She had just about had it up to here with Brick Callan’s aloofness. It was a wedding, for Pete’s sake. At the Grand Hotel. A more romantic setting didn’t exist. The man had danced with the bride and the mother of the bride. He’d even asked her best friend, Audrey, to dance, but he’d yet to even glance in her direction.
And dammit, she looked good. Older than twenty.
The bridesmaid dress was a sexy, strapless number in navy. Kimber had damn good taste. She also had an open bar that hadn’t bothered carding Remi or Audrey, and the two of them were on their way to drunk.
Alcohol made Audrey sleepy. She was sitting at one of the tables, half-asleep on Brick’s brother, Spencer. But it made Remi want to find trouble. And she knew just where to find it. With the six-foot-four-inch, size-fourteen-wearing man who looked like he’d rather be anywhere but here.
“Let’s dance,” she said, grabbing Brick by the tie and towing him toward the dance floor under the tent.
He followed with great reluctance. She kept a grip on his tie just in case he got it in his head to run. As if she’d arranged it, the band slowed it down with “Harvest Moon,” making Remi grin at the colors that shifted and shimmered around her. It was the perfect song for their first dance.
She stepped into his arms and slipped her hands around the back of his neck. After a moment’s hesitation, his hands, warm and strong, found her hips. He was using them to keep their bodies from brushing. Remi chose to look at that as a challenge.
“You look like you’re in pain,” she observed.
“I’m fine,” he said briskly.
“You looked a lot looser dancing with my sister and Audrey is all I’m saying. Now you look like you’re going to barf. You’re not going to barf all over my nice dress, are you, Brick?”
The clench of his jaw was a special delight. She’d made it her mission in life to torture him for leaving her high and, well, definitely not dry when she was eighteen and hopeful. She’d accepted the fact that there was something about her that revolted him. And she figured spending her return trips to Mackinac torturing him was a decent enough payback.
“I’m not going to barf on anything or anyone.”
She rolled her eyes. “Such a sweet-talker.” Abruptly, she went quiet to make him nervous. It worked almost immediately, and soon his fingers were tightening their grip on her hips as she swayed to the beat.
“You look…nice,” he said.
“Nice? That’s the best you can do?” One of her new brother-in-law’s law school friends raised an empty glass in her direction and wiggled it. She nodded then winked.
“You’re not twenty-one yet,” Brick growled.
“What are you? The cops?” she teased. His badge was so new it was blinding with its shine.
“I’m on call tonight. Don’t think that you’re above the law just because you’re your mother’s daughter or that we have a history.”
“What kind of history would that be, Brick?”
“Christ.” He hissed out a breath. “What do you want me to say, Remington? That the time in St. Ignace never should have happened?”
“Believe me, you don’t have to say it. You’ve done nothing since then but make sure I know exactly how disgusted you are by me.”
His grip tightened on her. “Disgusted? That’s what you think?”
“I’m not asking you to like me or want me. I’m asking you to treat me the same as the rest of the women in my family. Is that so hard?”
He gritted his teeth. “I treat you the same—”
“Oh, bite me,” she scoffed. “Did you ask Kimber to dance? Audrey? My mother?”
The man remained obstinately silent, but there was a tic in his jaw.
“But I had to drag you out here by your necktie.”
He took a self-suffering breath. “What happened between us—”
“Nothing. Happened. Not then. Not now. Not ever. I get it. I’m just asking for some courtesy. Man up and stop treating me like you’re worried I’m going to lead you around by the dick in front of your sweet grandma.” She waved to Dolores, who was perched on a chair near the dance floor.
“Jesus Christ, Remington.”
His fingers dug into her hips, but instead of pushing her away, he was pulling her closer. Their bodies collided, and they both froze. He was so strong and hard and warm. The forced contact calmed her and excited her at the same time. But it apparently only excited him. She could feel the entire length of his erection pressed against her, but he was looking at her like he wanted to strangle her…or something else.
“You drive me…insane,” he said in a harsh whisper against her ear.
She tilted her head to look up at him. “And no one else does?”
His eyes bored into hers with a ferocity that made her knees weak. “No one else.”
“And you’re not going to do anything about it?” she clarified.
He shook his head slowly. “No. I’m not.”
“Okay then,” she said, straightening her shoulders and resisting the urge to knee him in the balls. “You should probably take your grandma home. She looks tired.”
“Remi,” he growled, but she was pushing away from him.
He caught her hand and gripped it hard, but she knew he wouldn’t make a scene.
She walked him over to Dolores, looking glittery and sweet in her daffodil yellow sundress and cardigan. “You look tired, young lady,” Remi said. “Brick was just saying how he thought it was time he took you home.”
Brick’s grip on her hand was crushing.
“What a sweet grandson I have,” Dolores said, leaning heavily on her cane to get up.
“One of the best,” Remi assured her. “Good night, you two.”
“What are you going to do without this handsome dance partner?” Dolores asked, taking Brick’s free hand.
“There just so happens to be a cute future lawyer with a glass of champagne waiting for me,” Remi told her. If Brick’s jaw got any tighter, he was going to need a mouthguard to protect his teeth.
“Ah, to be young again,” Dolores said with a wink. “Have the time of your life.”
“I will,” Remi promised her. “Thanks for the dance, Brick.”
He didn’t make it easy, but she managed to extricate herself from his grip and, without a backward glance, wandered off to meet Kyle’s friend.
* * *
“Get out of the pool, Remington.”
“Holy Missy Elliott,” she shrieked, falling off the raft. The warm water closed over her head, sobering her up enough to realize she’d been busted.
After three more glasses of champagne and some cheap bourbon, Remi had been ready to find just a little bit of trouble. She’d danced with three strangers. Not a single one of them made her feel an ounce of the electricity she did when Brick’s stupid pinky finger brushed hers. With Audrey sound asleep in Spencer’s lap on a porch swing and the wedding party doing drunk karaoke, Remi had decided to sneak off and find some peace and quiet.
The heated pool on the lawn of the Grand Hotel seemed like the perfect spot. So she’d stripped out of her dress and jumped in.
When she surfaced, a towel hit her in the face.
“Get out of the pool.”
He stood at the edge of the pool in his uniform and a Mackinac PD sweatshirt.
“Why don’t you come on in here and make me?” she suggested sweetly, backstroking to the middle of the pool.
“If I have to come in there after you, I’m arresting you.”
“For what?” she scoffed.
“Underage drinking and public nudity.”
“They’re just breasts, Brick.”
With a growl, he sat down on one of the loungers and pulled off his shoes and socks.
Remi snickered, feeling confident she had the upper hand. There was no way he was getting in this pool. He’d have to haul her mostly naked body out, and they both knew he didn’t have the stomach for that. She’d just wait him out.
He dropped his tactical belt on the lounger and pulled his sweatshirt over his head.
She was starting to feel a little nervous and a lot sober.
He was unbuttoning his uniform shirt now. “Don’t you dare, Brick Callan.”
“Get out of the fucking pool, Remington.”
“What are you doing back here anyway?”
“Making sure you aren’t doing something stupid. Guess what? You are.”
“You infuriate me.”
“Where’s champagne guy?”
“Waiting for me in his room,” Remi lied.
“Too bad you’ll be too busy to go,” he said.
“Too busy doing what?”
“Getting arrested. Last chance. If you get out of the pool now, I’ll walk you home.”
“Oh, like that’s some prize.” She was so busy scoffing she didn’t see him stepping to the edge. He dove into the water like an Olympic athlete and surged toward her.
“Ah, fuck.” She dove beneath the surface and tried to swim away, but he was too fast, too powerful. He caught her by the ankle and yanked her back against him. She fought him, but his arms banded around her, his hands everywhere. They broke the surface, still struggling.
“I warned you. I fucking warned you,” he growled as he dragged her toward the side.
She gave escape one last try, but the water was too deep, and he was too strong.
“Stop,” he whispered harshly in her ear. “Stop fighting me, Rem.”
She felt it all then. The hand clamped over her breast. The arm wrapped around her waist, pulling her flush with his chest. His thighs cradling hers under the water. He had her surrounded, supported. With a shaky breath, she surrendered.
“Good girl,” he whispered. His hand cupping her breast squeezed a little harder.
“Is that a nightstick in your pants?”
She went quiet and still against him.
“Put your hands on the side,” he ordered.
She did as she was told, gripping the lip of the pool.
“Now just breathe.”
Tipping her head back onto his shoulder, she complied. Not realizing until she took a full breath how her lungs ached.
She didn’t know how long they stayed like that under the water, taking slow deep breaths with his erection prodding between her thighs. The starry sky above them. It felt like they were suspended outside of time.
But he still made no move to take things any farther.
“You’re lucky you’ve been drinking,” he said finally, his lips wet against her neck.
“Why?” Her teeth were starting to chatter.
“Because if you were sober, I’d be inside you right now, making you forget about any guy waiting for you.”
Remi’s hands slipped off the edge of the pool, and they both went under. She clawed her way to the surface, sputtering and choking. The spell was broken, and as soon as she got some energy back, she was going to kick his ass.
Brick hauled her out of the pool, dragged his sweatshirt over her head, and spun her around against the towel shed. When she realized what he was doing, she started to fight, but he was bigger and stronger.
He pinned her there with his own body weight and snapped one metal cuff on her wrist.
“Brick Callan, I swear to David Bowie if you do this, I’ll make your life a living hell.”
She couldn’t be sure in the heat of the moment, but it felt like his lips brushed the nape of her neck. “You already have, baby.”