She was smart, no doubt about it. Cocky too. Just like he was. But there was more there, lots more. And, under the guise of doing research for his new series of novels, Rick was going to have fun finding out all about her.

Richard Castle's crime novels were bestsellers not because they described horrific acts of mutilation or laid out, step by step, the tortuous labyrinth through the mind of a psychopath. That was only the window dressing. What his legions of fans were really reading for was the sex.

And as much as book critics and posters on fansites blathered on about the psychology of crime and the fine distinctions between sociopathic behavior and motives of revenge, what they were doing late at night with the bedside lamp burning as they raced through page after page, barely breathing and hardly blinking, was anticipating a scene where the hero finally got close enough to whichever secondary female happened to be appearing in that particular installment to exchange penetrating looks and some body heat. Or maybe even biological fluids.

Rick Castle knew this because people were the same in real life. He also knew that if he played his cards right – and he was a pretty damn good player, if he said so himself – he would be finding out all the things Kate Beckett was hiding underneath her hard-nosed cop exterior. The vulnerable parts. The defensive parts. The girly parts. The joyful parts. And don't forget the sensual parts, because, as Rick watched her walk away from him with that studied casual stride, teasing and exciting him with a flick of her hip, that was the part he looked forward to uncovering the most.