Reading tons of sexy short stories in order to find the right mix of stories to live side by side in one volume is a tough job, right? Nah. For me, it’s a joy. And I have only a couple of rules. First, if I don’t enjoy the story, it’s not making the cut. Second, variety is the spice of life. I didn’t want stories that felt cookie-cutter. I wanted different settings, different flavors of blue collar heroes. Authors with different voices. M. Marie’s story stuck with me throughout the reading & weeding process, because it was one of the few stories I read where the woman was dominant. And I thought readers might like that change of pace about mid-book. Doesn’t hurt at all that it’s sexy as hell. 🙂 ~DD
Excerpt from M. Marie’s “In the Heat of the Moment” in Blue Collar
When one of her detectives steps out of line, a police lieutenant wastes no time reminding him why she’s the commanding officer in their precinct
Lieutenant Crista de Marco’s voice was civil as she called Detective Thomas Hale into her office, but that didn’t stop the other detectives from flashing knowing grins in Tom’s direction as he rose to answer their boss’s summons.
“You’re in for it now,” his partner whispered with a cheeky grin.
Tom returned it boldly. “Yeah, what else is new?” He laughed. “She’s always riding my ass,” he called back to his friend, without thinking how his words may have carried until he stepped into the Lieutenant’s office and saw the dark expression on her face.
“Shut the door behind you,” she instructed in a quiet voice.
Tom swallowed hard. As he turned to pull the door closed, he caught the shocked looks on a few of his co-workers’ faces. Tom could count the number of times the LT’s door had been closed over the past five years on one hand. Lt. de Marco was a fierce, vocal woman, who never hesitated to reprimand her team when someone stepped out of line. Normally, when the lieutenant wanted to chew one of them out, she started screaming before the guilty party had even stepped across the threshold into her office. Her subdued tone didn’t match her stern expression, and the dichotomy was unnerving.
The door closed with a soft click. Tom turned and found Crista sitting behind her desk, staring. She was a tall woman, with a solid build, richly tanned skin, and short, slicked back, dark brown hair. At thirty-four, she was the youngest detective to make lieutenant in their district. Crista de Marco was focused, driven, and dedicated to her career. She was also clever and sharp in both her appearance and attitude. She had risen quickly since joining the Homicide Department. Although Tom joined the department two years before Crista, they had both earned their detective shields in the same year. Tom had been deliriously proud of himself, but Crista had only been motivated to push herself harder…
She watched Tom cross the room and sit without waiting for her to offer him a seat. She frowned at her subordinate as he crossed his arms over his broad chest. “You know why I called you in here, Tom.”
Now her detective returned a frown. “You wanted evidence against the Tapparts. I brought it to you. And now, you’re going to give me shit for following orders,” he blurted before he could stop himself.
The vitriol wasn’t unexpected, but it was a surprise when his boss didn’t respond in a similar fashion.
In a flat tone, Lt. de Marco pointed out, “Your orders were to locate the suspect’s new hideout and wait for the search warrant. Not barge in without permission and ransack the apartment.”
“Ransack?” Tom exploded. “I found thousands of dollars’ worth of stolen property, over three dozen stolen firearms, and enough drugs in the back bedroom to put away that scumbag for the rest of his life.”
“Except he won’t be going away for a single day now, because you didn’t wait for a warrant!” Crista’s voice shook with the effort to suppress her anger. “All the evidence you found is inadmissible, because it was obtained through an illegal search. All of it! We have nothing to keep him with now. We had to cut him loose this morning.”
The lieutenant’s voice was strained, and Tom could see her rage spreading in a red flush across her tan skin. His temper was still high, but it didn’t rival hers. He wisely bit back his next response, but he couldn’t hide the stubborn expression on his face.
Recognizing the look, Crista snapped, “Spit it out, Hale.”
The detective huffed in frustration. “I was just doing my job.”
“Your job is to follow protocol.
“I acted in the heat of the moment,” Tom protested. “We had no time to wait for some judge to roll out of bed and give his approval. The suspect could have come back at any minute. I made the call—”
“You don’t make those calls,” his lieutenant cut him off loudly, giving up any attempts at reining in her anger. “You’re a detective, Hale. You follow my orders, and if you aren’t capable of doing that, then maybe we should see about having you demoted back to walking the beat.”
His response exploded from him before he could hold it back. “You’d love that, wouldn’t you? You’ve been on my case since you made lieutenant. You think you’re better than me, just because you got promoted when Costos became captain, but we all know why you were picked to fill his position—and the reason’s not because of how much you love protocols!”
The silence that fell after his tirade stretched. Tom could easily imagine the shocked expressions on his eavesdropping buddies’ faces outside their boss’s office, but Crista’s reaction was much harder to identify.
Clearly, she was angry; he had insulted her integrity, both as an officer and a woman, with his harsh and unfounded outburst. For such a proud, strong person, that kind of provocation would be difficult to ignore.
She was probably also embarrassed to know her other subordinates had likely overheard his comments. She had served her time as a detective with the rest of them under Costos, who was also no stranger to motivating his staff by loudly berating them. She had suffered through her share of his criticism, and she had to remember how thin these office walls really were.
She was unnervingly quiet now, and her face gave no hint of her true feelings. Tom fidgeted in his seat a moment, before attempting a gruff apology. “Look, I’m sorry, Cris—I mean, Lieutenant. That was out of line, and I apologize. I didn’t mean what I said. No one really thinks that about you, either,” he assured her.
She answered him with silence.
“Seriously, I’m sorry.” He knew he was only making things worse, but the younger woman’s lack of reaction was unsettling. He couldn’t seem to stop talking. “I was just angry. I feel like you’re always riding me harder than everyone else, and I really don’t understand why you were promoted and I wasn’t. I have more years of experience, and we have nearly the same number of collars.” Her steady gaze gave him no comfort or answers. Tom sighed and looked away. “Look, sometimes I lose my temper in the heat of the moment. I’m sorry.”
“Give me your badge.”
Her voice was low but firm. Tom’s eyes widened, and his mouth fell open. “What?”
“Now,” she ordered. Her tone left no room for refusal.
Silently, Tom dropped his shield into her outstretched hand, and then watched as she balanced the badge on her open palm.
“I always imagined it would be heavier when I was growing up,” she confessed in a thoughtful voice that made her companion even more uneasy. “A badge carries so much weight and responsibility, don’t you agree?” Her gaze met his.
He knew she was waiting for a response, so he nodded mutely.
“Hmmm…” Rising to her feet, Crista slowly walked around her desk. “You don’t seem very convinced, Tom, but that’s not surprising, given your recent performance.”
Her heels clicked sharply on the tiled floor with each step, and Tom’s breath caught in his throat as she came to a stop directly in front of him. Silently, she lowered herself to sit on the edge of her desk and crossed her legs. In doing so, her skirt rose, revealing almost two inches of her smooth thighs. He struggled to keep his gaze off her lightly-tanned legs. Her words helped steer his focus back to the conversation, though.
“I’m starting to think a demotion isn’t really what you need.”
That came as a relief, but Tom couldn’t help but groan over the only other option that came to mind. “Am I being suspended again?”
Lt. de Marco shook her head. “No. Suspensions don’t seem to have a very lasting effect, either.”
He swallowed. “Then… are you firing me?” he said, hating that she heard the tremble in his voice.
The intimidating woman considered him, her eyes narrowing. “I thought about it,” she admitted, “but I have something else in mind.”
The unexpected grin that spread across her face made his eyes widen. He was suddenly reminded of the way she used to smile during her first year in Homicide. They had often accompanied each other to the gym or the bar after completing a shift, depending on how their cases had unfolded that day.
They were both naturally athletic and competitive. Burning off stress over beers or weight training had been a welcome relief. They’d had a good chemistry. That they would hook up seemed inevitable, but when she made Lieutenant, Crista’s ambitions and Tom’s insecurities had pulled them apart before they could ever get together.
Still, his cock was twitching to life now as he remembered the way she used to grin right before she dominated him in any type of physical challenge. His gaze drifted again to her bare thighs. He regretted how quickly he had thrown away their friendship when she was promoted above him. Her power and confidence had always excited him so much…
Growing uncomfortably aroused with his wandering recollections, Tom glanced up and noticed Crista’s smile had grown wider, as though she suspected where his thoughts were straying. Dropping his hands discreetly to his lap to hide any signs of his erection, he asked quietly, “What are you planning to do with me?”
She chuckled. “I’m going to teach you how to wait for permission before acting, even when you’re in ‘the heat of the moment’.”
She cut off his next question with a shake of her head. Uncrossing her legs, she leaned forward and simply ordered, “Stand up.”
Tom was on his feet before his mind had fully comprehended her words. He seemed surprised by his instinctive obedience, as well as by the flush of excitement racing through his body. He looked down to meet Christa’s gaze. Her hands were on her hips, and her strong chin was pointed up as she watched him.
Tom’s complacency surprised Crista as well. She had been uncertain if this course of action was the right way to deal with Tom, but his last reaction assured her that her instincts had been right. Emboldened by his obedience, her next command was issued immediately. “Take off your pants.”
A heavy pause ensued, but then her detective slowly drew a deep breath and moved his hands to his belt. He unbuckled the leather and pulled it through the loops, then unfastened the button at the top of his dress pants. His zipper came open with a faintly audible, metallic ziiiip. He paused to wipe his sweaty palms on his hips and glanced at her.
Crista met his gaze coolly; her face was masked with a professional, closed expression that hid the excitement growing rapidly inside her. “Take them off,” she said, her voice uninflected.
He obeyed. Tom roughly pushed his pants over his narrow hip bones and let the fabric drop to the floor. His cock was hard and visibly straining against the front of his boxers. Before she could comment, Tom hooked his thumbs on the band of his boxers and lowered that garment as well.
He then straightened, fully exposing his lower half. Tom might not know what her intentions were, but his body made it perfectly clear he was excited to find out. Crista caught a hint of his earlier cockiness in his shining eyes and frowned.
“Did I give you permission to take off your shorts?” she asked in a dangerously soft voice.
Tom’s dark brown eyes widened slightly, and a faint flush began to climb up his neck. “I thought…”
Lt. de Marco’s hand shot out and grasped her companion’s stiff manhood before he could finish his sentence. He gasped loudly and jerked backwards, but her tight grip kept him in place. She gave him a little squeeze, just to make sure she had his full attention, before beginning her lesson. “You don’t act without my permission.”
“Yeah, yeah! I got it.”
But Crista didn’t loosen her hold. “Even if you think you know what I’ll say, you wait until I give the order. Understood?”
Tom nodded quickly.
Crista held out her empty hand. “Give me your tie.”