Until you take into account that my brother finally proposed to his girlfriend, so Nonna is on a warpath—and the crazy old bat has Cupid by the balls.
The upcoming mayoral elections has everyone running on full speed, and while I couldn’t give any less craps about the corrupt Holly Woods mayor’s office, a dead body in the middle of a campaign speech has me thrown right into the middle of it. The victim is close to the mayor, but all he cares about is minimizing the damage to his campaign, so he hires me to work alongside Drake to close the case as quickly as possible.
Bad news for our tentative relationship.
We disagree far more than we agree, but being at loggerheads won’t get this murder solved… Or deal with the arrival of someone from his past.
The mysteries behind the murder aren’t the only things unraveling, and despite being knee-deep in lies and corruption and bonds so tangled they’re almost indecipherable, I have to figure out if I’m willing to fight for Drake the way I do justice…
Or if he’ll be my one who gets away.
“We’re both fools, Noelle.”
I take a deep breath and look down at my hands clasped around the mug. “I’m sorry,” I say softly. “I just…”
“You’re not used to anyone other than your brothers stepping up and protecting you.”
I hate it when he’s right. Really, really hate it.
He closes the slight distance between us and gently takes my hands from the mug. “Hey.” He touches his fingers to my chin and lifts it, making me look at him. “I get it. I already told you I don’t want someone who needs saving. But saving and protecting are two vastly different things, cupcake. I don’t care if you need protecting from a killer or some sleazeball hitting on you because he’s loaded and wears fancy suits. I’m gonna protect you, whether you like it or not. I’m not afraid to stake my claim where dicks like him are concerned. One-up me on solving murders every day of the week, but don’t be mad at me for doing what feels right. Nothing matters more to me than protecting you, bella.”
Of all the things he calls me, I’ll never let him know how much bella affects me. Because just about every time he says it, I stop breathing. It’s always at that moment when my heart is already pounding.
“I know.” I raise an eyebrow. “I’m not apologizing again though.”
“I’m surprised you said sorry once.”
I purse my lips at his wide grin. “It won’t happen again.”
“I didn’t think it would.” His eyes spark in amusement. “I’m sorry too, but I can’t help it if your badass gene pisses off my alpha complex.”
“My badass gene is laughing at you.”
“My alpha complex wants to smack your ass.”
I grab my purse, put it over my butt, and walk backward. “Nope. That’s not how we’re starting today.”
“You’re right.” He stalks toward me with a lusty glint in his eye. “We’re gonna start it like this instead.”
He slams me back against my front door and I drop my purse. He dives his hands into my hair and seals his lips over mine. Fireworks erupt across my skin as I curl my fingers around his neck.
He devours me, plain and simple.
“Now,” he breathes, smiling. “Now, we’re gonna go and get some work done.”
I flick my thumb across his bottom lip, wiping away the smudge of my lipstick. “Now, we are.”