I wasn’t a rookie, but I made a mistake because I was selfish, impulsive, and headstrong.
I was also in love.
My desire for her overwhelmed me. Consumed me. Distracted me.
To protect her, I stood motionless as my partner pried her from the security of my arms. I watched as she fought his hold. I even listened when she screamed that she hated me.
For years I’ve been patient, I’ve been smart, and I’ve gone by the book. But now… it’s finally over.
It’s time to get my girl back.
When I show up to reclaim what’s mine, I discover she’s not ready to forgive me quite yet… but that’s okay, because I have no problem reminding her just how good it used to be, even if I have to show her over and over again.
What I do have a problem with is the guy who’s been trying to take my place. Because here’s the thing, I’ve waited too long to have her in my arms again to have anybody stand in my way… and I’m done following the rules.
Clay calls to me, and I scurry over to him behind the bar. “What happened?”
“Alcohol and testosterone.” He shakes his head. “Cops are on their way.”
My heart jumps.
My stomach flips.
My palms sweat.
And I wait. A few minutes pass and a cop walks in. Then another. Followed by a third. None of them the man whose face is burned into the cerebral cortex of my brain. I try to shake the thought of the hot cop away, but my mind refuses to comply, and my hormones go directly against the order.
I step out of the way as Clay exits the bar to talk to them, and I turn to head back to the hall, but then it happens. In slow motion, the front door opens, and he walks in. Commanding. Dominating the space he consumes.
He whips his head up, and our eyes lock. I stumble, my back slamming into the cash register.
Without taking his concentration off me, he strides in my direction. The intensity of his attention is suffocating. I sharply draw in a gulp of air because he’s going to be in front of me in a second. Close enough to touch. To smell again.
He ignores another officer calling him and comes at me, stopping even closer than earlier. His arms raise, and the rough callouses on his fingers abrade my cheeks when he holds my face in his hands. “Are you okay?”
My lips part. Words form on my tongue but won’t roll off.
“Livvie.” He leans down so he’s eye level with me. “You okay?”
My heart hammers.
“Yes.” I practically moan, and we sway closer together. His thighs rub against mine, and he’s close enough that if I took a deep breath, my hardened nipples could seek relief from brushing against his chest.
A moment is all it takes. Time suspends and the air around us is without gravity as I float from a single touch. I don’t know exactly what it is, but something is happening between us. Something big.
A man yells, and I jump as Jay reacts before I can blink. He turns around, blocking me from seeing anything except his tense and muscular back. Grabbing me with one hand behind his back, he reaches for his gun with the other.
A moment of panic surges through me, but when his shoulders relax and he lowers his hand from the gun on his belt, my head falls forward to land on the center of his back. His fingers flex on my hip, assuring me everything is okay—or at least he’ll make sure of it—and a state of lust immediately replaces my fear. So powerful it makes me whimper.
He turns around but remains close and lifts my chin, causing my head to tilt up so I lock eyes with his. “I need to see you later.”
“Okay.” I need him to see me. I want to see him, too.
“I’m off in two hours. Will you be home then?”
One hundred and twenty minutes. “Yes,” I whisper.
“Jesus.” He steps back and takes no shame in devouring me with his eyes. “Christ. Be ready for me, Livvie.”