I've wanted to be a police officer for as long as I can remember. I was three years old when my mama bought me a police costume for Halloween. It came complete with a badge, a baton, and plastic handcuffs. From that moment on, I knew what I would be when I grew up. And, when I decide on something I don’t waver. I was never a great student. I didn’t apply to a single college. But the day after I’d graduated from high school, I showed up at the state police academy, ready to enroll, and six months later, I was ready for my first day on the job.
That was six years ago, and still to this day, I cannot imagine doing anything else. There’s only one thing I’ve ever wanted more than being a cop, and currently, she is Sugar Hills’ number-one fugitive. She isn’t a hardcore criminal, but in our small town, a big crime day is when the local teenagers shoplift a six-pack from the Quick Stop and trespass on some of the local farmers’ properties to get drunk by the ponds.
I’ve always seen good and bad as black and white, but leave it to the only girl I’ve ever wanted to be living in a world of gray. Tillie Coletrain has been the one for me since I first developed hormones. Even though there is an actual carbon copy of her out there in the form of her twin sister, Millie, she is the only girl I’ve ever wanted. The only one I need.
Somehow, while my brain says to follow the rules and fight for what is right, my dick has only ever gotten hard for the girl who makes it her daily task to break every rule written. We couldn’t be more different. While I followed my path into the law, she followed her con-man father’s guidance, which led her into a life of petty crime. Everyone in town has written Tillie off as a bad seed, but I’ve watched her since we were little, when no one paid her any mind, and I see the goodness she works so hard to hide. Despite knowing how wrong we look for each other from the outside, I know—and have always known—we are a perfect match.
I look into the rearview mirror, thankful to be pulling away from Brody and Maisy’s place. A week doesn’t go by without me or one of the other officers having to come by and break up a domestic dispute between those two. They’ve been together since we were all in school, though they were a couple of years ahead of us, but their relationship has been nothing but turbulent the entire time. I pull to a stop at the end of the street and hear my personal cell phone ringing, so I reach into the console to answer it, knowing that no one would call me while I was on duty unless it was important.
A brief call from my good friend and local bounty hunter, Jake, alerts me to the fact that Tillie is in his custody, but thanks to a mix-up with Millie, he’s preoccupied and unable to take her in for the warrants she currently has out. She’s been dropping bad checks around our town as well as the surrounding areas like there is no tomorrow. I rub my hand across my face in frustration, accepting that the day I’ve been dreading is here. I have to take Tillie Coletrain in, and hopefully, once I make all of my intentions clear, she can get past the part where I arrest her.
Thankfully, when Jake calls to inform me that Tillie is in the process of attempting to climb out his bathroom window, I’m patrolling just a few streets over. There may not be a lot of crime in Sugar Hill, but I like to think our presence on the streets is one of the reasons for it being such a safe town. A quick U-turn has me just a couple of minutes from Jake’s house, but before I can even get there, I see my girl walking along the edge of the road. Alone. At night. Unacceptable.
I roll the cruiser’s front windows down as I get closer to her. I can’t help noticing the way her pert ass fills her cutoff shorts just right as it sways side to side in an exaggerated fashion. A simple, tight, white tank top clings to her, and her long, blond hair is pulled into a ponytail on the top of her head. Just watching her walk from behind, I can tell she is working hard at putting out the bad-girl vibe she hides behind.
“What do you want, Nate? I got places to be,” she calls out to me while continuing to walk.
I come to a slow roll up next to her. The sass is emanating off her in spades and has my dick hardening uncomfortably behind the fitted blues of my uniform.
“Tills, I’ve told you more times than I can count. When I have on the uniform, it’s Officer Trent. Please show the badge some respect.” This isn’t the first time we’ve had this conversation, and if her penchant for pushing my buttons continues, I’m sure it won’t be the last.
“Yes, sir, OFF-I-CER,” she says, drawing each syllable out to an exaggerated point. Her pink lips pull into a barely there smile, and my already hard cock twitches behind my zipper. Damn her.
“You being smart with me, Angel?” I ask with a smile on my face, loving the banter we have going. Fighting with Tillie has always felt like the most drawn-out foreplay possible. We’ve had years of it, and I’m only ready for more.
“Why would I do that?” she questions with a smirk and a small wink of her eye. She turns back down the empty road to resume walking away from me. After several steps, she pauses for a moment. Then she turns towards me as I come to a stop in the middle of the street. “You gonna offer me a ride back to Wild Acres, Nate, or are you just gonna watch my ass as I walk all the way home? You know I have to get back by nine. They lock the gates.” She pointedly looks down at her feet. “These wedges are not my fence-climbing shoes. If I promise to be a good girl, can you just pretend you didn’t see me tonight?”
I eye her sexy-as-hell legs, which feed into the kind of shoes that make a man take notice. “Those shoes seemed to do a good enough job when you were climbing out of Jake’s window,” I scoff. “I guess you’re back at the retirement center again?”
“What? They love me down there. They appreciate my fun nature.” She waggles her eyebrows at me. She’s tryin’ to play off the seriousness of the situation as if she doesn’t know she’s got warrants out. “Look, if you don’t want to give me a ride, whatever. I can walk. It ain’t far.”
I hit the gas a bit to get ahead of her and then pull off to the side of the road, stopping her in her tracks. Getting out, I pull my cuffs off my belt and give them an exaggerated little twirl. I lean against the car, waiting for her to catch up. Still holding the cuffs out, I never take my eyes off hers as she approaches. “Get in the car, Tills.”
A sexy darkness fills her eyes as she puts her wrists out in front of her. “You gonna cuff me, Officer?” she teases in a way that makes me think she knows what she does to me.
If she hasn’t been fully clued in by now, the obvious bulge in the front of my uniform pants is making the sentiment perfectly clear.
Her eyes take me in, from the tips of my hair and down my long body. They zero in on my crotch. “Who knew you were into kink?” She bites her bottom lip on a small giggle, and I try to hold back a groan.
“Using these cuffs for a bit of fun right now with you is incredibly tempting, but it ain’t that easy, Angel. As sweet as the view of your ass walking down this street is and as much as I would enjoy cuffing you and then bending you over the hood of my cruiser, you gotta come with me to the station. It’s time to deal with the mess you’ve made.”
It takes her a second to register what I just said. While I have never hidden my desire for her, I also haven’t made it a habit to outright talk about how much I want to fuck her.
“I dunno, Officer,” Tillie says in a voice that has me wanting to risk everything I’ve worked for all these years. “I think I’ll take the cuffs and cruiser and skip the station, as long as you can have me home by nine.”
“I can’t let you just go, Tills. This isn’t some silly prank where you ride around the streets at midnight on some old man’s Hoveround. You’ve gone too far. How were you expecting to get away with writing bad checks all over Sugar Hill? This ain’t a big town, babe. You had to know you would get caught.” I run my hands through my hair, my frustration with her at an all-time high. “Come in now with me. We’ll get all this behind us before we get started.”
“Started with what, Officer?” she snarks with a giggle on her lips and a question in her eyes, oblivious to what is happening.
Her wrists are still out in front, teasing me. I come in close and grab hold of them. With a slight tug, I pull her close. Letting her arms fall free, I use our new proximity to lean into her and whisper into her ear.
“Us, Tills. Us. You’ve gotta stop pulling this crap around town, wasting time. It’s time to get your past cleared up and let me in.” I run my nose along hers before continuing. “Let others see the goodness I see in you. I’m done waiting for you to get your shit together on your own. I gave you a chance. Now, I’m getting involved.” I lay it all out there.
“Umm…” Tillie stutters, her eyes widening as she rapidly looks around, probably contemplating how to make a quick getaway.
“Go ahead and run, Angel. Just know I’m gonna chase you. But be ready, because when I catch you, I’m not letting you go,” I tell her, leaving no room for doubt.
“Nate,” she whispers, her piercing, blue eyes finally looking into mine. Longing, hope, and fear flash in her blue orbs. She’s showing me a softness I’m sure no one else gets to see.
That bit of softness gives me all the hope I need. It always has.
“Get in the car, Tillie. Up front, with me, not in the back like some common criminal. Together, we’ll fix your shit.” I open the passenger’s door and gesture for her to make the next move.
She takes a minute to just stare into the car before she climbs into the front seat. I lean over her, grabbing the seat belt. I pull it over her lap. I swear I hear her take a deep breath as I’m pushed up against her. Just the thought that she is as affected by our closeness has me taking longer than necessary to get her safely secured.
Rounding the car, I can’t help the smile on my face. This has been a long time coming and I know tonight will be the start of us. I get in the driver’s seat and start on the ten-minute drive back to the station, ready to finally put the problems that have kept us apart to rest.