Pere stood over the battered 2005 Corolla, his badge never had any effect on her, so he didn’t bother to flash it. Instead he hooked his fingers in the pockets of his black jeans and looked down at the faded red bonnet.

“Someone trashed Amen’s goods.”

“Really? That’s sad to hear.”

Pere dipped a nod, tapped one foot. “That someone you?”

Cassandra pushed out from under the car, aimed him an arched stare. “No. I didn’t trash Amen’s store. I’m more interested in trashing her brain.”

“Hmm.” He dipped another nod. “Someone you know who’d be willing to do you that small favour?”

Now her wide mouth curved. “I’m not that lucky. Everyone in my life is sane.”

“Ha.” He toyed with the temptation to have her mouth under his. “Still, I’d like to know where you were yesterday at about 22.00 hours?”

“Would that nine or ten p.m.? Military timing confuses me.”

Since her eyes sparkled with mischief, he knew she wasn’t confused at all.

“Ten p.m.”

“Ah.” She rolled back underneath the car. “You sure you want to know?”

He grunted.

“Okay.” A squishing sound started. “I was home. Alone. Getting frisky.”

His mouth twitched. “Getting frisky?”

She rolled out, fixed gleaming eyes on him. “You know… with a cucumber.”

To his credit, and Cassandra did give himself mental credit, his eyes did not widen and they did not sneer either. His brows only lowered and the blandest look covered his eyes.

“Was it big enough?”

“Huge “

“Hmm. Can this cucumber stand as alibi for you?”

He was something. Something and the other.

“I would ask it, but I chopped it up for a healthy breakfast this morning.” She grinned and rolled back underneath the car.

He imagined her chowing on the cucumber and something pricked. “No alibis. That makes you prime suspect seeing as everyone, within earshot, heard you threaten her.”

“Okay.” She reached for a spanner from her toolbox. “So, what are you going to do about it, Inspector?”

“Arrest you?”

To her credit, she only blinked. And he mercifully didn’t have to see it. “Serious?” Cassandra thought her voice was suitably amused.

He’d heard the faint tremor beneath the husky toned amusement. It pleased Pere. “Yes, that is the procedure, arrest suspects and have them questioned at the Station.”

“You are serious?” She didn’t quite sound amused now.

“Very.”

She rolled out from under the car, heaved to her feet and planted her hands on her waist. “Are you fucking kidding me?”

“Nope.”

“I didn’t trash her fucking store.”

“You threatened her.”

“I wasn’t threatening, I meant every fucking word I said: she mess with my man, I’ll mess with her.”

“Well, she messed with your man and now, I’m thinking you kept your word and messed with her by messing up her store.”

“I wouldn’t mess with her store. Have no business with the damn store. It’s her I’ll be messing with and you can be certain of that.”

“Good. You will come with me to the Station and help me become very certain.” He drew out a pair of handcuffs, dangled it.

“I have work to do. I can’t abandon my workshop and flounce off with you to the Station.”

“Oh, we won’t be flouncing, I can promise you that.” He unhooked his other fingers, gave them a twirl. “Turn around, Cassandra. You’re under arrest for threatening an innocent citizen publicly and possibly damaging her goods.”

“You’re my fucking boyfriend, you can’t arrest me.”

“I’m the fucking police and I can arrest you. Now, turn and hold back your hands.”

She swore explicitly.

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