Home > Fatal Reckoning (Fatal #14)(16)

Fatal Reckoning (Fatal #14)(16)
Author: Marie Force

“You never answered my question.” His comment followed a long period of contented silence. “Are you going to marry me?”

“Yes, Tommy. I’m going to marry you.”

He had five more weeks of rehab to get through before they could get on with their lives, but she’d given him something to look forward to, something that would sustain him as he worked to put his life—and hers—back together.

* * *

THE DRUMS OF hell beating in her brain woke Sam the next morning. She was afraid to so much as breathe out of fear of her head exploding. Since breathing was necessary, she took a tentative breath and winced.

“It was such a good idea at the time,” Nick muttered from his post, facedown next to her. “Right?”

“Mmm.” She winced again. Her mouth tasted like dog shit, and her eyes were gritty. And she needed to get Scotty up, see to the twins and get her ass to work.

“Take one more day, Samantha. No one expects you to show up today.”

She was sorely tempted, but then she thought about the wooden box and her determination to find the person who had put her father in that box. If he could bear what he’d been through for four agonizing years, surely she could get through a day at work hungover. “I’m never drinking again.”

“Could I have that in writing?”

Sam grunted in reply because that was less painful than forming words. She dragged herself out of bed and made a beeline for the bathroom to brush her teeth before taking a shower. As she stood under the pounding hot water, she began to feel slightly human again.

Nick stepped in behind her and wrapped his arms around her waist, his lips landing on her shoulder. “Take another day, babe.”

“I really can’t. I was out all last week on suspension, and we’ve got shit to do. I need to get back to normal.” Nothing in her life had been “normal” since the day she’d arrived at the scene of Alden and Aubrey’s nightmare. Between taking them in, seeing to their needs, solving their parents’ murders, agreeing to be their long-term guardians, Nick’s trip and her father’s death, Sam hadn’t had one normal minute in ten days.

She craved normal, and she needed to dig into her father’s case with fresh leads and a new resolve to finally get the answers that had eluded her for so long.

He held her tight against him. “I’m worried about you.”

“I’m okay.”

“You haven’t cried yet.”

“Yes, I have.”

“No, you haven’t.”

“So what? Do you think that means I’m not sad enough about my father’s death? Because let me assure you—”

He turned her to face him and rested his index finger over her lips. “That’s not at all what I think. I know better than just about anyone how very sad you are.”

“I choose to expend my sadness and anger productively rather than rolling into a ball and sobbing.”

He gave her a good long look. “Fair enough.”

“I need to do this my way, even if it’s not what you or other people would do. And I need you to let me.”

“Whatever you need, babe. That’s what I want you to have.”

“Then let me go to work, and don’t spend all day worrying about me.”

“I can do the first part. The second thing might be harder. Will you call me if you need me?”

“Who else would I call?”

He gathered her into his embrace, their bodies responding to each other the way they always did when her skin came into contact with his.

Because she couldn’t resist him, she rubbed against him suggestively.

“I thought you were hungover and cranky.”

“I am.” She curled her hand around his hard cock and stroked, drawing a deep groan from him.



“We don’t have to.”

“I know, but I want to.” No one could take her mind off her grief and stress the way he could. And even with her head pounding and her stomach feeling iffy, she wanted him.


“Celia will get him up.”

He kissed her neck and fondled her breasts. “You sure you feel like it?”

“I definitely feel like it, but there’s a very real possibility my head could actually explode.”

“We’ll go nice and easy.” His words and lips rendered her powerless to resist him, not that she ever wanted to do that. “I’ll give you my magic elixir for hangovers.”

“Even after brushing my teeth, it’s possible my breath stinks like sewer gas.”

The low rumble of his laughter echoed off the shower walls. “Thanks for the warning.”

“I’m serious. It’s a toxic waste dump in there.”

“I’ll steer clear.” He pressed her against the shower wall and lifted her effortlessly, which she found ridiculously sexy. “Hold on to me. I’m right here whenever you need me.”

“That makes everything that’s wrong better.”

“I would do anything to spare you this pain.”

“I know you would.”

He slid into her and dropped his head to her shoulder, holding her tight against him as he throbbed inside her.

Nothing in the world could top the high she got from making love with him. Sam buried her fingers in his hair and held on tight to her love. She was thankful for him every day, but never more so than at times like this when he seemed to know what she needed before she did. And as he moved slowly and carefully so as not to jar her tortured head, she was able to let it all go and be carried away by him.

They came together, gasping and clinging to each other, and when she floated down from the high, she realized her head didn’t hurt as badly as it had before, which made her laugh.

He scowled playfully at her. “Are you mocking my technique?”

“Hardly. I’m celebrating your hangover elixir.”

“Did it work?”

She tipped her head to the left and then the right, waiting for the pain that didn’t come. “I think it did.”

“Then my work here is nearly finished.” He withdrew from her and got busy washing her while she leaned back against the wall and let him tend to her, knowing he needed that as much as she did. Watching the play of his muscles, the fall of his hair over his forehead, the morning scruff on his jaw, she was tempted to take one more day off to spend with him.

But then she thought of that goddamned wooden box that contained the ruined body of her father, and her resolve returned with a fiery thirst for vengeance. She straightened out of the slouch she’d fallen into under his tender ministrations and kissed his cheek. “Thank you.”

“I wish there was more I could do.”

“People say it will take time.”

“We’ll get through it, no matter how long it takes.”

Knowing he would be by her side through it all made the unbearable slightly more bearable.

“Let’s go get our littles up and spend some time with them before I have to go.”

* * *

NINETY MINUTES LATER, she walked into HQ for the first time in ten days, entering through the morgue entrance to avoid the media scrum planted outside the main doors. Lilia had reported receiving hundreds of requests for interviews from reporters wanting to know how she was handling her father’s death. How did they think she was handling it? She’d asked Lilia to release a statement that said Second Lady Samantha Holland Cappuano and her family deeply appreciated the outpouring of condolences and sympathy since the death of her father and that she would have no further public statement about her loss.

You’d think that politely worded request would take them off the scent of a story, but alas, the bloodhounds were still salivating.

Between Nick’s shower elixir, six hundred milligrams of Motrin and two cups of coffee, she was feeling slightly more coherent than she had upon awaking. However, she still felt “off,” the same way she had after her father’s shooting, when she’d waded through every minute of the unfolding nightmare with an unrelenting ache in her heart. In some ways, that had been worse than this. As sad as she was to know she’d never see him again, the weeks after he’d been shot, when they’d been forced to confront the new reality of his devastating injury, had been among the darkest days of her life.

Sam went into her office, flipped on the lights and sat behind her desk, searching for the mojo she usually brought to the job and hoping it would find her as the day progressed. Firing up her desktop computer, she began the arduous task of sifting through ten days’ worth of emails. She’d been so busy last week with Alden and Aubrey that she’d barely looked at it and couldn’t find the wherewithal to bother now with emails about mandatory training or time-sheet updates or anything other than what she was there to do.

She was about to get up to find Captain Malone when he appeared in her doorway. “What’re you doing here?” he asked.

“Last I checked, I work here.”

“You don’t need to be here today, Sam.”

“Yes, I do. I want to see what’s come into the tip line since Sunday.”

He eyed her warily. “We’ve assigned people to that.”

“You’re assigning my people, not just any people.”


She held up a hand to stop him. “Don’t. Please don’t. You told me the other day to tell you what I need. I need this. I need to do something to make this right for him. Please don’t put up obstacles that don’t need to be there.”

They held each other’s gaze for a tense moment before he blinked and looked away. “I’ll get you a report.”

She pointed to the items he’d brought with him. “What’s all that?”

He placed two huge stacks of cards on her desk. “Condolences the department has received since your dad passed. We thought you’d like to see them.”

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