Hot Cop by Laurelin Paige

  Hot Cop

  Laurelin Paige

  Sierra Simone



  1. Livia

  2. Chase

  3. Livia

  4. Chase

  5. Livia

  6. Chase

  7. Chase

  8. Livia

  9. Chase

  10. Livia

  11. Livia

  12. Chase

  13. Livia

  14. Chase

  15. Livia

  16. Livia

  17. Chase

  18. Livia

  19. Chase

  20. Livia



  Dirty Filthy Rich Men

  American Queen

  Also by Laurelin Paige

  Also by Sierra Simone

  About Laurelin Paige

  About Sierra Simone

  Copyright © 2017 by Laurelin Paige & Sierra Simone

  All rights reserved.

  No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without written permission from the author, except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

  Cover design by Sara Eirew

  Editing by Nancy Smay at Evident Ink

  ISBN: 978-1-942835-21-9

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  To Kiawah and an alligator named Clive



  Three hundred and sixty-four days.

  That’s my first thought when I wake up. I haven’t even opened my eyes.

  There are three hundred and sixty-four days before doom and destruction come for me in the form of my thirtieth birthday.

  Three hundred and sixty-four measly days.

  It’s not nearly long enough. I’m practically already on my deathbed. I can feel my skin drying out and wrinkling as I lie here. My bones are getting brittle. If I slipped and fell, I’d likely snap a femur. Gone are the days of being carded at nightclubs and bars. Everyone can see I’m a stone’s throw away from the grave.

  I moan and pull the covers over my head.

  I’m twenty-nine, and I’ve accomplished nothing in my life. The end is looming. I’m almost thirty.

  I might as well keep my eyes closed.

  Before I can give in to slumber, my phone rings. Curiosity drives me to pick it up. There are only two people who ever call me—my mom and my brother—and neither would ever dare to call so early in the day.

  I look at the name on the screen and sigh. If I ignore it, Megan will just call back.

  After pushing accept, I put the phone to my ear. “Really? A phone call? Is your keyboard broken or something?” Because seriously. Who calls instead of texts?

  “What?” she asks, confused by my greeting.

  Perhaps she hasn’t known me long enough to find my fussiness endearing. “Nothing. What’s up?”

  “Not much. I’m not working with you today, and I wanted to check up on you.” It’s only been two months since I transferred to Corinth Library, and yet it’s been long enough for the extremely nurturing (and extremely extroverted) children’s information specialist, Megan Carter, to have taken me under her wing. Though at times she teeters on overbearing, I find I’m quite fond of her. “You seemed a bit down when you left the bar last night. Everything okay?”

  “Except for the quickly approaching occasion of my death, I’m great!”

  “Oh brother. Drama queen much?”

  I throw the covers off and climb out of bed. “Am I, though? Or am I a realist? Facing my inevitable annihilation head on?”

  “It doesn’t sound like you’re facing anything. You’re lamenting. Dramatically lamenting. Everyone gets older. Everyone turns thirty. You still have a year before you do. Welcome to life, sister.”

  I shuffle toward my kitchen as she talks, heading for the Keurig I bought myself as a birthday present. It’s been one day, and I’m already in love forever.

  “Don’t you mean ‘welcome to death’?” I put in a pod of southern pecan, push start, and wait for happiness to pour into my I Am Figuratively Dying for a Cuppa mug. Seemed to go with the topic of my mortality.

  Megan doesn’t think the joke is funny. “This is really bothering you, isn’t it? Why do you think that is?”

  Oh God. I didn’t really want to talk about my feelings.

  I sigh, a favorite pastime of mine. “I don’t know. I’m just missing something. There has to be more than this.” From the kitchen, I look around at the two-bedroom condo. I was able to afford the down payment by using the last of my inheritance from Grams, the rest of it having gone to pay for my Humanities and Western Civilization degree at The University of Kansas. My personal book collection is already close to outgrowing the space, but it’s been all I’ve ever needed. Exactly what I’ve always wanted.

  Why does it feel so empty?

  “You need a man,” Megan says decidedly.

  “I don’t. That is not what I need.” I mean it, too. But I do need something.

  I run my finger down the edge of the pamphlet that’s been hanging on my fridge behind the Rainbow China delivery menu since I visited the fertility clinic last month.

  Is this what I need?

  The cost for artificial insemination isn’t as much as I’d expected. I could swing it if I really tried, even on a librarian’s salary. But a nameless father… My mother would go ballistic.

  Still. I’m mulling it over.

  Now that death is fast approaching, I should probably mull faster.

  “You don’t even miss sex?” It seems like an innocent question, but from Megan, I’m certain this line of questioning is the kind that will lead to a blind date if I’m not careful.

  “My vibrator works just fine,” I tell her. “And isn’t cocky or conceited and doesn’t leave.”

  “No, it just runs out of batteries.”

  “I have the rechargeable kind.”

  “That’s not the same. Listen, Livia, I’m going to give you some hard words.” But I don’t hear what she has to say because a series of beeps covers her speech, indicating I’ve received a text. Several texts.

  I pull the phone away from my face to read the messages.

  So I think I’m in trouble.

  Like big trouble.

  Like really really big trouble & now the cops R here and U might need 2 bring bail cuz my mom’s doing a surgery and dad’s delivering a baby & they can’t come help me but I did something.




  They’re from Ryan, a teen I work with a lot at the library. Now she’s a legit drama queen.

  I put the phone back to my ear. “Hang on a sec, Megan.” Then I type Ryan a quick message.

  What’s going on? BE BRIEF.

  She responds with a panoramic picture of what looks to be the parking lot of her high school. I can’t make out much of what’s going on except there are lots of cars lined up behind her, there’s a policeman, and it appears Ryan has chained herself between two trees and has therefore created a barricade across the school driveway.

  Today the drama seems to be warranted.

  After quickly saying goodbye to Megan, I shoot another text to Ryan.

  Be right there.

  I throw on some leggings and an oversized T-shirt that maybe should have been in the laundry instead of on the chair in my bedroom. Then I throw my hair into a messy bun and check Ryan’s response.

  U R
the best! Pick up an iced caramel macchiato on your way? Kthnx.

  I don’t stop for the iced caramel macchiato.

  Traffic seems to be flowing okay when I arrive at Shawnee Mission East, Ryan’s high school. I pull my car up to the parking space closest to the commotion and survey the situation before getting out.

  As the picture suggested, Ryan’s blockade must have been preventing cars from rounding the circle drive for morning drop off. The chains are gone, but traffic has been diverted to another entrance because she’s still standing in the middle of the driveway. She’s wearing a gold and purple cheerleading uniform and holding a sign with letters so bold I can read them from here: Your Impure Thoughts are Not My Problem.

  I’m starting to understand.

  Ryan’s only fourteen, but she’s already a social activist. She rarely misses an opportunity to protest when she feels a person or a group has been wronged. One day she marched outside the library fighting for mothers’ rights to breastfeed in public. Another day she joined her church youth group at Civic Hall to protest the taxation of groceries. Once she handed out pamphlets at Crown Center about the plight of the sperm whales. Maybe it’s because Kansas City is landlocked, but it turns out people in the Midwest don’t care so much about the emotions of large sea creatures.

  Maybe that’s just me.

  But I do care a lot about the emotions of this fiercely passionate girl. She’s well-meaning and big-hearted. Whatever trouble she’s gotten herself into, I hope I can help her out of it.

  I chug the last of my southern pecan coffee—I’m so glad I thought to bring it with me (I’m going to need the caffeine)—and step out of my car. Immediately I hear Ryan.

  “Do I give you impure thoughts?” she shouts to a group of tardy students as they hurry toward the school. “Do I?”

  Oh dear.

  Though class has surely started, there is a small crowd gathered near her. Several adult women are there—probably administrators—a couple of teenage girls, and a police officer.

  I head toward them.

  The cop is talking with one of the adults as I approach, his back to me.

  “You’re strong enough to pick her up,” the woman tells him. “I can tell you work out.” She’s flirting so hard I can hear it from yards away.

  “CrossFit,” the cop says with a shrug. “Five days a week.”

  God, he’s one of those. Cocky. Conceited. Cop-like. I know the type. I brace myself for our upcoming interaction.

  “It’s completely obvious,” the flirter continues. “Why don’t you just move her yourself? Carry her fireman style.” She’s good at this. She has black hair, pasty white skin that is so unnatural it had to have been applied, and red, red lips. I have a feeling seduction is her primary hobby, if not a part-time job.

  “I can’t touch a female minor—it’s against department policy. We’ll have to wait for the woman officer dispatch is sending over. But I appreciate the use of the bolt cutters.”

  Bolt cutters. So that’s how they dealt with the chains. Now that I look, I can actually see a pool of silver links by the tree on this side of the road.

  Ryan, Ryan, Ryan. What did you do?

  Patiently, I stand behind the cop waiting for a good time to interrupt.

  “I’m not a minor,” one of the teenagers says, twirling a long piece of dirty blond hair between her fingers. “I’m eighteen. You could touch me, Officer Kelly.”

  …and this seems to be the moment.

  “Pardon me,” I say in my librarian (aka friendly but assertive) voice. “What’s going on?”

  When she hears me, Ryan spins in my direction. “Livia!” She almost runs to me then seems to remember she’s not budging on purpose. “Hey, where’s my Starbucks?”

  I throw a stern glance at her then shift my eyes back just as the cop turns around.

  And then I understand what all the fuss is about.

  He’s hot.

  Like, I-forgot-what-I-was-going-to-say hot.

  I-should-have-shaved-my-legs hot.

  Here’s-my-panties-sorry-they’re-so-wet hot.

  I’m not even sure exactly what it is about him. His body? His closely trimmed beard? His sober expression?

  The oversexed Snow White wasn’t exaggerating when she said he obviously works out. His thick arms fill out his sleeves, and even with all his gear on, I can tell his shoulders are broad and his waist is trim. He’s not just fit—he’s mega fit. He’s, like, can-I-touch-your-guns fit, and I’ve never thought in my life I’d use the word guns to refer to a guy’s muscles, but it’s appropriate.

  And yet, as hot as his bod is, it’s his face that has my heart stuttering. His cheeks and jaw are chiseled, the jut of his chin almost hidden by his beard. His nose is straight and strong, and, then, damn. The pièce de résistance are his aviator sunglasses, which make him look like sex in a blue uniform.

  It’s possible I need to go lie down.

  “And you are?” Officer Too-Hot-To-Remember-The-Name-I-Just-Heard-Him-Called asks.

  “I’m…here,” I say because I can’t seem to find the answer to his question when he’s staring at me, and I can feel that he is, even behind those metallic lenses.

  “Yes. You are.” He almost smiles, and I have a feeling that isn’t something he does on the job all too often. He’s much too solemn. Too professional. Too all about the facts and nothing but the facts, and holy Jesus I’m happy to provide him with whatever facts he wants.

  Just as soon as I remember what facts are.

  “That’s Livia,” Ryan chirps behind us, reminding me of that specific fact. “She’s here for me!”

  Bolstered by this bit of information that I can give with confidence, I proudly say, “That’s right. I’m Livia. Livia Ward.”

  With both hands on his duty belt, the cop looks from me to Ryan and back to me again. “Are you her…mother?”

  “No!” I gasp, completely horrified. “Oh my God, do I look old enough to be her mother?” I knew I should have started using wrinkle cream at twenty-five. “She’s fourteen! I’m not old enough to have a fourteen-year-old daughter.”

  “Her mother’s been called,” one of the women says from behind him. “And her father. Both were unavailable.”

  I purse my lips as though I’ve proved some kind of point.

  The cop, who hasn’t taken his focus off of me, simply says, “It’s my job to ask, ma’am.”

  I cringe. “Don’t call me ma’am.” As an afterthought, I add, “Please.”

  There’s no response from Officer Solemn.

  Silently, I continue to fume.

  The one fortunate side effect of the humiliating reminder that I’m aging (and apparently not so gracefully) is that it’s knocked me out of the this-cop’s-too-hot-to-think stupor. “I’m her friend,” I tell him. “I work with her at the library. She texted me when she thought she might be in trouble.”

  The cop—Officer Kelly I remember now—looks at me sternly, his expression giving nothing away. “Do you have some identification on you?”

  “Does it look like I have identification on me?” I don’t have any pockets, and I’m not carrying a purse. In fact, I think I might have left so fast that I didn’t even throw it in the car. Shit. Just what I need. A ticket for driving without a license. “Do I need my ID?”

  He looks me over from head to toe. I wish I could see his eyes so I could have an idea of what he’s thinking. “No, I suppose not.”

  “Good.” I relax enough to get in a decent breath. “Then we can deal with the matter at hand. What exactly is happening?”

  “Well, as you can see, the minor—”

  “Ryan Alley. She has a name.” I can already tell Ryan’s going to be in trouble. Officer Kelly doesn’t seem like the kind of guy to let something slide. Maybe if he sees her as a person instead of just “the minor,” he’ll give her a break.

  “The minor,” he continues as if I didn’t say a word, “chained herself in between these two trees on either side
of the school’s driveway, thereby causing a traffic jam at this morning’s drop off. We’ve cut the chains with bolt cutters procured from the school office by the attendance secretary—”

  “That’s me! I found them!”

  Great. Oversexed Snow White’s a hero.

  He turns toward the woman and nods appreciatively with just enough smile to send a blush crawling up her face.

  His smile is actually killer. I almost wish I’d brought bolt cutters just so he’d give it to me.

  Officer Kelly returns his attention to me. “But the minor has refused to move. We’re waiting for backup to proceed.”

  I shoot another look at Ryan. Refused to move? Are you kidding me?

  Of course she can’t read my mind, but she gets the gist and she shrugs.

  “How much trouble is she going to be in?” I ask the cop, softer now that I realize I have nothing to bargain with.

  “We can talk about that once we resolve our situation here.”

  I rock my weight to one hip, talking as I think. “If I can talk her out of this...get her back into the school before anyone else gets here...would that make a difference?”

  “It’s not just up to me.” He turns to look at the group behind him.

  As if he’s beckoned her, one of the women walks over to us—not the flirty attendance secretary, but the one who called Ryan’s parents. “Hi, I’m Sharie Holden, the principal here. Thank you for coming. We’d love to be able to work this out with as little excitement as possible.” She whispers the last part of her sentence, as though that will automatically minimize the drama of the situation.

  At least she seems like an easier pushover than Officer No Nonsense. “Will there be any consequences if I make that happen?” I ask.

  “I can’t let her actions go completely unpunished. Half of the school saw what she did here today. I can’t let that slide.”

  “You’re right,” I say with a tone that says I clearly disagree. “In fact, how about I call Channel Nine and have them cover the protest so far? Make sure no one misses it when they drag her away in handcuffs later too? Ryan can even make a statement. Sound good, Ryan?”

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