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Silk Confessions

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«Silk Confessions» - Джоанна Рок

As a hotshot detective, Wes Shaw thinks he's seen it all–until he meets the luscious Tempest Boucher. She's a blend of artistic sensuality and no-nonsense practicality that he can't resist. Too bad he suspects one of her companies of being a front for an illegal sex ring…and possibly murder. Now he has to wonder if his pursuit of her is for the sake of the case or for something very personal.Tempest has always lived by the rules. So to find herself the subject of an intense investigation by one sexy cop has sparked all kinds of rebellious impulses in her. Soon his interrogations lead to intimate confessions across the sheets…and even hotter explorations!
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“So sue me for having a prurient streak.”

“So sue me for having a prurient streak.”

Tempest had so not been flirting with Wes.

Had she?

Forcing herself to consider the notion, she wondered if her sexual impulses could conspire to act without her explicit permission. What if her artistic persona and businesswoman facade hid a decadent and determined inner seductress?

Frustrated with the undeniable attraction she felt for a man she probably had nothing in common with, she forged ahead. “Look, I’m sorry if it seemed like I was coming on to you. The dating profiles happened to intrigue me.”

“So you’re saying your sudden interest in threesomes didn’t have a damned thing to do with me?”


Wes grinned. As slow, sexy, I’m-going-to-have-you grin that sent a sensual shiver down her spine. “Good. Because I’m not the kind of guy who likes to share.”

Dear Reader,

As I thought about what I wanted to write for my ninth Harlequin Blaze release, I kept thinking about my very first two Harlequin Blaze novels. Both stories—Silk, Lace & Videotape (Blaze #26) and In Hot Pursuit (Blaze #48)—took place in New York City, with cop heroes working in the same NYPD precinct in Manhattan. I love glittering, glitzy New York for its one-of-a-kind personality. I also truly admire the nobility of men and women who are called to serve and protect. So as I thought about a way to bring a sexy, suspenseful story to the page, I naturally decided to revisit a place teeming with steamy potential for Silk Confessions, the first in my ongoing WEST SIDE CONFIDENTIAL miniseries. Wesley Shaw is on the trail of a killer, but first he’ll have to get past a sizzling suspect and all the mayhem she leaves in her wake.

I hope you enjoy the new series as much as I loved writing it! And keep your eye on Wes’s partner, Vanessa Torres. Her story will be coming in May 2005. Until then, visit me at to learn more about my future releases.

Happy reading,

Joanne Rock

Silk Confessions

Joanne Rock

Dear Reader,

An Evening To Remember… Those words evoke all kinds of emotions and memories. How do you plan a romantic evening with your guy that will help you get in touch with each other on every level?

Start with a great dinner that you cook together. Be sure to light several candles and put fresh flowers on the table. Enjoy a few glasses of wine and pick out your favorite music to set the mood. After dinner take the time to really talk to each other. Hold hands and snuggle on the sofa in front of the fireplace. And maybe take a few minutes to read aloud selected sexy scenes from your favorite Harlequin Blaze novel. After that, anything can happen….

That’s just one way to have an evening to remember. There are so many more. Write and tell us how you keep the spark in your relationship. And don’t forget to check out our Web site at


Birgit Davis-Todd

Executive Editor

For Pam Hopkins, a wonderful agent,

a patient listener and fearless champion of my dreams!

Thank you so much for your support.


Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15


TEMPEST BOUCHER had a multimillion dollar corporation to run, a kickboxing class to attend, a board of executives in upheaval and a lecture waiting to be written for a finance seminar she’d promised to give at New York University in a few weeks. But every last bit of it was going to have to wait since Days of Our Lives was on in five minutes.

“Eloise!” Juggling her ten-speed bike and the dog leash as she searched for the keys to her building’s front door, Tempest whistled to her two-year-old German shepherd. Her spoiled pet seemed utterly unaware of the need to hurry as she gave her best poor-hungry-me look to a corner pretzel vendor in the Chelsea section of Manhattan. Thanks to a new construction site three buildings over, West 18th had suddenly become a prime location for anyone pushing a food cart.

Oblivious to Eloise’s irritated owner, the hot-pretzel man tossed the conniving canine a treat.

Only then did Eloise deign to obey commands and follow Tempest through the front door. So much for obedience school training.

Tempest grumbled as she repositioned the bike for the trudge up three flights of stairs. She only indulged her soap opera habit on Fridays, for crying out loud. Couldn’t Eloise fulfill her inner panhandler on any other day of the week?

Determined to wring some fun—and some sense of normalcy—out of a life overflowing with responsibilities, Tempest had made a New Year’s resolution to start living her own life this year. Not every day was her own, of course. After her father’s unexpected death eight months ago, the task of overseeing day-to-day operations at Boucher Enterprises had fallen on her shoulders as temporary CEO, taking up most of her time.

But one day a week—Friday—could be hers. For two months now, she had been spending the weekends at the new studio apartment in Chelsea, a rundown and wonderfully normal place where none of her neighbors had noticed the daughter of eccentric corporate scion Ray Boucher in their midst.

And that was just the way Tempest wanted it.

She’d taken so much pride in finding the space on her own and paying for it out of a budget from her meager income as a sculptor. In fact, budgeting a life in Manhattan on a small income took as much financial savvy as running Boucher Enterprises. Possibly more, since the family corporation had a fleet of accountants and financial analysts whenever she needed a business consultation, whereas she had no help with her personal finances. Unless she categorized Eloise’s begging on the streets as “help.”

Hustling the last few steps to her apartment door, Tempest could already hear the opening bars of music for her soap opera in her mind.

“Like sand through the hourglass…”

Days of Our Lives reminded her to slow down. Enjoy herself. The sand through the hourglass had become her personal transition moment where she left behind Tempest the heiress, who had a schedule so packed she needed—good God—an administrative assistant. This was her time to be Tempest the woman who was passionate about sculpting, soap operas and saving her pennies for a future that wouldn’t include running the family company.

But as she moved to put her keys in the lock, she realized the door was already slightly open. Had the superintendent finally decided to fix her broken shower?

Sure that had to be it, Tempest chose to let Eloise go first, just in case. Setting her ten-speed on the landing outside her door, Tempest motioned to the dog. Perhaps feeling compliant after her bonus lunchtime feeding, the shepherd dutifully nudged the door open with her snout.

And revealed Tempest’s tiny haven, trashed beyond recognition.

NYPD DETECTIVE WESLEY SHAW didn’t normally pay any attention to the calls taken by other officers at his precinct on West 20th, but as he meandered past a throng of desks to start his day, a name slowly repeated by a rookie cop caused a flash of recognition.

“Did you just say Tempest Boucher?” Wes leaned down into Carl Esposito’s line of sight, his cop radar blaring an alert.

Ignoring him, Carl continued to copy down information being given to him over the phone.

Wrenching around to peer above the rookie’s shoulder, Wes experienced the rush of instinct that always prickled inside whenever he had a good lead—a professional thrill for the chase that he hadn’t enjoyed during the two years since his first partner had gone missing. He’d been functioning on autopilot for so damn long, the electric rush was as unexpected as it was welcome.

He’d been coming up empty on a murder case for a week until he’d connected the victim to an online dating service two days ago. And although he hadn’t been able to track down anyone at, he had discovered the business was one of many owned by the successful Manhattan-based conglomerate, Boucher Enterprises.

Seeing Tempest Boucher’s name surface in his precinct so soon after his discovery couldn’t be coincidence.

“I’ll take it.” Wes snagged Carl’s notes as the officer hung up the phone, determined to follow any lead that gave him the feeling his old partner Steve had called the cop “buzz.” Better than your run-of-the-mill Budweiser high, the cop buzz hit your system with the kind of adrenaline surge that solved cases and caught bad guys.

Highly addictive stuff. And Wes had ached for it like a junkie for twenty-four godforsaken months. No way would he let it pass him by now.

“You sure?” Carl reached for his jacket. “I live two blocks from there. I can ask some of the locals if they’ve seen anything.”

Wes was already halfway out the door. “Send a patrol car to meet me. I’ve been meaning to talk to this woman anyway.” He shoved through the double doors into the afternoon gloom when he remembered he needed to inform his new partner.

Yeah, new. Vanessa would love that one. She’d been on his back like a bossy sister to pull himself together ever since they’d been paired up eighteen months ago. Jogging back inside, he shouted to Carl.

“When Vanessa gets in, do me a favor and tell her where I am.”

Ten minutes later, Wes arrived at an address that didn’t look anything like the sort of elite building a filthy-rich real estate heiress ought to own. A patrol car already sat out front, attracting some attention from the locals. A few rubberneckers bought hot pretzels from a nearby vendor as if to settle in for any hints of news about what might have happened in the run-down, ten-story building.

Despite New Yorkers’ reputation for minding their own business, Wes had yet to see any signs of the phenomenon in nine years on the force.

Making quick work of the stairs, he hit the third floor in no time. A bicycle leaned forgotten in the hall while a woeful-looking black-and-brown German shepherd stood guard at the half-open door to apartment number 35. A skinny old woman clad in a blue-and-yellow floral housecoat watched over the proceedings from number 39, but other than that, the third floor remained quiet.

Pausing to gain the approval of the shepherd, Wes scratched the dog’s ears before following a dull hum of voices from inside the airy studio apartment. Light spilled in from floor-to-ceiling windows, illuminating a profound mess of strewn clothing, plants dumped out of their containers and piles of broken statuary. Two uniformed patrol officers were on the scene—one who knelt in the rubble taking fingerprints off some broken glasses and the other who stood near the windows taking notes as he spoke with a petite brunette.

Wes recognized Tempest Boucher from the newspapers. She possessed eye-popping curves and seemed to be rocking back and forth on her heels, perhaps an attempt to calm herself since she looked a little shaken. Jittery.

With creamy pale skin and chin-length brown curls, she wore running shoes with a sleekly cut crimson pantsuit that appeared tailor-made for her lush hourglass figure. Something about her extravagant curves and full red lips brought to mind the cartoon image of Betty Boop, except the apartment owner lacked the wide-eyed look of an ingénue. Her tawny gaze was sharp and assessing.

And preoccupied with him as he bent to retrieve a broken piece of statuary.

“Ms. Boucher?” He noted her stare strayed to the broken piece of clay in his hand. Peering down at the object, Wes discerned a ridge along the top of the foot-long shaft of clay. Only then did he realize the piece he’d recovered was actually a penis.

Reacting on pure male instinct, he dropped the busted piece back on the couch in all due haste. No cop buzz in the world seemed potent enough to make him seek out clues that damn badly.

“Please, call me Tempest.” A hint of amusement fled through her honey gaze, although she didn’t halt her nervous rocking. She reached for a choker around her neck, a band of silver-gray velvet with a big chunk of smoky quartz crystal dangling just below the delicate hollow at the base of her throat.

“Detective Wesley Shaw.” He reached to shake her hand and realized he was eager to touch her. An irritating thought when she might be mixed up in something dangerous. Deadly, even.

Nodding to the note-taking officer, Wes silently took over the questioning. While he sympathized with this woman, if she were truly innocent, he couldn’t allow her to bamboozle one of the new guys just because of her famous face and obvious sex appeal. Skinny Paris Hilton had nothing on the more elusive—and deliciously curvy—Tempest Boucher.

“Would you like to sit down?” He gestured to the couch strewn with sketchbook drawings of hands, feet, arms and—damnation—more penises.

While Wes knew he had no business judging her on the contents of her ransacked apartment, the cop in him couldn’t help but wonder if the uptown heiress used this downtown address as a love nest. Or something even more sordid.

Her connection to his murder case linked her with some very unsavory characters.

“Sure.” She sprang into action, brushing aside the smashed figures and hastily scooping up the anatomical drawings. “Have a seat.”

A shiver passed through him as her thumb skimmed the base of a pencil-and-ink penis. A wholly inappropriate reaction. How the hell long had it been since he’d had a woman in his bed if he was getting turned on at work?

He would have made a mental note to call his girlfriend of the month, except that this was one of the many months he didn’t happen to have one. In fact, if memory served, he’d only managed to accomplish the girlfriend-of-the-month feat twice in the last year and a half. Hell of a track record.

Since he’d always sucked at relationships—something he sorely regretted telling his new partner—Vanessa liked to hassle him about one month being the longest he could keep a woman in his life. Damned if she hadn’t been dead-on accurate. Wes didn’t bother to inform her that he’d had a long-term interlude back in the day—before his first partner went undercover and never came back out. His job and his personal life had both pretty much fizzled since then. Even more so after they’d finally found Steve’s body in the East River last fall.

Rogue thoughts of the sexy socialite now firmly under control, Wes dropped onto the small pullout sofa a few feet away from her. Too late he realized the open studio apartment contained no bed, meaning she must sleep here. Right on this very piece of furniture where he’d parked himself.

Eager to maintain focus on his case, Wes redirected.

“Is that your dog out front?”

“Eloise?” She peered around the apartment as if she’d only just remembered she had a dog. Inserting two fingers between her lips, she blew a piercing note.

Wes barely heard it since his eyes were glued to her full mouth, her bottom lip still damp from her whistle.

The dog came padding through the rubble of the apartment, its presence seeming to relax Tempest. “Yes, she’s mine. I would never bring a shepherd into the city since they really like to run. But I found her in a Dumpster on the way to work one morning and what else could I do? I figured living with me—even if I don’t have a few acres for her to romp around—had to be better than the fate she was looking at.”

Wes watched her scratch the dog’s neck, her shiny red manicure disappearing into the animal’s thick ruff. There was no doubt in his mind the mutt had it made.

“She looks pretty well-adjusted.” He didn’t mention his St. Bernard was twice the size of Eloise and managed to keep entertained in Wes’s shoebox of an apartment on Roosevelt Island. “Can you tell me what happened here today?”

“I was coming home from a meeting and I noticed the front door was unlocked.” Her fingers buried deeper into the dog’s fur. “Eloise went in first because I was a little unnerved by the open door. I had safety measures drilled into my head at an early age, and I can assure you, I’ve never forgotten to bolt a door in my life.”

“Is anything missing?”

“I honestly haven’t looked around. I called the police as soon as I saw the mess.” Her eyes drifted over the debris. “I’m not sure I’d know where to start looking for missing items.”

Wes followed her gaze, his eyes slowing on a haphazard pile of lacy undergarments spilling out of a tall armoire. Black ribbons mingled with pink straps, bright blue satin billowed over yellow see-through netting. He’d have to be a dead man not to notice the distinctly feminine intimate apparel, but he refused to envision Tempest wearing any of the slinky outfits.

Although the thought tempted him. Mightily.

As a compromise, he told himself he would not only work on finding another girlfriend in the very near future, but he would also seek out one who had a taste for lingerie. Of all the times for his libido to make a comeback after staying in hiding for months.

“Consider if you have anything here that someone else really wants. Something with monetary value? Something with significant value to a particular person?” He studied her face for hints of guilt or subterfuge, but only found deep thought. “The level of destruction in the apartment indicates that the perpetrator conducted a thorough search for something specific, or else the person responsible holds a personal grudge.”

His thoughts ran to the old lady neighbor he’d seen peering out her apartment door earlier. Had she been monitoring the goings-on in the hallway for reasons beyond general nosiness? Maybe some of Tempest’s neighbors didn’t appreciate the inevitable media frenzy that followed young, beautiful socialites around New York.

Wes found himself wondering if she brought a lot of men back to this apartment. Was the unassuming address her rendezvous point for booty calls she hid from her ritzy family?

“Obviously my intruder didn’t think my sculptures were worth a damn.” She clutched the smoky crystal at her neck and Wes spied the rapid beating of her pulse there.

What would it be like to make this woman’s heart pound faster?

“You collect statues?” Of naked men?

Perhaps Tempest’s snooping neighbor was an old prude who resented anyone with such an obvious interest in male nudity.

“I am the artist.” She lifted her chin with vaguely injured pride. “I had been hoping to convince a local gallery to do a showing once I had enough of a collection, but now…”

Certain a wealthy heiress whose face frequently graced the social pages could buy her way into any gallery she chose, Wes wasn’t too concerned. He needed answers from Tempest Boucher and he certainly wasn’t getting them by being subtle.

Time to be a bit more relentless with his questions.

“Did you keep valuables here? Jewelry? Other artwork besides your own?”

TEMPEST STARED BACK at Detective Heartless Shaw and assured herself he must not have a creative bone in his body. How else could he ask her something so insensitive as whether or not she owned any artwork that was actually worth something?

Of all the damn nerve.

“As a matter of fact, my statues were the most valuable items here. I don’t keep much at the apartment besides the tools for my sculpting.” And a few pictures for inspiration. Could she help it if she liked to mold male bodies? Judging by what her first few pieces had sold for, she wasn’t the only woman who appreciated a naked masculine torso around the house.

Detective Shaw might actually make for great male inspiration himself if he didn’t have such abrupt crime-scene manners. With his close-cropped dark hair and classic Roman features, he possessed a timeless appeal women would have found irresistible in any era, though his dove-gray eyes and the hint of a dark tattoo curling around one wrist gave him a uniqueness she wouldn’t confuse with any other classically handsome male. He wore a vintage suit that had probably cost a fortune in its prime, but the threads had seen better days, settling into softer lines around angular shoulders.

Definitely the sort of shoulders a woman wouldn’t mind molding. In clay, of course.

He peered around her apartment as if to test the truth of her assertion that she only came here to work. Curse the man and his unwanted sex appeal. Wasn’t she the victim here? Shouldn’t he make a passing effort to ask her if she was okay? She’d never been a paranoid woman, but it seemed as if even the toughest of chicks would be shaken by the sight of their personal lives churned through a giant blender and spit out like an aftertaste all over the floor.

“As soon as we’ve finished collecting evidence, we need to do a thorough walk-through to see if anything’s missing. In the meantime, I’ve got some other questions I’d like to ask you about Boucher Enterprises.” His gray eyes slid back to her, fixing her with unsettling directness. And something more? She could almost imagine a hint of male interest there. Then again, she could be dabbling in big-time escapist thinking to drool over Wesley Shaw instead of focusing on the criminal act some scumbag had committed against her.

“You recognized the name?” She had rather hoped he wouldn’t want to discuss her connection to the famous family, but no doubt reporters would have jumped on the police report the moment it was filed anyhow.

Her misfortune would be all over the papers and would certainly prompt more irritated phone calls from her mother about the need to move back to the safety of the family’s Park Avenue building on a full-time basis. The media would discover the location of her weekend hideaway and make life in Chelsea impossible. And then there would be the outcry from the Boucher board of directors who never understood her desire to have a life separate and distinct from her commitment to the company.

“There aren’t many people in New York who wouldn’t. The Post ran a feature on you just a couple of weeks ago—”

“I remember.” How could she forget the story that implied she had a fixation with younger men? As if her last-minute decision to go to the cinema with the barely-legal performance artist who ran a coffee shop around the corner counted as a date. “Can we move on to your questions, please?”

Adopting her best all-business demeanor, she dismissed the topic, unwilling to think about what kind of man she would have rather been dating than the coffee guy. Tempest might not enjoy her role in Boucher Enterprises as a corporate bigwig, but that didn’t mean she couldn’t play the part when necessary. After coming home to a trashed apartment, finding her last year’s worth of work destroyed and missing Days to boot, she wasn’t really in the mood to put up with a lot of innuendo. And she definitely didn’t want to find herself daydreaming about the detective’s shoulders again.

Before he could say anything, however, one of the officers called Wes from the other side of the room.

“Looks like we’ve got a message from our perpetrator, Shaw.” Standing next to the computer armoire, the cop held a pile of clothes that had been draped over the monitor. Now that the mountain of lace and satin had been moved aside to reveal the screen, the neatly typed words in extra large font were visible from clear across the room.

You’re in the wrong business, bitch. Rising, Tempest read the message aloud as she stepped closer to the computer, her frustrations with Wesley Shaw forgotten in the sudden onslaught of cold, clammy fear.

The warning written on her computer screen—the cursor still blinking at the end of the last word—had been left by someone who knew her. The break-in was no random act of city crime, but a calculated plan carried out against her specifically.

The thought made her a little woozy. She’d fought so hard for a small slice of independence in a life filled with commitments to her family’s business. The unassuming downtown address and her sculpting gave her a taste of normal life where she wasn’t under the constant surveillance of security cameras or family bodyguards. But if her weekend apartment haven wasn’t safe, did that mean she’d have to return to the Boucher clan compound that was as secure as Fort Knox and just about as homey?

“Tempest?” Detective Shaw stood beside her now, his voice quieter. Softer, even. But the gaze he directed on her remained detached and—could she be reading him right?—suspicious. “I think it’s time we talked more specifically about your line of work.”

Tempest chewed her lip, trying to figure out what this man was driving at and why she’d roused his suspicions. Unfortunately, he’d roused a different sort of feeling altogether within her. But no matter what she thought of Detective Wesley Shaw, his brusque manners and undeniable sex appeal, she recognized him as her best hope of keeping her studio a safe retreat.

Somehow she would ignore this unwelcome hum of attraction and do whatever it took to help Wes with his case.


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