The Hinky Genie Lamp
Hinky Chicago – Book Four
Hinky pinky at the rinky
Hinky Squad senior investigator Jewel goes undercover, seeking pink smog…at a roller derby rink!
Her sex demon Randy declares his mistress shouldn’t wear fishnets and roller skates. He’s driving Jewel to therapy.
Her junior partner and former con artist Clay Dawes should be hunting a genie, but the sex goddess possessing his body would rather play roller derby. Clay’s secrets could ruin him with Jewel…and his rival Randy knows them all.
Before the bout is over, will Clay be exposed? Will Randy’s sex-demon curse be undone? Will Jewel save the derby girls from the pink stuff?
“Lena Sacker!” Jewel Heiss felt that warm glow a woman gets when she’s treating a woman she doesn’t like with respect. She shouldered her cell phone against her ear, put her ancient Tercel in first gear, and coaxed her bumper closer to the car ahead. “Hey, girl, it’s been a while!” Not since you made porn with my boyfriend, she added mentally. “’Sup?”
“Hi, Jewel. I need kind of a professional courtesy.”
“Like what? I give somebody a ticket, you give somebody a blow job?”
Lena ignored that. “Would it interest you to know that the pink stuff is appearing somewhere new, where it’ll be easy to study?”
“Hell yes.” Jewel crawled the Tercel south along Lake Shore Drive with her sex demon partner silent in the passenger seat. A pink veil shimmered against the blue and steel of late-summer thunderheads above, the sign of a dangerous commute. Disappearances in the pink stuff were up this summer. Da mayor had expressed concern. Like she could do anything about it. “Not in public, I hope. We can’t afford more news coverage.”
This was an understatement. The slower traffic got, the lower the pink smog sank onto the expressway. To the left, the lake sent sparkles winking through a pink haze. Half a mile ahead, where Lake Shore bent to the left at Michigan Avenue, the road—and the bumper-to-bumper traffic—disappeared completely. Only the flag on top of The Drake Hotel stuck up out of that uncanny fog. Jewel felt her chest tighten.
“Not public. Laboratory conditions,” Lena said.
“At your company?” Like I’m ever setting foot in that place again.
Lena Sacker was half owner of the porn company that had hired Randy to, uh, perform when Jewel had temporarily kicked him out of bed and out of her apartment, some weeks ago. The porn factory had been lousy with hinky stuff. All due to the high concentration of sex, Randy had claimed.
Sacker said, “No, at our practice space in Cicero.”
“Cicero. That’s out of my jurisdiction.”
“Perfect. Then there will be no stain on your record if the pink stuff gets really thick and eats a dozen people in the audience,” Lena said breezily.
Jewel sucked in a breath. “You win. What’s happening in Cicero?”
“Roller derby!” Jewel let loose a laugh. “As in mudless mud wrestling? Knee pads and fishnet stockings? Do people still do that?”
“We do,” Lena said.
Jewel geared down and let the Tercel idle, helpless and immobilized in the pink stuff. “I guess we can stop by. Unofficially.”
Cars ahead of them were fading as the pink stuff sank lower and lower, nearer and nearer.
She didn’t want to admit how deeply grateful she felt to be on the phone with somebody who sounded calm. The pink stuff made Jewel anxious. In spite of the heat, she rolled up her window and signaled to Randy to do the same.
“I’m not happy about it either. My girls are being affected. Tonight’s a practice. It’s happened two nights in a row, so I’m betting it’ll come again tonight. Six o’clock. I’ll leave your name at the door so you can get in. If anybody asks, you’re a reporter doing a newspaper article. Park next door.” Lena gave her the address of the practice space.
“Thanks.” Jewel smelled a set-up. “How do I find you?”
“I’ll be on the track, jamming as sacker tart.”
“You’ll be how much, where, with pastry?” Jewel said, picturing naked Jello-wrestling, but Lena had hung up. “That was Lena Sacker, your co-star from Hot Pink Studios,” she said to the sex demon in the passenger seat. “She’s found hinky stuff at, get this, her roller derby practice.”
“I’ll call Clay,” Randy said, pulling out his own phone.
Randy loved his cell phone. For two hundred years he hadn’t owned so much as a TV or a pair of pants, and he used his phone as often as he could. Now that he had a paycheck, too, Jewel didn’t object.
She said, “Provided we survive this pink shit, we can exit at Michigan, swing east, and pick him up on the office front steps.”
Jewel was senior investigator of the Hinky Division of Chicago’s Department of Consumer Services, protecting citizens as best she could from magical mishaps without ever, ever mentioning the word “magic.” Clay and Randy both worked under her. Which was a total joke. Clay worked when he felt like it, and Randy was under her—and all over her—and inside her, day and night.
She guessed she had to call him her boyfriend now.
Randy murmured into his phone.
The pink smog seemed to press against her windshield and the window beside her. She switched her engine off.
For something to do besides panic, Jewel watched Randy. His black hair was longer now, pulled back in a ponytail that softened the aristocratic planes of his face. He always wore a crisp, white, tailored shirt with his favorite black Armani suit or, as now, with blue jeans. He looked hot and poised and relaxed and powerful. She loved listening to his fancy English accent, even when he was annoying her with his English lord ego.
Earlier that summer, while undercover busting a fake sex therapist, she had released him from the “treatment bed” and acquired a hinky roommate…a roommate who would stop at nothing to give her an orgasm…a roommate who was ruthless about getting his own way.
He made her crazy. She was quite aware that she was hopelessly addicted to his mojo.
His black eyes, sometimes soft, sometimes sharp as jet, narrowed as he spoke to his former rival.
Be nice to Clay, she prayed. She hadn’t slept with Clay in a while, not since Randy had made it clear in his maddening way that he cared. Clay was their teammate in the department. They all had to work together. Randy was still jealous of him.
Randy frowned, listening to the phone, and his lips tightened. Then he glanced over at her. Her heart lurched. As if he knew how she felt, he reached out and touched her hand, and she suffered a ripple of ecstasy that shouldn’t happen unless a person was actually getting laid by someone with godlike pleasuring powers.
As he glanced over at her, their eyes locked, and suddenly she was falling, falling into him, thinking, I want you, I want to be with you, I want to vanish into you. The world swam around her. Scary, but good. Good and scary. Like he always said to her, Are you aroused because you’re afraid, or afraid because you’re aroused?
Behind them, a car honked. The pink stuff was fading.
Jewel blinked, and put the car in gear.
Randy smiled a little, then went back to tightening his lips at the phone, where Clay was no doubt being annoying.
There had been something so patronizing in that smile. I know how you feel. And it’s okay.
It was not okay. It shook her. Her heart thumped and her tummy felt unsettled.
At last Randy tucked his phone away. “Clay prefers to stay at the office. Things to do.”
“What things?” Those two always irritated each other. She should have called Clay herself.
“He declined to inform me.”
Jewel resolved to discuss this with Clay at length, when Randy wasn’t around. Clay used to be a con artist—most recently, a fake sex therapist—but that was over. At least, she hoped it was over. The thought of what he might get up to away from her supervision didn’t help her anxiety level.
“Turn on the radio,” she said. “It’s almost time for ‘Ask Your Shrink.’”
“—Understand you’re uncomfortable in traffic. Are you remembering to breathe?” came the voice of Your Shrink, calm and faintly Teutonic, like a cross between Sigmund Freud and your mom.
“I’m afraid to breathe! What if that stuff gets into my lungs?”
“Breathe, breathe. You are strong and you are safe. There is no danger.”
Jewel listened as Your Shrink talked the motorist, who was probably stopped in traffic somewhere within a hundred yards of them right now, off his window ledge. Your Shrink talked a good Hinky Policy line. “Don’t ask, don’t tell, cope.” Her voice was soothing, even if she was full of bullshit.
There couldn’t be a soul left in Chicago who didn’t know the city was under siege by weird magical phenomena, like a lot of cities around the world. But da mayor’s Hinky Policy actually seemed to be working. Chicagoans coped. Creatively, resentfully, or simply trying to turn a dollar on the hinky stuff, they coped.
Jewel herself called in to “Ask Your Shrink” fairly often, although she never used her real name. It was the closest to therapy she could ever get. She knew too much that could never be told.
The derby practice track occupied a big-box retail building that had once anchored a mall on Cicero’s northern edge. Inside the cavernous room, women in tights jogged slowly around on an oval track taped on the concrete. A set of cheap metal bleachers sat on one side. Jewel and Randy climbed to seats on the top row.
More women trickled out onto the floor and started warming up. Jewel saw that they wore uniform jerseys with their names printed on their backs: Irrita Belle, Stun Bunny, Rapture Snatch, Bichon Frizzy. They jogged. They pranced. They kicked their own butts with their heels. They leapfrogged.
Which one would be Lena? Only a few girls had fashion-perfect bodies. They seemed to be all sizes, from tall down to shrimpy, from scrawny to fridge-shaped to spherical.
She stole a glance at Randy. Was he interested?
Of course he was. His black eyes were bright. He leaned forward, elbows on his knees, watching. His very name was a dirty joke, and one he had fully embraced in his two-hundred-years’ servitude as an incubus haunting a brass bed.
Of course the derby girls turned him on.
Jewel stifled a sigh.
After they jogged, the derby girls stretched. Then they did push-ups for an appalling length of time. Jewel got tired just watching. After the push-ups—man-style, she noted—came sit-ups and leg lifts. On and on and on. Good grief. Jewel considered herself to be in adequate shape for someone with half a desk job. That looked like it hurt.
“What are we waiting for?” Randy said.
“Pink stuff,” she said out of the side of her mouth. “But we can’t identify ourselves as Department of Consumer Services.”
He nodded intelligently. “Undercover.” Randy loved going undercover.
Finally the team put on skates and about fifty-seven pads, helmets, and scary-looking tooth-guard things that made them look like boxers.
Then they skated.
Jewel’s breath caught.
At first they just rolled around in a mob, about thirty of them. Some seemed to be pushing for speed. Some skated on one foot, then the other. Some skated backwards. The one labeled Donna Draper did goofy stunts like putting one ankle behind her head and skating on the other foot. Somebody went down with a whoop, who? Fist Kist, a big girl with a high, hard stomach. That had to hurt. But the others calmly skated around the fallen girl, and she got right up and skated on.
They were fast and strong, sexy in their tank tops and kneepads, totally focused, whizzing past one another with inches to spare, fearless. Jewel felt a stab of envy.
In that moment, she thought, I want that.
An hour into the practice they took a long break. Randy got up and stalked off to the men’s room. Jewel sat, stunned and charmed and fascinated, her butt going flat on the hard bench. She tingled all over. I’m not strong enough to do that, she thought. But I could be.
“Let me guess,” somebody said in her ear. “Sometime in the past hour you said to yourself, ‘I want that.’”
We hope you have enjoyed this sample of
by Jennifer Stevenson