She handed him the glass, took a sip of her own drink and stared unabashedly at the broad-shouldered, uniformed police officer holding a glass of lemonade in her kitchen. Giving in to curiosity, she nodded at his belt. “What exactly is all that stuff?”
He downed the lemonade in two swallows and refilled the glass at the fridge before answering. “Hot today,” he said by way of explanation, then gave her a slow, thorough once-over before he lifted his chin toward the laptop bag sitting on the island. “What’s in the bag?”
“The usual,” she said.
“I’ll show you mine if you show me yours,” he said. Then he winked.
Lightening flashed through her and her nipples hardened under layers of silk and lace. She didn’t care if this was a late afternoon booty call or not. The mail could wait. What could be more different than exploring the mystery of a uniformed cop?
“Deal,” she said.
Her bag hefted over his shoulder, he took her hand and led her into the living room. The bag landed at one end of her brown leather sofa and he dropped down on the middle cushion.
Apparently this wouldn’t be a Powerpoint presentation with slides and informational diagrams, but rather a hands-on learning experience.
She rucked her skirt up and straddled his lap, the position pushing her skirt to mid-thigh. Rough, thick polyester scudded against her silk stockings as she clasped his hips with her knees and braced her bottom against his thighs. He settled both hands on her bottom, then used his foot to scoot her coffee table back a few inches.
“You first,” she said, but took the initiative and pointed at the holster digging into her left knee.
Without taking his eyes from her face he withdrew his gun from the holster on his hip. “.45 caliber Glock. The clip,” he said offhandedly, manipulating the weapon so what she assumed was the “clip” dropped out. He shoved it back in with a solid thunk and pulled two more rectangular metal objects off his belt. “Spare clips.”
He didn’t offer it to her. She didn’t ask.
“The obvious one,” she said, feeling her eyes widen just a bit. “Why did you become a police officer? Your father has more than enough work for you to join him in the business.”
“I’m not cut out for the same shit, different day,” he said. “No nights are the same. I like being first on a scene, then moving on to whatever’s coming next. We’re usually pretty busy with 9-1-1 calls but if it’s a slower night, there’s always traffic stops. I never know what’s coming when I get in the car. That can be bad, but most of the time it’s good.”
His words rang with a flat honesty she appreciated. “Fair enough,” she said, then reached for her laptop bag. “My MacBook Air. Lightweight and easy to use. I do a lot of presentations, but I’m not very tech savvy.”
He hefted it. “What’s in it?”
“My entire professional career. Every photograph, every presentation, every contract, every bit of research I’ve ever done on every property I’ve ever bought, sold, or investigated.”
“What about data, if it’s stolen?”
“I back it up, twice a day, to both off-site and on-site servers.”
He set the laptop down beside him, but before she could pick out another mysterious item from his belt he leaned forward just enough to kiss her. Heat radiated from his lips to hers, softening and opening her mouth. He flicked his tongue just inside her lips, then sat back and held out a leather case.
“Handcuffs,” he said.
Oh. Her mind went blank as she automatically reached for what he offered, fingering the smooth, worn leather case, turning it over. Her heartbeat rocketed from a slow, heated thump to a rabbit’s pace and a flush crept up her cheeks.
“I wear them behind my back so I can get to them with either hand,” he said, his voice half an octave lower than normal.
She nodded sagely, as if that practical consideration jibed with her own experiences, except none of her experiences included handcuffs. “Pretty sneaky. I thought you wanted to kiss me.”
“I did. I do,” he said. He slid one hand up over the back of her suit to cup the nape of her neck. The proprietary grip of his hand worked in tandem with his mouth to seduce her, the merest hint of pressure of his lips over hers, their quick breaths mingling more than their tongues. She braced both hands on his chest, the fingers of her right hand clasped around the handcuffs case, then pulled back in surprise. Hunter’s chest was muscular and firm, but not rock hard.
He smiled and shook his head. “Your turn,” he said, a hint of command in his voice.
“Your stuff’s more interesting,” she said.
“Not to me,” he replied, caressing the exposed length of her leg with one warm hand.
She tossed the cuffs case next to her briefcase and dug in her purse until she found her BlackBerry. “I’m an addict,” she said as he looked at it then set it on the sofa. “My mother thinks I need a twelve-step program.”
This time he pursed his lips. “You don’t check it when I’m around,” he said as he picked up her hand and pressed a kiss into her palm, then the fleshy base of her thumb.
She didn’t. The weekend she brought him home was the first weekend in months, maybe years, she hadn’t compulsively checked the BlackBerry. She’d forgotten about it. Not surprisingly, the world did not come to an end. Except it had…in her bed. Again and again. The night he took her out she hadn’t even brought it out of her purse. Another first.
“Other things on your mind?” he asked when she didn’t respond.
She nodded, the heat in his eyes making her heart thump against her ribcage.
“Good. You work pretty hard, beautiful, but all work and no play makes Lacey a dull girl.”
She didn’t feel dull right now. Pressed up against him, her lips tingling from his brief kisses and aching for more, her nipples hard for his touch, she felt like she was glowing, incandescent with heat and light, as if her outline would be visible in the darkness.
“Your turn,” she said.
He spread his hands palm up, leaving his chest open to her touch. He wore a short-sleeved shirt. She trailed the tips of her fingers along the hard muscles of his forearms, up over the bulge of his biceps, to touch his nametag and badge, then across where she usually felt the firm muscle and satiny skin of his deltoid and pectoral. Instead, raised ridges and the hard edge of something covering his chest stopped her questing hands. She began to undo the buttons of his dark blue polyester shirt, one by one, down his chest and upper abdomen, the scent of Hunter and clean sweat rising as she opened the shirt. She reached his belt and stopped, spreading the fabric wide to expose a black vest, secured around his torso with wide Velcro straps.
Silence cocooned them but with this item the grandfather clock in her foyer intruded into her consciousness, ticking through five seconds before he spoke. “Bullet resistant vest. They’re hot, they’re heavy, they’re uncomfortable when you’re sitting in the car and no patrol cop in this town goes on duty without one.”
“Resistant?” She thought they were bullet proof, not resistant.
“Cop-killers will get through them. Some rifle bullets, too.”
Her eyes zipped up to his. “Exactly how safe are you on the job?”
He laughed a little, a gleam in his eyes as he slid his hands up and down ever so slightly over her hips, a motion she found both soothing and arousing. She suspected he knew exactly how his touch made her feel. “Not as safe as you are, but we’re trained to handle situations so we go home alive.”
“Really. Think of the vest as insurance. Probably never need it, but you gotta have it.”
“Good,” she said, then hooked one finger under the Velcro running over his left shoulder. “I want this off.”
Chagrin crossed his face. “Lacey, I’m soaked with sweat. I spent the last hour in ninety-five degree heat at an accident scene.”
“I don’t care, Hunter.” She really didn’t. Assuming he had an hour, about forty minutes remained.
“I’ll ruin your sofa.”
“Body oil is good for leather.” She tugged at the Velcro and heard the distinctive rip of the material separating.
“All right…wait! Not that way. I’ve got those straps tightened just right.”
He leaned forward and she helped him shrug out of his shirt. It pooled around his waist, caught by his belt. With deft movements he unfastened the Velcro holding the sides of the vest together and pulled it away from his body to drop on her antique Persian carpet.
His white t-shirt fit snugly to his chest and was indeed soaked with sweat. Her mouth, on the other hand, went dry at the sight of his carved musculature under the clinging wet T. She took the damp fabric in either hand, tugged the shirt free of his pants and pulled it over his head to land on the floor next to his vest.
Gingerly he leaned back into the sofa, relaxing only when she pushed on his shoulders. Small, tight masculine nipples, darker brown in the tanned expanse of his chest, tempted her to taste. Lapping at the tiny buds made his grip on her hips tighten. In response her own nipples began to throb against the lace and silk of her bra.
“Your turn, beautiful,” he said, his voice a dark rasp.
The heat and strength of his erection, pushing firmly against the zipper of his navy pants, made it very hard to lift her head and focus, but she reached into the bag and pulled out her calculator. “It runs complex financial calculations. Your turn.”
He removed a black cylinder from his belt. “OC spray. You know it as Mace.”
“Claire carried that on her key ring until she sprayed herself in the eye one night at a bar.”
“It burns,” he said matter-of-factly.
“You’ve been Maced?”
“In the Academy.” He reached for another device on his belt. “Tased, too. The department won’t let you carry a Taser unless you take the class and you can’t take the class unless you agree to be Tased.”
“My God.” She handled the pepper spray gingerly and declined with a shake of her head to touch the Taser. “Did they shoot you, too?” she asked, only half-joking.
He took both items from her and set them in the growing pile of gear on her end table, next to her pretty Wedgwood plate and her Tiffany lamp. “You’re down two, beautiful.”
“I don’t carry anything else in my bags. Just project files.”
“So let’s talk about your uniform.”
Her brow furrowed. “What uniform?”
He traced one finger up the buttons holding her jacket closed, then gently touched her grandmother’s emerald brooch nestled in her left lapel. “I’m not the only one wearing a uniform. Mine says I’m Officer Anderson, no stripes, no clusters, no bars, just a guy working the street.” He retraced his path, flicking open the buttons from her breasts to her waist. “Yours says you’re Ms. Lacey Meyers, successful businesswoman.”
She hadn’t thought about it that way. She was about to stop thinking at all as she watched his dark hands spread open her jacket to expose her blouse.
“Tell me about this suit, Lacey,” he said as he slid the jacket off her shoulders. The heat of his palms seared through the thin white silk at her shoulders, his hands large enough so his thumbs almost touched at the hollow of her throat.
“It’s Oscar de la Renta,” she said as he began to stroke her collarbones, the silk quickly warming as it rasped ever-so-gently against her sensitized skin. “Houndstooth. Alpaca and wool.”
“Doesn’t mean anything to me,” he said. She watched his fingers move to the bone buttons of her blouse and begin to undo them, one by one. “But you look gorgeous in your businesswoman’s uniform. Sexy and untouchable all at the same time.”
“I could say the same for you,” she said, the words coming out as the merest whisper when he pushed the blouse down her arms. Four delicate, fabric-covered buttons held the cuff snug against her wrist. She waited docilely as he deftly unbuttoned first one sleeve, then the other. Dressed in what was left of his uniform she caught a glimpse of how the cop informed the man; he handled her body with a presumption that sent jagged shards of heat flashing through her.
“I look sexy and untouchable?” His eyes were teasing, flashing green as he studied her breasts, supported by taupe silk and ecru lace.
“Police officers always look untouchable to me, distant and authoritative,” she said.
“We’re supposed to.” He stretched his arms along the back of her sofa, his eyes heavy-lidded and promising. “For you, beautiful, I’m touchable, too.”