“I’m not your regular teacher,” I started without preamble. “I’m taking over for my partner who’s sick today. He has the flu, so be thankful that he’s not the one here teaching you and infecting you with it.”

A lot of masculine laughs filled the room, but they couldn’t overpower the soft giggle that came from the girl.

Hill.

Our eyes met again, and it felt like a goddamn freight train had slammed straight into my chest when I saw the smile on her face.

I licked my lips and looked away, trying to find purchase where there wasn’t any to be had.

“Anyway, this class is going to be fun this year,” I paused. “At least it was when I took it a few years ago. There’s no telling if Cass will be a fun teacher, or if he’ll be the asshole he is the rest of the time I’m working with him.”

The girl gasped, and I felt my lip quirk up at that.

Had she never heard anyone curse before?

“This class will teach you about hands-on tactics that you’ll use during the police procedure such as when you’re arresting a suspect, performing a traffic stop, or collecting evidence that you’ll need to do during a traffic stop that turns into an arrest.” I paused. “This is also something that you’ll learn during the police academy, but more in-depth and widespread. Not to mention that whatever police department you work for will have their own policies and procedures in place.”

I nearly laughed when I saw the woman’s eyes glaze over as she took in all that I had to say.

No, this was definitely not the class for her…

An hour later, once I’d completed going over the syllabus on the topics that would be discussed this year, I sent the students on their way thirty minutes early.

Everybody got up and left, a few lingering to talk, except for one.

That student stayed at her desk, her head bowed as she stared at the course syllabus and tapped her fingers restlessly.

I found myself grinning as I walked up to her.

Stopping in front of her desk, I waited for her to notice that I was there.

When she finally did look up, I couldn’t help myself.

“You didn’t know what kind of class you were signing up for?” I asked conversationally.

She shook her head animatedly, that brown hair of hers falling into her eyes as she did.

I wanted nothing more than to reach up and push it away from her face.

“The counselor that signed me up for classes said that a lot of students took a criminal justice class when they needed to get full credit hours. So, I thought, why not? I’m not sure they take this one, though,” she admitted. “I’m thinking that counselor was new or something, because it seems like this is a more advanced class, and you have to build on stuff you learned in previous classes to perform well in this one.”

She was just the cutest thing.

I shrugged.

“Yes and no,” I admitted. “Yes, it helps to have those other laws and rules to fall back on, but really this is more of a hands-on, what-to-do-in-certain-scenarios lab. It’s not a to-take-this-class-you-must-take-the-prerequisites-first type of class, which is likely why the computer system allowed her to put you in here in the first place. It is, however, a more advanced class. Not really something you’ll be able to use in your career if you’re not planning on pursuing law enforcement as a profession.”

She laughed. “Uh, no. I’m majoring in website design and computer programming, so, um, not law enforcement.”

“No,” I laughed out loud at her answer. “I don’t think you’ll need this course, but you’re more than welcome to stay if you want.”

She shrugged. “I might give it one more class, but honestly, it seems kind of advanced for, well, me, and I’m not sure that I want to take it. I’m more of a sit on my butt and watch the world around me type of person.”

My lips twitched. “Nothing wrong with that, darlin’.”

Her cheeks flushed again. “Well, I guess I better go. I have an hour until my next class, and I’m hungry.”

I felt my heart leap. “You want to grab a bite to eat with me? I swear, I’m not a serial killer or anything.”

Her laugh surprised both her and me. “No, I wouldn’t think that a cop could do both, but for some reason I trust you. As long as you’re not doing sushi for lunch, I’m down.”

I’d never eat my favorite food again if it got her to go with me.

“No sushi,” I promised.

Her smile was captivating. “Then that’s a yes.”

It was a yes for a whole lot of other things, too.

The day after our lunch, she said yes to a date. Two weeks after our first date, she said yes to being my girlfriend. Eight months after our first date, she said yes to becoming my fiancée. And six months after that, she said yes as she became my wife.


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