Chapter 27

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I remember that day. It was years ago, before I even left home. The report on the news showed Diablo being escorted from a house surrounded by police officers, an evil grin on his lips as he stared into the camera. They said he killed his own daughter and that his son had given evidence against him for countless other crimes. Nick told the cops everything he overheard through the years, and it was enough to send Diablo to prison for life, especially after testifying for his sister's murder.

"So you became a cop for revenge?" I ask, knowing it would be my reason.

Nick shakes his head. "No. Not revenge, justice. I had to stop other men from doing what my Dad did. I had to protect my family."

I'm no good at heart-to-hearts, so I just get to my feet and walk around the table and sit down on Nick's lap. I take his face in my hands, exploring it with my eyes. He is struggling with the memory and I can understand why. Watching your own father beat your mother and murder your sister had to have been traumatic at the very least. So he joined the force so he could have the power to take down men like Diablo. He has a purpose.

That's when I realize, in my own twisted way, I am just like Nick. Though I have never seen Garcia kill anyone, he is the reason – on some level – that Belle is dead. That a lot of my friends on the streets are starving, resorting to prostitution and petty theft because he's taken their money. Instead of becoming an officer of the law, I am getting my own personal revenge or justice or whatever you want to call it on the man who hurt me.

Nick is just more righteous than I am.

"Is you mother okay?" I ask, tracing the line of his five o'clock shadow. His hands rest on my hips, stroking them gently.

Nick shakes his head. "She was never the same. Dad took everything out on her and drove her into insanity. Bonnie's death broke her completely. Mom refused to work, refused to leave the house. It was really hard at first because they threatened to put us in a home and take Mom away. She was unstable and unfit to parent us. But we got through it. In a couple of years I joined the police force and my income supported her and my sister. She still sees a psychiatrist, but they can't do anything for her."

I want to say I'm sorry but that won't make up for what he went through. Just when I thought my life was full of darkness, Nick's life was once far worse. I've never lost anyone close to me, especially not to my own father. I do what I do because I have nothing better to do, whereas Nick works to feed his family and to bring justice to this city. Suddenly my motives seem so selfish.

"You're a better man than your father ever was," I whisper. "I don't deserve someone as just as you."

Nick gently presses his lips against my fingers. "I'm really glad I arrested you," he says.

I chuckle and look up at the camera. "Can ... anyone see us right now?"

He smiles devilishly. "That camera hasn't worked for years."

I feel brave and press my lips to his, forgetting that we are in a police interrogation room and Sarge would kill us both if we are caught like this. His touch is rougher than usual and even though I like it, I worry that telling me his story has made him reach back into that dark place he is so close to.

I also worry, now that his deepest life secret is out, that I am obliged to tell him mine. I am falling for him harder and faster now and I can't give this up. I'm all the way under and there's no surfacing.

Nick holds my head to his lips and I lose my thoughts in the kiss, feeling the pace quicken, wanting more of him. He picks me up and walks me to the back wall of the station. I groan when my back smacks the concrete – I ache from training, but he doesn't need to know that. His hunger is getting to me and I grip his hair and rip his head back.

"Nick, we shouldn't be doing this here–"

"Fuck it," he breathes. "This is worth a suspension."

I smile as he kisses me again, and we don't even hear the door open until someone shoves it wide against the door with a bang.

Nick drops me to my feet and we spin around to see Sarge standing in the doorway with a murderous look on his face.

"Sir, I can–"

"You can lock that tramp up in a cell, Bronson, or you can both get the hell out of my station," he growls.

I look down at the floor. I'd normally say something cheeky, but not when it is Nick's fault as well.

"You may have clocked off but you're still on my property. I expect a certain professional courtesy from you, Officer."

"Yes sir," he nods and takes my hand, pulling me toward the door.

Sarge steps aside. I'm lucky he doesn't say anything worse than 'trash' to me. Nick and I run to the back exit and out into the parking lot. As soon as we both get to his car, we look behind us to see that he hasn't followed.

I lean against Nick's car and wipe a hand down my face. "Holy shit. That was terrifying."

Nick chuckles and the light in his eyes is blissful. He looks my body up and down and I feel hot again, thinking back to just moments ago. It could have gone a lot further.

"Do you uh ... do you want to come back to mine?" he asks.

Fuck yes. A shiver runs down my spine. "I'd love to."

He walks to open my door for me and I quickly kiss him as he leans for the door handle. He chuckles again and shoves me inside. 

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