattress.
The mattress moved with obscenely graceful undulations to the rhythm of programmed music slipping through the headboard.
She was beautiful still, a cameo face with a tumbling waterfall of flaming red hair, emerald eyes that stared glassily at the mirrored ceiling, long, milk-white limbs that called to mind visions of Swan Lake as the motion of the bed gently rocked them.
They weren't artistically arranged now, but spread lewdly so that the dead woman formed a final X dead-center of the bed.
There was a hole in her forehead, one in her chest, another horribly gaping between the open thighs. Blood had splattered on the glossy sheets, pooled, dripped, and stained.
There were splashes of it on the lacquered walls, like lethal paintings scrawled by an evil child.
So much blood was a rare thing, and she had seen much too much of it the night before to take the scene as calmly as she would have preferred.
She had to swallow once, hard, and force herself to block out the image of a small child.
"You got the scene on record?"
"Then turn that damn thing off." She let out a breath after Feeney located the controls that silenced the music. The bed flowed to stillness. "The wounds," Eve murmured, stepping closer to examine them. "Too neat for a knife. Too messy for a laser." A flash came to her-old training films, old videos, old viciousness.
"Christ, Feeney, these look like bullet wounds."
Feeney reached into his pocket and drew out a sealed bag. "Whoever did it left a souvenir." He passed the bag to Eve. "An antique like this has to go for eight, ten thousand for a legal collection, twice that on the black market."
Fascinated, Eve turned the sealed revolver over in her hand. "It's heavy," she said half to herself. "Bulky."
"Thirty-eight caliber," he told her. "First one I've seen outside of a museum. This one's a Smith and Wesson, Model Ten, blue steel." He looked at it with some affection. "Real classic piece, used to be standard police issue up until the latter part of the twentieth. They stopped making them in about twenty-two, twenty-three, when the gun ban was passed."
"You're the history buff." Which explained why he was with her. "Looks new." She sniffed through the bag, caught the scent of oil and burning. "Somebody took good care of this. Steel fired into flesh," she mused as she passed the bag back to Feeney. "Ugly way to die, and the first I've seen it in my ten years with the department."
"Second for me. About fifteen years ago, Lower East Side, party got out of hand. Guy shot five people with a twenty-two before he realized it wasn't a toy. Hell of a mess."
"Fun and games," Eve murmured. "We'll scan the collectors, see how many we can locate who own one like this. Somebody might have reported a robbery."
"It's more likely it came through the black market." Eve glanced back at the body. "If she's been in the business for a few years, she'd have discs, records of her clients, her trick books." She frowned. "With Code Five, I'll have to do the door-to-door myself. Not a simple sex crime," she said with a sigh. "Whoever did it set it up. The antique weapon, the wounds themselves, almost ruler straight down the body, the lights, the pose. Who called it in, Feeney?"
"The killer." He waited until her eyes came back to him. "From right here. Called the station. See how the bedside unit's aimed at her face? That's what came in. Video, no audio."
"He's into showmanship." Eve let out a breath. "Clever bastard, arrogant, cocky. He had sex with her first. I'd bet my badge on it. Then he gets up and does it." She lifted her arm, aiming, lowering it as she counted off, "One, two, three."
"That's cold," murmured Feeney.
"He's cold. He smooths down the sheets after. See how neat they are? He arranges her, spreads her open so nobody can have any doubts as to how she made her living. He does it carefully, practically measuring, so that she's perfectly aligned. Center of the bed, arms and legs equally apart. Doesn't turn off the bed 'cause it's part of the show. He leaves the gun because he wants us to know right away he's no ordinary man. He's got an ego. He doesn't want to waste time letting the body be discovered eventually. He wants it now. That instant gratification."
"She was licensed for men and women," Feeny pointed out, but Eve shook her head.
"It's not a woman. A woman wouldn't have left her looking both beautiful and obscene. No, I don't think it's a woman. Let's see what we can find. Have you gone into her computer yet?"
"No. It's your case, Dallas. I'm only authorized to assist."
"See if you can access her client files." Eve went to the dresser and began to carefully search drawers.
Expensive taste, Eve reflected. There were several items of real silk, the kind no simulation could match. The bottle of scent on the dresser was exclusive, and smelled, after a quick sniff, like expensive sex.
The contents of the drawers were meticulously ordered, lingerie folded precisely, sweaters arranged according to color and material. The closet was the same.
Obviously the victim had a love affair with clothes and a taste for the best and took scrupulous care of what she owned.
And she'd died naked.
"Kept good records," Feeney called out. "It's all here. Her client list, appointments-including her required monthly health exam and her weekly trip to the beauty salon. She used the Trident Clinic for the first and Paradise for the second."
"Both top of the line. I've got a friend who saved for a year so she could have one day for the works at Paradise. Takes all kinds."
"My wife's sister went for it for her twenty-fifth anniversary. Cost damn near as much as my kid's wedding. Hello, we've got her personal address book."
Excerpted from NAKED IN DEATH by J. D. ROBB Copyright © 1995 by Nora Roberts. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Meet the Author
J.D. Robb is the pseudonym for a number one New York Times bestselling author of more than 190 novels, including the futuristic suspense In Death series. There are more than 400 million copies of her books in print.
Nora Roberts is truly a publishing phenomenon. With over 250 million copies of her novels in print, she has come a long way since she wrote her first novel in a spiral notebook using a No. 2 pencil. Now she has published over 150 novels and her work has been optioned and made into films, excerpted in national magazines and translated in over twenty-five different countries. "I always have stories running around in my head," she explains. "Once I start putting them down on paper, I just keep going; I just keep writing." In addition to her amazing success in mainstream fiction, Nora Roberts remains committed to writing for her category romance audience that took her to into their heart in 1981 with her very first book, a Silhouette romance.
Nora Roberts continues to write futuristic romantic suspense as J.D. Robb, and her characters Eve Dallas and Roarke have become two of her most popular creations ever. Her J.D. Robb titles are hailed as "a perfect balance of suspense, futuristic police procedure and steamy romance...truly fine entertainment" by Publishers Weekly.
Reviewers agree that Nora Roberts deserves praise. The Los Angeles Daily News describes her as "a word artist, painting her story and her characters with vitality and verve." Kirkus Reviews comments on True Betrayals saying "Roberts' style has a fresh, contemporary snap." Roberts is said to be "reminiscent of Jacqueline Briskin and Sidney Sheldon" by Booklist, and Rex Reed lauds her saying, "Move over Sidney Sheldon: the world has a new master of romantic suspense, and her name is Nora Roberts." Publishers Weekly claims "Roberts keeps getting better...[her] prolificness shows no sign of abating." They add, "When Roberts puts her expert finger on the pulse of romance, legions of fans feel the heartbeat." USA Today calls Nora "a consistently entertaining writer."
The remarkable Ms. Roberts did not become a success overnight. By the time her first novel, Irish Thoroughbred, was published in 1981, she already had three years of hard work behind her and several rejected manuscripts languishing in drawers. Today, according to Entertainment Weekly, "her stories have fueled the dreams of twenty-five million readers." One of America's leading novelists, her books are published around the world. She is frequently invited to promote her novels in other countries. Her recent travels took her to England, Italy, Australia and Japan to meet fans, fellow authors and aspiring writers.
Sanctuary was made into a television movie which aired in 2001 on CBS as "Nora Roberts' Sanctuary." The cast includes Melissa Gilbert, Emmy-winner Kathy Baker and Costas Mandylor. CBS has also optioned The Reef for another television movie. Montana Sky has been optioned by TriStar Television for a two-hour television movie. Her book This Magic Moment became the television film "Magic Moments" starring Emmy-winner John Shea and Jenny Seagrove. Sacred Sins has been optioned for film by Kaleidoscope, and Private Scandals has been optioned by Burt Reynolds Productions. Reflections and The Law is a Lady were selected by Good Housekeeping magazine for presentation as condensed novels. Honest Illusions and Private Scandals were featured as Readers Digest's Condensed Books.
The Associated Press, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Cosmopolitan, People Magazine and Entertainment Weekly have all featured or mentioned Nora Roberts in articles about writing and the romance genre. She has appeared on ABC-TV's Good Morning America and Cable News Network, and has been featured on the television programs To Tell the Truth, Entertainment Tonight, and Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. She has been interviewed by local television and radio programs across the country, and she has been featured in dozens of newspapers, including the Washington Post, Baltimore Sun, Toronto Star, The Toronto Sun, Washington Times, Detroit Free Press, Chicago Tribune, and Atlanta Constitution.
Her extraordinary accomplishments have also received recognition from her peers. The first author ever to be inducted into the Romance Writers of America's Hall of Fame, and the first author to receive their Centennial Award when she published her 100th novel Montana Sky, she is the recipient of almost every award given in recognition of excellence in romance writing. In 1997, she was honored at the Romance Writers of America National Conference when she was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award. In addition to her awards from the Romance Writers of America, she has also received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Waldenbooks, and she has been honored by B. Dalton Booksellers, the New Jersey Chapter of Romance Writers of America, and BookRak Distributors.
Nora Roberts is a charter member of the Romance Writers of America, and a member of their Washington, D.C. chapter. She was the keynote speaker at their 1994 national conference in New York. She is also a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, The Crime Writers League of America, and Novelists Inc.
The youngest of five children, she was born in Silver Spring, Maryland. She now lives in Keedysville, Maryland.
- Keedysville, Maryland
- Date of Birth:
- Place of Birth:
- Silver Spring, Maryland
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