Paperwork could kill.
Nothing, to Eve Dallas’s mind, reached the same heights—or depths—as paperwork’s terminal boredom.
And if the boredom didn’t kill you, the frustration would.
She had to survive it. As NYPSD’s Homicide Division’s lieutenant, she had to survive it.
But it seemed desperately clear to her, as she sat at her desk in her tiny office in Cop Central, that by spring of 2061, somebody sure as hell should have found a cure.
Didn’t she deserve that when she’d come in early, and full of righteousness, to tackle it? She’d known it would be thornier than usual, but even so, she’d underestimated.
It wasn’t every day she ended up taking her whole damn squad in pursuit of a contract killer. On two continents. Wouldn’t have happened, she thought as she struggled with numbers, a lot of numbers, if said contract killer hadn’t put a target on her husband’s back.
Since he had, the men and women who served under her, along with a chunk of cops from EDD and her commander, had stood up, stepped up, and had refused to back down.
Maybe Roarke had ordered the shuttle for the flight from New York so she didn’t have to figure out how to add that terrifying expense into her budget, into her report.
Because she’d married a stubborn Irishman, and a filthy rich one.
And sure, the takedown happened on his family’s farm in Clare, with his aunt and the rest of them capping it off with enough food for an army. So no chits for meals.
But the overtime. Preapproved by Commander Whitney, yes, but Christ on a spreadsheet, the OT boggled. Then she had the regs to meet for payment due on international investigations.
Paperwork could not only kill, she thought as she gulped coffee. It could kill slowly and painfully.
Once, as she worked, her partner, Detective Peabody, clumped down the hall to Eve’s office in her pink cowgirl boots. And poked her cheery self into the room.
One snarl had her clomping away again.
And eighty-seven minutes after she’d sat down at her desk, Eve finished—every chit, every hour, every approved expense accounted for.
She submitted it—and woe be-fucking-tide any flat-nose in Accounting who questioned her. Then she laid her head on the desk, closed her glassy eyes a moment.
“No more numbers,” she muttered. “In the name of humanity, no more numbers.”
She sat up, rubbed her hands over her angular face, then back through her choppy crop of brown hair. Rising, she walked to her AutoChef, because she damn well deserved another hit of coffee.
As she drank it, she stood at her skinny window looking out at her view of New York. A tall, lanky woman, she wore good boots, smoke gray like her trousers, and the vest over her white T-shirt and weapon harness.
While her wedding ring was her only visible jewelry, she wore a fat diamond on a chain under her shirt. Both pieces Roarke had given her held equal fat slices of sentiment.
She watched the airtrams wind through a blue sky. The weather gods offered the city a perfect day in May. Sunny and seventies.
The poor bastards heading to their cubes inside one of the steel towers might not drink in much of it. But it was still there. And since she’d survived Death by Expense Report, she could appreciate it.
A good day, she thought, and tugged her window open a couple of inches.
With the kicky little breeze flowing in, she went back to her desk to see what else had piled up since her last shift.
Her communicator signaled.
She saw Dispatch on the readout.
Dispatch, Dallas, Lieutenant Eve. Possible homicide. See the officers …
As she listened to the particulars, she grabbed her jacket off the back of her desk chair and headed out to the bullpen to get her partner.
Somebody hadn’t had such a perfect day in May.
“Acknowledged. Dallas and Peabody, Detective Delia, en route. Peabody,” she said, still moving, “we caught one.”
Her stride hitched briefly as she blinked at Jenkinson’s tie. She should be used to the detective’s insane ties by now, she thought, but who got used to fat, bug-eyed yellow bumblebees buzzing over a neon-orange field?
Nobody did. Nobody ever should.
Peabody grabbed her coat and hustled to catch up. She wore curls today, her dark hair red-streaked and bouncy.
Something else Eve couldn’t get used to.
“What’ve we got?”
“Dead body, West Fourth, two uniforms on scene. Interestingly, the nine-one-one came in from the Upper East Side. Two more uniforms being dispatched to that location to speak to the woman who called it in.”
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