Once the chains are on the tires, I drive through town, putting out hazard signs where the roads become treacherous in the snow and ice. Not that anyone should be on the streets after 6 PM, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. We’ve already had some snow, but it’s nothing compared to what’s forecast to hit in a few hours.
As I make my patrol, I see people hurrying home, storeowners closing up, and porches and walkways being cleared and salted. Drayton will do another patrol in a few hours, but for now, I’m satisfied that the residents are taking this storm warning seriously.
Thick flakes are beginning to swirl through the air as I head back to the station and park the truck in the lot. Just as I’m about to climb out, my phone lights up, and I smile when I see who the caller is.
I hit the answer button and put the phone to my ear. “Hey, kiddo.”
“Ugh! You know I hate it when you call me that,” Rosie huffs.
My baby sister is a sweetheart. I miss her like crazy since I left Houston for this small town in Colorado. I miss her big smile and her even bigger heart. Rosie is like a little ray of sunshine, spreading happiness and light wherever she goes.
Her sunny disposition makes her susceptible to the predators of this world, and guilt forms a fist in my gut because I’m not there to look out for her—something I’ve been doing since the day she was born. My mom remarried after my father’s death, and Rosie was the product of that union. I was fifteen when she came into the world, and I’ve always taken my responsibilities as big brother seriously.
“Are you coming home for Christmas?” she demands, getting straight to the point.
I sigh. I knew this conversation was coming. “I don’t think so, honey. Too many memories.”
“Memories are portable, Con. You take them with you,” Rosie points out. “Plus, it wasn’t your fault. There was nothing you could’ve done.”
I’m pretty sure my baby sister has been here before because she has the wisdom of a much older soul.
“I know. It wasn’t just that. It was the whole set-up, Rosie. The politics and paperwork. I became a police officer to help people, keep people safe. Not to sit behind a desk pushing a pen. Garland is small, but I feel like I’m doing some good here, you know? The new sheriff is great, and he’s turning things around, making some positive changes.”
Rosie sighs down the line. “You’re talking like you’re never coming back.”
Garland was only supposed to be temporary—a chance to get my head on straight again after what happened in Houston, but the longer I’m here, the more I find to like about the place.
In particular, the curvy temptress who brings me coffee with a gorgeous smile every morning. I look forward to that smile, to those wide hazel eyes and that cute nose with its smattering of freckles. Jessica Monroe is my perfect woman—and she hasn’t got a fucking clue.
She doesn’t know that I gape at her like a lovesick teenager when she’s engrossed in her work. She doesn’t know that I check to make sure she gets home safely when she works late. And she certainly doesn’t know about my hard-as-fuck dick whenever I’m within touching distance of her.
It’s been years since my cock paid attention to a woman, but now that he has, he’s like a sniffer dog intent on claiming the Class A drug between her legs. And I’m confident that her pussy is every bit as addictive as I’ve imagined when I rub my cock raw to the image of her every night.
“Connor?” Rosie prompts, pulling me from my thoughts.
“Sorry, kiddo. Been a long day already. The whole town is getting ready for a big snowstorm.”
“Oh, I bet it’s beautiful there at Christmastime. I can just picture the snow and the twinkling lights and drinking hot cocoa in front of an open fire after a snowball fight,” she sighs whimsically.
“Sorry to burst your bubble, but it’s more like dangerously icy roads, frozen water pipes, and frostbite,” I chuckle.
“I prefer my version,” she laughs, ever the optimist. “You know, if you’re not coming here for the holidays, maybe I’ll just have to come to Garland.”
“Like Mom and Sam would let you spend Christmas anywhere but with them,” I scoff, knowing it would break their hearts.
“Well…we can all come,” she says quickly.
Rosie has a solution for everything.
“If this snow keeps coming, you’ll need a snowplow to get through,” I say.
“How about a fire engine? I could always ask Dex. I’m sure he’d let me borrow one,” Rosie says as if she’s giving it some serious thought.
My eyes narrow. “Dex?”