Totally, Sweetly, Irrevocably(8)

By: Kira Archer

“Well, I might have been! What are you doing up here? No, never mind. I know exactly what you’re doing up here.”

He snatched the binoculars from around her neck and held them up. “This is theft, Miss Silvano. From a cop. What the hell were you thinking?”

She actually had the grace to look ashamed. A little. For about half a second. Then that stubborn little chin of hers jutted into the air. “I was thinking I could use some better equipment, and since the Hoboken police force wasn’t going to help me find out who is vandalizing my truck, the least they could do was donate some equipment to the cause.”

His eyes narrowed and she shrugged. “I was going to give it back.”

“Well, that’s good to know. I’ll let my captain know that when he suspends my ass for losing $3,000 worth of stolen equipment that should be in the evidence locker.”

She looked at the binoculars again and whistled. “These things are worth $3,000? Nice.”

Rick sighed. A headache was beginning to form behind his temples. This woman was going to give him a stroke. “Stealing from the police department aside…”

“Hey, you said it’s stolen equipment. Which means it wasn’t the department’s anyways. So it’s no skin off anyone’s teeth, right?”

He ignored that. “Stealing aside, it’s dangerous up here. There could be actual criminals lurking anywhere, and you were way too close to the edge for safety.”

“Did you say ‘lurking’? I feel like I’m in some comic book.”

“Miss Silvano—”

“Would you stop with the Miss Silvano stuff, already? My name is Gina. If you are going to insist on talking to me, call me by name.”

“Fine. Gina. Will you please—”


“Excuse me?” he asked, frowning.

“You are going to tell me to stop spying. I’m heading you off and saying no. We’ve had this conversation already, and I’m really not interested in having it again. Now, pardon me…”

She took up her position at the edge of the roof again and trained the binoculars at her truck. Her enhanced gaze swept up and down the street. She was so intent on what she was doing her entire body got in on the action. When her head swiveled right, her ass swayed to the left, and vice versa. She reminded him of a friendly puppy who couldn’t control the wagging of its tail. Only Gina wasn’t remotely friendly. And she was a hell of a lot cuter than a puppy.

“Gina,” he started, but she shushed him again.

“If you don’t stop with all the talking, you’re going to scare him off again.”

Rick shook his head, trying to keep from laughing. Far from finding the situation disturbing as he should (after all, the woman was trespassing, loitering, and possibly stalking, and she’d stolen from him), he couldn’t help but find it amusing. And intriguing.

He dropped down next to her, leaning his back against the wall. She paused in her surveillance long enough to give him a surprised look.

“All right,” he said, “explain it to me. From the beginning.”

Her eyes narrowed as if she couldn’t decide if she could trust him or not.

“I’m not going away until you tell me what’s going on,” he said.

She released a long-suffering sigh. “Fine. If you must know.”

She went through the whole thing again. The ex-boyfriend. The messed-up truck. The signs that someone had been breaking into her truck to have a good time and the reasons she thought it was her ex. And by the end, he almost hated to admit that he got it. And that she was right. It probably wasn’t the type of thing the department would give priority to. After all, while technically a crime was being committed, no one was being hurt, nothing was being taken, and nothing was being damaged. The “vandal” was entering the truck, making a mess (and probably having a very good time) and that was it.

“So,” she said, “you see why I needed to deal with it myself?”

Rick watched her for a second, taking in the determined slant of her chin, the spark flashing in her eyes, and the fact that she seemed to have zero fear of anyone or anything. That fact alone scared the shit out of him. She was a statistic waiting to happen. He certainly didn’t want her afraid of every shadow on the street, but it wouldn’t hurt her to have a healthy concern for things that could go bump in the night.

He ran his hand through his hair, making up his mind. “Fine. I get it. But,” he said, forestalling her I told you so spiel, “if you’re going to do the whole vigilante stakeout thing, I’m going to do it with you.”

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