Collision Control (Crossing Forces #4)
by C.A. Szarek
Published October 3rd 2014 by Totally Bound
A one night stand can't possibly mean forever…
Detective Jared Manning met his match at a bar. After a night of passion, she sneaks out of his bed without so much as a note. Problem is, now he can’t find her. Kindergarten teacher Melody Nash doesn’t do one night stands. Embarrassment gets the best of her and she lies about her name. When they collide at her school, Mel resists his pull. She won’t risk her heart on the obvious playboy, even though she can’t stop thinking about the night in his arms. Stress engulfs both Jared’s personal and professional life. His brother is at the centre of the joint case he and his partner are working in cooperation with FBI. He puts his job on the line when he fails to share his blood relation—a complication he doesn’t need, considering the FBI agent on the case is convinced his brother killed her fiancé. Balance is the name of the game. Can Jared save his brother and convince Mel they’re meant to be together?
Reader advisory: This book contains references to past sexual abuse and rape that happened when the character was a child.
“Son of a bitch!”
Why hadn’t his alarm gone off? Jared shot out of bed, his eyes zoning in on his digital alarm clock.
6:53 taunted him in bright blue. Briefing was in seven minutes.
Chief hated tardiness. It wasn’t often he ordered the detectives to morning shift briefing, so it had to be something big.
Like he needed his boss pissed at him all day. He snatched his cell out of his discarded jeans from the night before. Shit, he hadn’t charged it, either. It’d be dead by nine a.m., if that.
Gonna be late.
Jared texted his partner, not waiting for a response. The phone dinged from where he’d thrown it on the bed, but he ignored it. He grabbed a fresh pair of jeans from the closet and shoved his legs into them.
He took a moment to snatch his blue shirt off the floor, draping it on the back of the overstuffed chair in the corner. He caught a whiff of Renee’s sweet scent and paused.
Not like he could’ve forgotten their night of passion, but his urgent need to get to the police department was leading.
Too bad, too, because he wanted to think about her.
He glanced over his shoulder at his rumpled bed. She’d been…fantastic. Sweet and hot, with a touch of innocence. He’d never had such a responsive lover.
Jared yanked on a short-sleeved, black button-down, his mind consumed by Renee as he hastily tucked it in.
Why’d she leave?
No time to look for a note.
He slid his holster onto his belt and rushed out of his room. Jumped over the broken lamp fragments.
No time to clean that up, either.
Jared groaned when he spotted his coffee maker on the kitchen counter. He’d not taken the time to set it up the night before, so no java for him.
Yeah…you were a little busy.
He smirked and rushed out of his apartment. He’d take an armful of beautiful woman to hot coffee in the morning anytime.
Renee’s perfume was in his truck, too.
He shook his head, trying to convince his cock now wasn’t the time when it twitched. She’d been…perfect. Jared needed to see her again.
“Shit. Don’t even know her last name.”
Why’d she left without a word? She should’ve woken him up. He would’ve taken her again, if she’d been willing.
Renee had been gorgeous in passion, her long wavy hair spread across his pillow, her head tilted back. Rosy full cheeks, gorgeous lips parted. Full breasts rising and falling. Every gasp and whimper had made him burn for her more.
Jared’s stomach fluttered and he gunned the accelerator out of the complex parking lot, ignoring the three beeps in a row from his phone. He’d be at work in a few minutes.
He ran down the hall, almost mowing his boss’s assistant down when he rounded the corner toward the briefing room. Nikki scooted out of his way, a hand on her rounded tummy, big brown eyes wide.
“Sorrrrrrrrry, late!” he called. That was all he needed, to accidently hurt Pete’s pregnant wife. Jared hurried on his way, not giving her a chance to answer.
Skidding to a halt at the closed door, he sucked in a breath and tried to slip into the room silently. Of course, his boot caught the metal doorframe with a loud clang.
Jared winced as all heads turned his way.
Chief glared. “Nice of you to join us, Detective Manning.”
He wanted to close his eyes, but forced a nod for his boss. Chief Paul Martin’s temper wasn’t to be trifled with.
Gonna hear it later for sure.
His partner smirked when their eyes met, but at least Cole had saved him a seat.
“Nice of you to join us, Detective Manning.” Cole kept his voice low, but it was a fair impression of their boss’s bark.
“Thanks for the seat, Detective Lucas. Considering I woke up at exactly six-fifty-three, I wouldn’t say seven-twenty-one is all that bad.”
“Yeah, guess you have something to be proud of.” One corner of his partner’s mouth shot up.
“I need coffee, though.”
“You two shut up,” Andi, Cole’s wife and fellow detective whispered, but her tone was amused.
“What kept you?” Lucas asked, throwing a wink at his wife. “Everything okay?”
“I’m cool. Alarm didn’t go off.” If Renee had still been there, it would’ve been a different story.
“Right.” His partner’s gray eyes were skeptical.
“You two might wanna pay attention, since you’re supposed to be lead on this.” Pete Crane scooted to the edge of his seat beside Andi in the row behind them.
“Lead on what?” Jared looked toward the projector screen at the head of the room. Chief was in lecture mode, pointing to pictures as he talked.
“Auto theft ring. Dallas FBI office called. I’m sure the agent—Carrigan or something—on the bigger case will pop up sooner or later. From what Chief told me, she’s wrapping up something else right now. But this is a big deal,” Cole said. “The oversized tatted dude is their leader. The pic that’s front and center. On the last job, he killed an undercover FBI agent, John Murray. Murray’s the dark haired guy on the left on the board. He was undercover as a member of their team. A lot of what we know is just best guesses.”
Cole nodded. “They were spotted near Antioch, and we’re supposed to run point. We do have a lot of expensive rides around here and the feds want this guy bad.”
Jared’s heart dove to his stomach when he took in the photo on the screen.
His brother’s dark brown eyes stared right back.
Author Bio & LinksBestselling, award winning author of romantic suspense and epic fantasy romance, C.A. loves to dabble in different genres. If it's a good story, she'll write it, no matter where it seems to fit! She's a hopeless romantic and always will be. Risking it all for Happily Ever After is what she lives by! C.A. is originally from Ohio, but got to Texas as soon as she could. She's happily married and has a bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice. She works with kids when she's not writing.
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