By: Melanie Harlow

Oh, hell no. Blue eyes and broad chest aside, smart-mouth assholes were not my type.

“So what now?” Mia asked, wrapping both arms around me and tilting her head onto my shoulder. We were about the same height, although she was curvier than I was. “Will Erin get her stuff back?”

“Unfortunately, that’s not likely,” Charlie said. “Usually the stuff gets wiped clean and fenced before we can locate it.” He met my eyes, all business now. “But we’ll try, I promise you.”

“Right.” From a drawer in the kitchen where I kept all my financial and tax folders, I retrieved the numbers to call for my two credit cards—one business, one personal—and made the calls. On the first one, no luck. On the second one, a purchase had been made at a nearby BP station about an hour ago.

“Excellent,” Charlie said once I relayed the information. “That place is heavily camera’d. I’ll go check it out.”

“Thank you,” I said, hopeful for the first time that the guy might get caught. “Please let me know if you find anything.”

“I will.” He took a card from his wallet and set it on the counter, then he pulled out the pencil again. “I’m writing my cell on the back of my card. My work number is on the front. Call if you need anything, OK? Goodnight, ladies.”

“Night,” Mia and Coco echoed.

“Nice seeing you again, Erin.”

No, it wasn’t. “You too.”

He started out the back door and looked over his shoulder at me. “Lock this.”

When he was gone, I locked—and double-checked—both the back and front doors and returned to the kitchen. Coco was dumping the dustpan full of pretzel crumbs in the garbage, and Mia was pulling a bottle of wine off a rack mounted to the wall. Their coats were hanging over the chair backs, and one of them—probably Mia—had ditched her heels too. “You guys don’t have to stay,” I said, even though I wanted them to. “It’s late, and I know you’re tired. Did you have an event tonight?” They ran an event planning business together called Devine Events and often had to work late weekend nights.

“Yes, a corporate thing. Now shut your pie hole. We’re staying.” Coco put the broom away, sat at the island, and gestured for me to sit next to her. “Come sit. Are you OK?”

I lowered myself into the chair. “Yes. No. God, you guys. I know it was just stuff that was taken, but I feel so…violated. And so stupid.”

“Stop that right now.” Coco tucked a few long, damp strands of hair behind my ear. “You’re not stupid at all. You’re human. Everyone forgets to lock a door now and then. You just had bad luck.”

“But it’s so creepy, you know?” I glanced out my window. “Someone was out there, maybe watching me, and then maybe he saw me turn off the lights and took a chance on the door.” I shivered. “What if it had been locked? You think he’d have broken in?”

“I don’t know.” Mia set three glasses out and poured generously. “But I do think you need to get something on those windows. It’s like a fishbowl in here.”

I grimaced. “That’s what Charlie said.”

“Charlie the hot cop?” Coco picked up her glass and swirled the ruby liquid around.

“He’s not that hot.” But my cheeks were tingling with warmth. And maybe my ladyparts.

“You didn’t think so? God, I did. And he’s not even my type. I like tall and dark, but damn. Those blue eyes. That uniform.”

“Any guy looks hot in a uniform,” I argued. “I bet he looks totally average in regular clothes.”

Confession: I did not actually think he’d look average in anything. And in nothing? I bet he was goddamn resplendent.

But it irritated me to no end that he was buzzing around in my brain like those August wasps that won’t leave you alone, no matter how many times you shoo them off. I’d been burgled, for heaven’s sake. This was no time for buzzing!

Coco grinned and took a sip of her wine. “He wasn’t wearing a ring, you know. And he left his personal number for you. ”

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