Lilith St. John is a witch--really! And she hasn't been too good lately. (It seems using her powers to make Detective Mac Mancusi totally infatuated with her was a big no-no. Who knew?) After all, what woman could resist having a sexy guy like Mac aching for her every minute they were apart? But the council isn't pleased--in fact, they're stripping Lilith of her powers. What's a witch to do?
Especially now--when Mac's suddenly back in her life, looking to rekindle the magic...
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August 01, 2007
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Excerpt from Stripped by Julie Elizabeth Leto
"You have to call her."
Mac Mancusi stood, eyes focused on his perp on the other side of the one-way mirror. The jackass was forcing his hand. With teeth grinding until his jaw ached, Mac cursed. There had to be another way to save this case before it was flushed down the crapper, his career along with it.
"I don't have to do anything, Fernandez. Last time I checked, I was still the chief of detectives in this department. Or did your sorry ass somehow get promoted by the new mayor when I was wiping his footprints off my back?"
Through the reflection in the glass, Mac watched Lt. Rick Fernandez run his hand through his thick hair.
"Boss, I'm just saying... We all know the mayor's been riding you since the election. His smarmy staff boys have been sniffing around the precinct all week, hunting for some damning shit to leak to the press. If this drug bust doesn't happen, you can kiss your job goodbye."
Mac forced his words through his tight lips. "I know the stakes."
"Then why are you waiting around? Call the bruja!" Sounded so easy. Call the witch who'd ripped his heart out, filleted it, then served it on an Italian roll with onions, peppers and a side of you're-a-fool. Yeah, no problem. Wasn't as if he had any pride or anything as inconvenient as self-respect to stand in his way.
"Know what, Fernandez? I remember a time when this department could beat a confession out of a perp without having to call some voodoo princess to do our dirty work."
Fernandez shoved his hands in his pockets. "Listen, boss, you want to beat the crap out of Pogo Goins and hope he gives up the location of three hundred kilos of cocaine, I'll back you up. But you know that shit won't fly anymore. We need the location of the drugs and we need it two hours ago. I don't know what happened between you and Lilith, but it can't be as bad as what's going to happen if we don't find that blow before it hits the streets. Word is the shit ain't pure. We're going to have ODs, turf wars, retaliations. Chaos. Goins hasn't asked for a lawyer yet. He still thinks we're talking to him about his stolen car. We don't have much time before his brain clears enough to know we're trying to flip him for the information. He'll call his mouthpiece for sure."
And then the interview would be over. Mac and the detectives in his department didn't have anything to hold Pogo Goins, just a tip that the low-level hood had been the gobetween in a huge shipment of cocaine. When Goins's car went missing and he actually reported it to the cops, the Chicago PD had gotten the break they'd been waiting for-- a chance to put a real dent in the drug trade, maybe even take down the masterminds behind the renewed influx of highpriced, low-quality coke. If the rumors were true and the drugs weren't pure, the stakes went through the roof.
Time was running out. He needed Lilith. "Go grab a pack of cigarettes for our guest," Mac said, gritting out the words between his tightened teeth, "while I make a call."
Rick grinned, gave a quick nod, then headed out, closing the door behind him.
Mac pulled out his cell phone and hit the speed-dial button he'd yet to delete. When Lilith didn't instantly answer, his stomach hardened. She used to pick up on the first ring-- sometimes before. She claimed to always know when he was calling. He figured she had caller ID and a less-than-busy work schedule predicting future love matches for idiots with too much disposable income.
But today she ignored his call.
Maybe she didn't want to talk to him.
He couldn't blame her.
When he'd figured out exactly how she'd become his perfect lover, how she'd always known exactly when he wanted to talk and when chatter was the last thing on his mind, he'd never been so angry, so confused, so completely infuriated.