Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Caught 2: Ajana’s Return by Marie Rochelle

Prologue

The loud shriek of the phone woke him up from a well-deserved sleep. Reaching for the nightstand, Ryan picked up the cordless phone on the third ring.

“Hello,” he muttered in a sleepy voice.

“I’m surprised you’re still in bed.” Sergeant Carelli laughed. “I thought you would be down here bright and early this morning bugging me about your job.”

Sitting up in bed, Ryan rubbed the sleep from his eyes. “Hmmm… I was taking your advice.” He lied. “I slept in.”

“Oh.” Sergeant Carelli sighed. “I thought maybe you called one of your many girlfriends and spent the night celebrating Halloween. You’re young. You need to be out having fun, not wasting your life away worrying about cases. I don’t want you to end up a broken man like me. I put work first and lost my wife and kids because of it.

“That’s why I’m so interested in your social life. I see a lot of me in you when I was that age. Never let this job take the place of having someone to come home to late at night. You wouldn’t believe the difference it makes having another person to talk to about your problems.”

A twinge of guilt hit Ryan as he stared down at the sleeping body next to him. Moving the covers down some, he traced the small of Ajana’s back with his fingers. He celebrated Halloween the way his boss wanted, but not with a woman he should have. Telling Sergeant Carelli about Ajana was on the tip of his tongue but he couldn’t, not until he figured out a few things first. The last thing he wanted was a lecture, and he already felt guilty enough.

“I remember the pain you went through with your divorce from Tamara. I’m not going to let that happen to me,” Ryan replied as he removed his hand from his bedmate’s body. “I’m working hard on the robbery case, and I promise you that I already have my sights set on a special woman. I just have to work through a few things first.”

“Wonderful. I’m glad to hear it. As soon as this case is closed, I want to meet her. Can’t let you get hooked up with the wrong girl like my son Anthony did. However, I didn’t call you to be meddlesome. We got another call last night about a stolen bracelet.”

Ryan sat up even straighter. If the robbery happened while Ajana was with him, then she was innocent. Sergeant Carelli would have to drop all the charges against her.

“Sir, where was the robbery last night, and what time did it happen?”

Ryan suddenly flinched as a warm, soft hand slid underneath the covers and wrapped around his morning erection. His gaze flew over to Ajana and she winked at him, then brushed her thumb around the tip of his hard-on. He tried to swallow down his groan, but it slipped out anyway.

“Ryan, are you okay?” Sergeant Carelli questioned from the other end of the phone. “You sound a little strange.”

“I’m fine…sir,” Ryan choked out, grabbing Ajana’s wrist to make her stop, but he wasn’t quick enough to stop her from sucking his nipple into her wet mouth.

“Oh, God…” he moaned as his hand fell back down to the bed, allowing Ajana to continue her earlier assault on his lower body.

Moving up the bed, her raspy voice murmured in his ear. “Don’t let him know that I’m here or I’ll have to stop,” she whispered, sliding her hand up and down his penis. “Act cool and professional.” Ajana kissed on the side of his mouth, then went back to sucking his nipples while her hand worked at his body.

God help me. It was so wrong, thinking about other things than the case he was working on. “Sorry about the interruption, sir. I thought I saw something outside my bedroom window.” Ryan was surprised by how easily the lies rolled off his tongue.

“How about I come over and go over the call from last night? I think I have some information that you’ll find really interesting.”

“No!” Ryan shouted, pushing Ajana away from his body as he sat up on the side of the bed. “You need to stay at work and keep Angelo in line. Make sure he doesn’t eat all the peanut butter crackers I have hidden inside my top drawer.”

Sergeant Carelli couldn’t find Ajana at his house. He wouldn’t understand what happened between them last night. He watched Ajana walk past him wrapped in a sheet. She went over to her black bag in the corner and grabbed some clothes along with a small bag with the word Cosmetics written across.

Then she strolled into the bathroom, closing the door behind her, leaving him all alone in the room with a bad case of morning wood. A second later the shower started to run and he tried to relax the overwrought muscles in his body.

“Ryan, are you positive that you’re okay? You really aren’t acting like yourself.” Sergeant Carelli’s question drew his attention away from the closed bathroom door.

Hell, maybe he could make this conversation short and join Ajana in the shower so she could fix this predicament she left him with.

“I swear I’m fine, just had a restless night thinking about the Bennett case.” No, you had a restless night because you were doing the prime suspect in the Bennett case, his mind corrected him.

“Well, to answer your questions: the jeweler was located about two blocks from the station and the merchandise was stolen about an hour before you left. The owner didn’t know until he started going over the inventory.”

Ryan felt his heart sink to the pit of his stomach. “Did he get a look at her face? Was it Ajana Bennett?”

Please don’t let it be her, he prayed, glancing at the closed bathroom door. The woman behind it had made him feel something special last night, something which he wasn’t ready to lose.

“He wasn’t the one who waited on her. A new employee did, and he couldn’t give a good description because she was wearing a black hat and sunglasses. The owner is pissed because a diamond and ruby bracelet worth five thousand dollars was stolen.”

“Are you positive it was Ajana and not some copycat?”

“No, the same skill was used. She had the clerk show her about five or six different pieces and then she kept one on without the clerk even knowing it was gone. We have to find her and soon or the FBI is going to get involved. This is our town, and I want to bring this woman in.”

How do I ask the woman I made love to last night if she is pulling the wool over my eyes?

“Ryan, if you want to back out of the case, you can. I can give Angelo the information I have and get him right on it,” Sergeant Carelli chimed in.

“I can do this myself. There isn’t any reason to give him my case.” Ryan sighed. Running his hand along the back of his neck, he looked around the room and spotted Ajana’s black bag in the corner. Getting up off the bed, he walked over to it, picked it up, and brought it back over to the bed with him.

“Do you know if she got a collector interested in the piece or not yet? So, it could still be on her body?” he asked, unzipping the bag.

“None of our usual informants have mentioned anything about the bracelet being sold,” Sergeant Carelli answered.

Ryan searched through clothes and other personal items inside the bag. He wasn’t finding the bracelet. But as he was about to zip the bag back up, he stopped at a smaller zipper along the inside of the bag. His hand started to tremble before he even unzipped it and stuck his hand inside.

He swallowed down the lump in his throat as his hand touched something cold. “Tell me what the bracelet looks like again.” It can’t be her. Please don’t let it be Ajana.

“It’s a little bigger than a tennis bracelet, covered with diamonds and rubies. The clasp has a diamond on it.”

Pulling out the object, Ryan swore under in his breath as a diamond and ruby bracelet hung from his fingers and sparkled in the sunlight from his window.

“Sergeant Carelli, I have to call you back,” Ryan whispered, tossing the bracelet down on the bed. “Something has happened that I need to take care of.” Ajana lied to him. He was played for a fool.

“Ryan, you honestly aren’t sounding like yourself. Are you sure that I don’t need to come over there? This is becoming a high-profile case, and I don’t want you to get overwhelmed by it.”

“Thanks for your concern, sir. I have everything under control,” he replied, then disconnected the phone call. Ryan got up off the bed and went over to his closet. Snatching a pair of pants off a hanger, he shoved his legs into them, thinking about how he had to go into the bathroom and arrest Ajana.

Making his way over to the closed bathroom door, he prepared himself to do something he didn’t want to. She actually made him believe she wasn’t guilty of all the charges pending against her. Why did it have to be her? He should have gone with his gut instinct and hauled her gorgeous ass down to the station.

I can do this. No matter how much she begged and pleaded with him. He wasn’t going to help her out.

Ryan knocked once on the door, then went inside. Ajana wasn’t washing anything he hadn’t licked or sucked at last night. Standing in the middle of the floor, he got the shock of his life. The shower was empty and the bathroom window was wide open. Ajana was gone!

As he turned to leave the room, a splash of red on the medicine cabinet mirror caught his attention. Moving closer, he read the note written in fire-engine red lipstick:

Sorry, Handsome. I can’t stay. I wouldn’t look good in a jail uniform. I’m innocent and I’m going to prove it.


A

P.S. Don’t worry. We’ll meet up again, and thanks for a wonderful Halloween.