Tie Me Down

Page 17


“Sounds good, LT.” Shawn smiled, his eyes warning Genevieve to stay with the program.
Knowing Shawn was right, she swallowed back the bile scalding her throat and added her thanks to his.
“It’s settled, then. I’ll call my friend at the Bureau and see what he can do for us.” Chastian settled behind his desk. “I’ll let you know what he says.”
“That’d be great.”
“Absolutely.” Genevieve wanted to puke. She wanted nothing more than to kick Chastian’s ass, and instead she was stuck kissing it. What the hell kind of world was it when you needed to beg to get the resources to do your job correctly?
But she waited until they were back at their desks before she made a comment. “That guy is such an as**ole.”
“Yeah, but he’s the boss.” Shawn’s shrug said it all.
“I still don’t know how that happened.”
“He didn’t used to be so bad.” Shawn walked back to the murder board and stared at Jessica’s face for long seconds. “He changed after his wife left him, got a lot less human.”
She shook her head. “I can’t imagine him any other way. The thought of him as a decent guy gives me the shudders.”
“Hey, now, I didn’t say decent. I said not so bad.”
“Yeah, well, that’s not hard. I can’t imagine him much worse.”
Chapter Ten
Cole lowered his video camera slowly, unhappy with the images he was recording. The crew was going to be here in a few weeks to film and he wasn’t nearly ready for them, his mind too full of Samantha and Genevieve to concentrate on the documentary he was being paid to make.
He’d come out today, still miserable over his fight with Genevieve and determined to get some work done, but nothing was going the way it was supposed to. All along he’d planned to do a segment on the topless bars and sex shops that proliferated on the streets of the Big Easy, but he’d wandered from one to the other today—filming and trying out commentary in his head—and nothing had seemed right. He couldn’t get Genevieve out of his thoughts enough to concentrate on anything else.
Fuck! He couldn’t believe how thoroughly they had managed to blow things the other morning, and he wasn’t sure their budding relationship could ever recover. He’d reached for his phone to dial her number on more than a few occasions in the last four days. But each time, he’d hung up before punching in the final digit. What would he say if she answered? What if she didn’t answer? After what had happened between them, he was pretty damn sure Genevieve would want nothing to do with him. With them.
Shoving a hand through his hair, Cole contemplated his options as he walked the pothole-ridden streets of the Quarter. He should go home—he had a million things to do, starting with finding someone else to help him look at the homicide scenes he wanted to use for the documentary.
Sidestepping the street cleaners rolling down Bourbon, he shook his head in disgust. Could he have handled things with Genevieve any worse? If events were happening the way she’d described, of course she’d have been suspicious of him—she was a cop, for God’s sake.
And though he had almost no respect for cops as a breed, Genevieve knew how to do her job and do it well. She rarely let anything stand in her way when she was on a scent, so of course she’d had to ask him about the murders. Add to that the fact that he was omitting things he didn’t want her to know, and was it any wonder her bullshit detector was going crazy?
But he hadn’t been prepared, hadn’t expected it of her right then. He’d left the kitchen after the most intimate sex he’d ever had in his life and returned to find her armored up and on the offense. It had … hurt, though he felt like a total candy-ass admitting it.
Glancing up, he realized he’d stopped in front of Wild Plums, one of the French Quarter’s premier sex shops. He’d planned on starting his film here, with a wide-angle shot of the store amid the Quarter’s craziness, before slowly narrowing in on the posters that covered every available window space—posters that spoke of sex and other, darker pleasures.
He’d been thrilled when the idea had hit him, had spent days getting the timing right. But now that he was here for some preliminary shots, he couldn’t work up an ounce of interest.
Probably because he would much rather be ha**ng s*x with Genevieve than focusing on its darker side. Or maybe the problem was that he wasn’t digging deeply enough, that he was simply scratching the surface of a topic that needed to be explored in depth.
Violence was endemic in these sex shops and bars—he’d read enough police reports to understand that. And yet a lot of people in healthy relationships came here too—a fact that made the job of tying everything together that much harder.
With a resigned sigh, he shoved his camera into his case and pulled open the blacked-out door. Maybe a look inside would help him figure out what he was missing.
But as he wandered the rows of magazines and videos and novelties, he found himself at a loss. There was nothing here that he wanted to put in his documentary, nothing here that helped him understand—or explain—the elusive tie between sex and violence that permeated this city like bourbon at Mardi Gras.
Impatient, he turned to leave and was halfway to the door before he caught sight of the largest display of bondage and S/M items he’d ever run across. For a moment, he froze—his mind’s eye already taking in what the display would look like on film.
Whips and paddles. Clips and cuffs and satin ties. A truly awe-inspiring collection of leather wear and blindfolds all displayed against dark purple silk. His fingers actually itched with the need to pull out his video camera and record the display—along with the thoughts pouring through his brain. Here was what he’d been looking for—a perfect example of how closely pleasure and pain could be intertwined.
In his head he was already rearranging the documentary, leading off with this display and a voice-over that talked about the violent edge of consensual sex. He could imagine the words clearly, could imagine his voice asking what happened when things got out of hand? When safe words weren’t listened to? When pleasure became unbearable pain?
He winced at the thoughts crowding his brain, images of the dead women running through his mind despite himself. But it doesn’t have to be like that, a little voice whispered in the back of his head.
It didn’t have to be black-and-white.
Good and evil.
Pleasure and pain.
He told himself he was disgusted, that he wanted to focus entirely on the evil that could be done with such “toys.” But as he got closer—close enough to touch—he couldn’t help thinking of the pleasure they could bring as well.
Reaching out, he ran a hand down a series of satin ties. They were soft, silky—amazingly cool and pleasurable to his touch. Unwittingly, a picture of Genevieve flashed into his head. She was naked, bound hand and foot by the long lengths of black satin as he ran his hands and lips and tongue over every inch of her willing body.
His c**k hardened—as much at the idea of overwhelming her with pleasure as at the thought of such blatant dominance. Shuddering, he let the ties fall back into place and wondered what was happening to him.
He’d enjoyed sex for his entire adult life—he didn’t know many men in their thirties who hadn’t. But until now, his idea of experimentation had pretty much been limited to the places he made love and a few basic toys. This, he thought, as he ran his hand over a black satin blindfold—this was taking experimentation to a whole new level.
He shouldn’t want this—shouldn’t need it. He never had before. And sex with Genevieve was already more mind-blowing than anything he’d ever experienced. It should be more than enough for him. It was more than enough for him.
Yet even as he told himself that, his eyes fell on a series of Japanese rope bondage items, and he nearly came in his f**king jeans. He wanted to turn away—to walk away—yet he didn’t. He couldn’t.
He wanted to see Genevieve tied up for his pleasure—for her pleasure. Needed it with an intensity that completely blew him away. He didn’t know why—couldn’t explain his reasoning to himself, let alone to anyone else. But he needed to dominate Genevieve.
To take her over completely, even as he gave her the most incredible orgasms of her life.
To make her his in every way possible, even as he kept her safe.
The whole thing might be a moot point; it was very possible that she’d never speak to him again after how he’d acted that morning. But if she did …
He picked up one of the long white satin ropes. If she did, he would die to see her as he’d imagined. To make her come again and again. And to hell with the consequences.
Before he could change his mind, Cole piled a bunch of stuff on the counter and paid for it quickly. Then reached into his pocket for his cell phone as he headed for the door.
He wasn’t going to be happy until he’d fixed this thing between Genevieve and himself. Wasn’t going to be happy until he was back in her good graces—a feat he deemed nearly impossible after he’d basically told her to go f**k herself.
But he needed to fix this, needed to fix them. Sure, this whole thing had started out as nothing more than a way to find his sister’s killer, but somewhere in the middle of everything, he’d begun to fall for Genevieve. She was so strong, so self-assured, so innately kind, despite the harsh words they’d exchanged the last time they’d seen each other.
He started to dial the precinct number—he still had it memorized after all these years—but again he hung up before the call could go through. Damn it, she’d been the one to blow things totally out of proportion. The one who’d refused to trust him. Instead of calling her, he should drag her out of that damn precinct and paddle her sweet ass until she believed that he wasn’t the killer. Until she acknowledged that, despite their inauspicious beginnings, there was something between them that couldn’t be ignored.
Of course, that probably wasn’t the best course of action if his goal was to get her back in his bed. But this silence between them had gone on long enough—he wanted to hear Genevieve’s voice, to explain himself better than he had before. To try to convince her to give him another chance.
Hitting redial before he could change his mind, he waited impatiently for the desk sergeant to answer the phone.
* * *
Genevieve clicked through her email quickly, her mind whirling with the facts and suppositions associated with the murders she was investigating. The FBI profiler she and Shawn had spoken with yesterday had just emailed the profile of the killer—and it was just ambiguous enough to make it feel like they were searching for a needle in a very large haystack.
White male, thirty-five to fifty. Upper-middle class. Successful in his chosen profession, which was probably artistic or service-centered. Above-average intelligence. Had his own ethical code, one that allowed him to commit these murders and still believe he was in the right. Evidence that he’d lost someone very important to him at some point in the last few years led to controlled sadism and the need to be in charge. The rape and sodomy only underscored the anger, the need to control the victim and her world.
Frustration ate at her, even as she told herself she was being unreasonable. The profiler had done his best—had given her exactly what she’d needed to help make her case. But she wasn’t satisfied with the report, and probably wouldn’t have been with anything short of a map with a huge red X marks the spot.
Scrolling through a dozen or so messages that had come in since she’d last checked her email, Genevieve searched for anything that had to do with her murders. But there was nothing from Jefferson—nothing that pertained to the murders at all. Just notification of two court dates in cases she’d closed months before, some information about cases she’d recently closed and an invitation to check out a new store opening at Canal Place.