Excerpt from Simply Irresistible by Lucynda Storey

Case Roberts drummed his fingers on the clean desktop as he reread the new forms developed for booking guests at the expense of the city of Aurora. Someone in the food chain felt it necessary to readjust the information from the old one and create the new, all probably to justify his or her employment with the city. He shrugged, reached into the file drawer of his desk, and replaced old forms with the new and improved. It was just another opportunity for some rookie to make an error and let a suspect walk.

Mistakes angered him. Changes led to errors. One couldn’t afford errors in this day and age of “sue or be sued” mentality. He’d walked the straight and narrow in regards to his law career, making sure each “i” was dotted, every “t” crossed. Consistency was absolute bliss, change hell.

Finishing his cold, bitter coffee, he rose and took the cup to the sink and rinsed it out before returning it to its position on the hook. Case always had one cup of coffee while reviewing the daily report handed out by the sergeant. Today’s report was pretty much like all the others. Get the bad guys, and don’t make any mistakes. Directives he could easily live by. A low murmur of voices let Case know other cops were hard at work.

A shortage of officers had Case alone, cruising east on Colfax Avenue. When his white patrol car entered a run-down block, the questionable residents quickly disappeared. They’d be back out in a few moments to conduct their business again, as soon as his car was out of sight.

He toured his assigned section several times. Near 7 p.m., he picked up some dinner at a local taco shop, then parked facing south on Dayton. Traffic rumbled by at various volume levels, leaving the smell of carbon monoxide in its wake. He’d just finished his first burrito when he noticed a woman leave a restaurant, tottering on her high heels. Great -- another drunk.

>From his perch, she looked to be in her late-twenties, long brunette hair piled around a heavily made-up face. Her long coat seemed woefully out of place on this warm, early fall night.

She toddled to one of the old-fashioned lamps the city had installed in its clean-up effort, and leaned against it. After a brief moment, she paced to the wrought iron bench. Wobbling between the objects four more times, she suddenly stopped and took off her coat, laying it neatly over the bench.

He choked on a swallow of his Coke when he saw her. The spindly heels led to nicely shaped calves, to even more inviting thighs, capped by the snuggest, shortest black leather skirt he’d ever seen. Her narrow waist was cinched tightly in a white leather bustier with half her pale breasts exposed on the top. A long silver chain dipped into the valley between those creamy orbs.

Drunk and a prostitute. Damn. He got out of the car to take care of business. Nearing the corner, Case could see the woman, despite the heavy layer of make-up, was pretty. Who the hell was she working for?

He’d seen plenty of pimps and their girls on these streets, arrested a fair share, as well as their johns, but he’d never seen one quite as lovely as this girl. With her pacing, he figured she was new to the business. Maybe this one could be saved if the law intervened soon enough.

The traffic moved past with a honk and he began to cross the divided, landscaped street. That was when Case saw him -- the john behind her that was going to make a proposition. Instinct told him the man was going to purchase her services for the night, just as it told him that he wasn’t going to allow it. Casually, he placed a hand on his holster -- a gesture meant to intimidate -- and strolled nearer, pausing in the shade of a restaurant struggling for survival.

The brunette turned around and walked past the wrought iron bench as the approaching man neared the corner of the fountain sculpture. Oh, crap, she had the nicest . . . his thought was interrupted when she began to speak.

“Anything I can do for you tonight, honey?”

Honey, that’s what her voice was -- rich, sweet, honey. Momentarily, he wished he were the one she was talking to like that. Then she laughed, the sound like ice cubes tinkling against a half-full glass, her voice flowing over the gentle sounds of the waterfall cascading near them.

“Ten dollars for a bj?” the man squeaked.

“Ten dollars? You’re joking, right? You can’t have a blowjob for less than fifty.”

Somewhere in the pit of his stomach, he’d hoped he was wrong, but she’d just given the man her price. The john actually licked his lips. Case stepped out of the shadow.

A startled look came over the john’s face as he met Case’s eyes. “Not tonight, baby; you’re too expensive for me.” The man turned on his heel and did a high-speed walk back toward Fourteenth Street, the direction he’d come from.

“Excuse me, miss.” Had he really said “miss”? She turned to face him, her brilliant green eyes misty.

“Yes, Officer?” Her voice, that honey again, was deferential and oh-so-soft. A subtle musk perfume drifted toward him. Damn, she smelled good.

“Are you aware that there has been illegal activity occurring in this plaza?”

“No, Officer. What sort of activity?”

“There have been a number of women picked up here for soliciting. Did you just tell that man that ten dollars wasn’t enough, that “you can’t have a blowjob for less than fifty”?

Color filled her cheeks and her eyes grew wide. “Yes,” she whispered.

“May I see some ID?”

“Certainly, it’s in my coat pocket.”

Case followed as the brunette walked back toward the bench. She abruptly stopped. “Where’s my coat?”

He’d seen her lay it on the back of the seat, but now it was nowhere to be found. Well, that wasn’t his worry. The woman had no ID. Dressed the way she was, she was a definite appearance risk.

“I’ll have to detain you until we can establish who you are,” he said. For the first time in his memory, a pang of guilt washed through him at what he was about to do. Why the hell did this feel so wrong?

“You’ve got to be kidding! What for? What did I do?”

“I’m taking you to the department. Normally, you’d only get a ticket, and then you’d either pay the fine or show up in court. But with no ID ...”

He removed his handcuffs from his utility belt and fastened her delicate wrists behind her back. “I’m required to ...”

Color leached from her face, and then she tottered. The next thing Case knew, he had approximately one hundred thirty pounds of a very sexy, beautiful prostitute in his arms.

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