"WHERE I COME FROM, COPS AREN’T HEROES."
Photojournalist and wedding photographer Ava Greene has been unlucky in love, and even though she calls herself a hopeless romantic, she is more than a little bitter about it. The only attention she seems to get is from the men she has absolutely no interest in and has become unintentionally celibate in her effort to avoid “trash ass dudes." Ava has officially given up on the idea “the one" when Officer Friendly rolls up on her block.
"NOT ALL COPS..."
Arrogant and just shy of being a cornball with his bad-dad jokes, she knows that this stocky cop might just be the one to make her second-guess every thought she ever had about those who protect and serve.
Ava tries to make it clear to Levi that she doesn't need saving, that she doesn't need to be worshiped, but he is convinced that is exactly she needs. But when Ava finds herself on the wrong side of the law, will he be the hero she needs or toe the "thin blue line?" CW: Police brutality, government sanctioned murder, corrupt LEO, anxiety, parental abandonment, explicit sex.
GRAB YOUR COPY HERE
Dinner was a greasy slice of pizza and a canned Coke followed by a walk along the riverfront. The night was sweet, and the sky was showing off; casting an orangey-pink glow over the Philly skyline. This was almost too cliché for me. Too kiss me, take me home, and make love to me, but I didn’t want this night to end. But no matter how slow I strolled or how much I stalled by taking pictures of shit I’d captured a million times, we still ended up at my doorstep. Instead of going right up, I sat down on the stoop. Levi sat down next to me and heaved a sigh.
“I know you’re not ready to end this date, but I’m exhausted.”
Unbelievable. Was this fucker a mind reader, too? “I like how you just assume that I don’t want to end this date,” I said, feigning disinterest.
“I mean, the sun is going down, Ava. You have literally spent the whole day with me.”
“Oh, and you didn’t just spend the whole day with me?”
“Nah, I just went about my regular day, and you tagged along,” he said, a smug smile on his goddamn gorgeous face.
I rolled my eyes. “Right. Of course. Just put that whole thing on me, huh? I wasn’t the one making googly eyes at Boys & Girls.”
“Correction: you were the one making promises with those eyes, and I was just trying to follow through before I was rudely interrupted by those damn, meddling kids.”
“Is that right, Scooby Doo?”
“For the record, Scooby never said that. That line was usually reserved for the suspect. And yes. It’s absolutely factual. ”
“Factual, huh? Well, I don’t know, Officer Raymond. It’s your word against mine. I don’t think that’s going to hold up in court.”
“Excuse me? Did you forget that I’m an officer of the law?”
“Oh! Right! You guys routinely lie under oath. Eye four-got. I’m not as well practiced as you.”
Levi shrugged and screwed up his face. “Even if you were it wouldn’t matter.”
“They’d only need to look in your eyes to find out everything they need to know.”
“Come with it then,” I said, swiveling toward him on the step. “What are my eyes telling you now?” I tried to glare at him but immediately softened when his eyes met mine.
“Your eyes are telling me that you have been wanting to kiss me since we sat down at breakfast.” Levi’s gaze dropped down to my lips. “Am I right?”
My mouth went dry. I had to swallow before I answered him. “You’re not wrong,” I said.
“Hm,” he chuckled softly. “Still bitchy.”
“I thought you liked bitchy?”
He brushed my braids over my shoulder. Normally shit like that got on my nerves—all this seduction when we could just be kissing. But strangely all I could do was sit there as he moved in close and kissed…
“My collarbone?” I scoffed.
“What?” he asked. “That’s not the sweetest thing you’ve ever known?” he asked, quoting a Lauryn Hill lyric.
“Oh, my God. You are such a cornball.”
“And you like it.”
“An arrogant cornball that I apparently wasted a whole day on.”
“Oh, really?” he asked moving in closer. His lips were barely a breath away from mine.
“Hmm…I don’t think it was wasted time at all.” Levi brushed his lips across mine. It was shy, tentative, and so whisper-soft that it couldn’t really be called a kiss, but it stirred me up just the same.
“Let me walk you to your door.”
“Oh…okay,” I stuttered then stood awkwardly to lead him up to my apartment.
I opened the door, but before I could walk inside, Levi stepped around me and invited himself in.
“Well, make yourself at home,” I mumbled.
Levi flipped on all of the lights, checked my closet and under the bed before he went into my bathroom and pulled the shower curtain aside like he was responding to a call for a home invasion.
When he was done, he came back into my main living space and stood opposite me with a strange look on his face. That look made me feel anxious. I laughed, trying to dispel my nervousness. The sound was awkward and unsure.
“Did you find the boogeyman?” I asked.
“I’m your boogeyman,” he said.
He came at me quick.
Before I even realized he as moving, I was in his arms. For a short guy, he had big hands. One of them found the back of my neck and brought my mouth down to his. This wasn’t the tentative brush of his lips against mine that happened on the stoop. This was something else. Something fierce. Something hungry. Something that made me whisper “Yes,” when he tilted my head with that hand on the back of my neck and slid his tongue into my mouth.
His mouth was soft, but insistent, and I grabbed fistfuls of his tee, pulling him against me. Wanting him. Wanting more of him than I should.
Levi chuckled, and it rumbled through me, made me want to strip off my clothes, and I must have started doing just that because he grabbed both of my hands and pinned them behind my back. Even that made me shiver with anticipation.
“I’m gonna go,” he whispered, his mouth still on mine.
“You don’t have to—”
“Yes, I do.” He pivoted me toward my bed and backed me up until my knees hit the mattress and I sat down with a huff. He laughed at me, out loud this time, before leaning in to kiss me on the forehead.
“Don’t be like that,” he said then turned to leave. “I’ll collect on those promises some other time. Goodnight, Ava Marie.”
I scooted over to the window and watched him cross the street to his car.
So much more to him than I thought.