Read Roman: Book 1 Online

Authors: Kimber S. Dawn

Roman: Book 1 (4 page)

“Everyone out! Now! Mac, you stay.” He abruptly stands causing his chair to crash into the wall behind him and begins pacing the length of the room like a caged animal. After everyone has left and the door closes he stalks towards me and stops when we are standing face to face. “You want this?”

I square my shoulders and bring my chin up, crowding his personal space before speaking through gritted teeth,

not if you’re going to give it to me by dangling it in front of my face like a carrot. I may be young, but I

m damn good
. M
y test scores and my field training speak for themselves, and you know it. All I ask is to be treated like every other detective. I need you to stop treating me like your daughter, Uncle Jay. Can’t you understand that?”

I snatch my files on my way to the door and before I can exit Detective Sergeant, Jay Steels issues one last warning, “Mac, don’t let me down.”

My eyes cut to his and narrow on them over my shoulder, “I never have, Jay, act like it.”

As soon as I step into mine and my older brother, Bobby’s apartment I kick my heels off and toss my purse on the side table in the foyer. “Bo? You home, babe?”

“In here!” I hear his voice carrying from the kitchen and peek my head in to find him pulling a Bud Light from the fridge. “You wanna beer?” He shouts.

“I’m right here, and yeah sounds great. How was your day?” He hands me a beer before heading to the kitchen bar and sitting down.

After he sips from his beer he says, “Ahh… same ole same ole. You know how it is, feast or famine, fires of hell or passed out after playing Call of Duty for too long at the house. I still don’t know which I like better, fires or coma induced boredom. Anyway, how was your day, sis?”

I chomp the tiny ice crystals while swallowing the chilled deliciousness of a damn well deserved beer, “Jay’s a damn prick. He chewed my ass in front of the guys, first day on the case. I swear, why am I even doing this? Why did I honestly think he would be able to treat me like I’m one of the guys?” I set my Bud Light on the countertop and yawn before making my way to the bathroom. Standing under the hot spray in the shower, I revisit what the hell happened in the library at Washington University between Roman and I.

If anyone pulls up my information, Jay made sure it read I was a second year student in my pediatric residency.

I look the part, hell I am the part. My age is correct, clothing, check, backpack, check. Did I not flirt? Hell, I couldn’t flirt my way out of a paper bag, all three of my older brothers, Bobby, Cody, and Rick along with my dad made damn sure the guys stayed away after aunt Red and her hormones transformed me from girl to young woman.

I can say, aside from their overbearing protectiveness and tendency to extinguish any hint of a love life I might dream of, growing up, even without a mother, I knew I was loved.

Was my long stringy hair kept trimmed and coiffed? No. Do I know how to apply makeup or paint my fingernails on my right hand? Hell no. Were my knees constantly scabbed over as well as my elbows? Yes.

But ya know what? I can also change my own oil, rotate my tires, and switch out the alternator and the battery on my car. I can worm my own hook, load my own gun, skin my own meat, and scale my own fish. Then…I can sprinkle my own self-taught secret seasoning on it and cook it to perfection.

There are two ways to a man’s heart, and thanks to my momma I have one and thanks to my daddy and brothers I have the other.

Daddy has always said I look just like my momma. I’m short, five three and a half on my best day, petite frame, with her pale blond hair. So there’s the first way to a man’s heart, his eyes.

The second way is through his stomach. I can bring home dinner and cook it to perfection. The problem lies in the fact
that
I’ll never get the chance to cook for a man because of my brothers. My father passed away from a heart attack and to be totally honest, I really don’t feel like getting out there and trying to meet someone. Even before daddy passed away I had already began pouring everything I am into becoming a detective.

I honestly thought I could do it.

Now…I’m not so sure.

The only two things linking Roman Payne to a string of missing girls is the eleven grainy pictures sent to the station anonymously around their disappearance, and the letter found on Amanda Robbins.  Other than that, there’s nothing. His wealthy family has an army of attorney
s
surrounding him and threatening to press charges against the state for slander and defamation of character.

With a family name like Payne and a future of being one of the greatest minds in Women’s health ahead of him, their case stacks against ours immensely.

What I can
’t
wrap my head around is why? Why would a man spend all of his efforts to become the best of the best in women’s health
,
  then spend his nights, what? Talking them into committing suicide? Or worse, killing them?

There in lies the issue between my Detective Sergeant, my godfather, Jay and I.

I don’t think he did it. Based on looks alone there is no way he would have to kill or rape a woman to get laid. I’ve had crushes; I’ve seen enough handsome men in my life to know Roman William Payne surpasses all of them within a thousand mile radius. He’s tall; we’re talking six foot six at least. Hair the color of ebony silk and hooded eyes the color of a spring sky. His face is the most handsome I’ve seen with high sharp cheekbones and a straight nose over perfect full lips. When he was reading in the library today, his wide, strong shoulders bowed over the desk causing his long black bangs to hang hiding his eyes from me, but not the sexy dimple on his left cheek when he chewed his lower lip with his perfectly straight white teeth.

As I hovered over him trying to find my voice
,
the sight of his muscles and tendons sliding and moving under his perfect olive skin caused my mouth to become as dry as cotton. I had to swallow twice before speaking. Even now, I can’t remember what the hell fell out of my mouth.

Using my towel I wipe the condensation away from the mirror before wrapping it back around me and mutter at my reflection. “Keep your damn head on straight and maybe, maybe we can prove Uncle Jay wrong, Mac.”

After putting my pj’s on I swipe my beer from the counter and head into the living room to curl up on the couch and watch last Sunday’s football recaps until my eyes get heavy and I fall asleep on the couch.

My dreams mix and interlace with smoke and mirrors, along with a man whose handsome features and stature rival the God’s of old, a man whose eyes are the color of a pure, honest morning sky, shadowed in shrouds of death, deception, and lies.

 

Chapter 3

                                                        2007

“One, two, three, four, five…” I mutter as Julia’s chest recoils between every compression until I reach thirty, then I move to her face, pinch her nose, tilt her chin back and give two breathes watching to ensure her chest rises with each breath.

We went to far again; this ruins the entire experience, every time she isn’t strong enough.

“One, two, three, four, five…” I continue compressions and feel anger flood me. “Goddamn it, Julia, wake up! Breathe, damn you! Breathe!” I realize I’ve lost count and lean over her prone body lying on the floor of my master suite, tilt her head back pinch her nose and breathe two breaths into her lungs again.

Julia and I have been in a quasi relationship for over a year now. She fools herself into thinking it’s monogamous, or that I’m faithful to her, believing if she continues to be everything I need, both in the public and behind closed doors, I will make her my wife.

Women are so simple minded. Especially the rich, beautiful ones, the ones who have poise, etiquette and manners.

The ones I prefer.

Women unlike Heather.

It’s been two years since that day in the library. I’ve spent two years dodging her at every turn. I swear it’s like the woman appeared out of nowhere then suddenly she was everywhere. She’s the reason I latched on to Julia
.
S
peaking of Julia, I need to regain my thoughts and reassess our situation.

Eyeing the clock I mentally calculate the time I’ve spent on resuscitation, a little more than five minutes. Fierce anger swells and twists around my stomach as my fists clench, raising one far above my head before bringing it down as hard as I can punching her in the sternum. Instantly her lungs fill with air and her eyes bulge open before she begins sputtering coughs and heaving in breaths.

“Jesus.” I run my hands down my face and quickly stand up to pace the length of my room.

“Rom-“ She bursts into another coughing fit for what seems like a lifetime before she gathers enough control to attempt speaking again, “Roman, I’m sorry. I’m so sorry-“ I fly towards her huddled on the floor.

Once I’m close enough my hands encircle her neck and I lift her clean off the floor, her feet dangle three feet from the carpet. “NO! No, Julia, you know how much it pisses me off when you do that shit! It messes up everything! Everything! Do you think after I find release I want to resuscitate you for over five minutes? Do you know how infuriating that is?! Do you have any idea how close I was to picking your weak ass up and tossing you down the trash shoot to be incinerated with the rest of the garbage?!”

Her hands claw at mine around her throat as her eyes widen and her lips turn blue before I drop her into a heap on the floor.

“Get your shit and get out of my house, I never want to see you again, do you hear me?” I storm from my room, through the hall and down the stairs. I slam the door to my Maserati, the garage is barely open enough before I barrel through, pass the gates and take a sharp left.

I don’t know who I’m mad at, I don’t know where I’m going, for the first time in as long as I can remember I feel lost and I haven’t the faintest idea why.

I do know I made the right choice where Julia is concerned. I see a hole in the wall bar and slow before pulling into the dirt lot and parking near the back.

I walk in and head straight to a side booth in the corner
, and
as I sit, my eyes land on a waitress and I jerk my head at her.

“What can I get for ya, honey?”

I glance at her nametag and look up at her prematurely aged face, “A club soda and lemon slice. Freshly cut lemon slice, Ms. Darla.” I smile.

“You got it.” She walks away with an exaggerated sway in her hips and I have to grit my teeth to keep from verbally mocking her.

I keep my eyes lowered, looking at the table when she returns to avoid conversation. Thankfully it works.  I pick my drink up and bring it to my lips as a slip of a woman in red slides into the booth across the table from me. I jerk my head up to see… little miss Heather Mackenzie.

I nod towards her and set my drink down before speaking, “What do you want?”

Her husky laugh catches me by surprise and my eyebrows rise to my hairline. “That, Mr. Payne, is a loaded question.”

Scowling at her over the rim of my glass I repeat my question, “Answer me. What do you want?”

“You. For a smart guy, you can be one dumb ass son of a bitch, you know it?” She chuckles before waving the waitress down, “Bud Light, draft if you have it, please ma’am.”

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