I’ll keep the preamble short this time. It’s Friday again, which means another chapter of Cold Scent. Happy reading!
A flashy neon sign told him he had come to the right place. The White Lotus was a moderately crowded bar in one of the alleys in Roxbury. Popular among those who lived nearby, it was mostly filled with the young residents of the neighbourhood. The buzz and chatter overflowed to almost the end of the alley, where it joined a bigger, cleaner road. Cameron sighed and walked in. If there was anything worse than drinking, it was pretending to drink at a bar. The thought of being intoxicated while on duty horrified him.
As he entered, he spotted Greg in a corner, where a few of the seasoned guys had formed a knot and were exchanging stories of them good ol’ days. He saw Greg applaud the guy who was narrating with great gusto and cheer him along with the rest of them. He looked up and acknowledged Cameron with an almost imperceptible tilt of the head. Then he quickly looked over to the counter and back at him.
Cameron turned his gaze to where Greg’s had been seconds ago. There, tracing her finger along an empty mug of beer, was Reyna. He headed over to her.
“Can I buy you a drink?” he asked, sliding into the stool next to hers.
She scowled at him. “No, thanks.”
“Just one more?” He was thoroughly enjoying himself. He remembered when he had been a rookie, his partner had pulled his leg so often, he had almost considered quitting the force after one particularly terrible day. He had sworn to take his revenge on the next fresher he met. Unfortunately, it was a woman, so his plans never came to fruitition. The grey, trusting gaze always stopped him from saying anything particularly nasty.
Her scowl deepened. “No. I already went through the agony of pretending to finish this one.”
Cameron smiled. She didn’t drink either. He was impressed, but not altogether surprised.
“So, Veronica being fashionably late, eh?” he asked, to keep up the conversation.
“Looks like it,” she muttered.
“You seem a bit off. What happened?” He felt oddly protective of her and he was curious.
“Nothing.” She sat up, stuck out her chin defiantly and changed the subject quickly. “Wearing plain clothes to work is something I need to get used to.”
“Hmmm,” he murmured, glancing at her. He had been so caught up with her grey eyes that he hadn’t even seen what she was wearing; apart from the colour of her dress, which he had caught as soon as he had spotted her.
She wore a fitted top and a short skirt, exposing her long legs. Then, he proceeded to scan the crowd.
“Wow, you’re getting quite a bit of attention,” he noted.
“Some brave guy came up and talked to me, “ she recalled, laughing.
“And?” he prompted.
She was still laughing, when he noticed a young woman enter. All eyes turned to follow her instantly. She had curly, long blonde hair and she wore a dress so skimpy and figure-hugging, it left almost nothing to the imagination. Cameron was startled. He never thought ordinary people dressed up like that – it looked like the exact outfit a desperate celebrity would sport.
“Is that…?” he left the question hanging.
Reyna looked over. “Yep, that’s Veronica.”
“Oh God!” he exclaimed.
Reyna’s face contorted. “My thoughts exactly.”
“So, what do we do next?” she asked.
“We go talk to her. I think it’s best if I did it.” Then he stood up and smiled. “Be right back.”
“Yep,” she nodded, and waited for Cameron to leave before she slipped out herself.
Veronica looked up as a tall, broad shouldered, clean cut man approached and took the seat next to hers. He had a sharp, pointed jawline and angular features. His eyes, the colour of coal, smoldered as he held her gaze.
“Detective Cameron,” he said, keeping his voice low. “Could I ask you to please step outside, ma’am? I have few questions for you.”
What happened next was so sudden that Cameron, although an experienced officer of the law, was slow to react. Veronica seized an open vodka bottle on the counter and flung its contents, aiming for his eyes. She then twisted from her seat and was off in a flash, running through the shocked crowd that parted easily in front of her. She was headed towards a back door, it seemed. Greg, who was on the opposite corner, took off in pursuit immediately.
Cameron cursed internally and rubbed his burning eyes as the alcohol took effect. There wasn’t much damage though – he had closed his eyes just before impact. What he was more worried about was the suspect getting away.
For new readers, here are the links to the previous chapters –