“You really should get more rest, Jane.” Maura’s voice carried far too much pep. It buzzed along Jane’s nerves, hunting up a similar vein of energy and failing to find one.
If she didn’t have a mountain of paperwork to fill out for Martinez, Jane might have caught a taxi and gone home for the rest Maura mentioned. “Not all of us can get a full eight hours every day.” She tried to keep her feelings out of the bond. Sarcasm often went over Maura’s head, and it didn’t do any good to be angry. Maura came from a different world. One where people worked nine to five and didn’t have to use their tits and ass to get ahead.
A hint of concern washed through the link, and Jane sighed. Maura cared. After all the years of conversation, Jane knew Maura had a hard time showing her emotions. “I promise,” she told her Dominant, “I’ll rest as soon as I can. I just have to get a few things done at the office.”
“Next!” Stanley’s grumpy bellow snapped Jane back to reality. One where her feet threatened to revolt after a night walking the streets in five-inch heeled boots, and her stomach growled loud enough for the patrol cop in the corner of the café to hear.
“Coffee and a Danish,” Jane said. She unzipped her purse and dug through the crap her co-workers in the drug unit had shoved in there as a joke. Condoms big enough to stretch around her head in rainbow colors. A pair of knee pads. And some Altoids. Pricks. All of them.
Where was her ID? The cash she kept for emergencies?
“That’ll be two dollars, Tiffany.” Stanley was the worst sort of Old School Dominant. He threw his weight around whenever possible. Normally he didn’t dare fuck with her, but anytime she came in straight off the streets from an undercover drug buy… The short skirt and high heels made him forget Jane usually carried a gun.
Knowing he was going to make a scene, Jane still reached for the coffee and Danish. “I must have left my ID and money in my desk. I’ll get you after my shift. You know I’m good for it.”
“You think you’ll make that much?” Stanley leered and moved the cup and paper plate with the Danish out of reach. He didn’t quite dare to ask her to service him. Not in a room full of cops. But Jane felt coated in slime as he stared at her. “No money; no food.”
Impotent rage ignited despite Jane’s exhaustion. She hated being a submissive. People like Stanley used it to their advantage and treated her like a thing. “You know what?” she snapped, not caring if he filed another complaint about her attitude and lack of respect for his status. “I hope Big Mo tows your Chevy; your crack coffee gives you an ulcer, and you die of psoriasis.”
Maybe she could convince Franky to swing by with a lobster roll and fries.
A gloved hand extended in front of Jane. She glanced up – and noted the woman’s Dominance marker. She couldn’t escape the assholes today. “Do you mind? You can get your no fat latte in a minute, alright?”
“Oh, no!” The woman waved her hand, and Jane finally noticed the carefully folded bills clutched between gloved fingers. “It’s for you.” Her smile was perky. Jane might have thought the woman was hot if she wasn’t so pissed off. “And, given your Vitamin D deficiency from…from your night work,” the woman continued, “you’re better off with some plain yoghurt and leafy greens.”
Jane reached the end of her (very limited) patience. “I don’t need your charity!”
“I was only trying to be nice.” The money waved in Jane’s face again. “Please. Let me help you.”
Sneers from Stanley and pity from this very pretty lady. “Not every hooker’s got a heart of gold, sister.” She turned away, intent on leaving and plotting Stanley’s painful demise, when something the woman had said caught her attention. Plain yoghurt and leafy greens.
Maura had said exactly the same thing when Jane had worked the night shift during her first year on patrol. No. Way. Her stomach twisted and rolled. “Maura?”
The woman paused, and Jane held her breath. “Jane?” A second later, the query came through the bond. “Are you really dressed as a lady of the evening and standing in front of me?”
“In the flesh, sister,” Jane whispered around the sudden constriction in her throat.
Maura’s hazel eyes blazed and the bond lit with a surge of joy and unaccustomed possessiveness. “I need to call the Governor and tell him I’ve changed my mind about accepting the Chief Medical Examiner position.”