Busted (Promise Harbor Wedding)
Author:Sydney Somers

chapter Fourteen


Hayley only made it halfway up the driveway before the guy walking in her direction lifted his head and noticed her.

He froze, then took off.

Going on the assumption she’d just stumbled upon her thief, she knew there was no way in hell he was slipping through her fingers a second time. Hayley bolted after him, closing the distance much quicker than she had the last time. She snagged the back of his shirt, yanking hard enough to pull the hood down.

“Cody?” Shock nailed her square in the chest.

Wide-eyed, the teen stumbled away from her and jerked a handgun from the front pocket of his hoodie, pointing it at her.

“Don’t come any closer.” His gaze darted around.

He was panicking and searching for an escape route, Hayley knew, and limiting her options. She didn’t want to give him any reason to pull the trigger, but she couldn’t let him take off on her, not armed.

“What are you doing, Cody?” She kept her voice neutral, calm.

“He needs the money, Hayley.”

She frowned. “Kyle,” she guessed.

Cody nodded, his hand trembling around the weapon. “He still needs another twenty thousand for his surgery that insurance won't cover.”

“You’ve been stealing and giving the money to your brother.”

“I have it all set aside to make an anonymous donation. He needs the money more than they do.”

The people he stole from.

“That doesn’t make it right, Cody. And you’re making things a whole lot worse by holding a gun on a police officer.”

“I’m sorry about what I did to your house. I was drinking and so mad. I didn’t mean… Kyle can’t die, Hayley. He can’t.” He started to lower the gun, then looked at something over her shoulder.

He backed up, tripping as he turned to flee. Hayley lunged forward, catching hold of Cody and dropping to the ground with him.

A second later the gun went off.


Jackson spotted Hayley’s truck on the street the moment he pulled into the driveway. Grinning, he jogged up the stairs to the front door, so damn relieved that she was here he couldn’t get the door open fast enough. She wasn’t outside, so she must have let herself in somehow.

But why had she locked it behind her?

Jackson checked the side door, then walked back to Hayley’s truck, wondering if he’d mistaken someone else’s vehicle for hers. Maybe he was getting his hopes up for no reason whatsoever.

Halfway to the parked vehicle, he heard voices and glanced around in search of them. He spotted two people in the middle of the yard next door. Hayley’s blonde hair and trademark legs made her easy to pick out even though she had her back to him.

He opened his mouth to call out, snapping his jaw shut when he saw the gun. His heart punched down into his stomach, adrenaline flooding his system.

He ran toward them, wanting to yell at Hayley to get out of the way, all the while knowing it might only make things worse.

The teenager holding the gun spotted him, and Jackson slowed, recognizing Cody. Why the hell did he have a gun? And what the fuck was he doing pointing it at Hayley?

Jackson had already spooked him, though, and Cody turned to run.

Hayley dove after him, and they hit the ground together. The sound of a gunshot turned Jackson’s insides to ice. He sprinted forward, dropping next to Hayley. She reached around him, tossing the gun out of Cody’s reach. He noticed the blood on her hand at the same time she did.

“You’ve been shot.”

She shook her head, but he was already pulling her shirt up in search of the wound. “It’s not my blood. Jackson,” she grabbed his hands, “I wasn’t shot.”

They both glanced at Cody.

The teen stared up at them, fear and tears shining in his eyes. “I think it’s mine. I scraped myself climbing the fence the first time.”

Hayley told him to turn over and checked his back. The scrape on his back was still oozing blood.

“Do. Not. Move.” The authority in Hayley’s voice left no room for negotiating, and Cody was smart enough to keep his mouth shut. She rocked back on her heels, drawing a shaky breath.

Jackson yanked her into his arms. “You scared the shit out of me. When the gun went off I thought…” He drew back enough to look her over. “You sure you’re okay?”

“Yeah.”

His entire body felt primed for a fight, his pulse thumping out of control.

“Don’t hit him.”

She hadn’t meant it as a joke, but some of the tension loosened inside him, and he hugged her again. His attention fell to her mouth and all he wanted to do was kiss her senseless for taking ten years off his life.

“Stay put.”

Cody gave up on moving to a sitting position as Hayley pulled free of Jackson’s arms and stood.

“Do you have your phone on you?”

Jackson dug it out of his pocket, listening as she called in to the police station, asking them to send a car and notify Cody’s parents that they needed to meet them at the police station.

“What happens to the money?”

Money? Christ, Cody was the thief Hayley had been looking for?

“It goes back to its rightful owners.” Hayley crouched down opposite him. “We’ll find another way to raise the money Kyle needs.”

Cody sniffed and wiped his sleeve across his eyes.

Jackson might have admired the teen’s determination to do anything to help his kid brother if he hadn’t gone about it in the most monumentally stupid way possible. And nearly killed Hayley in the process.

Hayley retrieved the weapon and they helped Cody to his feet. A few people living nearby, along with the homeowners of the property where the fight had taken place, had emerged to see what was happening. Assuring everyone that everything was fine and to go back inside took the kind of patience and authority Hayley excelled at.

She also excelled at holding Jackson at bay. Two hours later he’d only managed to catch glimpses of her at the police station. He tried to stay out of her way but refused to leave altogether.

He wasn’t convinced she was okay. She’d dealt with a lot in the last few days, and bringing in one of her hockey kids on top of everything else had to be eating her up inside. He’d seen and heard what she did for those boys when Coach got sick.

And she’d figured out that those teenagers were the key to making Jackson realize he wasn’t the washed-up has-been he’d convinced himself of.

So he stayed out of her way, content—for now—just to keep an eye on her. He’d come far too close to losing her tonight, and it took serious effort on his part not to reach out every time she passed and pull her into his arms.

He was in love with her.

A police station wasn’t the place he would have expected to have that particular light-bulb moment. Worse was feeling it all the way down to his fucking toes and not being able to do a damn thing about it while watching Hayley go through the motions of dealing with Cody.

Unfortunately, it also gave him way too much time to think. What if he was the only one who felt this way? Would she have referred to it as fun if she had feelings for him too?

“Jackson, go home.” Hayley stood a few feet away, flipping through her notes.

The sight of the blood on her shirt made his gut knot up all over again.

“I’ve got a ton of paperwork,” she continued, “and Cody is being released to his parents for the night under the provision he turns over everything he stole.”

Jackson stood. “Can we talk for a minute?”

She shook her head. “I really need to get back in there.” She nodded to the room down the hall where Cody waited with his parents.

“Then breakfast in the morning.”

“I…”

“I’m not leaving until you say yes.”

A flicker of a smile touched her lips. “At least you didn’t bother with bribery or blackmail this time. Okay,” she relented, then walked away, making him wish like hell he’d insisted on talking to her now.

And then what? Tell her he loved her and send her back in to finish up with Cody, without a clue how she’d process the new development? He’d been clear from the start that he planned on leaving, never expecting he’d find everything he was looking for in Promise Harbor. There was a chance she hadn’t been as blindsided by their attraction as he was, though he was fairly certain he hadn’t imagined the relief and emotion in her eyes earlier.

Just caught up in the moment? Or had she needed him as desperately as he needed to hold on to her?

Either way, he wasn’t taking any chances. He was done living his life on the sidelines and would do whatever it took to win her over. There was a good chance she’d only agreed to breakfast to get him out of there. He needed to be prepared in case she put him off in the morning. He needed a backup plan. Something she absolutely could not ignore.

Although it was nearing two in the morning, Jackson looked up the directions he needed on his phone and headed across town. He knocked on the front door, waited and knocked again.

Sleepy-eyed, Bernice opened the door. “Jackson?”

“I need a favor.”


The sound of a fist pounding on the front door brought Hayley awake. Groaning, she rose up on her elbows and pried her eyes open long enough to read the alarm clock. It wasn’t even seven in the morning yet, and it felt like she’d only been asleep maybe an hour tops.

The pounding continued.

Promising herself she’d go straight for her Taser if it was Jackson—and this early she couldn’t imagine who else it would be—she rubbed at her gritty eyes, slipped on a pair of shorts to go with the tank top she was wearing, shoved her phone in her pocket out of habit and headed for the front door.

She should probably be grateful that Jackson hadn’t let himself in. A locked door hadn’t stopped him before. She flipped the lock and hauled the door open. And stared.

“Gavin?”

Hayley launched herself into her best friend’s arms. “What are you doing here?” She drew back. “Where’s Allie?”

The woman standing just behind Gavin was definitely not Allie. With chin-length dark hair streaked through with red and a nose ring, the woman couldn’t be much more than twenty years old.

“This is Lydia. My housekeeper.”

“Nice to finally meet you.” She arched a brow at Gavin. He’d never been the type to travel with an entourage. “What’s going on?”

Gavin gave her one of his it’s-a-long-story looks and picked up his suitcase. Lydia did the same, both of them walking past when Hayley held the door open.

“Did your flight just get in?”

Lydia yawned, nodding.

Although Gavin didn’t look like he’d spent a couple weeks lost in the wilderness like he had the last time she saw him, the lines of tension bracketing his mouth were deeper and his eyes weren’t nearly as bright as the moment he’d carried Allie out of the church.

“We could use a place to stay for a night or two until I get things sorted out, if you have room.”

“I always have room for you.” She resisted the urge to glance around at the barely put together house that Lydia openly gawked at. “We’ll make it work.”

Lydia masked her skepticism with another yawn.

“You can take the bedroom at the top of the stairs on the right. It was my grandparents’ room.”

“I’m so sorry, Hayls.”

Her throat instantly closed up, but she managed a nod, holding herself in check until Gavin’s housekeeper climbed the stairs and disappeared from view.

Tears burned, and she wiped at her eyes before they spilled over the edge and ran down her cheeks. “I still can’t believe he’s really gone.”

Gavin didn’t wait for her to reach out again and pulled her in for another hug. “I wish I could have been here.”

She gave herself a minute to lean on her best friend, then straightened. “Judging by the fact that you’ve been in Promise Harbor more in the last two weeks than you have the last ten years, I’m guessing you’ve had your hands full with Allie.”

“Something like that.” He poked the bruise on her face, and she winced. “Rough night?”

Playfully slapping his hand away, she led the way to the kitchen. “Something like that.” Eager for a change in subject, she filled him in on the robberies and that one of her hockey kids had been responsible. “Which leads us to what you’re doing here. Where’s Allie?”

“At her place.”

“And you’re not with her because…”

“It’s complicated.” He slumped in one of the chairs at the kitchen table. “Bottom line, she needs me. So here I am.”

She slipped into the seat opposite him. “You may want to stand in front of the mirror and practice saying that last part without sounding like you’d rather be anywhere else.”

He forced a smile. “That bad, is it?”

“Let’s just chalk it up to you being tired.” She rubbed her eyes.

“You look like you could sleep for another day yourself.”

More sleep didn’t sound like a bad idea at all really. Her phone vibrated in her pocket and she fished it out. She wasn’t surprised to see Jackson’s number on the screen. Without answering, she stuffed it back in her pocket.

Gavin gestured to her phone. “Does that have anything to do with what else I heard in your voice when you called the other night?”

Hayley fiddled with a pencil lying on top of the table, unsure where to start.

“How are you and Jackson doing?”

Her gaze flew to his. “How do you—”

Gavin laughed. “Lydia. She’s been spending a lot of time Skyping with Allie’s brother Charlie. Plus I came across an older copy of the Harbor Gazette on the way through the airport. Interesting headlines. You actually arrested him?”

She nodded. “There’s a lot more to it than that though.”

“I can’t imagine you risked your reformed rebel image without a good reason.”

Laughing, Hayley punched him in the arm. “You’re one to talk.”

Gavin shrugged, then stood up. “How about we pick this up in a few hours when I’m not so jet-lagged? I want to make sure I don’t miss a single detail of how you escaped persecution for arresting Jackson Knight. Or what possessed you to date him.” He tacked on the latter like it was the least important part when they both knew otherwise.

Once she had Gavin settled on the couch in her gramps’s den, she trudged back to her bed and spent the next three hours tossing and turning, unable to get back to sleep. Right up until she came awake to the sound of hammering.

She rolled over, staring once more through blurry eyes at the clock. It was nearly ten o’clock now.

Dragging the pillow over her head, she rolled back over. She’d already ignored a few phone calls, a couple of them from Jackson, whom she’d foolishly agreed to meet for breakfast. She knew she needed to get it over with and just be perfectly clear that she was not interested in keeping anything going between them.

Last night had shaken her. She hadn’t been fully prepared for their suspect to be someone she knew, let alone someone she saw regularly, interacted with and liked. And she definitely hadn’t been prepared for the intensity of the emotion that nearly knocked her on her butt when Jackson had reached for her.

She could have stayed right there in his arms all night, could have given in to the tears she’d been holding on to, but then she wouldn’t have been able to do her job. It had taken everything inside her to let go of him and do what needed to be done.

And now she had to do it again.

She couldn’t hide from Jackson just because she’d been stupid enough to fall for someone whose life was now on the opposite side of the country.

She’d survived her father’s death, along with the grief and anger and lashing out at the world when she would have given anything for few more minutes with him.

She had made herself understand when Gavin moved away, and focused all her energy on building a career. And she’d done what she had to when things didn’t work out with Eric.

Although the pain of losing Gramps was still fresh, she still had Matt and her mom. And Jackson…

Her heart squeezed painfully in her chest.

She’d find a way through his leaving too. What other choice did she have?

Outside, the hammering continued, and she dragged herself out of bed and to the window. With her view obstructed by the oak tree in the corner of the yard, she walked down the hall to her nan’s sewing room. She brushed the plastic aside and looked down at Bernice pounding a real estate sign into the ground.

For fuck’s sake.

Groaning, she stopped in the bathroom long enough to splash her face with cold water and brush her teeth. Afterward she dressed in clean jean shorts and a white T-shirt and walked out to talk to the pain-in-the-ass real estate agent.

Maybe Bernice hadn’t gotten the memo that the house wasn’t ready yet. Or maybe she was intentionally trying to get on Hayley’s bad side today. It wouldn’t be difficult.

She knew Matt had signed off on the house being listed at Gramps’s request, but had assumed his passing would have slowed the process.

Gavin met her at the bottom of the stairs, looking equally unimpressed with their wake-up call. “Is that Brace-Face Bernice out there?”

Still rubbing her eyes, Hayley nodded, yanked the door open and stopped. Bernice had added a SOLD sign to the hooks hanging beneath her picture and company logo.

What the hell?

The house hadn’t been sold. Hadn’t even been looked at by anyone. How could it have been sold?

“What’s going on?” Hayley crossed the yard separating them.

Bernice looked up, nodding to the guy who’d put the post in the ground. “That’s great, Carl. Thanks.” She turned back to Hayley. “I thought you’d be thrilled. Hope you don’t mind that I put the sign up anyway. Every bit of advertising is good for business.”

Hayley didn’t bother pointing out that it was the last house on a dead-end street. Not exactly a high visibility area.

“We didn’t even show the house. The work isn’t finished.”

Bernice frowned. “I don’t believe the new owner is worried about it being a fixer-upper. Matt’s been looking after all the details if you want to talk to him.”

Recognizing the stubborn tilt of Bernice’s chin, Hayley pivoted back around. “Yeah, I’ll do that.” She’d wanted Matt to handle that side of the sale, but she’d expected him to at least keep her in the loop. Why hadn’t he told her that someone had put in an offer on the house, let alone that he’d accepted it?

The sound of a car pulling up stopped Hayley before she reached the steps.

Her mother emerged from the vehicle, looking more tired than Hayley could remember her being in a long time. Losing Gramps had reminded all of them what it had been like to lose Hayley’s dad, and it would take time to smooth over the old wounds.

“I guess I’m a little late.”

Bernice gave the two of them a wave before getting into her car and driving away.

“You knew about this?”

Her mother nodded.

“Why didn’t you or Matt tell me? I need more time to get stuff done. How long until the new owner moves in?”

“As soon as possible, I imagine.”

The same crippling sense of loss tried to surface, and Hayley ruthlessly shoved it down, but it trickled into her voice anyway. “I’m not ready to let it go, Mom.” She hadn’t even had time to get used to Gramps being gone and now she had to walk away from the house?

Her mother held out a key.

Deciding it was lack of sleep that made it hard to understand what was happening, Hayley shook her head. “Is that your copy? Shouldn’t you have given it to Bernice while she was here?”

“It’s all yours, Hayley.”

“I don’t understand.”

“I may have promised your grandfather I wouldn’t pay his medical bills, but I never promised I wouldn’t buy the house he was so determined to sell before he died.”

She stared at her mother, not following. “You bought it? Mom, you don’t have that kind of money.”

“I’ve done pretty well with the money your father left me, and thanks to Eric, it’s been very well invested. He’s a pretty smart man.”

Not liking the sudden change in direction the conversation was taking, Hayley stopped her there. “Mom—”

“He’s not the right one for you, I know.” She wrapped her arms around Hayley. “I just want you to be happy. You deserve that.” She glanced up at the house. “Your grandfather would be happy that it’s yours now.”

Although she was smiling, a tear escaped Hayley’s eye. It wouldn’t fill the empty place in her heart after losing her grandfather—nothing would—but it felt like a step in the right direction.

“I heard about Cody. It’s a shame. And he broke into all those places to get money for Kyle’s surgery?”

That detail hadn’t been released, but clearly someone had been talking. Hard to keep much under wraps in the harbor.

Her mother’s phone rang, and she fished it out of her purse. “Hello?” She frowned, then handed Hayley the phone. “It’s for you.”

Hayley recognized her partner’s voice right away. “Tried your cell and Matt’s before he suggested I call your mom’s.”

“Did something happen with Cody?”

“No. Everything’s fine on that front. We’ve got a bit of a problem down by town hall. A disturbance. I need you to check it out.”

“Why me?” There had to be officers patrolling who could look after it.

“You’re the only one anybody trusts to handle it,” he answered cryptically. “Keep me posted.”

She frowned. “No problem.” Hayley hung up and handed the phone back to her mother. “Something’s come up. I have to go.” She hugged her again, a little tighter. “Thank you.”

Hayley waited until her mother left, then grabbed her bag from inside the house. Gavin had disappeared, but she could hear him in the kitchen. “I’ll be back shortly. With breakfast,” she called out, knowing there wasn’t much in the way of food in the house.

The drive downtown took longer than usual. Traffic was backed up half a mile from town hall, and although the sun was beating down on everyone, no one seemed particularly frustrated by the delay. Weird.

She took a side street that got her within a couple blocks of town hall and went the rest of the way on foot. She heard the rumbling engine first, then stared at the machine inching its way along.

Some idiot was driving the Zamboni up the middle of Main Street, and he was…wearing a bear costume?

Oh god. He wouldn’t.

The crowd gathered around like they were watching a float in a parade only slowed her down for a few seconds. She stepped in front of the Zamboni’s path.

“Are you out of your mind?”

The engine idled, then stopped, and the oversize bear climbed down. “For the last year and a half, actually.”

“So you figured you’d cap it off by getting arrested again?” Unbelievable.

“Had to get your attention somehow. You weren’t returning my calls.”

“I was going to.” Eventually. But what could he possibly have to say that was important enough he felt the need to pull a stunt like this?

At least fifty people surrounded them. Some were tourists likely exploring the nearby parks and historical grounds, while others were locals no doubt drawn by the sight of the Zamboni cruising around town on an unseasonably hot June morning.

“I didn’t understand a word of that,” she said, unable to make out whatever he’d said through the mascot costume.

He pulled off the bear head. “I said, I’m not taking the job with the Sentinels.”

“You got a better offer?” she guessed. Getting back into the NHL was all he wanted.

“You might say that.”

“With who?” Would he be closer to Promise Harbor? Had the Boston team offered him a job or maybe one of the New York clubs?

“A smaller hockey team, but one that has a lot of promise. I hear the assistant coach is handy with a Taser.”

She blinked. “You’re staying here?”

“If you’ll have me.” He pulled her forward, startling a laugh out of her as she bumped into the ridiculous bear suit. “I’m crazy about you, Hayley Stone. These paws are good for more than just starting a fight. I want to fix that house up with you and coach those kids. And I want to work for myself.”

“What about hockey? Your dream?” He’d been pretty clear about that during their argument outside Stone’s.

“I’ve found a new one. One I want to share with the woman I’m in love with.”

Happiness crept in, and she instinctively shied away from it, half expecting it to be ripped away before she’d barely wrapped her mind around what he was saying. “You left.” He loved her and had left at the worse possible moment.

“It was a mistake, but I don’t regret it entirely. I can’t,” he rushed to add when she would have argued. “I had to go or I wouldn’t have realized just how much I had to lose. I’m sorry I wasn’t there with you when he died.” He cupped her cheek. “I’d give anything to take that back.”

“You don’t get to just walk away again. If things come up or dreams change, we figure them out together.” She already loved him, but putting her heart completely in his hands if there was a chance he could change his mind…

“I’m not leaving, Hayley. Not this town. And not you. You’re stuck with me.”

She looked at him in the ridiculous mascot costume, a handful of feet away from a Zamboni of all things, and felt her heart swell until it threatened to balloon right through the walls of her chest.

He dropped his forehead to hers. “Our first kiss was an accident that we never told anyone about. This time I want the whole damn town to know how I feel about you.” He cradled her jaw, giving her time to pull away if this wasn’t what she wanted.

She smiled. “Then what’s the holdup, Knight?”

His answering grin, so slow and sexy, would have melted her on the spot if he hadn’t kissed her right then. Whoever had stuck around—probably to see if she was going to arrest him—hooted and whistled, and a few joked about them getting a room.

She’d get around to telling them all to move along just as soon as she had her fill of Jackson. She parted her lips, welcoming the hungry slant of his mouth, and looped her arms around his neck, more afraid of what she’d miss out on by not loving him than losing him.

“Damn, this suit is hot. How in the hell did you wear it in that closet?”

Laughing, she kissed him again, slower, softer. “I guess we need to get you out of it, ASAP.” She drew back, but didn’t make it more than a few inches before he roped her back in.

“You’re forgetting something, Detective.”

She caged his face in his hands and went back up on her toes for one more lingering kiss. “I love you, too.”

“So let me get this straight,” Hayley began a couple hours later, after they’d returned the Zamboni that Jackson had “borrowed” and given the mascot costume to back to Bernice.

He’d joked about keeping it until he had to spend another thirty minutes wearing the damn thing—it was that or walk around in just his boxers since he’d stupidly left the rest of his clothes at the rink.

“Gavin and Allie are back in town,” Hayley continued, “but it’s complicated while Josh and his ex-girlfriend Devon are back together?”

Jackson forced himself to pay attention. “Mmmhmm.”

“And Greta disappeared, then turned up with a new man.”

“Right.”

“And Josh’s mom and Allie’s dad took a trip together?”

Jackson looked up at her. “Are you going to keep talking the entire time I’m trying to get you naked?”

She punched him in the arm, but didn’t stop him from stripping off her shorts. Her shirt quickly followed, and he nudged her back on the bed.

“I think your mom giving you the house is the biggest news winner of the day.”

“Really, ’cause I’m pretty sure it’ll be the guy in the bear suit who brought traffic to a crawl making headlines for the next few days.”

Jackson playfully nipped her on the shoulder. “At least there weren’t any handcuffs involved.”

“Not yet anyway,” she teased.

He caught her arms and pinned them above her head. Damn, she was sexy as hell. “I don’t recall agreeing to anything like that.”

She stared up at him, so happy and achingly gorgeous he almost had to remind himself that she really was a part of his life now. The most important part.

“Tell me again.”

He didn’t need to ask what she meant. “I love you, Hayley.” He dipped his head to run his mouth down her neck. “I also love your breasts and your ass, and I especially love the sexy spot—” his fingers traced a path around her hip, across her panties and lower, “—behind your knee.”

She wiggled beneath him, her infectious laugh making him grin. He hadn’t stopped smiling since he’d looked up from the Zamboni to see her planted squarely in his path. And not a moment too soon. He was pretty sure he’d been moments from heatstroke.

“I’m never going to get tired of hearing that.”

He licked the generous valley between her breasts. “That helps since I’m never going to get tired of loving you here—” he bit down on her nipple, wetting her bra “—or here—” he dragged his teeth across the curve of her hip, “—or here—” he finished, pressing a kiss through her panties.

A slam echoed through the house, followed by the sound of breaking glass.

Jesus. What now?

He jumped off the bed, but didn’t even think of leaving the room without Hayley right next to him. She’d go first if she had her way, but after the near-shooting, he wasn’t willing to go that far.

Down the hall they found the plastic that had hung over the open window in the sewing room on the floor, the window frame once more closed. Chunks of glass littered the floor.

“That window has been stuck for weeks, since Gramps got sick. The new one is being delivered tomorrow.” Hayley smiled. “Nan always had it open during the summer, even during the winter sometimes.”

“I remember. She would always sit up here and watch Coach play hockey with us or just throw a ball around.” He tugged her hand, keeping her from going close enough to cut her feet. “Think she’s gone now?”

Hayley had commented on the ghost situation, but never said one way or another what she thought, and judging by the I’m-on-to-you expression on her face, he wasn’t going to get an answer out of her now either.

“What I think is that everything is perfect. With the exception of one little detail,” she added, far too grave to be taken seriously.

He scooped her up and carried her back to the bedroom, glad that Gavin had disappeared for a while. “What’s that?”

She flashed him a sinful grin. “You still haven’t scored yet.”

Jackson tossed her on the bed and followed her down, covering her mouth with his. “Oh, yes I have.”

The game might have changed, but he’d won the girl and that was all that counted.