“If you knew how to do your job, you’d be done by now.” Ryder James barged into Blake’s hotel room and snatched the file from her hands. “Who have you contacted?”
Her jaw clenched as she turned to face him. Narrowing her eyes, she replied, “Family. The fiancé. The Lodge. That’s normally procedure.”
He met her eyes. “I don’t need any lip from you. A simple answer will suffice when addressing me.”
He watched her jaw clench. Blake Warren didn’t let anyone get the best of her. The straight-laced cop abided by every law, spending most of her time putting the bad guys behind bars instead of enjoying her life.
He had transferred departments a few months ago and had yet to see her do anything social with anyone. He knew from all the dickheads on the force she didn’t date. They repeatedly asked her out and repeatedly, she shot them down. Rumor had it she was a virgin, which headed the top of interesting things to talk about in Grand Rapids. But Ryder didn’t care about her personal life. He hated working with partners, even the hot Detective Warren.
“You, Detective James, are not my superior.” She snatched the folder away from him and sat on the bed to look through it. “I’ll talk to you any damn way I please. If you can’t handle that, walk away right now.”
Ryder watched her a moment before he snatched the desk chair and pulled it beside her. “If we’re going to work together then one of us has to take the lead and the other follows along. I always take the lead.”
She made a noise in her throat that could have been insulting if he cared what people thought of him. “I don’t want to work with you any more than you want to work with me. You do your thing, I’ll do mine, and we’ll see who solves the case first, huh?”
He grabbed the folder again. “No. You tell me what we’re dealing with, and I decide what to do next.”
“No.” She grabbed the folder and initiated a tug-of-war over it. “Give me the damn file.”
Ryder jerked the paper documents hard, bringing her and the folder into his possession. Blake landed against his chest, eye to eye with him. “If you don’t want to do things my way then you can walk away. Simple as that.”
Her breasts pressed against him, and for a moment, he allowed himself to take pleasure in that. He could have kissed her if he wanted, just leaned forward and pressed his lips against hers. But as quick as she landed against him, she pulled away, hand still on the folder.
“Give me the damn papers.”
“No.” He tugged at the folder, freeing it from her grip. When she tried to grab it again, he stood, holding it out of her reach. “And people wonder why I hate working with partners.”
“You think you’re funny don’t you? Domineering man up against the helpless little female. Whatever, buddy. I come from a long line of police officers, and I do my job damn well. So stop preventing me from my task and give me the file!”
“Not until I read the file and see what I’m up against.” They sat nose to nose, and he could feel her accelerated breaths against his lips.
For the life of him, he didn’t know what had come over him. He wanted to kiss her. Bend her over the desk behind her and press his body against hers. He knew even thinking that would lead to nothing good, but right now he didn’t really give a damn. Something about Blake made him want to know more, and he didn’t care about the consequences. He wanted to know how her lips tasted. He wondered if her skin felt as soft and creamy as it looked. He wanted to know what she felt like beneath him, surrounding him.
He sighed, pushing those thoughts away. Working relationships that turned to sexual relationships didn’t work. Relationships in general didn’t work.
“If you’d been on the scene when called, you wouldn’t need to read the basic information now, would you?
“Victim is Sophie Stevens, age twenty-five. Blonde hair, blue eyes. No prior record for anything more than looking like a supermodel in this humble town, but then again, no man in this area ever held it against her. She drove her fiancé, Rick Romano’s, car into a tree. A new Jaguar XK with a cut brake line suggesting a planned homicide instead of an accident. That’s all the damn file says so give it to me now.”
He had to give it to her. The lady had a mean bite. “Why don’t you want me to read the case file?”
“Because you’ll screw my order up. You’re already screwing everything up by simply standing here, breathing my oxygen.” She snatched the file from him and slammed it against the hotel room’s desk. “I’m going to the lodge. You can go to hell for all I care.”
Ryder leaned back in the chair, amused. “You’d miss me too much.”
She licked her lips. “I’d miss you like I’d miss the plague.”
“Who are you talking with first?”
“Family. You can have the boyfriend.”
His lips twitched. “You don’t tell me how to do my job, little girl.”
“Fine. I’ll question them by myself. It always takes a woman to do a man’s job anyhow. Why would working with you be any different?”
He stood and met her eyes. “I like your original plan best. You do your thing, I’ll do mine, and we’ll see who ends up on top, ’kay?”
His blood boiled in his veins though it wasn’t for the usual reasons his former partners gave him. No. He liked Blake Warren way too much, and it was a damn shame. Ryder grabbed his coat and headed to the door.
He needed to question the family. If his gut feeling meant anything, stepdaddy had some explaining to do.