Authors: Temple Hogan
Tags: #Paranormal Erotic Romance
Witches of Three: Charlene
Witches of Three
By Temple Hogan
Resplendence Publishing, LLC
Witches of Three: Charlene
Copyright © 2014 Temple Hogan
Edited by Delaney Sullivan and Jason Huffman
Cover Art by Les Byerley
Published by Resplendence Publishing, LLC
1093 A1A Beach Blvd, #146
St. Augustine, FL 32080
Electronic format ISBN: 978-1-60735-757-5
Warning: All rights reserved. The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.
Electronic Release: April 2014
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and occurrences are a product of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, places or occurrences, is purely coincidental.
As the middle sister of three witches, Police Officer Charlie Spencer has learned to be independent and go her own way. But now, she’s fallen for her handsome police captain, Nick Hilliard, and nothing is the same.
Between dodging bullets and trying to find a killer, Nick and Charlie are hard put to plan a life together. And will Nick accept the fact he’s in love with a witch?
As always, I have to thank my wonderful editor, Delaney Sullivan, and my sweet husband who is always the basis for my heroes. That’s not to say he’s perfect, but close enough for me.
Charlie was pissed. She’d had enough. Ever since she’d joined the force, she’d made sure she excelled in every assignment given to her. She’d gone beyond duty’s call. She’d tolerated sexist remarks, ribbings that were way above the norm, and she’d never complained once. She’d smiled gamely, joked back and ignored those guys who thought it was still their right to brush against her at every chance. She’d never once cried foul. Even when she got passed over for a particular assignment or was forced into a second position in an investigation.
She’d done everything she could and should to show she was a good cop. Yeah, she could have made a big stink and brought in the big brass on the sexism still rampant in the department—maybe even sued—but what would it have accomplished? Certainly not what she wanted. She wanted to be a cop. Cops didn’t waste time whining.
But now she was going to make her ire known, and to her captain who’d been a macho ass and finally gone one step too far. She’d worked damn hard, going out to investigate on her own time. She’d solved a two-year-old homicide murder and a recent one as well. She’d been instrumental in bringing down a local racketeer that the department had been investigating for some time and, through her continued work, had found the link to a ring of criminals in Detroit. And had she gotten any recognition, any pat on the shoulder, even an ‘atta girl’? No and double no.
It was all Captain Nick Hilliard’s fault, and now he was going to hear her complaint whether he wanted to or not. And if he gave her that look of humorous skepticism that seemed to be his trademark, she’d probably go ballistic and lambast that smile off his handsome face with her bare hands, then just for her own satisfaction, she’d turn him into a frog. She had the power. She’d use it.
She hitched up her belt, squared her shoulders and glanced around the squad room. No one was in yet. Probably off having coffee and rolls, waiting for the morning briefing to begin. She wanted to catch the captain before that happened. She wouldn’t be able to sit through a briefing when she felt so unappreciated. Taking a deep breath, she lifted her chin and headed to Hilliard’s office.
“What are you doing here, Spencer?” he asked without even looking up. How did he know it was her? “You should be down at the briefing.”
“I need to talk to you, sir,” she said, trying to make her soft voice sound firmer.
“Not now, Spencer. We’re going to be late.” He picked up his hat and headed to the door, brushing past her as if she didn’t exist. However, he held the door and waited for her with that damn smile she’d come to hate.
Shaking with indignation that once again he was brushing her off, she stalked out and, without waiting for him, headed for the meeting room. She took some satisfaction in the fact that her steps were loud against the tile floor, ample evidence of her mood. She was well aware of the fact that the captain was right behind her, his long strides eating up the space between them, but she was immune to the attraction she normally felt when he was nearby. She didn’t care if he looked at her butt or not. Sex wasn’t everything, not even with a stud like Nick Hilliard. At least she thought not, since she hadn’t had any with him. He was her captain, and that wasn’t likely to ever happen. That pissed her off, too.
She nursed her anger all the way down the corridor. She could hear the sounds of laughter. Probably someone told a sexist joke about a blonde.
“What are you waiting for, Spencer?” Hilliard growled when she paused to take a deep breath as she usually did before facing the squad.
With a snort of impatience, Hilliard reached around her to turn the knob. She could feel the heat of his body and smell his aftershave. Then the door opened, and she turned her thoughts to what was happening inside. Microphones had been set up and members of the media were seated down front. Obviously, a media event had been arranged to apprise the public of the department’s latest success in the fight against crime.
Ever aware Hilliard was right behind her, she quickly found a seat near the back, sat down and crossed her arms.
“Oh, no, you don’t, Spencer,” the captain said, grabbing her arm, his long fingers brushing against her shirtfront as he did so. An impersonal accident, she was sure, as he dragged her toward the front of the group. She spotted her mother, Claire, and two sisters, Phil and Sera, as well as Phil’s husband Beck, sitting in the front row, and glanced at Nick. He returned her gaze and smiled widely.
Chief Walker and Mayor Rayburn were on the makeshift stage. Flashbulbs went off as the media took advantage of the lull. When the mayor spotted Captain Hilliard, he crossed to the microphones and raised his hands for order. The room fell silent. Nick led Charlie right up on stage. Numbness settled over her so she barely heard the Mayor’s words, a rather lengthy speech about the successful efforts of the police department and a long list of those accomplishments.
Then he paused and elaborated about an outstanding cop who had, in her short time on the force, shown exemplary valor and courage. The praise continued, and it took a moment for Charlie to realize he was talking about her.
A medal was presented to her, hands were shaken, photographs taken. The medal hung around her neck like a rock. This was what she’d wanted, wasn’t it? Then why did she feel so unworthy? She glanced at Nick who grinned and clapped louder than anyone. He looked proud. When it was his turn to speak, he remarked how she’d stood out from the very beginning, how she’d worked as a team and how happy he was to have her in his department.
The men in her department stood and gave a cheer, their faces reflecting their pride in her, even the ones who’d teased her mercilessly. Then it was her turn to speak. She stumbled toward the microphones and looked around the room until every sound fell away.
“I don’t deserve this medal,” she began, thinking of her sister who’d helped in the beginning investigation of Diane Crawford’s death two years before, and of the police backup that had come so promptly when she’d called for it and the teamwork that had followed. She looked at all the grinning faces of her squad and felt an answering response curve her own lips.
“This belongs to all of us,” she said. “Thanks, guys.” Another cheer went up, and one of the reporters from a local television station, followed by a cameraman, edged forward, her microphone extended.
“Okay, Spencer, go take your accolades. You deserve them,” Nick said and gave her a nudge toward the reporter.
People were all talking at once. More microphones were shoved toward her, accompanied by a barrage of questions, most of them wanting to know how she felt in receiving this award. Charlie tried to answer their questions modestly, giving praise to the rest of her department and to her captain. She caught a glimpse of his tall, lanky figure standing to one side as he shamelessly charmed her mother and sisters. Even Phil, who’d once professed an intense dislike for Charlie’s superior, smiled and hung on his every word.
Finally, the room cleared, the reporters wrapped up their equipment and exited. Her family had given up and gone off someplace. Only Nick remained.
Captain Nick Hilliard stood to one side, watching as his newest and undeniably beautiful officer handled the press and those who thronged around her with congratulations. He tried to keep his mind set on a professional attitude, but he’d been fighting his attraction for months. She was a subordinate and off limits as far as he was concerned. That didn’t stop his body from responding every time she was near. He’d gotten so he could sense when she made an appearance before he ever looked up and saw her. Of course, part of that was the perfume she wore. Something flowery and sexy.
“Thank you so much for acknowledging my daughter’s contribution, Captain,” the gushing voice of Claire Spencer, Charlie's mother, broke through his thoughts. “I don’t know why she chose to be a police person, but I’m glad she excels. Of course, Charlene always excels at whatever she sets her mind to.”
Phil Crawford, Charlie’s sister, drew her brows down in disapproval, although her husband, who had been under suspicion for killing his wife a few years back, no longer scowled or looked angry. Nick figured Phil and her sister, what was her name, Sera or something like that, were overly protective of their sister. They seemed to be a pack. He smiled, nodded his head, made the proper responses, and finally, they moved on.
Nick turned his attention back to Charlie. If only she weren’t so damn beautiful and smart and determined and fearless. He contented himself with all the adjectives that described his officer. At least that way, he didn’t think about kissing her soft, white neck and dipping his mouth lower to nibble her breasts, which he was sure were just as soft and creamy white. He felt himself harden as he imagined divesting her of her uniform and having his way with her, but that was the problem. Although there were no fraternization policies in place, there was still an unspoken rule. A superior didn’t fraternize with a subordinate, period. It could cost him his career.
He thought back over his years as a cop. Despite the demands of his job, he’d also gone back to school and gotten his degree as a lawyer. At first, Grace, his wife had been patient, but she’d grown unhappy. In her defense, she’d begged him to spend more time with her and start a family, but he’d been driven to excel. In the end, it had cost him his marriage. There’d been no children, and he’d told himself that had been a blessing. On the other hand, when he saw fathers with their children, he felt a twinge of deep remorse for something lost.
He pushed away old regrets and looked at Charlie Spencer. Maybe that was what attracted him to her, her focus on her career. Should he warn her that such one-sidedness could lead down a lonely road? Would she welcome such advice? She’d likely think he was being sexist.
Everyone had left, and she turned and looked at him, her face still aglow from her triumph. He straightened and went to join her.
“Are you ready for some lunch?” he asked, and she looked around in surprise.
“Already?” she asked and met his gaze. “I’m starving. I didn’t take time for breakfast.”
“Let’s go. There’s a nice Greek restaurant nearby.” He glanced at her and couldn’t help teasing. “Tell me you do like Greek.”
“I like all things Greek,” she said softly, and he felt a ping inside his chest.
He was Greek. Had her remark been innocent? No, her cheeks were tinged with color. She’d known what she’d said. She glanced up and met his gaze, and he felt his heart hammer in his chest. He wanted to take her in his arms and kiss those soft lips. He thought that was what she wanted as well. She was the one who drew in her breath and broke the gaze.