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“Nawlins ain’t nothing like what yer used to, McDunna. You may be a specialist where you come from, but here you ain’t shit.”
Dianna McDunna rubbed the center of her forehead, trying to chase away the voices of doubt which had nagged her since she’d left the police precinct. She’d been here a week and hadn’t managed to make much of an impression on her coworkers, at least not the kind of impression she wanted to make. Barry, at least, seemed willing to give her the benefit of the doubt and time, but Longstreet was a misogynistic dirtbag and already making arguments to get her assigned to a desk or busted back to patrol. She hadn’t worked patrol in almost eight years, the very thought was insulting.
The spires of the St Louis Cathedral rose closer and Dianna shoved her hands deeper into the pockets of her jacket, closing her fingers around a crisp business card. If the other officers had any idea what she was doing tonight, they’d doubt her even more, which was why she hadn’t told anyone and didn’t plan to-not unless it worked.
She crossed Jackson Square at an easy pace, not in too much hurry or too little, feeling eyes on her the moment she entered the square. There was very little cover and Dianna knew she was easy to recognize. There weren’t any other thirty something year old red headed female cops who worked this beat. Irish descended cops may have been common in New York, but here she was a rarity.
Dianna pressed her elbow against her side, comforted by the weight of the gun riding against her rib cage. She’d wanted a meeting with de Vega, but she wasn’t stupid enough to come unarmed and didn’t expect he would. From everything she’d read and heard he was a balance between smooth businessman and totally vicious son of a bitch. Whatever happened on the streets he either controlled or knew about. If she wanted to know what was going on and try to enforce any kind of order on it, he was the one she had to deal with. It wasn’t safe, but she didn’t expect it to be. It wasn’t entirely above board either, but twelve years dealing with street gangs and street weirdness had taught her that sometimes she had to step into the cesspool if she was going to clean it out.
The wind rose crossing the Mississippi and gusting down into the Square, bringing with it the smell of the sea. Dianna took in a deep breath and shivered. She missed her city, her New York, but Jesse was there, and she could never go back. The thought of Jesse turned her stomach and she resolutely pushed it away, adjusting her course towards the narrow alleyway between the cathedral and the Cabildo. The old Spanish fort was one of Dianna’s favorite places in New Orleans, there was something regal about it, powerful and familiar. She looked up touching her fingertips to the stone. It was warm.
“Beautiful, isn’t it?”
The voice was soft, but sent a chill up Dianna’s spine. She turned, putting her back to the wall and peering towards the speaker. He was a man of obvious Spanish descent his features all strong angles and arrogance. His hair and beard were trimmed neatly, a gold stud winking in one earlobe. The look went with the black silk and leather of shirt and pants, fitted close to the skin. He was trying to make an impression and it was working.
He smiled, his teeth very white against his skin. “I was referring to the building, but I could be beautiful too. For a woman such as you I could be many things.”
Dianna rolled her eyes, leaning against the wall and crossing her arms. “Save it for someone young enough to be impressed, De Vega. This is a business visit.”