The House of Elyot

Cat and Mouse in the House

Posted on: April 17, 2011

I’m very pleased to announce the release of my novella Cat and Mouse, my first for Resplendence Publishing. They have been terrific to work for every step of the way and, with a stable of wonderful authors, I’d say they are definitely a house to watch.

This story is part of their Handcuffs and Lace line – steamy stories featuring law enforcement officers in romantic and erotic entanglements. Here’s the cover and blurb, followed by a little teaser for you.

For Layla, it’s a game. Scaling the highest buildings in her patch of East London so she can tag them with her signature takes her mind off the grim realities of her life.
For police officer Adam, it’s an obsession. Ever since their first encounter ended in an unexpected kiss, he has burned to pursue and capture the light-footed Layla.
But she knows her territory very well, and the chase proves both exhilarating and frustrating—until the game turns deadly serious, and Layla is forced to realize that she can’t rely on her own resources forever. Will Adam persuade her to step out of the shadows and take a chance on love with the man she has seen for so long as her nemesis?

The day this doesn’t take my breath away, Layla thought, I will stop.

That day was still far distant, though, for Layla’s reaction to the sight before her precipitated the familiar reactions—awe, wonder, fear, exhilaration. All around her, lights shone—the stars above and beyond, the beacons of the city below. Leaning over the safety rail at the edge of the roof, Layla looked down hundreds of feet to the sleepless streets. Pinprick pairs of headlights drifted along the roads here and there, while a cluster of dots appeared to be brawling in the closed-up shopping precinct. But all of that urban ugliness was far away from here. Up here, it all looked beautiful, from the brutalist-style tower blocks opposite her to the distant, shining curve of the River Thames.

She let her breath trickle out slowly, drinking in the nightscape, before stepping back and reaching for her backpack. Time was of the essence. She had to leave her signature and get out of here fast. She retrieved her spray paints and set to work, the intricate tag now coming easily to her where she’d once had to take time and care. The exquisite combination of hearts, flowers and barbed-wire knots decorated the roofs of dozens of the city’s dilapidated, residential tower blocks. Layla meant to decorate each one before moving on to the greater challenge of the skyscrapers atCanaryWharf.

“Every helicopter pilot knows my name,” she told herself with satisfaction, finishing her handiwork with a flourishing signature. Layla, 2011. “And so does he.”

Speaking of whom…

Layla packed her paints and hurried back to the rail, looking down into the street. A blue flashing light advanced along the access road. Layla inhaled sharply—he’d been quick tonight. At least, she calculated, he would have to spend some time dealing with the hooligans outside the shops before he came up to try and find her. There was still plenty of time.

Hoisting her backpack over her shoulder, she shinned back down the skylight ladder, closing it carefully behind her. She knew better than to bother with the battered elevators, so she began a leaping descent of the twenty-three flights of stairs instead, keeping a sharp eye out for discarded needles or other dangers on the way.

She’d just made it down to the central lobby when she saw his uniformed figure, together with his partner, buzzing the concierge outside the heavy double doors. She squashed herself beneath the stairs and waited.

After much buzzing, an elderly man shuffled over to the doors, breathing stertorously and cursing under his breath. “Yeah, yeah, what now?”

“There’s a girl on your roof, Sir. I don’t know if you realized.” Adam’s voice, always so strident with that sardonic edge, rang through the dingy lobby.

“Girl? Eugh, better than that pirate radio station last month, at least. Go up. Oh, you want me to come up too? Oy. It’s three o’clock in the morning.”

“I’m aware of that, Sir.”

Layla stifled a giggle, picturing Adam’s face, one eyebrow wearily raised.

“Luke, why don’t you stay down here and keep an eye on those youths—make sure they’ve dispersed. This’ll only take one of us.”

Ha! thought Layla. He wants all the glory for himself, of course. Mustn’t let his partner share any of the credit.

She waited until Adam’s impatient footsteps were distant echoes, followed by the heavier tread of the concierge, before crawling back out. She scanned the hallway for traces of Luke and, finding none, sauntered out onto the concourse.

She knew she would be well and thoroughly hidden in the maze of alleys and walkways that made the estate such a favorite of petty criminals before her pursuer had even made it onto the roof.

* * * *

Lying in her bed, she wondered, for the thousandth time, what would happen if Adam ever caught her? Even worse, what if he got a transfer or just gave up the chase? She had to admit that the thrill of her nocturnal activities would pall without that extra piquancy his dedication to her capture gave it.

She returned, yet again, to the memory of their first meeting—a memory that she couldn’t resist worrying, like a loose tooth, taking pleasure in the danger of it.

She’d been new to her urban sport and inexperienced. One evening, months before, she’d climbed up a fire escape onto the roof of a derelict hospital building, taking some time after completing her tagging mission to enjoy the residual warmth of the summer air and the distant sounds of a calypso party somewhere nearby. She had lain down for a while and stared up at the stars, feeling part of the world for once, and at peace with it. She’d almost drifted off to sleep, but the sound of rough, male voices from somewhere under the roof had roused her to action.

Instantly, she was on her feet, grabbing her backpack and running on clunky, grippy soles toward the fire escape. She had just swung over the side of the building when the heads of two police officers had broken clear of an old trapdoor exit.

“He’s going down the fire exit. Let’s get back down and catch him at the bottom.”

Layla wasn’t sure which was the best way to run, so she simply pelted toward a clump of trees, as fast and as far away from the crunching gravel behind her as she could get.

They were shouting and hollering.

“Oi! You! Stop there!”

What a waste of breath all that was! Why didn’t they just concentrate on catching up with her?

Unfortunately for Layla, she was a tiny, feisty, five feet two set against their combined lofty heights and long legs, and it soon became clear that they were gaining on her at an alarming rate.

“Luke, take the side gate. I’ve got him. He’s mine.”

From the corner of her eye, Layla saw one of the men peel away to her right, running in a wide arc toward what she presumed must be her only escape route.

Behind her, the thump, thump of the other man’s regulation boots on the patchy grass was ominously close. She wasn’t going to win this race.

In desperation, she whipped her wiry body around to face her pursuer, sending a fierce punch toward his face. At least, it would have been a fierce punch if he hadn’t caught hold of her wrist, immobilizing her with insultingly little effort.

“Got him!” crowed her captor.

If Layla hadn’t been so focused on her panic, she would have taken a moment to admire his sculpted cheekbones and sea-green eyes. But there was no time for that. She struggled in vain, her twists and turns only adding to the pain in her wrist.

The policeman pulled off her hood with a flourish, releasing a cascade of corkscrew, black curls and revealing Layla’s kittenish face.

“You’re a girl!”

He stared for a few seconds, and Layla sensed that his shock gave her a minuscule wedge of opportunity. She slammed her free hand down on his shoulder and levered herself up his body until she was able to snatch his lips with hers and press them into a thieving kiss. He made a strangled sound in his throat and jerked his head backwards. In that tiny window of the police officer’s shock and confusion, Layla smelled her chance of escape. It would be a matter of milliseconds before his arm wrapped around her, imprisoning her against his chest. Layla didn’t wait. She thrust her knee upwards as hard as she could.

The police officer howled and staggered backwards, clutching his crotch, those gorgeous green eyes wide with astonished pain.

“You little…” he gasped.

But Layla was on her way, hearing the other man running back to check on his friend.

“Adam! You okay, mate?”

“Oi!” Adam’s enraged cry was like wind at her back, pushing her onward. “I’m gonna have you! You’re mine!”

Knowing she was well out of range, Layla turned and waved. “Bye, Adam!” she shouted. “Sorry I didn’t have time for introductions. If you want to know my name, check the roof.”

Lying in her bed, she spoke those words to herself, once more, as she had done so many nights since.

“I’m gonna have you,” she whispered intensely, her fingers working hard between her thighs, the memory juicing her up so sweetly, so perfectly. “You’re mine.”

She thought again about that ferocious, stolen kiss, the way his lips had been hard at first but with a hint of yield, the potential of voracity. What if he’d trapped her in his arms? What if he’d laid her down in the woods and covered her body with his muscular, uniformed length? What if he’d held her down and taken her, possessed her, made her belong in a way she had never felt before?

She came, sighing with a strange pleasurable regret, thinking Adam, Adam, Adam.

Before she drifted into her dawn sleep, though, the bad thoughts, the reality of it came back. He wanted an arrest that was all, a bit of revenge for his hurt pride and testicles. And she would end up where everyone had always said she would. Where she really belonged.

* * * *

Police Constable Adam Lydgate contemplated his reflection in the locker-room mirror.

He looked tired. Hardly surprising, since it was six o’clock in the morning, and he’d just come off a back-to-back shift. He pulled down his lower eyelids with his forefingers, dismayed at the red rims. He was pale as milk, and his blond crop, usually so neat, needed a wash and a comb.

He looked over to the door, nodding at the duty sergeant as he came in to get changed for his morning shift at the custody desk.

“Long night, Adam?”

“Long day, then long night,” said Adam laconically, unknotting his tie.

“Aww, and you were so bright-eyed and bushy-tailed when you joined us. Job getting you down?”

“Nah.” Adam rolled up the tie, put it in the locker then got to work unbuttoning his once-crisp white shirt. “Not really. It still beats working in insurance.”

Sergeant Crow chuckled. “I can imagine. We need more of your kind at this nick. Later entrants, more mature.”

“Oi, I’m only twenty-eight.” Adam shrugged off the shirt, frowning at his abdomen. Flat as it was, he thought he spotted a fraction of flab. He’d have to get back on the rowing machine tomorrow.

“I’m not saying you’re past it, mate. Just, a little bit of life experience goes a long way.”

Does it really? thought Adam wryly. Then why am I obsessing like a teenager over that little vandal, Layla?

“Don’t suppose you managed to collar your mysterious lady of the night, did you?” asked Sergeant Crow lightly, as if he’d read Adam’s thoughts.

“She got up Carrington Point tonight!”

“And she got down again, I take it?”

Adam sighed, stepping out of his trousers and reaching in the locker for his jeans. “She’s like bloody Raffles or something. I don’t know how she does it.”

“Yeah, well, don’t get too caught up in it. She’s just a kid with a spray can, mate. Not worth all the effort you put in, in my humble opinion.”

Adam buttoned his jeans, turning away from the Sergeant in case his face was giving away the whirling of his mind.

“She’s not a kid,” he said levelly. “Got to be twenty, twenty-one, at least.” And she certainly doesn’t kiss like a kid.

“Luke thinks you need to take a step back. Maybe let another copper answer the radio when she’s up to her antics.”

“Well, thanks to Luke for his concern, but I know what I’m doing.” Adam pulled a long-sleeved T-shirt over his head so violently he almost ripped a stitch.

“I’m sure you do, mate, I’m sure you do. Forget I mentioned it.”

But forgetting anything to do with Layla was a tall order for Adam, now. Even before he laced up his civvy shoes and left the locker room, he knew what would be on his mind when he eventually crawled into bed.

That small, taut body clinging to his, those lips deceiving him with their counterfeit desire, that laughing face, bright teeth against milky-coffee skin, before she waved and disappeared into the trees. These were the images that haunted his journey into sleep and sometimes even turned up in his dreams.

But what would I do if I caught her? The question interrupted the firm strokes he gave his shaft, her features materializing on his bedroom ceiling. I couldn’t just grab her and do what I wanted with her. There’d be paperwork, a trip to the cells, a caution, then that would be it. I could have her prosecuted for assaulting me, and she’d hate me even more. Face it, mate, this is no more than a fantasy.

Conceding this point, he returned his attentions to his cock, enjoying, in his imagination, a less mundane version of the final arrest scene that ended, not at the custody desk, but with Layla panting up against a wall, and Adam teaching her the error of her ways with long, slow thrusts into her warm, tight cunt.

Will they, won’t they? The answer is available here, at the Resplendence site, or at AllRomance.

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