Protecting What's His Page 12

Ginger pushed down the rising panic at that thought and decided it was high time she reestablished some boundaries. This relationship would be strictly physical. She didn’t need or want some messy emotional entanglement with anyone.

“Are you looking for something illegal so you’ll have an excuse to handcuff me, Derek?”

Derek’s eyes darkened as he approached, and a shiver ran down her spine. Oh boy, did her lieutenant ever love dirty talk. She delighted in knowing his weakness. He likely spent all day at work maintaining that resolute control, but around her, the sexually charged bad boy took over.

“Baby, I don’t need an excuse to cuff you. I just need the opportunity.”

Lordy. He’d managed to get her hot and bothered in two sentences. Maybe her weakness was talking dirty, same as him. Ginger’s head tipped back as Derek moved closer, bringing her up against the sink.

“Oh, and just how do you plan on creating such an opportunity?”

Derek brought his hand up to rub a thumb across her bottom lip. “I’ve got an hour before I need to be back at the station. I’ll have f**ked you three different ways by then.”

Ginger’s breath caught on a gasp. “You certainly don’t mince words, Lieutenant.”

“I think you love it.”

Did she love the indecent way he spoke to her? Yes. Should she be offended? Probably. But it felt honest, and she couldn’t deny the overwhelming effect it had on her body.

“Maybe.” Her tongue licked out at the pad of his tracing thumb and Derek groaned. “But I still can’t be seduced with a bag of Chinese food. Try harder, Derek.”

“Point taken. But one more thing.” Derek leaned forward, resting his hands on either side of her on the counter, then dipped his head lower. Ginger’s mind reeled as he ran his tongue upward in one long lick of her neck. “The longer it takes me to get between your thighs, the rougher I’m going to be when I finally get there. Understand?”

Her chest rose and fell quickly with stuttered breaths. Trembling with the effort to resist begging him to take her to his apartment and make good on his threat, Ginger nodded.

Just like that, she’d surrendered to him. And it felt fantastic.

One hand slid down her back and palmed her ass, kneading the flesh in a gesture of blatant ownership.

“Be good tonight, Ginger. I’ll know if you’re not.” Then he turned and left the apartment, leaving her staring after him.

It was beginning to become a habit.

Chapter Eight

Ginger stared up at the dark ceiling of her bedroom mentally listing adjectives to describe her current state of mind. “Livid,” “violent,” and “pure spitting mad” topped the list. Following close behind were “impressed,” “bemused,” and “slightly turned on.”

Tonight’s shift at Sensation had been a doozy, to put it mildly. Fifteen minutes after she clocked in, a badge-wearing detective had taken a seat at her half of the bar. Thinking nothing of it, she’d served him a scotch and soda before moving on to the next customer. But by the time an hour had passed, her entire section was filled with jacket-and-tie-wearing detectives laughing and trading battle stories.

At first, Ginger had thought, well hell, this is damned unusual. Until she realized that every customer of the male persuasion who approached was being treated to looks of undisguised hostility from the pack of badges clogging the bar, sending him to Amanda’s side or to another section of the club. Furthermore, not one single detective had looked below her neck or addressed her with anything but polite deference the entire night.

“What brings you to Sensation tonight, boys? We don’t get a lot of cops in here unless they’re arresting somebody,” she’d joked, looking for any hint that might confirm her suspicion that Derek had put them up to it.

They’d exchanged innocent glances before their spokesman responded, “I don’t know what you’re talking about. We come here all the time.”

In a pig’s eye. Derek’s fingerprints were all over it.

Be good tonight, Ginger. I’ll know if you’re not.

The only thing, and she meant the only thing, saving Derek from a 2:00 a.m. ass-kicking was the fact that they’d tipped Ginger well and sent her home with enough money to cover the loss of her usual penis-toting customers.

Derek’s motive for pulling such an obnoxious stunt continued to be the part that stuck in her craw. He couldn’t very well send his group of tattletales in to spy on her every night of the week. Therefore his sole motivation had been to toy with her. Let her know what he was capable of. His arrogance clearly knew no bounds.

So why then, when Ginger pictured stomping down the hall to Derek’s apartment to give him a piece of her mind, did the scene end with him lifting the hem of her nightshirt and boosting her onto the kitchen counter?

She would be damned lucky if the manager at Sensation hadn’t noticed something odd about their new clientele and attributed it to Ginger. They wouldn’t appreciate their regular customers being intimidated by Derek’s trained dogs. Finding another equally lucrative job would be difficult for her, and a gap in employment would make it necessary to dip in to the stolen cash.

As usual, the reminder of the money made Ginger uneasy. Most of the time, she could pretend it didn’t exist. That they’d moved to Chicago without having to steal in order to make it happen. Funny how a group of cops and one seriously overbearing lieutenant could make you a little nervous about some harmless larceny.

She worried that someone willing to go to such extremes to keep an eye on her would have no qualms about delving into her past. Possibly had already done so. Though she was convinced Valerie had come by that money illegally and wouldn’t be stupid enough to report it stolen, there were no guarantees in this life. If that information was out there, Derek could find it easily enough.

Ginger flopped over onto her stomach, cramming the pillow underneath her head, and did her best to block the image of Derek’s face after learning her dirty little secret. Besides, there were more important things to worry about at present.

Like how to keep her head on straight when Derek seemed determined to knock her off-balance, right into his bed.

And how maybe she wanted him to.

Something wet dripped from the ceiling and landed with a splat on Ginger’s cheek. Two more fat drops of water plopped on her face, then immediately turned into a steady stream of water, soaking her hair and face.

“What the hell?”

She threw her comforter off the bed and climbed out. In the dim light of the bedside lamp, Ginger saw the growing outline of wetness on the ceiling above her bed. Water fell from several different locations around the room. Her bedclothes, which had been dry only seconds ago, were now sopping wet.

She grabbed her new cell phone off the dresser and pulled up the super’s number. Obviously a pipe or something had burst, and he needed to turn off the water to the building before her entire bedroom ended up soaked. She would already have one hell of a time cleaning up the current mess.

She rounded the bed, but just before she reached the door, the entire ceiling collapsed, showering her with even more water and pasty plaster particles.

Ginger stumbled backward and fell to the floor. Scrambling, she reached for the knob to the bedroom door and pulled herself up. She threw one last bewildered look at her room and the veritable waterfall now cascading into it, then ran to Willa’s room. “Wip! Wake up!”

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