Apprentice in Death (In Death #43)(8)

Pink walls with purple squiggles framed a room filled with worse. Some sort of S-shaped seat sat in the middle of it all, carrying pink squiggles on purple, and that mounded with pillows in every color, with dizzying designs. And fringe.

A chair angled toward it—pink again, with big green dots, and—were those feathers? Feathers rising up from the back in a bright rainbow fan.

Under the window—framed in more feathers—a bright green glossy table stood flanked by two pink chairs—purple dots. The table held a huge purple vase full of weird flowers.

Her heart started up again with a sputter as she spotted a U-shaped workstation, candy pink with a purple border.

“This can’t be real.”

“Charmaine put it together as a joke.” Roarke shifted so he could cup Eve’s face in his hands. “Which we’d both have enjoyed more if you didn’t have murder on your brain.”

“A joke.”

“Designing what we’ll call the polar opposite of what you want and need in the remodel here.”


“Completely opposite. I’ll add when she sent this, and the three actual designs, she said she thought the shock of this would smooth the way to the others.” He smiled now, traced a finger down the shallow dent in her chin. “Let’s take a moment, just scan the others, and see if she’s right. Just a quick glance. Then you won’t worry I’ve nudged you into doing something you’ll hate.”

“You couldn’t nudge me into that with a stunner on full. But I don’t know if—”

“Computer, Design One, on screen. As I said when we talked about updating your space, nothing you don’t want.”

She started to argue, then saw the image. One of quiet colors, simple lines—and what had turned her tide in the first place—a big, kick-ass command center.

“Not a trace of pink—not a single feather or flounce,” Roarke said. “Design Two, on screen.”

Stronger colors, but rich rather than bright. Maybe a few more curves, maybe a little plush on the seating, but not embarrassing.

“And Design Three, on screen.”

She thought this one hit between. The colors muted, a little more streamlined on the furnishings.


“Anything would be.”

“You’ll look at them later, when you’ve not so much on your mind.”

“Okay. Take it down, will you? I hear somebody coming. It must be Lowenbaum.”

His cop, Roarke knew, would be mortified if another cop discovered her considering interior design. He ordered the images off as she went to the door to greet.

“Lieutenant Lowenbaum,” Summerset said, then backed away.

He came in grinning. She’d still term him frosty, but she got Peabody’s Cute-O-Meter scale.

“Let me say wow, some place.” He glanced around, quiet gray eyes taking in every detail. “You ever get lost?”


“I bet. Hey, Roarke.”


“I just got here myself,” Eve said. “I haven’t set things up.”

“No rush. Who’s this?” He crouched down to scratch the cat who’d prowled over to check him out.


“Oh, yeah, yeah, I heard the story. The cat tripped the asshole, saved your bacon. You took a hit.”

“You heard the story?”

“You take down a sitting U.S. senator, Dallas, the story goes around. Two different eye colors. Frosty.”

“He’s a pretty good cat,” Eve told him as Galahad preened under Lowenbaum’s stroking hand.

“More a dog man myself, but yeah, he’s a pretty good cat.” He straightened. “So.”

“Would you like a beer, a glass of wine?”

Eve frowned at Roarke’s invitation. “We’re working.”

“Would a beer impair you, Lowenbaum?”

A quick grin that came with a flash of dimples. “Not hardly, and I could go for one.”

“As it happens we have a special brew, just arrived. Deputy Banner’s family brew,” Roarke told Eve. “As promised.”

“The cop from Arkansas,” Eve explained. “Helped us bag those murdering lovebirds.”

“Heard about that, too. Let’s have a home brew and see what you’ve got.”

“Give me a sec.” Eve went to her desk as Roarke strolled into the adjoining kitchen. “Rink security disc. Peabody’s rounding up security from the rest of the park, but this shows all three strikes.”

She plugged in the disc, gestured to the wall screen. “Run disc where cued, on screen. See the girl in red?”

“Can’t miss her. She’s a beauty and she knows what she’s doing.”

“Was, did.”

Lowenbaum nodded at the screen as Ellissa took her last flight. Then his eyes flattened out at the next strike. And the third.

“Run it again, cut the speed.”

Roarke came back in, two brews hooked in one hand, a third in the other. He paused, watched the screen.

“Okay, enhance the last strike, start a few seconds before, slow it more.”

Eve ordered the enhancement, slowed the speed. Narrowed her eyes when she thought she caught the faintest flash.

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