Home > To Die For (Blair Mallory #1)(14)

To Die For (Blair Mallory #1)(14)
Author: Linda Howard

Poor Nicole. She'd been a psycho-bitch copycat, but it bothered me that her body had been lying out in the rain for such a long time while the cops worked the crime scene. I knew crime scene investigations took a while, and the rain had hindered the cops as well, but still, she'd lain there for a good three hours before they let her be moved.

He snapped his fingers in my face. "You keep wandering off."

Man, I wanted to bite those fingers. I hate it when people do things like that, when a little wave will suffice to get my attention. "Well, excuse me. I'm exhausted and I witnessed a murder tonight, but it's terribly rude of me not to stay focused on personal matters. You were saying?"

He studied me for a moment, then shook his head. "Never mind. You are exhausted, and I have a murder investigation to oversee. I wish you weren't involved in it, but you are, so you'll be seeing more of me whether you want to or not. Just stop pushing, will you? Let me do my job. I admit it, I can't concentrate when you're in my face making me crazy."

"I don't make you crazy," I snapped, incensed. "You were evidently crazy before I ever met you. May I go home now?"

He rubbed his eyes and visibly reined in his temper. "In a few minutes. I'll take you home."

"Someone can give me a ride back to Great Bods. I need my car."

"I said I'll take you home."

"And I said I need my car."

"I'll have it brought to you tomorrow. I don't want you messing around the crime scene."

"Fine. I'll take a cab home. No need to put yourself out." I stood and grabbed my bag, ready to head out the door. I'd stand on the sidewalk, even though it was still pouring down rain, while I waited for the cab.

"Blair. Sit down."

That was the bad thing about him being a cop. I didn't know exactly where his official authority ended and the personal stuff began. I didn't know exactly what legal ground I was standing on. I was pretty sure I could walk out and there wouldn't be a thing he could do about it-legally-but there was always the tiny possibility I was wrong, and the big possibility that he'd force me to stay whether it was legal or not, and I didn't want to have another tussle with him. Tussling was bad for my self-control.

I sat down, and contented myself with glaring mulishly. I had a niggling suspicion he intended to get back on a personal footing with me, and I didn't want to go down that road again. With that in mind, the less contact I had with him, the better.

I have a rule: Walk out, crawl back. If a man does the first, then he has to do the second to get back on good terms with me. I can handle an argument, because at least then you're communicating, but to just walk out and not give me a chance to work things out-that's a big no-no.

I know that sounds as if I need to get over myself, but the truth is-and I know I blew it off as the divorce being the best thing for both of us-it hurt like hell when I caught Jason kissing my sister Jenni. Not just because Jenni had betrayed me, but because I had truly loved Jason. Our first couple of years together had been very happy. At least, I'd been happy, and I think he was, too. We did grow apart and I fell out of love with him, but that didn't mean I had given up on our marriage. I was willing to work on it, to try to get close to him again. When I saw him kissing Jenni, it was like a punch in the stomach, and I realized he must have been cheating on me for some time. Not with Jenni; I pretty much thought that was the first time he'd touched her. But he wasn't in love with her, so that meant he'd done it just because she was pretty and available, and that meant he'd very likely done it with other women, too.

He hadn't even tried to make our marriage work. He'd dumped me emotionally a long time before, and I hadn't realized it. Once I did realize it, though, I cut my losses. I didn't go crying on everyone's shoulders; instead I built myself a very satisfying new life, but that doesn't mean I'd escaped without some very deep emotional bruises.

Bruises heal, and I wasn't the type to mope around anyway. I learned from the experience, and set new guidelines and standards for myself. One of those guidelines was that if a man walked out without even trying to work things out, then he wasn't worth my effort unless he proved he was serious about getting another chance.

Wyatt hadn't proved a thing yet. And he wasn't the crawling type. So that meant the idea of us getting together again was pretty much a nonstarter.

He pushed the Diet Coke toward me. "Drink it. Maybe it'll cool you down."

What the hell. No way would I be able to sleep tonight anyway. I popped the top on the can and took a sip, then steered my thoughts to a more practical subject. "I assume there's no way I can be open for business tomorrow."

"Good assumption."

"How long will it be before I can open? One day? Two?"

"The time varies. I'll try to move things as fast as possible, but I won't cut corners. A couple of days, probably. I'm sorry for your financial loss, but-"

"Oh, I won't lose any money. The vast majority of the membership pays by the year because it's cheaper than paying by the month. I don't offer any memberships shorter than a month. It's the inconvenience to the members that I don't like, and I know that's minor in comparison to a murder, but as the owner of a business it's a hard fact that I have to take care of my customers or the business will suffer."

He eyed me consideringly, as if he hadn't expected me to be that practical. That irritated me, because he'd spent three dates in my company and if he'd been paying any attention at all to anything other than my body, he'd have realized I'm no airhead.

Maybe I should have been surprised he'd recognized me, because two years ago he evidently hadn't looked any higher than my breasts.

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