Authors: Ava Meyers
Tags: #Contemporary, #Romance, #Contemporary Romance, #novella, #cop romance
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Copyright © 2011 by Ava Meyers
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All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of the copyright owner.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media, and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously.
This e-book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This e-book may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person you share it with. If you're reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the author's work.
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Many thanks to Tina Folsom, Susan, Karin Tabke, Cyndi, and Rochelle, for their critiques and encouragement with this project!
When Internal Affairs Detective Noah James spotted Vice Detective Kate Spenser across the bar, his pulse instantly picked up and his dick shot to painful attention. Not because of the sight of the pretty redhead, but because lately, wherever Kate was, her former college roommate, Jenna Mills, was sure to follow. Since blowing into town over three weeks ago, she’d been everywhere—stopping by the station, meeting Kate at her local hangouts, even using the gym down the street that Noah belonged to. Sure enough, when Noah shifted his gaze to the right…
He nearly groaned when he spotted her. Jesus, she was gorgeous. A literal wet dream, straight off the pages of a men’s magazine. Pale blond hair, big blue eyes, and high cheekbones reminiscent of Grace Kelly: each was a stunning compliment to her lush hourglass figure. She’d gained weight since she’d modeled for Playboy magazine—hell, that had been over ten years ago and she’d only been twenty then—and he found her to be even more beautiful now. Soft and curvy, just the way a woman should be. Just the way he liked.
He couldn’t help but imagine how her pale skin and hair would look against his darker exterior, a proud announcement of his Hispanic heritage. They’d compliment one another perfectly. Soft and hard. Light and dark. His straight-and-honed compared to her curved-and-lush.
His mouth twisted ruefully. It was a damn shame she wasn’t interested. Twice already, she’d blown off his attempts to get to know her, but Noah didn’t take the rejection personally. Half the police department had hit on her, always with the same result. And although he’d been turned down a time or two before, he’d always moved on good-naturedly, never giving the woman another thought. There were, after all, so many women to enjoy, and variety was the spice of life.
Still, even though he hadn’t taken her rejections personally, he hadn’t been able to put Jenna Mills out of his mind as easily as he had those other women. When it came to her, the only variety he seemed interested in was an unending selection of sexual positions and fantasies. Lately, when he found himself attracted to someone else, it was because the woman somehow reminded him of Jenna. His obsession with her confused him, but he’d figured it would pass eventually.
Now, looking at her, he wasn’t so sure it would.
There was something about her that got to him. Something that made his dominant side rear its usually slumberous head. He liked a rough fuck-and-tumble now and again, just like any other guy, but more often he preferred to charm and pamper a woman rather than dominate her. With Jenna, he wanted to pamper her, but he also wanted to hold her down and shove himself inside her, not letting her go until he’d wrung countless screams of pleasure and at least three or four orgasms from her before finally surrendering to his own. He wanted to make her take his dick in her mouth and suck him off, but only because he knew it was exactly what she wanted. And then he wanted to take his time with her, caressing and kissing every part of her body until she felt cherished and mesmerized by the pleasure he could bring her.
Of course, none of that was going to happen. Fantasy was just that. In the real world, no meant no, and she’d been quite clear that she wasn’t interested. She didn’t appear to have changed her mind either.
He studied her as she spoke to a waitress. She wore a golden cashmere sweater and jeans the way other women wore diamonds and a mink coat. Her hair was curled into big sexy waves and she had her requisite heavy make-up in place, transforming her delicate features into the same distant mask that always kept him tense and watchful. At least, she was distant to any man who approached her. She seemed fine talking to other women, but if anything with balls came anywhere near her, her walls slammed into place. He’d wondered about that. Had spotted similar behavior in victims of crime. He’d told himself that selectivity and self-preservation rather than fear were probably the reasons for her chilly demeanor.
She was obviously skilled in fending off unwanted attention. With her looks and unique Playboy bunny credentials, she’d have to be. And for all he knew, she could be married or gay—Kate had never said. What she wasn’t, however, was cold or hard, despite how desperately she tried to appear that way.
As much as he preferred her body now, he’d like to see her face as it was depicted in that Playboy spread—free of make-up so that freckles dusted her nose, her pouty lips bare and natural rather than painted. Whenever he tried telling himself to move on, he’d visualize that vintage magazine layout—the one he’d paid a pretty penny for online—and he’d be reminded that Jenna was more than she appeared to be. Sweetly complex. An intriguing mystery, which was intoxicating to a man who solved them for a living.
At first glance, despite the fact she was a knockout, she could be mistaken for boring. Next to Kate’s confident, animated beauty, she seemed quiet and restrained. If he watched Jenna long enough, however—and he could definitely get addicted to watching her—eventually her mask would crack and her slick, glossy red lips would tilt into the slightest of smiles, transforming the ice queen into something altogether different before the smile disappeared, leaving him wondering yet again if he’d imagined it.
The waitress walked away and Jenna turned to Kate. Despite how often she’d given him the cold shoulder, it was the memory of that gone-before-you-knew-it-was-there smile that had Noah standing and walking towards her. To his surprise, she watched his approach with a slightly furrowed brow instead of her usual indifference.
“I’m telling you, you can trust Noah,” he heard Kate say softly just before he stepped up to them. Though Kate met his gaze, Jenna’s suddenly flickered away.
Shit. Was Kate actually reassuring Jenna about
? That bothered him. A lot. He wasn’t the kind of guy a woman feared unless she was a dirty cop or a suspect in the middle of being interrogated. Quite the opposite. The fact he was a cop made women feel safe. Protected. And he loved making them feel that way. What the hell had he ever done to make Jenna mistrust him?
Raising his arm, he drank from the cold beer bottle in his hand and turned his attention to Kate. “Spenser. How’s it going?”
“Better, now that you’re here, Noah.”
Her innuendo made him frown. He liked Kate. They’d even dated once, years ago, before they’d realized they were better off as friends. Their friendship was more like an acquaintance now, so Kate’s words should have been teasing. Instead, they sounded completely serious. In response, Jenna made a stifled noise, one that resembled the enraged squeak of a mouse. Her face and neck flushed a deep cherry red. Again, it was just another peek at the vulnerability he’d always suspected was there; but what was causing it to come out so obviously now when it never had before?
“Hi, Jenna,” he said quietly.
She acknowledged his greeting with a slight nod. “Detective James.”
His jaw clenched. “Noah, remember?”
“I see someone I need to talk to,” Kate interjected. “Can you stay for a second, Noah? Jenna, think about what we talked about, okay?”
Catching Noah’s eyes, Kate flickered hers to the open seat, a not-so-subtle message for him to sit. He saw his frown echoed on Jenna’s face, but there was also true panic in her expression.
“Kate, wait—” They spoke at the same time.
But Kate walked off.
Feeling completely off balance, Noah watched Jenna in silence. She licked her lips and kept her gaze averted. Finally, he asked softly, “Mind if I join you?”
“Actually, I’d prefer you didn’t. I—I’m here with someone.”
Noah’s brows shot up. She was here on a date? Then why the hell was Kate pushing him to stay? But that was the least of his concerns. Jenna’s words, although perfectly acceptable in form, were edged with disdain and an expectation of obedience. It immediately rubbed all of Noah’s dominant genes the wrong way, tempting him to defy her. Shock her. Make her reveal what was hidden beneath all that manufactured ice.
He also had the sudden feeling that something was very wrong. Her behavior. Kate’s. It had something to do with him specifically, but maybe it was because Jenna needed him as a cop, not a man. Why else would Kate suddenly be encouraging them to talk while at the same time Jenna sent him mixed signals? The why of it was compelling, but for a moment it wasn’t as important as his sudden need to reassure and comfort her.
With nothing but that thought in mind, Noah reached out and caressed her cheek with the back of his fingers.
Gasping, she flinched. “Don’t touch me!” she hissed.
Narrowing his eyes, he dropped his hand. “Even if I wasn’t a cop, you’re in a crowded bar, lady. I’m not going to attack you.”
She straightened and raised her chin, going for full-on defiance. Her recovery was fast, but not fast enough. Once again, Noah saw the sparks of vulnerability that she hadn’t quite been able to hide. The progressive chinks in her armor intrigued him far more than they should have.
“Touch me again and I won’t be able to say the same.”
Despite himself, admiration filled him. A grin split his face. His dick pressed harder against the front of his pants, threatening to break the zipper. “You really try so hard to be the ice queen, but I’m not buying it. I never have.”
Real alarm skittered across her features just before a tall man walked up to them.
“Jenna, is this guy bothering you?”
Noah studied the good-looking blond-haired man before he glanced over his shoulder. Kate was watching them, her expression stiff. Subtly, she shook her head at Noah. Things were getting more and more curious. He turned back to Jenna. He tilted his head at the way the panic in her eyes had doubled. It seemed it was the other guy that was bothering her, but she looked more embarrassed than fearful.
“What do you say,
? Am I bothering you?” His tone held more than a hint of suggestion. He’d wanted to push her friend’s buttons, but latent desire surged through him and he didn’t miss the answering flare of heat in her wide eyes. He actually took a step toward her before her friend placed a hand on his chest.
Looking down at the man’s hand, Noah raised a brow, then met his stare with his own. “I’d rethink that if I were you.”
Swiftly, the man’s hand dropped.
“Gordon, let’s just leave,” Jenna urged as she stood.
Gordon’s eyes widened and he grinned. “Are we going to—?”
Gordon left the question hanging, his eyes narrowing when Jenna shook her head. “It was nice meeting you, but no, I—I—” She looked almost guiltily at Noah, hesitated, then bit her lip. “I’ve changed my mind about—about what we discussed.”
“But why?” Gordon’s voice sounded distinctly whiny. “It’s totally legitimate, Jenna. It’s what I do for a living and you clearly need it. You need me. I think you should reconsider.”
Although it was subtle, the guy’s tone held a hint of threat, one neither of them missed.
Noah waited, expecting Jenna to take him to task the way she had Noah. Instead, her eyes flickered and she swallowed hard, but that was all.
The man started to speak again, but Noah cut him off. “I don’t think she’s going to change her mind. Why don’t I walk you out?”