Seduction in Death (In Death Series #13)by J. D. Robb
Dante had been courting his victim in cyberspace for weeks before meeting her in person. A few sips of wine and a few hours later, she was dead. The murder weapon: a rare, usually undetectable date-rape drug with a street value of a quarter million dollars.
Detective Eve Dallas is playing and replaying the clues in her mind. The candlelight, the music, the… See more details below
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Dante had been courting his victim in cyberspace for weeks before meeting her in person. A few sips of wine and a few hours later, she was dead. The murder weapon: a rare, usually undetectable date-rape drug with a street value of a quarter million dollars.
Detective Eve Dallas is playing and replaying the clues in her mind. The candlelight, the music, the rose petals strewn across the beda seduction meant for his benefit, not hers. He hadn’t intended to kill her. But now that he had, he is left with only two choices: to either hole up in fear and guilt. Or start hunting again…
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Death didn’t only come in dreams.
Eve stood over it now, in the balmy early morning air of a Tuesday in June. The New York City sidewalk was cordoned off, the sensors and blocks squaring around the pavement and the cheerful tubs of petunias used to spruce up the building’s entrance.
She had a particular fondness for petunias, but she didn’t think they were going to do the job this time. And not for some time to come.
The woman was facedown on the sidewalk. From the angle of the body, the splatter and pools of blood, there wasn’t going to be a lot of that face left. Eve looked up at the dignified gray tower with its semicircle balconies, its silver ribbon of people glides. Until they identified the body, they’d have a hard time pinning down the area from which she’d fallen. Or jumped. Or been pushed.
The one thing Eve was sure of: It had been a very long drop.
“Get her prints and run them,” she ordered.
She glanced down at her aide as Peabody squatted, opened a field kit. Peabody’s uniform cap sat squarely on her ruler-straight dark hair. She had steady hands, Eve thought, and a good eye. “Why don’t you do time of death.”
“Me?” Peabody asked in surprise.
“Get me an ID, establish time of death. Log in description of scene and body.”
Now, despite the grisly circumstance, it was excitement that moved over Peabody’s face. “Yes, sir. Sir, first officer on-scene has a potential witness.”
“A witness from up there, or down here?”
“I’ll take it.” But Eve stayed where she was a moment longer, watching Peabody scan the dead woman’s fingerprints. Though Peabody’s hands and feet were sealed, she made no contact with the body and did the scan quickly, delicately.
After one nod of approval, Eve strode away to question the uniforms flanking the perimeter.
It might have been nearly three in the morning, but there were bystanders, gapers, and they had to be encouraged along, blocked out. News hawks were already in evidence, calling out questions, trying to snag a few minutes of recording to pump into the airwaves before the first morning commute.
An ambitious glide-cart operator had jumped on the opportunity and was putting in some overtime selling to the crowd. His grill pumped out smoke that spewed the scents of soy dogs and rehydrated onions into the air.
He appeared to be doing brisk business.
In the gorgeous spring of 2059, death continued to draw an audience from the living, and those who knew how to make a quick buck out of the deal.
A cab winged by, didn’t bother to so much as tap the brakes. From somewhere farther downtown, a siren screamed.
Eve blocked it out, turned to the uniform. “Rumor is we’ve got eyes.”
“Yes, sir. Officer Young’s got her in the squad car keeping her away from the ghouls.”
“Good.” Eve scanned the faces behind the barrier. In them she saw horror, excitement, curiosity, and a kind of relief.
I’m alive, and you’re not.
Shaking it off, she hunted down Young and the witness.
Given the neighborhoodfor in spite of the dignity and the petunias, the apartment building was right on the border of midtown bustle and downtown sleazeEve was expecting a licensed companion, maybe a jonesing chemi-head or a dealer on the way to a mark.
She certainly hadn’t expected the tiny, snappily dressed blonde with the pretty and familiar face.
“Lieutenant Dallas?” Louise Dimatto angled her head, and the ruby clusters at her ears gleamed like glassy blood. “Do you come in, or do I come out?”
Eve jerked a thumb, held the car door wider. “Come on out.”
They’d met the previous winter, at the Canal Street Clinic where Louise fought against the tide to heal the homeless and the hopeless. She came from money, and her bloodline was blue, but Eve had good reason to know Louise didn’t quibble about getting her hands dirty.
She’d nearly died helping Eve fight an ugly war during that bitter winter.
Eve skimmed a look over Louise’s stoplight-red dress. “Making house calls?”
“A date. Some of us try to maintain a healthy social life.”
“How’d it go?”
“I took a cab home, so you be the judge.” She skimmed back her short, honeycomb hair with her fingers. “Why are so many men so boring?”
“You know, that’s a question that haunts me day and night.” When Louise laughed, Eve smiled in response. “It’s good to see you, all things considered.”
“I thought you might drop by the clinic, come see the improvements your donation helped implement.”
“I think it’s called blackmail in most circles.”
“Donation, blackmail. Let’s not split hairs. You’ve helped save a few lives, Dallas. That’s got to be nearly as satisfying to you as catching those who take them.”
“Lost one tonight.” She turned, looked back toward the body. “What do you know about her?”
“Nothing, really. I think she lives in the building, but she’s not looking her best at the moment, so I can’t be sure.”
After a long breath, Louise rubbed the back of her neck. “Sorry, this is more in your line than mine. It’s my first experience nearly having a body fall in my arms. I’ve seen people die, and it’s not always gentle. But this was . . .”
“Okay. You want to sit back down? Want some coffee?”
“No. No. Let me just tell it.” She steadied herself, a subtle squaring of the shoulders, stiffening of the spine. “I ditched the date from tedium, grabbed a cab. We’d gone to dinner and a club uptown. I got here about one-thirty, I suppose.”
“You live in this building?”
“That’s right. Tenth floor. Apartment 1005. I paid the cab, got out on the curb. It’s a pretty night. I was thinking, It’s a beautiful night, and I just wasted it on that jerkoff. So I stood there for a couple minutes, on the sidewalk, wondering if I should go in and call it a night, or take a walk. I decided I’d go up, fix a nightcap, and sit out on my balcony. I turned, took another step toward the doors. I don’t know why I looked upI didn’t hear anything. But I just looked up, and she was falling, with her hair spread out like wings. It couldn’t have been more than two or three seconds, I’d barely had time to register what I was seeing, and she hit.”
“You didn’t see where she fell from?”
“No. She was coming down, and fast. Jesus, Dallas.” Louise had to pause a moment, rub the image from her eyes. “She hit so hard, and with a really nasty sound I’m going to be hearing in my sleep for a long time. It couldn’t have been more than five or six feet from where I was standing.”
She drew another breath, made herself look over at the body. Now there was pity over the horror. “People think they’ve reached the end of their ropes. That there’s nothing left for them. But they’re wrong. There’s always more rope. There’s always something left.”
“You think she jumped?”
Louise looked back at Eve. “Yes, I assumed . . . I said I didn’t hear anything. She didn’t make a sound. No scream, no cry. Nothing but the flutter of her hair in the wind. I guess that’s why I looked up.” She thought now. “I did hear something after all. That flutter, like wings.”
“What did you do after she hit?”
“I checked her pulse. Knee-jerk,” Louise said with a shrug. “I knew she was dead, but I checked anyway. Then I took out my pocket-link and called nine-one-one. You think she was pushed? That’s why you’re here.”
“I don’t think anything yet.” Eve turned back toward the building. Some lights had been on when she’d arrived, and there were more now so that it looked like a vertical chessboard in silver and black. “Homicide gets tagged on leapers like this. It’s standard. Do yourself a favor. Go in, take a pill, zone out. Don’t talk to the press if they wheedle your name.”
“Good advice. Will you let me know when . . . when you know what happened to her?”
“Yeah, I can do that. Want a uniform to take you up?”
“No, thanks.” She took one last look at the body. “As bad as my night was, it was better than some.”
“I hear you.”
“Best to Roarke,” Louise added, then walked toward the doors.
Peabody was already standing, her palm-link in hand. “Got an ID, Dallas. Bryna Bankhead, age twenty-three, mixed race. Single. Residence apartment 1207 in the building behind us. She worked at Saks Fifth Avenue. Lingerie. I established time of death at oh-one-fifteen.”
“One-fifteen?” Eve repeated, and thought of the readout on her bedside clock.
“Yes, sir. I ran the measurements twice.”
Eve frowned down at the gauges, the field kit, the bloody pool under the body. “Witness said she fell about one-thirty. When was the nine-eleven logged?”
Uneasy now, Peabody checked her ’link for the record. “Call came in at oh-one-thirty-six.” She heaved out a breath that fluttered her thick, straight bangs. “I must’ve screwed up the measurements,” she began. “I’m sorry”
“Don’t apologize until I tell you you’ve screwed up.” Eve crouched, opened her own field kit, took out her own gauges. And ran the test a third time, personally.
“You established time of death accurately. For the record,” she continued. “Victim, identified as Bankhead, Bryna, cause of death undetermined. Time of death oh-one-fifteen. TOD verified by Peabody, Officer Delia, and primary investigator Dallas, Lieutenant Eve. Let’s roll her, Peabody.”
Peabody swallowed the questions on her tongue, and the quick rise of her own gorge. For the moment she blanked her mind, but later she would think it had been like rolling over a sack full of broken sticks swimming in thick liquid.
“Impact has severely damaged victim’s face.”
“Boy,” Peabody breathed through her teeth. “I’ll say.”
“Limbs and torso also suffered severe damage, rendering it impossible to determine any possible premortem injury from visual exam. The body is nude. She’s wearing earrings.” Eve took out a small magnifier, peered through it at the lobes. “Multicolored stones in gold settings, matching ring on right middle finger.”
She eased closer until her lips were nearly on the victim’s throatand Peabody’s gorge tried a second rising. “Sir . . .”
“Perfume. She’s wearing perfume. You walk around your apartment at one in the morning, Peabody, wearing fancy earrings and fancy perfume?”
“If I’m awake in my apartment at one in the morning, I’m usually in my bunny slippers. Unless . . .”
“Yeah.” Eve straightened. “Unless you’ve got company.” Eve turned to the crime scene tech. “Bag her. I want her tagged for priority with the ME. I want her checked for recent sexual activity, and any injuries that are premortem. Let’s have a look at her apartment, Peabody.”
“She’s not a leaper.”
“Evidence is pointing to the contrary.” She strode into the lobby. It was small and quiet, and security cameras swept the area.
“I want the discs from security,” she told Peabody. “Lobby level, and twelfth floor to start.”
There was a long pause as they stepped into the elevator and Eve called for the twelfth floor. Then Peabody shifted her weight, trying for casual. “So . . . are you going to bring in EDD?”
Eve stuck her hands in her pockets, scowled at the blank, brushed metal doors of the elevator. Peabody’s romantic liaison with Ian McNab, Electronics Detective Division had recently detonated. Which, if anyone had listened to me, Eve thought bitterly, wouldn’t be in many ugly pieces because it never would have existed in the first place.
“Suck it in, Peabody.”
“It’s a reasonable question on procedure, and has nothing whatsoever to do with anything else.”
Peabody’s tone was stiff enough to communicate insult, hurt feelings, and annoyance. She was, Eve thought, good at it. “If during the course of this investigation, I, as primary investigator, deem EDD is needed for consult, I will so order.”
“You could also request someone other than he who shall not be named,” Peabody muttered.
“Feeney runs EDD. I don’t tell Feeney which of his people to assign. And damn it, Peabody, this case or another, you’re going to end up working with McNab, which is why you should never have let him bang you in the first place.”
“I can work with him. It doesn’t bother me a bit.” So saying, she stomped off the elevator onto the twelfth floor. “I’m a professional, unlike some others who are always cracking wise and coming to work in weird getups and showing off.”
At the door of Bankhead’s apartment, Eve lifted her eyebrows. “You calling me unprofessional, Officer?”
“No, sir! I was . . .” Her stiff shoulders loosened, and humor slid back into her eyes. “I’d never call your getups weird, Dallas, even though I’m pretty sure you’re wearing a guy’s shirt.”
“If you’re finished with your snit, we’ll go back on record. Using master to gain entrance to victim’s apartment,” Eve continued, and coded through the locks. She opened the door, examined it. “Interior chain and snap bolt were not in use. Living area lights are on dim. What do you smell, Peabody?”
“Ah . . . candles, maybe perfume.”
“What do you see?”
“Living area, nicely decorated and organized. The mood screen’s on. Looks like a spring meadow pattern. There are two wineglasses and an open bottle of red wine on the sofa table, indicating the victim had company at some point in the evening.”
“Okay.” Though she’d hoped Peabody would take it a little further, Eve nodded. “What do you hear?”
“Music. Audio system’s playing. Violins and piano. I don’t recognize the tune.”
“Not the tune, the tone,” Eve said. “Romance. Take another look around. Everything’s in place. Neat, tidy, and as noted, organized. But she left a bottle of wine sitting open, and used glasses sitting out? Why?”
“She didn’t have a chance to put them away.”
“Or turn off the lights, the audio, the mood screen.” She stepped through, glanced into the adjoining kitchen. The counters were clean, and empty but for the corkscrew, the wine cork. “Who opened the wine, Peabody?”
“The most likely conclusion would be her date. If she’d opened it, she would have, giving the indication of the apartment, put the corkscrew away, dumped the cork in her recycler.”
“Mmm. Living area balcony doors closed and secured from inside. If this was self-termination or an accidental fall, it wasn’t from this point. Let’s check the bedroom.”
“You don’t think it was self-termination or an accident.”
“I don’t think anything yet. What I know is the victim was a single woman who kept a very neat apartment and that evidence indicates she spent at least a portion of this evening at home with company.”
Eve turned into the bedroom. The audio played here as well, dreamy, fluid notes that seemed to drift on the breeze fluttering through the open balcony doors. The bed was unmade, and the disordered sheets were strewn with pink rose petals. A black dress, black undergarments, and black evening shoes were piled beside the bed.
Candles, guttering fragrantly in their own wax, were set around the room.
“Read the scene,” Eve ordered.
“It appears as if the victim engaged in or was about to engage in sexual intercourse prior to her death. There are no signs of struggle here or in the living area, which indicates the sex, or plans for the sex, were consensual.”
“This wasn’t sex, Peabody. This was seduction. We’re going to need to find out who seduced who. Record the scene, then get me those security discs.”
With a sealed finger, Eve eased open the drawer of the bedside table. “Goodie drawer.”
“Sex drawer, Peabody. Single girl provisions, which in this case includes condoms. Victim liked men. Couple bottles of tasty body oils, a vibrator for when self-servicing is necessary or desired, and some vaginal lubricant. Fairly standard, even conservative and straight goodies. No toys or aids here to indicate victim leaned toward same-sex relationships.”
“So her date was a man.”
“Or a woman hoping to broaden Bankhead’s horizons. We’ll nail that down with the discs. And maybe we get lucky with the ME’s report and find some little soldiers in her.”
She stepped into the adjoining bath. It was sparkling clean, the ribbon-trimmed hand towels perfectly aligned. There were fancy soaps in a fancy dish, perfumed creams in glass-and-silver jars. “My guess is her bed partner didn’t hang around and wash up. Get the sweepers up here,” she ordered. “Let’s see if our Romeo left anything behind.”
She opened the mirror on the medicine cabinet, studied the contents. Normal over-the-counter meds, nothing heavy. A six-month supply of twenty-eight day contraceptive pills.
The drawer beside the sink was packed, and meticulously organized, with cosmetic enhancers. Lip dyes, lash lengtheners, face and body paints.
Bryna had spent a lot of time in front of this mirror, Eve mused. If the little black dress, the wine, the candlelight were anything to go by, she’d spent considerable time in front of it tonight. Preparing herself for a man.
Moving to the bedroom ’link, Eve played back the last call and stood, listening to Bryna Bankhead, pretty in her little black dress, talk of her big plans for the evening with a brunette she called CeeCee.
I’m a little nervous, but mostly I’m just excited. We’re finally going to meet. How do I look?
You look fabulous, Bry. You just remember real-life dating’s different from cyber-dating. Take it slow, and keep it public tonight, right?
Absolutely. But I really do feel like I know him, CeeCee. We’ve got so much in common, and we’ve been e-mailing for weeks. Besides, it was my idea to meetand his to make it drinks in a public place so I’d feel more at ease. He’s so considerate, so romantic. God, I’m going to be late. I hate being late. Gotta go.
Don’t forget. I want all the deets.
I’ll tell you all about it tomorrow. Wish me luck, CeeCee. I really think he could be the one.
“Yeah,” Eve murmured as she shut off the ’link. “So do I.”
Reprinted from Seduction In Death by Nora Roberts by permission of Berkley, a member of Penguin Putnam Inc. Copyright © 2001, Nora Roberts. All rights reserved. This excerpt, or any parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission.
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Meet the Author
In the spring of 1995, J.D. Robb's first book, Naked in Death, appeared on bookshelves with very little fanfare. Robb introduced readers to New York City in the near future, 2058 to be exact, as seen through the eyes of Eve Dallas, a detective with the New York City Police and Safety Department. The Gothic Journal hailed Robb's work as "a unique blend of hard-core police drama, science fiction and passionate romance" while The Paperback Forum called it "a fantastic new detective series."
The popularity of that first book built up through the release of the subsequent Eve Dallas books, Glory In Death, Immortal In Death, Rapture In Death, Ceremony In Death, Vengeance in Death, Holiday In Death, and Conspiracy in Death. Readers were taken with Eve Dallas' integrity, strength and heart and her burgeoning relationship with the mysterious Roarke.
It's been a fairly open secret that J.D. Robb is the pseudonym of the more familiar New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts. But Ms. Roberts, and her publisher, Berkley, were content to let the Robb books build slowly with very little tie-in to the Nora Roberts' style of romantic suspense.
The pragmatic reason for creating J.D. Robb was the astounding pace at which Nora Roberts produces books. With nearly 100 published books to her credit by 1995, she had built up a surplus of titles to be released by her publishers, Berkley and Silhouette, and still was creating more. Reluctant to publish romantic suspense books akin to what she was already writing under a pseudonym, Ms. Roberts was convinced that readers would enjoy romantic suspense with a difference. Thus J.D. Robb was born. The initials were taken from Ms. Roberts' sons, Jason and Dan, while Robb was a shortened form of Roberts.
"I wanted to try something a little different. I love writing romance and suspense but also wanted a twist," explains Ms. Roberts. "The near future setting provided this and allowed me to more or less create a world. What would it be like in 2058? I could decide. And I could illustrate my own feeling that while the toys may change, people remain basically the same. They still love and hate and covet; they still have courage and cowardice. They're still human."
The In Death books have afforded Ms. Roberts an opportunity to explore a relationship beyond the ending of the first book. Her trilogies and family stories have been hugely popular with fans – the recent Chesapeake Bay trilogy, Sea Swept, Rising Tides and Inner Harbor have all spent time at the number one spot on The New York Times bestseller list – but when the story was over, she moved on to other characters.
"One of the things I wanted to do was develop those characters over many books rather than tying it all up in one," she says. "I wanted to explore these people and peel the layers off book by book. Eve and Roarke have given me the opportunity to explore a marriage, as well. Each book resolved the particular crime or mystery that drives it, but the character development, the growth and the changes, the tone of the relationships go more slowly. I'm enjoying that tremendously."
The experiment has succeeded beyond expectations. The ninth J.D. Robb book, Loyalty in Death is the first to hit the New York Times Bestseller list. Witness in Death and Judgment in Death will be published in March and October of 2000. Now, it's freely acknowledged that J.D. Robb and Nora Roberts are one and the same. The Robb books will appear every six months, much to the delight of Ms. Roberts' fans who are vocal in their demands for more of Eve Dallas and Roarke.
Nora Roberts – in any guise – will continue to delight that audience with her inimitable combination of romance and suspense in this century or the next.
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I always loved Nora Roberts books - especially her trilogies - but when I learned she also wrote the "In Death Series", I was at first skeptical. Not sure if I would get "into" a futuristic/romance type of book. But after the first chapter of the very first one - I was hooked and can't wait for the next one as soon as I finish the latest. Usually once a year, I start at the beginning and re-read them all. Not only are the plots excellent but the main characters keep growing to the point where they feel like family.
Seduced by another In Death installment! Review brought to you by OBS staff member Heidi Seduction in Death is the 13th installment of Nora Robert’s futuristic In Death series written under her pen name J.D. Robb. It features police lieutenant Eve Dallas and her sexy rich husband, Roarke. In this installment Eve is faced with a couple of murderers that are nothing more than overindulgent rich boys. They are best friends playing a game of meeting unsuspecting girls they meet in online chat rooms and then drugging them with strong date rape drugs, one of which isn’t even in normal distribution because it’s so expensive to make. The pair have devised a point system to rate their adventures and the loser must pay up, a dollar a point. It started out being a game to sleep with the most women, but when the first woman is accidentally killed the game becomes much more sinister. I really liked this installment. The futuristic aspect is barely there so it’s a good installment for those that are wary of it. I thought it was interesting being introduced to the killers so early in the book and being able to understand them so well (Even if they are whacked!!). Not to mention knowing whether Eve was on the right track or not in her investigation. Roarke and Eve were great together in this one. They had some tender moments, not to mention their usual hot sex! I loved seeing the jealous and protective side of McNab when he discovered Charles was no longer interested in Peabody. I’m glad that he and Peabody are finally going to try to be an item and quit pining for each other from afar. I love both the characters and think that only good things can follow. And Eve’s disgust at them is also always fun. “You don’t need to diet, She-Body. You are a just-right female.” “McNab?” Eve said. “Yes, sir.” “Shut up.” “It’s all right, Dallas. We’re a couple.” “A couple of what? No, don’t tell me. Don’t talk to me. Don’t talk to each other. Let there be silence across the land.” Overall, this was another great fun read that any In Death fan will enjoy. See this review and more at openbooksociety dot com
I loved the plot. I loved Peabody & McNab their argument and the extents they went were fabulous! I loved that it picked up moments from the last book. How elements from previous books were drawn in and utilized - like the Magda movie - to keep the feeling that we're part of their lives.
This was the first book i've read from Nora Roberts writing as J.D. Robb. My friend loan it to me and I was skeptical, but i decided... why not. And WOW! Just like that, I was hooked! Eve and Roarke were different from the Nora characters and I love Summerset, he adds a nice touch to the story.
They are two spoiled rich kids in their early twenties, whose goals in life are to have enough fun and thrills so they want wake up the next morning. They were overindulged all their lives, given every advantage but in their twisted psychopathic minds, that is not nearly enough for such special specimens as themselves. Kevin and Lucien devise a game with rules and points involving meeting women over chat lines and using date rape drugs to live out their fantasies. Their first victim dies of an overdose of the drugs and Lieutenant Eve Dallas of the NYPSD catches the case. She quickly realizes there are two predators in their growing crime spree but they have gone to unusual lengths to cancel their identifies. Even with the help of her sexy and powerful husband Roarke, she is not getting any closer to putting the monsters inside a cage. It is going to take more than fancy footwork to catch these perpetrators. Eve will need all her brilliance perhaps abetted by a miracle or two to apprehend this duo. This long running series remains fresh and entertaining so that a person could believe that this book is the beginning of the Eve Dallas-Roarke romantic mysteries. The plot is a highly developed and fast paced futuristic police procedural with plenty of punch. SEDUCTION IN DEATH is a fast breezy read and part of the enjoyment comes from hating the two antagonists who do not have one redeeming quality between them. Harriet Klausner
J D Robb wrote an outstanding novel in Seduction in Death. It is one of the best ones that I have read written by her. It is definitely spellbinding and causes one to continue to read until finished. No one will ever guess the ending. It is a definite must read!
Still enjoyed...worth reading just to get Mcnabb and peabody update
When I first heard of the title of this book, I was like oh great...more sex. But in truth it's about what would happen if you take things a little too far with planning your "night". Even though it was a mistake, what happens when you decide to do it again, this time you do it on purpose? Eve Dallas is sent to drag you butt to prison or to hell: whichever one you choose!!
I have loved reading all the In Death series. I never wanted to put the book down. Seduction In Death kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time.
Funny, heartwarming, suspenseful, intruguing••• this series has it all
Reading right now. Just found out who the subjects might be. It keeps my interest. Love the JD Robb "In Death Series"!
I love reading J.D Robb's books.