Title: Coup De Grace
Series: Code 11 KPD SWAT #7
Author: Lani Lynn Vale
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Release Date: November 4, 2015
Michael was that guy.
The one that everyone was cautious of. Maybe it was the tattoos. Maybe it was the way he gave off a ‘don’t screw with me’ vibe. Maybe it was because he just told them to leave him the hell alone.
Regardless, people gave him his space.
He was screwed up, and everyone knew it.
He got tattoos because he liked the pain. He was standoffish. He didn’t have many friends outside of work. And the only thing he had going for him was that he was a good cop.
Everyone wondered about him, but no one asked.
The only one that didn’t treat him as if he was screwed up was Nikki Pena, a woman that he couldn’t have.
Nikki was that girl.
The one that everyone loved.
The one girl that he’d destroy if he let her have her way. What did she want?
But, he couldn’t give her him. She didn’t deserve what it would take to be with him.
So Michael would suffer in silence…or so he thought.
The woman who loved him had different ideas.
Taking my two coffees, I walked back down the hallway to the ER. When I turned the final corner that would take me into the ER, I ran straight into a brick wall of flesh.
Instinctively, I lifted my hands up to save the coffee, and inadvertently padded my collision with my breasts which pressed up against a hard, well defined chest. They instantly pebbled.
“Oh!” I said in surprise.
“Fuck,” a deep voice hissed out, hands moving to my hips to keep me steady.
That voice always had the capability to send shivers down my spine.
“Michael,” I breathed, smiling timidly at him.
“Nik,” he sighed. “Sorry, I wasn’t watching where I was going.”
Bringing my cups down, I stepped back, and instantly regretted the loss of his heat.
I knew, though, that the longer I stayed there touching him, the harder it’d be to move away.
“I got you this,” I said, shoving the coffee in his direction.
He caught it before I could spill it all over his chest, but to be honest, his shirt really couldn’t get much worse.
Not with the massive amount of blood I could see soaking it.
He’d have to throw this one away.
It may be black, but there was no way he could get the blood out of this one.
The white lettering that designated him a KPD officer was stained red, and I had a feeling that it wouldn’t come out. Not with any amount of scrubbing.
“Thanks,” he said, sounding surprised.
“You look like you needed it,” I muttered, walking around him to the door that led into the ER.
He smiled sadly.
“‘Preciate it,” he muttered, staring at the coffee like it was the answer to all of life’s questions.
Seeing him like that made me remember the last time he’d done that.
It’d been at a SWAT meeting that’d turned into an impromptu party when I’d shown up with a box full of tamales from my mother.
Two years ago
“Holy crap that man’s freakin’ hot!” I said to my best friend in the whole wide world.
Georgia was freakin’ beautiful. Just as beautiful now as she had been when she’d left.
And I’d missed the absolute crap out of her.
Georgia smiled over at me.
“Which one?” She asked cheekily.
I knew that was right.
They were all overly hot.
Except my brother. He was just my brother, and eww. That was just wrong to think of that… on so many levels I couldn’t even list them all.
“Everyone but Nico. He’s ugly,” I told her.
She gave me a roll of her eyes. “Your brother is beautiful, and you damn well know it.”
“I was talking about Michael,” I stated, watching as he leaned forward on his chair and laced his fingers between his knees.
Georgia rolled her eyes.
“Why are you always going for the bad ones?” She asked, forcing a beer in my hand.
“I don’t like beer,” I said, extending my hand to her, as well as the bottle.
She gave me a pointed look. “Go take it to him. He asked for it.”
Butterflies started to churn in my belly, and I smiled at my best friend. “I love you, you know.”
Georgia’s eyes sparkled with unshed tears. “Don’t make me cry. Take it to him before I do.”
Sticking out my tongue, I walked across the space separating Georgia and me from the men.
I knew he’d clocked me from the moment I left Georgia.
He wasn’t so much as watching me, as he was aware of me.
When I arrived at his side, he turned his face up to me and looked at me, not smiling.
“Your beer?” I offered it to him.
He took it from me carefully. So carefully that he didn’t touch a single piece of my skin in the transfer.
“Thanks,” he muttered, smiling half-heartedly. “’Preciate it.”
I had seen him before. Noticed him at SWAT events. Watched him while visiting my brother. That was the night I became aware of him.
That I became obsessed with him.
That was the night that my world changed, and I wished upon a star, while standing under the star-lit sky with Michael next to me.
Hours after handing him that beer, he told me about his ex-wife. About his job. About how his wife blamed him for not wanting kids, as for why she’d cheated on him.
That was the night I fell in love with him.
Head over boot heels.
“Do you need some clothes?” I asked softly.
He shook his head. “No. I’m gonna go straight to the station and change into my workout gear. Thanks for the offer, though.”
Smiling, I punched in the code that would get me through the door, but stopped when Michael called my name.
I turned to find him staring at me.
His eyes full of pain.
“You…you want to catch dinner and a movie this week?” He asked hopefully.
I blinked, then a small smile split my face. “Yeah, I think I’d like that.”
He nodded, turned, and walked out of the building. Not once glancing back.
And there I was left in the hallway, practically bouncing on my toes in excitement.
Then I turned around, and the smile slowly fell from my face when I saw Joslin standing there, her eyes full of fire.
Choosing to ignore her, I walked past her with a muttered, “Excuse me.”
But I knew that wouldn’t be the end of it.
Not even close.
I’m a married mother of three. My kids are all under 5, so I can assure you that they are a handful. I’ve been with my paramedic husband now for ten years, and we’ve produced three offspring that are nothing like us. I live in the greatest state in the world, Texas.