Officer Susan Riley was supposed to be off duty but they’d gotten a last minute call to check out a disturbance in a local city park centered in the middle of the neighborhood. By the time they’d arrived and chased down four perps vandalizing the skate park, three had scattered away like cockroaches being chased after the light switch had been flipped. The fourth had been cornered, frozen in fear when he couldn’t clear the chain link fence. He stood shivering in the cold night air.
Susan’s friends who lived out of state, puzzled at how she could not spend every spare second of her free time, at The Las Vegas Strip – ‘The Playground for Adults.’ What her friends didn’t know, and what locals learned quickly, was how The Strip was a veritable magic act, inside the superficial circus tent of society. The veneer of elegance duped the middle class into playing make-believe. Even just for a night, they felt they could belong to the upper echelon of society. More often than not, the lonely tourist playing pretend at wealth and status left the dry desert town with an empty bank account and broken spirit. Such was the game the middle class played, and such was the prey upon which Vegas feasted and kept its belly full.
Susan took the woman’s hand and noticed her grip was firm, but not overbearing. Her hands were soft, and her nails were beautifully manicured, matching the shade of her dress and heels. Now that the woman was seated right in front of Susan, it was hard not to notice her ample bosom, framed seductively by the low-cut neckline of the dress. Susan realized she had probably stared at the woman’s chest a beat longer than she should.
Renata laughed, not missing the subtle lingering of Susan’s eyes. She flashed a sly smiled, then turned to her drink and sipped. The tension of sitting next to each other was palpable.
Mistress Lucia sighed. The fet party was going well except for Lisa. That girl was a fireball and produced the audible fireworks to prove it. She was a ‘brat’ to the hilt, which was fine, but she was going to get them reported for a noise complaint – again – if she didn’t keep her voice to a dull roar.
Susan staggered back when the door popped open. The exotic beauty, Renata, took one look at her, and her lips slowly curled up into that gorgeous smile of hers.
“Um…oh!” Susan exclaimed.
Officer Schwartz wasn’t the brightest bulb on the tree but, even he noticed that Susan’s professional demeanor faltered for half a beat. He leered at Renata and then cut his gaze to Susan with curiosity.
Susan regained her composure quickly but not quickly enough.
Damn it, Schwartz knows I know her. How am I going to explain this?
“Ma’am, we received a noise complaint from your neighbor. Susan said.
“It sounds like someone is under duress. Do you mind if we come in?” Officer Schwartz asked.
Renata’s tone was soft and soothing. Maybe even a little patronizing. “Unfortunately, I do mind.
Renata sat on her couch, sipping at a warm, non-alcoholic mulled cider. It was quite good. The holidays would be here next month, and the libations and refreshments reflected the upcoming festivities, but her mind was far away from the party now. What were the chances of seeing the woman she’d had a one-night stand with, only a few weeks prior? It was such a big city. She didn’t believe in fate, but perhaps in this situation, she could make an exception that some God or Goddess of fate had intervened? It was hard to believe in a coincidence that huge!
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