We’re two weeks out from Heartbreaker’s release! Yah!! I cannot wait for you all to meet Maddox. Seriously! He’s about as yummy as they get. AND I have a feeling Maddox’s buddy, Grey is going to win some of your hearts, too.
So, we’ve got a lot going on over the next couple weeks. Starting next week, there will be teasers going up every couple of days. During release week, we’ve got two AMAZING giveaways going on so keep an eye out for that. I’m super excited for you to see what we’ve got in store for you!!
Now for the final goodies, for those who just cannot wait, scroll down to read the Prologue and Chapter 1 of HEARTBREAKER…
PRE-ORDER your copy of HEARTBREAKER:
Paperback coming soon…
Series: Filthy Dirty Love
Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance
Original Publication Date: January 31, 2017
Handcuffs aren’t just part of their job in this sizzling new standalone romance by USA Today bestselling author, Stacey Kennedy.
Veteran cop, Maddox Hunt, is all about the job. Sure, there are women—lots of women, truth be told—but there’s no one special. Until a one-night stand from his past, rookie Joss O’Neil is assigned to his division. Suddenly, all he can think about is her. The scent of her. The taste of her.
Fresh out of field training, Joss has thrown herself into her job, determined to kick-start her career. And while police work has its thrills, her gorgeous new boss is what really gets her pulse pounding. Too bad he’s nothing but a distraction. Especially since he’s as devastatingly handsome as she remembers, and his sexy smile arrests her heart.
Now that Joss is back in Maddox’s life, he has a plan: satisfy her fantasies and fulfill his every dark desire. Nothing is off limits. Her pleasure is the endgame . . . but even the best-laid plans have a way of falling apart. Despite his best attempts to keep his distance and have things remain only about the pleasure, Maddox soon finds himself breaking the only law he’s set for himself. Don’t fall in love.
PRAISE FOR HEARTBREAKER:
“I can only hope there are more books because Filthy Dirty Love just became my favorite thing.”—Wicked Reads
“GOD ALMIGHTY, Stacey Kennedy, can write some ridiculously good SEXY SEXY!!!”—OMG Reads
“Sizzling hot, sweet and sexy! This story was excellent! It’s my new favorite Stacey Kennedy book to date!!!”—About That Story
Bedroom eyes had been watching her most of the night, and Joss couldn’t take it anymore. She’d eye fucked him on the dance floor until he finally joined her, and she’d spent the last half an hour grinding into him in what he obviously read as an invitation.
The minute the stylish single bathroom door clicked shut and locked, sex packaged in a black T-shirt and dark blue jeans was on her. He strode forward, sending her walking backward until her back slammed against the bathroom wall in Seattle’s hottest dance club, Wicked. His tongue dove into her mouth, overwhelming her, while his lips rhythmically danced with hers. His hands explored her back and her bottom, squeezing her cheeks tightly.
“Damn, sugar, you taste good,” he murmured, dropping his head onto her shoulder and nuzzling her neck.
Her eyes rolled into the back of her head as his breath fluttered across her flesh just below her ear. If her panties weren’t already drenched from the confidence in his low, sultry voice, the feeling of strength in his hard body against hers sealed the deal. She thrust her hands into his stylish, gelled, light brown hair, begging him to lift his head. She needed that mouth on hers.
When he finally did look at her, butterflies fluttered within her belly. This guy didn’t draw desire out of her; he yanked it out of her soul. His hand came to her chin while he stared at her.
No, while he examined her, in the same way she couldn’t stop looking at him. Broad shoulders. Ripped arms. Chiseled jaw. Short beard. Intense blue eyes that had the special little something that made her decide he would be her first one-night stand. Something powerful and potent. Something real and intense.
Then, still staring deeply into her eyes, he broke the silence. “I feel like I’m biting into the forbidden fruit with you.”
“The forbidden fruit?” she repeated, breathless.
He watched her, brows drawn tight. “You don’t seem like the type of girl who has a quickie in the bathroom of a bar.”
“What makes you say that?” she asked.
His mouth twitched as he dragged a thumb across her bottom lip. “You seem like a very good girl, who plays very much by the rules.”
“I’m the one who instigated this, so I’m not sure why you think that.” She didn’t want to be a good girl. Tonight, she wanted to be as bad as she could possibly be.
“No, sweetheart.” He gave her an arrogant smile. “I instigated this. You simply reacted to my offer.” He tucked her hair behind her ear, then watched his fingers trace her jawline. “I want to make sure you understand this is a one-time deal. I’m not looking for a girlfriend. I won’t call you after tonight. You’ll never see me again. Are you sure you won’t wake up tomorrow with a world of regret?”
She startled a little at his honesty. Her ex-boyfriend Nick, who’d ended their six-year relationship over the phone, didn’t have an honest bone in his sleazeball body. Nor did he care what she thought about anything. His feelings always came first.
Odd, she thought. Weren’t one-night stands supposed to be all about regretting them the next day? She smiled at bedroom eyes and leaned into his hand. “I don’t regret this now. I won’t regret it tomorrow.” In the morning, she left for the police academy. Finding a boyfriend was the last thing on her mind. Tonight was all about forgetting Nick, ignoring that he’d thought her life in Seattle was too boring. About disregarding the heartbreak. This moment was all about taking something that she wanted because she could. “I want this. I want you.”
“That’s good enough for me.” The thickness of his body pushed her thighs apart and his erection pressed against the junction between her legs. She rocked against him, and he grinned. “You like that, do you?” He shoved her skirt over her hips, and grabbed her legs, allowing them to wrap around his hips as he pinned her to the wall.
“God, yes.” She held onto his shoulders and ground herself against him again, unable to help it. That’s what this guy did to her. He made her reach for pleasure, to not be shy about what she craved.
Unable to get enough of him, wanting desperately to be closer and far more naked, she shifted her hips, rubbing her panty-covered clit against the front of his jeans, feeling the thickness of his cock. He dropped his head against her neck, and the scruff on his cheeks brushed across her skin. She shivered as he licked and nibbled and swirled his tongue until her breathing deepened and her body flushed with unnatural heat. Only then did he take her lips again, kissing her in a way she’d only fantasized about.
Each time his tongue dove into her mouth, he owned her fully and completely. And fuck, the guy could kiss. There was nothing messy and unsure about the way he moved. His sculpted lips were amazing. His tongue sensually stroking hers was perfection. He tasted like man.
Using his shoulders to gain leverage, she rocked her hips, her breath speeding up, her heart pounding. He growled against her mouth, and she shivered, losing herself in the power he exuded. His growl came again, this time throatier. She shifted faster and harder against him, digging her nails into his shoulders.
Then his piercing eyes met hers, studying her intently. A slow smile spread across his face. “Oh, sugar, I like you.”
His voice. Good Lord, that voice had power, one that surely shouldn’t belong to anyone. It made her needy and desperate. She prided herself on her control, but when it came to this guy, she had none. It didn’t matter that she was in a bathroom at a bar. It didn’t matter that she’d only just met him. She wanted him to ravage her in a very dirty and filthy way.
Eyes on her, he licked his lips, and his brows drew together. Intense. Passionate. Determined. He grabbed her butt cheeks and began shifting her against his cock, bringing her to the edge. The way he watched her with those captivating eyes sent her soaring.
“Yes, girl, give me what I want,” he stated.
And just like that, she did.
She wrapped her arms around his neck and trembled against him. Her moans cut off, and her breath became stuck in her throat. All she could do was hang onto him while she rode out her quivering orgasm.
Then she crashed…and crashed hard, panting and whimpering.
Only when the world realigned, and she felt the wetness of his lips brushing against hers, pulling her slowly back from the high, could she even think about moving. She forced her eyes open, finding his gaze locked on hers, his sinful smile instantly warming her.
“Christ, you are a sexy little thing,” he told her, releasing her wobbly legs.
He yanked the front of her top down until her breast was exposed and the tight nipple stood out, begging for his mouth. His low moan of obvious delight tightened her thighs as he grasped her breast in his strong hand. He dragged his mouth across her nipple and groaned. “I could play with this perfect body all night long,” he told her, sucking her taut bud to the roof of his mouth.
Being already oversensitive, she gasped, unable to stand still as his mouth popped off, only to suck deeper the next time. She grasped his thick forearms, loving how the muscles flexed beneath her touch as he yanked down the other side of her shirt and bra, exposing her other nipple to the cool air. When he sucked deeply, a loud knock on the door echoed against the bathroom walls.
“Ignore it,” he said.
She decided she didn’t care about the damn door, as he released her breast and began sliding his palm slowly up her thigh. Her breathing deepened when he nudged her skirt up, his hand coming closer and closer to where she wanted him.
Another knock banged against the door, shaking it on its hinges, yet his hand moved higher…and higher still. He tucked his fingers into the side of her panties, sliding over her slick heat.
The side of his mouth arched. “Soaking wet, sugar?” he murmured. “Do you always get so hot so easily?”
She leaned her head back against the wall and squeezed her eyes shut, “No.”
“Ah, so you like me touching you?” he asked softly, stroking her swollen clit with light flicks of his finger.
“Yes,” she whispered, not even understanding how he made her this aroused. The man had gifts. Magical ones.
His finger froze. “Look at me.”
She reopened her eyes and found the look of a man who knew his worth.
“Only me?” he repeated.
Something so powerful crossed between them, it was at once frightening and exhilarating. Something she’d never experienced before with Nick. He’d always made love for his orgasm, not hers. This passion was addictive. A night she’d surely never forget.
“Only you,” she answered honestly.
“That’s a sexy answer coming from a very pretty mouth.” He slid his thumb gently over her throbbing clit, back and forth, teasing the little bud. “You have a choice to make. You can leave this bathroom now and take what I’ve already given you. Or you can let me give you all that I have to give.”
Instead of using dirty words she was never very good at and usually ended up blushing over, she reached for his belt. She unhooked the leather and then shoved his pants and boxer briefs down, watching his mouth curve. His thick cock sprang free, and she began stroking him. When she dragged her hand over the thick, bulging veins straining for release and up to the rounded tip, he gave a guttural moan.
Determined to pleasure him in the way he had her, she slid her finger over the slit, gathering his pre-cum and sliding the silkiness over his cock head. He reached for the front of his T-shirt, pulling it over his head to rest on the back of his neck, giving her a fine view of his ripped body. From a squared chest to a well-defined six-pack to a V at the waist, he clearly spent a lot of time in the gym. Not too big to look ridiculous but not too thin either.
She bit her bottom lip and traced the valleys of his muscles, feeling each one flex beneath her finger. Slowly, and not caring who knocked on the door, she let herself explore the body she couldn’t even believe she got to touch. The guys she’d met in university didn’t look like this.
This guy was all man. All delicious, fuckable man.
“You’re…” She gazed into his powerful eyes and lost her voice.
His left eyebrow rose. “I’m what?”
She felt drunk from the endorphins as she glanced at his body once more before meeting his gaze again. “You’re so damn hot.”
His grin was full of sin. “Tell me what you want, sugar.”
“I want you.” She grabbed his thick cock and used his pre-cum again to lubricate him as she stroked, urging him to take her.
“Inside you?” His hips shot forward, and he thrust himself into her hand.
“Yes. Fuck me.”
His eyes flared. Obviously, he appreciated boldness. He reached for his pants at his knees, taking out his wallet and then grabbing a condom.
When she moved her touch away, he tsked. “I was enjoying those hands.”
Heat flushed through her, and she began stroking him again. His low moan slid sensually over her, flooding her with urgency. He watched her as she slowly dragged her hand over his shaft from base to tip, memorizing the feel of his dick. She took his heavy balls into her hand before teasing them with light touches. He groaned, and his jaw clenched as he unwrapped the condom.
That left eyebrow arched again. “Since you’re so good with your hands…” He offered the condom.
Desperation consumed her as she took the condom and quickly applied the latex over his shaft. She only looked away for a moment before she stared into those intense eyes again, letting him see how much she liked touching him. Allowing him to witness how crazy he made her.
As soon as she’d fully sheathed him, his hands were on her face, his mouth on hers again, slowly nipping her until he deepened the kiss, taking her to a place that inflamed her body. God, she could feel everything. Every whisper of breath from his nose. Every slide of his thumbs across her cheeks. He became all she knew as his condom-covered cock rested against her stomach.
“I won’t be gentle,” he murmured across her mouth.
“Good,” was all she got out before he spun her around.
The cool metal of the bathroom stall pressed against her taut nipples, her cheek resting there, too. She stared into the heat of his eyes in the mirror next to them above the sink.
He slid his hand up to her neck, holding tightly. “Do you see how sexy you are? How much I want you?”
“Yes.” Her voice cracked with urgency. Her legs began shaking, but it wasn’t nervousness. It was pure, unadulterated desire.
Intensity washed over his expression when he removed her panties and then grabbed her ass, spreading her cheeks. She felt the tip of his cock press against her, and then with a shift of his hips, he thrust deeply inside.
She bowed against him and moaned.
That’s when she learned something very important about this man. Sex was the endgame for him. Or at least tonight it was. Maybe he’d been too built up or pushed too far by all the teasing she’d done on the dance floor, but he hadn’t been exaggerating earlier.
He didn’t do gentle.
One of his arms wrapped crossways over her chest, pinning her to him. The other hand held her hip, his fingers digging into her flesh while he pounded into her, leaving her no choice but to come into her climax. Tears leaked from her eyes with every pound of his hips.
He was so deep.
Screams poured from her mouth as he took her right to the very point of euphoria. The difference between him and her ex: he delivered on his promise. With a final hard slap of his pelvis against her ass, she bucked and jerked against him, moving her hips, claiming the pleasure he offered.
With his final roar as he took his, too, he didn’t only claim her body, he owned her soul.
One year later . . .
In the west precinct of the Seattle Police Department, Joss O’Neil purposefully sat in the back of the briefing room, her mind far from the job. The epic one-night stand she’d experienced a year ago captivated her thoughts. Perhaps having wild sex in the bathroom of a nightclub hadn’t been the classiest spot to give in to her desires. But the guy she’d met that night had given her the hottest sex of her life. She vividly remembered the way he’d touched her and how he’d made her feel. Wanted. Sexy.
Then life had happened, as had five months of the police academy and another eighteen weeks of field training. While that night hadn’t been far from her mind during her training, there was a good reason that guy was at the forefront of her thoughts now.
Bedroom eyes stood at the front of the room behind a long table, addressing a group of ten police officers sitting in rows in front of him.
Maddox Hunt. Police lieutenant. Total badass.
From what she’d learned recently, he was also the resident heartbreaker. Or so she’d been told by her best friend, Emilia when she’d started in the west. Once Emilia had seen Joss drooling over Maddox, she’d said not to expect much in the way of getting a date out of him. Apparently, there’d been whispers around the station that Maddox liked his sex kinky and his relationships fleeting. But a guy with serious commitment issues didn’t deter Joss—it sealed the deal. Then and now.
A relationship had been the last thing on her mind at the nightclub. Even a year later, she wasn’t looking for anything long-term. She’d given six long years to Nick the prick, who’d then broken up with her after he found a better life in New York City. The blow had stung. She’d been hurt, devastated over the breakup. Nick had been her life for a big chunk of her high school years and during university, too. Most of all, she’d been angry with herself. When had she lost her backbone? Where had her voice gone? When he’d broken up with her, she’d sobbed like her life was over. Barf!
Never again would she be that quiet woman who didn’t think of her feelings first. Never again would she stay silent and not speak up for the life she wanted. Never again would she settle for a man who didn’t touch her with the passion she deserved.
Leaning back in her seat, watching Maddox addressing the group, she remembered that she’d woken up the morning after the nightclub incident without a single bit of remorse. Even now, she didn’t regret a damn thing. The filthy, dirty sex he’d given her that night had been all she was after.
Still, though, even after seven days of working for the Seattle Police Department, she had a hard time accepting that he was her lieutenant. When she’d been offered the job with the Seattle PD in the west precinct under the command of Eric Dalton, the police chief and a close family friend, she hadn’t even considered that her one-night stand might be her superior.
Somehow, that meant she had to forget that everything Maddox did screamed sex. The way he moved like a tiger ready to pounce. The way he spoke, low and confidently. How his intense eyes watched her sometimes. It had only been one week of them working together, and already she couldn’t take any more. Hell, her deprived vagina was silently weeping.
“You really have got to stop looking at him like that,” Emilia whispered, dragging Joss’s attention to her.
Joss leaned to the side. Coming closer to Emilia, she whispered, “It’s near impossible when he looks like that. Couldn’t he have gotten…I don’t know…uglier in the past year? Seriously, I think he looks better than I even remember him looking before.”
Emilia laughed quietly.
She knew Joss inside and out, and she’d listened to Joss endlessly gush about Maddox for the days following the one-night stand before the police academy had taken over their lives.
Emilia was two years older, with warm, hazel eyes and honey-colored hair that she usually wore in a bun—mostly because the job required it. They’d met five years ago because Nick was best friends with Troy, the guy Emilia had been dating and who she’d ultimately married.
“You also had three martinis the night you two defaced the bathroom,” Emilia said with a sassy smile. “Maybe your head was a little fuzzy?”
“We may have christened the bathroom, but there was no defacing,” Joss defended.
Emilia snickered, a hand over her mouth. “Maybe, but regardless, you’re right. That guy…” She glanced toward Maddox standing at the front of the room and stared a little dreamily at him. “He’s seriously hot. And if I weren’t married, I would be so jealous that you got to touch him.” She looked sideways at Joss, a sly smile crossing her face. “Okay, maybe I am a little jealous. But protocol is a finicky bitch, and that sexy beast is now your superior, so stop looking like you want to eat him.”
“I don’t want to eat him.” Joss looked from left to right, glad no one sat anywhere near them. Most of her fellow rookies sat as close as they could get to Maddox. Not her. She didn’t want to smell his woodsy cologne and feel all that sexiness wafting off him. “I only want to lick him and claim him as mine.”
Emilia’s light brows rose over her eyes. “You lick it. You bought it.”
“Exactly.” Joss laughed.
Joss’s lips snapped shut, and she jerked her head to the front of the room, finding Maddox with his narrowed eyes directly on Emilia. Which also wasn’t a surprise. As much as she’d been avoiding Maddox, he’d been avoiding her, too. He never talked to her alone, and when he did look at her, there was so much distance, he seemed like a completely different person than the one she remembered. In the nightclub, he’d had heat in his eyes. Intensity. Now…nothing.
That night, blistering hot.
A year later, ice cold.
His left eyebrow arched, and as it did, he said, “Is there something you would like to share with the rest of us?”
“No, sir,” Emilia said, firmly shaking her head, fighting a smile.
Only then did Maddox look at Joss. “And you, O’Neil?” he asked curtly.
“No, sir, nothing to share.”
The muscles in his jaw clenched twice before he looked away, allowing Joss to breathe again. He turned and addressed the group. “We’ve had a good week,” he told the crowd, pressing his knuckles against the table in front of him.
She watched him closely, noting that he had a special way about him. He commanded a crowd in a way she hadn’t seen before. People respected him. Trusted him.
That energy filled the space when he added, “And a good first week should be celebrated.”
“Uh-oh, prepare to panic,” Emilia whispered under her breath.
The mother of all curse words echoed in Joss’s mind as Maddox calmly added, “Tonight I’ll be hosting a barbeque in my backyard, as has been my annual tradition with my team.” He straightened from the desk and crossed his arms over his thick chest, glancing from face to face. “Let me know if you aren’t able to make it.”
“I can’t, sir,” Emilia spoke up, raising her hand. “My shift doesn’t end until midnight tonight.”
“I’m sorry we’ll miss you,” Maddox said, again scanning the room. “Anyone else?”
In the front row, Tommy began, “My mother had surgery, and I need to be there for her…”
Joss leaned over to Emilia and whispered, “There is no way in hell I’m going there alone.”
“Sadly, I think you are,” Emilia whispered back.
Joss could barely stop herself from throwing herself at Maddox, and that was while she was in her uniform with a clear moral barricade stopping her. At his house? Out of uniform? With booze available? Oh, she was in big trouble.
Joss began considering every option to get out of this. Dammit, she’d never been a good liar. Usually, if she attempted even a little white lie, she ended up making a complete ass of herself and stumbling over her words. “Can’t I suddenly be viscously sick and send him an email?” she asked Emilia.
“An email, Joss?” Emilia snorted, resting her arms on the table. “He’ll know why you’re avoiding him. Do you want to have that conversation with him? He’s going to know that you’re bailing because you two fucked like rabid bunnies.”
“Oh, dear Lord.” Joss groaned, dropping her head into her hands. It was bad enough seeing him for these briefings every day and having to pass him in the hallway. “I can’t do this, Emilia.” Joss lifted her head, glancing at her best friend. “You need to help me think of a way to get out of it.”
Emilia paused, her eyes flicking up to the ceiling while she nibbled her lip. Only a second later, she shrugged. “Sorry, buttercup, I’ve got nothing. It’ll be worse if you don’t go. I know he said it like it’s a choice, but it’s not.” She peered in Maddox’s direction and shuddered. “And believe me, Maddox—with all that alpha broodiness—really isn’t the type of guy to not call you out on it. I wouldn’t put it past him to do it in front of everyone either. Is that what you want?”
“No, of course not,” Joss grumbled, miserable. Sadly, Emilia knew him best from working alongside Maddox in the east precinct before transferring to the west. “I honestly don’t know how I’m going to get through this.”
“Hmmm…” Emilia pondered, tapping a finger against her lip. “Oh, I know. What about your mother? If anything can kill your raging hormones, it’s your mom being there. Bring her.”
“I wish I could.” Sally O’Neil loved to talk. If her mother were there, Joss could be silent, while pretending she wasn’t thinking very dirty things about her boss. “But my parents are still in Paris.” Every year, they took a few months off to travel the world. Retirement life had its perks.
Emilia sighed. “Okay, well, that’s a shame. Even your dad would help if he were around.”
Joss nodded, knowing Emilia was right. Dad was a retired cop. He could talk shop while Joss faded into the shadows. It wasn’t that she couldn’t control herself around Maddox. Of course, she could. The problem was, she kept thinking she would slip up around him. Let him see how much she still wanted him, if he hadn’t already seen it. And how awful would that be, considering he’d told her plainly: this is a one-time deal? Especially considering their night together had happened a year ago.
The last thing she wanted was to look pathetic and horny.
She focused back on Maddox, watching him talking to the others as they began to rise from their seats. His presence rattled her in ways she hadn’t anticipated nor was prepared for. She was supposed to have forgotten him. That’s what you did with one-night stands. You screwed and moved on. But it almost felt like they had unfinished business.
Sexy, unfinished business.
As the cops began leaving the room, Maddox’s eyes met hers. Those intense, warm eyes held hers, and her breath became instantly trapped in her throat. The same butterflies that had whipped around in her belly a year ago returned. Heat flooded her, and warm wetness slicked between her thighs, making her panties feel tight. Energy seeped into the room so heavily, goose bumps rose on her flesh. And like she had that night in the bar, she felt seen.
“So, what are you going to do?” Emilia asked, snapping Joss’s attention away from Maddox.
She blinked, rose, and tucked her chair under the table. “I’m going to go to that damn party.” What other choice did she have?
“Atta girl.” Emilia smiled and patted Joss on the back. “Put on those big girl panties with pride.”
Joss snorted a laugh and followed Emilia out of the room, thinking to herself: I secretly wish he’d rip those panties right off.
* * *
The workday ended uneventfully. It wasn’t until later that night at the barbeque while Maddox was flipping the burger patties cooking on the grill that things began to look up.
From his spot on his large, redwood deck, he glanced to the reason his cock was semi-hard, and his balls had felt stuck in a vise grip all damn day.
She stood near his outdoor stone bar, chatting with two other male rookies who’d obviously taken a clear interest in her. He understood why. She mesmerized him the same way. Long, chocolate-brown hair. Light green eyes with gold flecks around the irises. Pouty lips that had once ravished him with blazing hot kisses. And a body with enough curves she felt like a woman beneath his callused hands. Maddox had liked that difference between them. His hardness to her softness was a contrast he enjoyed.
He wasn’t entirely sure what it was about this girl exactly, but she pushed at all his basic instincts. Pursue. Claim. Protect. And as he watched one of the men place his hand on her arm and laugh at something she said, he fought against the desire to march over there and interject himself into the conversation, putting her focus on him. But he knew better. He never went back for seconds. Besides, she was now his subordinate, and touching her could put him in the line of fire for a sexual harassment lawsuit.
“That’s her, isn’t it?”
Maddox glanced left, finding Greyson Crawford, his college roommate, offering him a beer. Maddox took the beer, and Grey ran his fingers through his dark blond hair, his gray eyes pinned on Joss across the way. “Yeah, that’s her,” Maddox replied. Truth be told, he hadn’t intended to tell Grey about Joss. That was until his foul mood lately had left him with no option but to explain.
While most cops at the party had loved ones at home, or even family to spend their weekends with, Maddox had Grey. Regardless that Grey wasn’t on the force, his close relationship with Maddox meant an invite to events meant for cops. Sure, some cops didn’t like an outsider in their midst, but Maddox welcomed the day someone said something to him about Grey’s presence.
With the shit Maddox saw on the job, and what he’d seen some children go through in the foster system, he never mourned that his mother had left when he was four years old and didn’t return. Nor did he feel bad about his father, John Hunt, who lived in a nursing home due to his worsening Alzheimer’s. But when Grey demanded answers for Maddox’s tense mood in a way only a brother would, Maddox had to oblige.
“I see what all the fuss is about and why this chick has you working out harder than you have in years,” Grey said, finally glancing back at Maddox. “She’s gorgeous.”
“Those words don’t do her justice,” he admitted.
Joss was a woman of equal innocence and naughtiness. That was the sweetest type. His favorite, in fact. He recalled in vivid detail the way she’d melted under his hands a year ago, and that’s what had been driving him crazy all week. He needed to get her out of his head. He needed to stop smelling her sugary perfume when she wasn’t there. He needed to stop hearing her sexy-as-fuck moans when she came during his dreams.
Grey downed a big gulp of beer, watching Maddox closely. When he lowered the bottle, he noted, “I see by that twitch in your eye, you’re still being the gentleman.”
“My eye is not twitching,” Maddox snorted, beginning to move the cooked burgers off the grill to the serving plate. Once he’d finished, he tossed on some more meat then called out, “Burgers up.”
Grey silently watched the crowd, who, like vultures, claimed all the patties. Not until everyone was out of hearing distance did he continue. “Bullshit. You’re twitching like a man who needs a fix.”
Maddox couldn’t deny that. He felt like an addict who was scrambling to put his life back together again. She was simply there in his mind. All the time. He’d jerked off every morning and every night—sometimes twice—since she’d come back into his life. “Regardless,” he told Grey, tending to the burgers, “there are obstacles in my way. Very serious ones.”
Grey barked a laugh. “And when has that ever stopped you before?”
Never. He took what he wanted when he wanted it. The problem was, he never conquered a woman a second time. Doing so could lead to an attachment. And he’d learned from his father that that never led anywhere good. “The last thing I need is a sexual harassment lawsuit,” he said, offering up a concern Grey could understand.
“You’re right, you don’t,” Grey agreed. “Though you could test the waters and see if she’s looking for what you are. Perhaps she’s trustworthy enough that something playful between you would be doable.”
Maddox flipped the burgers then looked up and examined Joss grabbing a beer from the cooler. Her white summer dress highlighted her spectacular curves, enticing him to bend her over that cooler. The memories of her were vivid. How creamy her skin was, the way she moaned, the way she smelled, the way she tasted, he remembered it all. And so did his throbbing cock.
“It’s risky,” Maddox said, glancing back to Grey. “Too risky.”
Grey grinned. “Which makes it even more fun.”
Sounded great to Maddox, too. That was the problem.
While he tended to the burgers, flipping the ones needing it, he considered all the ways he could make this happen with her again and then rejected each idea. Besides the fact that their shared professional life was a huge obstacle, and even though he did have a feeling after working with her for a week that she was trustworthy, touching her again broke his one unbreakable rule: Don’t screw twice.
Tension tightened the muscles across his shoulder blades when Grey, who was looking at the bonfire, asked, “So, these are your new rookies, huh?”
“Some of them.” Maddox reached for his beer resting by the grill and downed a big gulp, scanning the crowd in his backyard. Some of his team sat around the bonfire, while others hung around the outdoor bar. When his father had gone into the home, Maddox had sold his bachelor pad and opted for the house that had been in the Hunt family for three generations. “Not a bad-looking bunch, are they?”
Grey’s eyes zeroed in on Holly, the most recent rookie to join the team. “You are a lucky son-of-a-bitch, you know that, right?”
Maddox grinned, knowing why Holly drew Grey’s attention. He loved blondes, and the curvier, the better. Maddox tipped his beer bottle toward Grey. “That might be true if I were allowed to touch. Which you well know I’m not.”
Grey tsked, shaking his head in obvious disappointment. “You can’t touch women who look like that and who come with their very own pair of handcuffs?” He glanced at Holly again, who was approaching the bar. “What a waste.”
Maddox chuckled, tending to the burgers again, fully understanding Grey’s point. A fondness for kinky sex was one thing Grey and he had always had in common. They’d even shared a couple of women once or twice throughout the years. There wasn’t a fantasy Maddox had that hadn’t been fulfilled. He made sure of it.
Though, over time, the show had eventually gotten old.
Grey went through girlfriends like he went through boxers. Maddox stuck to one-night stands to keep things interesting and to give him the distance he preferred. He’d never been a man who wanted one woman.
That was until Joss had walked back into his life a week ago.
Round and round his mind went. He’d stop ruminating about her for a second, only to start thinking about her again. He sighed and rearranged the burgers on the grill for even cooking. Somehow, she had gotten under his skin. Maybe it was how she’d melted under his touch. Or how she’d responded so beautifully to him. For the last year, he’d searched for the same high he’d gotten with her, only to be let down time and time again. Others didn’t compare. Didn’t even come close.
As the food on the tray continued to vanish, he knew he needed to put a stop to this, and he had to do it tonight. She controlled him too much. He thought about her too often. This was his test, and he couldn’t fail. Surely, if he could stand being around her outside of work, he could gain control of the lust running rampant within.
With those thoughts on his mind, he gave the patties one last flip, then found Grey openly eye fucking Holly. “Please do your best to behave tonight,” he told him sternly.
Grey slowly looked at him, one eyebrow arching. “And do you plan to behave yourself?”
“You know I have to.”
Grey pushed away from the pole he leaned against and grinned. “Luckily for me, I’m not a cop, and I choose that sexy little blonde over there.” He pulled on the hem of his shirt, straightening it, and strode off, eyes set on Holly.
Maddox shook his head, yet wasn’t concerned. Years of friendship had taught Maddox to trust whatever Grey did. Even if he ended up taking one of Maddox’s rookies home, she’d leave his house feeling respected and satisfied. If it didn’t affect his job, Maddox didn’t care who screwed, and he never understood why the police department frowned upon relationships between cops.
Life happened, and so did love. Why fight a natural thing?
Maddox turned toward the sweet, soft voice, instantly captivated by Joss’s soulful green eyes. He went from semi-hard to rock-hard so fast, he fought off a groan. “Yes, of course. Please, help yourself.” He gave her a gentle smile, hoping to hide the carnal thoughts racing through his mind, those of bending her over and thrusting himself deep inside her sexy, lush body until she was quivering her release. He cleared his throat. “Are you enjoying the party?”
“Very much so, thank you.” She smiled, scooping up the burger onto the bun on her plate. “You have a lovely home.”
The smile she gave him was so fake, it narrowed Maddox’s eyes. He craved the realness he’d seen in her before. That’s what had captured his thoughts over the last goddamn year. That’s what was in his head every time his lips touched another woman. Their smiles weren’t honest like hers. She’d appeared to hide nothing of herself, bared everything as if she didn’t owe the world a damn thing. That transparency had mindfucked him.
He stared at her now, noting how she squeezed her plate tightly, knuckles turning white, telling him that she was doing her best not to shake. Another thing that had made his restraint even more difficult. She didn’t hide how much she still wanted him. Her desire was there in her rosy cheeks and her parted lips and her deep breaths.
“So…um…thanks for the burger…and for the party.” She lifted her head, and her light eyes met his.
The energy pinging between them was like a punch to his chest. His muscles tensed, breath halted. The softness, the yearning, the ache he so desperately felt, too, all crossed her expression, hardening him to steel. For a year, he’d forced himself to believe that he’d imagined this potent energy between them. That it was inconceivable to think their connection held this much power. Yet there it was, right there in front of him. Tangible. Intense. Real. His nostrils flared as he inhaled the sweet scent that had haunted him.
“Oh, shit,” she gasped, breaking eye contact.
Without saying anything more, but not needing to because her subsequent silence spoke volumes about her desires, she scrambled away.
Maddox clenched his jaw muscles, watching the way she stiffly walked away. Fuck, he understood the need coursing through her. The same urgency pulsed through him. Could he trust her? He’d read the reports and the glowing recommendations she’d received. She didn’t seem flaky or a woman out to screw over her superior.
Even if he could breathe again, the spell she’d cast over him wasn’t broken. The addiction ran wildly out of control in the same way it had when he’d first met her on that dance floor. That’s when he knew an undeniable truth.
This girl didn’t only make him want to break his rules.
She made him want to abolish them.