Excerpt: First Watch

first-watch

A lover. A serial killer. Both will push her to her limits.

First Watch, an erotic thriller from MW Benjamin, is now available in paperback and ebook.

Here’s a little teaser to whet your appetite.

She got up from the bed and walked to the floor-to-ceiling penthouse window, wrapping the sheet around her naked body as she went. He had excused himself to the bathroom after they made love and she could hear the faucet running from behind the door off the master bedroom. The city spread out underneath her like a spider web filled with fireflies blinking out an SOS that no one would ever respond to. She examined her reflection in the window, and it made her smile. Her hair was mussed in that just fuckedkind of way. She hadn’t seen it like that in years.

The man in the bathroom wasn’t her husband, and she knew she should feel bad about that, even guilty, but she didn’t. In fact, it was just the opposite. They’d only known each other for a few short weeks, but she’d never felt happier in her entire life. She was wealthy beyond comprehension, and it had once meant so much to her. Until she met him, that was. Everything melted away when he smiled at her, like they were the only two people on the planet. What was amazing, and terrifying in its own way, was that she knew he felt the same way. They cared for each other.

Very deeply.

Very truly.

It was love that had brought her to his apartment tonight. Love that had driven her to do things over the course of their relationship that she thought she’d never do in her entire life. He empowered her. She felt strong with him, but vulnerable at the same time. She felt like she could take on the world, but only if he was by her side. He was her rock, a lighthouse in the stormy waters of life. She would do anything for him. He was decades younger but, with him, she felt like age was nothing more than a number.

The water in the bathroom stopped running and the door creaked as it opened slowly. She didn’t even notice. She was deep in thought about the path her life had been set on since meeting such an amazing man. It wasn’t until he came to stand behind her, his naked body against hers, that she realized he was there.

“It’s a beautiful view, isn’t it, doll?” he asked her softly. Her husband had tried pet names with her, but she hated them. They made her feel like a child. With him, it was different. They made her feel warm and welcome, loved beyond measure.

“Yes,” she answered, leaning gently back into him, “it is.” They had just finished making love, but she wanted nothing more than to have him pull the sheet away and take her back to bed. From the way he was hardening against her backside, she could tell he was thinking the same thing.

He nuzzled into the nape of her neck, kissing her gently. She could feel heat spreading through her body every time his lips touched her skin. His strong hands wrapped around her waist and slid up her stomach. Those hands alone had made her feel truly alive for the first time in years.

“I love you,” he whispered in her ear. “Always remember that.”

“I will,” she breathed.

He kissed her one last time just under her ear. “Goodnight, doll.”

The last thing she saw were his strong hands pressing a damp rag firmly over her mouth. For an instant, she struggled, the sharp tang of chemicals in her nostrils.

And then there was nothing.

~ * ~

My morning jog through Washington Park was usually the highlight of my day. There isn’t much that’s more liberating about a good run in the early morning hours right before the sun starts to rise. Out there in the darkness, the mind wanders, gets lost, takes a vacation. The menial day-to-day issues melt away into nothingness. Work-related stress seems like it’s a million miles away. All that exists is you and the world working in perfect synchronicity. The patter of feet on pavement mixes with the calls of the early morning birds that are literally out to get the worm. There aren’t many other people on the paths so early, and it feels like the world belongs to me for just a moment; like it was made just for me. Ridiculous, I know.

During the summer, Wash Park was a really beautiful place to go for a run. Unfortunately, it was mid-October and the summer majesty had faded into the bleakness that always comes with the approaching winter. The temperature had started getting lower over the past couple of weeks, and each breath I took billowed into the air like a cheap imitation of a puff of cigarette smoke. I was happy I brought my jacket along. It was bloody freezing out for a Colorado October morning.

Just when I started feeling the zen of an early morning run, the phone in my jacket pocket began trilling out an obnoxious melody, ripping me from the moment. The ring tone was annoying, but I liked it a lot more than the other options that came on the phone. I pulled it from my pocket without slowing my pace. The picture associated with the number showed me a familiar face, albeit a grumpy one. He wasn’t happy about me snapping a quick picture for such a purpose, but he couldn’t say much once it was done.

“Sarah Thomas,” I answered professionally, exactly how he expected me to. I was a little annoyed by how winded I sounded.

“Hate to interrupt your morning run, Thomas,” the captain apologized, passively commenting on my heavy breathing. His voice was gruff, like a lifelong smoker. To my knowledge, he’d never smoked a single cigarette. “I need you down at Speer and Lawrence immediately.”

There were two different meanings to immediatelyin his dictionary. The first meant: Get there when you can, but I say “immediately” because there’s someone important within earshot. The second meant: You should have been there before I even called.Unfortunately, he was using the second definition this time. That almost always spelled trouble for me, at the very least, if not the whole department.

“On my way,” I told him and ended the call. I was on the opposite side of the park as my car, so I turned off the path and cut through the grass to get back as quickly as possible. Since I was wearing workout clothes instead of something more work appropriate I was going to have to go home first and shower. The captain had been insistent, but he hated poor hygiene in his detectives more than he hated tardiness. He’d forgive me for taking a few extra minutes, so long as I smelled pleasant.

I had started making decent money once I made detective, but I still couldn’t bring myself to let go of my old ’97 Dodge Neon. The deep green paint was flaking in more than a few spots, and there was a massive crack across the windshield, but I’d had it for as long as I could remember. It was as much a part of me as my hair or toenails. I jiggled the handle to get the driver’s side door open and climbed in, firing the engine up with a turn of the key. The radio was tuned to the local top forty station, and something far more electronic than was necessary so early in the morning was blasting out of the speakers. I turned down the music and did a quick illegal U-turn out of my parking space, heading back toward home.

I lived in a small brick house on Downing Avenue on the opposite side of Interstate 25 from the park. It was an old house with enough problems to drive anyone crazy, but this was where people my age lived when they were single and wanting to be close to the social life of Downtown Denver, or at least that’s what I was told. I hadn’t had much time for a social life over the last few years, but I loved that house and I wasn’t planning on leaving. It was more than enough room for me, and if I ever found the time to go on a date and that went well enough to build into a marriage and a family, it would still provide plenty of room. If there was more than one kid, though, they’d probably have to sleep on the porch.

I had a tendency to see further along than men typically did when it came to relationships, though. That’s usually what ruined them. I would analyze what our future would be like together. Some men had habits and traits that I knew I could never live with. Others were so perfect, I couldn’t not picture us together forever. Either way, those visions would slowly tear the relationship to pieces and leave me broken hearted or even more reticent of the next man that came along. When I made detective, I had decided to put a hold on my love life so I could concentrate on work. I hadn’t had a date in almost two years. Sex was even more infrequent. I’ll spare you the depressing details.

I was greeted by modern furniture from IKEA and hardwood floors when I walked through the front door. A couple of knick-knacks and a TV rounded out the ensemble. I didn’t care much for television other than one or two of the classics that would air on Nick at Nite. When you’re a homicide detective, you get to see what an ugly world truly exists outside your front door. It’s nice to be able to escape from that reality into one where murder and crime don’t really exist.

I walked through the master bedroom to the master bath, which was only slightly larger than a walk-in closet. I stripped down to my sports bra and underwear and turned on the hot water. I brushed my teeth while the water got to a comfortable temperature, peeled off the last pieces of clothing, and got into the shower, careful not to get my hair wet. I was in something of a rush, so I was going to have to leave it in the ponytail I had pulled it into before my run.

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