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Shattered Glass

By:Dani Alexander

Chapter One

Fucking Bunny Slippers

Colorado’s Finest Diner was ugly. I had an excess of time to study it in the two hours I waited for my no-show informant. Brown booths. Yellowed walls and floors. Yellowed tables, for that matter. The window on my right displayed beat-up Fords and Volkswagens that were roasting on pavement and swimming in refracting light. The inhabitants of the diner were more interesting. Teenagers mostly, snacking on fries and chicken fingers. Baubles bounced from their eyebrows and black-painted lips while they chatted energetically. My gaze hopped from one table to the next. With all the boisterous laughter and the rapid fingers texting, it was the quiet, methodical busboy who caught and held my eye. He was wearing bunny slippers.

Dingy pink and brown ears languished against aged linoleum, making a soft sh-sh sound as the man gathered used dinnerware and placed them in a tub at his hip. Curious about the wearer, I skipped over the ripped pajama bottoms and stained tank top, to his face. My breath caught.

Model beautiful, with thick red hair and millions of freckles, the man was as incongruous to the setting as those endearing slippers.

“Gaines says he’ll get Alvarado there,” Detective Luis Martinez relayed into the cell phone tucked against my ear.

“Uh huh,” I replied. Vice busts weren’t that interesting right now. Bunny Slippers was pierced. Lots of places. Little rings, nipple high, were outlined under his tank top and the ones in his ears and eyebrow glinted. I immediately began to speculate where else he was pierced.

“Glass?” Luis huffed into my ear. “Glass, get your head in the game.”

Blue eyes. No, not just blue, blue like glacial waters, like romantic poems, like heavens and moonstones. Cornflower blue. And—

Blue like romantic poems? What the ever-living fuck? I turned away quickly and tried to concentrate on Luis’s voice.

“What? Oh.” I gave my head a shake, scattering the strange thoughts. “If Gaines says Alvarado will be there, we go with that. My guy is a no-show. Gaines is all we have now.” I hoped that was the response Luis was waiting for because Bunny Slippers was coming my way, and I lost all ability to think.

“Can I take that for ya?” He had a deep drawl. Not Texas, like my mother, but perhaps Alabama or Georgia. I was so wrapped up in the voice that it took a moment to follow the long, slim finger pointing across the table at my syrup-filled plate. My attention snapped back to the busboy.

Up close Bunny Slippers was even more gorgeous, and older than I’d originally assumed. Freckles dusted his skin from forehead to fingers. A colorful tattoo of the god Hermes covered the right arm from shoulder to elbow. A busboy with an interest in mythology?

“Glass?” Luis growled.

My brain had left the building. “Huh?” I replied brilliantly, to the busboy, not to Luis. I could barely hear Luis. Cold blue eyes. That was all I could concentrate on. Cold but captivating. I had always thought freckles went with innocence, but there was nothing innocent about those eyes.

“Glass? ¡Carajo! Glass!”

What was someone who looked that good, doing working as a busboy in a place this ugly?

“GLASS!” Luis blasted into the phone, a stream of Spanish invectives following the shout.

The yell snapped me out of my daze. “What the fuck, Luis? Someone is talking to me here. Settle your dick down.” Great, I had now acknowledged that while I knew slippers-boy was speaking to me, I had just been staring at him. The slight smirk spreading across the man’s perfect lips told me he had noticed the gawping, too.

With considerable effort, I flicked a glance to the plate, knowing there was a question in there somewhere.

“Your plate?” The busboy motioned once more, this time leaning across the table. The scent of tobacco, soap and cinnamon made my mind go blank again. I closed my eyes and inhaled, unconsciously lifting a hand to brush my knuckle on the underside of the man’s reaching arm.

Apparently this was an awesome time to not only discover I had a bunny slipper fetish, but to violate someone’s arm in public. Some guy’s arm.

“Yeah,” I said stiffly, dragging my offending appendages into my lap before they did something stupid, like tweak a nipple ring. Luckily, the guy hadn’t noticed the knuckle-assault, or else he was choosing to ignore it. Please let it be the former.

I felt twelve again, those nervous flutters in my stomach appearing for the first time since I had let Mitzi Baylor tongue kiss me in eighth grade. Okay, let is probably the wrong word. More like forced her tongue into my mouth while I tried to protect my tonsils from unexpected removal. The memory was enough to jar me back into reality a second time. I checked my phone. Luis had hung up. With a sigh, I tucked the cell into my pocket. I’d deal with Luis at work Monday.