Authors: Wynter Daniels
Jail Sergeant RJ “Ram” Ramsey is incensed when he learns
he’s losing a promotion to a less-qualified woman who’s learned all she knows
about the job from behind a desk.
Lieutenant Belle Buchanan has a lot to learn. Ram has been
an enigma to her since he threw her over years earlier. When they end up alone
together, the attraction that first drew her to him flares hot. She wants the
hunky sergeant to master her in other, more intimate ways.
Ellora’s Cave Publishing
Belle Behind Bars
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Belle Behind Bars Copyright © 2011 Wynter Daniels
Edited by Shannon Combs
Cover art by Syneca
Electronic book publication April 2011
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This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons,
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characters are productions of the author’s imagination and used fictitiously.
Dedicated with love to the head of R&D, my husband Dana,
who is always so willing to help with research.
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“Bitch stole that promotion.”
“Should have been you, Sarge.”
“Yeah. Affirmative action bit you in the ass. We all know
you’d have made a better lieutenant than
“At least she’ll be working in administration and not here.
I don’t know about anybody else, but I’d have a big problem working under a
lieutenant who has no business being one.”
“Let’s talk to the union rep. Gotta be something he can do.”
Sergeant RJ Ramsey scanned the angry faces of his officers
in the shift briefing room of the county jail. “Nobody’s going to call in the
union rep on this.” Sure, he was angry Isabel was promoted rather than him, but
there was nothing he could do about it. Didn’t matter that he had twice as many
years on the job as she did. The woman had a college degree and that mattered
to the chief. She was also damn intelligent. He’d discovered that when they’d
gone out few times two years ago. Intelligent and sexy. But he’d been in the
midst of his divorce then and his ex had soured him on women in general.
He’d run into her at a party a few months later and she’d
given him the cold shoulder. Of course, Belle had a reputation for giving every
man—at least those she worked with—the cold shoulder. Forcing an image of the
petite brunette from his head, he set his hands on his waist, stepped out from
behind the lectern and made eye contact with every officer in the room. “None of
you should have a problem working under
supervisor. You get an
order, you follow it. That’s the way this job works. Are we clear?”
A few grumbles circulated among the mostly male group of
about sixty officers. He made eye contact with each of the men who’d had a
comment about the promotion.
“I heard the chief plans to shuffle the managers around
again. There’s always a chance she’ll end up here,” Officer Giles said. “Not
only as our boss, but as yours too, Sarge. If she gets the job, that is.”
He doubted that. Belle had been an administrative sergeant
for most of her career at the jail. The chief wouldn’t put a paper-pusher in a
hands-on operational position, particularly not for the graveyard shift.
Wouldn’t make sense.
The door opened and all the heads in the room turned to see
who was there. Damn if Sergeant…
Isabelle Buchanan didn’t walk
in. A hush fell over the crowd.
What the hell was
doing here? The ugly green
uniform made most female officers look like men, but not Isabel. Her curvy form
couldn’t be camouflaged that easily. Nor were those amber eyes behind her
glasses. She gave him a half wave as she took a seat in the back of the room.
“Sorry to interrupt, Sergeant. Please, go on.”
He stepped behind the podium and glanced at the index card
where he’d jotted his notes for the day’s briefing. “Okay, we have a new
max-one inmate. Name is Hawkins. He’ll be staying with us for the duration of
his murder trial. Day shift sergeant advised me he didn’t give anyone a
problem, yet. But he’s famous for his escape attempts. One was successful a few
months ago. Took the cops two days to recapture him so keep a close eye on
him.” A flutter of movement drew his attention to the back of the room.
Isabel’s hand shot up in the air.
She stood up and clasped her hands in front of her. A single
chestnut curl had escaped her tight bun and she tucked it behind her ear. “Do
we know Hawkins’s MO for those escape attempts? It would be helpful if you
could tell the officers exactly what they were supposed to be watching for. If
you refer to page ninety-six of the policy and procedures manual, you’ll find a
reference to protocol for briefing the staff in a situation such as this.”
Hushed whispers circulated amongst the officers.
He resisted rolling his eyes. “His methods varied each time.
He tried to dig a tunnel around the plumbing lines once. Got a good ten feet
hollowed out before it was discovered. As an inmate worker, he buried himself
in a kitchen trash can until he realized they used a compactor, so he gave
Damn woman was distracting him—batting those long, dark
eyelashes. Who had eyes that color anyway? They reminded him of a jar of fine
whiskey. He shook his head, trying to rein in his concentration. He gripped the
edge of the lectern. “Just watch him. My officers all have lots of
You all know what to look for.”
He checked his notes since her question had knocked him off
course. “Anyone interested in a position in the medical department, please
email Corporal Duffy in HR.” Moving the lectern aside, he cleared an area large
enough to safely demonstrate one of the takedown techniques he’d learned in a
recent defensive tactics course. Then he set a padded vinyl mat on the floor.
“As you all know, I like to pass along what I learn in the
classes the jail pays me to take. Tonight I’m going to show you a leg sweep.”
He stepped closer to the first row of chairs. “This is a great move to take an
inmate down quickly. You’re going to grab his left or right pant leg—whichever is
easier to access—and yank his leg out to the side. At the same time, you pull
his opposite shoulder backward, disrupting his base.”
He rubbed his hands together, looking over the group for a
good candidate to help him demonstrate the technique. “Who wants to knock me to
the floor tonight?”
As usual, not a single hand went up. “Come on, people.”
In the last row, a single hand went up. “I’ll do it,” Belle
He held back a grin. The woman’s adorable butt had been
firmly plastered in a cushy office chair her entire career. He doubted she even
attended the mandatory yearly physical training sessions the rest of the staff
had to endure. She wanted to play with the big boys? Look like a fool? Sure.
He’d facilitate that for her.
Motioning for her to come up front, he ignored the rumbling
in the crowd. He watched her sidestep between chairs. Her hips shifted this way
and that. He couldn’t help being riveted by that round ass and those perky
breasts. Hell, he wasn’t the only guy in the room staring at the spectacle.
She finally made it up front and stood a couple of feet from
him on the mat. The close proximity gave him a whiff of her strawberry scent.
No one smelled that good here. That was wrong in a jail. Just plain wrong.
“Okay. What do I do?” Her stiff stance conveyed about as
much warmth as an ice cube, but then she wasn’t here on a date.
“Stand behind me, facing me. Tuck in close to protect
yourself from an elbow.”
She moved into position.
“Always do this takedown from behind. Remember to—” His left
leg went out from under him and he immediately fell backward, landing on the
mat flat on his ass.
The pain of the fall was nothing compared to the hoots,
hollers and raucous laughter from his crew.
Son of a bitch
he guessed he’d probably be cutting up with them if he saw a five-foot-nothing
woman take down a six-foot-one man who had at least seventy pounds on her.
“That was easy. Great technique.” Isabel—wearing a snug
grin—offered him a hand up.
He got to his feet without her assistance.
She strode back to her seat as the laughter died down.
“Any questions?” He folded the mat and hung it on a hook on
the wall. No one said anything. Glancing around for his three corporals, he
said, “Anything to add?”
“Okay. Everyone get out there and have a safe shift.” He
moved the podium back into place then waited for the officers to leave the
Belle lingered around her seat, picked up a cup someone had
forgotten on the floor. But he got the distinct impression she’d purposely
stayed behind to get him alone. What the hell did she want with him?
Belle bent to search under the chairs for any trash the
officers had left. She didn’t see much.
Is this what I’ve worked my ass off for?
She wished her captain had explained better what he wanted
her to do.
Get to know what working in operations entails. Shadow
, he’d said. Yeah, the guy she’d just beaten out for a
promotion was sure to be extra helpful. Not to mention that he’d dumped her two
She’d nearly forgotten about Ram’s incredible turquoise eyes
and that sexy-as-sin cleft in his chin. Those amazing broad shoulders looked
even more massive than they had last time she’d seen him, if that were
Damn my libido
Why had she volunteered for his defensive tactics
demonstration? The close contact had turned up her thermostat about a hundred
degrees. She hadn’t meant to make him look foolish in front of his crew, but
neither had she particularly felt like lying down and playing dead.
Ram loudly cleared his throat. “Can I help you find
?” She stood up and squared her shoulders as she
met his stare.
I will not allow him to intimidate me
“Captain Carter suggested I get to know what it’s like to
work in operations. In case I…” Damn. Why had she gone there?
His eyes narrowed and tiny muscles around his jaw quivered.
“In case they move you over here? To be my boss?”
She gulped. “I want to shadow you. Just for a few nights.
I’m sure it won’t take me long to learn the workings of the job.” At his scowl,
she realized how bad that had sounded. “I didn’t mean—”
He cut her off with a stiff hand in the air. “No need to
She took a step toward him. “Do we have to keep this so
formal, Ram?” Lord, he towered over her.
“This is my shift, my crew, my building. As long as you get
that straight, we’ll be fine.” With his hands on his waist, he looked like a
damn brick wall in front of her. A brick wall of pure muscle.
“Fine.” She ought to be offended by his territorial
statement, yet she couldn’t deny that his gruff attitude made her nipples peak.
And his scent—pure male—permeated the air around her.
I shouldn’t be having these thoughts
He’d made it clear after they’d gone out on a few dates that
he wasn’t interested. Sure, he’d made some excuse about his divorce putting him
through hell, but then he’d never called her after it was over.
“You want to see what I do or not?” Ram opened the door and
gestured for her to go ahead of him.
Squaring her shoulders, she strode into the hallway. “What’s
She ignored his smirk.
“First I like to check all the control rooms. Since we just
moved everyone into this building from the old main jail a few weeks ago, I
want to make sure all my control desk monitors are comfortable with the new
system and that the equipment is working properly. If we need tech support,
best to let them know before midnight or else it takes hours to get them over
She fell in step with him down the white-on-white corridor
but she practically had to run to keep up with his big strides. By the time
they arrived at the first control room she was practically gasping for air.
Ram hit the green button by the entrance and one of the
officers inside glanced up at them through the Plexiglas and nodded. The door
buzzed then opened with a mechanical hum.
The three officers in the control room—two women and one
man—all sat up straighter when she entered ahead of Ram.
“Relax, folks.” He tipped his chin toward her. “She’s just
shadowing me, learning about how the jail works.”
Isabel clenched her jaw.
Learning about how the jail works
As if she hadn’t been working there for more than seven
years. The moment they left the room and the door slid shut, she grabbed his
arm and dragged him to a stop. “I resent that you implied I don’t know a single
thing about how this place runs. I’ve got a degree in criminal justice and I
and fought my way through the ranks just like you. I’ve worked my tail off
here. I know every rule and regulation, every policy and I’ve even drafted many
of our internal forms.”
“I see.” His chuckle caught her off guard.
“What’s so amusing?”
He took a step closer and stared down at her. She shouldn’t
like how he hulked over her but she did. Moisture pooled between her legs.
“I’m sure you know what the rules and procedures look like
on paper. But I know what they look like in practice.” He moved even closer. So
near she could swear she heard his heartbeat. Nope—that was hers, pounding
“While your behind was stuck in a chair in a cushy office
with a bowl of potpourri on your desk, mine was walking the floor, dealing with
violent or mentally unstable inmates. While you were making spreadsheets at a
computer I was dealing with uses of force and issues between officers. While
you were placing orders for toilet paper and mops, I was doing CPR on junkies
who were going through life-threatening withdrawals.”
She backed away but he bracketed himself over her, one hand
on either side of her head.
“While you were sipping your lattes over in administration, I
was taking apart cells searching for contraband.” Muscles on his neck corded
and his skin reddened. His breath gusted over her forehead, heating her insides
and slicking her sex.
Flattening herself against the concrete block, she wished
he’d kiss her. Totally inappropriate, of course, and completely against every
rule in the book but she couldn’t control her fantasies. “I-I see your point.
But I wouldn’t say that empirical expertise is better or worse than
theoretical.” What a lousy argument. If she were able to think with him
hovering over her, stirring up her sex drive, she’d have come up with a better