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Beg for Mercy
By Alden, Jami
Forever Copyright © 2011 Alden, Jami
All right reserved.
It wasn’t quite over yet, but Megan Flynn was 99 percent sure this was going to go down as one of the best days of her life.
And judging from the molten look Cole Williams was giving her across her tiny kitchen table, her perfect day was about to glide seamlessly into a perfect night.
“That was amazing,” he said, leaning back in his chair, relaxed after a day spent on the water, followed by a home-cooked meal of fresh-caught local salmon accompanied by a bottle of Columbia Valley Pinot Noir. His plate was so clean he might have licked it, and Megan felt a ridiculous spurt of feminine pride in having provided a meal he’d so obviously enjoyed.
Megan traced the edge of her wineglass with her finger and gave him a sly smile. “So maybe next time you make salmon you’ll listen to me and not cook it down to a fine dust?”
Cole laughed and leaned across the table to refill her wineglass. “My mom always said you had to cook it enough to kill the bacteria.” He set the bottle down and took her free hand in his, his thumb tracing slow circles in the sensitive hollow of her palm.
Megan took a swallow of wine and smiled. “Since you grew up in a landlocked state, I’ll let you off the hook. But from now on, leave the seafood to us natives. Deal?”
“Deal. I’ll grill the steaks; you do the fish.”
Megan tried not to let herself get too carried away with fantasies of a lifetime of quiet dinners like this and wiped what she knew was a completely moony look off her face.
But it was impossible for her not to get carried away with Cole, all smoldering and intense across the table from her. With his dark eyes, dark skin, and bold, almost craggy features, Cole was a little too rough to be classically handsome. But when his full lips pulled into that sexy smile, Megan felt like she was going to melt into a puddle and spill right off her chair.
He pushed back from the table and kept hold of her hand as he walked the few steps to the couch. He settled against the cushions and she sank down next to him, her legs folded under her short skirt.
The short, flowered halter dress was completely inappropriate for a day out on Puget Sound on Cole’s boat. Even in early June, the temperature out on the water didn’t get much above sixty degrees. But when she’d gotten dressed that morning, she’d chosen the dress as a key part of her mission.
Namely, to finally break through Detective Cole Williams’s ironclad control.
Up until tonight, every date with the broodingly sexy detective had ended the same. With a kiss. Then more kisses that started with soft pecks and worked their way up to deep, wet, tongue-sliding, lip-sucking, blood-boiling kisses. Kisses that got Megan hotter than she’d ever been with any other man.
But no matter how hot she got, he never pushed it past hot kisses and light caresses, leaving her humming and thrumming with unsatisfied desire.
She was done with taking it slow. She wanted Cole, she wanted him now, and judging from the way his dark gaze kept straying down to the curves of her breasts swelling over the neckline of her dress, he was finally done too.
He tucked a lock of her hair behind her ear. “I missed you these last couple of weeks.”
He looked a little worn around the edges, and for good reason. Cole was a homicide detective for the Seattle PD, and his latest case had him working such long hours that she’d hardly seen him.
“You sound a little surprised by that.”
“I am,” Cole replied, then held up a hand at her look of mock offense. “I didn’t mean it like that.”
“Then how did you mean it, smooth talker?” Megan gave him a playful swat on the leg that left her hand resting on the top of his thigh.
The lines around Cole’s deep-set eyes crinkled with his sheepish grin. “Usually when I’m head down in a case, I’m totally focused. I forget to eat, forget to sleep, everything.” He leaned in closer, close enough she could feel his warm, wine-scented breath tease her lips. “But I couldn’t forget about you.”
“I missed you too,” Megan whispered right before his mouth covered hers. She parted her lips willingly, eager for the heat, the taste of him as his tongue thrust in. Pushing her back against the cushions, he licked, sucked, nipped, until Megan was clutching at him, practically shaking with need.
Please let tonight be the night.
As though he heard her silent plea, his kiss turned fierce and demanding. There was something different in his touch, in the way he kissed her. Like he was starving and she was the most delicious thing on earth.
Megan struggled to catch her breath as he pushed her back onto the couch. She’d known there was passion simmering under that stony cop surface, but nothing had prepared her for this.
Megan slid her hand up Cole’s back, dragging the hem of his T-shirt from the waistband of his jeans. She purred in pleasure at the feel of his hot, smooth skin, the sound swallowed up by a sleek thrust of his tongue against hers. She traced her fingers up the hard slabs of muscle, her mouth moving eagerly under his as she sought to drink in every touch, every taste.
Cole pulled the strap off the other shoulder and tugged the bodice of her dress down to her waist. His groan of satisfaction rumbled through her core, sending a pulse of heat between her legs. He held himself still above her, muscles quivering as his hot, dark eyes locked on her naked breasts. Her nipples were hard, aching and tingling, begging for his touch.
A vivid flush rode his sharp cheekbones. His mouth was kiss swollen, his lips parted as his breath came in hot pants. “Jesus Christ,” he said in a low, strained voice. “I’ve been thinking about this from the second I laid eyes on you, and even then… You’re so goddamn gorgeous I don’t know how I kept my hands off you this long.”
He tugged his T-shirt the rest of the way over his head. Megan was treated to a glimpse of a wide, defined chest and rippling six-pack dusted with fine dark hair before he settled himself back on top of her. She let out an “ooh” at the first brush of skin on skin, a little surprised not to see sparks flying from where their bodies touched. He settled between her thighs, letting her feel the rock-hard ridge of his erection straining at the fly of his pants, leaving no doubt as to how much he wanted her. He kissed her again, his tongue thrusting in deep, lazy strokes that had her aching and shifting against him in an agony of need.
Megan kissed him back with everything she had, her heart twisting in her chest with the knowledge that sex with Cole was going to be amazing. Momentous.
Sex with Cole would change everything.
But that was okay. Because she was in love with Cole Williams. It had taken some convincing on her part to get him here, but she was pretty sure he was on his way to being in love with her too.
As scary as the idea of love was, Megan knew that with Cole by her side, everything would be okay.
Cole jerked in her embrace, his lips stilling against hers as the harsh ring pierced through the sound of fast breath and wet kisses.
Megan tensed. A cop to his core, Cole never let anything get between him and his sworn duty. Even on his day off. She closed her eyes and started to count to one hundred, trying to cool her body and bring herself back from the edge as she prepared for yet another night on the razor’s edge of sexual frustration.
To her shock, the cell phone kept ringing. Cole curled his fingers more tightly in her hair and resumed kissing her with that almost primitive intensity. Wow. Cole must really want me if he’s ignoring it. A thrill rippled through her at the thought.
A second after the ringing stopped, it started again.
“Fuck!” Cole roared.
Exactly what I had in mind, she thought. “I guess you better get that,” she sighed.
Cole nodded and let out a string of curses as he pushed himself off of her and grabbed his cell from the end table. “Jorgensen, why the hell are you calling me on my afternoon off?”
It was his partner, Nick Jorgensen. Megan sighed and tried to swallow back her disappointment. If she really wanted a relationship with Cole, she would have to get used to the demands of the career he loved.
Party’s over. Megan sat up and pulled her dress back over her breasts and tugged her skirt down to cover her legs. Cole was silent for several seconds, his dark brows pulling into a tight frown over eyes that were losing their sensual haze.
She could make out a little bit of what Jorgensen was saying on the other line, but not enough to figure out exactly what was going on. Something bad, she guessed from the grim look on Cole’s face.
“I’m off today,” Cole said. “Why don’t you handle it—”
Jorgensen answered loud and clear. She heard every word. “This is a slam dunk, asshole. Get over here now.”
Cole’s broad shoulders slumped, and he clawed his fingers through his hair. “Fine, I’ll be there as soon as I can.” I’m sorry, he mouthed to her.
Megan gave him a feeble imitation of an understanding smile, her sexual glow dimming by several watts.
“What’s the address?”
Megan’s stomach seized as she heard Jorgensen give Cole the number and street.
She had to have misheard.
Cole disconnected the call, zipped up his pants, and reached for his shirt. “I’m sorry, Megan, but I have to go—”
“Did he just say the address is Forty-five Appleton Street?”
He didn’t confirm. His face was cold and wiped clean of all expression.
“Cole, that’s my brother’s address. What’s going on?” Panic roared through her veins, stealing her breath, replacing the heat of arousal with the cold bite of fear. Cole was a homicide detective. There was only one reason he would be called to Sean’s house. She sprang from the couch and grabbed his arm. “Is my brother dead? Did something happen? You have to tell me!”
Cole grabbed her in a brief, fierce hug. “I don’t know the details. I’ll call you as soon as I can.” He pulled away, and when she looked up, she saw that he’d gone into full-on Robocop mode. He reached for his phone and his jacket. “Just stay here and wait for my call.”
The door hadn’t even closed behind him before she grabbed her phone and dialed her brother’s house. Straight to voice mail. “Sean, pick up!” she yelled, even though she knew he couldn’t hear her. She yanked on a fleece pullover and stuffed her feet into flip-flops, dialing Sean’s cell phone as she rushed out the door.
Her call went straight to voice mail and she left another message.
She slipped on the damp wooden stairs that led out, barely catching herself before she tumbled down the last two to the paved driveway below. She took a deep breath and gathered her trembling legs under her before continuing.
Please God, let everything be all right. Please let Sean be okay. Sean had done ten years in the military, including his last tour in Afghanistan. He couldn’t have survived that only to return home and…
She wouldn’t let herself think it. Her fingers shook so hard she could barely get the keys into the ignition. She made the drive in five minutes flat.
Her heart seized in her chest as she pulled over. Flashing lights from an ambulance and two Seattle PD squad cars created a swirling eddy of blue and red in the twilight. Cole’s Jeep was parked behind a black-and-white, but he was nowhere in sight.
Neither was Sean. Megan sprinted across the street, hearing the harsh catch of her breath and the pounding of her heart in her head. The ambulance blocked the driveway. She skirted around and saw two EMTs standing by the back door.
“What’s happening?” she said. “Is someone dead? Is my brother dead?”
“Hey, you can’t be here,” one of them said.
“Somebody tell me what the hell is going on.”
Neither responded, but the two men shared a look.
She didn’t realize she’d started screaming Sean’s name until a uniformed cop got right up in her face.
“Hey, this is a crime scene.” The cop, with his blond hair sticking out from under his cap and ruddy cheeks, looked barely old enough to shave.
“This is my brother’s house,” she yelled, and tried to shove past him. “You have to tell me if he’s okay.”
The cop grabbed her by the shoulders and gently but firmly made her move. “Back it up.”
“Get your hands off of me!”
“Is there a problem, Officer Dicks?”
Megan whipped her head in the direction of the familiar voice just in time to see Cole’s partner, Nick Jorgensen, rounding the ambulance.
“Megan?” He motioned for the cop to let her go but caught her as she attempted to sprint up to the ambulance. “You need to get out of here.”
“Is my brother in there, Nick? Is he dead? You have to tell me.”
His closed, careful expression didn’t provide any reassurance. “Megan, go home. Wait for someone to call you—”
“Not until I know—” She stopped when she saw Sean appear in the doorway. The constant strobe of emergency lights made him fade in and out. He looked out of it, like he didn’t know exactly where he was.
“Sean,” she yelled, a half sob, half laugh, so relieved to see him alive she almost fell to her knees. Sean’s head turned at the sound of her voice. He took a step toward her, his leg nearly buckling under him as he stumbled on the first step.
Someone jerked him hard from behind, halting his fall. Then Sean staggered forward a few more steps as though someone was pushing him, his hands cuffed behind his back.
Other details became clear in that split second, her brain registering them in a series of high-definition freeze-frames. Snap. She saw that her military-neat brother was wearing a torn khaki undershirt stained with reddish brown streaks. Snap. Her brain registered those same streaks on his pants. Snap. A spattering of it across the part of his arm she could see with his hands handcuffed behind him.
Oh my God. Blood.
Snap. The man walking behind her brother, shoving him down the sidewalk, was none other than her would-be lover, Detective Cole Williams.
Megan leaped from her frozen stupor. She tried to shake off Nick, but he held her arm in an iron grip. “Sean, are you all right?”
Cole’s dark eyes locked on her for a fraction of a second. He didn’t make a move in her direction, but instead steered Sean to a squad car. Sean’s mouth moved, but the words were obliterated by the din of radios squawking and shouted orders. Neighbors came out to their front stoops to gawk.
Megan’s stomach lurched as she watched Cole with her brother. She had been at the scene of enough arrests to recognize someone being Mirandized.
“Let go of me!” She shoved at Nick and yanked until her shoulder threatened to pop from its socket, but he wasn’t about to let her go anywhere. “Cole, tell me what’s happening.”
He shoved her brother into the back of a black-and-white and slammed the door behind him.
“Cole, answer me!”
His wide shoulders were vibrating with tension as he stalked up the lawn toward her, giving a nearly imperceptible nod at Nick. The grip on her arm eased.
She ran, not toward Cole, but to the squad car where Sean waited. She could see his face in the window, panic in his eyes. “Sean, Sean, it’s going to be okay.” Strong arms wrapped around her waist before she could reach the car. “No, let me go! I need to talk to him!” she screamed. In another second the squad car pulled away from the curb.
Megan wheeled on her captor, shoving at Cole’s chest. “How could you? How could you arrest my brother?”
“I told you to stay home—” he started, his low, too-calm voice kicking her fury higher.
“Fuck you! You can’t expect me to stay home and wait by the phone. You should have told me what was happening—”
“Megan, I can’t give you details—”
“I told you this was my brother’s house!”
“I have a job to do. I can’t break the rules. Even for you.”
His eyes were flat, black chips of ice. Megan stepped back, unable to believe this was the same man who had spent the day laughing and flirting with her. The same man who less than half an hour ago had his hand up her skirt and his mouth on hers, holding on to his control by a thread as he slid her panties down her legs.
Right now he stared at her as though she was just another freak who’d showed up at a crime scene.
Rage dissolved into fear, leaving her desperate. “You have to help me, Cole. Help me get him out of this.”
Cole’s look thawed a degree, but his mouth stayed in a straight, bitter line. “I don’t know what to tell you. Sean’s in big trouble.”
“No! There has to be something you can do.”
He shook his head. “You really want my advice? Get a damn good lawyer.”
She went numb.
Cole looked over her head and spoke to someone behind her. “Get her out of here.”
“Come on, miss, let’s get you home.” Male hands gripped her arms, pulling her toward the street as the man she loved turned his back and walked away.
Excerpted from Beg for Mercy by Alden, Jami Copyright © 2011 by Alden, Jami. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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