Ocean Kills:Book One of Ocean Breeze(5)

By: Jade Hart

“Care to bring back a doughnut? I'm starved!” I called after him. I didn't get the reaction I hoped for. The door slammed shut.

Officer Bliss eyed me. “When was the last time you ate?”

Oh please. Here we go with the protectiveness. Lay off already. I wasn't his to protect.

“A few hours ago.” It wasn't—more like this time yesterday. You needed money to eat. I could get my hands on stacks of the stuff, but I wasn't a thief.

“Where do you live?”

“Around,” I hedged. Did he really want to hear that my accommodation normally included a cardboard box or a dingy mattress in a safe community house for the night?

“Do you do drugs?”

Now hang on a freakin’ second. “Do you truly think, after the fucked-up childhood I've endured, I would put crap in my body?” I jutted my arms out, showing perfect pearly skin with no track marks. “See?”

“You put crap in your body in the form of guys' cocks,” Officer Bliss pointed out. He couldn't have surprised me more if he slapped me. What was this guy's deal? Try living my life, buggo, and we'll see who gets to judge.

“That is none of your concern. Now, are you going to let me go or what?” I pretended to be bored, when really I was riled up tighter than lightning. I wanted out of there. I wanted away from this cop who looked into my soul. He wasn't safe. He might see the truth of who I was.

“You're free. I won't book you tonight. We don't have you down as a prostitute, so consider this a warning.” He wriggled his pen in my face. “But if we catch you in the Cross again, you won't be so lucky.”

He would never catch me again. It was a miracle they got me tonight. I saluted him. “Yes, sir. Thank you, sir.”

Half his mouth quirked in a smile. Damn, did he have to be so sexy? He looked as if he’d stepped off a Billabong advert for board shorts. Great, now an image of him half naked and dripping with salt water paraded in my head. Time to leave.

Standing, I edged toward the door, raising my eyebrow and tapping my foot. “Do you mind releasing me, then?”

He stood. He was taller than I originally thought. A whiff of cologne battered me—a scent of salt and spice; summer evenings with stolen kisses. Whoa. Get away from this man immediately.

“I'm not letting you go that easily. You haven't eaten—I can tell. I'll buy you dinner before I call my work done for the night.”

My eyes bugged. I didn't hear him right. “Dinner? You want to buy me dinner? Yeah, pull the other leg.”

This guy was ludicrous. Or insane. I'd go with insane. I bet he rescued puppies and kittens and nursed them back to health. Well, newsflash—I was neither a kitten nor a puppy. I had teeth and could freakin’ well take care of myself.

“Maybe some other time.” I cocked my head at the exit.

He refused to open the door. A look stole across his face as he stepped into my personal bubble. “Not negotiable. Don't make me cuff you.”

He played with fire. I did not appreciate threats, but a free dinner would be good. My eyes narrowed. “Fine.” I tried to think of an expensive place that was healthy too. I'd been living on crap for so long. “I want sushi.”

“No problem. I love sushi. I'll take you to Yachiyo.”

Chapter Two: Ocean

The basement level sushi restaurant was like a decadent cave—all dark wood, booths with kimono patterns, and filigree lanterns. As we stepped over the threshold, the three chefs yelled, “Irasshaimase!”

I cringed, bumping into a warm torso behind me. I hated being in the spotlight. If too many people knew your face, they could turn into witnesses.

“It means ‘welcome’, Japanese people say it when you enter their homes.” Officer Bliss smiled, his green eyes glowing in the low light.

Too close. He was too close.

Taking a hasty step away, I kept a scowl planted on my face.

A waiter dressed in a smart red uniform bowed and motioned for us to follow. The cop's hand touched the small of my back, urging me forward. I jumped a mile. He touched me! Crap, did this man have no boundaries?

My skin erupted into sparks of fire, and not good fire. He had no right to touch me. For all he knew I was a hooker—one touch and he might catch gonorrhea. Stupid man. Slapping his wrist, I glared. “Keep your paws to yourself. Comprendez-vous?”

“You speak French?”

“No touching. Got it?”

That tiny frown appeared between his eyes again. “Understood.”

I huffed and followed the waiter, pleased when he directed us to a dark, private booth with a Japanese screen sheltering it from the rest of the restaurant. Perfect. If I had to disappear, the only witness would be the annoying cop. And I didn't care about him. I wasn't planning on returning to Sydney anytime soon. My next stop was Manchester, England. A certain someone was due a visit.