"Officer Greene," Marissa said in a husky welcome that
vibrated right down to his feet.
I thought you were leaving Hawaii today," Ted said, aiming
for the least offensive small talk kicking around his brain.
"Believe me, I tried."
He slid his thigh on the edge of his sister's desk. The move brought
him even closer to Marissa but still far enough to be able to read
her actions and assess her mood.
"Your identification paperwork came in?" he asked.
He couldn’t blame her for the curt response. Last time she
tried to leave the state, TSA officials at airport security detained
her. The memories couldn’t be good ones. "I take it you
never even made it out of the hotel this time."
"Obviously not." She rubbed her hands together on her
lap. "And I still say that incident yesterday wasn't my fault."
Incident. Such a little word for such a big mess. Ted suspected
he'd be answering questions and filing out paperwork over Marissa's
first security run-in for months. Sure as hell would take that long
for Kane and everyone else at the station to stop laughing over
Ted's attempts to keep Marissa from getting an armed escort to jail.
"You threatened the TSA agent," Ted pointed out for what
felt like the tenth time.
"He wouldn't let me past security."
"Because you didn’t have a license or other form of
"It was stolen along with my purse earlier that afternoon."
She kept missing the point. "True, but-"
"And before you say my attitude was the problem, we both know
that guy with the big neck and little brains could have let me through
security after a secondary search." Her face flushed redder
with each word. "He chose not to. He decided to be difficult
and then acted all surprised when I got ticked off."
"Probably had something to do with the fact you kicked him."
From what Ted could tell the agent had asked Marissa a few questions,
she got frustrated, then insulted, and then started yelling. Stolen
wallet or not, that was never a good idea at airport security.
But that was only Marissa's first robbery of her trip. He was at
the resort today to talk about the second one...or what Marissa
claimed was another one. He was starting to wonder. Kauai had its
share of petty crime, but for some reason this woman was the only
victim these days. Seemed like an awful big case of bad karma. An
"What exactly happened this time around?" he asked.
She frowned, her big eyes growing darker with each breath. "Are
you blaming me for this, Officer Greene? If so, your good cop routine
could use some work."
"I'll try to remember that." He folded his arms in front
of him. "Suppose you tell me what the issue is."
He fought the urge to say "this time" but he could tell
from his sister's dramatic eye roll that he got the point across.
Marissa sat back in her chair. "Someone broke into my room
Marissa. Bed. An interesting combination. "And you were...?"
"Excuse me?" Marissa didn’t even try to hide her
frustration. The rise in her tone let him know she was displeased.
Yeah, well, she could get over it. "Were you in the room or
somewhere else?" he asked.
"I was in the gym."
"But you were supposed to fly home today."
Her hands froze in mid-wring. "So?"
"You're dedicated to fitness. Got it."
He forced his gaze to stay right on Marissa's face. He wanted to
let it wander, see if he could make out her body under her baggy
sweatshirt, but he refrained. For now Marissa seemed calm. He had
seen her wound up and trembling with fury at the airport. He preferred
her current quiet seething.
"When I got back to my room it was evident someone had been
in there. The comforter was on the floor. My suitcase had been turned
over." Marissa sighed as if to emphasize her displeasure. "You
get the idea."
What he was getting was a headache. "Are you sure it wasn't
Marissa's mouth opened and shut twice before she spit out an answer.
"Maids don't throw everything on the floor and then leave."
"We do frown on that sort of thing," Nicki said.
He didn't need to see his sister's face to know she wore a smirk.
"Sorry," Nicki said in the least apologetic voice possible.
He eased his grip on the edge of the desk. It was either that or
crush the wood in his fists. "Was anything missing?"
"No," Marissa said.
"Yet you’re sure someone came in."
In that second, a strange calm washed over her. The tension eased
from her shoulders and a small smile played on her lips. Ted knew
enough to see the newly relaxed position as a sign of verbal war.
"I'm not an idiot," Marissa said in a tight voice that
stood in sharp contrast to the carefree way she brushed her hair
off her shoulder.
"Never said you were."
"Not in so many words."
The woman sure was touchy, so he used his best soothing cop voice.
"You've had a rough time."
"I've been in Kauai for five days and robbed twice."
Like he said, tough. "Technically nothing was missing this
Marissa shot him a frown severe enough to crack teeth. "Your
That she was either the unluckiest woman ever or, well, nuts. He
hoped for the former. "Is it possible you have an enemy on
"You're the person I've spent the most time with at this point."
"No wonder she hates Hawaii," Nicki mumbled under her
Marissa didn't lower her voice in return. The husky sound boomed
through the room. "I like Kauai just fine. I just want to go
home and spend Christmas in the snow as it should be."
To him snow could never be considered a good thing. Christmas meant
time off to surf and hang out at the beach. Maybe fit in some sailing
and a short trip to Oahu to watch the fireworks over Waikiki Beach.
Why anyone would want to bundle up in a thick jacket just to go
outside was beyond him. He had tried it and hated it.
"Where is home exactly?" he asked even though he knew.
He'd checked on her age – twenty-nine – address, driver's
license number and a bunch of other useless information as part
of the investigation into the altercation with TSA.
"If it helps, the city got about eight inches of snow this
Both women stared at him. Apparently a man couldn’t give
the weather report without drawing unwanted attention.