Bryson stood up from the black leather sofa and stretched. His long groan reminded Roman of the pain he tried to ignore in his own back. Bryson looked down at Roman. “I think we should take a breather. The lab called an hour ago. With what you found, and the evidence they confirmed, we should have everything we need.”
Roman stood and stretched his body. For a man barely thirty he was feeling distinctively middle-aged. The stress and long hours were getting the better of him. “We better be ready. We’re almost out of time.”
The doorbell rang. Roman checked the clock behind the couch. “8 pm already? Looks like you’re off-duty, partner.”
“I’d rather stay and see this through,” said Bryson.
Roman walked towards his front door. “Pack it up. I’m counting on you to take care of things while I’m stuck here. We need to stick to the plan.” Roman opened the door. “Officer Piper, you’re a sight for sore eyes. I’ve been looking at Bryson’s ugly mug all day. Please come in.”
Piper had traded in her uniform for a tight pair of jeans and a t-shirt that formed over her curves and across her flat stomach. She had let her hair down. Her thick blond locks fell in waves past her shoulders, and light blue eyeshadow accented her deep blue eyes. Piper walked past Roman, and the smell of roses and lilacs wafted under his nose. He needed to remain focused, but his mind had other ideas.
Bryson finished putting his notebook in his backpack and looked up. Despite his best effort, his mouth dropped slightly open. Roman winked at Bryson and attempted to change his focus. “Partner, I think you can leave us. I appear to be in good hands.”
“Good to see you, Bryson,” she said. Bryson nodded, tripped on the glass coffee table and made his way out the door. Piper shook her head. “What is it with you men?”
Roman extended his hand to a chair across from the couch. Piper sat down, and Roman sat across from her. “You’ll have to excuse us. The patrol uniform doesn’t, um, flatter anyone.”
Piper giggled, “Well said, Detective. It’s 8 pm, you can relax. I know I’m on duty, but we’ve hung out for a beer after work before.”
Roman nodded, and said, “True. I just don’t remember you being quite so put together.”
“Oh, I would hardly call me put together. Besides, we have the next twelve hours together. I figured I should be my freshest. I imagine your opinion will change by morning.”
Roman got up and took a beer out of the refrigerator. “Would you like a beer?”
“I would.” Piper hollered back.
“I’m surprised you’d drink on duty.”
She walked in, leaned on the counter and stretched to get the beer from Roman. Even a blind man would notice her obvious flirtation. “Well, Roman, if you feel I need to abstain, I will. But I’m sure we can find a loophole and call this a meal break or something. After all, we both know you’re more than capable of taking care of yourself.”
Roman handed Piper a beer and leaned back against the refrigerator. “I’m curious, why did you agree to take this duty if you knew I would be okay?”
She grinned. “Oh, Roman, you men are so blind to women. I’ve been trying to get your attention for weeks. I was expecting you to invite me up sometime after work, but you never seemed to catch my hints. I always wondered where you live. It’s too bad it took a dead man to get me into your building.”
She stepped up and gently tapped her beer bottle to his. “I hate that it took such a horrible episode to get us alone, but here is to the dead man. I hope he has eternal peace.”
Roman tried to press himself against his refrigerator. His mind felt light-headed as she stood close to him. He muttered, “I’m not sure I’ve heard something so dark and sexy before.”
Piper took a step back. “Roman, don’t be so serious all the time. Consider this our opportunity to have a little fun and get to know each other. I’m normally not this fast, but after weeks of being subtle, I thought it might be best to take the direct approach.” She turned on her heel and slowly walked out of the kitchen. Her slow swaying strut was impossible for Roman to miss.
He took a deep breath and tried to refocus. Piper was everything a man would want to find in a woman, and she was his for the taking. However, the danger was real, and he could not be caught with his literal pants down. Her perfume lingered as he followed after Piper. She stopped in front of the chair and turned around.
Roman should have stopped, he tried to check himself, but something kept him walking towards her. He stopped in front of her. “I’m not used to women being so, aggressive.”
Piper smiled, put her arms around his waist and brushed her lips against his. She was intoxicating. He felt her take his beer bottle and she set it on the coffee table. Her perfume pulled him in. She kissed his neck and stepped behind him. He felt her body pressed against his, and then a click. Roman was alarmed, but only for a moment. His mind drifted for a moment, returned and thought, How did she handcuff me? I didn’t even feel my arms move. I need to stop this. He spoke slowly and quietly, “Piper, I’m having fun, but this is serious. I can’t be handcuffed.” She giggled, stepped in front and pushed him into the chair.
Roman could feel the heat of her body on top of him. She put her lips on his neck. Her hair felt soft and silky across his face. He tried to focus, but his eyes rolled up, and he gave in to her kisses. Piper pushed herself back. “I’ve waited for this moment for weeks. Do you want me to tell you why I have you handcuffed?”
Roman gave a weak smile and let out a short, chuckle. “Sure,” he slurred.
He felt her lips on his, she bit the end of his ear, and his whole body tingled. Her hot breath blew in his ear, and then she whispered, “I’m the killer.”