Home > Maverick (North Ridge #2)(9)

Maverick (North Ridge #2)(9)
Author: Karina Halle

“Is she seriously going to work here?” Neil asks. It takes me a moment to realize I’ve been staring dumbly at the door ever since Riley abruptly got up and walked away.

I manage to look at him, trying to shake some sense into me and ignore the erection in my jeans. Damn it, that was just from talking to her. How the fuck am I going to survive everything else?

“Yes. She’s Riley Clarke,” I tell him, doing my fucking hardest to act like the boss. Neil is a bit of a loser and always trying to undermine what I’m doing. It was always there in the past but ever since I was promoted to head of the department, he’s gotten shittier. He’s the type of guy who would throw me under every bus if he could and then brag about it.

He nods, biting his lip. There’s something about his expression I don’t like and I’m afraid to ask. So I don’t. I wait. Neil also has a bad habit of sharing too much information.

“Damn,” he eventually says to himself, flopping down in the seat where she just was. “Damn, damn, damn.”

“Something the matter?”

“Have you seen her, Mav?”

“I have eyes, dipshit.”

He shakes his head. “Oh man. Oh…fuck. I shouldn’t tell you this because I don’t want to get in trouble but…”

I sit up in my chair. “What?”

“Nah,” he says, squeezing the bridge of his nose while smiling at nothing. “Nah, forget it.”

I fight the urge to roll my eyes. “What the fuck is it, Neil?”

He takes in a deep breath, completely over dramatic, which already makes me want to punch him, so it’s not starting out good. “Okay. Okay. Dude. Okay. So…”

“I swear to God, Neil…”

He grins. “That girl? That fucking hot piece of ass we just saw stroll out of here. Well…guess what?”

I stare at him.

He slaps his hand on the desk, making my coffee cup jump. “Guess!”

“What?”

“I met her last night.”

I jerk my chin back. “What? Where? How?”

“At Altitudes. She came in, drunk and smiling and she came straight over to me. Out of everyone in the bar, she came to me.”

I shouldn’t feel anything as he’s telling me this except the annoyance I get every time he speaks, but I am. Jealousy. The red-hot kind that hits your gut like a poker. The kind I rarely feel.

I don’t want him to go on.

But he does.

“Before you lecture me, she told me her name was Candace. I believed her. More than that, I didn’t care. Soon she was all over me and she took me back to her place.”

You fucking asshole.

“I’ve never been one to kiss and tell,” he says, flashing me an overly smug smile as he tugs at the collar of his jacket. “But I fucked that pussy all night long. She couldn’t stop moaning.”

I manage to swallow, my jaw tense, everything inside me wanting to rise up and kill him. “You didn’t.”

“Oh, I did. Didn’t you just see the way she looked at me? She wants me. Bad. And I’ll give that blondie whatever she wants.”

“Fucking hell you will.”

Neil rolls his eyes as he gets to his feet. “You jealous, Mav? The town’s lady-killer can’t bear to share, huh? Can’t stand that I got the hottest chick North Ridge has ever seen, while you didn’t.”

I give him an acidic smile. “What do you think this is, a pissing contest on the playground?”

He shrugs, his hands on the back of the chair and leaning over me. “Maybe. I’m just saying, I’ve never seen you look so bothered before. Everything usually rolls right off you.”

“It’s because I am bothered, Neil. I’m bothered that I have such a fucking douchebag on my team. And yeah, I’m talking about you. You know that you absolutely cannot touch her again.”

“Yeah, sure. Stop me.” He scoffs, completely playing the part like he’s in some sort of bad 80s movie.

I get up and cross my arms, knowing I’m more than intimidating when standing next to him. “I have a million ways of stopping you, believe me. But the only one worse than my fist is the fact that it’s against the goddamn rules.”

“What rules?”

“The rules, assface. I’m your boss, I think I’d know them.”

“Pretty sure it’s against the rules for my boss to call me assface,” he mumbles.

“I’ll call you whatever the fuck I want to until you listen to me. She is off-limits, you got it? Not that I think she would dare touch you again, but regardless, she’s just your colleague from now on.”

“What are you going to do, fire me for that?”

I take in a deep breath. “No. I wish I could. But I would have to report it to the higher ups and then what? Fraternizing with colleagues is against the rules. Maybe at an office job you could let it fly, who the hell knows, but when it comes to what we do, when we put our lives on the line as well as the lives of the people we rescue, we can’t afford to get involved with each other.”

He looks me over, thinking with that stupid expression still on his face. “Didn’t you get in shit for something like this once before?”

“It doesn’t matter. What matters is, right now, going forward, if you touch her, I have to report you. It’s the government man, you know how they operate. You’ll be gone.”

Now he’s full-on glaring which has the same intensity of a mouse trying to stare down a cat. “And if she touches me? Is this a personal thing, Mav? What happens to her?”

“She’d be fired too. But I’ll make sure she knows the rules in case she doesn’t.”

He makes a growling sound as he pushes back from the chair and points at me. “This is all because you hate me, isn’t it?”

“I don’t hate you. I tolerate you. And these are just the rules. If you were in my position—”

“Yeah, if I were in your position. We both know I should have gotten the promotion, not you.”

“Right. Well, them’s the breaks, ain’t it, kid?”

He shrugs, throwing his arms out and heads toward the door. “I don’t even know why I came here today.”

“Me neither, but as long as you know why you’re leaving.”

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