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It’s been a lot of years and another lifetime since Dax Trevino was a playboy detective for the Franklin Police Department. He’s been through hell and back, and now he just wants to be left alone, so he can cuddle his otters.
When two of his babies are kidnapped in the middle of the night, and Claws and Effect Pet Detectives are called to the rescue, quiet, broody Dax never expects to be tackled and handcuffed by the only woman he ever regretted being a douchebag to all those years ago.
Harley Blake has spent her entire life taking care of her accident-prone father with a fondness for dead animals, and her forty-year-old brother who refuses to grow up. The last thing she needs is another complication in her life, and Detective Douchebag is at the top of the list.
Dax might not be a cop anymore, and he might have outgrown his one-and-done player status, but that doesn’t mean she’s going to get burned a second time and fall for his charms. The infuriating man already branded a mark on her heart years ago, making sure she’d never forget him. Besides, she has a case to solve for the guy, and this is just business.
But the sarcasm starts flying, there are a gaggle of adorable otters who need to be cuddled, a Bandit Von Trash Panda who just wants to play poker, pot brownies, and squirrels dressed for a wedding… at a funeral. Things are heating up—and not just from the small tree fire after the grenade went off—and this man is suddenly simplifying her life instead of making it worse.
Harley knows she won’t escape this time without being Otterly Scorched.
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Pre-otters, in an Ignite Trilogy far, far away…
“All right, I think that’s everything we need.”
Hitting Save on the file on my computer, I swivel around in my chair and look across my desk at my two good friends, DJ and Phina. They’re holding up pretty well, considering they were almost burned alive earlier tonight when some sick fuck who’s been stalking Phina decided to light an ambulance on fire. The same ambulance DJ and Phina were in the back of at the time.
As their friend, I want to give both of them a high-five for their creative use of a work vehicle to release some sexual tension. But as a police detective, and the one who took their statement, I have to try to be a little professional.
“You sure you guys don’t want to go to the hospital? Get checked out for smoke inhalation?”
DJ turns to look at Phina, and she shakes her head before quickly looking away from him. She’s probably thinking about all the shit that’s happened to her recently and how she’s screwing up DJ’s life by being with him. She has no idea just how much she’s saving him.
Christ. I sound like a goddamn romance novel. What is wrong with me?
The door to my office suddenly opens, and a hot, leggy brunette walks in with a cup of coffee in her hands. I smile at her, giving her the full-on Dax dimples, even though my palms start to sweat at just the sight of her. I know damn well Harley Blake is the reason I’ve been having… feelings and shit lately. A few hours together in a bar a month ago, before either one of us knew who the other was, and it’s turned me into a pussy.
“Harley, these are my friends, DJ and Phina,” I introduce, giving her a wink as she pauses next to Phina’s chair, still gingerly holding the handle of my steaming coffee mug so she doesn’t spill any of it, the sweetheart.
I could tell by the tight clench of her jaw as soon as she walked through the door that she was pissed I called out to my assistant and told her to have Detective Blake make my coffee. It was a ridiculously long coffee request that required her to personally grind the beans, perform a complicated milk steaming process, add three-and-a-half dashes of cinnamon, and a handful of other demands. Being a rookie detective, Harley is well aware of the fact that she can’t say no to anything I ask of her during her training period with the department. Rookies are the reason I never pick up my own dry cleaning, never have to wash my own vehicle, and never go out and get my own lunch. We’re not allowed to call it hazing, but it’s hazing. And it’s all in good fun.
The wink was probably unnecessary, but so are my goddamn sweaty hands.
“Nice to meet you.” Harley smiles at DJ and Phina. “I apologize in advance for my behavior.”
Before I can ask her what the hell she’s talking about, Harley walks right behind my desk and dumps the cup of hot coffee in my lap.
“Motherfucker!” I shout, jumping up from my chair so fast it goes flying backward and slams into the wall.
“Your coffee, sir,” Harley says in an overly sweet voice with a big, fake smile.
Okay, so making her steam the milk for my coffee five times was probably a bad call.
Even though my balls are melting, the sound of her calling me sir makes my dick start gasping for air and trying to resuscitate himself. Harley immediately turns on her heels and stalks toward the door with her head held high, like she didn’t just turn my genitals into lava.
“Oh, I really, really like you.” Phina, the traitor, laughs as Harley walks by her.
I hop around in place, fanning the soaked crotch of my black dress pants, hoping the movement creates enough cold wind that my liquefied penis will become solid again. Harley exits my office, slamming the door behind her so hard the walls rattle. DJ lets out a low whistle from his chair on the other side of my desk, while Phina shakes her head at me in disappointment.
“What did I tell you about banging the women you work with? She didn’t shoot off your balls, but she sure did a nice job with the third-degree burns.” Phina chuckles.
“I didn’t bang her,” I mutter in annoyance, grabbing a handful of napkins leftover from lunch off the top of my desk and gently patting at my crotch.
Last night, I may or may not have told half the guys who work here that she came on to me in that bar a month ago, and it got back to her this morning, but I don’t think I deserved blisters in places one should never have blisters.