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Authors: Elizabeth Finn

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BOOK: Conflicting Interests
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Chapter Eleven

 

It was eleven that night when Mindy called. She was one of a
few casual flings he indulged in on a regular basis but he cringed at the sight
of her number on caller ID. Seth was sound asleep and thanks to the fact he
slept with a TV on in his bedroom, Dillon could easily slip her in and out of
the house without Seth ever being the wiser. It wasn’t like he hadn’t done it
plenty in the past.

“Thought I’d swing by if you were up.” Her voice was
seductive and warm as she spoke to him. She was trying to entice him and it
usually worked. But he felt cold and dead.

Mindy was a triage nurse who worked odd hours and she’d been
divorced for a few years. She didn’t expect a commitment from him and since he
had no interest in giving her one it worked out well. Something in her eyes
though said she’d welcome more and he knew at some point he’d have to put an
end to it with her. But not now. Not now when he needed to know he was still
the same Dillon who could fuck his casual fling with no other thought to it.

“Sure.” He was staring at his feet, stretched out before him
on his bed as he spoke the word. His voice sounded detached and distant and that
was about what his interest in her was at the moment. But this was who he was
and what he did. He didn’t disrespect her—he didn’t disrespect women in any
way. This was just easy and because life wasn’t, it made sense to keep his
personal relationships this way.

But this
wasn’t
easy and after he plodded downstairs
and flipped the porch light on, he grabbed a beer and downed half of it as he
stood at the sink. Part of him wanted this. He wanted it because he didn’t want
it. That made no sense but there it was.

He wanted Katrina, not this woman he’d fucked more times
than he could recall and had still managed to not give a shit about. He cared
for Katrina and he’d not even fucked her. Couldn’t fuck her and that’s why he
wanted Mindy. He wanted to want Mindy. He wanted to want Mindy enough that he
could stop thinking about Katrina. So why the hell was he chugging beer in some
pathetic attempt to loosen himself up before she got here? He knew damn well
why. He was afraid he wouldn’t be able to do it if he wasn’t half toasted.

When he opened the door for her, she smiled her seductive
smile that matched her overly contrived seductive voice. “Well aren’t ya gonna
invite me in?” He stood back, holding the door for her. His heart was pounding
even though he was halfway through his second beer.

She sauntered past him and he followed her into his kitchen
as she opened his fridge and grabbed her own beer. He watched her and he
replayed the last time they were together in his mind. He’d enjoyed it—he
always did with her and he was hoping desperately for something right now but
the memories did nothing for him. He could see her body in his mind. She was
incredible to see naked, tanned, tight and lanky as fuck. But even that
couldn’t erase what he really wanted.

Every time he tried to focus on the visions of Mindy’s body,
which usually excited him instantly, all he could see was Katrina. He’d not
even seen her naked, but he’d take whatever was under her clothes in a
heartbeat over every last inch of what he’d seen of Mindy’s body any day of the
week. When her hand touched his waist, he wriggled away from it. This was going
to be torturous if he couldn’t get in the mood. Her eyes followed him curiously
as he moved to the fridge, grabbing yet another beer as he drained his last one.

She looked confused if nothing else and he was just
frustrated. He wanted to will his body to cooperate with him but when he looked
at her expectant face, his breath left him in a rush. He had no right to expect
Katrina to stay away from her pompous ex-dickhead of a boyfriend but he’d made
that right his whether he should or shouldn’t, against policy or not. And if he
could go through with this then the right he decided belonged to him to make
that judgment for her wasn’t a right he deserved. And he wanted that right.

He was suddenly plagued with images of Jason fucking her. He
saw himself standing outside her bedroom like the fucking psychopath likely
had, watching them. He could hear the sound of her groaning as he pushed into
her body. He could hear her moaning the man’s name and when he let his mind
wander painfully to the sight of them in her bed, he had to turn from Mindy to
face his kitchen sink as the pain of it hit him square in the gut.

She was waiting patiently for him and he stared at the stupid
unopened beer he held in his hand before finally setting it on the counter and
ignoring it. Mindy’s hands reached for his waist, wrapping around him from
behind and his breath caught in his throat at her touch. He could feel her
breasts against his back as she pushed her body against his but it was too
late. He was in hell, fighting the images of Katrina with Jason, and he grabbed
Mindy’s hands, unpeeling them from his body and turning to her.

“What the hell has gotten into you?” She was starting to sound
defensive.

“I’m sorry, Mindy. I need you to leave. I can’t do this.”
His throat was tight as he said the words.

She looked stunned for a moment but then she turned on the
seductive again and reached for his body. “I don’t believe you.”

Her hand started at his waist and he turned his head from
her but he didn’t stop her. Her hand slipped down to cup the bulge in his pants
that was betraying his mind. But his arousal wasn’t for her. It was an arousal
that only existed from the tormenting images of Katrina in bed with Jason and
it was an arousal that he hated because it came from painful yet enticing
images.

He stepped away from her reach and walked toward the front
door as her eyes trailed after him. He shouldn’t have agreed to let her come
over and it was his fault this was happening but she was going to piss him off
fast if she didn’t get the hint. He needed her gone. When he reached the front
door he held the door open and waited.

She took her time following him and she eyed him with a cold
glare as she approached.

“Why are you doing this? I know you want this. Your fucking
hard-on says it clearly enough,” she muttered with a sarcastic smile. He should
have let it go, but he didn’t like arrogance and she was loaded with it at the
moment.

“I’m turned on imagining a woman I do want—and she’s not
you. I don’t want to see you anymore.”

She turned toward the door with an irritated huff but
wheeled on him before she passed over the threshold. “Odd she’s not here then,
hmm? Isn’t it fun to want what you can’t have?”

He glared at her. “Leave.” His voice was seething. What
business did he have expecting anything less from her? He was dumping her and
she’d come over expecting to get laid.

He watched her walk to her car, feeling defeated. Well that
settled that. He was definitely not going to be convincing himself he could get
past her anytime soon. And he was never going to get laid again at this rate.

When he hopped in his shower he stared at the tile wall in
front of him. He couldn’t quite wrap his head around why he couldn’t let this
one go. It wasn’t the chase. He wasn’t one of those guys who only wanted the un-gettable
get. He wanted to get and keep her. He wanted to end this fucking case and have
her and not have to let her go. And he wanted that to happen without her
getting hurt in the process because he wasn’t quite sure he could handle that.

Her file was sitting on his desk and as he walked back into
his bedroom naked after toweling off, he grabbed it and flopped down on his
bed. He read the report, he read her statements, he reviewed his notes, he
reviewed the transcription of the message that had been left on her answering
machine and he studied her pictures. There were more pictures than they would
likely ever need but he looked at each and every one closely. He studied the
injuries as his heart pounded. The bruises and scuffs had faded significantly
since then but seeing the fresh marks on her body in graphic, high-definition
color left his anxiety soaring.

Then he let his gaze study her eyes. There were so many
close-ups of her face that showed her eyes. She had incredible round blue eyes
and they glistened with barely restrained emotion in the pictures. His mind
left him again and he imagined her pleasuring herself in just the way the
lunatic had spoken of.

He’d watched her. Dillon didn’t doubt it one bit. He’d seen
how she fucked herself when there was no man in her life and as he flipped from
one picture to another, seeking out her wide stunning eyes, he imagined it.

He could hear the sounds she would make in his head—the wet,
slick smacking sounds as she plunged her dildo in and out of her pussy—and when
he finally lit on one particular picture, he stared. He dropped the others to
the folder and held this one above his face. Her eyes were looking straight at
the camera when this one had been taken, unlike the others where her eyes were
shifted off to some spot in the distance. But not this one.

Her eyes were looking at the camera and by extension of that
right into his eyes. He studied and he heard her moans of pleasure in his mind.
He imagined her saying his name as she writhed beneath his body and he stared
at that damn picture. His cock was hard and painfully engorged.

All it took was a picture and a bit of imagination and he
was ready to explode. He stroked up and down the length of his erection,
wanting his release. He just had to get her out of his system. He couldn’t let
himself believe this was all about her. He couldn’t let himself think he could
care about this woman he barely knew. He simply couldn’t let himself want
something that was so fucking off-limits.

But when he came, he was uttering her name over and over and
over and as the last of his seed was spent on his stomach as his muscles
clenched and contracted, he was forced to admit this was absolutely all about
her.

Her picture stared back at him as he gasped and stroked
through the last of his release. “Fuck.”

He muttered to himself as he set the picture on the folder,
closed it and tossed it to the floor beside his bed. He was more frustrated
than tired by the time he turned the light out, and he stared into the darkness
for nearly fifteen minutes. He hated that she was there alone. He was glad they
had an officer at her house but he knew it was hard on her to be there alone
and he couldn’t stand the idea of her being frightened.

When he snatched up his cell, he tried to stop his fingers
from typing. He was overstepping a line and there was no denying it. He sent a
text asking if she was awake and it was mere seconds before the response said
she was.

He dialed her number, his pulse quickening with every number
he pushed. “Hi.” She sounded hesitant, worried.

“Hi.” He wasn’t quite sure what to say beyond that. He’d not
gotten that far into his plan. “I just wanted to make sure you were okay.”

“Don’t you ever sleep?” There was a slight sarcasm in her
voice and he calmed at the sound of her humor.

“No but not for the same reasons as you. I’m just used to
the interruptions.”

“Yeah well, I like my sleep and I don’t like that it’s so
damn hard to now.”

“I really do think you should stay with your friend Imogen.
You know you’d be more comfortable.”

“I can’t. Kitty is here and I’d just end up driving back and
forth every day to take care of her. And—I just can’t.”

“So take Kitty to Imogen’s place.”

“Well I would but she kind of …pokes at her a little.” She
was being cute but he could sense she was also being serious to some extent and
his body was tingling at nothing more than the sound of her voice. “I think she
thinks she’s petting her but she pokes. There’s just no other explanation. It’s
odd, I’ll give you that, but she’s never had pets.”

“That’s weird.” His voice trailed off at the bizarre image
in his mind of the quirky Brit poking poor old Kitty.

“Yeah. Yeah it is.”

He chuckled and she sighed. The tension was gone. It was
gone from her voice and it was gone from his body. However strained it had been
earlier in the day, it was melting away. She wasn’t angry at him. She could be—she
likely should be. He’d interrupted her life and barged in on her when he had no
good reason to. But she wasn’t.

“I’m sorry about the other night when I touched you.” Her
voice was quiet and laced with insecurity and his warm chuckle that he was
enjoying so much after so much tension froze in his throat. “I put you in a bad
position and—”

“It wasn’t any more your fault than it was mine.” He heard
her inhale a deep slow breath before letting it out just as slowly. He caught
himself holding his breath, waiting for her to say something else. There was
nothing else to say but it didn’t stop him from wanting to hear her.

“I should go.” But she didn’t make any further move to end
the conversation and she was just silent. He was too. He wasn’t ready to say good
night to her but he didn’t know what to say to keep her talking—and frankly
there was nothing he should say and keeping her on the line wasn’t a concern he
should have with her.

The silence became uncomfortable and long and eventually, he
opened his mouth and forced the words out. “Good night, Kat. Call me if you need
anything.”

 

“I need you.” She whispered the words pathetically in
response to his comment. She could never say it were he actually there but he
was already gone. He’d hung up and she was alone again in her quiet house. Her
night table lamp was on but the house was otherwise dark. She had to figure out
some way to get some sleep or she was going to go crazy again and who knows
what she’d do in her delirium this time—lick his face the next time she saw him
perhaps or worse.

She flipped the light off and curled up on her side, pulling
the heavy quilt up and over her head, letting only her face peek out. She felt
safer in the dark. She always had. She never understood fear of the dark. You
could hide in the dark in a way you couldn’t in the light and even as a child
she’d always known that.

BOOK: Conflicting Interests
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