>>Are you absolutely sure you won’t have time to get together tonight?<<
>Sorry. A tip came in and the Captain wants me on surveillance tonight.<
>>That’s a pity. I was so looking forward to it.<<
Steve pinched the bridge of his nose and sighed heavily. He’d been sitting in this car with Wilson for going on six hours now, and they had nothing to show for it. No movement in or out of Manfredi’s residence this whole time. No lights on, no glow of a tv in one of the windows. Nothing. Nada. Bupkis. He’d had to cancel a date for this. He’d had to cancel a date with Peggy.
“Man, you are a delight this evening,” Sam grumbled beside him. “What’s got your panties in a bunch?”
“I was supposed to be on a date with the woman I’ve been seeing—”
“The hot lawyer?” Sam raised his eyebrows, a smile on his face.
“The incredibly smart lawyer who works for the Southern District Court, yes, her name is Peggy.” Steve corrected. “Between her schedule and mine, we’ve only managed to go out twice. I had plans for tonight. I was gonna cook her dinner. Introduce her to my dog.”
Sam laughed, “That’s one I haven’t heard before, man. ‘Introduce her to your dog’, Lord.”
Steve could feel his cheeks warming. “I meant Lucky and you know it.” He suppressed the urge to cross his arms over his chest and pout.
“Aw, I’m just messing with you. It sucks that you had to cancel.”
>>Looking at my calendar, I have some free time the evening of May 26.<<
Steve checked his texts and groaned.
“What now, man?” Sam was an easy-going partner, and largely good-humored, but Steve could tell his bad mood was beginning to wear on him.
“She just texted that she won’t be able to see me for another two weeks.”
Sam whistled. “That really sucks, man.”
Steve let his head drop back against the seat. “It’d be worth it if we were actually getting anything here. We haven’t had any movement on the Manfredi case in months.” He waved a hand at the dark doorway across the street. “The guy could be in Florida for all we know. There’s certainly no one home tonight.”
His partner nodded. “Shift change is coming soon. Maybe you can see her then?”
“Nope.” Steve shook his head. “She’s got a full day of hearings tomorrow, apparently.”
>I’m so sorry tonight didn’t work. I’ve been wanting to see you again.< That was maybe about as forward as he was comfortable getting over text message while he was at work, but he hoped Peggy understood what he was trying to say.
>>I had plans of my own for tonight.<<
Steve swallowed hard and clenched his fist around his phone.
“Nope. Nuh-huh,” Sam chided, “don’t start sexting your girl right next to me, dude.”
“I wasn’t—we’re not—there’s no sex.” He practically whined the last part. God, this night had turned out so badly.
Steve was still moping as he trudged from his parking spot up to his apartment building. He liked his neighborhood, but damn, he’d never spent so long searching for parking. He was pretty sure he wound up leaving his car closer to work than home.
“Now that is a sad sight.” Peggy called at him. “Have you been pouting this entire evening?”
She lounged on his stoop in a form-fitting pair of jeans and an oversized flannel shirt, her hair loose and wavy. There was a takeout bag beside her, and she had what looked like a 40-ounce can in the paper bag in her hand.
“Ma’am, do I need to remind you of the open container laws in New York State?” He couldn’t keep the smile off of his face as he stood in front of her.
“Well, officer, you’ll just have to invite me in, then, won’t you?” Her answering grin was a little wicked and Steve felt the first rush of arousal surge through him.
“I didn’t have time to grab stuff to make dinner,” he warned, unlocking the front door and holding out a hand to help her up.
“I figured that might be the case,” she said, breezing past him into the hallway. “So I brought sandwiches. Hope you like BLTs.”
“On toasted wheat?”
“With a little bit of mayo.”
Steve looked up from checking his mail. “You are my ideal woman.”
Her laugh followed him up the stairs.
“Okay, I just have to walk the dog and then we can eat,” he told her. “And, uh, I was planning on tidying up a bit more before you came over tonight.”
She took another swig from her beer. “Please. You should see my place when I get deep into a brief.” He raised his eyebrows at her. “Oh, shove it. Go walk the dog, Rogers.”
Once Lucky decided he’d had his fill of sniffing and licking and jumping on Peggy—”Oh, you are a beast!” was her delighted pronouncement to the 30-pound mutt—and Steve returned from Lucky’s quick evening walk around the block, they settled in to the meal Peggy brought. Ever prepared, she also had a six-pack with her, and resourcefully found the bottle opener while he was out.
They ate in comfortable silence. “Ugh,” Steve sighed, flopping back against the couch after he finished the last bite of his sandwich.
“Rough night?” Peggy inquired.
“Better now,” he grinned up at her and took a long drink of his beer.
“I’d say tell me all about it,” she cut him a sideways glance and primly blotted her lips, “but that’s not actually what I came here for.”
He sat up and leaned into her space. “Oh?”
Peggy nodded, looking him in the eye.
“If you think I can be seduced with a little bit of bacon and beer, then you’re—” She cut him off with a kiss, quick and light. He could taste the malt on her lips. She pulled away but he reeled her back in for another, kissing her harder, deeper.
She let out a breathy little moan and they both laughed.
“You’re right,” he finished, “bacon and beer do it for me every time.”
The next morning, they both called in to work. Steve made them bacon for breakfast.