Convincing Alex. Nora Roberts
and there were interviews to be conducted.
When one of her cellmates informed her that she was entitled to a phone call, she demanded one. Pleased with the progress she was making, she settled back on her hard cot to talk to her new acquaintances.
It was thirty minutes later when she looked up and spotted her friend and cowriter Lori Banes, standing beside a uniformed policeman.
“Bess, you look so natural here.”
With a grin, Bess popped up as the guard unlocked the door. “It’s been great.”
“Hey!” one of her cellmates called out. “I’m telling you that Vicki’s a witch, and Jeffrey should boot her out. Amelia’s the right woman for him.”
Bess sent back a wink. “I’ll see what I can do. Bye, girls.”
Lori didn’t consider herself long-suffering. She didn’t consider herself a prude or a stuffed shirt. And she said as much to Bess as they walked through the corridors, up the stairs and back into the lobby area outside the squad room. “But,” she added, pressing fingers to her tired eyes. “There’s something that puts me off about being woken up at 2:00 a.m. to come bail you out of jail.”
“Sorry, but it’s been great. Wait until I tell you.”
“Do you know what you look like, dear?”
“Yep.” Unconcerned, Bess craned her neck. The chair behind Alex’s desk was empty. “I had no idea that so many of the working girls watched the show. But they do work nights, mostly. Uh, excuse me…” She caught the sleeve of one of New York’s finest as he walked by. “The officer who uses that desk?”
The cop swallowed the best part of a bite of his pastrami sandwich. “Stanislaski?”
“Whew. That’s a mouthful. Is he still around?”
“He’s in Interrogation.”
“Come on, Bess, we’ve got to pick up your things.”
Bess had signed for her purse and its contents, still keeping an eye out for Alex. “Stanislaski,” she repeated to herself. “Is that Polish, do you think?”
“How the hell do I know?” Out of patience, Lori steered her toward the door. “Let’s get out of here. The place is lousy with criminals.”
“I know. It’s fabulous.” With a laugh, she tucked an arm around Lori’s waist. “I got ideas for the next three years. If we decide to have Elana arrested for Reed’s murder…”
“I don’t know about having Reed murdered.”
With a sigh, Bess looked around for a cab. “Lori, we both know Jim isn’t going to sign another contract. He wants to try the big leagues. Having his character offed is the perfect way to beef up Elana’s story line.”
Bess slyly pulled out her ace. “‘Our Lives, Our Loves’ picked up two points in the ratings last month.”
Lori only grunted.
“Word is Dr. Amanda Jamison is going to have twins.”
“Twins?” Lori shut her eyes. Soap diva Ariel Kirkwood, who played the long-suffering psychiatrist on the competing soap, was daytime’s most popular star. “It had to be twins,” Lori muttered. “Okay, Reed dies.”
Bess allowed herself one quick victory smile, then hurried on.
“Anyway, while I was in there, I was picturing the elegant, cool Dr. Elana Warfield Stafford Carstairs in prison. Fabulous, Lori. It’d be fabulous. I wish you’d seen the cop.”
They’d walked to the corner, and there wasn’t a cab in sight. “What cop?”
“The one who arrested me. He was incredibly sexy.”
Lori only had the energy to sigh. “Leave it to you to get busted by a sexy cop.”
“Really. All this thick black hair. His eyes were nearly black, too. Very intense. He had all those hollows and planes in his face, and this beautiful mouth. Nice build, too. Sort of rough-and-ready. Like a boxer, maybe.”
“Don’t start, Bess.”
“I’m not. I can find a man sexy and attractive without falling in love.”
Lori shot her a look. “Since when?”
“Since the last time. I’ve sworn off, remember?” Her smile perked up when she spotted a cab heading their way. “I’m interested in this Stanislaski for strictly professional reasons.”
“Right.” Resigned, Lori climbed in when the cab swung to the curb.
“I swear.” She lifted her right hand to add impact to the oath. “We want to get into Storm’s head more, into his background and stuff. So I pick this cop’s brain a little.” She gave a cabbie both her address and Lori’s. “After Jade gets attacked by the Millbrook Maniac, Storm isn’t going to be able to hold back his feelings for her. More has to come out about who and what he is. If we do have Elana arrested for Reed’s murder, that’s going to complicate his life—you know, family loyalty versus professional ethics. And once he confronts Brock—”
“Hey.” At a red light, the cabbie turned, peering at them from under his fading Mets cap. “You talking about ‘Secret Sins’?”
“Yeah.” Bess brightened. “Do you watch it?”
“The wife tapes it every day. You don’t look familiar.”
“We’re not on it,” Bess explained. “We write it.”
“Gotcha.” Satisfied, he punched the accelerator when the light changed. “Let me tell you what I think about that two-timing Vicki.”
As he proceeded to do just that, Bess leaned forward, debating with him. Lori closed her eyes and tried to catch up on lost sleep.
“My wife went nuts.” Judd Malloy munched on his cherry Danish while Alex swung in and out of downtown traffic. “She’s a big fan of that soap, you know? Tapes it every day when she’s in school.”
“Terrific.” Alex had been doing his best to forget his little encounter with the soap queen, but his partner wasn’t cooperating.
“Holly figures it was just like meeting a celebrity.”
“You don’t find many celebrities turning tricks.”
“Come on, Alex.” Judd washed down the Danish with heavily sugared coffee. “She wasn’t, really. You said so yourself, or the charges wouldn’t have been dropped.”
“She was stupid,” Alex said between his teeth. “Carrying a damn water pistol in that suitcase of hers. I guess she figured if a john got rough, she’d blat him between the eyes and that would be that.”
Judd started to comment on how it might feel to get a blat of ammonia in the eyes, but didn’t think his partner wanted to hear it. “Well, Holly was impressed, and we got some fresh juice out of Rosalie, so we didn’t waste our time.”
“Malloy, you’d better get used to wasting time. Stanislaski’s rule number four.” Alex spotted the building he was looking for and double-parked. He was already out of the car and across the sidewalk before Judd found the NYPD sign and stuck it in the window. “We sure as hell could be wasting it here with this Domingo.”
“Rosalie said what we wanted to hear so we’d spring her,” Alex told him. His cop’s eyes were already studying the building, noting windows, fire escapes, roof. “Maybe she gave us the straight shot on Domingo, and maybe she pulled it out of a hat. We’ll see.”