Overview

Lexie Lambert has given up on the idea that love and sex can go together. When she decides to indulge in a one-night stand with the sexy new guy in town, Max Davis, she assumes it will be a fling and nothing more. Max doesn’t want to let Lexie go after just one night.

But to continue on the path to happily ever after they have to go over the hurdles of meddling friends, gossip, and the drama of others. Lexie isn’t ready to give up her freedom just yet, but Max seems to ignite a ...

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Overview

Lexie Lambert has given up on the idea that love and sex can go together. When she decides to indulge in a one-night stand with the sexy new guy in town, Max Davis, she assumes it will be a fling and nothing more. Max doesn’t want to let Lexie go after just one night.

But to continue on the path to happily ever after they have to go over the hurdles of meddling friends, gossip, and the drama of others. Lexie isn’t ready to give up her freedom just yet, but Max seems to ignite a fire in her she didn’t even know was possible. Is that enough to warrant forever?

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781595781864
  • Publisher: Liquid Silver Books
  • Publication date: 12/5/2005
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 139
  • Sales rank: 446,726
  • File size: 383 KB

Meet the Author

Erin Katz has been writing as long as she can remember and the dream of being a published author finally became a reality in August 2005 when she received her first contract from Liquid Silver Books. When she’s not writing, Erin is attending school to decide what else she wants to do when she grows up and raises her daughter on her own. Erin lives in East Tennessee and is a member of Romance Writers of America, Smoky Mountain Romance Writers and Passionate Ink.
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

"Well, Lambert do you prefer doing traffic for the Baptist Church or the Presbyterian Church?" Lt. Pete Hanson asked during the early morning briefing at the Chilhowee Cove Police Department.

"The Presbyterian Church," Lexie answered. Since it was her last stint on days before the shift change, it was her turn to pick her zone during roll call. Next week, coffee would be her best friend as she fought to stay awake through the wee hours of the morning to protect the good citizens of Chilhowee Cove. And because it was the Sunday before Christmas, church traffic would be extra busy on that morning.

"Okay then. Richardson, you get Zone three and here are the requests from the minister of the Baptist Church regarding the traffic controls." Hanson handed Richardson the list.

"Wimp," Richardson muttered in Lexie's direction.

"No, I'd say she's smart," Hanson corrected with his deep authoritarian voice.

"It's my Friday," Lexie reminded her co-worker as she took a sip of coffee. Really, it was a Sunday morning, but at the end of the day, she'd have four days off before beginning the graveyard shift.

"Whatever." Richardson's East Tennessee drawl slipped into his speech as he yawned.

"I'm sure they'll keep the doughnuts warm for you at the bakery." Lexie reached out to pat Richardson's overgrown tummy. "At least the bakery is in zone three."

Before Richardson could answer with his usual sarcastic reply, Officer Jake Blankenship stumbled into the squad room.

"Nice of you to join us this morning, Blankenship," Lexie greeted him. She made a point to put on her sweetest smile for the man who was often referred to as"Poster Boy".

After working with him for three years, Lexie had become immune to his sculpted, strong chin set in a gorgeous face. Of course, she'd been married when she and Jake had joined the force. Despite his flirtations prior to and since her divorce, she hadn't been able to look at him as more than a friend, especially after going through the academy with him.

"I had a rough night." Blankenship kneaded the top of his nose with his thumb and forefinger. The gray shirt of his uniform was still unbuttoned, revealing his white undershirt. He held his clip-on black tie.

"What's her name?"

"Jealous?"

"Not likely." Lexie added a chuckle to her voice. "I don't want to end up as one of your casualties."

"Still blowing the ink dry on your divorce papers?"

"Ooh, low one, Blankenship. But no, I just haven't met anyone that's worth it yet."

"I've never met anyone worth it either," Jake clarified as he buttoned up the top of his gray uniform shirt. He flashed Lexie his famous smile with the dimples that could make any woman with a sex drive melt. Lexie thanked God her knees didn't buckle when the smile went her way. "But I'm sure havin' fun findin' her."

"Is that why you play musical bed partners?"

"There's no harm in trying out a few of the wrong ones before finding the right one."

Yeah, that's what my ex-husband said, Lexie thought to herself as she rolled her eyes. And it cost us our marriage.

She shook her head when Jake shrugged his shoulders and collapsed into one of the plastic chairs of the squad room. Even without smiling, Jake's dimples left an impression visible underneath the fluorescent light of the squad room.

"All right, guys, calm down." Hanson broke in, his gruff voice halting the roar of the shift change. "Blankenship, you get zone two."

"Shit," Blankenship replied. "That means I have to deal with that old lady at the Waffle House."

"But she likes you," Lexie reminded him in a schoolgirl tone. Then again, most women liked Jake Blankenship. The gun, handcuffs, and badge only added to his allure since he could pick up a woman even without his badge. He seemed to like the "holster sniffers" that fawned over him as much as Richardson.

"Big deal. You'd think the hag would learn after the first ten years that there's no such thing as a non-smoking section in Waffle House in East Tennessee."

"Now, now, that's not a nice way to talk about your biggest fan." Lexie stood, slapped Blankenship on the back and offered him a smile.

"Kiss my..."

"I love you too," Lexie cut in and gave him a peck on the cheek. She noticed briefly that he hadn't bothered to shave before coming to work. That added to her theory that he'd been too busy the previous night to want to get out of bed or wherever they'd decided to do the deed.

Lexie knew Jake kept a clean change of clothes and an extra uniform in a duffle bag in his truck. That way, he could sleep with whatever tramp he'd chosen the night before and not have to stop by his apartment before heading to work.

"How come you never do that for me?" Richardson's voice had a whine to it, indicating he was jealous of the attention Lexie gave to Jake.

"You're not as good looking." Lexie turned on her heels and patted Zack Richardson's pouch belly. "And he's still single."

"I can be single any time you want me to," Richardson returned.

"I'm sure your wife would lu--uve that."

"She doesn't have to know."

"One of these days she's going to leave your fucking fat ass." Lexie bit her lip after saying that last word. She vaguely remembered not cursing before joining the police force.

"Why? She's got it made." Richardson's face turned up with a sly smile. "I work my ass off while she sits at home eating bon bons and watching soaps."

"I doubt that."

"Have you seen Richardson's wife?" Blankenship cut in. "After seeing her, I can understand why he's here on time."

"You're a jerk, you know that." Lexie lightly punched Blankenship in the belly, feeling the metal of his bullet-proof vest beneath her knuckles.

"I'm just honest," Blankenship insisted.

"How'd you like it if someone said that about your wife?" Lexie knew it was a hypothetical question because Jake Blankenship was a confirmed bachelor insistent on playing the singles' circuit. Though, there was a nasty rumor that there was a woman out there just as immune to his charms as Lexie. And that was the woman who'd one day tame him. Lexie just hoped that she wouldn't be too old and blind to see that happen.

"I'm sure my wife--if I ever get one--will be a hell of a lot prettier than his."

"If you had a pretty wife, it wouldn't make a difference in your getting to work on time."

"Well, now if I'd woken up next to you instead of Candy, I would've been here on time." Blankenship put an arm around Lexie's shoulders.

"That sounds like an insult."

"No, because we'd have somethin' to do once we woke up."

Skepticism clouding her vision, she glanced up at the sharp, handsome lines in Jake's features. If she actually believed Jake would call her the next day or she wouldn't have to work with him, she might consider his invitation for a date. Or would it be a date if all they did was fuck? She'd been out of the dating world so long she didn't know the answer.

"I'd shoot you for being in my bed to begin with." Lexie added saccharine to her voice. Sarcasm was yet another trait she'd learned during her time as a police officer. It took the edge off dangerous and depressing situations.

"Oh, honey, it would take a lot more than a gun to keep me away from your bed," Zack broke in.

Lexie rolled her eyes. She couldn't help but smile at the glisten in Jake's cornflower-blue eyes. Lexie had always held a soft spot in her heart for blue eyes, but it hadn't made her want Jake as anything more than a friend.

"That doesn't sound like a compliment," she told Jake in regards to his previous comment.

"No, it means we'd be up earlier getting our blood pumping."

"Yeah, right. You couldn't handle me."

"I love a challenge," he said, touching the top of her nose as she remained snuggled into the crook of his right arm. Anyone who didn't know them would assume they had a relationship on the side. But it was simply part of their on-job behavior.

Hanson stepped in. "I hate to break up the party but we have to get to work. Never know when one of you fools might actually get to be a hero."

Lexie spun around and made her way to her cruiser, which by now should be warm from the engine running for the last twenty minutes. She'd turned on the car when she'd reached the station, knowing it would be nice and toasty for her at the end of roll call.

The jovial discussions helped them all get pumped for hitting the streets for patrol duty at such an early hour when most people were still sleeping. Still, she made sure her thermos of coffee had the proper amount of creamer and sweetener in it before leaving the warmth of the station for the chill of the December morning.

She exhaled just to see her breath in the morning darkness highlighted by the lights at the back of the station. The childhood trick still gave her a little thrill.

"Damn, it's cold out here," Richardson said from behind her.

"Now, who's the wimp?" Lexie teased.

"Well, I didn't put on an extra shirt this morning."

"Big deal." Lexie rolled her eyes at how such a big man could be so sensitive to the elements. Of course, she was well aware that if both of them were in a foot race, she'd win while he would be huffing and puffing halfway past the starting point. "I never wear an extra shirt."

"Yeah, but you got extra padding on the top half to help ward off the chill of the winter air."

"You're crude." Lexie groaned loudly. "But if you had to wear a bra under your vest, you wouldn't need an extra layer."

"Are you sure you're a woman?"

"If I'm not, then I got a lousy deal on a figure."

"And you're the best looking man I've ever seen."

She glared when she saw him look up and down her 5'4' frame from her feet to the top of her head.

"Have you ever heard of something called sexual harassment?"

"Yeah, it sounds like a lot of fun."

"Until the day you're slapped with a lawsuit."

Richardson simply smiled, his white teeth shining in the bright lights from the back of the station.

Shaking her head, she went to her own cruiser.

As she quickly checked that all her supplies were in order on the passenger seat, she prepared to put the car into drive.

With a laugh, she glanced at Jake scraping frost off the windshield of his cruiser. She avoided aggravating him about it and simply pressed the accelerator and sped out of the station's parking lot.

She still took great pride in driving her own police vehicle even though she'd been on patrol and out of training for nearly three years. Her ex-husband--Billy Lambert--had told her she couldn't do it. She'd gone out of her way to prove him wrong, and succeeded. Even at the cost of a normal social life.

When Billy left her for another woman while she went to the police academy, he'd relinquished the right to tell her how to live her life. Her best friend, Karen Pollack, who worked as a police clerk at the Chilhowee Cove Police Department, had encouraged her to go for the vacant patrol position when her marriage was on the rocks.

She'd graduated at the top of her class. Imagining the head of her target was her husband had helped with her shooting practice to gain the proper certification. Once she returned home to Chilhowee Cove, she moved in with a fresh-faced reporter named Melissa Conner, now recently married and expecting her first baby.

Pulling onto Cove Highway, she drove a few miles down the four-lane road and pulled into the parking lot of the Highway Bar.

"This is three-forty, I'm in the parking lot of the Highway Bar," she reported over her radio to the dispatch center.

"Ten-four," a voice she recognized but didn't have a face to match it with, replied. She knew dispatch had just changed their shifts as well, and the fresh crew had to get their bearings.

With the front of her cruiser facing east, she waited for the sunrise.

Her cruiser in park, Lexie relaxed her legs. Keeping her seat in the right position to pull out onto the highway at any moment, she worked the morning speeding round with her radar gun pointed at the highway.

Being so early on a Sunday, it was highly unlikely she'd catch a speeder. Between the bitter cold of winter and the laziness surrounding Sundays, people tended to stay put more so than in the warmer months.

Besides, Chilhowee Cove was a tourist town, and many of the speeders were from out-of-state and didn't quite comprehend that the city intended to enforce the 50 mile-per-hour speed limit. Tourists didn't drive around this early in the morning. The practically deserted road should stay quiet for a few more hours until people ventured out for church.

So when she heard a motorcycle zooming and grinding in the distance, her neck snapped to the left. The lights above the highway reflected against something orange, which was apparently a helmet.

From the sound of the throttle, the motorcyclist wasn't obeying the speed limit. Well, when an opportunity presented itself...

Her finger pressed into the button of the radar gun, she pointed it through the windshield. Bracing to jump onto the highway, she put her right foot on the brake and slid the gear into drive.

The radar gun beeped, and flashed "85". Without a thought, Lexie let the radar to fall into her lap as she peeled onto the highway. Using her left hand to steer, she turned on the lights and siren with her right.

It had taken over a year to get the process of a traffic stop down to an art.

The motorcycle roared to a stop on the shoulder and Lexie parked behind it.

"Three-forty, traffic stop," Lexie advised dispatch per department procedure. "It's a black motorcycle ... with Tennessee tag Zulu Tango four-six-seven-zero northbound on the highway."

"Ten-four," the dispatcher replied.

"Three-ten to three-forty." Lt. Hanson called her on the radio as she started to open the door.

"Three-forty, go ahead, sir," she said as she opened the driver's side door of the cruiser.

"Do you need assistance?"

"That's a negative." It still irked Lexie when the guys didn't believe she could handle a simple traffic stop. On the other hand, as the only female on the force, she'd become accustomed to it.

She shook it off as she approached the motorcycle. Since the driver was clad in black, the only color she could pick up was on the helmet, which he now held in his lap.

Her flashlight leading the way, she pointed it in his face for a quick look. The illumination would help the camera mounted in her cruiser pick up his features.

"I need to see your driver's license and proof of insurance," she told the rider. Her breath almost caught in her throat when she noticed his eyes. Along with the orange helmet, those blue eyes were the only color in sight under the harsh glow of the flashlight.

Without a word, the man reached into his back pocket and pulled out a black leather wallet. Lexie noticed he kept his eyes on hers. Though she tried to maintain some professional dignity, she noticed that his pecs were well chiseled beneath his tight tee-shirt, visible because his leather jacket was unzipped. And although he sat, she could tell that his butt had a nice little curve to it--something so rare in most men.

Usually the driver of a traffic stop avoided her gaze at all costs. Not this one.

If it wasn't for the sharp edges of his eyes glistening in her flashlight, unafraid of her assessing gaze, she would have thought he meant trouble. The cool, steadiness of his gaze told her he would not.

From her peripheral vision, she saw his fingers grab his license and a piece of paper from the wallet and hand it to her, clasped between his thumb and forefinger.

She nodded and took the documents, returning to her cruiser to relay the license number back to dispatch.

While waiting for the central computer to run his information, she grabbed her ticket pad and started to fill in the name on the driver's license--Max Davis--into the first few blanks on the ticket.

If he had a middle name, it wasn't on his driver's license. Didn't that mean trouble?

"Three-forty, that checks out, ten-four," dispatch advised her. The dispatcher purposely remained monotone and releasing only a few necessary details to avoid complications.

"Ten-four," she replied.

She returned to the motorcycle.

"Because you were going twenty miles over the posted speed limit, you don't qualify for the first time offenders' sentence. And our judge doesn't look too kindly on speeders," she told him as she handed him back his license and insurance card.

Avoiding his eyes, she clicked her pen into place to continue writing.

"I need a current address and occupation," she requested using a purposeful cool tone.

"It's one-eight-six-five Cove Highway."

"That's the Chilhowee Inn." Lexie had been to the establishment on enough domestic disputes to know the address well. "You live at the hotel?"

"It's just temporary. Until I find an apartment."

"Okay. And do you work?"

"Yes." He matched her inquisitive tone with a curt one. "I'm a corrections' officer at the jail."

Now that his wallet was once again stowed in his rear pocket, his right hand kneaded the handlebar of the motorcycle. His gloves were off and his hands appeared strong. For some strange reason, a chill floated through her body at the thought of his rough palms going over her body.

Damn it, he was a cop. That presented her with a problem. Normally, patrol officers let a fellow cop go with a warning.

She had no proof he was a cop. Most cops had a habit of flashing a copy of their badge along with their license upon being pulled over. He hadn't, which made her suspicious of his claim.

"I've never seen you before." She hoped to draw him out to discern if he was telling the truth or trying to get out of an expensive ticket.

"I only started last week."

"Then I guess you don't know that this area is highly patrolled. The tourists refer to it as a speed trap." In fact, most of the speeders she ticketed on the highway had out-of-state tags. Perhaps, that's why the motorcycle with Tennessee tags had sent up a red flag.

"I'm late for work."

"Like I haven't heard that one before." Once again, her eyes stared into his. The steely-blue didn't hold the shiftiness of a liar. Since she was in the middle of a traffic stop, Lexie also tried to shrug off the tightening sensation just below her heart.

"What shift are you?" She narrowed her eyes. If he was a liar, he couldn't hold on to the illusion for very long. Her glare was just as strong as one of those interrogation room lights.

"Normally, I work evenings," he said after pulling back his sleeve to glance at his watch. "But with the holidays coming up, I'm pulling a double shift today. Corporal Jones likes to work the newbies to death."

"I see," Lexie answered with a calculated tone. The name-dropping certainly helped his case.

"Just give me the damn ticket so I can get going." He groaned loudly.

She eyed him closely. A man barking orders reminded her of her ex-husband, which always brought a bitter taste to her tongue.

Nonetheless, she wanted to do as he asked just to get away from him. She ripped the top paper from her ticket book with force, and practically slammed it into a ball in his fist.

* * * *

He folded the ticket and tucked it into his wallet, which he replaced in the back pocket of his black fatigue-style pants.

Without another word, he pulled his gloves on, jumped on the gear and zoomed off on his motorcycle.

From the "Lambert" engraved into the gold tag above the left breast of her gray uniform shirt, Max knew the ticketing officer was the infamous Lexie Lambert. From the talk of the other officers, he'd assumed she was a tall blonde Amazon.

Though he couldn't tell exactly what color her hair was underneath the black bucket hat of her uniform, he knew it wasn't blonde. Despite the darkness, he detected a few freckles scattered across her nose and there was something about the cream of her skin that made him suspect she was a redhead. Her eyes had shone like freshly polished emeralds. That was the only feature he could detect with any certainty under the dim light of the streetlights.

He'd noticed that the uniform that made most female officers appear less feminine did not do a good job covering the curves of her hips and breasts.

He'd also managed to steal a glance of her rear swaying with a soft swish as she walked back to her cruiser. Luckily, she hadn't seen that. She probably would have found a reason to give him another ticket.

Jake Blankenship had been right about one thing. She had a nice ass. One that begged to be clutched and kneaded and wasn't meant to be covered.

Officer Lambert sped past him in her cruiser, continuing down the highway towards the airport. Her silhouette was all he could detect in the darkness of her car. The headlights then slowed as she did a quick U-turn and drove the other way.

"What the hell am I waiting for?" he muttered. "I'm already late."

Max shook his head, turned the gas on the handlebars and picked up speed, hoping the movement would help release the tension mounting in his pants. He was careful to keep the speed needle just below the limit. How in the world would he explain a gigantic hard-on to his supervisor? Considering he was still in his probation period of the job, it might not be a good idea to have an erection while working D-Pod, reserved for the female inmates.

It had been years since Max had gotten a ticket for speeding. And none of the tickets of his misspent youth had been written by such a sexy cop.

His leather gloves protected his fingers from the chill, but the wind beat against his cheeks as he drove towards the jail. The vibration of the motor didn't help his boner, and focusing on the road certainly didn't turn his thoughts off Lexie Lambert.

After only a week on the job, he'd already tired of the monotonous work of the booking zoo. Once he'd mastered the computer program, it had been simple. Most of the intakes were repeats and already had their information in the system. And he still had a supervisor looking over his shoulder most of the time.

The pay was decent though and it would hold him over until he could get a job as a patrolman with the Sheriff's Office. Hell, he'd even settle for a position with the city police if it meant he could look at Lexie Lambert a few times a week. Well, it was a thought.

Now that he was free of his enlistment time in the Marine Corps, it seemed strange to be able to pursue any career path he desired.

To be honest, Max didn't particularly care for Chilhowee Cove, but his aging grandfather had enticed him to move there. After all, with Pappy now living in a retirement community in the mountains, he needed a visit from his only surviving relative every once in a while.

Max pulled into the employee parking area behind the jail and stopped the cycle.

He yanked the speeding ticket out of his jacket pocket and looked at it, seeing Lexie Lambert's scrawl for a signature at the bottom.

"What a way to start the day," Max muttered and stuffed it back into his pocket. "I wonder who I can see about getting this thing taken care of."

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