Desire (Desire #1)


by Missy Johnson

Chapter One

“Disappeared?”

“Yes. As in vanished. Gone.” I threw him a look. I knew what it meant. It’s just that opening the door at nine on a Friday evening, I hadn’t exactly been expecting a detective.

Especially a detective who was here to tell me my mother had disappeared.

“Miss? Can I please come in?” I stood aside, wrapping my arms around myself, trying to cover as much of my Betty Boop pajamas as I could. With my messy tangled dark brown hair, my miss-matching rainbow bed socks, and my unmade face, I was sure I looked a treat. It didn’t really help matters that he was hot. And not just normal hot. He was buckle at the knees, take away your breath kind of hot.

“Can I get dressed?” I asked, blushing as he glanced down at me, his eyes rolling over my body. I was sure I saw a hint of a smile.

“Uh, sure. Take your time.” He smiled.

My blush intensified as his eyes lingered over me again, this time for what seemed like a moment too long. I left him alone in the living room as I rushed to my bedroom.

Throwing on an old pair of jeans and a sweater, I grabbed a hair tie, the reality of what was happening beginning to set in.

Mom was missing.

My mother was missing and I was unsure how I felt.

The usual reaction to such news would have been shock, disbelief, and sadness. The closest thing I felt right now to any emotion was the guilt I felt for not feeling anything.

Crazy, right?

I hadn’t spoken to mom in over four years, not since I’d left home to go to college at age Seventeen. My childhood had been normal, good even, until I hit age fourteen. That’s when things had gone haywire.

Back in the living room, the detective was looking at pictures above the fireplace. I slowed to a stop, and studied him for a moment, taking in his rich dark hair, his athletic physique, and his strong hands. To me, there was nothing sexier than a man with nice strong set of hands. I blushed as I imagined those hands roaming over my body. The sleeves of his silk shirt were rolled up. I couldn’t help but notice his tanned, sculpted arms, and the curve of his ass in the grey pants he wore.

“No pictures of your family?” He asked, surprised. I shook my head. The last thing I’d wanted was memories plastered all over the walls. Moving to the city had been my way of escaping. It had taken a lot of hard work and therapy for me to be able to move on, but I’d done it. I’d dealt with my issues and filed them away. After years of hurt, things were good. I was good.

I walked into the kitchen, opened the fridge, and grabbed two cans of cola.

“My family and I are not exactly close.” I said dryly, throwing him a can. He caught it, giving me a smile. “So my mother is missing. What about my brother and sister?”

Images of Nerina and Sam flashed through my mind. Four years was a lot of time. Sam was only one when I’d left, and Neri had been eleven. If Sam even remembered who I was I’d be shocked.

“Well, your siblings are kind of why I’m here.” I froze, instantly understanding where this was going.

Seriously?

I had other relatives. Not all of them were fit enough to take care of a couple of kids, but he couldn’t honestly expect me to drop my life to look after a five year old and a fifteen year old who hated me, could he? I didn’t care how selfish that sounded. My life wasn’t set up to handle kids. Hell, I wasn’t sure if I even wanted them myself.

“You are the closest blood relative, apart from their father, who as you know, is incarcerated.” He shrugged, “If not you, they will go into care. Trust me, you don’t want them ending up in the foster system.” He added. His last words came out more like a question. Or an accusation. A surge of anger ran through me.

He was judging me? What the hell did he know about me, and my life?

Wow. I couldn’t believe this.

I moved from the kitchen into the living room and sat down on the couch. Part of the reason I had moved to Seattle was to get away from all the drama. Had I felt bad for leaving? Sure. At seventeen, I felt as though I was doing them a favor. The more time had passed, the easier it had become to forget them.

The more time passed, the option of reconnecting became harder. Mom had been a good mom, for Sam and Neri at least. In the early days, she was good to me too. I had never forgiven her for doing nothing, for taking his side. In turn, Neri had never forgiven me for putting him in jail. Sam had been too young to understand what had happened, but seeing him meant seeing mom and Neri, and it was just too hard.

“She hates me, you know. Neri would rather go into care, I’m sure.” I commented dryly. The detective chuckled, the sound making my heart flutter.

“Well it’s a good thing that fifteen year olds don’t get a say then.” He took another mouthful of his drink. I watched it slid down his throat as he swallowed. The image was oddly arousing. It reminded me of a soft drink commercial. I half expected him to rip his shirt off and down the can in one gulp, sending stray dribbles of cola running down his cheeks, his neck, his smooth, rippled chest…

My eyes widened. Jesus Kait, Calm down!

I looked away, embarrassed. This was really not the time to be fantasizing about detectives, no matter how sexy they were.

“Look at it this way, Kaitlin. No matter the issues you’ve had with your mother in the past, is it the kids’ fault?” He was right. It wasn’t their fault, and how awful was I to be thinking about poor me when what they were going though was a thousand times worse.

“Can they come here?” I asked, unsure of how all this worked. I had college here, and my friends. Besides, I couldn’t go back home. Or more to the point, I didn’t want to.

Home was Silver Lake, less than half an hour by car from my current place. I’d grown up there in the town where everybody knew everybody. In turn, everybody knew everybody’s business. After the court case, the town was divided between those who thought I was a slut, and those who thought I was a victim. How sad that my own mother fell into the former category.

The detective nodded.

“They can come here. That is probably best anyway.” He put out his hand, “I’m Devon, by the way. Devon Walkerson.” I shook his hand, embarrassed that I hadn’t realized he hadn’t told me his name. His hand was everything I’d imagined. Soft, warm, strong, long fingers, sexy…

I pulled away suddenly, the sparks that his touch sent flying up my arm shocked me. I felt myself melting into his touch, wondering what it would feel like to have his hands on my body. He frowned at me, as if confused as to why I was staring at him. I blushed, pulling my hand back. What a great first impression I was making; he probably thought I was a selfish, heartless bitch.

“You’re pretty young to be a detective.” I finally offered. He looked to be in his mid-twenties. I always imagined detectives to be older, like in their fifties, balding, with a pot belly. Obviously I had been watching too much Law and Order.

“I’m twenty-seven. I guess that’s young, but I’ve worked hard to get where I am.” His tone suggested that was all I was going to learn about him. Today at least. I wondered what skeletons he had hidden in his closet.

“Where are the kids now?” It suddenly occurred to me it was late on a Friday night. He wasn’t going to palm them off to me tonight, was he? Shit, what if they were outside? I hadn’t even cleared it with Ara. Where would they sleep-

“With the neighbor. I will drop them past tomorrow, if that’s okay? I wanted to speak with you first, before bringing them here.” I nodded, my anxiety subsiding.

It wasn’t like I had much of a choice. How the hell was I going to cope with a five year old and a hormone driven fifteen year old? I remembered being fifteen, and it wasn’t pretty. The thought of caring for fifteen year old me made me nauseous.

“Right. Well, I better get back to work. It was nice to meet you, Kaitlin.” I made a face at the sound of my name.

“Kait. Please call me Kait.” I hated my name. Nobody ever got away with calling me by my full name. Not even attractive detectives, with strong tanned arms and hard flat stomachs, and stunning brown eyes.

“Right. Kait.” He smiled, opening the door. He turned back suddenly, “Kait? You’ll do fine. I know this seems huge, but you’ll do fine. I can tell you are a strong girl.” I smiled as he walked down the hall, away from my apartment. I wished I was as sure as he was.

Chapter Two

Most of the night was spent tossing and turning. I was so nervous, seeing my brother and sister again. How was I going to look after them, and study?

I was so close to finishing my international business degree. I’d worked so hard to put myself through college, earning a full scholarship. Caring for two children kind of threw a monkey wrench in the works. My shifts at the cafe weren’t going to work. I’d need to be home for both of them after school. A morning job wouldn’t help either, because I needed to be around to take them to school. My head ached from trying to absorb everything.

My alarm sounded just after 8am, at the same time, my phone began to ring. Shutting off the alarm, I grabbed the phone.

“Hello?”

“Hi Kait, its Devon.” I found myself smiling. His voice was even sexier than I remembered.

“Hi.” I murmured, trying my best to keep my voice neutral.

“I didn’t wake you, did I?”

“No, the alarm beat you by about ten seconds.” I quipped. He laughed his wonderfully sexy laugh.

“I’m glad some of us get to sleep in.” He joked.

“You actually think eight is a sleep in?” I struggled to even comprehend that.

“When you have to be up by six every morning, trust me. Eight’s a sleep in.” He laughed again, sending my insides crazy. “I just wanted to let you know I will be past with the children at 2pm.”

“Okay. Thanks.” Hanging up the phone, I laid back in the bed and threw the covers over my head, again trying to comprehend what the hell was I supposed to do with two kids. When I couldn’t put it off any longer, I dragged myself out of bed. The first thing I needed to do was speak to Ara.