Eve Dallas deals with a homicide—and the holiday season—in the latest from the #1 New York Times bestselling author.
Personal trainer Trey Ziegler was in peak physical condition. If you didn’t count the kitchen knife in his well-toned chest.
Lieutenant Eve Dallas soon discovers a lineup of women who’d been loved and left by the narcissistic gym rat. While Dallas sorts through the list of Ziegler’s enemies, she’s also dealing with her Christmas shopping list—plus the guest list for her and her billionaire husband’s upcoming holiday bash.
Feeling less than festive, Dallas tries to put aside her distaste for the victim and solve the mystery of his death. There are just a few investigating days left before Christmas, and as New Year’s 2061 approaches, this homicide cop is resolved to stop a cold-blooded killer.
Die Inhaltsangabe kann sich auf eine andere Ausgabe dieses Titels beziehen.
J. D. Robb is the pseudonym for a number-one New York Times–bestselling author of more than two hundred novels, including the futuristic suspense In Death series. There are more than four hundred million copies of her books in print.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Men, Sima thought, can’t live with them, can’t beat them to death with a nine iron.
But a girl could exact some revenge, and she was a girl bent on just that.
Nobody deserved a good dose of revenge—or a beating with a nine iron—as much as Trey Ziegler. The fuckball had booted her out of the apartment they’d shared, even though she had the same territorial rights to the place as he did.
In the seven and a half weeks of their unofficial cohabitation, she’d paid half the rent, half the expenses, including food and beverage. She’d done all the cleaning (lazy bastard), all the marketing. And in that seven and a half weeks had given him the best years of her life.
After considerable thought, in-depth conversations with close friends and confidants, two ten-minute sessions of meditation and six tequila shots, she’d outlined precisely how, where, and when to exact her revenge.
The how involved that nine iron, an extensive collection of cashmere socks, and itching powder. The where was that one-bedroom apartment over Little Mike’s Tattoo and Piercing Parlor in the West Village.
The when was right fucking now.
He wouldn’t have changed the locks—cheap bastard—and didn’t know she’d given a copy of her swipe to one of those friends and confidants, who also happened to be her boss, right after they’d moved in together.
And if he had changed the lock, her friend said she knew people who knew people, would tag one up, and it would be done.
Sima wasn’t sure she wanted to know the people who knew people or how they would gain access to the apartment. But she knew she wanted in.
So with her friend beside her for moral support, she pulled out her swipe key to open the main door to the apartments over the tat parlor.
Her tequila-fueled grin spread wider when the locks clicked open.
“I knew it! He’d never bother springing for the money to have me deactivated.”
“Maybe not on this door. We still have to see about the apartment.” Her friend gave her a long, hard look. “You’re abso-poso he’s not in there?”
“Totally. His supervisor sprang for the weekend seminar, been in the works for weeks. No way he’d blow it off. Free hotel room, free food, and a chance to show off for two days.”
Sima turned toward the skinny elevator, started to take off her gloves.
“We’ll walk up. Leave your gloves on, remember? No fingerprints.”
“Right, right. It’s my first break-in.” With a nervous giggle Sima started up the stairs.
“It’s not a break-in. You have a key, and you paid the rent.”
“He said it was half. Did you ever check for sure how much the rent was?”
“Well, no, but—”
“Sima, you’ve got to stop letting yourself get pushed around. What you were paying for the squeeze box up here probably covered the whole cha-cha.”
“I know. I know.”
“You’re going to feel a lot better after you cut out the toes in his socks. Remember the plan—one sock from each pair, a little nip so it starts to unravel. You start on that while I put the itching powder in his moisturizer. Then we replace the golf club with the toy one, and we book. We don’t touch anything else. In and out.”
“And he won’t know what the hell. He’s not going to golf until he gets somebody to pay the indoor fee, so that can’t come back on me. The socks will make him crazy.”
“He’ll figure it happened at the dry cleaners. He deserves it. A guy who has his socks dry-cleaned deserves it.”
“Yeah. And the itching powder? He’ll go screaming to the doctor, figuring he’s got a new allergy. Fuckball.”
“Fuckball,” her friend agreed, righteously, as they finally reached the fourth floor. “Moment of truth, Sima.”
On a long breath, Sima steadied herself. Climbing three flights, dressed in her winter coat, scarf, boots, hat—December 2060 was as bitter as her heart—she had worked up a little sweat.
She pulled out the key again, crossed the fingers of her free hand, swiped.
Locks thumped open.
Sima gave a triumphant hoot, and was immediately shushed.
“You want the neighbors poking out?”
“No, but—” Before she could finish, Sima found herself pushed inside with the door quietly, firmly closed behind her.
“Turn on the lights, Sim.”
“Right.” She hit the switch, then hissed, “Look at this mess! I haven’t been gone a week, and he’s already got crap tossed everywhere. Look in there!” She walked toward the kitchen bump as she pointed. “Dirty dishes, takeout boxes. I bet there’re bugs. Ew, I bet there’re bugs in here.”
“What do you care? You don’t live here, so you don’t have to pick up his mess or worry about bugs.”
“But still. And look at the living room. Clothes tossed all over, shoes just— Hey!” She marched over, picked up a scarlet-red high heel, then scooped up a bra with yellow polka dots over purple lace.
“I never noticed any trany tendencies.”
“Because he doesn’t have any!”
“I know, Sim. It’s like we all told you. He only booted you because he sniffed up a new skirt. And jeez, it’s been like a week since he did the booting, so you have to figure . . . Don’t blubber,” she ordered as Sima started to do just that. “Get even! Come on.”
Focused on the task at hand, she pulled the shoe, the bra away, tossed them down again, took Sima’s arm. “I’ll get you started on the socks.”
“I sort of loved him.”
“Sort of is sort of. He treated you like crap, so you pay him back, then you can move on. Trust me.”
Sima’s tears-and-tequila-blurred eyes tracked back to the bra. “I want to bust something up.”
“You’re not going to. You’re going to be smart and hit him where it hurts. Vanity and wallet, then we’re going to go do some more shots.”
“Lots of them.”
“Bunches of lots of them.”
Sima squared her shoulders and nodded. With her hand in her friend’s—moral support—they started toward the bedroom she’d shared for seven and a half weeks with her cheap, cheating, callous boyfriend.
“He didn’t even put up any Christmas decorations. He has a cold heart.”
She couldn’t have been more right.
Trey Ziegler sat propped on the bed, the long chestnut-and-gold-streaked hair he was so proud of matted with blood. His eyes—most recently tinted emerald green—staring.
The kitchen knife jammed in his cold heart pinned a cardboard sign to his well-toned chest. It read:
Santa Says You’ve Been Bad!!!
Ho. Ho. Ho!
As Sima peeled off screams, her friend slapped a hand over her mouth, dragged her away.
“Shut it down, Sima. Just shut it down a minute. Jesus, what a mess.”
“He’s dead. There’s blood. He’s dead.”
“I got that. Holy shit.”
“Whattawedo? Oh God! Whattawedo?”
Running away would be awesome but . . . Even buildings as lousy as this probably have some security. Or somebody might have seen them come in. Or heard them work out the plan over tequila shots. Or something.
“You’ve got to calm down some—and don’t touch anything. Not anything. I’ve got to tag up somebody.”
“You’re going to have somebody come get rid of the body?” Sima dragged her fingers down her throat as if she were being strangled. “Oh my God!”
“Grip reality, Sima. I’m tagging a cop.”
· · ·
Two in the morning, two in the freaking morning in the frozen bowels of December, and she had to roll out of a warm bed beside a hot husband and deal with what might be a dead body—or a drunken prank by a woman who drove her crazy on the best of days.
In moments like this, being a cop sucked.
But Lieutenant Eve Dallas was a cop, so she pulled up in front of the dingy box of a building in the West Village, grabbed her field kit—if there was an actual DB, it would save her coming back out for it—and stomped across the icy sidewalk.
She’d have used her master to swipe in, but the door clicked and buzzed as she reached for it.
She didn’t much like the look of the elevator in the skinny, smelly lobby, but opted for it. The sooner to get this over.
She jammed her cold hands—she hadn’t thought of gloves—in the pockets of her long leather coat and scowled with golden brown eyes at the numbers creeping from one to two to three, and finally to four on the dented panel.
When the doors opened, she strode out, a tall, lean, pretty pissed-off woman with a shaggy cap of hair nearly the same color as her eyes.
Before she could bang a fist on the door, it opened. There stood the woman who cut her hair—often whether Eve wanted the service or not. Who’d seen her naked—and that Eve never wanted.
“If you’re fucking with me, I’m hauling your ass in for filing a false report.”
“Hand to God.” Trina shot up a hand—fingers tipped in swirls of holiday red and green—then used the other to yank Eve inside. “His name’s Trey Ziegler, and he’s really dead in the bedroom.”
“Who’s that?” Eve demanded, jerking a head toward the woman with an explosion of red curls smashed under a black watch cap who was currently holding some sort of red-and-blue plastic golf club and blubbering.
“That’s Sima. His ex. She lived here.”
“You live here?” Eve asked Sima.
“Yes. No. I did, but he—then he . . . He’s . . . he’s . . . he’s . . .”
When Sima dissolved, Eve turned back to Trina. “Stay here, don’t touch anything. Don’t let her touch anything.”
She took the short five steps to the bedroom door, looked in.
Okay, that was a dead man.
She set down her field kit to pull out her ’link. She called it in, arranged for her partner to be notified.
“You.” She pointed at Sima. “Sit over there. Don’t touch anything.” Then she gestured Trina over to the kitchen bump. “If she doesn’t live here, how did you get in?”
“She still has her swipe. Or the copy she made for me when she hooked into the place with him. He only kicked her out a week ago.”
“Why did the two of you come here—and you’re both lit. I can see it, hear it, smell it.”
“About half lit,” Trina corrected with the faintest smirk. Eve’s flat, narrow gaze had her shifting side to side, giving her tower of hair—swirled in the same color and pattern as her nails—a little toss.
“Okay, look, full disclosure, right? Trey dumped her. She came home from work and he’d packed her stuff, said they were done and to get out.”
“They had a fight.”
“Hell no. She’s got the spine of a worm—can’t help it—so even though she’s been paying the rent, he said half but I know what this dump should go for and it was plenty more than half. And she paid for December, so she paid this month’s rent, and she has rights. Right?”
“Just keep going,” Eve ordered.
“Okay. So she just starts crying, takes her stuff and goes. Anyhow, she got a flop for about a week, doesn’t tell me or any of us ’cause she said she was all embarrassed, then finally spills it. I have her at my place, on the pullout until she can get it together.”
“Let us wind around to tonight and the dead man.”
“Right. Well, tonight, a bunch of us were hanging after work, and there was tequila. And we got this idea about payback. He’s supposed to be in Atlantic City for a couple days, so we bought the toy golf club and some itching powder. We were going to unravel the toes of his socks, put the powder in his face cream, replace one of his clubs with the toy, then book. That’s it. We came in, headed back there, saw him. I pulled her out, tagged you.”
“Serious shit.” Trina nodded wisely. “He’d’ve wanted to scratch his face down to the bone. He deserved it. Look at her.”
Sima sat, head bowed, tears dripping.
“Jesus Christ. Did you know this guy?”
“Yeah, some. Massage therapist, personal trainer. He worked at Buff Bodies, the fitness place near my salon. Most of the staff there use my salon. Sima works for me. That’s how they met.”
“Did you ever roll with him?”
“Shit no.” Trina’s eyes—a bold Christmas green lidded with gold glitter—reflected both insult and disgust. “Guy was a prick and a player. I can do better. Sim didn’t think she could. Self-esteem issues, you know?”
“Whose red shoes, whose underwear?”
“No clue. Not Sim’s.”
“Hey, Dallas, go easy on her. She’s a real sweetie, and I talked her into this. I thought giving him a punch would make her feel, you know, empowered. Otherwise, somebody else would’ve found him, and she wouldn’t have that in her head.”
“For all I know the two of you did him, and pulled me in to cover it up.”
Trina snorted out a laugh, sobered instantly at Eve’s stony stare. “Shit. Really? Come on!”
She walked back over to where Sima sat quietly hiccuping through tears.
“Tell me what happened.”
“Trey’s dead. Somebody killed him.”
“Before that. How did you and Trina end up here?”
“Oh, well, after work we—me and Trina and Carlos and Vivi and Ace—we all went to Clooney’s.”
“It’s a bar. We hang there sometimes. Their twisted onions are pretty good, so we got some and some cheesy bits and some margaritas. Then we did some shots because I was feeling bad about Trey dumping me. So Ace said—I think it was Ace, or maybe Vivi, how I should get some of my own back, then somebody said I should come over and toss his stuff out the window, but Trina said no. She said that was too obvious, and I could get in trouble. I should do something more subtle-like. Then we went and bought the trick club and the powder, and we came here, and—and—Trey!”
“Okay.” Eve held up a hand, hoping to ward off hysterics, then quickly wound Sima back, pulling out details.
Details, she thought, that lined up with Trina’s statement.
“Did he ever knock you around, Sima?”
“What? Who? Trey?” Her tear-drenched eyes, outlined in shimmering blue and silver, widened to horrified saucers. “No! He’d never do that.”
“Not physically,” Trina said from across the room, and earned another stony stare. “I’m just saying. He didn’t tune her up, but he picked at her self-esteem. He knocked that around plenty. He wasn’t good to you, Sim.”
“Sometimes he was. He used to be.”
“Did he cheat on you?” Eve asked her.
“I didn’t think so, but . . .” She pointed to the shoe and bra. “Those aren’t mine.”
“Was he in trouble with anybody? Women, work, illegals, gambling?”
“No . . . I don’t think. He, I guess, was sort of distant lately, and spending more time at work or on his computer working on routines for clients and stuff. I asked him if something was up at work, since he was there late a lot, but he said no. And how I should mind my own business.”
“He was up to something.” When the comment got Trina another stare she tossed her hands in the air. “I can hear you over here, and it’s stupid to pretend I can’t. He was up to something.”
“I don’t know such as, I just know something. A lot of my people—staff, clients—use BB, and some of them use Trey for personal training, or for massages. Word was going around he was ac...
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Buchbeschreibung Brown Book Group Piatkus Little Feb 2015, 2015. Taschenbuch. Buchzustand: Neu. Neuware - The kitchen knife jammed into his cold heart pinned a cardboard sign to his well-toned chest. It read: Santa Says You've Been Bad!!! Ho, Ho, Ho! It's Christmas, but Lieutenant Eve Dallas is in no mood to celebrate. While her charismatic husband Roarke plans a huge, glittering party, Eve has murder on her mind. The victim - personal trainer Trey Ziegler - was trouble in life and is causing even more problems in death. Vain, unfaithful and vindictive, Trey had cultivated a lot of enemies. Which means Eve has a lot of potential suspects. And when she and Detective Peabody uncover Trey's sinister secret, the case takes a deadly turn. Christmas may be a festival of light, but Eve and Roarke will be forced once more down a very dark path in their hunt for the truth. 496 pp. Englisch. Artikel-Nr. 9780349403700