Friday, July 3, 2015

Excerpt from Lucky For You by: Jayne Denker

Clunk.

Shuff.

Will stiffened. The noises were coming from the chief’s office, but Zoë wasn’t due in for another half hour. And if she was in her office, she would have turned on the lights when she came in. His hand drifted instinctively to his belt, even though he hadn’t drawn his weapon in . . . well, ever. Not in his whole four and a half years as a Marsden police officer.

“Zoë?” he called tentatively, expecting her brusque “Yeah” in answer. It didn’t come.

The silence thickened, as though whoever was in the chief’s office was holding his breath, frozen in place. Will squared his shoulders and put on his “cop attitude”—the air of authority that did more to control a situation than any weapon could—and planted himself in the doorway.

“Oh, hey, Mister Policeman.”

His shoulders drooped. “Shit.”

Jordan Leigh, occasional Marsden resident and frequent scourge of the town, was sitting at the chief’s desk—in Zoë’s chair, no less—like she owned the place. Of course she was. It was what she did. Jordan had more attitude—and more nerve—packed into her small frame than anyone would expect. Anyone who didn’t know her, anyway. Will, on the other hand, knew her pretty well, so instead of relaxing, he stayed on high alert.

“Nice to see you too.” Jordan propped her elbows on the arms of the chair and spun it first one way, then the other, and back again.

“How did you get in here?”

“You’ve gotta ask? It’s not rocket science to get into any building in this town. Even the police station, apparently. Who’s on the cleaning crew lately? They left the door open.”

“They did not.”

“Might as well have, if all it took was a good hip check to open it.”

“What do you want, Jordan, before I arrest you for trespassing?”

She clucked disapprovingly. “Not a morning person, huh? You’d better check your daily briefing or your . . . town crier’s scroll or whatever. I have an appointment.”

Will crossed his arms and leaned against the doorjamb. “Do you, now?”

“Yep.”

“No offense, but I thought the last place you’d ever want to visit is the police station. What kind of appointment could you possibly have?”

Jordan ran her fingers through her jagged, pin-straight dark hair, massaged her scalp, then flashed a wicked little smile. Without another word, she rolled the chair backward and propped one leg on Zoë’s desk, then crossed the other one over it, at the ankle. Will pushed off from the door frame, ready to ream her out for being rude—a Jordan Leigh specialty—when she cleared her throat and waggled the foot on top.

She sported an ugly, clunky ankle monitor that looked as though it was weighing her down and could snap her slender limb at any moment.

The flicker of sympathy Will felt for her was so slight he barely noticed it. Fighting back a smile that smacked of schadenfreude, he asked, “What did you do this time?”

“I said read your notices.” She wiggled her fingers in a dismissive wave, but he didn’t move.

“Get up; let’s go. My desk is out here, and I’m not turning my back on you for a second.”

Jordan obeyed, but Will still didn’t feel comfortable in her presence. He’d never reveal that to her, of course. Instead, he did his best to fill the room as he watched her rise and saunter over to him. He squinted at her suspiciously—partly because he didn’t trust her, partly because it masked the fact that he was watching the swaying of her narrow hips too closely. When she got closer to him, he realized she was going to have to squeeze past him to get through the door, and his skin started prickling. Still, he didn’t move an inch. No quarter—not for this one. He knew her too well, even if she didn’t spend a whole lot of time in Marsden these days.

When Jordan reached him, she stopped and looked him in the eye. She had a natural end-of-summer tan, as though she’d spent the season boating; a few freckles dotted the bridge of her upturned nose, and the neutral color of her lips accentuated the healthy shade of her skin.

He swallowed and hoped it wasn’t as audible to her as it was to him. “What, Jordan?” he demanded.

She stayed silent for another moment, then her lips twitched. They weren’t full and lush, but they definitely held their own unique appeal. He immediately looked over her head instead of staring at them.

“Nothing. You’re cute when you’re being all bossy, that’s all.”

With an irritated sigh, he muttered, “Move it.”

Jordan laughed softly and passed through the doorway. Will wondered if she’d brushed her shoulder against his chest intentionally or not. He wasn’t even officially on duty yet and already it had been a long, trying shift.


0 shout outs: