“He’s a firefighter. It’s early days, but…I really like him,” she admits.
“Since when are you old enough to date?” I grumble.
“I’m twenty-two, Connor, not twelve,” Rosie laughs.
“So, this Dex. How old is he? Where does he live? What are his intentions?”
“Thirty-one. Sugar Land. And as for his intentions, that’s between him and me,” Rosie says firmly. “If you come back for Christmas, you can meet him,” she says hopefully.
I chuckle. “Nice try. So long as he knows you have an older brother who will hand him his ass if he does anything to hurt you, we’ll get along just fine.”
“He’s special, Connor. He likes me just the way I am. He doesn’t seem to notice my size,” Rosie says softly.
“Why do you women do that?” I ask with a frown. “Not all men like skinny women. Some of us like something to hold onto.”
“Yeah, Dex is making me realize that,” she sighs.
“How’s it going at the Lockhart Club? Has the owner realized what a genius you are and promoted you yet?” I ask.
Rosie chuckles. “Jensen is great. The club was having some financial difficulties, so Jensen went to a financial consultancy for help. They sent Poppy, and she’s turned things around here. I thought I was going to be looking for another job there at one point.”
“You’ll always get work, honey. You’re good at what you do, and you have that degree in hospitality management to fall back on,” I say proudly.
“Yeah, but I like it here. The people are great, and Jensen pays well.”
“Then make sure he knows what he’d be missing if you left,” I advise. “Listen, kiddo. I gotta get going. Still lots to do before this storm hits.”
“Okay. Love you, Con.”
“Love you, too, kiddo.”
I end the call and pocket my phone, feeling guilty all over again at the sadness in my sister’s voice when I said I wouldn't be returning for the holidays.
As I walk toward the station entrance, I see my colleagues shoveling snow from the walking paths. Shoving my keys in my coat pocket, I grab one of the shovels and get stuck in.
The snow isn’t too deep, so it doesn’t take long, but the temperature is dropping rapidly, and my hands are already numb despite my fleece-lined gloves. By the time we’ve shielded the windows and secured the outside of the station, we’re all chilled to the bone. We traipse inside to find hot drinks waiting for us, courtesy of the one woman I can’t seem to stop thinking about.
Five-feet-seven of delectable curves and eyes like warm molasses.
I stand in the corner, cradling my mug of coffee between my hands, wishing it was Jessica’s face I was cradling while I kissed her senseless. My eyes follow her helplessly as she moves around the room. Her whole face is alight as she smiles and hands out hot drinks. She doesn’t know it, but just looking at her gets me hard. She’s everything I’ve ever wanted in a woman, with her silky chestnut hair, plump lips, and caring personality. She’s fucking adorable. Too good for a man like me. I’ve got a good ten years and a shitload of baggage on her.
Even if the attraction were mutual, it’s never a good idea to mix business with pleasure.
I watch as Jessica walks over to Officer Shaw and hands him the last of the steaming mugs. She turns to leave, but Shaw wraps his hand around her arm and says something that makes her laugh.
Anger claws up my throat. Shaw is a good guy, but I have the sudden urge to rip his arm from its socket, the one that’s touching Jessica. I grind my teeth together, trying to calm down. How close are they? I’ve never seen Jessica show any interest in him, but that doesn’t mean she’s not attracted to him. I don't want another man touching her.
My feet are already moving toward her as the thought pops into my head, but I pull up short when Adeline, the only female officer at the station, appears in front of me.
She’s an attractive woman in her late twenties, tall, blonde, and slim.
"Hey, Connor,” she says with a cheery smile. "I was wondering, since we’re done for the day, if you’d like to come over to my place for dinner. I have hot soup and fresh bread. We can throw a blanket on the floor and have an indoor picnic, hunker down together until the storm passes. What do you think?" she asks, giving me her most seductive smile.
It leaves me cold. Adeline leaves me cold.