It's been a rather trying week on the personal front. It's funny how that happens. Little annoyances pop up when least expected and sometimes snowball into raging nightmares. LOL
Seriously, not quite that bad, and thankfully nothing with immediate family. J
Tonight's post is from what I'm calling Urban Noir. It's sort of contemporary, but has a noir feel. At least I hope it does. Gotta Make a Living features Neal and Claire trying to solve a murder while playing a cat and mouse game of their own. Fun stuff.
Here's the tagline:
Niles finds Claire standing over a dead body and can't decide if he should call the cops or haul her into his arms. Claire makes the choice easy by asking him if he sees any smoking guns. They decide they better work together to find the killer before they frame Claire for a murder she didn't commit.
And the preview snippet…
Niles shoved the woman, face first, against the wall, and jammed his thigh between her legs, effectively cutting off any chance of escape. "Give me a reason not to call the cops and turn you in murdering Conrad Pesterman."
A low throaty chuckle escaped before she answered. "Do you see any smoking guns lying around, detective? Because I sure don't." She glanced at the body on the floor. "And he was definitely shot. Twice."
Her cool demeanor threw him. She had trouble written all over her, but she hadn't offed the chairman of C&P BioTech. His gut never steered him wrong.
Easing his hold, he stepped back and she turned, her cobalt blue eyes raking over him with frank assessment. She'd take a man's measure and cut him off at the knees.
If he let her. Niles didn't plan to give her the opportunity.
He leaned in, nuzzling her lips with his. "Like what you see, Miss…" He struck first.
Her mouth curved upward, sexy and sultry. "Claire Thorpe. No Miss, Mrs, or Ms. Just Claire." She flicked her gaze toward Conrad. "Doesn't matter if you're easy on the eyes. I've got too much respect for the dead to dance this close to them." Her hand shot out and pushed him back.
Niles lifted a brow. "Respect for a mark? There's a twist I didn't see coming."
Claire sighed. "He's not a mark, you ass hat. I did a little work for the guy." Meeting his gaze, she continued. "Hush hush stuff. Hence the late meeting way after hours."
Niles snorted. "Yeah, the kind of job where you dress up and bump into some poor schmuck at the cocktail lounge and get him to tell you all about his new product or revolutionary production method, right?" Industrial espionage had become rampant in the city.
His disappointment she engaged in the clandestine activity got shoved aside. He needed answers. Conrad had known someone wanted him dead. And he hired Neal to find his killer…but he'd been too late.
Claire shrugged. "Gal's gotta make a living and it the pay's very good."
He huffed out a breath. "I'll just bet it is."
Taking in the tailored cut of her clothes, the silk stockings—probably held up by a lace or satin garter—the trendy, short and cropped hairstyle, and the scent of expensive perfume, he had no doubt her compensation for services rendered probably matched his.
Hell, she might even earn more than he did.
Claire arched an eyebrow. "Do you always judge a book by its cover?" Her eyes rolled. "How sadly disappointing."
Niles frowned. "I make assessments, not jump to conclusions." He glanced toward the phone on the desk. "If I did, you'd already be on your way to the nearest precinct."
Claire nodded. "Don't you mean I'd be on my way to the one-twelve? Because you're Niles Chesterfield, and the lieutenant happens to be your brother, Nelms."
Niles blinked. She had him pegged. Made him wonder where she got her information. And why she knew so much about him.
Niles shrugged, but didn't deny her words. "Saves time. They know me over there and trust I won't get them involved in anything less than legit."
Claire tsked. "So I'm legit now? You get I didn't kill Conrad?" She ducked around Niles and strode toward the body.
Oddly, Niles did get it, but he also realized Claire would be in danger. Someone had lured her here for the meeting and Conrad couldn't have made that call.
Claire turned—the same understanding clear in her gaze. "Well, damn. There's not a very long list of people who knew about my arrangement with C&P." She stepped over the prone form and sank down onto the chair behind the desk, careful not to disturb anything lying on top. "But one of them wants to see me go down for this and I'm not gonna go easily." Raising her gaze, she met and held his. "You wanna help? Maybe work together to find the real killer?"
Niles studied her for a moment. He liked to work alone, but Claire would need protection. He didn't doubt she could handle pretty much anything, but every once in a while brute force accomplished more than subtle subterfuge. He'd become pretty versed in kicking down doors and throwing punches.
He slowly inclined his head. "We'd probably get more done that way." He moved forward, sticking hand out. "For the duration of the investigation, consider me your partner."
Claire smiled and shook on it. She went to pull away but Niles held tight. Her eyes narrowed.
He leaned in close. "Let's get a few things straight, first. Okay?"
Niles thinks he has the upper hand, but Claire won't take long to prove otherwise. Seriously? This couple if fun to write. J
That's it for this week.