When a dating app matches two serial killers, they find themselves falling into love or the closest thing that their twisted minds can get. Desperately trying to keep their secret crimes from being exposed, they must deal with not only each other but law enforcement and the demands of their careers. Will they overcome the odds and accept that they are meant for each other?
I love the smell of the city after a summer rain.
Normally, the city smells of sweat and car exhaust and concrete baking in the Midwestern sun. It's hot and humid and mean, and it grinds you down until you flee to the air conditioning and the cold metal seats of all the little cafes and eateries scattered across downtown like hidden, cool diamonds.
Those are nice. But eventually, you have to go outside, and it's rough, and it grates on you and makes you hide from the sun again.
But when it rains…when it rains, there's this coppery smell, this electric smell that dances through the salt in the air and makes the mist rise from the sidewalks.
I stand there on the balcony, letting my bare breasts rest on the railing, looking out into the secret yard, the alley between buildings. A few homeless men huddle there, but they aren't looking up, have no reason to look up. The rain's keeping their heads down, eyes closed.
I flip open his wallet and count the money. I'll stop by later and give them some. This is their city, too, and nobody really looks at them, nobody wants to help.
I turn and glance back toward the bedroom. “Have you ever really thought of the homeless before?”
There's no reply.
I stretch. My muscles got a workout the night before. It was a good time. Dinner was exquisite, and afterward, ah…that was divine.
I needed that.
I close the window, shutting out the electric smell. But it still smells coppery in a different way. Warm copper, not hot. Sweet copper, not salt.
I track down where I threw my clothes last night. Yellow skirt, knee-length. Black halter top, spaghetti straps. A short, black leather jacket. A pair of pumps, scuffed where I tripped on the sidewalk last night. I wasn't nearly as drunk as he thought I was. Otherwise, he wouldn't have dared, and we wouldn't have ended up here.
His clothes are scattered around, too, and in his back pocket, I find the wedding ring.
“I knew,” I whisper to the ring, and I lick it, tasting that salt, the fever salt of a cheating man way out of his depth.
Then I slide it on my finger. Not where it belongs, but it isn't like I'll ever know the feel of one made for me.
Dressed, now. Sporty! One last sweep…did I bring underwear this time? No, no, I did not. Damn the pants! Full speed ahead!
Then my purse, and the sample kit as well. A briefcase, heavier than it looks.
That's fine. I'm stronger than I look, too.
And then the micro-fridge, and the paper-wrapped packages that crinkle with the plastic inside. My mouth fills with saliva as I put them carefully in the sample case. No leaking!
One last sweep through the suite, checking the shower for hair, making sure I didn't leave anything behind, and then it's back to the door to the bedroom, and that rich, warm coppery smell floating through the air. I can almost see the clouds of it, can almost taste it on the back of my tongue, like I did last night.
“Goodbye, love,” I tell him. And I take her from the doorknob where she hung all night, watching over him. Into my purse she goes, the leather layers folding up along well-worn creases.
There's more I can do, but I learned not to worry about it long ago. Things work out.
And it's a beautiful day!
The stairway down smells of old drugs and new cleaning products, and I clutch my purse tighter. The security door opens directly onto the street, and I let the rain wash down on me. It's going to do a number on my hair, and I should have brought a hat, but oh well. I pull my jacket tighter around me and start the walk home.
People call this part of town dangerous, but it's not, not really. I look like a lot of the women who walk these streets here. I look like I belong. And it's raining, too. Nobody who's looking to hassle people comes out in the rain without a really good reason. Nobody brings me down as I splash through puddles until I get to High Street. Then a turn, and I start the long walk to the Short North.
Midway through, the rain picks up, and even I'm starting to get a little annoyed. There are comfy and yummy smells, and then there's getting soaked to the bone. I pull out my phone, and it's his, instead.
For a second, I'm worried, a lance of cold dread in my stomach, and I fumble around…ah, there's my phone. I turn his off, yank the battery, and dump it down a storm drain. I shield mine from the rain as best I can, and my fingers glide across the screen. Uber time!
The SUV pulls up five minutes later, and I get in with a grateful smile.
The driver takes a moment to check me out in the mirror. “You all right, lady?” He's a few years younger than me—late twenties, perhaps, with black-rimmed round glasses and a hipster beard.
I give him the biggest smile I've got. “I am, thanks! Got caught in the rain.”
“Sorry to hear it,” he says, and the Ford Explorer heads off into traffic. I settle back into the seat and relax. The air conditioning in here is fresh, with a hint of pine…probably due to that cardboard tree swinging from the mirror.
His gaze plays over me at the traffic stops, and I pretend not to notice. But it is funny to watch his eyes flicker when he catches sight of the wedding ring. “I'm surprised you didn't call your husband to come get you.”
“It didn't work out. We're not together anymore,” I tell him. Technically true.
“Sorry to hear it.”
“Don't be. He had issues.” Also technically true.
“You doing anything Sunday?”
Well! This one doesn't waste time!