For those of you who didn't follow from the beginning, this is the 4th story in a series. It's not necessarily a must for you to read the others, but it may be helpful. Or you could just read it to see how their relationship got to this point. Completely up to you!

Around the World Book Four

Escape to New England

Chapter 1

. . . . .

Crisp cold air made it very difficult to get up, so when Kate Beckett's eyes fluttered open in the chilly dark, she immediately curled tighter into her bedmate's body. He shifted, wrapping his arms around her tightly and bringing her over his chest. "Hi there."

She smiled as she cuddled in tight. Even after six months of living together, she was still not completely used to sharing a home with Rick Castle. He drove her nuts and always had, but it was so nice to be able to just snuggle in close. She'd never imagined it, and definitely never imagined all of the circumstances that had led them to this point, but she wasn't about to even think about changing things.

She loved him.

And he made an excellent bed warmer.

Rick's hand slid up her back, then back down again before making another trip, this time beneath the shirt she'd thrown on the night before. They'd been so busy that they hadn't had time for each other. Two cases and six weeks had left them with little time for much else. She arched into the touch.

"You know," he said, his cheek against her hair, even as his hands start to draw erotic patterns on her back. "I've missed you."

Kate knew exactly what he meant. They'd been spoiled during her recovery from the shooting in Miami, four straight months of Hamptons sunshine and they hadn't been the same since. It wasn't a bad thing, per se, just more and more frustrating when real life meant they had to put their relationship on hold. It wasn't that they didn't love the police work, it wasn't that either of them were unhappy to be back in the city, back with their friends, but it was markedly different from the life they'd shared during her healing.

She leaned up to kiss him, slow, luxurious. "I missed you too," she said as she pulled away. One of her hands fell to his hip, the other slid into his hair. "A lot."

His kiss was hotter, much more about passion and Kate moaned into it. His hands were sure and warm, not bothering to be nonchalant about raising her t-shirt over her head. Her boyshorts followed and she was reaching for his boxers as he rolled them over when the shrill sound they both now hated permeated their bubble.

"Can you ignore it?" he asked, the same thing he always did when they were interrupted.

Kate reached over to pick up the offending object, checking the caller ID. "It's Esposito." She couldn't ignore it. "Beckett."

Kate Beckett abhorred the frigid cold of February in New York City. Unfortunately for her, murderers didn't seem to share her hatred of the negative temperatures. Which was why she was trudging down a trampled snowy path, freezing her pretty butt off.

"That's a really big crowd," Rick Castle murmured over her shoulder, his head tilting to the left.

Kate looked over at the crowd of cameras and blew out a sigh. "Tell me they're not for you."

"Of course not," he replied, absently sliding a hand down her arm. She was exhausted and Rick knew it. "You know the book's not due out until August."

She flashed him a quick grin. She did know that. At least vaguely. "Habit." She shot a smile at the officer who held the tape up for them to slip under and headed straight for the petite form of her best friend and one of NYPD's best coroners. "Lanie?"

Doctor Lanie Parish looked up from where she was studying the body of a young blond with a glare. "Girl, when you find this guy, I get to take a swing at him. He ruined a really good morning."

"You and me both," Kate replied, then shook her head in dismissal when Lanie arched an eyebrow. Kate glanced around the crime scene, spotting Ryan and Esposito heading towards her, an anxious and nervous looking officer trotting along behind them. She arched an eyebrow in question as Ryan handed her a ball of latex. "Who's this?" she asked, offering Rick one of the two pairs of gloves that had been the ball.

"O-Officer John Sedaris," the uniform stuttered.

"First on?" Kate asked, slipping completely into her Detective Beckett role.

"Yes ma'am," he answered, studiously avoiding looking at the body.

"You touch her?"

"No ma'am. Just her purse. Well, I checked for a pulse."

Kate titled her head to the side as she snapped on her gloves. "Did you talk to the person who called it in?"

Officer Sedaris shook his head. "No ma'am." He looked around, eyes landing on someone standing by the flashbulbs. "Detective Juddoo prefers to do that himself."

"You ID her then?"

"She doesn't need ID," Rick spoke up.

"Again?" Kate asked spinning to him. "We're going to have a little talk about the sheer number of people you know showing up dead."

"I know a lot of people," Rick replied with a shrug. "But I didn't know her personally." He looked to Ryan and Esposito. "I don't party as much as I used to."

"How do you know her then?" Kate asked.

"She does the Early Morning Show with Tim Acheson. It's Molly Carroll." He wrinkled his brow in consideration. "I think Paula suggested I be a guest when the next book comes out. Or maybe it was the DVD…"

Kate arched an eyebrow. "Since when do you watch early morning television?"

He shot her sympathetic look, like he was explaining something to a small child. "Sweetheart, you leave early. I don't always go back to bed. It's cold without you."

"Driver's licence confirms it," Esposito spoke up, snickering at the usual banter. "Molly Carroll, twenty-seven."

All eyes turned to Lanie.

"I've got no outward signs of trauma," she said, as if feeling their gaze. "There's no puncture wounds, no blood, nothing. I won't know more 'til I get her back to the lab. From what I can tell, and the snow and the cold's thrown off the internal temperature, she's only been dead a handful of hours."

"Who the hell are you?"

Kate looked up, to the same man that had been pandering to the media only moments ago. "Detective Beckett."

His eyes narrowed. "Little out of your jurisdiction, isn't it?"

Oh. That was something Kate actually hadn't anticipated. She'd been busy when Esposito had called and really hadn't bothered to think about or check the address. She'd just written it down on the little pad Rick technically kept there for ideas, but had been used for crime scene addresses more than once, and dragged herself to the shower.

"Uh, that-that would be my fault," Officer Sedaris spoke up, his eyes darting about. "I called the Twelfth. Specifically requested Detective Beckett." He had the undivided attention of everyone then, including Lanie, who had stopped literally in her tracks.

"Jurisdiction a problem for you, Officer?" Detective Juddoo inquired, stuffing his hands in the front of his slacks. He wasn't a small man, but he wasn't particularly large either. Average in every sense of the word and Kate found herself hoping that no matter the outcome of this jurisdictional pissing contest, that he wasn't average when it came to his job.

"Well, no sir, it's just…" He turned to Kate. "I may have… There was something… It wasn't on her body, technically but…"

"Spit it out, Kid," Esposito advised.

"Well," Officer Sedaris began sheepishly. "This was tucked just under her collar. I didn't touch the body when I took it, I swear," he said to Kate, "But I made some calls and they said you were part of the Twelfth and… Well, here."

He shoved a piece of paper, prudently sealed in an evidence bag, at Kate. She took it, brow wrinkled in confusion and unsurprised when Rick immediately leaned over her shoulder to read it with her.

Miss Beckett,
I'm sure this is familiar to you. Bobby Mann was certainly good at his job. So was Molly Carroll. It's too bad she had to be pulled into our little game.
Catch me if you can!

Do not fret! I will explain the Bobby Mann/Molly Carroll connection.

I'm going to try and update regularly. Really I am. But between school, the CM fic I'm also working on and the rest of real life they're definitely not going to be consistent. Plus, this one was SHORT! I'm definitely hoping to get them back up 2000 words, so the next one is going to be a little while. However, there's going to be enough twists and turns in this that I think I'll put at least some of you on your heads for a while!

I hope you guys'll enjoy this ride as much as you've enjoyed the others. But I won't know unless you take the time to review! I'd really and truly appreciate it.