Here With Me (Adair Family #1) - Samantha Young
One year ago
The rain lashed our patrol car as we sipped our coffees, waiting for a crackle on the radio.
I was enjoying the peaceful lull created by the sounds of raindrops on metal when a pop of color in the overwhelming gray beyond my window caught my attention.
On the sidewalk, a woman in a navy coat, one hand holding a black umbrella, the other a leash, was halted by the dog on the end of it. From here, it looked like a Lab. The dog wore a bright red raincoat. And he’d sat his ass down on the sidewalk as if to say, “I’m done with this shit. Make it stop.”
I laughed under my breath as the woman gesticulated wildly, as if to reply, “What the hell do you want me to do about it?”
Her arms thrown wide, head bent toward the dog staring back up at her, became a snapshot in my head. I wished I had my camera. I’d use a wide aperture and my 150mm lens to blur out the gray, movement-filled background and focus on the woman and her stubborn dog.
“Jaz thinks you should dump Mark.” My partner, Autry Davis, yanked me out of the mental photography processing in my head.
Smirking at the comment, I ignored the uneasiness that accompanied it. “Oh, Jaz thinks that?”
Jasmine “Jaz” Davis was pretty outspoken, but Autry had made it clear he didn’t like my boyfriend Mark from the moment he’d met him.
“Sure does.” Autry stared out the window at the passing traffic. We were parked on Maverick Square in East Boston, near a bakery we both liked. They did good coffees. And Boston creams. Not that we were trying to live up to the cop cliché. We allowed ourselves a Boston cream once a week. It was our treat. “She thinks he thinks what he does is more important than what you do and that he never prioritizes you.”
That did sound like something Jaz would say.
Mark was a prosecutor and very good at his job. His success was appealing because I found hardworking guys sexy. But lately he’d been pushing me to make a change. He thought I should work my way up, apply to become a sergeant detective and then move up to lieutenant.
He didn’t understand I didn’t want that because he was the most driven son of a bitch I’d ever met. Like I said, that was hot until he tried to make me into someone I wasn’t.
“Well, you can tell Jaz I’m breaking up with him.”
Autry tried not to look too happy about that and failed. “Yeah?”
“Yeah. He’s too much like hard work.”
“Not that I want to talk you out of dumping the guy, but you do realize relationships are hard work. Right?”
I snorted. “Says the man with the wife and kids he adores.”
“Doesn’t mean it isn’t hard work.”
“I know that. But you’ve got to want to work hard at it, and I don’t want to with Mark. Last weekend, he blew up at me for buying a fish-eye lens for my camera. Told me an expensive ‘hobby’ was a waste of my mediocre income, and he wasn’t about to indulge me in a pastime.” My skin flushed hot with anger at the reminder. I’d emotionally and verbally shut him out ever since.
“He said what?” Autry frowned. “Yeah, you need to dump his ass, pronto. Shit, can you imagine Jaz if I tried to condescend to her like that? He’s lucky he’s dealing with you and not my woman. He wouldn’t have come out of it alive. And I’m not telling her what you just told me, ’cause he still might not. Damn, Penhaligon. Life is too short for that bullshit.”
“The sex is pretty good, though.” I said it mostly to be funny. No sex was worth being with a guy who made me feel small and unimportant.
Autry cut me a warning look. “Don’t want to hear it.”
I laughed under my breath and sipped my coffee.
Straight out of the academy at twenty-one, I was introduced to Autry Davis, my beat partner. A tall, good-looking man seven years my senior with a quick sense of humor and a warmth that could melt even the coldest soul. I’d developed a crush on the man. A crush that soon faded into friendship and trust. Especially when I met his wife Jaz and their two young daughters, Asia and Jada. In the last six years, the Davises had welcomed me into their family. Autry now was like an older brother. Like