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“Bree,” he says in a breathless whisper.
“Yep. That’s me. Last name’s Pechman, which means bad luck in about every language imaginable. Fitting really, considering my last two days,” I say, trying to look anywhere but at him. “Can you just write me the ticket, so we can get this over with?”
He stays silent, so I finally look at him. His eyebrows rise up, and a grin grows on his face.
Like he’s trying to be funny, he says, “You’re bad luck, cheese.”
I slap my hands to my sides. “Seriously? You are”—a huff leaves my lips as I try to think of the right words—“the most diabolical man I have ever met! First, you take things too far by looking up videos on my computer, and then you think you’re being funny by comparing my name to a cheese that is spelled completely different!”
With a whip of my ponytail, I brush past him and march toward my front door.
I’m halted, however, by the firm, albeit warm, touch of his hand on my arm.
“Bree, wait,” he says. I turn back to him, and his eyes are molten. “Is everything okay?”
“Hmm, let’s see. I only thought I was being blackmailed last night for watching porn, which I then had to admit to”—I pause to glare at him—“you. Only to find out it was a scam, but that was after you brought up the exact videos I’d watched in front of the entire police station—and don’t think I didn’t hear their laughs behind my back.”
That’s the part that really pisses me off. Not that he looked them up per se, but that he wasn’t discreet, which just compounded the humiliation I felt.
I continue, “Oh, and let me add that I make no money, teaching kids who have trust funds that are worth three times more than I’ll make in my lifetime, who would rather speak in acronyms than use our actual language. J-K and I-K-R are not things I should see written on their homework as an answer, yet every day, I have to write the words spell it out on multiple papers. Then, we can talk about how my skirt was soaked in salt. And to top it off, just by chance, I got caught speeding by the same person I never wanted to see again.”
“So, you admit you were speeding?” he says in a teasing voice, and I want to scream.
“No! I was not speeding. It’s not possible!”
“How come you never wanted to see me again?” Those damn lips tug to the right, this time showing some teeth, which, of course, are perfectly straight and as white as could be.
I close my eyes, wishing I could just climb in a hole and never come out. “Look, Officer …” I shield my eyes from the late afternoon sun to see his name badge better.
“Harder,” he says.
I let out a closed-mouth laugh and then cover my mouth to hide my physical reaction.
“Yes, my last name is Harder. Dax Harder.” He holds out his hand to me. “Nice to meet you.”
Now, I feel like a complete jerk. I got upset about him calling me cheese, and here I am, acting no better and giggling at his last name. Little does he know, it’s not that I think his name is funny. It’s the opposite actually. I mean, the name Harder couldn’t fit a man more perfectly. In the physical sense at least.
I stare at his hand for a few breaths before reaching out to meet it.
“Bree Elizabeth Pechman,” I offer as a formal introduction.
The way his strong grip and callous fingers wrap around mine does nothing to calm my nerves. Instead, it makes my heart pound ever so slightly.
I peel away from him and turn back to my car, sitting down in the driver’s seat and buckling up, searching for an excuse not to look at him and to keep my racing mind busy.
“Hey,” he says, nudging my arm. “I can see you’re having a bad day. I’ll let you go with a warning.”
My shoulders twist until I face him. “You’d really do that for me?”
He does this head tilt that is even sexier than his smirk. “O-F-C,” he says, and I roll my eyes at his use of the acronym for of fucking course.
“Funny,” I deadpan and am rewarded with a glimmer of his pearly white teeth.
It all started when I got an email.
Let me rephrase. A sextortion email from someone claiming they tapped into my computer and recorded me while watching an adult graphic video. If I don’t send them money, they’ll show everyone in my contact list.
As a chemistry teacher at a private school, I panicked. Not only do I love my job, I need it. Desperate and afraid, I run to the police station and ask an officer for help.
A very gorgeous, very arrogant officer, Dax Harder.
Dax is a mixture of a fearless warrior and an undisciplined child. After he proves to me that it’s a spam email and they didn’t actually hack into my computer, he uses the incident to tease me. I leave the police station in a huff hoping to never see Dax again.
Fate has other ideas.
Everywhere I go, I run into Officer Harder. Our tension turns into more and soon we’re embarking on a fiery and bold romance. The more time I spend with him, I learn there’s a dark past that lingers behind the eyes of the closely guarded cop.
And whatever it is, it’s enough for him to push me away.
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