“And you’ve been avoiding me. Again. We need to talk about what’s going on, Payton. If you know something about what happened with Jed, you need to tell me. I can’t let you keep going around town questioning people,” he speaks softly.

There’s no bite to his voice; it’s just calm and sweet and it doesn’t raise my hackles when he tells me he can’t let me do something, like it normally would. Without overthinking it, I grab the front of his shirt, push up on my toes, and pull his mouth down to mine. He immediately takes charge, slipping his tongue past my lips and I moan softly into his mouth when his tongue moves against mine.

His hands slide down the door next to my body and then he wraps his arms around me, pulling me up and against him as he deepens the kiss. The way he works his mouth against mine is magical and perfection, and it makes me forget the world around me. I lift one of my legs and wrap it around his thigh, drawing his hips closer to mine as I slide my hands up his chest and twine my arms around his neck.

Leo keeps an anchoring hold on my body with one arm, pulling his other hand forward around my waist. I gasp into his mouth when he moves his palm upward and it glides over my ribcage, so close to my breasts that they start to tingle and ache to feel his hands on them. He keeps moving his hand up, pausing with it right over my heart, then continues up across my neck until he’s holding my cheek in his palm, keeping my head in place while he tortures me with his kiss. I match each swipe of his tongue through my mouth, throwing all my nerves out the window as I kiss him back until it’s his turn to groan in pleasure.

Suddenly, he jerks his mouth away from mine and a quiet whimper of need and frustration escapes me. His hand is still holding my face as he looks down at me, both of us panting like we just ran a marathon.

“Question. Are you trying to distract me with sex?” he asks in between breaths.

I wait for the guilt to overwhelm me as I look up at him, but it never comes, because I realize I don’t want to use him for sex. I don’t care about distracting him or keeping him busy, I just really, really want to have sex with him. Because of him and how he makes me feel, not to avoid possible jail time. But I don’t need to tell him that. No need for me to give him the upper hand too soon.

“I don’t know, is it working?” I ask in a breathy voice I don’t recognize, nothing at all like the sarcastic one I imagined using in my head.

Leo brings his head back down and teases me, the feel of his lips like a breath of air as he just barely touches them against mine and moves them ever so slowly back and forth, until I’m so out of my mind with wanting him to kiss me again that I almost scream.

“I don’t know,” he whispers. “Are you going to get a case of the giggles again when I touch your ass?”

I smile against his mouth and remove one of my arms from around his neck, reach behind me and grab onto the hand of his arm that’s wrapped around my waist. I tug it down and smack it against my ass, keeping my hand over top of his to hold it in place.

Taking my other arm off his shoulder, I reach up to his hand that’s still holding my cheek, place mine over top of his again and slide it down my neck and collarbone until he’s cupping my breast in his palm. Leo lets out a groan and presses his forehead against mine.

“Ass, check. Boobs, check. All systems go with no signs of giggling in the near future,” I reassure him softly, arching my back and pushing myself harder into the palm of his hand when he starts swiping the pad of his thumb over my nipple.

He moves his head back to look down at me once again and I wonder if he can hear how loudly my heart is beating against my chest. I wonder if he knows that no one has ever lit my body on fire the way he does and how no one has ever made me want something so badly that my body literally aches with it.

“Remember that comment I made the other day when I first kissed you, about ruining you for any other man that comes after me?” Leo asks, his hand moving out from under mine against my ass to slide down my thigh, and then come right back up under my skirt until he’s palming my cheek with his bare hand.

I nod, unable to speak when he’s squeezing and rubbing my naked ass and his thumb is still sliding back and forth over my nipple, driving me crazy even through a thin layer of cotton and the lace of my bra.

“Don’t forget the words I said, because I wasn’t fucking kidding,” he growls, slamming his mouth against mine.


Recorded Interview

June 5, 2016

Bald Knob, KY Police Department

Deputy Lloyd: I don’t feel comfortable doing this.

Sheriff Hudson: Too bad. I already typed up my official statement, but you still need to interview me and make sure nothing gets screwed up with this investigation. We don’t need a lawsuit on our hands on top of everything else.

Deputy Lloyd: Fine. Well, I had Franny make another copy of the questions the County Commissioner’s office faxed over since it came through kind of dark, so we should be able to wrap this up pretty quickly. First question, in your written statement, you stated you had an altercation with Mayor Jackson on the night he died. Is that true?

Sheriff Hudson: Yes. We were outside Pickerson’s Bar after I escorted him from the Jackson’s property, where I witnessed him assaulting Payton Lambert. I was angry and it was unprofessional, but I punched him in the face and told him if he ever went near Payton or Emma Jo again, I’d make sure he spent the rest of his life in prison. We parted ways, I went back to the Jackson’s residence to keep an eye on the house, and I didn’t see Jed Jackson again until his body was discovered the next morning.

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