in?” “Stick around and you’ll find out,” Raquel said, grabbing her drink and sauntering off, leaving him with an unobstructed view of her generous ass and the tramp stamp etched along her lower back of a scorpion.
CHAPTER 6 P oppy’s legs ached from the workout on the dance platform, but the fat wad of cash in her purse felt pretty good, even if she was required to log the cash into evidence. She was loath to admit it, but knowing Shaine had been watching her dance had given her that boost of adrenaline that’d put her back into character. Thank God her realization was between her and the Almighty. Shaine was already insufferable; knowing she’d needed him would make him unbearable. She kicked off her shoes and clicked on the light, going to check her perimeter cameras. The sound of Shaine entering his own apartment made her painfully aware of how close they were, but still so apart. A few moments later, the adjoining door opened and she had to bite back sharp words, reminding herself that they were on a case together. “I have some intel that might be useful,” Shaine said without preamble. “That young girl, Capri, is either sleeping with Angelo or she’s moving product for him. And Raquel has a scorpion tattoo on her lower back, which doesn’t seem like a coincidence.” “She’s probably sleeping with him,” Poppy said, worrying her bottom lip. She hated the idea, still troubled by how young Capri seemed. “But I’ll check it out. What do you think about Angelo?” “I think he’s smart. He’s not going to slip up easily.” “So you think he’s involved with our target?” “My gut says so.” “Too bad we can’t use your gut to get a search warrant.” “What did you learn backstage?” Shaine was all business. His gaze didn’t flicker or falter at the topic of her stripping, but her cheeks felt unaccountably warm as she began to share her intel. “Big Jane runs the girls backstage. She seems to keep the girls safe from overeager patrons, and she takes a cut of their earnings,” Poppy said. “Raquel is an angry person with a chip on her shoulder. I don’t know if there’s drama between Raquel and the rest of the girls or if she’s just like that naturally, but she’s not very friendly. So I doubt it’s going to be easy to get any information out of her. Capri is sweet and doesn’t seem to realize when she should keep her mouth shut.” “You ought to friend her. She’s your ticket in.” “I know that,” Poppy retorted, irritated that Shaine was telling her how to run her end of the investigation. “I’m already working on that angle.” “Good.” “What about you? How are you doing getting tight with Angelo?” “It’s a work in progress. He’s not just going to let me in after a few ‘bro’ moments. I have to earn his trust.” “And how do you plan to do that?” “I’ll play it by ear.” “Don’t you think it’s a good idea to share your game plan with the people who are involved?” “You stick to your plan, I’ll stick to mine. We’re not supposed to know each other so it doesn’t make sense to share every detail with you. If by some chance someone starts to get suspicious, plausible deniability is your friend.” He was schooling her and she hated it. “Of course, I realize that. I’m just saying, I didn’t want to inadvertently step on your plan while making my own.” “Don’t worry about me.” “I’m not,” she replied coolly. “My concern is for the investigation. You’re not the only one thinking of their résumé with this case.” “Of that I have no doubt,” he said wryly. “Ambition is your middle name.” Poppy paused, wondering where that came from. “Which means?” “You’re so damn sensitive,” Shaine said, shaking his head as if he realized nothing that came out of his mouth wouldn’t set her off. “It doesn’t mean anything. It was never a secret that you wanted to climb the