Cuff Me (New York's Finest #3)
by Lauren Layne
Vincent Moretti is one of the NYPD's top homicide detectives-and one of the most eligible bachelors in town. His family, however, thinks he should date his longtime partner, Jill-a sassy, sexy, smart-mouthed blonde who drives him absolutely crazy.
Behind the quiet authority, tough-guy demeanor, and dark aviator glasses lies a man with a big soul-and a hard body that can soften any girl's heart. After years as his coworker, Jill Henley has given up hope that anything could happen between her and Vin. Besides, loving him would break all the rules. But seeing Jill with someone else triggers feelings in Vincent he never knew he had. Now he'll have to stop playing good cop/bad cop-and find a way to convince her to be his partner for life...
In truth, Vincent had been dreading his three months with the near-rookie, but it had been less painful than expected. Dansen was a good cop. A little green, but when Dansen was assigned his new partner tomorrow, Vin had no doubts that the guy would be able to handle whatever came his way.
And then Vincent’s life would finally get back to normal.
Not that these three months without Jill had been abnormal, precisely.
He still worked the same backbreaking schedule. Still saw death more days than not.
Still went to breakfast with his family after Mass every Sunday, and argued with his brothers and occasionally with his sister during said breakfast.
He still watched sports most evenings, still worked out most mornings.
So really, his life wasn’t different without Jill at all. Except that it was. Wildly, horribly different.
He glanced at his watch. Two hours until her plane landed. Three hours, maybe four until he’d see her again. Not that he was counting.
“So you’re good from here?” Vincent asked. “If you need anything, I’ll be ...”
“Yeah, yeah, I’ll call ya. You never did tell me where you were going.”
“Probably because it’s none of your Goddamn business.”
Dansen put a hand to his chest. “I’ve come to love these heart-to-hearts of ours. The way we count on each other. Confide in each other—” “My cue to leave,” Vincent grumbled.
He started to get in the car, when Dansen called his name again.
Vin shot him an impatient look and was surprised when the usually confident Dansen looked away briefly before meeting his eyes.
“Hey, I just wanted to say.. .” Dansen cleared his throat from across the hood of the car, and Vin tensed, knowing what was coming.
God, he hated shit like this.
“You can drop the detective,” Vincent said roughly. “Just call me Moretti. Or Vin. Whatever.”
Dansen’s smile flashed white across his dark face. “Do you know how many cops dream of the day when they’re given permission to call one of the members of the royal family by their first name?”
“Oh Jesus. Don’t start that again.”
For the most part, Dansen had done a remarkable job of not irritating Vincent to the extreme over the past three months. But Dansen’s ridiculous hero worship of Vincent’s last name grated on his nerves. Yet another reason he couldn’t wait for Jill to get back.
Jill, who’d never cared that Vincent’s father was the recently retired police commissioner. Or that his older brother was a captain. Or that his younger brother was the NYPD’s most famous officer.
Or that his grandfather had been a cop and his mother had been a police dispatcher.. .
Okay, so maybe Vincent could sort of understand where Dansen was coming from. The Morettis were kind of NYPD royalty.
And Vincent was proud to be a part of it. Proud to carry on the legacy.
He just got damn tired of the ass kissing.
“Seriously though, thanks,” Dansen said. “Couldn’t have asked for a better detective to show me the ropes. A nicer one, sure. A better-looking one, definitely. And you can be a real—”
“Asshole, I know,” Vincent said.
Dansen held up a finger. “Not what I was going to say. I think that’s the first time you’ve tried to finish my sentence and gotten it wrong.”
“I’m never wrong,” Vin said out of habit.
“Fine.” Dansen rolled his eyes. “You’re an asshole. Happy?”
Vin didn’t bother responding, just lifted his hand in a final farewell to Dansen before the younger man could say whatever it was he’d wanted to say, and lowered himself into the car.
Vincent slid on his aviator sunglasses as he fastened his seat belt.
Vin kept his face perfectly blank until he’d pulled away from the curb and merged into traffic.
Only then, only out of sight of prying eyes, did he let a smile overtake his face. A smile that quickly became a grin as he headed toward his longtime barber for a very overdue haircut.
He told himself that his decision to get his hair cut after weeks of putting it off had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that he’d be seeing Jill in a few short hours.
Vincent had never really given two thoughts to what Jill Henley thought of his looks.
But then, he and Jill had never spent three months apart. He’d never had a chance to realize just how much he’d . .. missed her.
Not that he’d be telling her that.
A long-time romance reader, Lauren Layne thinks the only thing better than reading about happy endings is writing them. She now pursues a full-time career in Happily Ever After, a job she's naturally suited for after marrying her high school sweetheart. A bit of a nomad, Lauren's lived everywhere from Orange County to Manhattan. Her hobbies include coffee by day, wine by night, and lots of writing in between. She's also a total website nerd and insists you check out LaurenLayne.com!