THE COPPER AND THE MADAM
Approx 34,000 words
Blurb: In 1897 London, Scotland Yard Detective Sergeant Rory Kerrigan never expected to find love among the crime-ridden streets he vowed to protect. Kerrigan, a man with a wretched past and hardened heart, keeps emotion from his life and its interference with his police work.
Abbess Rea is owner of the brothel, The Blind Cupid, and a woman with a secret and desolate past of her own. Rubenesque and leery of men, Rea lets no one close. Yet, she cannot deny the ruggedly handsome Rory touches her heart.
A grisly murder on Kerrigan’s turf has Rory and Rea teaming up to bring the killer to justice. As danger lurks closer, secrets are revealed and passion is ignited. Will the copper and the madam acknowledge their mutual yearning even at the peril of their lives?
Rory stepped out of the shadows, the uneven illumination making it impossible to tell his mood. His voice was neither teasing nor angry but flat and devoid of emotion. What a surprise to discover this dispassionate side of Rory.
Furious rage overcame her embarrassment. “You have been out here the whole time? Who told you? By God, when I find out who it is, I will toss them out into the street—”
“Easy, Rhiannon. You forget, I’m a detective. I can observe a place for hours. Standing in this hall was no time at all to me. Besides, no one had to tell me anything. Well, that’s not quite true. Someone informed me ages ago you like to watch. So I began to wonder. It did not take long to find your hidden door. How long and why?” Annoyance deepened his voice.
Caught good and proper. What should she tell him—that the only way she could feel anything at all was to observe others having sex? And that watching him gave her the greatest pleasure she had ever experienced? She shook her head. “It is my private business.”
She turned to stomp away, but Rory reached out and clasped her arm. “Not so fast, Rhiannon. What you invaded was my private business. How. Long?” Barely banked fury colored his tone.
“Three years. Let me go.”
Rory pulled her against him. He clutched her arm tighter and she winced.
“Now, you will tell me why.”
Hot tears blurred her vision. “Fine. Maybe it’s the only enjoyment a fat, lonely whoremonger can acquire.”
Rory clasped both her arms and glared down at her. His eyes danced with emerald fire.
“Do not call yourself fat, not in my hearing. I know portly when I see it, and you’re not it, darlin’. You have ample curves, aye. Fat is rolls, waddling when you walk, and ten steps have you breathing hard. That is fat.” He trailed his hands down her arms and rested them at her sides. After a few moments pause, they moved over her hips up to her waist. A groan tore from his lips. “Curves, Rhiannon. Luscious, succulent curves. Breasts a man could happily get lost in. Don’t get me started on your arse.”
Well. Heat lingered across her body where his hands roamed. Rory stopped below her breasts, his thumbs brushing the undersides. He caught her earlobe between his teeth then his tongue whorled her ear. A lustful shudder quaked her all over.
“Next time you want to watch me, sit in a chair in the room with me. Don’t hide in a broom cupboard with holes drilled into the walls, you follow?”
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