Police records clerk Emma Beaumont has always played it safe, never taking many risks. Quiet, shy, and a little overweight, she's convinced herself that she's comfortable with the way her life is. That is until she lays eyes on incredibly sexy Lieutenant Johnny Street. But she's never met anyone with such a terrible attitude. He's a jerk. Everyone thinks so.
Little by little, Emma is forced to uncover a stronger, spunkier part of herself, one that isn't afraid to stand up to him. As she gets to know him, she starts seeing glimpses of a very different man. A man who has known great heartache, and as it turns out, has good reason for embracing such bitterness. Behind his sharp tongue and harsh demeanor, lies a young man who's desperately afraid of losing what's left of himself.
As Emma's intense desire for Johnny turns to love, she will have to ask herself how far she'll go to chip away at his frosty heart. And at what cost.
Content Warning: contains sensual sex and strong language
"So this is it, huh?"
Johnny could tell she was on the verge of tears.
"You're going to completely shut down, or whatever you do, and not acknowledge what happened between us."
"What's to acknowledge? I was drunk. End of story." Opening the door, he turned. "I don't know what you're hoping for, Beaumont, but I'm not it. Go find a nice accountant or something."
She pursed her lips until they practically disappeared. Her cheeks were on fire. "How dare you? How dare you treat me like that? We're not at work. I didn't have to come here, and you know it. I came here to do you a favor."
"You came here because you wanted to get laid."
She threw her hands in the air. "No wonder no one can stand you! You're unbelievable."
Maybe. But it was working. She'd leave him alone after this.
"They may not like me, but I've never pretended to be something I'm not. Unlike you."
"What's that supposed to mean?" She was breathing heavily, her breasts straining underneath the sheer pink blouse that was just a little too tight for business attire. His throat was bone dry, and all of a sudden he wanted another beer. Anything to make whatever this was go away.
"It means that innocent act you put on is a load of crap." That was a lie. He knew damned well she didn't sleep around.
Her mouth hung open. "Excuse me?"
Time to move in for the kill. He leaned closer, ignoring how she smelled, ignoring how her pulse drummed at the hollow of her throat. Ignoring everything but the overwhelming instinct to push her away. "Let's just say I know I wouldn't be the first, Beaumont, or the last."
With cat-like quickness, she slapped him across the face. Hard. "Go to hell."
Before she could turn away, he clamped onto her wrist and yanked her back around.
"You're hurting me."
"Don't ever do that again." He pulled her close. She was rigid, furious. She tried pulling free, but he just tightened his grip. Let her go, Street. Now.
A long, honey colored strand of hair had fallen over one of her eyes, which were settled on him with such hostility that he almost did let her go. Almost. The skin on the inside of her wrist slid against the pad of his fingers like silk. He yanked her even closer, hating himself for being so rough, but not knowing how to be anything else. Her chest brushed up against his, her face only inches away.
"You know what I think?" he said.
Refusing to answer, she continued looking at him like she wanted to stick a knife between his ribs.
"I don't think you want me to let you go." He looked from her eyes, to her lips, to her chest, barely able to stand still next to her. "I think you like this."
She yanked her wrist free with surprising strength, but made no move to back away. "You make me sick."
"You wish I made you sick." As fast as she'd slapped him, he cupped the back of her head and crushed his lips to hers.