Font Size:  

“Let me stop you there,” Eve said, setting her cup down. “No one is going to take advantage of me, and there is nothing going on between me and Sergeant Martinez. We are just working together, that’s it.”

“I just worry that he isn’t pulling his weight and is creating more work for you.”

Eve finished doctoring her coffee and sat down on the couch. “Honestly, Dad, he has done everything I’ve asked and hasn’t shirked his responsibilities once. You might want to lighten up and give him the benefit of the doubt. Besides, I’ve seen Hank when he’s had a few, and I’ve been tempted to knock his ass out myself.”

“I know exactly how difficult

your brother can be, but it doesn’t change anything. Sergeant Martinez should have known better.”

Eve sighed. She wasn’t going to win an argument with her dad about her brother. He might say that he knew Hank’s faults, but her brother had always been able to get away with murder. Perks of being the baby and a boy, she supposed.

“Fine. Is this why you dropped by? To ask about how Sergeant Martinez was doing? And don’t tell me it was because mom was worried, because I don’t buy it.”

He had just finished taking a drink of his coffee and set his mug down on the coffee table before answering. “I just wanted to check in with you. It’s not as if we see each other anymore without family dinner, and when I learned you weren’t coming, I wanted to find out why. Now I know.”

Man, he was a master of the guilt trip, but underneath that, she heard exactly what he was trying to say: I miss you. Despite their innate ability to drive each other nuts, they were close and she missed him, too.

“I know I’ve been a little absent, but I just want to do a good job. It’s hard networking and getting a new business off the ground,” she said. “I promise, next Sunday I’ll be there and you can pump me for all the information you want about Sergeant Martinez or anything else.”

“I’ll hold you to that,” her dad said. “Just be careful with Martinez. Still waters run deep with that one, and I don’t want you getting hurt.”

Eve opened her mouth to defend Oliver but thought better of it. There was no point in fighting with her dad about a man she wouldn’t ever see again once the event was over. Nothing was going to happen between Oliver and her before or after, so why bother getting her dad bent out of shape?

“I will. I promise.”

Her dad nodded and stood up. “Well, I guess I’ll leave you to clean up.”

Eve rolled her eyes and followed her dad to the door. “You just had to get that last dig in, huh?”

“I’m your father. It’s my job to encourage you.”

OLIVER STOOD IN the middle of his living room, staring at the fluffy material that used to be inside his couch cushions and now blanketed the floor. Beast lifted his head from where he sat gnawing the side of his leather armchair, and when Oliver saw the white cotton caught in the dog’s lips and teeth, he lost it.

“I was in the shower for twenty fucking minutes! How in the fuck did you do all this in twenty minutes?”

Why in the hell had he listened to Sparks and Best? The two of them had told him that socialization and bonding were an important part of training and that he needed to take the monster dog home with him to do that. Now, he wouldn’t be surprised if it was all just a setup. Give him the defective, destructive dog and just sit back and laugh.

Beast panted at him for a second before his wrinkly face scrunched up and he sneezed, sending stuffing and snot flying through the air. Oliver grabbed the leash, planning on taking the dog back to the facility, but instead, he found himself running after Beast as the dog grabbed one of the throw pillows and skidded out of the room.

It wasn’t just the damage to his furniture that had Oliver ready to send Beast packing. When he’d left the dog in the backyard last night, Beast had howled for hours until Oliver had brought him inside and shut him in the crate he’d taken from the facility. But that was worse. Finally, Oliver had given up and let the dog out of the cage, leaving him to wander around Oliver’s bedroom. Oliver had finally fallen into an exhausted sleep and woke up spooning Beast in his bed.

The day had progressed from there to this moment, chasing a dog through his house right before Eve was supposed to arrive.

When she’d texted that she wanted to come by to iron out the event details, he’d picked up the place quickly before grabbing a shower. Now, he just wanted to tell her not to come, that they would have to plan for another day because he had a dog to annihilate.

Beast barked at him as he bounded across the bed, a definite spring in the dog’s every bounce.

“You think this is funny? I’m not playing with you, dude.”

Beast barked again, and when Oliver lunged, Beast took off, letting out a howl as someone knocked on the door.

“This isn’t over,” Oliver snapped. The dog launched himself on top of the ruined couch, barking out the window.

“Get your ass down,” Oliver shouted as he threw the door open.

Evelyn stood on the other side, her hair pulled back in a simple ponytail. Her black-framed glasses were missing today, giving him an unobstructed view of her green eyes as they crinkled in amusement.

“Bad timing?” she asked.

Articles you may like