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Authors: Lacey Alexander

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BOOK: Give In To Me
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Her mind flew immediately back to the question he’d brushed off once before. “Tell
me about your family. You said last time I saw you that they weren’t in your life
anymore. What happened to them?”

When he didn’t answer right away, she pointed out, “I told you about mine, and it’s
not like it was a pretty picture, you know? It’s not like it was the easiest information
in the world to share. So I don’t think it’s too much to ask for you to return the
favor—do you?”

He let out a long sigh, then finally said, “Okay, Ginger, here goes. I’m the oldest
of four brothers, born and raised outside of Lansing, Michigan. My parents . . . weren’t
great people. Enough said. Now—new subject. What else do you want to know about me?”

She sat there listening to the rain, thinking how close to him she’d felt a moment
ago—and how something strange had just happened. She could feel the emotional wall
he’d just thrown up between them almost as tangibly as if it were a physical thing,
made of brick and mortar. He’d even looked away—out into the rain—while answering
her.

“That’s all you’re going to say, all you’re going to tell me?”

“You catch on fast,” he said, then tossed her a quick wink, maybe to keep the reply
from sounding snotty.

And part of her was hurt. She’d told him personal things about her family, and it
wasn’t a topic she enjoyed—but she’d shared it; she’d opened herself up to him. She
supposed she’d felt that you should be able to
be
that open with someone you were having sex with.

But maybe she was placing more importance on sex than most people did these days.
And she knew she couldn’t make him tell her something he didn’t want to—and the gruff
look on his face now, even in the darkness, was something she wanted to wipe away
somehow. “Then . . . tell me about being a cop,” she requested instead.

“I like it.”

“That’s deep,” she retorted.

He slanted a look in her direction. “Not everybody’s deep, Ginger.”

“Well, deep or shallow, you can still share a little something with me. I’m not asking
for state secrets here. I’m just trying to feel like I know you a little better. It
would . . .” Her voice softened. “It would make me feel a lot more comfortable with
this situation. So come on, help me out here. Tell me why you became a cop.”

Even in the darkness, she sensed something pass over him—it wasn’t the same invisible
wall he’d erected between them a minute ago, but even at this simple question she
sensed he was going to hold something back. “I’m not sure,” he said. “Guess I just
figured there was a lot of bad in the world and maybe I could do something to stop
a little of it. And other people . . .”

When he trailed off, she said, “Other people what?”

He still wouldn’t look at her—though his gaze narrowed slightly. He lowered his eyes
quickly, briefly, as he said, “Other people have more to lose than me. They have families
that depend on them. And being a cop is dangerous, so I figured . . . I was a good
person to do something like that.”

“Because no one depends on you, you feel like . . . ?” She wasn’t quite getting it.

“If something happened to me, it wouldn’t be the end of the world—that’s all.”

A light gasp escaped her, though she hoped he couldn’t tell. She didn’t know what
to say. She could try to insist that surely he had people in his life who loved him
and would miss him if he was suddenly gone, that surely someone in the world depended
on him for something—but the truth was, she didn’t know. Maybe he really
was
that alone.

They stayed quiet for a long, sad moment that she was sorry she’d created. Her heart
beat too hard in her chest.

God, why do I care so much? It’s not like he’s Prince Charming or anything.

No, in fact, he was the polar opposite—the big bad wolf himself, as she’d thought
of him so many times.

And yet she did care. Somehow being so startlingly intimate with someone, and having
shared such personal parts of herself with him, had made her care more than she’d
known up to this moment, and it was a little jarring.

“Rain’s stopping,” he said then, and she glanced out in time to see the last drops
fall as the hard, steady patter on the sail above her ended in a freshly washed silence.
Florida rains were often like that—ending as quickly as they began.

They stayed mostly quiet as they backed down the small ladder they’d climbed to reach
the platform; then April scurried to get dressed, thankful her clothes had been shed
well beneath the sail’s shelter and had remained dry.

“I’ll walk you back to your car,” he said, adding, “Not really safe for you to walk
alone this late at night on the beach, Ginger.”

“Okay,” she said quietly. “Thanks.”

Their silence persisted on the walk, but when he took her hand, she let him. In one
sense, the simple gesture surprised her, but in another, it felt . . . right. And
it somehow made her feel better about the awkward moments she’d created with her questions—like
maybe this was his way of saying he forgave her for asking about things he clearly
didn’t want to discuss. And she didn’t feel bad for having asked—but at the same time,
she didn’t want him to be mad at her, either.

She’d found a rare evening parking spot right on Ocean Drive, so it was in the neon
reflection of the old art deco hotels that lined the strip that they soon stood next
to her car, Rogan leaning in to gently kiss her forehead. It was the most tender move
he’d ever made toward her—they were usually all fire and heat—and she wasn’t sure
if he was being more sweet than she was accustomed to or if this was just his way
of keeping that mental wall up between them, at least a little.

But either way, as he started to walk away from her, she said, “Rogan.”

He turned to look.

And she spoke from her heart. “If something happened to you on the job, it would matter
to
me
. Just so you know.”

His response? The tiniest hint of what struck her as a sad sort of smile. “Thanks,
Ginger,” he said, then tossed her a wink and headed back toward the beach, soon disappearing
among the shadowy, dark sea grass and dunes.

Chapter 13

T
hree days had passed since they’d fucked in the beachside park, and mostly, since
then, Rogan had tried to keep his mind off her.

After all, he had stuff to do. He’d worked a couple of long shifts when another officer
had called in sick. He’d gotten together with Colt one night for a beer at a dance
club on Lincoln Road. And he’d spent another night hanging out at the Café Tropico—but
according to Dennis, Martinez and his thugs had been surprisingly absent lately. And
while Rogan was a little disappointed he hadn’t gotten to bring them down, he was
glad the problem had faded away and pleased that the place was no longer being overrun
by troublemakers.

And besides having stuff to do, well . . . Ginger was starting to get a little nosy.
And deep. He wasn’t much of a sharer. And what they had going between them wasn’t
supposed to be about that kind of sharing anyway.

Hell, maybe that was why he liked it so much. It wasn’t that he didn’t care about
her—he knew that he
was
starting to care, at least a little—but a relationship about sex, and not sharing
much else, just worked for him. Maybe especially after Mira. For now, he felt better—safer—just
keeping things simpler. And for him, sex was pretty simple.

Only now it was Saturday morning—just past ten—and it was the first day he had nothing
in particular on his schedule. He was thinking he might hit the beach. And Ginger
was back on his mind.

But if you get her to come to the beach with you, you’re just inviting more of her
questions, more of her wanting “to get to know you.”

And yet the simple truth was—meeting up with her at the beach sounded . . . nice.
A hell of a lot better than going alone.

So don’t overthink it. Don’t worry about anything.
And besides, if she gets too pushy, just remind her who’s in charge.
He hadn’t planned it this way, but turned out that was kind of his ace in the hole.

So without weighing it any further, he pulled out his phone, found her in his contact
list, and typed in a text message:
WHAT ARE YOU DOING TODAY?

She answered quickly.
TAKING MY YOUNGEST SISTER SHOPPING.

FOR WHAT?
He could be nosy, too. At least when it came to things he thought April—for all her
intelligence—needed a little prodding and help with.

CLOTHES. BIG DATE WITH HER BOYFRIEND TONIGHT.

YOU’RE BUYING, I GUESS?

She paused before replying this time:
OF COURSE. I’M PATHETIC, RIGHT?

Well, he wouldn’t go that far, but . . . he’d just cut right to the chase here.
MEET ME AT THE BEACH IN AN HOUR.

I CAN’T. I TOLD YOU, I’M TAKING MY SISTER SHOPPING.

The fact was, if she’d had something important to do—like if she was taking her
grandmother
shopping or had something work-related on her agenda—he’d let her off the hook. But
the way he saw it, this just happened to be fortunate timing. So the moment had come
to lay down the law.
IT ISN’T A REQUEST, GINGER. MEET ME AT THE BEACH.

When she didn’t respond right away it surprised him that his heart began to thump
a little harder in anticipation. Would she defy him when they weren’t in the heat
of the moment, at a time when she wasn’t necessarily in a submissive mood? He didn’t
think so. But in truth, he wasn’t sure.
Come on, Ginger baby, don’t let me down.

When the text notification sounded, he glanced down, almost wild with eagerness to
see her reply
. I CAN’T GET THERE THAT FAST. PROBABLY CLOSER TO 90 MINUTES. BUT I’LL DO MY BEST.

A warm glow spread through him and his cock began to harden slightly in the khaki
shorts he’d thrown on a little while ago. He typed in his answer.
GOOD GIRL. I’LL BE NEAR THE 5TH STREET LIFEGUARD STATION, THE BLUE AND GREEN ONE THAT
SAYS MIAMI BEACH. SEE YOU SOON, BABE.

* * *

A
pril stood in her living room, staring at her phone a long moment after that last
text arrived. Part of her couldn’t believe she was letting him do this, letting him
actually manipulate her plans. But another part of her had felt . . . almost empty
not hearing from him these past days, and like she wanted to be back with him again,
even if it meant being in that strange state of surrender he put her in.

And so now she would be.

Just then, Amber exited her bedroom looking bright-eyed and perky in shorts and a
cute fitted tee. Uh-oh. She’d agreed to meet Rogan, but she hadn’t quite figured out
what to do about Amber.

“Ready?” her little sister said with a cheerful smile.

God, she loved Amber—she really did. Even if Amber took advantage of her, she was
the apple of April’s eye—and Amber’s happiness ultimately had a lot to do with
April’s
happiness. Still, she said, “I . . . can’t go.”

Amber flinched, her back going ramrod straight. “What? Why not?”

My dominant lover has ordered me to the beach.
Imagining the look on her sister’s face if she said that almost made her laugh out
loud, but she held it in. Then considered just flat-out lying, saying it was a work
emergency—but that didn’t feel right, either.

So she ultimately chose a middle road. “I . . . have a date.”

This news appeared to surprise Amber even more, judging from her wide eyes and dropped
jaw. “A date? With who?”

April tried to act cool—without forgetting to be a bit authoritative, too, as was
her usual way. “Just a guy I met. It’s no big deal—not yet anyway. And I’m really
sorry to cancel on you last minute. But the truth is—you have plenty to wear without
me buying you something new. And I don’t do much for myself, and since this opportunity
has come up, I’m going to go.”

Amber’s expression grew more stunned by the moment, until finally she just quietly
said, “Okay.”

April gave a quick, pleased nod. “Thanks for understanding. And if I’m not back before
your date tonight, have a good time.”

* * *

A
s April drove back to South Beach wearing only a pair of small black shorts over her
newest bikini—which wasn’t particularly new at all, but it was a classic cut in a
rich cobalt blue that looked good on her—she wondered if Rogan would be surprised
by it. Amber had insisted April buy it when they’d actually been shopping for
her
one day a few years ago, and though it had felt a bit bold for April’s usual taste,
she’d secretly liked the way she looked in it.

Just like back at home, there remained a part of her that couldn’t believe she was
rushing toward him like this, happily, glad to have her presence literally commanded
by him. And yet . . . she couldn’t get him and their latest encounter off her mind.

Yes, in all the obvious ways she relived certain raw, intense moments over and over
again; for her, it was impossible not to feel viscerally connected to a man with whom
she continued to share herself so intimately. But less obvious memories replayed in
her head, too. Like when he’d told her she was beautiful. And then when they’d fallen
into passionate kisses in the little slide tower—after the sex. Those had been . . .
nice moments. They’d held . . . something that had gone beyond the game.

Oh Lord, what are you thinking? That he’s in love with you or something? That he’s
going to turn out to be some sort of well-disguised knight in shining armor?

She gave her head a brisk shake as her car ascended onto the bridge that led to the
beach. Because if she was starting to get attached to Rogan Wolfe romantically . . .
well, that was crazy. Wasn’t it? Any tenderness he tossed her way was surely just
to balance out the other parts, to give her what she needed. Because he seemed to
know that, didn’t he? What she needed.

Still, even as interesting as that was—to somehow magically run into a man who understood
things about her that she couldn’t really understand herself—it didn’t add up to romance.
So don’t go getting emotionally enmeshed here.
And it wasn’t as if they had anything in common anyway, so that was another good
reason not to take this for more than it was.

In fact, maybe you should just stop thinking so much for a change.
Because when she took that part out of the equation, she realized she felt . . . well,
kind of happy. Happier, maybe, than she had in quite a while. Just because it sounded
fun to go to the beach, to be meeting a handsome, sexy man there who wanted to be
with her. And because it sounded easy, to know no big worries or responsibilities
or decisions awaited her there, and if any came up, he would be glad to handle them.

After finding a place to park, April hoisted her hastily packed beach bag onto her
shoulder and trod on flip-flops across the sand, past the dunes, and onto the busiest
part of South Beach. The sun shone high overhead and the beach was buzzing with locals
and tourists alike.

The first thing she caught sight of was a pair of boobs—when a young woman turned
from her stomach to her back on a lounge chair—and then two small children ran past,
toward the ocean, with plastic pails and shovels in hand. Although South Beach was
clothing optional, April had always been surprised by the wide mix of people it drew,
being nearly as popular for families as it was for singles and couples. Maybe it also
surprised her that, despite there being a few topless women here and there on this
busiest swath of sand, the place was hardly overrun with bare breasts, and in general,
people acted relatively sedate and mature about it.

In fact, the next sight she saw caught her off guard a great deal more—and it was
Rogan Wolfe in a pair of red swim trunks. He sat stretched out on a pale blue blanket,
eyes shut, head leaning back to soak up the sun, and he looked like . . . wow, some
kind of amazing beach god.

She’d just never realized . . . she’d never expected to be so very . . . affected.
But affected she was. Up to now, even given the wild sex they’d indulged in, she’d
just never really seen him wearing so little. His clothes were usually half-on or
just undone—and there was always so much going on, so much else to be focused on at
any particular moment; she’d never really experienced the simple pleasure of just
looking at him. And he was a sight to behold.

That’s when he opened his eyes.

And she wondered if her lust was written all over her face. “Um, hi.”

He flashed an easy, flirty smile. “Hi there, Ginger.”

She lowered her beach bag to the blanket, then proceeded to kick off her shoes and
push down her shorts.

His glance immediately dropped to her bathing suit. “Nice, babe,” he said, and even
just that, those two little words, rippled all through her.

She wasn’t sure what came next, what to expect from the day, but it was a pleasant
surprise when he motioned to a small cooler sitting in the sand nearby. “Don’t know
if you ate lunch, but I made sandwiches. Wasn’t sure what you like—there’s turkey
and ham.”

Maybe the simple gesture shouldn’t have shocked her, but it did. It simply felt so . . .
normal. And that was something this relationship just hadn’t been so far. “Um, no,
I haven’t—and either is great.” Kneeling down on the blanket near him, she reached
in her bag and drew out an apple and a banana—she’d tossed them in on her way out
the door, her thoughts scattered but running in the same direction. “Here’s my contribution.”

He grinned. “You eat lighter than me.” Then he said, “There’s Coke in the cooler,
too. If you want something else, I can go track it down.”

She shook her head. “No, Coke’s fine—thanks.”

And that—unexpectedly, simply—was how the day went. They were like regular people
at the beach, doing regular things. They ate. They made small talk. They applied sunscreen
to each other’s backs—which was kind of a sexier part of normal, but still normal.
They waded into the ocean, but it was too cold for both of them—even though Rogan
promised he’d go swimming before the day was through. Then he told her a story about
a day the previous summer when he’d gone waterskiing in frigid Lake Superior, nearly
freezing his ass off, “but it was worth it.”

“You like skiing that much?” she asked, lifting her eyebrows in amusement.

He shook his head. “Sometimes ya just gotta do things that shake you up a little,
remind you you’re alive—you know?”

If he’d asked her that question a month ago, she’d have actually had no idea what
he was talking about—but now, since meeting him, she felt she understood. “I think
so,” she replied. “Like . . . making out with a hot stranger in an alley?” She offered
a timid grin.

One corner of his mouth quirked up in response. “Something like that,” he told her.
And then, for the first time since she’d arrived, he leaned over, lifted her chin
with one bent finger, and gave her a soft, firm kiss she felt all the way to her toes.

Before long, they were walking up the beach, hand in hand, and talk turned to their
work. “You love what you do, Ginger?” he asked her point blank.

But she didn’t mind. In fact, she’d been thinking a lot about that very thing lately—maybe
ever since their discussion about stress and control and why she might actually like
being dominated by him. “I love practicing law, but . . . there might be other forms
of it that would fulfill me more than what I’m actually doing. Maybe that’s why I
squeeze in the pro bono work—it’s stressful, too, but at least in the end I usually
feel like I’ve done something worthwhile with my time.”

“I don’t know much about being a lawyer, but any way you can make some changes?”

She’d started thinking about that, too. “I work at a large firm with a lot of different
branches and specialties, so I’m thinking I might start exploring some other options
soon. I don’t think anyone I work with is going to
like
that idea, but . . . too bad.”

BOOK: Give In To Me
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