OFFICER GARRETT JAMISON is at the lowest point of his life. He believes a cop’s greatest asset is his instinct and feels he lost his the night he got shot and his precious nephew kidnapped right out of his own bed. So he takes a leave from the force while he considers whether he wants to remain a police officer, or start looking into another career. If only his infuriating—and gorgeous—neighbor would keep her pesky cat from howling outside his window at all hours of the night...
JESSICA MCGOVERN struggles back from the brink of depression after the death of her young son. She packs up her old pickup truck, her mammoth gray-and-white tabby, Mr Louie, and moves halfway across the country for a fresh start in Wisconsin where she’s rented her uncle’s house. As it turns out, Midwesterners are just as friendly as she’s always heard they were. Too bad her cranky new neighbor is the exception to the rule...
By the time Garrett pulled up in front of the house, it was nearly four-thirty and the light drizzle had turned into a steady rain. He killed the engine and swung the door open in time to see Jessica dash barefoot across the front lawn to her own truck. She yanked open the door, hopped inside, and rolled up the driver's side window so fast her head bobbed up and down with the motion. The first genuine smile of the day tugged at Garrett's lips.
He slammed his own door and ran through the rain straight for her truck. Before she could utter a protest, he swept her up in his arms and sprinted to her front porch.
"Now that's car side service!" Jessica grinned up at him, her arms wrapped around his neck.
Garrett held her easily with one arm while opening the door with the other. "Someone's in a good mood today." He set her on her feet just inside the door.
Jessica dried her feet on the carpet, then held onto his arm while slipping into a pair of fuzzy blue slippers. "I made over sixty dollars in tips today. Want some tea? I just put on a pot." She disappeared into the kitchen.
He wiped off his boots before following after her, his sullen mood dissipating in the face of her exuberance. "Sure, as long as it's not that nasty green stuff."
She waggled a familiar white tea bag at him. "Only the best for my company."
Garrett leaned back against the counter, crossing his arms and his booted feet. He watched Jessica move around the kitchen, pulling cups from the cupboard and milk from the fridge. Her gorgeous legs were encased in a slightly damp, skin-tight pair of well-worn jeans, her shapely ass just begging for his hands. She wore a red halter-top that crisscrossed over her ample cleavage. The wet, gauzy material clung to her breasts, leaving very little to the imagination. Garrett's hands clenched. Christ, how he wanted her.
He cleared his throat, grabbed a small, dog-shaped squeaky toy off the table and started tossing it in the air. "I took a leave of absence from the force today."
Jessica stopped dead in her tracks and stared up at him. "What? I don't understand. You love being a cop. Isn't that what you told me the other day?"
He caught the toy in his fist with a loud squeak, his gaze locked on her face. "It's complicated."
The teakettle whistled, breaking the tension. Jessica gave him one last considering look before turning to take care of the tea.
Garrett set the squeaky toy back on the table and came up behind her. She stiffened as he brushed against her and brought his hands up to rest on her bare shoulders. Her skin was warm and soft, and it took nearly all his self-control not to crush her in his arms.
He closed his eyes for a brief moment to get himself under control only to have the flowery scent of her freshly washed hair assault his senses. It alarmed him how much he wanted her. How often he found himself thinking about her--fantasizing about her.
Slowly, he turned her to face him. He reached up and tucked a stray wisp of hair behind her ear. Her lips were parted, her cheeks slightly flushed. She was so incredibly beautiful, and some deep-seated instinct told him to turn tail and run as fast and as far as he could.
Instead, he leaned down for the kiss he'd been craving all week.