All eyes on the precinct floor turned to Kristina Coterra as she sashayed through the elevator door. She commanded attention in her black, fashion-designer suit, ... red, flashy Louboutin heels, ... and straight, shiny, raven hair with smoky make up. Her hips had a slight swing that emphasized her curvaceous figure. She was obviously used to ogling from strangers... Her size four, 5 foot 7 inch frame oozed sex appeal and her entire body screamed, 'Man-Eater.'
"Pick your jaw up off the floor, Esposito," Ryan joked as she approached Kate's desk confidently.
Castle turned his back to Kate and fist bumped Javi mouthing, "She's hot," as Kate threw a dangerous look to the boys.
Kate Beckett didn't like reporters in general and especially ones who worked for rag magazines. She assessed accurately that Kristina was a woman of luxury who took her job very seriously. She was obviously dressed to impress... Either she was trying to make a name for herself, - trying to move up the ranks in the business, - or the most probable cause for her being dressed to the nines was to make an impression on a famous author - - Rick Castle.
Kate's eyes narrowed. Her Castle.
She didn't like the way Kristina's ocean blue eyes sized-Rick-up upon meeting him. Kristina did a thorough once-over starting at his coiffed, sandy hair, blue eyes, hawk nose and full mouth... She took in the breadth of his shoulders and chest, - - admired his silk, maroon dress shirt, his tailored beige slacks that fit to perfection, and his expensive loafers. She flashed him a large, model-smile which revealed perfect, pearly teeth surround by red-glossed lips. Her slender, manicured hand with fire-engine-red polish, eagerly shook Rick's hand.
"It's such a pleasure to finally meet you, Mr. Castle," she purred.
"Likewise, Ms. Coterra." Rick's suave tone irked Kate.
"I have to say, your dust jacket photo doesn't do you justice."
"Ms. Coterra," Esposito interrupted. He held out his hand to clasp hers. "I'm Detective Javier Esposito... May I have the pleasure of showing you around the Homicide division?"
Kate rolled her eyes at Espo's obvious ploy to spend some time with the reporter.
"It's nice to meet you, ... Unfortunately, Starr magazine has me on a tight schedule today," she tore her eyes away from Javi to look engagingly at Castle, "so I need to jump right into business with Mr. Castle for our upcoming article on Frozen Heat."
Kate didn't like the way her tone suggested that she might want to jump Rick in more ways than just for the article.
"Ehem." Kate cleared her throat. "My understanding is that you're also here to interview me as well?"
She turned dull eyes to Kate. "Of course, Detective Beckett... How could I forget about you?" She perused Kate briefly like one might glance at an annoying fly buzzing around your head, before shaking her hand as well. "My article wouldn't be possible without you present... Every one of Mr. Castle's fans knows how devoted he is to his muse."
For some odd reason, when she said the word, 'muse', it sounded derogatory. This woman is really going to get on my nerves.
Rick interrupted the two women glaring at each other. "We've reserved interrogation room three for the interview. Can I escort you?"
He held his arm out for Ms. Coterra which she immediately accepted by draping her arm through his.
"Lead the way," her lilting voice responded.
He knew his actions would irritate Kate and there'd probably be a price to pay later, but he couldn't resist. How he loved a jealous Kate.
She had been so firm with him this morning, ... drilling into his head how important it was that neither of them slip up in the interview and give any sort of hint at their new-found relationship.
She had read up on Kristina Coterra and knew she was a charismatic reporter, could manipulate words at will, and somehow glean from you private information that you never in a million years planned to divulge... She was considered to be a 'closer' in the reporter-world. She got the job done, and before you knew it, your innermost secrets made front page, rag news.
Kate emphasized that there were not to be any lingering glances; no brushing fingertips across her arm; no hand placed at her lower back to direct her through a doorway or the elevator; no talking about spending time together at Remy's or seeing the latest blockbuster movie; and no bringing her a cup of coffee , - - that was just a bit too personal and Ms. Coterra might run with it and determine that their relationship was definitely more than 'just friends'.
He nodded in the right places and said "Uh-huh" to her droning but he was solely concentrating on her dressing right in front of him. He licked his lips at the matching brassiere and panty set that she chose today, - navy blue satin with a hint of lace on the edges. He watched fascinated as she buttoned up her professional, forest green blouse, and groaned internally when she purposefully left the 3 top buttons undone, knowing it would drive him crazy at work all day if he could get a peek of the navy blue lingerie lying beneath.
She said something to the effect of, "I'm so proud of you, Rick, for how well you've done these last couple of weeks at the precinct... We can't blow it now due to some nosy, conceited reporter looking for a Celebrity Pulitzer."
"We can't?" He mumbled as she pulled her black skinny jeans over her gloriously long legs and shimmied her hips just so - - damn erotic - - to finally be able to pull the pants on completely.
Good God, they fit like a second skin, and his body immediately responded to her.
"Here, let me help you zip those up," and his fingers reached daringly for the denim resting snugly against the blue, satin underwear.
"Castle!" She swatted his hands away.
He drew his eyes grudgingly away from the curve of her hips to look at her with a boyish expression.
"Have you heard anything I said?"
"Of course," he grinned impishly, "Keep my hands, lips and dirty thoughts to myself while at the precinct." His fingers grabbed the waistband of her jeans and yanked her towards him... His voice deepened. "All I have to do," his long digits dipped below the back of her jeans, flitting lightly at her panty line, "is keep being a good boy like I've already been for the last 2 weeks." He bent over and nipped at her creamy neck, "so no one has a clue about - - us."
Kate moaned as his hands cupped her ass and pulled her into his erection so she was perfectly nestled between his thighs.
"Don't worry, Kate." His lips glazed over hers teasingly. "Ms. Coterra won't suspect anything is happening between us."
She grabbed his checks and looked directly into his heated gaze, "If you are truly a good boy at the precinct today, ... and I mean on your best behavior... No innuendos, no teasing looks or words of any kind, ... I'll reward you."
"A, umm, a re - ward?" he squeaked out as his mind was suddenly flooded with several different, HOT fantasies of Katherine Beckett.
"Yes," she panted, "and I promise you, ... that you will love every single minute of this particular reward." She reached up on her toes and bit his lower lip, yanking on it until he sighed in agony.
She turned abruptly away from him then, ... left him standing in a daze in his bedroom while she ran to catch a taxi to head into work.
Today's going to be the best day ever... and it certainly helped that his girlfriend's eyes shot daggers at Ms. Coterra when she linked her arm through his.
Kate tugged on her blazer to straighten it before traipsing after Rick and Kristina into interrogation room 3... Kristina's tinkling laughter echoed through the hallway as Rick said something quirky to make her laugh.
Well there's no way this slutty reporter with the to-die-for, glossy hair and exotic eyes is getting anything on Castle and I... She watched with catty eyes as Kristina leaned into Castle's side and squeezed his arm suggestively. He threw her a charming grin.
And there's no way in hell she's getting her claws into my man. She watched their cozy body language as she followed them into the interrogation room. He's certainly doing a great job of pretending we aren't in a relationship.
Her heart sunk at the realization of how he was going to act to throw the blood-hound reporter off their trail.
She rubbed a nervous hand through her curls... And I get front row seats to the show. Ohhh Gaw - dd.
Rick and Kate sat side by side, facing the observation room, while Ms. Coterra sat across from them... She pulled out a yellow notebook and pen as well as a tape recorder out of her bag. She pressed the 'record' button before turning her mesmerizing eyes to Rick's.
After 20 minutes of hearing her fake laugh, interspersed with questions about Frozen Heat, complimenting Castle on his skill as an author, and blatantly flirting with him, Kate had had enough and felt as taut as a string.
"My understanding is that Hyperion Books only contracted with you initially for a 4-book deal."
"Yes," Rick replied, "but due to the success of the series, that number has been renegotiated."
"Can you tell us how many more we can expect?"
He grinned coyly. "As many as Detective Beckett will allow me to publish."
She turned her attention to Kate. "How long do you plan on letting Mr. Castle continue to shadow you?"
"I don't have much say in the matter, Ms. Coterra... The Mayor requested it 4 years ago and it's up to him how long he continues to follow me around."
Her eyes narrowed. "Come on, Detective... We all three know that's a blatant lie. You have the power to kick him out of the precinct if you truly wanted to."
Kate firmly pressed her lips together.
Rick spoke up, "I have the Mayor on speed dial who says otherwise." He leaned towards Kristina and gave her 'that look' that drove Kate insane... The look that said, 'I know you want me.'
"If I was your shadow, Ms. Coterra," He boldly winked at her. "Would you want to be rid of me that easily?"
Kristina's face softened. "Why don't you come and hang out with me for a day or two and I'll let you know?"
He smiled charmingly. "I'll check my calendar."
Kate clenched her hands into fists beneath the table. Ms. Coterra turned her attention back to her. "The only plausible reason I can see you've been keeping him around is that he's more like a partner to you than just a consultant on the force... How do you feel about a famous civilian being your partner?"
The woman was sly, - - trying to get her to admit that they were 'partners' in some manner.
"Oh I wouldn't call Mr. Castle here a famous civilian," she grinned at Rick, "He's more like an annoying one who enjoys meddling in my cases."
"Ha- ha!" He looked affronted.
"But, –" she happily continued, "Even though he tries my patience at times, I keep him around because he thinks outside the box, ... can get into the killer's head, ... reason through theory and establish motive." She bumped his shoulder. "He's been very helpful in solving numerous cases here at the 12th."
"I can only imagine," Kristina replied while looking at Castle with slightly-parted lips and assessing eyes.
"What do you contribute to the success of the books?"
"Realism is a huge key to the success of the series... It's easy to create enticing fiction when it's based on real-life inspiration... I feel Detective Beckett's team is the best in New York City and that comes through in my writing, Ms. Coterra."
"Kristina," she said a little breathily, "please, call me Kristina." Castle slightly jumped when he felt a bare foot slide up his calf.
Oh shit! She's trying to play footsies with me under the table. He glanced at Kate and breathed in a deep sigh of relief when she didn't seem to notice Kristina's actions.
"We polled our readers and received over 400,000 questions from avid fans. We've chosen a couple to ask you today." Kristina smiled brilliantly. "We all know that Nikki Heat is based on Detective Beckett here as well as Jameson Rook is based on you."
"Loosely based on me," Rick clarified.
"And yet, - - " she looked at Rick beneath lowered lashes, scrutinizing him intently. "You two still deny that there's anything going on between you."
"We're just friends." Kate was shocked by the twinge of pain that shot through her at Rick's quick remark.
"How close of friends?" Kristina's eyes suddenly filled with hunger as she eagerly awaited his response.
Kate knew what Ms-utterly-gorgeous-magazine-reporter was really asking... She was fishing for clarification before making a move on her man.
"Close enough that I know he'll always have my back," Kate said assuredly.
Castle sat back in his chair comfortably, never breaking eye-contact with Kristina. "I can assure you, when these 4 books were written, there was never a physical relationship of any kind between us."
Kristina's grin lit up the entire room. "Fans of the series will be deeply disappointed to hear that."
Yeah, but that news just made your day, didn't it? And Kate knew inwardly she was jumping for joy as she'd just been given the green light to make her move on Rick. God dammit.
Kate looked at her watch. She'd had enough of this skanky reporter's, 'I'm-up-for a-quick-fuck-with-you-anytime,-anywhere' vibe.
She said a little too loudly, "You've only got 5 more minutes."
"Yes, let's see here." She scanned down her notebook to find the next question. "About the infamous page 105 in Heat Wave... Have you two done tequila shots?"
Rick chuckled. "Of course I've done tequila shots many times throughout the years, ... just never with Detective Beckett."
"How would you like to practice with me later?" Kristina asked.
Kate was glad she left her service piece in her desk or she would've been tempted to use it at her blatant move.
"I'm a virgin tequila girl and would love to learn from an expert which brands are best."
The way she said the word 'virgin,' made Kate want to hurl. I just bet you want to learn from an expert, but it isn't going to be from my man.
"Come into The Old Haunt and tell Jeremy, my manager, that RC sent you... He'll make sure you're taken care of."
"I'm going to take you up on that offer."
"Seriously," Kate said tersely, "Is this an interview or a proposition for a one-night stand?"
Kristina's eyes looked at her critically. "Forgive my unprofessionalism."
Kate nodded while Rick gazed at her with a shit-eating grin on his face.
"I only have one more question and it's for you Detective Beckett." Kate braced herself as she could tell it was going to be a doozy. She picked up her water bottle and took a swig, trying to calm her nerves. "The number one question readers are dying to know is if you've ever thought about making page 105 a reality?"
Kate started choking and coughing, spewing water droplets onto the table. Rick patted her back gently and then put his elbows on the table, resting his chin on his hands, staring directly into Kristina's blue eyes. "I thought I made it perfectly clear to your boss, that questions of a personal nature are not allowed," but the flirty smirk on his face, damn him, told Kate otherwise... It was perfectly fine with him if she asked those types of questions.
"But, - - Detective Beckett," he drawled lazily, turning to face her completely. His left hand found her right thigh under the table and stroked it sensuously. "Enquiring minds want to know..."
Her stormy eyes screamed, 'Don't you dare!'
God, there's not going to be any nookie tonight, Rick thought before saying, "Have you ever thought about us licking salt off each other's heated, flushed skin?"
She smiled haughtily, "In your dreams, Castle. Only in your dreams." She stood up abruptly. "This interview is officially over."
As she walked through the door, she heard, "I have a personal question of my own, Rick." Kristina's voice dropped to a throaty purr as she continued, "Are Jameson's skills comparable to yours?"
The nerve of the hussy.
She walked quickly over to her desk and sat down in a huff, flicking on her computer screen. She bit down on her lower lip. Shit, I hope I just didn't blow that interview for us. She watched warily as Rick escorted Kristina down the hallway towards the elevator. He smiled genuinely at her before placing her business card in his shirt pocket. Kristina's eyes caught and held Kate's just before she leaned into him and gave him a kiss on the cheek.
It was a good thing that Ryan was close-by or Kate might have made a scene.
Rick sauntered back to his chair with gleaming, twinkling eyes. He sat down with his legs stretched out, crossed at the ankles, his hands behind his head.
"Well, Detective, that interview was certainly... enlightening."
She quirked her eyebrows in response.
He lowered his voice, "It's just a good thing that the little green monster living inside you didn't decide to come out to play."
She wanted to wipe that smug grin off of his face immediately, ... and damn his cockiness, ... she wanted to wipe it off with her tongue.
"I'm sorry, Castle," she whispered, quickly scanning the room to make sure Javi and Ryan weren't listening. "She was just so obviously into you and - - " She paused, not wanting to add to his already massive ego.
"And?" His voice perked up.
She decided to turn the tables back on him. "And I noticed she gave you her business card."
"Yes, she did," he scooted his chair closer to her desk and leaned into her conspiratorially, "but not for the reasons you're thinking."
"Oh, really now? You have no idea what I'm thinking."
"I most certainly do, ... because you're thinking about what Kristina might like to do to my body, just like I'm thinking about the things I'd like to do to yours."
His deep, sexy tone sent heat directly to her core.
She abruptly stood up, grabbed a folder on top of her desk, spouted, "Castle, elevator now!" She walked past the boys and told them they were headed down to the morgue to talk to Lanie about their latest case.
When the elevator doors closed he said sincerely, "Do you have any idea how utterly irresistible you are when you're jealous?"
Kate was on him like Justin Bieber on Selena Gomez. Her left hand snaked its way around to his ass and fondled his tight butt, while her right hand reached inside his shirt pocket and removed the offending business card. "No woman," she said alluringly, "but me," she crumpled the business card and let it drop to the floor, "gets to give you her number."
He groaned as her teeth crashed into his. She devoured him, crushing his lips beneath hers, slanting those delicious lips of hers in a way to make him rock-hard in a matter of seconds.
All too soon, he was suddenly left bereft as the elevator dinged to a stop. She jumped back from him, smoothed down her jacket and walked through the elevator doors as soon as they opened. He stared dumbly after her until his brain stopped focusing on mini-Castle and finally caught up to the present. He hurriedly followed after her towards the morgue.
"Umm, Kate, there is one thing I have to tell you about Ms. Coterra."
Uh-oh, by the sound of his voice, she knew she wasn't going to like it. She stopped and turned to face him.
He looked sheepish as he looked anywhere but into her eyes. "I had to uh - - promise her something to throw her off our trail."
Her eyes narrowed and her heart rate accelerated. God, he was just so freakin adorable when he was unsure of himself.
"What did you promise her?"
"Not much." He smirked. "I just promised her an exclusive when we're finally a couple."
She chuckled lightly. "Good boy." She purposefully put a swing in her hips as she strolled away from him. "And Castle?" she said while looking over her shoulder, "You definitely earned that reward."