PROTECTIVE CUSTODY






Excerpt:


They didn’t talk much on the way to her apartment, and when they got there, Gray caught her arm before she could go inside.


“Let me take a look around first,” he said.


She lifted a brow. “You’re joking, right?"


He pinned her with steely eyes. “Do I look like I’m joking?”


She shook her head. “Fine. Whatever.”


Paisley knew she should be grateful Inspector Beckham took his job seriously, but this was a little ridiculous. The only thing she was in danger of was getting smothered by her overprotective father. When Beckham didn’t come back out, she walked inside and headed into the kitchen to open her mail. That earned her a dark scowl from the inspector when he came out of the bedroom several minutes later. Paisley pretended not to notice.


“I’ve been on a stakeout for a couple of days,” he said after declaring the apartment clear. “Do you mind if I use your shower?”


She glanced up from the Victoria’s Secret catalog she’d been flipping through. “No, go ahead.”


“Thanks.” He picked up his overnight bag from the floor where he’d left it. “I won’t be long. Keep the door locked and don’t open it to anyone.”


Yeah, yeah. She went back to flipping through the catalog, only to pause when she heard the shower turn on a few minutes later. She’d been looking for a way to give Beckham the slip ever since they’d walked out of the police station and she wasn’t going to get a better opportunity than right now.
Tossing the catalog on the counter, Paisley hurried out of the kitchen and into her bedroom. Knowing she wouldn’t have enough time to do more than pack a few things before Gray came out, she decided to forget about the basics and instead just grab a dress and a pair of high heels to wear that night. Everything else she could borrow from whichever friend she stayed with. At least until it was safe to come back to her place. By safe she meant when there wasn’t some cop hanging around it. Shoving the dress into an evening purse, Paisley picked up her shoes in her free hand and darted from the room. She’d barely made it past the bathroom when the door opened.


“Where the hell do you think you’re going?” Beckham demanded from behind her.


Paisley stopped in her tracks at the commanding tone in his voice. Crap. She’d hoped to slip out before he finished taking his shower. It just wasn’t fair that guys could clean up so fast. Squaring her shoulders, she whirled around to face him. And blinked. Though he'd put on jeans, he hadn’t bothered with a shirt, and all she could do was stare at him in feminine appreciation. She’d known he was built, but she hadn’t realized just how well. Broad shoulders, chiseled pecs, and rock-hard abs. Daaaaammmn! He had a body that just wouldn’t quit.


Gray crossed his arms over his chest. “Well?” he prompted when she said nothing.


Paisley tore her gaze from his perfectly sculpted arms to look up at him. She hadn’t realized he was so tall. Even in heels, she was still almost a head shorter than he was.


She lifted her chin. “Out.”


His golden brown eyes narrowed. “Not without me, you’re not.”


She let out a sigh. “Look. Like I told you before, this isn’t going to work. I’m going to stay with some friends until this whole thing blows over. You can just tell my dad that I gave you the slip. He won’t hold it against you.”


“I don’t think so.”


She clenched her jaw. “I wasn’t asking for your permission, Inspector. I’m leaving and you can’t stop me.”


Paisley didn’t wait for an answer as she whirled around and started for the door. She didn’t even make it halfway there before Gray caught her arm and turned her back around.


“You’re not going anywhere.”


She glared up at him. “Oh, really? And just how are you going to stop me? Handcuff me to the bed?”


Her words hung in the air between them for a long moment before his mouth finally quirked. “Though I’ll admit that’s tempting. I have something more effective in mind.”


Before she could ask what he meant by that, Gray led her over to the couch. What was he going to do, sit her down and lecture her?


Gray didn’t sit her down at all, but instead took a seat himself. Totally perplexed, she started to ask what he was doing when a tug on her arm sent her sprawling over his knee. She had to drop the purse and shoes just so she could put her hands on the floor to keep herself balanced. For a moment, Paisley was so stunned she just lay there. She recovered quickly enough, though, and when she did, she immediately tried to push herself upright. But a strong hand on her back held her firmly in place. Furious at being manhandled, she glared at him over her shoulder.


“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” she demanded.


He returned her glower with one of his own. “Teaching you a lesson.”


Paisley opened her mouth to retort, only to let out a startled little gasp when she felt him smack her upturned bottom. He did not just spank her!




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*hugs*