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The cop who stole Christmas - Christie Craig

Có bài mới 03.01.2016, 14:44
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Có bài mới Re: [English - Romance] The cop who stole Christmas - Christie Craig - Điểm: 10
Chapter Twelve

When Mark pulled into his driveway, he spotted the Porsche parked in front of Savanna’s house. Did Bethany drive a Porsche? Then he noticed someone stood on her porch. Not just someone. Juan Ardito.

Unsnapping his gun holster, he bolted across the street. By the time he got to her front lawn, he had his hand on his gun. He heard Savanna’s voice and realized her front door was open. Hadn’t he told her to stay away from this guy?

Savanna stood at the door in front of Don Juan, who held a big bouquet of flowers.

“Hello,” Mark announced himself.

Juan turned. Mark kept his hand on his gun. The flower-toting man didn’t make any sudden moves.

Savanna’s gaze shifted to him. Relief flashed in her eyes. “Mark,” she said.

“Can I help you?” Mark slipped between the huge bouquet and Savanna. With the tension easing from his shoulders, Mark dropped his hand from his gun.

“I brought Savanna flowers,” the man said, calmly.

“Yeah, well, since you’re still a suspect in her ex-husband’s murder, it isn’t wise for her to accept them or for you to be here.”

“I’m not a suspect.”

“Yeah, and I’m not a cop, either.” He pulled out his badge and flashed it.

The man went speechless.

“So, adios.” Mark shifted back, bumping into Savanna.

“I’m sorry,” Savanna said over his shoulder. “Thanks. We’ll talk when this mess is cleared . . .” Mark shut the door. “Up.”

Frowning, he turned around. “Didn’t I tell you to stay away from him?”

“I thought he was you.”

“That’s why you have a peephole,” he said, annoyed she’d told Juan they’d talk. Was she interested in Don Juan or just being polite?

“I used the peephole. All I saw were flowers. And I thought you’d brought me flowers.”

Shit! Should he have brought her flowers? “I didn’t bring . . . I was working a case. Sorry.”

She shook her head. “I didn’t mean . . . I wasn’t expecting you to bring ’em, but you’d mentioned buying flowers today at the shop.”

He nodded. “Well, you shouldn’t open a door without knowing who’s on the other side.”

“I figured that out as soon as I realized it was him.” She didn’t sound angry at his unsolicited advice, but she wasn’t remorseful either.

“Did he say anything to frighten you?”

“No. I was just nervous because you told me the police still suspected him.”

“You should be nervous,” he said. Then he realized he wanted to start over. This wasn’t how he’d planned the evening. He’d wanted to grab a quick shower and then show up and pull her in for another hot kiss.

“Are you hungry?” he asked, trying to change the subject and the mood of the evening.

“Getting there.”

He noted she’d changed clothes. Even this far away, he could smell her shampoo. “Have you decided what you’d like to eat?”

“The Chinese place around the corner is good.”

“You want to call it in while I shower?”

“Sure. I have their number on speed dial. What do you like?”

“Cashew chicken. Egg rolls. Fried rice. And whatever you like.” He moved a little closer. “I’ll see you in a few minutes.”

She smiled. “Can you bring Boots when you come?”

“I don’t know, after sleeping with me, I think he might want to stay.” He smiled. He recalled she might be nervous about being alone in her house. “Would you like to come over to my place?”

“I’m fine. I have to learn to deal with it,” she said.

He admired her for not completely lying. She was having a hard time, but was determined to overcome it.

“Okay, but lock the door and don’t answer to anyone. Unless it’s me.”

“What about our Chinese food delivery?” she asked.

“I should be here before they deliver.” He gazed at her mouth.

Moving in, he lowered his head and his lips met hers. He’d meant the kiss to be simple, like the one they shared at the florist, but something happened. He wasn’t sure if he’d done it, or if she had. But soon, their tongues were dancing and they were both holding on to each other. She felt good. So good, the need for a shower seemed like a distant memory.

The ring of her phone was a little like a cold shower. They pulled apart. She reached for her phone on the coffee table, turned it off, and then looked up at him. “Bethany. I’ll call her back.”

He nodded. The taste from her kiss lingered in his mouth. He ran his tongue over his bottom lip. “Chocolate?”

She stared at him a second, confused then smiled. “Hot chocolate.” She picked up a cup from the coffee table. “Jingle Bells,” started playing from the dish.

“Musical cup?” His body hummed from the kiss.

“Christmas cup,” she said.

So she had a thing for Christmas cups, did she?

They stared at each other, the tension sweet, but slightly awkward. “I’m going to go shower, I’ll be right back. “You sure you don’t want to come with me?”

Her eyes widened. “To the shower?”

He grinned. “Well, you could, but I meant just to my house.”

She cut her eyes toward the kitchen. “Seriously, I’ve got to get over it. I live here.”

“Okay. . But order the food. I’m getting hungry.” Yet he wasn’t as hungry as he was eager to get his hand under that cotton T-shirt, or to slip those jeans off her curved hips. It was going to be a quick shower.

• • •

When someone knocked, she looked through the peephole. It was Mark. The few minutes he’d been gone, she’d spent trying to decide if there was a downside to letting this happen. And yes, she’d found a few, but the upsides won over. Mainly, she was tired of being alone.

She opened the door. He held her cat in one hand and a bottle of wine in the other. Thankfully, Boots was the kind of cat that went limp when you picked him up.

Mark studied her. “Did you look through the peephole?”

“Yes.” She reached out and took the cat from his arm and gave him a good scratch under his chin. Boots immediately started purring.

“Good.” He leaned down and kissed her quickly.

He tasted minty fresh. Boots wiggled in her arms.

“I need to go back and get his litter box.”

“Oh, there’s another one in the extra bedroom. We can get it later.” She set Boots down.

He nodded. “I brought a semisweet Riesling. I think it would probably go with Chinese, but my wine matches are sometimes off.”

“Sounds perfect.” She took it from him. “Food should be here soon. You want to start with wine?”


She started into the kitchen. And stopped when the image flashed. He came up behind her and wrapped his arms around her.

“It’s okay,” he said softly.

“I know.” She let go of a deep breath.

“We could go to my place.”

She leaned her head back against his warm chest and looked up at him. “He took my first house from me. He took my car. He even robbed me from being able to grieve in the right way for my mom. I’m not letting him take this house.” She closed her eyes. Guilt whispered over her heart. “I’m sorry. It’s not nice to talk badly of the dead.”

“I didn’t hear anything bad,” he said. “Just honest.”

“I really didn’t want him to be . . . hurt. I just wanted him out of my life.”

“And for good reasons,” he said.

She walked further into the kitchen and grabbed two wine glasses from a cabinet. “I’m breaking one of the big rules.”

“What rule?” She noticed how good he looked. His blond hair appeared a little darker, as if still wet. He wore faded jeans and a dark green t-shirt that clung to his chest and shoulders. She had a quick mental visual of him without it. Her heart raced a bit faster when she realized she’d probably be seeing that again tonight.

“Don’t talk about your ex on a date.”

He shrugged. “I think our situation is different considering . . . everything.”

“I guess.” She grabbed a wine opener from the drawer.

“Here. Let me do that.”

She watched him open the wine and suddenly the question hit. “Have you ever been married?”

He looked up. “No.”

“How did you escape that?”

“By the skin of my teeth,” he said.

“You were engaged?”

He nodded.

“What happened?” she asked.

He arched a brow. “What was that rule about not talking about exes?”

She frowned. “It’s just . . . you know all about me.”

He unscrewed the cork from the wine opener. “Let’s just say she didn’t like my chosen career.”

“She didn’t want you to be a cop?” All of a sudden she remembered. “She wanted you to be a lawyer.”


She bit down on her lip. “Was she afraid you’d get hurt working as a cop?”

“I think she was afraid having a cop for a husband was below her standards.”

“So she was rich, huh?”

“Not really, but she wanted to be, hence her reasons for wanting me to become a lawyer.”

“Sorry.” Then the question just slipped out, “Did you love her?”

He reached for the glasses and filled them. “How about we nix the talk of exes and talk about ourselves.” He handed her a glass.

“Okay.” But she couldn’t nix the feeling that he might still be in love with someone else. Was that not another downside? “Why did you want to be a cop?” she asked, when the silence grew.

He sipped the wine. “Well, I didn’t like politics, didn’t want to wear a suit and tie and argue cases in a courtroom, and yet I still wanted to help people solve their problems.”

“Do you solve people’s problems?”

“Yeah. Well, sometimes I do.” He frowned. “Don’t get me wrong, I also get an inside view of some seedy sides of life. But there’s generally someone involved who doesn’t deserve the bad crap happening to him or her. And when that’s the case, it sort of feels good.”

“So, what do you do when you’re not playing cop or restaurant entrepreneur?”

“I don’t do much at the restaurant. I just helped Ricardo get the startup money.”

“Were you two close when he worked for your parents?”

“Yeah. We lived in Venezuela. He was our cook and part-time chaffeur. He used to take me and my friends around for joy rides. He taught me how to drive.”

Savanna got the feeling Ricardo was more of a parent than the ones Mark was born to . “So, what else do you do for fun? Sports? Read?”

“I’m like all guys. If it has a ball involved I’m interested. Football, soccer... Jake and I meet up for some basketball a couple times a week.”

“So, you and Jake are really good friends, too?”

“Yeah, but he’s a pain sometimes. He married Macy about three months ago. He met her right after we hooked up as partners. She’s good for him.” He took another sip of wine. “She said she’d like to meet you. If you wouldn’t mind.”

“That’d be fun.” She turned her glass in her hands. “And books? Do you read?”

“I love a good book. I’ve read all the Harry Potters and James Pattersons. And the first four chapters of that Shades book.” He made a funny face. “I still don’t get why you women would like that.”

She laughed. “If it makes you feel any better, I never finished the first one either.”

“Good.” He smiled. He gazed into her eyes. “Oh, and lately I’ve had this crazy fascination with my neighbor.”

“Really?” She found it easy to get lost in his light green eyes.

“Really.” He inched closer. So close, she could smell the shower-fresh scent on his skin. He leaned down. His lips brushed against hers. After a few seconds, he put his glass down and took hers and set it down, too. He held her so close that there wasn’t an inch of her that didn’t press against an inch of him. His hands came around her waist and his fingers slowly moved under her sweater to touch her bare skin. She couldn’t remember a simple touch feeling so seductive. All she could think about was his hand on other body parts. Her breasts felt tight, swollen.

She let her own hands wander, slipping her fingers under his T-shirt to touch his back. He moaned. His knee came between her thighs, pressing against some very sensitive areas.

Then the doorbell rang.

They pulled back, both a little breathless. “I’ll bet that’s our dinner,” she said.

“Yeah.” The doorbell rang again. He passed a finger over her lips as if to collect the moisture his kiss had left. “We should probably open the door.”

“Probably.” She grinned.

She followed him into the living room. He walked to the door and then glanced back. “See? This is how you look through the peephole.” He pressed an eye to the tiny hole. “It’s a Chinese guy with carry out, or I wouldn’t open the door.”

She grinned. “But in all the movies, he’s usually the guy with the gun.”

“You can’t believe anything that happens in the movies.”

He opened the door and pulled out his wallet. When he was told the dinner was already paid for, he looked back at her and frowned. She just shrugged.

He gave the guy a bill from his wallet. She wasn’t sure, but it looked like a twenty. No doubt the guy was going to be doing cartwheels when he left.

He took the bags and shut the door. “Why did you pay? I’m the one who suggested it.”

“You paid for last night’s dinner.”

“It was free,” he said.

“Right, I saw the tip you left.” She waved to the living room. “Set it on the coffee table and I’ll get us some plates.” She left to get the dishes.

“No,” he said when she handed him forks. “When you eat Chinese, you eat with chopsticks.” He pulled out the two plastic covered chopstick sets.

“I’m terrible at using chopsticks.”

“You just haven’t had anyone teach you.”

He showed her how. And she still sucked at it. He fed her and she tried to feed him. They laughed when most everything she tried to feed him ended up on his T-shirt. “I’m ruining your shirt,” she said.

“We could both take our shirts off,” he said with a sexy twinkle in his eye.

She elbowed him.

“I guess that’s a no.”

She finally caught a piece of chicken with the sticks and made it to his mouth.

They ate, they kissed, they drank wine. And they laughed a lot. Savanna realized how long it had been since she’d had this much fun. Or this much fun with a guy. She had her friends, but this was different. This was flirty fun.

Somehow, she ended up straddling his lap, the food forgotten. When his hand slipped under her sweater to unhook her bra, she didn’t even mind. She knew it was leading there and she was ready. But then he pulled back.

“Do you want to take this to the bedroom?” he asked. “Or am I assuming too much?”

She kissed the edge of his lips. “The bedroom sounds good.” He stood, picking her up. She wrapped her legs around his waist. “You know I can walk,” she said and giggled.

“Don’t ruin this for me. I’m feeling macho.” He teased.

“How much wine did you drink?” she asked.

“It’s not the wine. It’s you.” The humor from his eyes faded a touch. “You make me feel good. I haven’t felt this good in a long time.”

She grinned and a warm gooey feeling filled her chest. “You make me feel good, too.” The next thing she knew, he’d laid her on her bed and climbed on top of her.

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Có bài mới 03.01.2016, 14:45
Hình đại diện của thành viên
V.I.P of CLB Tiểu Thuyết
V.I.P of CLB Tiểu Thuyết
Ngày tham gia: 19.10.2014, 08:55
Bài viết: 2173
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Điểm: 14.02
Có bài mới Re: [English - Romance] The cop who stole Christmas - Christie Craig - Điểm: 10
Chapter Thirteen

She felt so damn right under him. Her arms wrapped around his neck. Their lower bodies fit together and his hips shifted to offer more pressure where he wanted it most. And he wasn’t the only one moving. Suddenly, he wanted their clothes gone. He needed to be buried inside her and rocking her to orgasm.

As soon as the thought hit, he realized he needed to slow down. Just because he was already rock hard didn’t mean she was ready. Right then, the gentle moves of her body against his stopped. She pulled her mouth from his.

She caught her bottom lip with her teeth. Her brow pinched. “I completely forgot to . . . to get protection. I haven’t needed . . . it’s been a while.”

He leaned on his elbows and smiled. “I bought it.” Oh, yeah, he needed to slow down. He wanted to make this good for her.

He brushed a strand of hair from her face. “Do you have any idea how amazingly gorgeous you are?”

She smiled.

He rolled off of her, resting on his side beside her. He picked up a strand of her hair and let it glide through his fingers. “Everything about you is soft.” He ran a finger from her hairline to her brow. “A perfect nose.” He slid the pad of his finger over her nose, to the cute little cleft on top of her upper lip. “Your mouth invites kisses.” He traced the shape of her lips. He slipped his finger inside, then out, and brought it to his lips. “You taste a little sweet. I don’t know if it’s the hot chocolate, the wine, or just you.” He leaned in and kissed her, a quick taste, meant to tease, meant to seduce.

When he pulled back, her eyes were closed. He went back in and kissed her chin this time. He gently turned her head, and ran his finger along the side of her face. “Your ears are tiny, perfectly formed, like a seashell.” He traced the delicate shape, then his tongue followed the same path his finger had just traveled.

“I’ve thought about kissing you here.” He pressed a moist kiss right below her ear lobe.

“And here . . .” He moved his lips down the curve of her neck. He slipped his hand under her shirt. Her bra was unhooked and he moved under the soft fabric to find the softer flesh below. “I’ve thought about kissing you here.” He teased her already taut nipple.

Her soft sigh told him he was doing something right. “And I’ve really thought about kissing you . . .” He ran his finger down her tight abdomen and slowly unsnapped her jeans, unzipped them, then squeezed his hand between the denim and warm skin. “Down here.”

She inhaled deeply. His finger moved under the silk of her panties, past the soft patch of hair, and into the cleft of her sex.

This time it was him drawing in a sharp breath. He’d started this to seduce her, but his dick was like wood. And when his finger found her wet, he wanted nothing more than to tear off his jeans and slide into her.

He gently drew his hand out. She moaned a protest. Her eyes were bright, wide and filled with passion. “Don’t worry, I’m just getting started.” He sat up a bit and pulled off his t-shirt, then he unsnapped his jeans. He reached down and tugged the soft cotton shirt over her head, bringing the bra with it. Her hair fell from the shirt around her bare shoulders.

Her breasts shifted and he leaned down and took one nipple into his mouth.

“That . . . that feels so good,” she moaned and slipped her hand around to his back and up to his hair.

“Good.” He pulled back savoring the sight of her nipple—wet, rosy and standing erect. “I think the rest of our clothes can go, too, don’t you?”

She nodded. Her sweet sexy smile told him she was ready. Shuffling off the bed, he grabbed his wallet, and dropped the two condoms he’d brought on the nightstand. He lowered his jeans and underwear. His dick, hard and ready, bounced against his lower abdomen. He stepped out of his jeans, leaving them there on the floor.

He saw her eyes lower to his sex and widen. She started pulling down her own jeans. “Let me help you.” Naked, he crawled back on the bed and straddled her calves. Leaning forward, he grabbed the waist of her jeans. She lifted her bottom and he slowly slid the warm denim down her legs, enjoying the smoothness of her legs as the back of his hands slipped downward. The sight of her sex, right in front of him, had him drawing in another deep breath.

He fit his hands on her waist and slowly let his touch inch lower. He got to the juncture of her thighs and gently spread her legs apart another half inch. He slipped a finger into her sweet dampness.

“You’re so wet.” He leaned down to kiss her as he slipped his finger inside her. The tight opening surrounded his finger and she let out a throaty sound.

“You like that?” he asked.

“Too much,” she said.

“I don’t think you can like something too much.”

“I think you can,” she said, and before he knew what happened, she’d maneuvered him down on the bed and was straddling his legs.

The vision of her naked above him, her thighs slightly parted, her sex open, had his dick throbbing.

She leaned over him, planted her open palms on his chest, then moved in and kissed him. The kiss didn’t last long. She rose back up, let her hands slowly glide down his chest, down his abdomen, and she finally took his sex in her hand. She glided her soft palm up and down.

“Okay, you’re right,” he managed to say. “You can like something too much.”

She laughed.

He reached for a shiny package. She took it from him. Using her teeth, she opened it, then rolled the condom down his length.

She leaned down again, lifted her hips. He felt his sex find her soft core, and with a slowness that nearly killed him, she lowered herself on top of him.

When she settled on top of him, he fit his hands around her waist. He rocked her back and forth, and it almost brought him to orgasm.

“Slow or fast?” he asked, barely able to speak.

She started rocking. “Slow,” Her pace, an easy movement, was torture. Sweet torture. “And then fast.” Her pace increased.

Unable to take it, he rolled her over, and came down on top of her. “Do you mind?”

“Not at all.” She offered him another of her precious smiles.

With each push he went deeper. He took it slow at first, and only when he felt her breath catch against his shoulder and felt her tight opening milking him, did he find the pace his body begged for—the fast and hard thrusts that took him over the edge.

• • •

“You . . . okay?” he asked breathlessly.

Savanna couldn’t talk, so she nodded against his shoulder.

He came down beside her holding her against his chest. Holding her so close. So tenderly.


“Huh?” She managed one word. She’d never considered herself overly educated where sex was concerned. She’d had four different lovers, some better than others, but she’d assumed she’d experienced sex in all its glory.

But the sex she’d known, compared to what she’d just experienced was well . . . like comparing a merry-go-round to a roller coaster. And not a baby roller coaster either, but one that scared the bejiggies out of you.

Never had an orgasm taken her that far. Never had she wanted it so badly.

His little touching and talking foreplay made her ache for more.

Ache to have him inside her.

Ache to make him want her as badly as she wanted him.

Had her aching for more.

She already wanted more.

He brushed her hair from her face. “You okay?”


He studied her. “You sure? You look . . . startled.”

“No . . . it was . . . good.”

He smiled, and she could swear she noted a little insecurity there. “Just good?”

She grinned. “Amazing.”

“That’s more like it.” He laughed and pulled her against him and rolled over, bringing her on top of him. “But I was thinking more along the lines of phenomenal, or astonishing.”

“How about incredible?” she asked.

He kissed her. “I’ll take that one, too. Now I’m starved. Let’s go finish off the leftovers.”

“We just ate.”

“No, you ate,” he said. “Most of my dinner ended up on my chest.”

She giggled. “If you’d let me use a fork, that wouldn’t be the case.”

“Come on.” He stood up, completely comfortable standing there wearing nothing but a used condom. And damn, if he couldn’t pull off even that look.

Suddenly realizing she was even more naked than him, she tugged the sheet over her.

“No!” he said. “I worked hard getting you naked, I get to enjoy it for a while longer.” He gave the sheet a tug.

She tugged harder.

He fell on the bed and they wrestled, laughing the whole time.

In the end they compromised. She wore his Chinese food-stained t-shirt, but no underwear. He went to the bathroom and donned his boxers.

They ate the rest of the food—well, he mostly ate the food—and they drank the rest of the wine.

Savanna worried he’d refuse to stay the night, and since his house was right across the street, she couldn’t even make the point that it was too late to go home. But nope, they sat on the sofa and talked for another hour. He told her more about his travels, and asked her about how she’d decided to open a flower shop. She told him about her favorite vacation as a kid—they’d gone to a dude ranch and her father had gotten skunked. And then he’d stood up, held out his hand, and pulled her back into her bedroom.

He removed her/his t-shirt, saying it had too many stains to sleep in, and then he crawled in bed as naked as she was and made love to her again.

She hadn’t believed it could be as good, but she’d been wrong. He’d taken more time. She’d never understood the saying “slow hands” until now. He had the slowest hands, and by the time he got around to touching her where she ached the most, she was almost mad.

As Savanna fell sleep, her head on his chest, she decided it was the best night she’d had in years.

• • •

Mark woke up, Savanna draped on top of him, and he was hard and ready. Her bare breasts rested on his bare chest and it felt nice. He raised his head and noted how her hair scattered around his chest. He smiled. Damn she was pretty and soft and sexy. He recalled how they’d laughed through dinner, how [bad word] fantastic the sex was. He wanted to kiss her awake, to start making plans for dinner tonight. For more sex. Hell, he wanted to figure out what he needed to buy her for Christmas. When was her birthday? He didn’t want to miss her birthday.

His chest gripped.

He needed to get in control of his emotions, this was so new and he was already so . . . invested. But holy hell, how had he gotten here so fast? Logically, statistically, he knew this was probably going to end, and when it did, it was going to hurt like hell.

No! He didn’t want to think about it ending.

She lifted her head, her eyes met his.

“Good morning.” He smiled. She didn’t smile back. “Something wrong?”

“Sorry,” she said. “I just . . . It’s been a while since I woke up with anyone besides my cat.” A meow sounded at her ear.

He watched her tug at the sheet and sit up. She gave her cat a few gentle stokes. He couldn’t help but be jealous. He had something for her to stroke, too. Then again, he didn’t have a condom. Why hadn’t he brought three?

“What time is it?” she asked.

He glanced at her clock. “Five forty-five.” Was there enough time to run across the street for a condom? “What time do you have to be at work?”

“I should start getting ready.”


He could tell she was experiencing a little of the awkward morning-after thing.

“What time do you have to be at work?” she asked.


“You could just stay here and grab another hour of sleep.”

It wasn’t sleep he was craving. He leaned in and kissed her. “I’ll see you tonight. Dinner, right?”

She nodded. “Oh, tonight’s Tuesday, I can’t. I meet Bethany and Jennifer for dinner every . . . Tuesday.”

“Not at Juan’s restaurant?”

“No, we’re trying that new California Cuisine place on First Street.” She bit down on her lip. “I’ll be home around eight . . . if you wanted to come over . . . for a glass of wine, or something.”

Did something include getting her naked?

“Yeah.” He paused and then just said it. “I’ll miss you today.”

She smiled. “I’ll miss you, too.”

“How about I make us some coffee while you shower? You do have coffee, right? You have time for a quick cup?”

“Yeah. The coffee’s in the fridge. The filters are in the cabinet above the coffee maker.”

“Take a shower. I’ll have coffee made when you get out. Do you want me to make you some toast or anything?”

“No, I’m fine.” She tugged the sheet off the bed and waddled across the bedroom. And looked adorable doing it.

“I saw it all last night,” he said. “And a couple of nights before.”

She looked back and grinned. “But this is daytime.”

“And that makes a difference, why?”

Her brow creased. “I don’t know, but it does.”

He watched her shuffle toward the bathroom and he made himself a promise that he’d get her naked in the middle of the day, just to prove he could. “You’re beautiful. You should parade around naked all the time.” The door closed then opened and she peered out. “You’re not too bad yourself.”

“You said I was awesome last night.”

He could swear her cheeks flushed with embarrassment. “You were.” The door shut. He heard the spray of her shower and he’d give almost anything to join her. To get her all soapy and . . .

He moaned. He’d promised her coffee. He glanced down at his overly optimistic hard-on greeting the day with a big hello.

“Not happening, guy.”

• • •

Savanna stepped under the spray of warm water, dropped her chin on her chest and accepted defeat. She’d failed. Failed the have-sex-and-keep-it-casual test.

She knew it the moment he smiled at her right after she’d opened her eyes.

She didn’t want to keep it casual.

Oh, she wasn’t a fool. She wouldn’t go so far to say she loved Mark Donaldson, but the seed felt planted. A seed of possible love. A seed of hope . . . hope for a future. A seed that wasn’t at all casual.

Wait, hadn’t she done this very thing with Clint? Had sex and then went into planning a lifelong commitment?

Then bam, it hit her all over again. Clint was dead. But for the last eight or nine hours she hadn’t even thought about him.

Oh, hell, was that what was going on? Was she fixating on Mark so she wouldn’t have to think about Clint? No, that wasn’t it. Her heart wasn’t that opportunist. The way Mark made her feel, the great sex, the shared laughter, that was . . . real. So real she wanted it to become realer.

But what did Mark want?

I’ll miss you today.

She recalled him not wanting to talk about his ex-fiancé. Did he still love her?

He’d also asked if she wanted to slow things down. Perhaps she should have said yes. Taking a deep breath, she decided all she could do was . . . Oh, hell. She didn’t have a clue what to do.

Stepping out of the bathroom, the smell of coffee greeted her. Okay, there was something she could do. She could go to work and pretend like she hadn’t had the best sex in the world last night. Pretend it didn’t matter that Mark was possibly still in love with someone else.

She dressed, did minimal makeup, and then went to start pretending. He was pulling cups down from her cabinet. Shirtless. He looked really good shirtless. She had a few flashbacks of them making love.

Making love?

Why did she look at it as making love? They’d had sex. Get down, get naked, sex.

“Black, right?” he asked.

“Yeah, thanks.”

He poured her a cup and brought it to her. She held it to her lips and stared at him over the rim. The moment grew long.

He exhaled. “Okay, tell me this is just the normal awkward morning-after thing, or do you have regrets?”

“No regrets. Just maybe a little concern.”

“About what?” he asked.

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V.I.P of CLB Tiểu Thuyết
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Chapter Fourteen

Savanna hesitated and then just spoke the truth. “That maybe it happened too soon.”

He shook his head. “You have to stop thinking like a woman.”

She frowned. “I am a woman.”

“Oh, I know.” His smile came with some sexual innuendo.“ But you need to stop thinking like one. For a man, it’s never too soon. Besides, I’ve had my eye on you for months.”

She arched a brow. “Please. You didn’t know I existed until I forced you to—”

“You do lawn work every Sunday afternoon around four. You get home from work at different times, but you have a standing outing most Saturdays around eleven and on Tuesdays you always arrive a little late—like this afternoon.”

She grinned, liking that he’d kept up with her. “You’re practically a stalker.”

He laughed. “Not a stalker. I had you on my radar. Beautiful woman lives across the street, it’s natural I would know some things.”

“So if you’ve had me on your radar, why didn’t you ever come over and introduce yourself?” Maybe she was wrong about him. Maybe he wasn’t still in love with his ex-fiancé. Maybe he was as open to them . . . to them being a “them” as she was.

He picked up his own cup of coffee. “I was worried you lived too close.”

She digested that. “And you’re not worried about that now?”

He twisted his cup in his hand. “No.”

She met his gaze. “Really?”

“I figured it was worth the risk.”

Risk? “What risk?” But then she didn’t really need to ask. She knew what risk. The risk of what would happen when he told her he really wasn’t open to a real relationship. That this was just fun and games. Sex and more sex.

He set his coffee down and stuffed his hands in his jeans. “The risk of . . . You know what, I think what’s important is—”

“Don’t.” She held up her hand. Yup, she should have waited until she knew if he was open to a relationship before she got naked. “I should go to work.” Disappointment coiled in her gut. She set her cup in the sink and turned to leave.

“Whoa. No. I didn’t mean . . .” He gently caught her by the shoulders and turned her around.

Instantly, she realized she was acting like a psycho girlfriend. They’d spent one night together, and what did she want from him? Promises? What was wrong with her?

“It’s okay.” She stepped away from his touch.

“It’s not okay,” he said. “You’re obviously upset and I didn’t mean—”

“It’s not your fault,” she said. “I just didn’t like that you said there were risks—”

“But I didn’t mean—”

“No, you’re right. Anytime you meet someone, there are risks. Like with your fiancé. I just . . . I haven’t . . . You are the first guy I’ve seen since my divorce, and I think I’m just . . . mixed up, right now.”

“You’re not mixed up,” he said.

“Yeah, I am. And I think maybe we need to . . . to maybe slow it down.”

• • •

Mark dropped down into his office chair.

Jake walked in. “Where’s breakfast?”

“Don’t start!” Mark didn’t look up.

“So dinner didn’t go well last night?”

“I said don’t start!”

“Alright. ” Jake propped his butt against Mark’s desk. “I got a call from Mrs. Curley. She’s driving home today and said she’d be happy to come talk to us.”

Mark looked up. “Can you friggin’ please explain how a woman’s brain works?”

Jake crossed his arms over his chest. “I’m assuming you don’t mean Mrs. Curley?”

“No, I don’t mean Mrs. Curley.”

“Okay.” Jake paused. “Women are . . . difficult. I mean, religion, world politics . . . I could help you out on those, but women . . . they’re a mystery.”

Mark raked a hand over his face. “I shouldn’t have pushed. I knew it was too soon. Her ex-husband was murdered and she’s a suspect, her friends are suspects and what the hell do I do but take her to bed? What the hell was I thinking?”

“Shit. You slept with her?”

“I told you not to start!” Mark snapped.

• • •

Savanna was miserable. She’d started to call Mark a dozen times, but to say what? ‘I really didn’t mean that.’ Jeepers, she was so . . . embarrassed. She’d acted like a fruitcake. He was probably counting his blessings she’d put the brakes on things.

Thankfully, it was a slow day, and since Janice was working, she called an emergency early dinner. At three-thirty, she met her two best friends at the new restaurant. She arrived early, so she walked around the restaurant’s little shop.

Her heart clutched when she came across the bins of Jelly Belly jelly beans.

When Jennifer and Bethany arrived, they ordered margaritas, and within a few minutes, Savanna had spilled her guts. She told them about the great sex. About how he made her feel giddy and happy, and how she behaved like a complete idiot.

“It’s aftershock,” Bethany said.

“I don’t think so. The flashes, seeing Clint dead, have stopped.”

“Not from Clint’s death,” Bethany said. “Great sex messes with your mind, especially if you haven’t had any in a while.”

“She’s right,” Jennifer said. “Sex can make you stupid.”

Savanna moaned. “Why did I do it?”

“Why did you sleep with him, or why did you break up with him?” Jennifer asked.

“I didn’t break up with him,” Savanna insisted.

Her friends looked at each other and then back at her with their poker faces.

“You think I broke up with him?” Savanna asked.

Bethany put her hand on top of Savanna’s. “You sleep with a guy for the first time and then you tell him you need to slow down, that’s pretty much a breakup.”

“I didn’t want to break up with him. What’s wrong with me?”

“Nothing,” Jennifer said. “You’re scared. Clint did you wrong. You lost your mama. Mandy slept with your ex-husband. You’ve had some tough blows.. It’s understandable that you’d be insecure when it comes to building a new relationship.”

“Understandable maybe, but still stupid,” Savanna said.

“True” Bethany said. “Hey, he’s hot. We’re not arguing the stupid point.”

• • •

Mark and Jake left the retirement home where the witness on a cold case now lived. Mark had just got behind the wheel, when Jake spoke up, “Can I say one thing and then I’ll shut up?”

Mark knew what Jake was talking about. “No.”

“Good,” Jake said. “I’ve been thinking about what you said about how you were wrong to encourage the relationship because of all the shit happening.”

“I said no,” Mark growled.

“Yeah, I heard you. I’m ignoring you. You see, when Macy and I met, it was raining shit. I had the crap with my family, and her brother had escaped from prison. There were piles of shit everywhere. But sometimes when crap happens, people need each other. And sometimes when crap happens people do things and say things they shouldn’t. If it wasn’t for you Macy and I wouldn’t be together. What I’m saying is don’t give up. Things might work out.”

Mark gripped the wheel. “She asked to slow things down.”

Jake frowned. “After your first night?”

Mark nodded. “And it’s probably best. I didn’t have my head completely wrapped around it anyway.”

Jake leaned back in the seat. “Because of that Robyn bitch?”

“No.” Hell,why was he lying? “Probably. I’m not sure I’m ready for a real relationship.”

“Hmm,” Jake said. “You think Savanna might have picked up on that and that’s why she called it off.”

“No,” Mark said.

Jake shrugged. “You sure? Women pick up on shit like that. It’s like they read you, can see right into our minds. Scares the hell out of me.”

Jake’s phone rang. He glanced at the screen. “It’s Mrs. Curley.” He flipped it open. “Jake Baldwin.”

Even from the other side of the car, Mark heard Mrs. Curley’s panicked voice. “He’s dead.”

“Who’s dead?” Jake looked at Mark.

“Nick. He’s dead. He’s at my house. He’s really, really dead.”

“Calm down,” Jake said. “My partner and I are on our way.”

Mark wasn’t sure what ‘really, really dead’ meant, but he had a few ideas, and he wasn’t looking forward to finding out if he was right.

• • •

By the time Mark and Jake pulled up, Piperville’s homicide department was already there. Jake’s buddy, Tom Hinkle, and his partner stood out front. Mark could guess the reason they were outside was because of the ‘really, really dead’ comment.

Mark spotted Mrs. Curley and two young boys standing across the street. He had no idea how bad the scene was, but he hoped the young boys hadn’t seen it.

Hinkle met them in the middle of the lawn. “She said she called you.”

“What we got?” Mark asked.

“You’re going to have to see it,” Hinkle said. “I’d recommend you cover your nose.”

Mark glanced back across the street. “Did the kids go inside?”

“No. Luckily they went over to the neighbor’s to get the dog. But the Mrs. didn’t get spared.”

They walked in the house. The smell was horrendous. Mark’s throat tightened. They made their way into the living room.

“Shit!” Mark said.

“I know,” Hinkle said. “You’re thinking what I’m thinking, aren’t you?”

Mr. Curley didn’t have a ribbon tied around his dick, but he had one tied around his chest. His throat was slashed, he was naked, and placed under the tree as if he was a gift.

“Yeah,” Mark said, but still couldn’t see the connection.

“Body’s here, it’s our case,” Tom tossed out the statement.

“I think that’s fair,” Mark said, the smell turning his stomach, and making him eager to let go of the case He turned and walked out.

“Totally your case,” Jake seconded and followed Mark.

Outside, Mark inhaled trying to clear the smell from his nose.

Mark glanced over at Mrs. Curley. “Can we chat with her?” he asked Hinkle, not wanting to step on anyone’s toes.

“I talked to her, but knock yourselves out. If you get something new, however, you let me know.”

Hinkle walked back into the house. Mark and Jake went across the street. The first thing they did was get her away from the kids. “Ma’am,” Mark started. “I’m sorry for your loss.”

Tears filled her eyes. “It’s not my loss,” she said. “But I feel bad for my kids.”

“I’m sure you do,” Mark said.

“Ma’am, do you happen to know a Ms. Savanna Edwards, or a Clint Edwards?”

She wiped her eyes. “No. But the other officer asked me that, too. Why?”

Mark inhaled. “I hate to ask hard questions now, Mrs. Curley, but we were told you and your husband had a disagreement a day before he was killed. Do you recall what you were arguing over?”

She hiccupped. “It was . . . he was supposed to be paying my truck payment. And he wasn’t. That’s why I went to Dallas. To borrow a car from my parents.”

Jake and Mark looked at each other. “Was your truck repoed?”


Mark got that ah-haa moment.

“Did you see the man who took your car?” Mark asked.

“Of course. He pulled it right out of my driveway.”

“Can you describe him?”

“Hell yeah. Red suit, white beard. It was Santa Claus.”

Suddenly, Mrs. Curley paled. “Oh, my God. I told him that all I wanted for Christmas was to have Nick dead and . . . under my tree.” She let out a sob. “ I didn’t mean it.”

“We know, ma’am,” Jake said.

Mrs. Curley ran to her kids. “Shit,” Mark said. “Santa did it. But what doesn’t make sense is that Savanna said the only people who heard the ribbon statement were the people at the diner.”

“She probably said it to Santa and just doesn’t remember.”

“I don’t think so,” Mark said. “I was there most of the time when the wrecker driver was there, and I don’t see her saying something like that to anyone but her friends . . . and in a moment of frustration. She’s not that crass.”

“Maybe Santa followed her to the diner,” Jake said.

Mark’s gut tightened. “If he did, then maybe he’s still following her. She could be in danger.” He started the car. If Santa touched Savanna, he was one dead jolly red-suited dude.

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1 • [Xuyên không] Khi vật hi sinh trở thành nữ chính - Tư Mã Duệ Nhi

1 ... 28, 29, 30

2 • [Hiện đại] Làm thế nào để ngừng nhớ anh - Mộng Tiêu Nhị

1 ... 19, 20, 21

3 • [Hiện đại - Trùng sinh] Cô vợ ngọt ngào bất lương - Quẫn Quẫn Hữu Yêu

1 ... 149, 150, 151

4 • [Cổ đại] Kiêu Tế - Quả Mộc Tử

1 ... 46, 47, 48

5 • [Xuyên không] Cuộc sống nông thôn nhàn rỗi - Kẹo Vitamin C

1 ... 108, 109, 110

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1 ... 176, 177, 178

7 • [Cổ đại] Nô gia không hoàn lương - Cật Thanh Mai Tương Nha

1 ... 20, 21, 22

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1 ... 130, 131, 132

9 • [Hiện đại] Cướp tình Tổng giám đốc ác ma rất dịu dàng - Nam Quan Yêu Yêu

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10 • [Hiện đại] Hôn nhân giá ngàn vàng - Cẩm Tố Lưu Niên (103/104]

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11 • [Xuyên không - Cổ xuyên hiện] Ảnh hậu đối mặt hàng ngày - Ngã Yêu Thành Tiên

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15 • [Hiện đại] Xin chào Chu tiên sinh! Dạ Mạn

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