Heath had grabbed the flask from the SUV’s back seat when he glimpsed a figure through the rear window. A woman, wearing a blue hoodie and black sweatpants walked to the edge of Derek’s driveway and gazed at the house’s front door. A few seconds later, she began walking swiftly down the driveway, constantly checking the front door.Was she worried about being seen? A possible intruder?
Since he’d parked closer to the house further on from Derek’s parents’ property, the woman hadn’t spotted him. Heath replaced the flask on the backseat and gently pushed the back passenger door nearly closed. He waited until she had disappeared behind the side of the house before following.
Careful not to make noise, he followed the woman down the driveway and watched as she stopped in front of a side door to the garage, which was separate from the house. With her back to Heath, she pulled something from her pocket and tried to jimmy the door’s lock.
The woman glanced toward the back of the house, likely checking to see if she’d been spotted, then continued her efforts with the lock. A soft hiss and a “dammit” indicated her efforts were unsuccessful.
Heath also couldn’t miss the curvy shape of her figure outlined so well by the soft black material hugging her gorgeous arse. One shown off to perfection as she bent to look closer at the lock.
A tiny squeak of joy, followed by her opening the door, signaled the possible intruder had crossed a line. It seemed such a shame to stop his fun. Nevertheless, duty called…
Heath pulled out his 9mm from his shoulder holster and held it out in front of him as he moved forward. “Police! Put your hands on your head and step away from the door.”
The woman let out a high squeak, dropped the lock pick, and spun around, eyes wide. Her mouth formed an “O” at the sight of his weapon. “Oh my goodness! Oh my goodness.” She covered her mouth with both hands before waving them in front of her, palms facing Heath. “It’s not what you think. Honestly.” Her gaze snapped to her left in the direction of the back of the house as if she expected someone to come out any moment.
“I said, hands on your head.” Heath commanded, satisfied when the woman immediately obeyed. “Come forward, turn around, and face the garage door.” He saw her close her eyes in defeat before she obeyed. Heath grabbed his cuffs and shoved his weapon back in the holster. With efficient moves, he had her wrists secured behind her.
“Officer, I can explain.” She sighed. “I mean, I know everyone says that, but really, nothing illegal’s happening here.”
“Good to know.” He pulled her jacket’s hood from her head. Red hair. No, the description didn’t do the color justice, but he only knew guyspeak, which would have to suffice to explain the bursts of deeper red in amongst the lighter strands, all held in a ponytail.
Heath patted down his suspect. No weapons. And he’d have to be dead not to notice the way his hands fit over her hips, the roundness of her arse. He wasn’t a sleaze, not by any means, but he appreciated a woman’s body like any man.
Taking her arm in a firm grip, he turned his suspect around.
Green eyes framed with long, thick lashes blinked up at him. “When I say nothing illegal, I mean it depends on your point of view.”
“My point of view is as a cop, which doesn’t leave a lot of leeway on a range of subjects.”
She frowned at him, as if he was being unreasonable. “That’s a rather rigid stance. Not everything is black and white.”
Heath wasn’t prepared to debate the point. “Your disappointment is noted. Now—”
“Hey, I’m sure you’re a busy guy. And, uh,”—she licked her lips—“you need to go protect the community. That’s an important role. Absolutely. So, you know—” She broke off. “Shoo. Anyway, we can put a line under this and start the day over.”
Despite her opinion of his so-called inflexible outlook on life, he couldn’t help answering. “We can, huh?”
“Totally.” She nodded, sending her ponytail bobbing.
Keeping hold of her arm, Heath looked down at her black canvas tennis shoes to hide his mouth twitching.
It was a safe bet the young woman wasn’t a hardened criminal. But whatever the hell she was up to, he aimed to find out. First he needed to phone Derek.
“Do you know the owners of this house?”
Her mouth dropped open, and her eyes grew huge in her face. “You don’t have to get them,” she rushed out.
“Oh, but I do.” He went to pull out his phone from his back pocket, and the woman jerked against his grip. She would have toppled over if not for him keeping his hold.
Oh, no, sweetheart.
He tightened his grip, reinforcing her captivity and moved closer, towering over her. “Lady, you could have hurt yourself.” The safety of suspects was important, and the thought of the little redhead causing herself harm propelled his alpha instincts center stage. “Resist once more, and I’ll use my belt to hogtie you.”
She drew in a sharp breath. What he didn’t see was fear. Not in her eyes or the way a blush stained the cool-toned white skin of her face. And swear to God, he felt her body soften against him.
An image of her hogtied flashed through his mind. Only she wouldn’t be in this driveway, but in his bed. Lying on his sheets. Her glorious long red hair spread over his pillow.
“What the hell’s going on?”
Heath looked over his shoulder. Derek stood at the side of the house, his hands jammed on his hips.
“Dammit,” came from his suspect.
A look best described as misery—from the closed eyes and turned down mouth—covered her face.
“I caught a suspect attempting to break into your parents’ garage.”
Derek gave a dry laugh. “I’ve no doubt she’s up to something, but that’s no suspect.” He strode up the driveway, his frown reserved for the woman at Heath’s side. “Meet London, my baby sister.”
Heath swung his gaze to…Derek’s sister?
Those eyes, so wide and shocked before, were now narrowed with the promise of rebellion, even as she stood there—in his cuffs.
Ah. So bravado was her chosen defense.
Heath remembered the sweet color of her blush at his earlier threat of hogtying her.
Lightning might strike him down any second, but the woman intrigued him, even knowing she was Derek’s sister. The knowledge he didn’t have to call for a cruiser to take her to booking added a new dimension to the proceedings. Anticipation flowed through Heath. He was going to enjoy this visit, and for way more than pancakes.
Time for his prisoner to confess all.