Totally, Sweetly, Irrevocably(9)

By: Kira Archer

He was pretty sure her jaw cracked with the force of it dropping open.

“What do you mean, you’ll do it with me?”

He bit off the automatic sexual innuendo response that popped into his mind. Totally inappropriate, though impossible not to think of with the fiery ball of passion bristling right in front of him.

“I mean, you’ll be better off with my help. I’ve actually been trained to do this kind of thing.”

She glared at him. “I think I’ve been doing a pretty decent job of it on my own.”

“Really? You’ve been out here twice. The first time someone called the cops on you before you could call us on him and the second time someone would have been calling the cops for you if I’d been anyone but me. I was able to get the drop on you before you even knew I was here. That could have been very dangerous. Plus, what are you going to do when you catch him?”

She frowned, thinking. “Aside from making sure he won’t be able to use his favorite body part in the defilement of my truck anymore, you mean?”

Rick laughed. “Yeah.”

She shrugged. “I hadn’t gotten that far.”

“That’s what I thought. Look, I can help, okay? If I’m here, you can use my equipment, legally, and I can watch your back. There’s a reason why cops have partners.”

She watched him for what felt like forever and then finally nodded.

“All right. You can help.”

He gave her a wry smile. “Gee. Thanks.”

“What’s in it for you?” she asked, ignoring his sarcasm.

“It’ll save me a month’s worth of paperwork when you get caught and they haul you in for trespassing, voyeurism, and theft.”

She rolled her eyes and muttered, “Whatever.” But a small smile played on her lips.

He stood up and reached a hand out to help her up. She just looked at it.

“He’s not coming back tonight. If it was your ex, and he was planning on breaking into the truck, the commotion from earlier spooked him. He won’t make another try tonight. We’ll have to come back another night.”

She blew a frustrated breath out but nodded. “Fine. Tomorrow then.”

She surprised him by actually taking his hand. He pulled her to her feet. And kept her hand in his.

“Don’t come back by yourself. Wait for me to get off shift. I’ll meet you at the bakery.”

“Fine,” she said, though she didn’t look like she enjoyed agreeing.

He helped her gather up the rest of her stuff and then escorted her back down the fire escape and through the alley until they were on the main street. His car was parked in the opposite direction of where she lived.

“All right. I’ll see you tomorrow then,” he said.

Gina nodded and turned to walk away.

“Try not to break any more laws between now and then,” he called after her.

She gave him a brilliant smile that damn near took his breath away. “I’m not making any promises. But I’ll try.”

He laughed and shook his head. “I guess that’s as good as I’ll get.”

He watched her until she was too far away to see and then headed back to his car. He’d never looked forward to a stakeout so much in his life. Somehow he didn’t think sitting in the dark with Gina would be quite as boring as it would be if she were Joe. In fact, it might become his new favorite pastime.

He did need to be careful, though. She was definitely a bad influence. She’d made him bend rules and break his routine already.

And heaven help him, he liked it.

Chapter Four

Gina dumped another packet of sugar into her on-the-house coffee—another perk of working with Nat, who could brew coffee like nobody’s business—and focused on stirring it in, trying very hard to ignore the amused face of the man sitting across from her. Jared Crew. The pain in the ass Gina had had to deal with since his best friend married Gina’s BFF. Gina would never admit it, but she’d kind of gotten used to Jared being around. They’d even hooked up once upon a drunken time. They’d quickly realized they were better off as frenemies. He’d become the irritating older brother she never wanted. Lucky her.

“So, you and a cop, huh?” he said.

“Don’t start with me, Jared. I’m not on the clock, so I’m not being paid to put up with you at the moment. I came in here for a coffee because Nat loves me and gives it to me for free. Not so you could bust my balls, okay?”

“Hey, I’ve repeatedly offered to give it to you for free. Not my fault you keep turning me down.”

Her eyes narrowed in an attempt to force some intimidating irritation through her amusement at his juvenile innuendo. She really shouldn’t find that remark funny. But damn it, she did. Despite her better judgment, Jared could always weasel a smile out of her. She glared harder.

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