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Chapter fifteen. Well, I'll be damned, Rick drawled

" Well, I'll be damned, " Rick drawled. " It's Jake McCoy, in the flesh! " Jake flashed a smile at her partner. Hell, she'd missed him.

" Give me a hug." He shook his head. " No. Everyone's watching, " he said quietly. " Give me a hug or I'll beat your ass right now." " As if." But he stood, reaching out and enveloping her in long arms, squeezing tightly. " Damn, McCoy, I missed you."

" Me, too, Rick." She pulled out of his arms, looking around at the others. She met their eyes, nodding. " How's the lieutenant? "

" Anxious. Worried about you." Jake looked at her desk, wondering where all her stuff was. She pulled out the chair and sat down, folding her arms on the empty desk and watched Rick Chase. Damn, but he was a handsome man--sandy blond hair, dark eyebrows, dark stubble. And not just handsome, but nice. A truly nice guy. A rare find these days.

Michele was lucky. Jake had told her that many times.

" Why are you looking at me? "

" Where the hell's my stuff? "

" What stuff? "

" My... stuff, " she said. " I know my desk wasn't this clean when I left."

" I tidied up. You're a slob."

" You stole my favorite pen, didn't you? I knew you would."

" Jake, I know how you love that pen. I would never take your pen."

" You're so full of shit."

" Well, well. You're back less than a minute and already the two of you are bickering? Damn, I've missed this."

Jake and Rick both turned, watching as their lieutenant hurried over with a file in his hand, wearing the same faded suspenders he always wore. His smile was genuine when he touched Jake's shoulder.

" Damn glad you're back, McCoy."

" Thanks, Lieutenant. It feels really good to be back."

" So? Good as new? "

Jake nodded. " Almost. Leg's still a little sore if I overdo it. I'm not likely to run a marathon anytime soon."

" Well, the doc cleared you, so that's good enough for me." He tossed the file on her desk. " Might as well get your feet wet."

" What's up, boss? " Rick said as he snatched the file off of Jake's desk before she could open it.

" They found a body over by the airport yesterday. Been there a few days. The ME's report is nearly identical to the one you had the other week. So, the airport police are graciously letting us investigate it."

" What did you have the other week? " Jake asked, ripping the file from Rick's hand.

" Housewife. Middle-aged. Found over near Chatfield Lake."

" And? "

" Raped. Strangled. Totally nude. Been there a few days."

Jake looked up from the file, meeting his eyes. " Lovely."

" Welcome back."


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