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The Garage Dweller

eXtasy Books

Heat Rating: STEAMY
Word Count: 8,935
Available Formats
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Mobi
ePub

Criminal defense attorney Julianna Constant is skilled at emasculating witnesses and hogtying juries, but she is unprepared to deal with a homeless teenager found living in her garage. The boy she has known since childhood wages an unwinnable battle to stay in her home, as Constant struggles to protect her family. Ultimately, the threat to her safety and emotional well-being mounts, and Julianna pushes back, falling right into the arms of the new police chief, a man who always carries two sets of handcuffs and uses them for more than just restraining criminals!

Excerpt

I sat in my driveway in my car, watching the rain pour down in buckets.

The temperature hovered around 90 degrees, and even tempered by a rather fierce rainstorm, the humidity was stifling. I glanced up at the sky, hoping the rain would ease up.

I had no intention of parking outside, as I normally do. On a good day, my short wavy blonde hair sat sedately on my head. Humidity added a bit of frizz, but rain turned my hair into a swirling tornado of untamed tresses. I already looked like I had stuck a finger into an electrical socket. After a long day of dealing with impertinent clients and irrational judges, and getting soaked in between, I was not in the mood to subject myself further to the unrelenting torrent of water that had been unleashed from the sky. Summer in Wisconsin can really suck.

I hit the button for the garage door opener, and as the heavy door slowly lifted, I screamed.

Directly in front of me was a sleeping bag, a few food wrappers, and some empty soda cans. Off to the side, a table and chair were set up, furniture that had once sat on my deck. There was a radio and an empty bottle on the table. Unbeknownst to me, someone had been living in my garage. WTF!

Suddenly, all the mysterious noises in the middle of the night and the disappearing food came to mind. I had chalked up the missing food to my teenage son and his friends—they were human garbage disposals after all—but even my son had dismissed my late-night noise complaints, making jokes about my overactive imagination and my imminent decline into old fart madness. I had not thought to look in the garage because it was seldom used. In the summer, I almost always parked on the driveway.

I pulled out my cell phone and called the Little River Police. The population of my bucolic suburb is under 15,000. There isn’t a lot of crime, nor is our police force particularly busy. They arrived in minutes.

For some reason, the rain relented and the sun burst forth. A stern-looking cop emerged from the police car with a much younger partner. He was about my age—50—but his hair was already silver gray. He approached my car window and smiled at me. I hit the window opener and the glass slid down. “I’m Officer David Manders, ma’am,” he said in one of the sexiest bedroom voices I have ever heard. “What’s going on?”

I felt the tiniest of flutters in my stomach, but I ignored it. I pointed to the now fully-exposed garage. “Apparently, I have a garage dweller.” I got out of the car and walked toward the opening. Manders was at least a head taller than me, and I was wearing heels. The difference between the air in the car and outside was stunning. I stopped and unbuttoned my suit jacket. Manders almost plowed into me. His arms went around me to steady both of us. Before he quickly released me, I became aware that our bodies fit together perfectly.

The younger cop, who seriously looked to be wet behind the ears, chuckled. Manders shot him a fierce look and the young man went silent.

They entered the garage and looked around. My garage is designed to shelter four cars, something my ex-husband had insisted on when building our home. Now half was filled with assorted boxes and junk I had been unable to part with, while only two stalls were open. Manders turned to me, removed his wraparound sunglasses, and lightly scratched his thin, straight nose. He had the most amazing blue eyes, and they were framed by dark lashes. My stomach did another little flip-flop.

“Any idea who is living here?” Manders asked.

I sat in my driveway in my car, watching the rain pour down in buckets.

The temperature hovered around 90 degrees, and even tempered by a rather fierce rainstorm, the humidity was stifling. I glanced up at the sky, hoping the rain would ease up.

I had no intention of parking outside, as I normally do. On a good day, my short wavy blonde hair sat sedately on my head. Humidity added a bit of frizz, but rain turned my hair into a swirling tornado of untamed tresses. I already looked like I had stuck a finger into an electrical socket. After a long day of dealing with impertinent clients and irrational judges, and getting soaked in between, I was not in the mood to subject myself further to the unrelenting torrent of water that had been unleashed from the sky. Summer in Wisconsin can really suck.

I hit the button for the garage door opener, and as the heavy door slowly lifted, I screamed.

Directly in front of me was a sleeping bag, a few food wrappers, and some empty soda cans. Off to the side, a table and chair were set up, furniture that had once sat on my deck. There was a radio and an empty bottle on the table. Unbeknownst to me, someone had been living in my garage. WTF!

Suddenly, all the mysterious noises in the middle of the night and the disappearing food came to mind. I had chalked up the missing food to my teenage son and his friends—they were human garbage disposals after all—but even my son had dismissed my late-night noise complaints, making jokes about my overactive imagination and my imminent decline into old fart madness. I had not thought to look in the garage because it was seldom used. In the summer, I almost always parked on the driveway.

I pulled out my cell phone and called the Little River Police. The population of my bucolic suburb is under 15,000. There isn’t a lot of crime, nor is our police force particularly busy. They arrived in minutes.

For some reason, the rain relented and the sun burst forth. A stern-looking cop emerged from the police car with a much younger partner. He was about my age—50—but his hair was already silver gray. He approached my car window and smiled at me. I hit the window opener and the glass slid down. “I’m Officer David Manders, ma’am,” he said in one of the sexiest bedroom voices I have ever heard. “What’s going on?”

I felt the tiniest of flutters in my stomach, but I ignored it. I pointed to the now fully-exposed garage. “Apparently, I have a garage dweller.” I got out of the car and walked toward the opening. Manders was at least a head taller than me, and I was wearing heels. The difference between the air in the car and outside was stunning. I stopped and unbuttoned my suit jacket. Manders almost plowed into me. His arms went around me to steady both of us. Before he quickly released me, I became aware that our bodies fit together perfectly.

The younger cop, who seriously looked to be wet behind the ears, chuckled. Manders shot him a fierce look and the young man went silent.

They entered the garage and looked around. My garage is designed to shelter four cars, something my ex-husband had insisted on when building our home. Now half was filled with assorted boxes and junk I had been unable to part with, while only two stalls were open. Manders turned to me, removed his wraparound sunglasses, and lightly scratched his thin, straight nose. He had the most amazing blue eyes, and they were framed by dark lashes. My stomach did another little flip-flop.

“Any idea who is living here?” Manders asked.