Authors: Michel Prince
Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Romance, #Genre Fiction, #Holidays, #Multicultural & Interracial, #cop, #valentines day romance, #red hot valentine, #holiday romance, #interracial
“Not exactly. A kid in my school was killed, the body found in a tube slide. He had a brother in my grade and sister a few years younger. We never knew what happened and for three years my mother was on full lockdown mode with my siblings and me. If they would have known why, I think we all could have lived normal lives. Instead, until we moved to a new neighborhood, I was scared of my shadow.”
“Because your mom didn’t want to lose you?”
“Excuse me.” A beautiful woman’s velvet voice cut off Marcus’ story like an errant teenager merging in traffic. “Are you Marcus?”
“You look just like the picture Kurt sent me. I’m Jenna. Jenna McMillian.”
Jenna Turner’s heart dropped to her gut as Marcus looked at her, then back to the other Jenna, and back again.
“What’s your last name?”
“Turner. Kurt Turner’s my brother.”
“Who’s Kurt Turner?” Jenna McMillian asked as her perfectly manicured finger tucked her luxurious dark hair behind her ear.
“Wow, this is awkward,” Marcus said as he stood up and stuffed his hands in his pockets.
“It doesn’t need to be. It was nice meeting you, Marcus, but I have to get to work.”
Jenna gathered her belongings and practically ran across the street to the safety of her desk. Of course her brother couldn’t give her a tall, dark, and handsome man with a sense of humor and a smile that made the frozen part of her melt.
Rushing into her office she flung her sketchpad in the corner and plopped into her rolling office chair.
“Something up?” her assistant, Brenda, asked while dropping off a tube with a blueprint inside.
“Have you ever just met a guy and knew instantly you never wanted him to…”
“I’m not talking about stripping some guy down for a night of carnal pleasure.”
Oh, who was she kidding! All Jenna could think about was handcuffing herself to Marcus until both of them were on the brink of dehydration from a night of hot passionate love. Of course Jenna had never experienced that so it would be a first, but then again, a man like Marcus probably knew how to satisfy a woman in less then five minutes. Damn her luck. Just when she thought it was safe to eat her lunch in the park, Prince Charming had to stroll up and give her hope. Ugh, why couldn’t she have just gotten mugged? That would have been less emotionally draining.
Speaking of Marcus… Jenna turned toward her art desk and looked out her fifth story window. Yep the perfect view of the park and river was now ruined as she saw Marcus still talking to Evil Jenna.
Why had she rushed off like someone had screamed fire? Sure Evil Jenna had fuck-me pumps, a barely there skirt, and boobs with enough form and function they had to be man-made… Yeah that’s why Jenna ran; no reason sticking around just to make EJ look better.
“So, if it’s not to hold a man captive in your bedroom for the better part of a dozen orgasms, what did you want with him?”
“It’s a new fad called talking. I really enjoyed his company.”
“Him!” Brenda shrieked and ran to the window. “Him who? Who’d you meet?”
“No one.” Jenna turned around and opened the tube to lay out the blueprints. “A blind date that was for someone else.”
“It’s a long story. When does Ferguson need these?”
“Three days ago,” Brenda smirked. “He’s on a rampage again.”
“Guess I get to have an all-nighter.”
“And not the fun kind.”
“Out.” Jenna pointed to the door as she prayed for some magical mystical power that would let all the hormones shoot from her index finger like a bolt of lightning. Sadly, her action only vanquished Brenda from her presence. Jenna moved her head from side to side and stretched. Taking a deep cleansing breath she looked down at floors one through six and was glad for the sprawling design to keep her mind where it needed to be.
Although she’d been on the project for over six months and triple checked the numbers herself, others had been adding their own nuances that could cause a catastrophic failure.
“Seriously Bennett, I put that wall in for a reason,” Jenna growled at the page. It had only been a half hour, but her focus had been singular to avoid looking up and into the park.
“Is Bennett your other personality?” A deep voice asked from behind her.
Jenna spun to see Marcus leaning against her doorjamb. Her heart skipped and wouldn’t you know, she got dizzy at the sight of him.
“No, if he was, I would have killed him off years ago,” she coyly replied while resting her ass on the table.
“There you are with the murder talk again.”
“It’s all a red herring. I’m really a master jewel thief.”
“I see now why I did so good on my detective’s exam. People just see me and spill their guts.”
“What are you doing here?”
“Well,” Marcus began as he pushed off the doorjamb and crossed the office to Jenna’s side. “I thought about statistics.”
“Statistics? Not my favorite math class, but I still did well.”
“What do you think the chances are that two guys named Kurt are related to two women named Jenna?”
“Any relation or both siblings?”
“Any? The other one was Kurt’s cousin.”
“Mmm… well, it seems pretty statistically low.”
“That’s what I thought,” Marcus stepped even closer to Jenna, then tucked a stray hair behind her ear as a way to cradle her head in his hands.
“What else were you thinking?” Jenna whispered as blood filled her lips and a spicy smell had her breathing Marcus in.
“Meeting two Jennas in a park. What are the chances that one didn’t do a damn thing to me where another has been all I can think about.”
“Jenna, I’d really love to take you to dinner.” Marcus had leaned in so his lips tickled hers when he spoke. His confidence to step into her personal space made the proximity of his presence more than she could handle. The spinning in her head was the least of her problems as she felt a dampness between her weakening legs
“Just dinner?” she breathed, then put more space between them.
“I didn’t get to take you to a proper lunch.”
“I’m going to be stuck here late tonight.”
“There’s a Thai restaurant around here isn’t there?”
“Can you work and eat at the same time?”
“Why not tomorrow night?”
“Statistically speaking, I fear you’ll forget me.”
“You leave quite an impression.”
“Do I now?”
“I have to work tomorrow. My last girlfriend complained about my schedule getting in the way.”
“There’s your problem.”
“She was a
friend,” Jenna said. “A woman would have known you were worth the wait.”
The sly smile that ran across Marcus’ lips had Jenna’s nipples peaking and the usually soft fabric of her bra now burned against delicate skin. She could see why his ex wanted him around every second of everyday. Then again if she ever wanted to make partner in this firm she couldn’t let a hot guy distract her on a daily basis.
“Sunday night it is. Can I get your info or will you be here at seven?”
“A.M. or P.M.?” Jenna sighed.
“You have your dreams, I have mine.”
“I like a girl that looks beyond the moment.”
“I’m an architect. I can see for centuries.”
“I want to know more about that on Sunday night.”
Brenda knocked on the glass wall beside her door with an apologetic face.
“Sorry, sorry,” Brenda inched past Marcus and placed another tube on Jenna’s desk. “Ferguson needs you to go over the casino and have a report for him by four-thirty.”
“Just tell me Bennett didn’t touch it,” she said with a sigh as her fingers rocked the three-foot-long tube back and forth on her desk.
“No, only partner candidates.” Brenda turned, scanned Marcus, then left. Thankfully Marcus had his back to Brenda when she bit her hand and made a very inappropriate gesture toward his ass.
Jenna smiled, then wrote her cell number on the back of her business card.
“Partner huh?” he said as he rocked back on his heels a little. Shit, shit, shit, Jenna thought.
“Well, there are some one-liners that only work in the boardroom.” She handed Marcus her card. “You don’t have to wait until Sunday to use that.”
“A man wouldn’t,” Marcus replied as he flicked the card with his finger and began walking backwards out of Jenna’s office.
Jenna collapsed into her chair and let it roll back until it hit her art desk, knocking her back into reality. Casino review in about two hours. The only good news was it would be a quick Q and A and not a full-fledged double spaced report.
“Oh, so you know,” Marcus popped his head back in her door and Jenna’s head shot up. “When you leaned down to write on your desk there…”
“What?” Jenna sucked in her breath, imagining the rest of Marcus coming in to finish what he started. Already his phantom hands were encircling her hips and— .
“You made me look forward to Sunday,” he said with a smirk and winked at her chest as he exited.
“How did you meet Mr. Drop My Panties?” Brenda asked as she practically fell into Jenna’s office.
Jenna had to pause a moment to compose herself. “You wouldn’t believe me.”
Marcus spent the next two days trying to not focus completely on Jenna Turner, but on Thursday when McMillian came into the briefing, his chance encounter in the park was all he could think of.
“Jenna said you never called her?” Kurt said as he slid into the molded plastic chair next to Marcus.
“Yeah, man, I don’t think it’s going to work out?”
Marcus flashed on Jenna McMillian’s grilling of his last five shifts and overly eager inquiries about his recent suspension. McMillian eyeballed him and Marcus wondered if his cousin mentioned anything about who he was talking to before she showed up. He didn’t need the bullshit McMillian could dish out before he even got a chance to really know Jenna.
“She was too much like Shelly, I think.”
“I thought that was what you liked.”
“Past tense, McMillian. I’m not a really into that type of girl anymore.” He couldn’t help appreciating that Jenna Turner didn’t flip out when it sometimes took him a while to return a call or text message.
“I’ve got a dozen cousins man. They are all sexy. You can’t tell me Jenna wasn’t sexy.”
“There are so many things wrong with that statement I can’t begin to tell you.”
“What?” he asked, actually confused.
Marcus’ phone vibrated and he saw a blushing yellow smiley face emoticon that rolled on its back as little hearts floated out of it. He’d outdone himself this morning replaying his dream to her in text form. Normally when he was on rotation he would just crash and sleep hard for three or four hours, then be up and unable to sleep until the end of his next shift. He never dreamed. It was recharge and go. Not this week. This week he made sure he’d checked in with Jenna.
It made him nervous that she seemed to be in the office until close to midnight most nights. He asked if the security guards would escort her to her car and she said no.
“We’ve seen an increase in vehicle break-ins right after dusk.” Sergeant O’Leary began the briefing. “It’s getting dark earlier and we all know what that means.”
“Teenagers get bold,” Larson blurted.
Marcus stifled his shiver. Having been cleared of a shooting only a few months ago, teens had become his Achilles heel. He hated hunting down vandals and car thieves whose voices hadn’t even dropped yet. The chair on the other side of him screeched as his partner, Les Noonan, finally showed up.
Les was everything a cop should be and had been Marcus’ mentor for most of his career. Sure Les had only been on the force five years before Marcus became his partner, but he had an ease to him that could calm the most irate of suspects. With his traditional high and tight he maintained probably from birth, he made sure Marcus stayed in shape both physically and mentally. Why he never wanted to do anything but be a patrolman was beyond Marcus’ comprehension. He’d give anything to see captain’s bars on Les’ uniform and once the next round of openings in homicide came up, Les would be the only thing he missed if his promotion went through.
“’Bout time,” Marcus chided his gray eyed friend out of the corner of his mouth.
“You were right about that Hmong place last night.” Les placed his hand on his gut. “My cheat day charged me in ways I never saw coming.”
“You got that under control? It is too damn cold to keep the windows down and you know I can only entertain the female clerks at the gas station for so long.”
“Please, they’d love it if you parked your chocolate ass there all night.”