Feral cats are disappearing all over Chinatown, and Special Agent Tom Katowski, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, has been assigned to investigate the case. Not that feral cats are really his jurisdiction, but the county's getting way too many calls, and someone's got to check it out. Who better than an old tom cat?
Officer Evaline O'Donnell thinks the Special Agent's story is more than a little fishy, so she's up to doing some investigating of her own. But will that Tom Cat strut get her so distracted she forgets who's supposed to be wearing the handcuffs?
Praise for Black as Night (S.O.S.)
"Hot and steamy with a side of humor. The plot was good... The climax/ending was a very welcome surprise. Anyone who loves their book boyfriends tall, dark and handsome, step right in and pick up this read!"
-- Sorrel, Long and Short Reviews
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Black as Night (S.O.S.)
All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2014 Shelby Morgen "Pardon me, Officer."
Deep, rumbly voice, someplace between Tom Selleck and Sam Elliot. Definite hint of the Midwest. I took a step back to look up at the man I'd nearly run into. Damn. His voice wasn't the only thing that made me want to ask if he needed a place to stay for the night.
I have a thing for big men. Tall, broad shoulders, the kind of muscles a man gets from hard work. This guy had it all. And just enough age on him to not make me want to laugh at the old fashioned courtesy of his response.
The garb fit, too. Well broke in jeans, worn boots and a blue Cambric shirt that was somewhere between comfortable and favorite. Nothing flashy about him, just good, solid man. Cowboy might have been pushing it a bit too far, but rancher? Yeah, that'd fit.
Except, I'd heard that voice before. About an hour ago, out back in the alley. A hint of a smile broke through my habitual frown. "No apology needed. I'd call it more of a community service."
He gave me a slow regard, as if adjusting his view of our little universe to see where I fit in it. "Well, now, I'd love to tell you I don't have a clue what you mean by that, but I left young and innocent behind a long time ago."
I glanced down at my plate and then his. No one had followed him up to the buffet. "I'm not asking you to come out with your hands up, this time, but I'd love to know how you got out of that alley. And there's plenty of room at my table if you'd care to join me."
"I'd like that." He smiled, a real smile that reached all the way to his eyes, and I had to work hard at not going all gaga like a teenager with her first crush. Good thing we humans have a relatively limited sense of smell. I had to be leaking pheromones all over the place.
Yeah. I spend too much of my down time watching the science channel.
"Ma'am? Your table?"
I blinked, trying to remember where the conversation had been going.
"Where are you sitting?"
Oh. "Corner booth, behind the fish tank." I pointed with my thumb, trying not to spill my Egg Drop Soup into my Hunan Chicken.
He flashed me that sparkling George Clooney smile again -- I really wished he'd quit doing that -- and nodded his head toward the sushi bar. "Be there as soon as I round up my Salmon Rolls."
"Good." OK, less than impressive, as conversation went, but at least I'd managed a response. Trying not to look as graceless as I felt, I made my way to my booth and slid in. I'm a cop, damn it. A thirteen year veteran on the force. I don't forget what I'm doing when it comes to questioning a suspect. Not even over dinner. And especially not when I think he deserves a medal rather than a misdemeanor citation.
I was in trouble, deep, and I knew it. Somehow I had to escape being mesmerized by that voice. I gulped down Jasmine tea hot enough to scald several layers of skin off the roof of my mouth and tried to pull myself together. Before I could come to any conclusions, he slid in across from me. At this range I could see the crinkles at the corners of his eyes. Laugh lines, or long hours in the sun, it was hard to tell.
He had remarkably blue eyes, framed by dark lashes, and darker brows below hair as black as the night, with just the tiniest thread of gray at the temples. Broad, strong hands negotiated chopsticks with a delicacy that was just short of impressive. He dipped his salmon roll into a frightening amount of wasabi before popping it into his mouth. I waited for the tears to drip out of his eyes, but nothing. He looked pleased as he swallowed.
"Don't breathe near any of the candles. You're liable to light up like the room," I cautioned.
His grin pulled up one side of his mouth, and I was almost startled when he spoke in a perfectly normal -- for him -- voice. "I figured if this turns out to be one of those last meal kind of things I might as well enjoy it."
It was my turn to laugh. "I don't think you'll be consigned to the firing squad for defending yourself against those two idiots. Besides. As of..." I checked my watch. "An hour and fifteen minutes ago, I'm off duty."
He glanced pointedly at my somewhat less than pristine navy blue cop shirt. "You don't have one of those big cop locker rooms where you change to civies before you head home?"
My turn to laugh. "Wrong TV show. More Mayberry RFD than Chicago Blue. We do have a coat rack, though."
"Well, that's good. Mine lives on the back of my chair." His fingers fascinated me. Big, broad, strong hands -- strong enough to pick those two boys up by the scruff of their necks unless I missed my guess -- and yet gentle enough to pluck a sushi roll off the plate without disturbing a grain of rice. With his other hand he fished out a pass case and flipped open a badge. "Tom Katowski. Fish and Wildlife."
Fish and... I blinked, twice, and took another look at his plate. "Did they try to escape?"