If Rick had married Kyra, there would be no Alexis to ground him. You may not like this Castle.

Based on “When the Bough Breaks.”

The doorbell rang insistently.
“What time is it?” Only a grunt from the other side of the bed.
“Oh never mind. I’ll see to it.” Kyra pulled a fine silk kimono, purchased on a recent trip to Japan to launch the translated Derek Storm series, over her Myriam Girard silk nightgown and staggered to the door.
Through the peephole, she could see a bright blue eye and a severely tweezed eyebrow.
“Good morning, Paula! What brings you here so early?”
“Could you get Ricky, Kyra? I’ve been on the phone since yesterday evening.”
“Certainly. Would you like coffee or would that get you too frazzled?” Kyra said as she hurried to the bedroom. “Wake up, Rick. Paula is here and she seems very agitated.”
“Oh god,” muttered her husband. “Is the book launch today? What does she need me for? I just have to show up.”
“She said she’d been on the phone for hours. It must be important. She doesn’t seem to have been to have slept.”
Rick rolled out of bed. He sat on the edge, naked. Kyra wondered what time he got in the night before. She had gone to bed at midnight as usual and read for some time after that. Rick looked tired. His eyes were red and pouchy. His hand hung between his knees. Kyra sniffed. He could do with a shower too.
“Wash your face and brush your teeth, Rick. You’ll feel much better.”
“I’m fine!,” he snapped, but he headed for the ensuite bathroom.
Kyra mentally reviewed the bathroom cabinet. There was aspirin and Alka-Seltzer as well as toothpaste and mouthwash. Rick could be presentable.
Swiftly she dressed in LuluLemon yoga pants and a Betsey Johnson top and sped out to their guest.
Paula knew the loft well and had made herself coffee. Kyra found bagels and set them out with cream cheese, smoked salmon, crunchy peanut butter and rhubarb jam for a quick breakfast.
“Toasted?” she asked Rick’s agent.
“Please, sweetie. Just a schmeer of cream cheese and lots of lox. And only a half, okay?” Pula took a gulp of her black coffee. “I am running on fumes. Such a night as I’ve had… I want to share but… where the fuck is Rick?”
Rick emerged from the bed room, wearing a bathrobe. Kyra was fairly certain that that was all he was wearing. He better not sit on the couch, she thought. He had a tendency to sprawl and the dressing gown was only loosely fastened. Well, Paula wouldn’t be shocked by some inadvertent exhibitionism. Nothing she hadn’t seen, and more intimately, Kyra thought bitterly.
She shook off the bitterness. She liked Paula and she was a damn good agent.
‘You are not going to believe this!’ cried Paula.
‘Paula.’ yawned Rick
‘You are so not going to believe this!’
‘What are you doing here?’
‘I can’t even believe it!’
‘Believe what?!’
‘I can’t tell you.’
‘I’m still dreaming, aren’t I? I’m having the dream where my book agent has shown up at my house at seven AM to not tell me something.’
‘Okay, it’s not official yet, but, you, my dear, are at the top of their list. And I can’t give you any more details than that.’
‘Do you want some coffee? I’d love to sit down and not discuss this further.’
‘I will tell you this. It’s a major re-launch of a major franchise. A three-book deal and they want you.’
‘Heat Wave comes out in less than a week. The launch party — which you arranged — is Monday night. I’m trying to launch my own character, why would I want to get involved with someone else’s?’
‘What if I told you the character in question is a certain British secret agent?’
‘You mean it’s gonna be–‘
‘Shhh! Don’t say it, you’ll jinx it.’
‘He’s the reason I became a writer.’
‘I know!’
‘I mean, he’s the coolest spy I ever–‘
‘He’s got gadgets, he’s got babes, he’s got–‘
‘And the payday’s unbelievable.’
‘And they want me for three new books?’
Castle’s phone rang.
‘Yes, now are you going to get that? ‘cause an unanswered phone gives me agita.’
He checked the caller ID.  ‘It’s Beckett. A body must have dropped. Uh, I’ll call her back. What other details can’t you tell me?’

When Rick passed over Beckett’s call for Paula’s news, Kyra was… well she was unsure how she felt. The news from England was very exciting, but she probably even more delighted that the contract would pull her husband away from his American muse.
Paula left, all stiletto heels and air kisses. Rick had demolished three bagels, all the cream cheese and much of the peanut butter as they discussed the offer.
“What a wonderful opportunity. You’d do such a great job with Bond. The last couple of novels just went through the motions. You would give him back his flair.”
“I wonder if I could set the book in the US,” mused Rick. “I’m not sure I want to return to the UK for extended research.”
“It could be fun,” suggested Kyra.”We could see all the places we meant to first time around. We kept going places, then never getting out of our hotel room.”
Rick gave her his sexy, downright dirty, smirk. “Yeah, a tour of the third-rate hotels of England. Remember the dump in Blackpool?”
“Where the bed collapsed and the landlady tried to charge us for it? I don’t think my back recovered for months!”
Rick dropped onto the chesterfield and Kyra saw she had been justified in suspecting that Rick had not much bothered with clothing. She also saw that his delight in the offer was showing as a stiffening cock.
She slid down over him, grasping his erection and kissing him soundly. He slid one big hand under her sweater and played with her firm and bra free breasts. His other hand cupped her ass then slipped inside her yoga pants to play with her clit. For a few moments, hands busy caressing, they grinned deliriously. Then Rick pulled down her pants and flipped her onto her back.
His cock was poised at her entrance, teasing her with his tip and she arched to encourage him to enter. He slid in, and Kyra groaned with pleasure. His cock was proportional to his body and Rick was a big man. Kyra groaned again as he pulled back and she flexed her kegels to pull him back in. She wrapped her legs around his waist and he pinned her arms above her head on the couch cushions. He was completely in control, just the way he liked it. Which was fine with Kyra. He was always conscientious about helping her to find her orgasm, after he had come.
As he rode her to his climax, his phone rang again.

Castle was late to the crime scene and the cops had fun making it sound more lurid than it was. Although finding a woman in a manhole two days dead was lurid enough.
“Jeez, Castle, you’re acting weird,” said Esposito.
“Interesting times since you left me at the Old Haunt yesterday evening.”
“You look like you missed some of your beauty sleep. What time did you get to bed?”
“You left just after nine? Less than half an hour after you guys wimped out on me.” Rick smirked.”But I didn’t get home until about two.
“Then my agent came by with some excellent news about seven am and Kyra and I had a little celebration on the couch.”
“You could be a little less forthcoming, Castle,” complained Ryan.
“The great thing about being married is, you never have to worry about where your next fuck is coming from. Cause she’s right there whenever you get the notion.”
Beckett strolled over. ”  Ah, morning. Look who decided to grace us with his presence.
Did you have something more important to do, Castle?’
He gazed innocently into her eyes. “I got held up at home. Is that the body?’
‘Yeah, it’s on the way to the morgue. ‘ Ryan indicated the body bag.
‘What, did you want us to wait?’
Esposito added, ‘It’s too bad too, your kind of case, bro.’
And Ryan ran with it, ‘Yeah, body was found down the manhole over there half-eaten.’
‘Yeah, it was covered in some kind of green slime.’
‘Yeah, it was creepy.’
‘As if someone or something is down there.’
Castle noticed they were kidding him ,’ Ah, that’s…okay, very funny, that’s great. Was there a body down the manhole?’
Beckett had returned, ‘
‘Okay, thank you, an adult.’
But he wasn’t getting off all that easy.
‘Yeah, you should have seen what else was down there. Two metal canisters with bio-hazard stickers and yellow powder inside of it.’ She walked off.
‘You opened the… All right. Will someone please tell me what’s really going on here?’
“Castle, are you coming?” called Beckett from the end of the alley where her unit was parked.
“And then there are the challenges.” mused Rick . And he loped off to join her.
“He’s good company and I do like hanging with him, “ said Espo.
“But you feel sorry for his wife, too?”

The day had been busy and the officers were unsure if they would attend Castle’s book launch until they heard the magic words, “Open Bar”.
Now they were holding up the bar, watching Castle’s groupies surge around them.
“Not as many hotties as Castle would like us to believe.”
“Mostly nice women with too many cats, “ agreed Ryan ”Lots of media types though.”
“And we finally meet the mysterious Kyra. And she’s terrific. Why would anyone cheat on a gorgeous woman like that?”
“And personality. And brains. Shit, just because he can, I suppose, That woman from Amazon is pretty hot, though.”
“Well, I did try,” said Espo, “But she’s definitely here on business.”
“Castle was flirting pretty hard with her though. Oh, hey, there’s Beckett. Talk about smokin’!”
Kyra saw the camera flashes as Beckett entered. She had only met Detective Beckett briefly and in her work clothes, but tonight she had opted for glamour.
She was tall, easily six inches taller than Kyra, and wore four inch heels that brought her almost to eye level with Rick. Her slim form was in a dark blue Hervé Legère cocktail dress that exposed half her breasts and suggested curves where she had few.  Her bobbed hair was perfectly coiffed, and her makeup was set on sultry.  Kyra watched her husband, who had been circulating, signing books and the occasional bosom, bound over to her.
They spoke quietly, intimately. In their body language, Kyra saw a lot of sexual tension. They stood just a little closer than colleagues, but not as close as lovers.When they spoke it was with eyes as much as words.
Kyra looked again at the dedication. “For the extraordinary KB and all my friends at the 12th”. Nothing too obvious. “Extraordinary”, flattering, even seductive.
He was after her, but she was not yet snared.
Kyra had been here before. She and Rick shared so little these days, she almost didn’t blame him. She had so little to offer. Some gossip about the women she sat on committees with. Occasional deep background information on stocks from one of the more chatty wives, who was constantly putting her husband in jeopardy of insider trading and stock manipulation charges.  Rick had used some of her gossip as springboards for Derek Storm plots, before he got tired of Storm.
Paula dropped on a chair at Kyra and Martha’s table, where they sat in their usual silence.
“It’s going pretty well. A couple of the reviewers have already told me they love Nikki Heat. And that cow from Amazon didn’t argue too much about the eBook prices. Ricky wants to go with them over Apple, even if the per sale take is less. He figures the market is bigger and more established than Apple.”
“Also his demographic is more attached to the Kindle pricing than Apple’s high concept/ high price product, “ mused Kyra.
“Good point. Amazon is best for the flyover states and offshore sales too. They already cover the world. Speaking of which, that’s Gerry Schwartz. Heather Reisman must be here somewhere.”
“I know her. We were guests at their Muskoka cottage a couple of years ago. Makes our Hampton place look like a shack.  Would you like me to introduce you?”
“We’ve been introduced. We worked out that cross-Canada reading tour for Storm Warning at her bookchain. You have not seen podunk towns until you have seen Canadian podunk towns.”
“Rick said he enjoyed it. Especially Saskatoon.”
“Hell, he liked Iqaluit. In winter. He admired the architecture. But we both hated Fort McMurray. There’s an overpriced dump for you.”
“I wonder if Rick would let me come along when he tours Nikki Heat. I’d like to get out of the city more.”
Paula looked sharply at Kyra. “He really does work on these tours you know. Radio, local TV, signings. I keep him busy.”
“Paula, Rick could not have a better agent than you. Just bringing in that offer this morning was huge.”
“Richard has so many women in his life, “ said Martha suddenly, “I sometime wonder where he would be without you and Gina. His accountant, Mike, is a smart woman too. And of course I may have contributed a little something to his success.
“But excuse me ladies, I think I just got a ping on my greydar. Nice suit, no ring, and talking to one of the cat ladies. I think he needs rescuing.” Martha sailed off.
“Does she do that a lot?” asked Paula.
“Run after men? Constantly. And keeps them as long as she likes too. I think her only failures were Rick’s father, whoever he was, and that husband who ran off with all her money and her understudy.”
“Actually, I meant, leaving you out of her list of Rick’s important women. You’re the one he married.”
“And she may never forgive me for stealing her baby boy. Just as my mother may never forgive him for marrying me while we were still in university. She blames him that I didn’t finish my degree.”
“Did Rick finish? He had one successful book while he was still in school.”
“Yes, but he ran through almost all the money before the year was out. Then we
married, and used the last of it for a European honeymoon. When we got home, I found
out how broke we really were, but he finished his degree and wrote his next book while I
quit and worked as a waiter and a shop clerk to keep us going.”
“He was lucky to have you.”
“Not according to our mothers. Martha thinks I am too prim and my mother is still
expecting Rick to end up teaching at a third rate college in New Hampshire.”
“Hah! He’d need at least a Master’s for that! He’d better stick to writing. No paper
qualifications needed. Have you ever thought of going back to university? “
“I don’t know if I know how to study any more. And Rick doesn’t see any reason for me
to finish.”
“Not even for your own satisfaction? What were you studying?”
“Journalism and Media”
“Hey! That’s what I did! Not that it was real useful once I got into the market. The intern
and summer work I did got me my first real job, and then I basically made it on my own.
Though I must admit, getting assigned to Ricky early on was huge. “
“You have done a lot for him.”
Paula knew her own worth and was not shy.
“Yeah. I have. I practically invented his persona. The roguish playboy really plays well
with the cat ladies.”
“Will that continue with the new character?”
“He’s always written women well. And the cat ladies can imagine themselves in her
place, just like they imagined themselves in Derek Storm’s bed. He’s writing Nikki Heat
sexier than any of those women, more in charge of herself, which should go over with
the guys. They liked Derek’s balls to the wall attitude, but Nikki has that and is also kind
of slutty. A lot of guys like sluts and women who dominate their men.”
“Detective Beckett doesn’t strike me as being slutty though.”
“Well, we only see her in public. Maybe Rick is seeing something of her that is more
“Or it could be his imagination.”
Paula gave a sideways glance at Rick’s wife. “Of course. Writers are very imaginative.”
Kyra was watching Rick with Detective Beckett. Although, in that dress, she was more
woman, less cop. His arm rested on a bar table, a few inches away from her but curved
around her body. She was tall enough in her stilettos to look directly into his eyes, and
her eyes never left his.

Kevin and Javi had given up on finding any hot girls at the party. Deciding to leave, they looked around to say goodbye to Rick, but he was nowhere to be seen.

“Well, the missus is over there with that scary looking’ babe. Or we could just ghost.’ said Kevin.
“I;d like to meet Mrs. Castle without Rick around. Let’s just say hello and goodbye.’
The two detectives over heard “James Bond’ as they arrived at the women’s table.
‘We really should be getting along,’ said Kevin.’ Work in the morning.’
“Please sit with us for a moment, Rick mentions you both often, but this is the first time I’ve been able to put faces to the names,’ Kyra’s smile lit her face.
Paula was checking out Kevin’s shoulders. Kyra had never seen her on the prowl before. She giggled, unable to suppress it and fearing for the man’s chastity.
‘What were you saying about Bond, James Bond? Have you seen the new movie?’
‘Um, it was just in passing. But no I haven’t sen it. Daniel Craig seems to be getting great reviews as Bond though.’
‘I’m old school. I still can’t get Sean Connery out of my head.’
“How would you even have seen him, detective Esposito?’
“My dad was a big fan, he got all the movies on tape as soon they came out. He had to replace them at least once that I remember.’
‘That’s loyalty! Does he have them on DVD now too or has he gone to Blu-ray?’
‘I dunno, I haven’t seen him since I joined the forces.’
Paula covered the awkward pause by signalling a waiter for more drinks, beers for the men an champagne for the women.
Kyra sipped, ‘Pula this is real champagne! Black Pawn must have a lot of faith in Nikki Heat.’
‘The story’s good and the detail about police work feels pretty accurate.’
Rick does his research.’ Kyra agreed, absently, spotting her husband steering Detective Beckett toward an older man she recognized as a critic for the Washington Post. His big hand was on her waist, almost possessively. Rick was a very tactile man.
Paula follow her glance and jumped up, ‘Ah, I’d better go protect your colleague from that old per.’ she said.
Kevin laughed.”I don’t think you have to worry about Beckett, she always has her badge and handcuffs with her.’
‘Then may be I should go protect the old per from being arrested. Not a good way to schmooze the critics.’
‘I gotta see this, ‘ said Kevin, rising with her.
Javi stayed with Kyra, watching the little drama work its way or gracefully
“That Paula really watches out for Castle.”

‘A lot of people do. i was very concerned when he got involved with the Flowers for her Grave case. I bought him the kevlar vest you know. Rick thinks he’s immortal and really doesn’t understand how many people are taking care of him.’
‘Like a kid , sometimes.’

‘Success came early and easy. He went from his mother to me. And his books have all sold well so his publisher will do anything for their cash cow. He ‘has a guy’ for  practically anything.’

“Some of them are pretty surprising. He told you about the dominatrix case?”
‘A little. I think she scared him. Maybe she could make him behave like a grown up.’
“I don’t think that’s how they work. I think they allow the john to be infantile.’
‘Mmm. Rick’s got that down…. Sorry, too much champagne. i didn’t mean that.’
‘You did.’
Kyra blushed. “Too much champagne. Leave it at that.’
‘So how about them Mets, huh?”
Kyra laughed and Esposito gave her a cocky grin.
‘Do you come here often? Is this seat taken? Would you like to dance? Can I buy you a drink?”
Kyra had to cover her face to stop laughing the corny pickup lines.
‘Oh dear. Do any of those work?’
“Well, I’m still single at thirty seven, so I guess not.”
“Is that the purpose of pickups? Finding a spouse?’
Kyra’s tone was more sober
‘In the short term? No. But what kind of girl would I find in a bar? There are some nice women at work, but nothing has been right yet. I go to a lot of weddings.”
“Yeah. If you know either bride or groom you have an good idea who their friends and relatives are. So more chance of compatibility, right?’
‘We met in school.”
‘What? Oh, you and Castle.’

‘Yes, we took an English lit class and he sat beside me on the first day.’
‘Ah– Is this seat taken?– see it does work.’
Kyra laughed again.

‘Your friend looks quite taken with Paula.’
‘The dragon lady? Not his usual type. I mean we’ve doubled a few times and he usually goes for  short blondes.’
‘He’s not her type either. Well, he’s male, but quieter and less aggressive.’
‘She’s aggressive enough herself’
‘She’s Rick’s agent and publicist. That’s her job.When they do book tours she pulling in the media and chasing off the groupies.’

‘Are all the groupies like these?’
‘The cat ladies?’
‘Yeah from what Castle says at the station the groupies are all twenty something hotties.’
‘Well, twenty year old hotties read too- especially the campus types- although Rick doesn’t do colleges much.’
‘Wrong demographic?’
‘They buy e-books rather than paper, but the thing is too many writing majors who either want him to critique their angst novels or failed novelists and poets being snobbish about mass popularity.’
‘I like Castle’s books. Storm was a good slick read. Very James Bond but more modern, more…. empathetic.’
‘The series, Bond, is over seventy years old. I should hope there have been some updates to attitudes.

The waiter came by and refreshed their drinks. Kyra and Javi did not notice. Nearly an hour later, Javi noted that room was getting quiet. Most of the crowd was gone. Rick and Beckett had disappeared as had Martha and her new friend.
Kevin was dozing on a booth on the other side of the hall, several beer glasses in front of him. Paula was manoeuvring the last of the meeds out the door , where several taxis waited.
‘Oh my, Javi, I’ve been chattering on and you have work tomorrow. And your shift start really early!’
‘Uh,yeah. That was a social lie. None of us are on shift tomorrow.’
“From the look of Kevin, that’s a good thing.
‘But I suspect that Paula will see him home, hers or his.’
‘Seems likely. Detective Beckett has already left, though’
‘Where’s Castle? Last time I saw him he was talking with her and a critic.’
“Ah Paula’s perv?’
They laughed companionably.

“How are you getting home? Will you wait for Castle?’
‘Usually I share a car with Paula and Rick, but neither looks likely.’
‘May I see you to your door? It’s late for a woman alone, even in a cab.’
‘Where do you live? I don’t want to take you out of your way.’
‘Don’t worry about it. I’ll tell Kev and Paula I’m escorting you and they can let Castle know you’r home safely.’
Espo passed the word to Paula, who nodded distractedly. Kyra gather her wrap and bag, and they took one of the last cabs waiting outside.

‘Did that go well? I’ve never done that before.”
‘Yes, the new character will attract more young women readers and there is a soft spot or women detectives nowadays. Kinsey Mahone, VI Walchovski, Miss Marple.”
“Miss Marple? That’s not exactly nowadays.”
Kyra laughed. “You were paying attention. But she’s a very intelligent and forward thinking woman.’
‘Can’t say I’ve read enough to say. I try not to read mysteries. I get enough of that at work. Kevin reads fantasy but Beckett is a huge Castle fan. She has all his books in first editions. Some she had lined up to have signed before Castle joined our team.’
Kyra was silent.
‘Here’s our building. Thank you for your company, Javi.’
‘Thank you, k
Kyra. Castle mentions you often, and we, Kev and I, have been wondering what you were like.’
‘Oh my! What does he say about me?’
Javi held his tongue. He didn’t want to tell this charming, intelligent woman that her husband mostly mentioned her in terms of their sexual relationship.
‘He tell us how beautiful and , well, sexy you are. ‘ He paused. ‘ He isn’t exaggerating at all either.’
He glanced sideways a her. She seemed contemplative.

She leaned over and kissed his cheek. “Thank you for keeping me entertained. I’m something of a fifth wheel at hese events. There’s no real purpose for me being there and the fans don’t want to know Rick’s married.  They have… fantasies.’
‘The cat ladies?’
‘They’re not too bad, Most really are sane. Still if you read the fanfiction…’
‘About a writer?’
‘Well, maybe not Stephen King, but Rick is after all…’
‘Ruggedly handsome.’ in unison. They laughed.
Javi took a deep breath. ‘Well, um. We’re holding up the cabbie.’
“Yes. Goodnight and thank you again.’
Javi watch as she went in the door and greeted the doorman. He sighed and gave the cabbie his own address.


About femmefan1946

Retired professional writer and editor. Nominated for an Aurora Award for work on CAN-CON 2014, which concentrates on introducing new and aspiring writers and artists to agents, editors and publishers.
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