Beachcomber Investigations Series
Excerpt from Beachcomber Heat:
Dane watched Shana reach back with both hands and lift the heavy mane of hair off her neck, arching her breasts forward, exposing the glistening pale column of her throat. Her head was thrown back, supported by her long bare arms gleaming with a film of perspiration. He stared and held himself as still as a mountain—with an effort. He wished they were anywhere else on the planet besides Captain Colin Lynch’s office at State Police Headquarters on Martha’s Vineyard.
Cap—the name his inner circle gave him—cleared his throat. Dane turned to him.
“Get on with it—what’d you call us in for—an overdue parking ticket?” Dane said.
Cap raised a brow and said, “No, but I’ll be looking into that.” Cap shifted his gaze to Shana. Dane held his jealousy muscles in check.
“I got a request for your services.”
That got Shana’s attention. “Do tell.” She dropped her hair and leaned forward, all business now. A rotten shame. But a relief to Dane’s too-tense man parts.
“You want us to fix your air conditioning?” Dane said. He didn’t mind disrupting Cap and annoying Shana. But this time she didn’t even bother to glare at him with her Shana the Destroyer look.
“We’ve had a rash of missing jewelry—likely thefts. The first report came from an insurance company, and by the time we got the third report of high-end jewels missing, we figured they were stolen. And all by the same person or team.” Cap paused.
“And?” Dane said.
Shana glared at him now. He smiled.
“Someone wants to hire us to get their jewels back?” Shana said.
“Not exactly. We looked into the matter and found each of the reports of missing presumed stolen jewelry had one thing in common—the owners had recently hosted parties—“
“You think someone from a backyard barbeque ran inside and lifted the family jewels?” Dane said.
“These were no backyard barbeques—these were lavish affairs in the most expensive oceanfront neighborhood and their family jewels were worth millions. The guest lists overlap substantially and they include anyone who’s anyone on the island—and some from off-island. Wealthy or famous—“
“Or apparently notorious—they have a jewel thief on their list,” Dane said.
“Will you please take this seriously?” Shana said. “We need a case and these people have money to pay us.”
“She’s right—you should charge double your normal rates,” Cap said.
“We don’t have normal rates. We don’t have any rates.”
“That’s the problem,” Shana sighed. “You don’t take the business seriously. We need to at least try to make money.”
The instant tensing of muscles across his back and the tightening of his chest reminded Dane of a mild tazing—either that or he was having a heart attack. But in truth, the tension was all too familiar—it was the What happens if Shana leaves the island tension. He couldn’t bring himself to figure out the answer. That would only lead to gut wrenching. And then he might have a heart attack for real.
“Okay. Fine. We’ll charge them whatever you want, girlie. You can be in charge—“
“Oh no you don’t—you’re not bailing out of doing the work. We’re in this together aren’t we?”
A warmth, like he’d just downed a shot of tequila, ran through him easing the previous tension down to a background annoyance—one he could operate with. One he had been operating with. All in the name of pursuing those flashes of warmth. Of pursuing the normal pleasures in life that he’d missed since he was a kid.
“We are. We’re partners.”
She gave him a suspicious look then turned back to Cap. Dane noticed he was enjoying their exchange. As usual. Cap shook his head and then continued giving them the background on the jewel heist.