Dani stood at attention in DSI Gibson’s hotel room as her boss examined crime scene photos from the Brawley house, rifling through them with her immaculately manicured nails. It was late, past midnight, and Dani would have been dead on her feet were it not for the fact that being in a room with DSI Gibson sent an electric charge through her that kept her wide awake and wired long after they parted ways. Stella Gibson had wits sharper than a razor and the looks of a film star. It was a potent combination, more lethal than a drug.
Stella paused for a moment, set the photos aside with the tiniest of sighs. “I can’t make head nor tail of these now. I’d like to head over to the crime scene in the morning.”
“Yes, ma’am. Is that all, ma’am?” Dani asked, clipped and precise.
Stella stared at her with her piercing blue gaze, and her lips melted into a small smile. “That’s all officially, Dani.” She gestured to where a whiskey bottle sat next to a hotel ice bucket. “Unofficially, would you like to join me for a nightcap? I would offer you room service, but I have discovered, much to my dismay, that the kitchen closes at eleven.”
Dani picked up a tumbler. It felt weighty and heavy in her hand. “I shouldn’t really be drinking on the job, ma’am….”
“Your shift ended two hours ago. Unless of course you have somewhere else you’d rather be.”
“No,” Dani said a little too quickly, fighting back a blush. “A drink would be…good.” She poured herself a scotch on the rocks and one neat for her boss. Stella lounged on the edge of the bed, leaving nowhere left for Dani to sit but the room’s single chair.
“So,” Stella began in her posh drawl, “You mentioned you didn’t have a man. Do you have a girl, then, Dani?
Dani felt another blush coming over her. “No girl. Not right now.”
She gulped at her whiskey, relishing the burn. “Haven’t the time.” Stella looked back at her intensely, as if she didn’t quite believe Dani’s easy lie. “I used to have a girl—Aoife. It was serious. We lived together and all. But she broke it off with me.”
“Because you hadn’t the time for her?”
Dani gulped again, this one went down much easier. “That’s it.” Aoife worried. Thought being a policewoman was too dangerous. She wanted kids and a picket fence and for Dani to be home for dinner every night at six on the dot. “Do you have a family, ma’am?”
“No,” Stella answered matter-of-factly. “And if you’re going to drink with me, you need to stop calling me ma’am.”
“Because you haven’t the time for it...Stella?” Dani asked carefully.
“Better.” She smiled tightly and took a sip of her whiskey. “The things we see, the work we do…it’s hard not to bring that home, hard to cordon off from everyday life. It has always felt…unfair… to expect another person to share that burden with me.”
“The men in this department seem to expect it well enough. Burns. Eastwood.” James Olson, Dani thought, but didn’t say aloud.
Stella laughed dryly. “Women are taught to be more forgiving of men than men are taught to be forgiving of women. Or forgiving of other women.”
“I suppose so,” Dani said, feeling morose. Scotch was tricky that way, could lead you up or down and you never knew which. “How do you shut it off?”
“You can try to compartmentalize. More often than not, I need a distraction. Like whiskey.” She could feel Stella’s blue gaze travelling over her again, not uncomfortably. “You should go out after work sometime in your PSNI uniform. Everyone loves a girl in uniform.” A beat. “It always worked for me.”
Dani’s eyes snapped up to meet Stella’s. She almost couldn’t believe what the woman was telling her. “You…with women?”
Stella didn’t verbally comment, just looked back at Dani intently.
Dani eyed her nearly empty glass of whiskey. “Am I to be your distraction tonight?”
Stella set aside her glass and rose up from the bed. She walked over to where Dani sat and placed both of her hands on the armrests of Dani’s chair. Stella leaned over ever so seductively and all but purred in Dani’s ear. “Do you want to be?” Stella’s lips brushed hers and Dani tasted lipstick and scotch, utterly intoxicating.
It was all Dani could do to not turn to mush. She pictured herself melting into a puddle at Stella’s feet. “I do,” she began, “but…”
“What happened with James Olson…I don’t…I’m not just some notch on your belt, am I?”
Stella’s mouth quirked slightly. She guided Dani’s hand to the waistband of her dress trousers. “No notches here, other than the regular ones. I’ve no interest in keeping score.”
“What are you interested in, then?”
“Pleasure.” Stella placed her hand on the small of Dani’s back, pulling her closer. “You.”
Stella undressed Dani with care, like she was unwrapping an especially delicate present. Dani shivered under this attention. No one had ever treated her this way. She had always been a tomboy, and the girls she usually dated seemed to expect her to be the strong one, the tough one. Stella Gibson mixed silk and satin with steel and ice, upending everything Dani thought she knew about femininity and toughness. There were times Dani could scarcely believe she was real.
Stella drew Dani to her, her plain cotton bra brushing up against Stella’s silk and lace-covered breasts. Stella covered Dani’s mouth with her own, fingertip tracing the outline of Dani’s jaw, tongue exploring the inside of Dani’s mouth slowly, seductively, until all Dani could do was moan.
Stella broke off the kiss and looked down at her, sloe-eyed. “Tell me, Dani, what do you like?”
Dani was so far gone she could barely speak. “I…uh...a lot of things…I don’t know…”
Stella made a small tsk of disapproval. “You do know.” She kissed the freckles on Dani’s shoulders as she unhooked her bra. Coral lips sucked gently at Dani’s nipples at first, then harder.
“Oh…yes. I like that.”
Stella smiled and grazed a nipple with her teeth. She kissed and licked and nipped at Dani’s skin until she came at last to the waistband of Dani’s knickers. Small, but skilled fingers, teased Dani through the fabric. They both knew that Dani was thoroughly, undeniably wet.
“Lay down on the bed and take off your pants,” Stella instructed.
Yes, ma’am. Absolutely, ma’am. Please fuck my brains out, ma’am, Dani thought to herself.
Stella lay down next to her, her breasts centimeters away from Dani’s face, spilling out of their lace cups. It was a lovely view, Dani had to admit. Stella’s forefinger found Dani’s clit and pressed, her strokes slow and firm. Dani’s hips bucked, she was already so close. “Not yet,” Stella whispered. One, two, and finally three fingers found their way inside Dani’s cunt. Stella curled her fingers inward and started to fuck her. Her thumb caressed Dani’s clit, cupping her entire sex in her hand. A few strokes was all it took before she climaxed, Stella’s ice-blue eyes on her as she came.
Stella cradled her in her arms, stroking her damp hair as she fell back to earth. Dani knew she could probably come again if she wanted to, but was eager to turn the tables. The thought of Stella Gibson, undone with pleasure, drove her wild. “And you…Stella…what do you like?”
One would never catch DSI Gibson saying “I don’t know” when asked what she liked in bed. Stella’s eyes glittered. She reached over to the bedside table, opened a drawer, and pulled out a sleek black dildo, curved at the tip, and a bottle of lube.
“Is that for me?” Dani asked, uncertain.
“It’s for me. I like to feel…filled,” Stella said without any trace of embarrassment or shame. “I trust you know what to do with it.”
“I usually wear a harness,” Dani said, feeling excitement pool in her belly, “but I’m sure I can improvise.”
“I’m sure you can,” Stella said, removing her bra and underwear. She leaned back against the pillows, completely naked, and crooked a finger in Dani’s direction. “Come here.”
Dani was only too happy to obey. She covered Stella’s body with her own, marveled at her firm breasts and tight stomach, biceps and shoulders toned from all those hours of swimming. She ran her tongue teasingly over hard nipples and soft breasts and planted kisses on the sensitive skin just above Stella’s pelvic bone. Stella tossed her head back, eyes closed, and spread her legs wide in invitation. Dani knelt on the bed between her thighs and skimmed Stella’s damp curls. Stella gasped and Dani could tell she was impatient. So was Dani.
Dani lubed up the dildo and slid it inside Stella effortlessly. She worked it slowly back and forth, letting its ridges bump up against Stella’s clit. Dani watched as Stella pinched and twisted her own nipples, feeling herself grow wet again just watching her. Stella’s free hand reached down and grasped Dani’s wrist, urging her to go harder, deeper. She could feel Stella’s inner walls clenching and bucking at the dildo as she teetered on the edge of orgasm. Stella closed her eyes and let out a wordless cry as Dani brought her at last to her release.
For the briefest moment, Dani watched Stella’s eyes go soft and glassy. But all too soon that knowing sharpness returned, and Dani knew Stella’s thoughts were meandering their way back to Annie Brawley, Alice Monroe, and the killer loose on the streets of Belfast. She took that as her signal to leave.
As she began to dress, Stella said, warily, “Going so soon?”
“It’s an early morning, isn’t it?”
Stella nodded. She rose from the bed and gathered a satin robe about her. She almost looked sad. “You don’t have to leave, Dani.”
“I should. People will talk.” They’re already talking about you and James Olson. “Belfast is a small city and the PSNI are worse than a bunch of schoolgirls.”
“You don’t need to protect me.”
Dani leaned forward and kissed Stella on the edge of her mouth, shyly. “I know I don’t need to…but maybe I want to.”
Stella reached out and did up the buttons on Dani’s plain shirt. She looked at Dani fondly and said, “So chivalrous. Always did love a girl in uniform.”
“I’ll try to remember that for next time,” Dani said, unable to keep the swagger out of her voice.