Rosemaria Baker, former homicide detective and brand-new deputy district attorney, stood sipping her morning cup of coffee, staring out the sliding glass door of the small one-bedroom apartment she shared with Josh Sibley. Suzi the cockatoo sat on her perch near the window, spitting seeds as she crunched on her breakfast. There wasn’t much furniture yet. They had moved in three weeks ago and still hadn’t had time to shop for more. They had a bed, a small dining table, two chairs, and a couch from a thrift shop. That was about it, but to Rosemaria, it was heaven. Any place she shared with Josh was fine with her. She had to admit she had turned into a sentimental slob. Her entire personality had changed because of that big lug she was nuts about.
They lived on the third floor of a Mediterranean-style stucco apartment building in West Hollywood that had probably been around since Greta Garbo was buying up Rodeo Drive and Joan Crawford revealed what a truly ungifted dancer she was in Our Dancing Daughters. Crawford was almost as terrifyingly bad as Elaine in Seinfeld. Rosemaria had actually watched Our Dancing Daughters with her mother at a revival theater in the Fairfax district. Her mother, a failed actress and now deceased, loved old movies from the twenties, thirties, and forties and knew all the old stories of Hollywood. She shared them with her young daughter as if they were magical fairy tales of impossibly beautiful heroines and handsome leading men, some flawed, some victims of tragedy, but living in a world her mother wanted with all her heart and soul to become a part of. But it never happened. Success eluded her, and Rosemaria believed her mother died, not of a coronary thrombosis as the doctors had told her and her father, but of rejection and unfulfilled dreams.
Witnessing her mother’s deep disappointment had turned Rosemaria off show business forever, or so she thought. Inexplicably, that turned out not to be true. Now, she was madly and hopelessly in love with a musician and singer who was steeped in the business. Go figure. Not only was he in show business, an anathema to her, but he also had briefly been a murder suspect in an investigation she had led two years ago, and he had been drinking a lot then. But somehow, despite the whole deck of cards being stacked against them, including a year apart after she fled to New York to get him out of her system, they found their way back to each other. She couldn’t imagine life without him.
This morning, she had an appointment with her new boss, Neelen Summers, the assistant deputy head D.A. at the Los Angeles Superior Court Airport Courthouse near LAX, where county prosecutors had their offices on the sixth floor. After several interviews with LA County high mucke ty-mucks, she had met with Frank Lattimer, the head deputy D.A. who was Summers’s immediate superior, and she had been hired. Even though she had gone to a no-name law school, she had graduated at the top of her class and had passed the bar in both New York and California with flying colors. It helped that she had a sterling record her first year as an ADA in Manhattan and that she was given high recommendations by both Captain Hubbard and Lieutenant Manley of the Beverly Hills Police Department. But now she had to prove she had what it took to be in an LA County courtroom instead of working vice on the streets of Hollywood and investigating murders as well as other high crimes and misdemeanors committed by the famous and not-so-famous denizens of Beverly Hills. She was excited but nervous as well. She looked at the alarm clock on the nightstand. It was only seven. She didn’t have to be in the office till nine. She had crept out of bed while Josh was still asleep, which gave her plenty of time to drink a few cups of coffee, but that only made her even more jittery. Josh had stumbled past her after she had consumed two cups of coffee and given her a quick peck on the cheek before heading for the bathroom.
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