DISCLAIMER: Rizzoli & Isles and its characters are the property of Tess Gerritsen, Janet Tamaro and TNT television network.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To terpister[at]yahoo.com
The Frost Factor
By KD Williamson
Barry Frost considered himself an astute man, a clever man, and a loyal man, not necessarily in that order. He was an awesome partner he knew, because Jane was still alive. He was an outstanding friend, because Jane actually came to him with the most mundane things and actually listened to what he had to say well part of the time. The majority of that time belonged to Maura, and that he didn't mind at all because he'd seen Maura. He wasn't above appreciating the female form, far from it. He attempted to stop the obligatory eyebrow waggle that usually accompanied his thoughts of her, because she was well sitting right in front of him. He was also a man of decorum not really, but he knew when to fake it. This was one of those times.
The Robber had the best fries so he dipped each one in barbeque sauce and continued to listen as they sat and waited for the rest of the gang to arrive.
"Wait. He did what?" The fry stopped in mid-flight on the way to his mouth.
"He stated that since I obviously had money, there was no need for him to pay for his own dinner, or tip the valet, because a woman like me, dating a man like him was looking for someone to keep. He said he wanted to start right away, despite my dismissal of him at that point."
"How did he know that you had money?" Frost asked curiously, resuming the fry's journey.
Maura pursed her lips and blinked. "His exact words were 'You smell better than the entire perfume counter at Wal-Mart so I'm not settling for a Happy Meal.'"
"Oooo. You stayed after that?" He leaned forward knowing that this story was going to get more interesting.
"I thought it was a colloquialism. Obviously, I really need to do some research on those."
"For real. So, what made you kick him to the curb?"
Maura eyed him carefully. "Was that a coll---"
"No, Ebonics. There's a difference. What ended it for you?"
"He attempted to draw me into a debate about the evils of women in racing."
Frost's eyebrows drew together in consternation over his beer. He took a deep sip. "How did you get on"
"I haven't the slightest clue."
"And that's what made you cut the date short?"
"His cheekbones, shoulders, dark hair, and dark everything became less attractive the more he spoke."
Frost chuckled. "So he was pretty until he opened his mouth." It was a statement not a question.
Green eyes twinkled back at him. "Precisely."
"You could write a book, you know, a collection of stories about the worst dates ever. It would be a best seller." He pulled the last fry through the red glob of sauce and became contemplative. "Or you could give me permission and I would write it. I don't mind serving Happy Meals and keeping women or men either for that matter." Frost grinned.
Maura smiled back, but murmured, "You'll let me know if I become a hindrance with all this? I'm starting to believe Jane when she says she'll make them eunuchs, so it was best to find a new confidant concerning some of my more colorful experiences."
Snickering, Frost muttered. "Of that I have no doubt. We're friends, doc. I'll just offer to cut off a ball."
Maura sighed even though she smiled. "It's odd really. The probability of one bad date after the other shouldn't be possible."
"Or there are just more assholes in Boston now."
"That doesn't bode well."
"Nuh uh, I can agree with you there." Frost glanced upward to see Jane and Korsak headed their way. "Well, nothing like a few drinks and some greasy food with friends to cheer you up, right?"
Maura nodded and peered over her shoulder. Her face transformed to the point where she was practically glowing.
On the heels of Maura's complaint about her love life or lack thereof, realization hit Barry hard. Yes, he was a good friend, a great partner, but in this instance he was a shitty detective to not be able to read between those lines. Maura Isles wasn't all flushed and dewy for Vince Korsak. His insides cringed at the thought and his appetite waned and just when he was about to order more fries too. Frost glared at Korsak as he slid into the booth with him.
A bushy brow raised, "What? Do I stink?"
"No, you just suck."
Korsak sputtered. "I just got here!"
"That shouldn't be an excuse. They have the best fries here."
"Kid, what the---"
Frost held up a hand, stopping his confused tirade. "Just don't speak. I need some time."
"What did you do, Korsak?" Jane's husky drawl met his ears.
"I'm old and white?" Korsak answered.
Jane nodded. "Yeah, I'm offended by that too." Her voice was full of mirth. As if it were the most natural thing in the world, she threw her arm over the back of the booth just above Maura.
The two women peered at each other and Frost wanted to spank his own ass for being too obtuse to see it before. Maura's look of affectionate indulgence sealed it for him. Their gazes remained locked, and Frost felt as if he were intruding.
Maura reached out, pushing one of Jane's haphazard curls away from her face before brushing an imaginary speck from her lapel. It was a tender moment, and he had seen it a hundred times before. Not like this, however. He peered at the scene with fresh eyes, seeing the slight awkwardness and feeling the heat.
Jane was dark. She had killer cheekbones, and killer everything really. Frost smirked inwardly. While he may find that Jane opening her mouth was irritating at times, and he meant that with love, Barry would lay down a thousand dollar bet that Maura didn't.
"You paying, Rizzoli?" Vince asked, disturbing the moment.
As if they'd been caught, Maura and Jane flew apart abruptly.
Frost growled and kicked Korsak.
"Ow! What the hell!" He reached down under the table to rub his shin.
"Very old and very white." Frost pointed with an accusing finger.
They glared at each other.
"Crack kills, kid!"
"So do black men. Haven't you heard?"
Korsak's gaze narrowed as if he were analyzing the situation.
Frost widened his eyes then, canted them toward the other side of the booth.
Korsak looked more confused than ever. Then, after several long seconds, his expression cleared, and he nodded. Frost felt better knowing that he wasn't the only one late to the game.
"I don't know about Maura, but when I order my drink, and it comes, I'm prepared to throw it in your faces."
"But, Jane alcohol would sting---"
With a raised brow, Jane glanced Maura's way.
"Oh, that's the point isn't it?" Maura murmured sheepishly.
Frost beamed and smacked Korsak on the shoulder. "S'okay. We've come to an understanding. Haven't we big guy?"
"Something like that."
"Uh huh," Jane added. "You two cycle at the same time don't you?"
"Men have been known to have at least a week out of the month where their hormones surge, but they would have to cohabitate frequently for that to happen simultaneously."
"But don't we" Jane's face flushed.
"Good, I love you ladies, but no just no." Korsak said as he waved for the waitress.
Frost brought his hand to his mouth. "Oblivious," he coughed covering his comment.
"What did you just say?" Jane asked.
Frost shook his head and held up a finger. He felt the sneeze coming from way back. Picking up a napkin, he brought it to his face. "Beards!" It really was amazing what came out of his mouth at times. He wondered if that particular comment was Freudian.
"What is wrong with you tonight?" Jane continued to question.
Barry peeked to the right to see Korsak smirking at him. "Nothing. I think I'll order more fries.
Barry smiled down at the extra-large basket of French fried goodness in front of him. After a dash more of salt and an abundance of pepper, they were perfect. He was alone again, holding their booth and waiting for the gang, sans one.
Jane had a date.
He popped a really crunchy looking fried potato into his mouth. Something about the noise, but he really loved those best. It was becoming habit him being here. Still, he decided that he didn't mind being a barfly. It was never boring. On instinct, he looked up, and he wasn't that surprised to see Jane heading his way.
Boston was filled with more assholes than usual nowadays. It was a little known fact.
She huffed and slid into the seat opposite him.
"So, how was your date?" Barry grinned. It was rhetorical, he knew.
Jane's eyes narrowed. "Shite," she muttered and reached over to pilfer a fry.
He nodded. "That bad you had to add an 'e' to it?"
"He better be glad I didn't shoot him."
"You brought your gun?" And she kept on the suit. Frost kept that comment to himself.
"No! Forgot to take off the holster though."
"Let me guess. He wanted you to spank him with it?"
Jane's mouth fell open. "How did you---"
"Because, I'm just that good."
"He didn't look like the type. Kind of a nerd, and he almost put me to sleep with his talk about quantum blah blah." Jane waved her hand in the air. "But, he was---"
"Hot?" Barry finished for her.
Jane reached for his basket. Feeling generous, Frost moved it to the middle of the table. He took a drink from his beer and watched her over the lip of the glass. It was now or never.
"So, is that your type?"
Jane rolled her eyes. "What? Shitty?"
"I'm beginning to think I don't have one. I mean, what's the point anyway? No one I date is going to understand the stress and the long hours."
"Unless, it's someone on the force."
Jane crinkled her nose. "Uh no, I don't want to have to look in his face every day when things go bad, and they will go bad. They always do."
"Huh, must be getting to you. You usually don't get this deep into it talking to me at least." He took another sip. "Maura is the one who's usually more .demonstrative."
Jane sneered then laughed. "I threatened to go ---"
"Lorena Bobbit on them?"
"Uh huh. Her luck rivals mine."
"I'll say. So how long have you and Maura been friends?"
"Seems like we've known each other forever. Why?"
"That hasn't gone wrong has it?"
Jane grabbed a handful of fries and made a face. "It's not the same is it?"
Frost shrugged. "Guess not."
Jane peered at him silently for what felt like minutes. Her eyes narrowed in increments as if a thought was gaining momentum. "What are you doing?" Her tone was accusatory but not harsh.
Frost made his own face, schooling his expression to that of confusion. "Eating fries?"
"So," His voice went up an octave. "What's Maura's type?"
Jane shrugged. "Dark, good looking, lean and muscular. Why?"
"Nothing. Just asking. Since you guys have the same luck "
Frost stuck a fry in his mouth. Ugh, they were getting cold, but he chewed anyway. "You know " he started thoughtfully. "She must really care about you to put up with the bullshit I know you can bring to the table."
"Well yeahhh. So do you."
"Noo, I don't. I take my space when I need it. Maura just powers through."
Shrugging again, Jane muttered, "Okay so?"
"It would take a very special man to put up with you."
Jane snorted, but the suspicious look was back. "And your point is ?" Dark brows hiked in question.
Frost drained the rest of his beer. He held up a finger, asking her to wait. It was very refreshing and he was suddenly very thirsty. "Or a special wom"
"I knew it! I knew you were up to something!" Her glare was murderous. "Really? Really?!"
Frost's insides smiled. She was taking it better than he thought she would. He expected a bloody lip. "So.." His voice went up an octave once more. "You've dated a woman before?"
"That's not the point!" She shoved a finger in his face.
"Let's not make a scene, Jane. People are staring." Frost gave her the most disarming grin he could muster.
She glowered at him incredulously.
"Let's look at the evidence here." He leaned forward. "You fit the description of her type."
Jane opened her mouth to speak.
"Ah ah." Frost forestalled her with a quieting hand. "She knows you better probably than anyone on the planet and vice versa."
He peered at Jane, waiting for her to deny or minimize. She crossed her arms and continued scowling instead.
Curiouser and curiouser. "And you are my best friend, Jane, but I don't play with your hair, touch you constantly or stand that close. Oh, and let's not forget that bubble you guys form around yourselves when you look at each other for more than six seconds which is all the time."
Her mouth opened again.
"Hold on, I have to apologize for not noticing until now. I don't know what the hell is wrong with me."
Then, it closed.
He pushed the basket of rapidly cooling potatoes in her direction. "You want the rest of my fries?"
Jane's expression could have frozen hell at the moment.
Frost winked, completely unafraid of her wrath.
"Can I speak now?" Jane asked through gritted teeth.
Pretending to be affronted, Frost sputtered. "Of course!"
"Fine. I can name five reasons off the top of my head why that would never work."
"Go for it." Frost nodded in encouragement. He couldn't wait to hear this.
Jane held up her hand, palm up. "One " She folded her thumb. "She is straight."
Frost let out a bark of laughter. "That, I very much doubt. I've seen her with you."
"Don't you think I'd know if she's been with a woman before?"
"Does she know that you've been with a woman before?"
Jane sputtered. "I might have let it slip, but what's the big deal?"
"Did she look shocked or curious?"
"Uh, I " Jane stopped mid-sentence, and the look on her face was priceless.
"I guess we know the answer to that." Frost paused then muttered, "Carry on. What's number two?"
Jane appeared to be rattled, but she pushed on, folding the next finger forward. "She's a genius. What the fuck would she want with me?"
Barry released an exasperated breath. "You're one of the top detectives in this state and that's nothing to sneeze at. I don't think you got that way because you're stupid. Besides, she's your best friend. If that bothered her, do you think she would've let you so close?"
Grumbling, Jane simply moved another appendage. "I'm blue collar, and she wears shoes that cost more than my car payment." She looked away and swallowed, sporting the look of the forlorn.
"Something tells me that you're more affected by that than she is." Frost softened his voice. It was abundantly clear that this was a tender spot.
Jane scoffed. "What the hell would I be able to give her?"
"What do you give her now?" He countered.
"That's not the"
"Point? But it is the point. Let's move on."
"I'll fuck it up. What happens then? I won't even have her as a friend anymore." Jane's chest heaved.
Barry leaned back in the booth, understanding Jane's fear completely. "Didn't you tell me once that taking the detectives exam was one of the most important events in your life?"
"You told me it took you three months after you studied your ass off to even ask to take the test, because you knew you were going to fuck it up."
"Yeahhhh, but we're not talking about a test here."
"You passed it because you grew some balls and took a chance."
Jane looked away. "I'm not going to date Maura."
"Uh huh. What's your fifth reason?"
"I don't remember." Jane sounded petulant.
"Mmm." He had her. He knew he had her. "Would you like for me to tell you what the biggest reason should have been? It would have been a hell of a lot more convincing."
Rolling her eyes, Jane muttered, "What?"
Frost felt his lips quirk. "You should have said, I don't feel that way about her."
Jane's mouth dropped open wide enough to fit his fist into it.
"You've been thinking about this, coming up with reasons not to cross that line, and it's painfully clear."
Jane sighed, and it sounded pained. "I tried to make my peace with this a long time ago, Frost. It's not going to happen."
"Do you want it to?" As if he possessed some sort of sixth sense, Frost glanced upward once more to see Maura weaving through to get to them. He was suddenly abundantly grateful that Jane's gaze was deep into the congealing basket of fries, while she continued to feel sorry for herself.
Jane covered her face with her hands. She rubbed her eyes and pushed fingers through her hair. "Of course I do! Have you seen her? I don't care what social phobias or whatever she has. Maura's perfect, and if I wasn't scared shitless or thought I even had a chance I would be the only asshole she had to date."
As discreetly as he could, Frost met Maura's surprised gaze. Thank God, she was close enough to hear almost everything. Her face was flushed red, and her eyes seemed to sparkle. She opened her mouth to speak. Frost shook his head, hoping she would catch the slight movement.
Maura bit her bottom lip and backed away.
Barry reached out, patting Jane's hand. "This is something you really need to re-think. You have good instincts, Jane. They hardly ever steer you wrong, but I bet if you ignore them enough, they'll make you believe whatever you want."
His phone buzzed and started doing a little dance on top of the table. Barry hit the home button, and he wasn't the least bit surprised at the text. Tell her whatever you want but plz make sure she comes to c me tonite.
Frost grinned as the fingers of his free hand raced over the keyboard. I'm on it. When he looked up again, Jane's eyes were on him. "Who was that, and why are you grinning like a damned pumpkin?"
"I guess, Maura didn't want to disturb you since you're supposed to be on a date. She said that she was wiped and was heading home instead. I'm paraphrasing of course."
Jane looked disappointed. "Oh, is that it?"
"No, you didn't let me finish. She said, if you stopped by, to tell you to come over. It didn't matter what time." It was only a tiny white lie.
Jane peered down where Frost's hand still lay. "I will." The way she said it it was almost as if she didn't have a choice. "I can't believe I said all that, and I haven't even had a drink yet." Realizing the mistake, Jane caught the eye of a waitress and motioned for her usual.
"I've got skills, my friend. Smoother than Courvoisier." Barry pursed his lips and smiled.
"Let me guess, and twice as potent?"
"There you go! You're getting it."
Jane's expression was skeptical, but for the moment, she didn't look sad. "Yeah, yeah. God, you make my ass hurt sometimes." Jane reached for her drink as soon as it arrived, taking an extremely long pull.
"Huh, that's definitely not the way I want to think about you." Barry smirked as the next question left his mouth. "Is your brother seeing anyone?"
Jane's eyes widened and she wiped away the beer that dribbled onto her chin.
"What? What did I say?"
Maura swirled the red wine around the glass, watching the color splash and coat the sides before righting itself. She took a brief sip. It tasted like ashes in her mouth, but she refused to let that deter her.
Jane wanted her.
She let the words tumble through her brain, and couldn't help the excitement they elicited each time. Maura stood up and began to pace in front of the couch. Her palms were sweaty. Her heart beat was accelerated. Her mind was a jumbled mess, and she felt as if she were literally quivering. Maura recognized the symptoms for what they were she was nervous.
This is Jane.
This is Jane the calm but minute part of her whispered. When Jane Rizzoli entered her life, she brought with it a brightness and zeal that Maura retreated from at first, but it was only temporary. After the brief stutter, Maura embraced the foreign concepts and changed her life to accommodate. She didn't really have a choice. Jane was a force to be reckoned with.
The acknowledgement brought a smile to her face.
In time, that force became hotter and more intense until each touch burned and every gaze left her scorched. She had been completely discombobulated at first by the overwhelming heat of it. It had been frightening, but fear turned to craving. Maura began to reach for the fire as discreetly as possible, enjoying the burn.
Now, she knew that Jane had been concealing it as well.
Maura stopped mid stride then plopped back down on the couch. The nerves were quickly becoming overwhelming. She had no idea how to approach this.
This is Jane.
Maura was more than adept in taking the most obscure, minute clues and turning them into concrete evidence, but she was floored that she didn't pick up on Jane's interest. A thought reverberated. Jane was an excellent detective, but she was guilty of the same crime.
Maybe they didn't want to see? Maybe the time hadn't been right until now.
Her cell phone rang. Maura snatched it up from the coffee table. "Barry?"
"She just left. How are you?"
"Tachycardic and a step away from hyperventilation."
Frost chuckled. "So nervous as hell?"
"Yes, exactly. Would you care to tell me what's going on?"
"I brought up the obvious."
"That you two can't be satisfied by the men you date because you want each other." Frost answered.
Maura gasped. "Oh."
"So, you're not going to try to deny it by giving me excuses"
"No, I'm not."
Maura felt a grin pull at her lips. "I do try on occasion."
They lapsed into silence.
"You have no idea what to do do you?" Frost's tone was amused.
Maura released a shaky breath. "Absolutely not a clue."
"Hmm. Show her your tits?"
Maura chuckled. "If things go well, maybe that's a possibility for later."
Barry laughed along with her. "I'm trying to find a way so she won't mistake your intentions. So, answering the door naked or in lingerie isn't a possibility?" He sounded hopeful.
Maura weighted her options. It was tempting, but her nerves screamed that at the moment she didn't have the confidence to pull it off. "If she continues to be obtuse after we talk, I could just kiss her."
"Really? I didn't even think about that one." He sounded suspiciously contrite.
"Really?" Maura asked, making her tone just accusing enough to transfer.
Frost laughed. "You've been hanging out with her for way too long if you picked up on that."
"She has some fears about this about you and her."
"I'm sure she does." Maura turned inward for a moment. "Money? Status?"
"Jesus, you do know her well. So, what were your reasons?"
"I had no idea she felt that way, and I didn't want to ruin our friendship by making unwanted advances."
"Ah, her reason number four." Frost muttered.
"Nothing just putting some things in perspective."
Hearing the lock on the door jangle, Maura glanced up and swallowed. "I think she's here."
"Then, that's my cue. I won't say good luck, doc. Things will work out."
As the door opened, Maura placed her phone back on the coffee table.
"Hey, I wasn't sure that you were up." Jane's smile was warm and welcoming.
"You had a date. I was sure you wanted to regale me with stories about how horrible it was."
Jane quirked a brow. "How do you know it was bad?"
They peered at each other for a moment knowingly.
Jane laughed. "Okay, it was shite."
"Ah, you're using the Irish/English derivative. It must have been awful indeed."
Jane smirked. "That's what Frost said."
Maura suddenly found herself lost in dark eyes. "Uh, beer is in the fridge."
"I know. Be back in a sec."
Maura released a breath, hoping that it was cleansing. Everything sounded normal between them felt normal. She looked down at her hands to see them shaking, knowing that after this night they would never be the same.
Jane re-entered and kicked off her shoes as she threw herself on the couch. They gazed at each other and Maura saw the crinkles form on Jane's forehead. It was a sure sign of concern.
Sitting the beer on the table, Jane continued to stare. "What's wrong?"
"You have that little thing."
Confused, Maura asked. "What little thing?"
Jane reached out, brushing her fingertip between Maura's eyebrows. "That thing."
Maura didn't try to hide the gasp. Jane's touch scorched just like it always did.
Fingertips trailed over her cheek, and Maura turned toward the touch.
"Maura?" Jane was alarmed. She snatched her hand away as if it were on fire.
Maura caught it and laced it with her own. "It's okay to touch me." She swallowed. Her course was set concerning this, and there was no way she was going to deviate from the journey.
Jane's mouth fell open. "I"
"I love it when you do." Maura brought Jane's hand back to her face, sliding it over her cheek and over her neck. There was no need to hide the shiver it created. "I'm the only one you do that to. Did you know that? I didn't notice before. In retrospect, I didn't notice a lot of things before."
Jane exhaled raggedly, and her eyes darkened.
"I can't keep my hands off of you either." Maura admitted. "I don't even want to try anymore."
"Maura?" Jane's voice was full of caution and what sounded like veiled hope.
"You don't know. Do you?"
Jane shook her head as if she didn't trust herself to speak.
"I didn't know either. I guess that makes us even at being oblivious." Maura reached out brushing her fingers over Jane's lips then the dimple in her chin.
Jane's eyes closed.
"You're the only person I've ever met who has accepted me for who I am, and I don't know how it happened." Maura paused to breathe and try to settle jarring nerves. Then, she pushed forward. "Somehow, I think I know I fell in love with you." A tiny laugh escaped. "I had to research it. I didn't understand what was happening at first, but I can do this. I can do this."
Jane's eyes opened abruptly then widened, revealing surprise, but Maura could see pleasure there as well. "I...what did you just say?"
Maura smiled, feeling brave enough to let everything shine through. "I'm so in love with"
Jane clenched her stomach. "Oh, God."
"I know this is scary, but I know you feel it too."
"How? How do you know?" Jane was getting frantic.
"I overheard you talking to Frost tonight, and I see it. I see it all now."
"Maura, we ca"
"Can't? Because I have money? Because you're scared? Because you're a cop, and I'm a scientist?"
"Isn't that enough?" Jane's retort was weak and unconvincing.
Maura shook her head. "No, it isn't. It's minute, insignificant in the face of this." She leaned forward, closing the space between them and heating it with her gaze and her body. Mere centimeters separated them.
Jane actually whimpered, and Maura's heart leaped to her throat. She could almost see the barrier that Jane hid behind crumble to nothingness.
Jane face was red, but it wasn't from embarrassment that much Maura could see.
"Is that your argument?" Jane husked.
Jane licked her lips. "It's damned convincing."
Maura released a relieved breath. "I had others for backup."
A dark brow hiked. "Yeah? What?"
"Show you my tits?"
Jane blinked, then, threw her head back in laughter. "God, I hate Frost. That so sounds like him."
Maura chuckled. "No, you don't."
"No, I don't, but I thought I had come to terms with all of this. I was trying to at least, but when he brought it up, I knew everything I said to fight it just didn't matter. That man has an answer for everything." Jane's eyes had gone from somewhat guarded to pure adoration. "I don't know how it happened either, Maura, but it happened. This will change everything, you know?"
"I know," Maura whispered.
"I don't want us to just date. I want it all."
"You have everything already, except for sexually."
"I definitely want that. I really, really want that." Jane's eyes smoldered as she smirked.
"Trust me when I say that the feeling is more than mutual."
"I'm glad we understand each other." Jane scooted a bit closer, but then her body tensed as if she were fighting the urge to reach out. Jane looked away, and when her eyes returned, Maura heard an audible swallow. "I can be an asshole."
Maura grinned and cupped Jane's cheek. She needed to touch her. "Yes, you can."
"I can be a bitch cold and distant even to you."
"I know that as well."
"I I'm scared, but I so want this to work." Jane said.
"It will." Maura said with confidence. "I can be irritating."
Jane tried to fight a smirk, but she didn't succeed.
"I can be arrogant." Maura added.
"There are times that I have no idea what I'm doing, so, I just shut down or say something inappropriate."
"Really?" Jane asked teasingly and moved even closer. Brown eyes gleamed.
"Yes, really." Maura exhaled shakily as awareness crackled over her skin. Her hand trailed into dark tresses, and Maura gloried in the softness. Maura shuddered as she realized that she could do this anytime she wanted. "I can be---"
"Yes?" She could nearly taste Jane's breath.
The next sound from Maura's mouth was a whimper as Jane's lips covered her own. It was soft, reverent, but it still set her body ablaze. When Jane's tongue flicked against her lips, Maura was lost. With a moan, she opened wide, revealing in the wet slide as the kiss deepened.
When the need for air became paramount, the embrace ended reluctantly. Breathing was ragged and chests heaved. Foreheads touched, and their eyes locked.
"Maura?" Jane's voice was deep, husky.
Maura shivered in reaction. Her brain was fuzzy, but her body registered every word, every breath. "Yes?"
"I love you."
Maura beamed. Her heart surged within her rib cage, beating wildly. "I know," she murmured. As their lips met again, Maura made a mental note to thank Barry Frost profusely for being .well, Barry Frost.
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