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Eric lifted his head from his notes to watch Angel walk toward the counter. He tried to ignore the growing woody that rubbed against his boxers. He could kick himself in the ass for not paying better attention to the report. He'd expected the owner of La Tienda Dulce to be an older woman, not the twenty-something, drop-dead gorgeous woman who'd sent his cock into overdrive when she'd smiled at him. He'd tried to stay aloof, tried to focus on work. Hell, he'd dug into the food she'd given him with the express idea that eating would take his mind off his hard-on. It hadn't worked.
When Sanchez had told him Angelica Vega was a piece of work, he didn't mention the woman was a knockout. Her dark brown eyes were full of mischief, and her body--oh man, her body. Barely five-foot-five, maybe twenty-five or thirty pounds overweight, nice and curvy with large full breasts and lush hips. She had beautiful cocoa skin and midnight hair peeking out from under the bandana.
He imagined her on her knees, begging for his cock. That image was replaced with one of her turning so he could grab her hips and plant himself deep inside her. She would scream for more and he would give it to her. Over and over and over again. She would submit to him all night long, then beg to start again in the morning.
"Fuck." He breathed the word out under his breath and shifted in his seat. "Down, boy. You've been dead for a month and you pick this time to wake up?"
His unruly cock refused to listen to him. It started to pulse as Angel walked back to the table. When she pulled the bandana from her head and shook out her long black hair, he knew he had to have her. It was curly and hung halfway down herback.
Neal! Get a hold of yourself. What are you, a teenager? You have a job to do, so forget about topping her. Now.
He cleared his throat and lowered his gaze back to his paper. "Anytime you're ready to start, Ms. Vega."
"Angel, please. Ms. Vega is my bitch of a sister. Well, now she's Mrs. Castile."
He grinned and nodded. "OK. Angel."
"Look, it was pretty much the same Sunday and Monday mornings, except Monday the damage was worse. Can I just tell you one story, and then fill in the blanks for the difference?"
"Sure." Just hurry up and start before I tell you to get on your knees.
"Fine. When I went into the back, I turned on the light. At first, I thought maybe someone had forgotten to clean up Saturday night. There was flour on the counter and on the floor. And sugar. I can't begin to tell you what a mess that was to clean up."
Sugar. He imagined Angel on a worktable in the kitchen, with him above her, trailing a line of sugar over her nipples and down to her pussy. Or maybe he'd use warm melted butter. Watch her wiggle. See how long she could lie still, then think of a suitable punishment for the bad little baker when she moved against his orders.
His cock jerked and he growled lowly. "Go on."
"So I'm not so mad, or scared, at first. That's all that happened that night, except for the cookies. But on Monday morning, well, things were much worse. I came into the main room and turned on the lights. There are ten tables, each with four chairs. I had two tables, and eight chairs that weren't broken or overturned. They'd smashed the glass on the display cases. I just had it replaced on Tuesday, and I had an alarm system put in that same day. I had to close all day. Today's the first day we've been open since Monday."
Eric frowned at her. "You didn't have an alarm?"
"What were they going to steal, flour?"
He fought back laughter as his own words to his captain were thrown back in his face. "You do take in money every day. Do you have a safe?"
"Yes, a floor safe. But it's well hidden, and they never got anywhere near it. Saturday night they were only in the kitchen. Sunday night they ransacked the office."
"And they took nothing?"
"Cookies. Both nights they took cookies from the walk-in. That's the only thing not made fresh everyday."
"What time do your workers come in?" And how do you feel about submitting to a blond cop who's had problems getting it up lately? That is, until he saw you.
"Four-thirty at the latest."
"Yuck. No offense."
She laughed. "None taken, Detective. I'd much rather be in bed, too."
Eric recognized the invitation. It would be so easy to take her up on it. Sanchez's words came back to him. She's a piece of work. He wondered if that meant she was wild. That idea wouldn't bother Eric. In fact, it would be a turn-on. But he liked his women submissive, and he wasn't sure if Angel would fit that bill.
Of course, there were ways to find out. Subtle ways. But now wasn't the time. He just wished his cock would figure that out. At her mention of the word bed it felt like it had grown another foot.
"So there was no trouble after the alarm was installed?"
"None. They didn't even try to get inside."
"That means they figured what they wanted wasn't here, or they were pros and didn't want to risk getting caught. Tell me, Angel, what do you think they were looking for?"
"I don't know."
Their gazes locked and after a few moments, Eric nodded. She didn't look guilty, nor did she act guilty. He believed she really didn't know what was going on.
"I need to talk to your workers. If now's not a good time, I'll come back later, when the other two are here."
"No, you can talk to Carmen and Lilia right now. Tony is in the kitchen baking bread. You can go back there, but you'll have to cover your hair."
He nodded. "Tell me, Angel. Do you think your bitch of a sister had anything to do with this?"
"Rebecca? Doubtful. She doesn't want to have anything to do with me. She says I'm a disgrace to the family."
Hmm. Drugs? Alcohol? "What's the problem between the two of you, if you don't mind me asking?"
"I'm one of five daughters, Detective. We range in age from thirty to twenty-one. Rebecca is the oldest, and I'm right behind her. We've very different."
She stared at him, then looked toward the counter.
"Yes?" He noticed the frown that marred her beautiful face. He wanted to kiss her lips until she smiled again.
She turned back to him.
"Rebecca is married, and has four children of her own, and she's pregnant again. All three of my younger sisters are married, too, like good little girls. Me, I like my freedom. And I like men. Do I need to elaborate?"
Oh, please do. "No, I get the point."
"My father still expects women to get married, have babies, and be submissive to their husbands. When I opened my business, my family thought I was overstepping my boundaries, as a woman. The only member of my family that still talks to me is my grandmother, which is strange since she's so traditional."
"So, you're not a submissive little female." Damn it.
"Not in that respect, no." She stood and gathered her hair in her hands, pulling it into a ponytail before twisting it into a bun and wrapping the bandana over her head again. "But if you want to tie me up, Eric ... may I call you Eric? Then come back later and we'll talk."