Danny sighed and sat back in her office chair as she let her mind drift back to yesterday and fishing with Liam, Keith and Bowen. Keith’s boat was really more of a very large cabin cruiser, not exactly a mega yacht but not a small power boat either. It had three cabins, a galley and a large comfortable seating area below decks as well as two seating areas top side.
She’d been more than a bit nervous at first going out with three men she hardly knew but they had all been wonderfully kind and funny telling her jokes and stories to put her at ease. With Keith and Liam’s help she’d actually caught two fish, a first and rather exciting. They hadn’t even protested when she’d declared she couldn’t eat them and wanted to set them free.
Keith had kindly taken pictures of her with her catch and then Liam had carefully put them back in the river after removing the hooks from their mouths, not even making a fuss when he’d gotten stuck by one of the hooks as the fish had thrashed about. Danny had of course rewarded Liam for his sacrifice with a kiss on the cheek that had resulted in good natured ribbing from Keith and Bowen.
Around noon when the afternoon sun had warmed everything up to the low eighties Keith had lowered a floating dock and ladder off the back of the boat and they had all gone for a dip in the river. If she closed her eyes she could still see the men’s chiseled bodies as they stood on the boat and splashed in the river. Danny was used to being around men and had seen more than her share of half-clad men but Liam, Keith and Bowen were in a class all their own when it came to hotness. In fact they all looked like marble statues come to life, and would put the statue of David to shame.
When she was with Liam and Keith she felt safe and comfortable, something she hadn’t felt in more years than she could remember. Even when she was in the squad room surrounded by cops and her friends she felt nervous and uncomfortable, always on edge that one of them would hurt her. She also always had to have her mental shields up when she was near others, but not when she was near Liam and Keith. In fact it had been odd she’d hesitantly let her shields down on the boat and all she had felt was old and lion, something that didn’t make sense but she was too happy to care. Having her shields up all the time was exhausting both mentally and physically, after a long day at work she would be so exhausted it took all her strength to eat and shower before collapsing in bed.
With a sigh Danny tried to force herself to concentrate on the reports before her, they were assessments on the mental state of a man accused of killing five women and cutting them up and eating them. The three doctors his lawyers had hired said he was insane and could not stand court time, but Danny wasn’t so sure. Yes, killing and eating people was crazy but that didn’t necessarily make him clinically insane and didn’t in Danny’s mind mean he shouldn’t stand trial for what he’d done. It would be a fight as his lawyers were already pushing to have the charges either dropped or changed to man slaughter claiming their client was insane, but Danny and Paul wouldn’t let that happen.
Danny had put in a request to interview the perp one Daniel Vargas but so far his lawyers were stalling saying that he was too sick to see any one. There was a brisk knock on the door and before Danny could answer it opened and Susan, Judge Collins secretary stepped in her arms full of files.
“Great you’re here the judge asked me to drop these off.” Susan said stepping into the tiny office and dumping the pile on Danny’s already covered desk.
“You could of called, I would of come up for them.” Danny replied with a mental sigh looking at the six inch high pile of files.
“Nah this gave me an excuse to escape the office, the Judge is in one of his moods, jury selection isn’t going well and he’s on the war path.” Susan replied. “So want to join me outside there is a new food truck tex-mex, the guy inside his smoking hot and I hear the food is good.”
Danny smiled as she shook her head. Susan loved both food and men equally, at five foot five with mousy brown hair and brown eyes she rarely caught any man’s attention. It also didn’t help that she was a few pounds overweight and didn’t seem to care, not that Danny thought this she matter in Danny’s mind she was cute, smart and funny and a man would be lucky to have Susan as a girlfriend.
“No I brought leftovers, in fact I brought enough for two if you want to join me.” Danny nodded towards the ancient white refrigerator in the corner. Danny had sweet talked one of the maintenance men into giving her the ancient fridge and a microwave from when the judges lounge had been upgraded. The fridge and microwave were both old but they had been clean and in working order, and it was her habit to bring left overs or cans of soup into work to eat for lunch as she was always broke.
“Not soup again, I’m hungry.” Susan protested.
“No, no I was invited to a wedding Friday night and the reception afterwards, there was a ton of food left over and my date bribed one of the waiters to make me several doggy bags. I have roast beef and potatoes or herb roast chicken and herbed rice.” Danny pointed at the fridge. “It had been a hassle bringing four aluminum containers of food on the bus but she knew she would be working through lunch and possible diner, and she hadn’t wanted the food to go to waste. She also had left overs from her dinner last night at the fish restaurant filling her freezer.
“Wait you went on a date, with whom spill it.” Susan said going over to the fridge and pulling open the door to stare inside. “Was it a lawyer or a cop? I know you’ve always said no cops but everybody around here knows Lt Dickerson has a thing for you.” Susan said pulling out a round metal container.
“What, no, no that’s nuts Mat is just a friend, he has been since I was a kid. He’s just going through a rough patch since his divorce.” Danny protested.
Mat had been the cop who’d arrived at her home to find her family being murdered, he had been the one to try and save her and her sister. If not for Mat she’d of died that cold winter night after she’d been stabbed multiple times. Mat had also come to visit her every day in the hospital and had held her hand at the trial when she’d taken the stand against George Sawyers for murdering her family. Mat had also gone to the parole board every year since to testify against George Sawyers and see that he never had a chance to go free.
“Right if you say so.” Susan turned to pull a microwave safe dish off the top of the ancient microwave. “I’m taking the roast beef if that’s okay, I can’t remember the last time I ate roast beef. What do you want I’ll put it in a dish then go get us sodas my treat.”
“Sure help yourself, there is cheese cake in there too, I’ll have the chicken and diet coke, I’ll need the caffeine to make my way through these.” Danny nodded towards the pile of files Susan had brought.
“Cheese cake, oh I love you. You have to tell me everything over lunch.” Susan turned to pull out another container as there was a brisk tap on the open door and Danny looked up to see the hulking form of sergeant Bridgette Olafson standing in her door with a huge bouquet of pink, white and yellow roses. Bridgette who was nick named Red Sonja, was six feet three of strawberry blonde, blue eyed Swedish woman hood. Bridgette was built like a pro linebacker and had been a champion shot putter in college, her favorite past time now was entering the Celtic heavy weight games, she’s won the last two as grand champion after making two record breaking hammer tosses and throwing a caber farther than any woman so far. Bridgette had served in the marines in the bomb disposal unit and had just been made a canine officer.
All the cops lusted after her but were also afraid of her as she could bench press a good two hundred pounds and also held a second degree black belt in judo. Despite her Amazonian appearance Bridgette was a gentle soul who liked flowers and had rescued ten cats from the kill shelter. Bridgette was also trying to decide if she was gay or not, at the moment only Danny knew she was by, but Danny didn’t care who Bridgette liked or loved as Bridgette was one of her few friends.
“These came for you Danny, the boys were getting nosy and wanted to read the card but I wouldn’t let them.”
Bridgette or as she preferred Bree set the huge bouquet of flowers on the only empty spot on Danny’s desk.
“Oh my God they are gorgeous, who sent them?” Susan demanded as Bree stepped back to look at the flowers.
Danny looked at the flowers guessing there was at least four dozen roses in a crystal vase, the arrangement was expensive, very expensive and she knew at once who sent them. She pulled free the card and opened it quickly to read the note. “ Thanks for a wonderful weekend, hope to see you soon, Liam.”
“Well spill is it from the guy your seeing?” Susan demanded.
“Danny is seeing someone?” Bree asked. “What’s his name?”
“Well no, sort of. His name is Liam, I was a witness at his friend’s wedding and afterwards he asked me to the reception. We sort of hit it off and he asked me to go for lunch and a drive Saturday and then to go fishing with him and his brother Sunday.” Danny replied.
Liam had asked her out for tonight but she’d told him she’d have to get back to him depending on her work load. He’d been disappointed but said he understood and would call her later to see if she was free.
“What that’s it what does he look like, how old is he, does he have a job, come on dish.” Susan demanded.
Before Danny could answer she saw a familiar hulking blonde shape walking down the corridor towards her open door. She pushed her chair back and got to her feet as Liam appeared in her open office door a smile on his face, his hair slicked back and looking amazingly handsome in an expensive dark blue suit.
“You got the flowers.” Liam said with a smile, feeling amazing happy to see Danny again.
Thoughts of her stunning sapphire blue eyes and sweet smile had kept him tossing and turning all night. He knew he should of waited for her to call him but he’d been too impatient, he needed to see her. Even his lion had yearned for her, added proof that she was probably his mate.
“Yes I just got them, thank you they are lovely.” Danny replied coming around the desk and walking past Susan and Bree who were staring at Liam. “But, what are you doing here?”
Danny was very conscious they were being watched but she wasn’t sure she cared, everything Liam was making her feel was too new and exciting. “Not that I’m not happy to see you.”
Liam grinned sheepishly as he ran his fingers through his hair. “Well I needed to get some plans approved and a new building permit, my office is only three blocks from here so I figured I’d stop in see if you liked the flowers and ask you about tonight?”
Liam looked past Danny into what could laughingly be called her office. It was a small dark little room that looked like it was a converted janitor’s closet with a sink and ancient refrigerator in the corner and what appeared to be a door to a bathroom on the left side. What was amusing was in the middle of the back wall between a line of ancient metal filing cabinets was a high metal shelf that sat directly under a dingy in ground window. The shelf was covered with plants that were also lit by two grow bulbs, the plants from their lush condition were obviously well loved and tended.
Danny caught Liam’s giant right hand and tugged him out into the hall a few steps from her office. “I love the flowers thank you, and about tonight I don’t think I can make it I just was sent a bunch of reports to go through.”
“You have to eat right, how about this I have Franky pick you up at five thirty and bring you to my office with your work. I have some work to go over myself, we can use my board room to spread out and eat and work and then when you’re ready I can drive you home.” Liam gave Danny his best smile. “Besides I’m worried about you trying to walk home or take the damn bus it isn’t safe.”
Danny felt touched by Liam’s concern, no one had truly cared about her in a long time. Mat or Joe would occasionally give her a ride home if they worked past eight and Matt would often call her to make sure she got home okay but that was it.
“Okay, but nothing too rich for dinner, I’ve eaten more calories this past weekend than I have in a month.” Danny replied.
“You got it, I know this great deli that makes fantastic sandwiches, what do you want?” Liam asked feeling oddly relieved that Danny was going to see him again tonight.
“Chicken, no fish, either would be good.” Danny replied.
“Okay how about I order some chicken salad sandwiches, some lobster rolls and some crab cakes sandwiches. They make fantastic lobster rolls by the way, now what about desert?” Liam asked.
“Oh your cruel, nothing too rich.” Danny replied her mouthwatering at the thought of any of the sandwiches Liam had mentioned.
“How about carrot cake, they make a great one, very moist with a cream cheese frosting, it’s on their low calorie menu.” Liam asked noticing the two women in Danny’s office were staring at him.
“That sounds great.” Danny replied.
“It’s a date then let me borrow a pen and I’ll give you Franky’s number, so you going to introduce me?” Liam nodded to the two women who were watching them, one a cute slightly plump young woman in dark skirt and white blouse and the other a towering police woman that while pretty was currently glaring at him.
“Yes, sorry.” Danny her hand still about Liam’s fingers pulled him back into her office.
“This is Susan she works for Judge Collins, and this is sergeant Bridgette Olafson, they were just going to join me for lunch.” Danny replied introducing her friends.
Liam gave the women his best smile and heard Susan sigh. “It’s a pleasure ladies, I won’t keep you from your lunch I just wanted to meet Danny’s friends.”
“No it’s nice to meet you.” Susan stammered while Bree simply gave him a chin wag.
Liam saw a pen and a note pad on the desk and quickly jotted down Frank’s number and then his office line. He handed the slip of paper to Danny then tugged her back into the hall.
“I don’t want to keep you from eating, I put my office number down too, call me any time you want, I’ll tell my secretary to put you straight through.” Liam said.
Danny crooked her finger and wiggled it earning a confused look from Liam. “This means lean down.” Danny stated stepping closer to Liam. When he complied she stood on tip toe and bracing her hands on his chest placed a kiss to his left cheek.
“That is for taking me to the wedding.” Danny said, then placed a quick kiss to Liam’s right cheek. “ That is for taking me out over the weekend and this is for the flowers.” Danny said before working up her courage to kiss Liam fleetingly on the lips before stepping back.
Liam felt almost giddy with joy at being kissed. “You’re welcome.” He slipped his hand behind Danny’s back and before she could escape leaned down to kiss her on the lips. When his lips touched her’s again he felt a wave of warmth and happiness sweep through him and his lion roared in happiness. Liam fought the urge to deepen the kiss to force her mouth open and plunder it, but this wasn’t the pace or the time so he regretfully released her and stepped back.
Danny was bright pink her eyes wide, Liam could hear her heart racing and from the way she was biting her lower lip he wasn’t sure if she was happy or not, then she flashed him a smile and relief flooded him. “I should get back to work.”
“And I should go too, I’ll let Franky know you’ll be calling her.” Liam leaned forward to kiss Danny quickly on the cheek then with a nod turned and walked away whistling.
Danny watched Liam go and pressed her fingers to her still tingling lips, hearing and feeling her friends amazement behind her.
“Oh my God that is the hottest guy I have ever seen.” Susan gushed.
“Hmm, what’s his last name, what does he do?” Bree demanded as they watched Liam walk to the end of the hall, pause to wave to Danny quickly then disappear around the corner.
Danny walked back into her office feeling her heart still racing and her lips still tingling from the kiss. She didn’t know what possessed her to have kissed Liam like that, but she’d had a very erotic dream about him last night and had wanted to kiss him ever since.
“Oh no, I’m not going to tell you about him, you’d run a back ground check on him and try to dig up dirt. Trust me he isn’t a serial killer or a creep, he’s a nice guy.” Danny protested walking around her desk to admire her flowers.
“If you’re sure.” Bree protested.
“I’m sure.” Danny turned to watch Susan dump the contents of one of the containers into a microwave dish and shove it in the microwave.
“I’m going to buy us sodas, when I get back you’d better be prepared to dish. I want all the details.” Susan said.
Before Danny could answer she heard familiar footfalls in the corridor and looked out her door to see Matt running down the hall towards her.
“Danny lieutenant Chambers called for you, it’s bad and he wants you to do a walk through before he lets the morgue boys in.” Matt said.
“There goes lunch.” Danny sighed. “Give me a minute to change, how bad is it?”
Danny asked going to a locker along the wall and pulling out black jeans and a black hoodie that said police on the back.
“It’s bad, three women.” Matt stopped when Danny held up his hand.
“No don’t tell me anymore, I’ll be right out.” Danny darted into her bathroom closing the door behind her as she began unbuttoning her blouse. She didn’t like too much information before going on a walk, she didn’t want to be prejudiced or influenced before she got to a scene.
The dead would tell her their tale and the rest she would pick up from the scene, she selfishly hoped she would still be able to see Liam. After a walk she was drained, hollow and raw as an exposed nerve, often needing to weep and longing to be held at the same time. But before she’d met Liam and Keith she’d never met anyone she could let hold her, truly hold her for more than a few seconds without causing discomfort.
Danny finished dressing taking a moment to hang her skirt and slip up on a hanger before stepping from the bathroom, she kicked off her low leather pumps and stepped into a pair of black sneakers besides her desk. “I’m ready, Bree help yourself to anything in the fridge.”
Danny grabbed her small purse holding her phone, keys and wallet off the desk and stuffed the note with the numbers in her pocket.
“I’m ready lets go.” Danny said seeing Matt was staring at her flowers.
“Who sent you the flowers?” Matt demanded as Danny followed him out the door.
“It doesn’t matter.” Danny replied not wanting Matt to get freaked out about the fact she’d gone on several dates. Matt had been very protective of her since that cold winter night, sometimes too protective but Danny was grateful of his friendship and his strength.
“The hell it doesn’t matter, who sent them?” Matt demanded as they hurried down the long corridor towards the police garage at the far end of the building. “You might as well tell me because I’ll just find out on my own.”
Danny sighed as she jogged to keep up with Matt. “No, he’s a nice guy that’s all you need to know.”
Matt mumbled a curse as he pushed the door to the garage open and stepped aside for Danny to precede him. “Ah, huh well if you don’t tell me, may be you’ll tell Joe.”
Danny shook her head as she climbed into the back of the police car. “No, and be quiet I have to clear my head.”
“Okay for now, but this isn’t over.” Matt grumbled as Joe eased the car out of the parking garage.
Liam hurried up the steps to the second floor of the court house feeling more alive than he had in years, all because of a simple kiss. He knew that Danny was his mate, but he’d been disappointed too many times to let his heart rule his head. It was time to be prudent before he got in any deeper. He pulled his phone from his jacket and dialed Arthur Banks one of the leagues hereditary helpers. Arthur or Artie as be preferred to be called was a twentieth generation human helper, one of the many mortals who had sworn to help the league in its fight against evil, since Liam’s people had been marooned on Earth for disobeying the Grey overlords.
Artie in addition to being a fixer was a private investigator and had contacts in both the FBI and the CIA. Artie stepped in to solve problems or dig up information when needed, he had been the one that had discovered Theo was pregnant and being evicted from her home and gotten the message to Galen in time to save her from being homeless.
Artie answered the phone on the third ring. “Liam what do you need?”
“Hi Artie, what makes you think I didn’t just call to say hi?” Liam asked as he hurried up the steps to the first floor.
“Because I’ve known you for over twenty years and you’re not one to make chit chat.” Artie replied. “So what’s up?”
“I need you to get information on two women.” Liam said feeling a little bad about what he was about to ask, but he needed to know everything before he got into deep. He’d given his heart to a woman three hundred years ago only to have her betray him and Keith to the witch hunters. If not for the intervention of their human helpers Keith and he might have been burned as witches.
“Let me get a pen, they causing trouble, do I need to get the boys involved?” Artie demanded.
“No, nothing like that. I’m seeing one of them and Keith is seeing the other.” Liam replied.
There was a pause followed by an exhale. “Ah that’s different. How much of a back ground check to you want?”
“Everything, I want to know everything from the day they were born till now.” Liam replied feeling a twinge of guilt at prying into Danny’s life.
“What are their name?” Artie demanded.
“Dr. Danielle Troy, she works for the police as an advisor and Rita Parsons, she works as a secretary at the court house.” Liam replied. “And Artie I want you to keep this between us for now I don’t want Keith finding out yet, he doesn’t think clearly when it comes to Rita.”
“You got it how soon do you want the information?” Artie demanded.
“As soon as possible, but don’t let anyone know what you’re doing it’s complicated.” Liam replied.
“If the one lady works for the cops I can see why.” Artie said.
“It’s more than that, I think Dr. Troy might be my mate.” Liam replied pausing in a door well so no one in the crowded corridor would hear him.
“Ah, that is a problem I’ll get started right away and I’ll call you when I know something and good luck, it’s about time you found some happiness.” Artie said just before the line went dead.
Liam swiped off his phone and shoved it in his pocket, he said a silent prayer that Artie would find no skeletons in Dany’s closet as he wanted, no needed Danny to be his true mate. He and Keith had been alive and searching for their true mate for nearly six thousand years, they had both loved hundreds of women in that time, and even married a few to help fill the loneliness but none had ever been the one, none had ever been the one woman that would give them true release and bear their children. Liam thought again of Danny of her bright eyes and hesitant smile, her quick wit and dry sense of humor and lastly of her curves and short but shapely legs that had been displayed by the conservative one piece bathing suit she’d worn yesterday.
After waiting several millennium he couldn’t ask for a smarter or sexier little mate, the thought of an eternity with Danny in his bed sent warmth spreading through him and caused him to grow hard. Liam took a deep breath to compose himself then hurried down the crowded corridor and out of the court house thinking of how many hours it would be till he saw Danny again, and he smiled as happiness, true happiness filled him for the first time in a very long time.