Here's the next installment for Bait. Remember to leave a comment to be entered in a draw for a print copy of Blood and Bone at the end of the month.
Copyright © 2012 Dawn Brown
Andy followed Ella up three flights stairs to the landing outside her apartment’s door, all the while struggling to ignore the soft sway of her hips as she climbed. Her long, heavy coat hid all but the mere outline of her figure, but he’d seen her shape before and thought of her often since Charlotte left.
What an ass he’d been. His attraction to Ella Martin had been instant and intense, leaving him like bumbling idiot. Whenever dealing with her, he let Pete do the talking for fear of saying something stupid when he opened his mouth—like asking her out. Ella didn’t look like the type to date cops. Besides, Charlotte leaving him for his brother had torn a gash in almost all aspects of his personal life. He didn’t dare do anything to upset the delicate balance of his work life too.
Andy jammed his hands into his pockets and trailed Ella into her apartment. With her back to him, he could no longer see her expression, and that was a good thing. The wounded indignation only seemed to fan the anger rising in him like brush fire threatening to rage out of control.
Why did finding her with Summers infuriate him so much? He should be pleased. He may have discovered a crack in the case.
“Come in detective.” Ella’s voice, cool and annoyed, cut into his thoughts.
He moved through the shadowy darkness toward her outline. She bent forward, a dry click sounded in the quiet and soft light from the lamp next to the sofa filled the small sitting room.
Ella straightened and folded her arms over her chest. “I’d offer you coffee, but I doubt you’ll be here long enough for it to brew.”
She didn’t bother to take off her coat or ask him to sit down. She just stood where she was and waited.
Let her wait. Andy moved further into the room, pretending to ignore her. He took in the pale green walls, the cream furnishings and wood tables as if seeing it all for the first time. It wasn’t, of course. He just wanted to give her a little time to stew. To wonder just what he’d ask. To worry about just how much he’d pieced together.
“No Christmas decorations?” he asked, turning to watch her reaction.
Her lips thinned into a straight line and her left foot tapped the hardwood. “I don’t feel much like celebrating this year.”
He turned his back to her and continued his mock appraisal of her apartment. He didn’t feel much like celebrating this year either. The idea of sitting at his parents’ dining room table surrounded by his siblings and their husbands and wives while Charlotte and Ben made wedding plans left him cold.
Shoving the thoughts away, he made his way to fireplace on the far wall. The mantel was cluttered with knick-knacks and candles and framed photo of Ella and Pheobe. He lifted the photo and studied it as he had the first time he’d come to this apartment. The two women in the picture were laughing and looking at each other rather than the camera. In the time he’d known Ella, he never seen that kind of natural smile, and he’d never seen her laugh. The first time he’d looked at the picture, he’d wondered if he found Phoebe alive, could he make Ella smile like that.
What a jack ass he was. She didn’t want her sister found. She wanted her sister’s husband. Hell, he supposed he should be grateful that Charlotte just left him for Ben, and that the two hadn’t tried to kill him.
He shrugged out of his coat and draped the battered leather over the arm of the sofa before dropping down onto the soft cushion. Ella’s eyes brightened, but she didn’t move.
“Ms. Martin,” he said on sigh. “Why not tell me exactly what you were doing having dinner with a man you believe is responsible for your sister’s disappearance?”
She levelled her gaze on his. “Fine. I had dinner with Luke tonight because I’m going to get close to him, then I’ll make him tell me what he did with my sister.”