Protect and Serve: Paws On Me|
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Copyright ©2011 Silvia Violet
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01 Seth's Blog
I'm Seth Morrison. I'm a cop, a police lieutenant to be precise. I've been on the force more years than I want to think about. I've seen good men get killed, turn dirty, lose themselves in the bottle, lose their fucking minds, but I'm still here doing what I do. I don't know any other life. People tell me I need a break, a vacation, to relax. I don't want to fucking relax. I just want to do my job and keep this city from falling apart.
I park my car, grab my coffee from the cup holder, and charge up the front steps of the station. I could take the side door, it's closer to my office, but I love the chaos of the bullpen. When I open the door, I breathe deeply, enjoying the variety of smells: coffee that's been on the warmer far too long, the sickeningly sweet smell of candy and doughnuts, pine-scented cleaner from the scrubbing the janitors gave the floors last night, and something unnamable that simply smells like cops and hard work. I shake my head as I try to imagine not being here nearly 24/7. This is where I belong.
My stomach rumbles. I should've had dinner, but after pretending an afternoon nap was a night's sleep, I'm running late. I'll grab something from the vending machine while I dream about a juicy burger and thick home fries. It sure would be nice to have someone cook for me. I don't seem to get along with stoves. Years ago, I tried being married. That worked for about 30 seconds. My wife wanted me to work shorter hours. I wanted her to talk less, or maybe never.
Friends tell me I should make an effort to date, but I'm more comfortable at a gruesome homicide scene than making small talk at dinner with a woman or a man. Yeah, I like both. I stopped going out with men when I entered the academy. I just couldn't deal with the shit the guys would give me. Now, I don't advertise what I like, but I pick up a guy now and then. I'm discreet, but if somebody finds out, I'll deal.
One-night stands I can handle, but relationships are beyond me. People think police work is draining, but I'd rather spend all day in the field and all night at my desk filling out fucking paperwork -- and often I do -- than try to decode relationship signals. I inevitably screw things up and never understand why.
Sex I need. Romance I don't.
My phone rings. I pull it out of my pocket hoping the call will save me from the mountain of paperwork on my desk. It's Drew Danvers, detective and vampire. That's right, a vampire who works for the good guys. We've got a werewolf in homicide too. And he's a damn fine cop.
I remember when the shifters came out of the closet, scaring the hell out of us humans. One by one other monsters made themselves known. Most people assumed they were all assholes who wanted to eat us, but I quickly learned not to judge a man because he sucked blood or turned into a wolf. I judge men based on how they treat others.
I answer the call. "What's up, Detective?"
"Two dead werewolves found in a closet at Shift. Hacked up pretty bad. The scene's a circus. Jenkins called in sick. I'm on my own, and --"
"I'll be there in ten."
"No problem. Murder scene or paperwork, which would you choose?"
* * *
I step inside the club. A crime lab team is there and several uniformed officers are talking with employees. I spot Drew in the entryway of an office. He's frowning as he questions a tall hairy hunk of a man. I've seen this man around the area several times, and just like every other time, he makes my cock sit up and take notice.
Our most recent encounter was a week ago. When I want to grab a beer and be left the fuck alone, I go to Mitch's, a dive just down the street from Shift. Last time I spent the evening there, he sat next to me at the bar and came on strong. I was in a shitty mood. I wanted him, and it pissed me off. He's not my type. He's young, hip, and outrageously flirtatious. I walked away, but I regretted it later that night when I couldn't stop fantasizing about him.
The man looks my way and catches me staring. His grin says he knows the direction my thoughts are going. Fucking bastard winks at me. Drew scowls.
I turn to face him. He grins down at me, that same cocky-as-fuck little smile he'd given me earlier, making me even more aware of how close we are and how big he is. At 6'2", I'm hardly small, but he's got several inches on me. And while I've got a rather thick pelt, the fur visible above the vee of his t-shirt is astounding.
He smiles mischievously. "You gonna cuff me if you take me in?"
"Impeding a murder investigation will get you thrown in jail."
He rolls his eyes. "I found two dead guys in my closet when I came to work tonight. My business is shut down, and I'll be losing money every minute that you're here. But at least I have a sense of humor."
"Well, I don't."
He shakes his head. "Are you taken too?"
I take another step back. "You're making a lot of assumptions."
I look over at Drew and realize he and Jason are grinning like loons. Fuck. All I need is the two of them ragging me.
I glare at Drew. "Detective, do you think you can question this man without killing him?"
"Fine. Fleetfoot, head back to the lab. Take my car. I'll get a ride with Danvers." I throw him my keys, and he snatches them out of the air as he gives Drew's hand a final squeeze. Jason is better in the lab than any tech we have. We only send him into the field when we're desperately short-handed. I run a hand through my hair, wishing I knew how I'm going to hold the homicide division together if we don't get more funds.
He holds out his hand. "I'm Brandon Lord. I own Shift."
"Lieutenant Morrison." I shake his hand. His skin is surprisingly smooth, his grip tight and warm. I want to feel those big hands running over me. I want to rub his furry body with my own. Fuck! I should assign someone else to this case right now and get the hell away from him. But some crazy restlessness he's dredged up in me makes me fight my instincts.
"Nice to meet you, Lieutenant." His voice is low and rich. And his grin lets me know he's well aware of my body's reaction to him.
I need to get away. His smell alone is making me hard. "I'm not here to play games. Drop the act and treat this case seriously, or I'll find an excuse to throw your ass in jail."
He grins. Fuck, he knows he's got me rattled. "I'd never kill anyone, Lieutenant. I'm just a cuddly teddy bear."
The bear shifter and the bear. Ridiculous. I need to leave now. This man is no cuddly toy. I don't think he's our murderer, but he's far smarter than he wants me to believe and likely far more dangerous. "I know what cuddling leads to."
Brandon laughs, a deep, infectious sound. I can't help but respond. Now I want him more than ever. Taking this case is a supremely stupid idea, staying on it now is unprofessional.
But I won't walk away.