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He studied me for a moment. “If you need anything, you let me know, all right?”

“Okay.” Affection for Nick rose, and I didn’t think before I acted. Springing forward, I wrapped my arms around his waist. He stiffened like someone had dropped cement down his spine, but I squeezed him tight, ignoring the awkwardness of the hug. “Thank you for last night. Thank you . . . thanks for caring.”

His arms came around me and he awkwardly patted my back. “Uh, it’s no big deal.”

“It’s totally a biggie,” I told him and then pulled back. Looking up at him, I smiled. “You’re a really good guy even though you have questionable dating practices.”

He grinned then, before turning to a guy who’d shimmied up against the bar. “Keep that knowledge to yourself.”

The rest of the night flew by and when it came time for Reece to arrive for my pickup, there was a nervous excitement that felt like a nest of hungry butterflies had erupted in my stomach.

Reece was pulling into the parking lot as Nick and I were finishing locking up. He nodded at Nick, which earned him a weird manly nod back in greeting. I didn’t get dudes sometimes. Why couldn’t they just say hi to one another like normal people?

Climbing into the cruiser, I was greeted with a bag from Subway. “Roast beef for you, turkey club for me,” he explained, shifting the car into drive. “Figured you’d be hungry.”

“Thank you.” I held the bag close. “That’s really thoughtful.”

I got the manly nod thing in return.

Glancing out the window, I watched the bar fade away in the night. A thought occurred to me. “Will you get in trouble for picking me up in your cruiser?” I didn’t know the rules, but I figured it was a valid question.

He shrugged. “I’m on lunch, so it’s really not like I’m going out of my way, and I’m in the county, so whatever.”

“But you could get in trouble?” I asked again, worried.

“I won’t,” he assured me, grinning slightly. “How was work?”

“It went by fast. I think Clyde is coming back next week, so I’m sure Sherwood will be happy to have him back.”

“That’s good. No one makes old bay wings quite like Clyde does.”

It was different to be talking about how my day went with someone—with Reece. It was all so very intimate. It also felt . . . real. I liked the idle, needless chat as we got back to his condo and ate our subs.

“I’ve never done this,” I blurted out as I rolled up my wrapper.

Reece, who was sitting in the chair opposite me, leaned back. His dark blue uniform stretched across his shoulders. “Done what? Eaten subs at three in the morning?”

“Ha. I’ve done that more than I can count.” Standing, I gathered up our trash and walked it into the kitchen. “This. I haven’t really talked to a guy about what it was like at work.” I was glad for the low light, because I could feel my cheeks burning. “I mean, the guys I dated—we talked, but it wasn’t like this.”

“It was superficial?” he asked.

I glanced over my shoulder, my gaze gliding over the smooth, angular cheeks and then my stare lingered on the handle of the gun, a frank reminder of how dangerous his life was. How incredibly short it could be. Knocking those thoughts out of my head, I dragged my gaze back to his face. “Yeah, that’s the right word for it.”

Turning back around, I bit down on my lip. That really was the truth. Things were truly superficial when it came down to the guys I’d dated. I searched out the trash can and disposed of the trash. When I straightened, I swallowed a gasp of surprise. Reece was behind me. I hadn’t even heard him move. “Good God, can you teleport or something?”

Crowding me in the most welcome way possible, he placed his hands against the counter on either side of me. The warmth against my back sent a wave of awareness through me. He chuckled deeply. “Did you see where scientists were able to teleport an atom successfully?”

Mouth dry, I shook my head. “Nope.”

“Yep.” He moved one hand from the counter and brushed my hair to one side, exposing my neck. “Before you know it, we’ll be beaming ourselves everywhere.”

My skin heated as I felt his breath on the side of my neck, sending my pulse fluttering. “If you had a choice between teleporting and flying, what would you choose?”

“Such a weird question.” He laughed again, and I grinned. “I’d teleport myself.”

“Really?” I shivered when I felt his finger drift down the side of my neck. “Because if you teleported, you could end up with your arm sticking out of your head. So it’s like you’re choosing a ninety-nine percent chance of dying horrifically versus a one percent chance of dying.”

“I hate flying.” He moved his finger along the line of my jaw. “I do it when I have to, but that’s about it.”

My eyes drifted shut. “I love flying.”

“You’re not human,” he murmured, pressing a kiss against my pulse point. “I still have some time left on lunch.” He caught the lobe of my ear between his teeth. I gasped at the electric shock that pulsed through me. “And I want dessert.”

As cliché as that sounded it was still incredibly hot.

“It’s really all I’ve been thinking about.” He slid his hand down my throat, to my breast. My nipples immediately beaded in response as he smoothed his fingers over the tip. “It’s fucking distracting as hell, how bad I want you.”

A hot shiver hit me. “Sorry?”

He nipped at my skin. “Oh, you should feel sorry. I’ve been hard as a rock all night long.”

“That’s got to make for some awkward traffic stops.”

“Listen to you.” He caught my nipple between his thumb and finger, and even through the clothes, the sharp slice of pleasure shot straight to my core. “I want you, Roxy.”

“You have me,” I breathed the words before I could think better of them, because they hung between us like a promise, like a key that unlocked something deep inside of Reece.

Stepping back, he gripped the hem of my shirt and lifted it up. Cool air wisped over my flushed skin as I looked over my shoulder at him. His face was shadowed, but the features were intent. Another thrill hummed through me when he reached for the button on my jeans. I kicked off my sandals as he peeled the jeans off.