Miami, mistletoe & murde.., p.4
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       Miami, Mistletoe & Murder, p.4

         Part #4 of Red Stone Security series by Katie Reus
 
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Page 4

 

  She shook her head and her eyes filled with tears as she glanced down at his blood covered shirt and hands. He’d wiped them on his pants but it hadn’t done much to help his appearance. “I’m so sorry you got dragged into this. You could have been hurt. ” Her voice cracked on the last word.

  “Better me than you. ”

  Her head snapped up at his words. “Are you kidding me?”

  He shrugged. “I’m better trained. I’m fucking glad I was with you. Even thinking about what could have happened…” He trailed off, rolling his shoulders. God, pictures kept playing in his mind as his imagination went crazy.

  Biting her bottom lip, she looked over her shoulder at Juanita who was talking to a uniformed officer, then back at him. “I can’t leave her, but…I don’t want you to be alone. Is there someone I should call for you?”

  He shook his head, something in him warming at her concern. “No, but you can give me your phone number. You’re not getting out of our date. ”

  At that, she let out an unexpected burst of laughter that sounded so out of place for where they were, it made him smile. After giving her number to him, he texted her so she had his. Once she was finally out of earshot, he turned to Carlson, but kept his phone in hand. “I’m ready to leave. ” As they strode toward a waiting car, he called Harrison and braced himself for his boss’s response.

  * * * * *

  Noel rubbed her eyes as she walked across the brightly lit parking lot outside the Miami police department. She was long past tired and pushing into slightly delirious mode, but there was no way she could go home yet. After spending almost five hours at the hospital waiting for Alisa to come out of surgery, she’d only left once she was sure Alisa was going to be okay. There had been a police officer there getting ready to interview her since she was stable and thankfully Juanita’s aunt had taken the girl. Noel knew she would be safe with the older woman until her mom was able to go home. Before she did anything else, she needed to see Travis and she didn’t care how late it was. She just hoped he was still at the station.

  So much had happened and she was still trying to wrap her mind around everything, especially the fact that the man she’d been crushing on had killed someone earlier tonight—well, technically yesterday since it was just after midnight. She was worried about how he was doing and kept cursing herself for letting him come with her. Of course if he hadn’t, things probably would have ended up so much worse. Even though she was still horrified at his “better me than you” comment, he was right. He was better trained than her—considering she had no training at all.

  She opened the glass door into the Miami PD lobby and was surprised by how quiet it was. She’d expected it to be much louder on a Friday night. But then there was a buzzing sound, then another door opened to her right. A cacophony of screaming people and ringing phones greeted her and she realized she was just in the anterior section. Well, she’d never had a reason to be at the police station before.

  Before she could head to the information desk, she froze at the sight of who had opened the door and let out all that noise. Travis, another tall dark-haired man wearing a suit, and the police officer she’d seen Travis talking to earlier were deep in conversation. Her shoulders relaxed.

  The fact that he wasn’t locked up had to be a good thing. If what he’d done had hurt his career, she’d never forgive herself. Wrapping her arms around herself, she stood by the main doors, wondering what to do. But then he looked at her and everything else funneled out as his dark eyes pierced her. Relief flooded her that he seemed to be okay, but something else much hotter coursed through her. Raw awareness for him. She’d been having vivid fantasies about him for months and the way he was watching her right now forced all those images to the surface of her brain. Thank God he couldn’t read her mind.

  She lifted a hand and half-waved. Without saying a word to the men he was with, Travis’s long, muscular legs ate up the distance between them in seconds.

  “Is everything okay?” he asked, concern etched in every line of his face.

  She nodded, suddenly feeling self-conscious. What if he didn’t want her here? “The doctors say that Alisa will be okay and Juanita is staying with her aunt for now. I…was worried about you and just wanted to make sure you had a ride home. ” Okay, she sounded lame, but when his eyes darkened with something she couldn’t quite put her finger on, her entire body warmed.

  “You were worried about me?” He sounded almost incredulous.

  “Uh, yeah. You shot a guy and were hauled down to the police station. ” If something like this didn’t faze him, she wondered what it would actually take. No, actually, she didn’t want to know.

  Before he could respond, the dark-haired man wearing an expensive looking suit strode over. He nodded politely at her and held out a hand. “Hi, I’m Harrison. ”

  Smiling, she shook it briefly. “I’m Noel. ” She turned back to Travis. “If you don’t need—”

  He surprised her by cutting her off. “I’ll talk to you later, Harrison. I’m getting a ride with Noel,” Travis said, his gaze unwavering as he watched her. Everything about him right now was so intense and overwhelming. Or maybe she seriously needed sleep.

  Okay then. She’d come here to offer him a ride and she would definitely give him one. When the image of giving him another kind of ride popped into her mind she felt her face heat up and ducked her head to dig her keys out of her purse. Of course she immediately clasped the box of condoms, which only enflamed thoughts of a naked Travis, letting her ride him. The man was huge, much taller than her—and that didn’t happen often. She could imagine that he was big all over and—gah, what the hell was wrong with her? Letting the condoms go, she found her keys and pulled them out, able to face him again.

  The other man murmured a goodbye then was gone. She stood there feeling awkward, but unable to look away from Travis until he held open the glass door for her. “Thanks for coming here. It’s a surprise—a nice one—to see you. I’m just sorry all this happened on your birthday. ”

  “It’s certainly the craziest one I’ve ever had. ” Though she wanted to ask him how he was doing considering he’d killed someone, something told her not to push. Not right now. She knew he had military experience but he didn’t talk much about it. “How would you feel about an omelet, bacon and maybe even some pancakes?” she asked as they reached her car. She leaned her elbows against the top of the driver’s side.

  He did the same on the passenger side, showing off all those muscular striations and tattoos on his forearms. Yeah, she was definitely not as tired as she’d been only an hour ago.

  “It sounds delicious. ”

  “If you want we can head to my place and I’ll cook for you. ” When his eyebrows rose in clear surprise she realized how that sounded. “I know I carry a box of condoms around in my purse but this is not an offer of sex. I just want to cook you food. I feel like I need to do something for you after all you’ve had to deal with and cooking is pretty much all I’ve got to offer. ”

  “I wouldn’t say it’s all you’ve got to offer. ” Even though he was clearly teasing, she didn’t miss the sensual note in his voice.

  Noel flushed. She never invited men back to her place, especially not someone who was more or less an acquaintance, but Travis had proved what kind of guy he was. A good one. Not to mention her gut instinct told her she could trust this man and she rarely doubted herself. Laughing at his statement, she shook her head. “Home cooked food. Take it or leave it. ”

  His eyes lit up, warming her from the inside out. “I’ll take it. Do you mind if we drive by your shop so I can pick up my truck first? I’ve got clean clothes in there. ”

  She’d noticed that he had on a Miami PD T-shirt that someone must have given him, but his dark pants still had blood spatters and she could only imagine how badly he must want to shower and change. Crap. Maybe he was being polite. “If you want to go home, do
n’t feel you need to—”

  He gave a sharp shake of his head. “There’s nowhere I’d rather be right now, than with you. ” For a moment, she could read his expression and she saw pure need in his dark eyes.

  At that, butterflies took flight in her stomach. Holy hell, what was she thinking inviting this man back to her place? It was her safe haven and something told her Travis was going to completely screw up her neatly ordered world. The most sensual, feminine part of her didn’t care one bit.

  Chapter 4

  Travis couldn’t believe Noel had actually come to the police station for him and then invited him back to her place. Everything about Noel screamed class, and deep down, he knew she was out of his league. She’d mentioned having a master’s degree in business once and it only reminded him that he still hadn’t managed to finish his associate’s. He’d started taking classes online but with his job schedule it was hard. It wasn’t like he needed a degree, not with how well he was doing at Red Stone, but he desperately wanted one. He’d promised his mother he’d go to college after the Marines and hell, he wanted a better education.

  Noel had let him use her shower to wash the blood off and he’d changed into jeans and a dark sweater. He probably appeared relaxed, though right now nothing about his feelings for her were. She just brought out primal instincts he desperately wanted to explore. The woman was so damn sexy and independent. She’d shown some fragility earlier today but hell, that was more than understandable. He liked a woman who was secure in herself and Noel definitely was. It was one of the first things he’d been drawn to.

  He’d never slept with a woman he wasn’t in a relationship with. Casual sex just wasn’t his thing. Never had been. While nothing about his growing feelings for Noel were remotely casual, he wanted to fuck her so bad his body ached for it. Every time he was around her, his entire body tensed with need and hunger.
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