This story is the second in the timeline of nine Max Pemberton detective stories. You’re encouraged to read “Maelstrom” to give you additional background, though this story can stand on its own.

A big thank you to migbird for his thoughts over the course of Max’s journey.

Here’s the chronological breakdown of Max’s stories:



Cold Steel

Hot Steel

Pink Ice


Loss of Innocence

Revenge is Best Served Cold

To Hell … And Back

This story is being entered into the “Ode to Mickey Spillane” challenge so your votes and comments are appreciated.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, merchandise, companies, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental. All characters in sexual situations are 18 years or older.


To those readers who are new to the “Max” series of stories, read this first. For you Max fans, you’re welcome to skip this section.

Maxine “Max” Pemberton was a six year veteran of the Cincinnati police force. She spent five years on patrol in Cincinnati’s notorious West End neighborhood and transferred a year ago to become a detective in the Vice squad. Her partner was Lesley Groesbeck, a short Barbie-esqe blonde, who was a recent graduate of the Cincinnati’s police academy and whose father Saul was a former Chief of Police.

Max was married to Ron Pemberton, though recently divorced, and finally acknowledged to the world that she was a lesbian.

She was taller than most woman, a big breasted attractive brunette with a weakness for beautiful women and cheap drink. She was fiercely loyal to her friends, chief among them Nicky Flores, the owner of Nicky’s Diner, who recently inherited the restaurant from her late father Gustave, and Maddie Bailey, the owner of an upscale bar in one of Cincinnati’s trendier neighborhoods.

Max lived at the Royal Palms Motel, a flophouse located in the heart of the West End, whose chief clientele were members of the local prostitution trade. Max could never seem to get her finances in order, nor any other aspects of her personal life. She lived to work, and was well regarded by her peers but reviled by management for her irreverent attitude towards her superiors.

Max’s current love interest was Courtney Landry, a 25 year old vampy hipster who was five years younger than Max. Courtney was the daughter of Jim Landry, the biggest car dealer in Cincinnati, and reputed to be one of the wealthiest persons in that city. Because of her family’s extreme wealth, she had no need to hold a job and spent the majority of her time chasing women. Though it began as a purely physical relationship, Max couldn’t help but start caring for Courtney but wasn’t sure the feeling was mutual.

Nicky came to Max with two pressing problems, the $35,000 she owed in protection money to a Vietnamese gang headed by Trong Lai, an intelligent and ruthless West End warlord, and the $50,000 investment she needed to repair and refurbish her diner in order to stay in operation.

Max tangled with Trong (see Maelstrom) teaming with DaVanna Caruso, an ambitious, drop dead gorgeous attorney with an Italian father and African-American mother, who recently assumed the top spot in the Hamilton County Prosecuting Attorney’s office after the unexpected early retirement of her boss, Maureen McCormick.

All was not copacetic between Max and DaVanna. Max suspected DaVanna used illicit methods to secure her political career, co-opting her younger sister Alessandra to burgle a law firm and steal several laptops with confidential information on them, the subject matter of which was still a mystery to Max. Alessandra was arrested in connection with the theft, but never formally charged.

Max did discover that DaVanna had made a deal with Trong Lai to intimidate the witnesses who would have put Alessandra in jail in exchange for her deep sixing a murder charge against the crime boss. DaVanna, being the politician without a moral compass (aren’t they all?), reneged on her deal with Trong. Max assisted with the arrest of Trong, who was ultimately convicted of first degree murder and given a life sentence. Trong’s imprisonment solved Nicky’s debt issue.

Alessandra was able to shed her checkered past, using her recently completed culinary training to assume charge of the kitchen at Nicky’s Diner. Courtney stepped forward with a $50,000 investment in the diner in exchange for a half interest in the restaurant.

With Trong in jail and Nicky’s diner reopened, better than ever, the waters were calm for just a moment before Max’s life, once again, went into turbulent seas.

And now forward to the tale . . .

Chapter One

The Purse

“Ahhhh Max,” my lover Courtney sighed, raising and opening her rus escort well-toned thighs to the delight of my lustful eyes. My tongue raked over her swollen labia one more time as her legs trembled beneath me. She held on to my hair and babbled as I made passionate love to her sweet pussy. I tasted her, and the taste made me want her more. It was plain and simple the best sex of my life.

Courtney and I were now officially a “thing,” having been together for six entire months. In Max time, relationships were measured in days and weeks, not months. It started as a one night stand, so the relationship I thought was going to end the next day ended up lasting six months. It was 2 a.m., and neither of us wanted the day (and night) to end. We were having sex, like many of the occupants of the Royal Palms Motel, so no one was going to bang on the wall if we decided to go at it again.

The Royal Palms was a motel in Cincinnati’s West End, an august establishment frequented by the local prostitutes and drug addicts. It was also my official residence for the past year, a tribute more to my laziness than a desire to live in squalor. Maybe it was a statement about me.

I staggered to the bathroom after our marathon lovemaking session to wash up. I figured it was about time to go to sleep since I’d have to get ready for work in a scant three hours. I saw that Courtney was rifling through my nightstand searching for a pack of cigarettes. I tried mightily to quit smoking, but there really wasn’t any substitute for a cigarette after satisfying sex. I figured I’d join her out on the second floor walkway just outside my room.

The quiet of the early morning was ripped apart by a blood curdling scream from the next room, followed by a thud, sounding like someone’s body hitting the floor. Because the walls were paper thin, we couldn’t help but be a voyeur to what was happening next door. Courtney stopped her search for a smoke and stood up straight.

“Sounded like someone just hit the deck.”

“Yeah,” I reluctantly acknowledged. Of course it did. So fucking what. Violence . . . and sex . . . were daily occurrences at the Royal Palms. I was naked and still had Courtney’s pussy juice smeared all over my face. What happened next door wasn’t one of things I wanted to think about, trying to preserve my state of post-coital bliss.

“Shouldn’t we be doing something?” she asked, never forgetting that I was a cop first and her lover second. It wasn’t lost on me that she was starting to use the royal “we” in our bedroom conversation. That’s something that happens later in a relationship and that fact alone scared me.

“Why?” I fired back, trying to put up a strong front against the inevitable. I told myself I was off duty and it was fucking two a.m. “Go ahead and call 911 if you’re that worried.”

I was dreading having to get dressed and confront God knows what.


Courtney was appealing to my inner angel. Damn it. She knew me well enough to get through the weak defense I put up. I resigned myself to my fate just to get it over with.

“Fine, fine, I’ll see what’s going on,” I muttered. She was still naked and horny. Why the fuck would I leave that?

I walked over to her and pointed to my cheek. “Lick here.”

“OK,” she said. She cradled the back of my head with her hands and gave my cheek a leisurely swipe of her velvety soft tongue.

“What was that all about?” she asked me.

“It’s your pussy juice. I expect more of it there when I get back.”

“Is that a threat?” she asked me with mock indignation.

“You’re making me go next door so think of it as a reward.”

She flashed a mischievous smile and dipped her fingers into her recently defiled pussy and then fed them to me. I sucked on them. Sweetness. Courtney. Why the fuck did I have to leave?

“Consider this a down payment,” she said in her best sexy voice.

Maybe Courtney was going to make it up to me when I got back. That thought was pleasing. She was the sexiest, nastiest creature I’d ever met, and she owed me. Mmmmmm. I had an inkling that I’d let myself fall in love with her, a development that could only lead to disaster. Unfortunately that never had stopped me before and I was worried I’d have another spectacular letdown.

I shuffled to the bathroom to clean myself up enough to be make my next door visit, and dressed with clothes I was wearing that I’d thrown on the floor, which consisted of a hoodie, a t-shirt, and a pair of old ripped jeans. For God’s sake, it wasn’t an official police call. Just a concerned neighbor. I could still hear shouting. Something about a purse if I was making it out right. I stepped out of my room. It was cool outside, finally, after hitting a hundred degrees that day. I saw Courtney peeking through the drapes as I passed the front window of our room. I waved to her and she let them shut.

I knocked on the door to Room 205. Muffled voices that were engaged in angry conversation suddenly went silent. Heavy footfalls thumped towards istanbul bayan eskort me and the door opened only a crack, the security chain still engaged. Light leaked out along with the background noise of their TV.

“What the fuck do you want?” a man’s voice growled. He didn’t appear to be the welcoming sort, but I didn’t expect common courtesy.

His bloated face peered through the gap. He had a two day growth of stubble on his chin. On Brad Pitt it would have looked sexy. On him it just looked gross. He had long, greasy black hair and was wearing a muscle t-shirt and jeans that were unbuttoned at the waist, allowing his ample beer gut to hang free. He was barefoot and reeked of body odor.

“I heard the shouting next door …” I started to say.

He tried to slam the door shut but I anticipated that move. My police issue steel toed shoe was wedged in the gap between the door and the door frame so he was unable to make any headway, though he kept pushing.

“Like I said, I heard shouting and then I believe someone got hit.”

His eyes were bloodshot and angry. “Get the fuck out of here.”

I could see a woman cowering in the background.

“Just let me ask the lady if she’s OK and then I’ll be on my way.”

“Fuck you. You’re not a cop or nothing. This is private.”

He pushed again on the door but my foot wasn’t going anywhere.

“Actually I’m an off duty cop, and I’ve got all night,” I told him. I think his thick head finally understood my motivation and could hear my resolve. He reluctantly slid the chain off and opened the door.

I watched the scumbag half drag the woman by the arm over to me. She looked young, maybe twenty, a gaunt physique with stringy dishwater blonde hair and hollowed out eyes. I spotted a few fresh bruises on her arms. It was clear she hadn’t been treated well.

“Go ahead Hannah, tell this nice policewoman that you’re OK.”

She nodded, though I got the distinct impression she wasn’t OK.

“Why doesn’t Hannah just step outside here so I can talk with her?” I told him.

He went to shove me. Big mistake. Even though he was bigger than me he expected me to stay still. I didn’t. I stepped aside and the big oaf stumbled forward. I booted him in the ass so he lunged forward and did a face plant on the outside concrete walkway. I quickly slipped into the room, deadbolted the door and hooked the security chain.

I could hear him get up. He pounded on the door.

“Let me in you fucking bitch!”

His insult didn’t motivate me to open the door.

“Keep pounding and someone’s going to call the cops,” I said through the door. “They’re all my friends so that wouldn’t work out very well for you.”

The pounding stopped.

“That’s better. I’m going to have a chat with Hannah and then I’ll let you back in, OK?”

He didn’t really have any choice.

“OK,” he said in a dejected voice. I’d had my share of bullies and knew how to put them in their place.

Hannah was practically slumped in front of me, high on something. Her eyes were glossy and wet.

“What’s up Hannah?”

“I’m … I’m OK,” she told me, though not convincingly. I looked closely at the fresh bruises on her arms. She’d clearly been hit, probably by the asshole outside.

“No you’re not,” I insisted. “I know what OK looks like and you’re not OK. Are you using?”

She nodded.


She nodded again. She looked like a meth head. The sallow complexion. The waiflike appearance. The nervous tic.

“So what were you and …”


“So what were you and Bobby fighting about?”


“It didn’t sound like nothing. I was having pleasurable sex next door and my partner insisted I see what the fuck was going on here, so tell me.”

“Bobby … uh found something that belonged to someone else and we were trying to decide if we should return it.”

“Does your decision making include him hitting you?”

“He didn’t mean nothing by it.”

Typical battered woman excuse. Unfortunately I wasn’t going to be able to save her with a five minute visit.

“OK Hannah, what is it that you were fighting about?”

“I can’t …”

It was the middle of the night. I didn’t have time to play these games. Besides, Courtney was waiting for me and she made a promise to take me to sexual nirvana.

“God damn it Hannah. Tell me now or I call the cops.”

“OK, OK.”

She reached under the bed and pulled out a cream colored Louis Vuitton calfskin handbag. She handed it to me.

I opened it and pulled out the matching wallet and looked at the driver’s license.

It said, “DaVanna Caruso.”


DaVanna was an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney that I ran across when I helped my friend Nicky discharge $35,000 she owed as protection money. We were on semi-friendly terms, but I felt we would be crossing swords soon. She was dirty, and I was going to prove it. Maybe this was an omen.

The wallet still had money in it. I flipped though the bills. There ukraynalı escort must have been at least $500. Bobby must have “acquired” the purse very recently. I pulled all the money out of the wallet and gave it to Hannah.

“This is yours … consider it a finder’s fee.”

Hannah’s face lit up. “Thanks!”

“It’s our secret, right?”


“If you want, you can buy yourself a bus ticket to someplace else. I don’t think Bobby’s the right person for you.”

“OK,” she said, though I doubted she heard what I said, or had anyplace else to go.

“Now I’m going outside to talk to Bobby. You guys just be a little quieter, OK?”

She nodded. She and Bobby were likely going to use the money to go on a long bender. The condemned life of a drug addict.

I opened the door. Bobby was sitting on the floor with his knees up against his chest, shivering in the cold night air with a good case of road rash on his face. Docile as a housecat.

“Get up,” I told him.

He did. My voice had the authority that compelled obedience.

I waved the bag in front of him. “Listen Bobby, I know this purse was stolen …”

He started to protest. I held out my hand.

“Bobby, I’m not an idiot. People don’t just leave Louis Vuitton bags out on the sidewalk. Now look. I’ve given Hannah all the money out of the wallet. That’s really what’s of value to you. I’m going to take this purse and return it to its rightful owner. Now you don’t know who that is, do you?”

“No I swear. I don’t know who owns it.”

I believed him.

“You’re free to go. Go easier on Hannah, will you?”

“Uh huh.”

“Are you right handed or left handed Bobby?”

“What? Right handed. Who the fuck cares?”

“Bobby, if I see you again I’m going to break your right arm. Do you understand?”

I twisted his right arm until he winced. “Do you understand me?”

“Yeah … sure.” I think after he heard that I gave the cash to Hannah he stopped listening. He didn’t move.

I gave him a swift kick in the ass.

“Go on. Get the fuck out of here.”

He went into the room and shut the door softly behind him. I went back into our room, holding the purse. It was kind of hard for Courtney not to notice that I was holding a Louis Vuitton bag. It didn’t match my tattered jeans.

Courtney sat up in bed. Bless her heart she was still naked. “Where’d you get the fancy bag?”

“Junkies next door had it. They were fighting over it.”

“Is that all it was?”

“Uh huh.”

“Knock-off?” she asked me. She rightfully assumed that no one in the right mind would be carrying a real one in the West End.

“Afraid not,” I told her, plopping the bag down on a guest chair. DaVanna Caruso wouldn’t be caught dead with a fake one.

“That one’s five grand, maybe more,” she said.

“You must have one of them.”

“Actually I have two, in different colors. I have this cream color, but I also have one in red.”

I picked up the bag and sashayed around the room. “Of course. I wouldn’t be caught dead without at least two of these,” I said haughtily.

“Fuck you Max.”

I dropped the bag on the floor.

“I was hoping for that.”

I pulled my tee over my head and my braless tits flopped out. I dropped my jeans and kicked them off.

“I’ve got something for you,” I told her, lying next to her on the bed, as naked as she was.

“You shouldn’t have,” said Courtney. She leaned over and gave my nipple a loving suck.

“Ummm,” I told her.

She sucked on the other one.

She looked at me with her bright eyes. “I’m an equal opportunity sucker,” she proclaimed.

“Stop talking,” I told her. I mussed her hair while she made sloppy love to my breasts.

“You’re getting carried away,” I told her. Her drool was literally dripping off my tits.

“Can’t help it,” she said, then resumed the tongue bath.

“Pussy needs attention,” I told her.

“Shut up.”

I kept my trap shut, and her fingers worked their magic on my pussy as she sucked on my nipples to her heart’s content.

“That’s it Courtney,” I told her when she found that sweet rhythm that’ll take you to the promised land.

Her fingers worked faster. It was inevitable now. All systems were firing as one. My tits, my pussy and my ass.

“Yes, fuck yes,” I yelled, not caring that Bobby and Hannah would hear us.

“Mphhhh,” she said, raking my nipple with her teeth.

My hips raised up, straining for the ceiling.

“Uhhhh,” I grunted. She was a glorious cum master and I was her puppet.

She kept going until she sensed I was fucked out. I melted into the bedsheets.

“Thank you Courtney,” I told her, sleepily and lovingly.

The handbag was long forgotten.

* * *

There’s nothing like waking up next to a naked woman. It was exactly 4:30 a.m. My body was programmed to wake up at that time. Courtney was still spooned up against me, fast asleep. Her arm was draped over my midsection, and even asleep, she was cupping my breast. I knew I wasn’t going to go back to sleep, so I carefully lifted up her arm and slid out of bed. I pulled up the covers over my sleeping beauty. She had taken her make-up off, and the gel in her short, dark hair was washed out with last night’s shower. She was natural, and I liked her even better that way.

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