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In the Company
of Deserted Souls
Kalie returned her attention to him. She was not falling into that trap—drinking with a cop and then being hauled in later for drunkenness. “Actually, I rarely drink.”
P.C. Rheims looked across at her. “Really. That’s interesting but good, I guess.”
She smiled a little. “How about you? Do you like your beer or a drink from time to time?”
He returned her grin as he leaned forward a little. “Oh, yes. I do like the odd drink; that’s one of the reasons I suggested we meet. I also want to make sure that the lady you were telling me about is not some missing person who is actually deceased.”
“What is the other reason you proposed we meet?” she asked, toying with him. Understanding what was coming, she decided to play along. Noticing a slight blush spread across his features, she waited to hear what he would say.
“Ms. Van Zandt, I’ll come right out with it. I really don’t like beating around the bush, as they say. Probably an occupational hazard, but it’s also my personality, too. Quite frankly, I am extremely attracted to you. Believe it or not, when we met, I found myself becoming quite taken by you. I don’t know…there is just something about you. Now, I realize that sounds really bad and as if I’m some pervert hitting on you, perhaps, but I assure you I am in earnest,” he admitted. His tone of voice sounded gentle and not commanding as it had previously appeared.
Surging with excitement, Kalie felt very good about his confession. With caution, she debated how to answer his statement. “I sensed that you were very attracted to me when we first met, but…I have a boyfriend in the Netherlands who is coming here in a couple of days. However, that said, I must admit that I find you very…very interesting.”
P.C. Rheims displayed a faint grin as he spoke. “Thank you, Ms. Van Zandt for your candor. I really appreciate it.”
Remembering his reaction to her admission, she felt sorry the moment it left her mouth. I should be glad he took it so well, and yet, I’m not. I feel like crap now that I’ve said it.
After they had ordered, P.C. Rheims leveled his gaze with hers. Aware of the strange and hypnotic way he regarded her, she felt transparent.
“Ms. Van Zandt, I’m sorry if I was speaking untoward, but I just wanted to be honest with you. Still, if you have a boyfriend, how can I compete with that? If things change…please don’t hesitate to call me. I mean that. My offer stands.”
Sighing aloud, he continued as he folded his hands across the table. “All right, let’s see what we can find out about this female you suspect is a missing person and may be deceased.”
An unsettling wave of doubt bathed her as she thought of her relationship with Laurens. Unsure why she felt as she did, she resolved to keep an open mind. Sitting up straighter in her chair, she began by recapping the two incidents when the entity had visited her.
He took a sip of his iced tea and then set it down. “Are you aware of the details of the first unsolved crime in that house where you’re staying at 128, Fry Street?”
“By the way, please call me Kalie. I am aware of only what the press has written on the subject. Is there anything else you can tell me?”
He looked at her with a level gaze. “Call me Justin, Kalie. I wish I could disclose some other facts, but I can’t. Anyway, I am not convinced it could help us with your puzzle. Once I see the police artist sketch, I should know a lot more. Your description doesn’t ring a bell, but that is not to say she’s from around here. She might not be, and that could be why I’m not connecting the dots.”
Reaching for her glass, she sipped her iced tea. “All right, fair enough.”
The appetizers arrived, and she noticed how they both dug in. They had ordered some bruschetta, and it was very fragrant and steamy hot with melted cheese on top.
While she took a slice and bit in, she exclaimed at the taste of it. “This is really good! Thanks so much, Justin!”
Smiling as he took a bite of the snack, she watched his expression. “Wow! This is good! I love Italian food! You are so welcome, Kalie. By the way, I love your name. It really suits you.”
“Thanks, and I think you look like a Justin, too,” she admitted while reaching for another slice of their appetizer.
After a few more bites, she observed how they sat back and enjoyed the surroundings and the moment.
“I really want to thank you for inviting me here. I just wish we knew more about both cases. Are there any leads or progress on Miss Ramsey’s murder?” she asked with interest.
Running her attention over his face and upper body, she was poignantly reminded that he was phenomenal-looking. Reflecting on her relationship with Laurens, normally, she would have jumped at the opportunity to date a cop.
The physical placement of his features were masterful and a delight to her senses. His intriguing personality made it more difficult to resist him. Although she guessed his surname was German, he didn’t have the classical features or coloring. She supposed his heritage was mixed. There was something about his face and features that looked Mediterranean.
Her sense of adventure was aroused and heightened. She wanted to know more about him despite what she had confessed earlier. People were her interest, and for the life of her, she couldn’t dismiss him from her mind or heart. Constable Justin Rheims is starting to make a lasting impression on me…
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