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The group of police officers gathered beneath a cloudless sky. A cheerful summer breeze drifted through the towering trees while children skipped rocks on Gray’s Lake. Songbirds twittered joyous tunes in the exact park where destruction had reigned in the cooler months.
Squad cars lined the beaten paths, silent after the honorary ceremony. The annual police department luncheon was sprawled on picnic tables while the soft strains of dueling guitars played under a sycamore tree.
Never had Joci Dorous felt more Zen as she sat up against a tree trunk, her hands weaving between the clipped waves of Officer Cameron Shearer’s hair. Her eyes surveyed the happy troops of families while charcoal grills sputtered flames. “Did you ever imagine anything like this for your life?” she asked.
The man with his head on her lap shifted to face her, but his view was obstructed by her slightly swollen waist. Peeking over, Cameron pressed a kiss to the baby bump as he replied, “No, my mind could never conjure anything so glorious.”
Joci’s face broke into a smile, and he leaned up on his elbow. “Are you happy then?” he inquired, kissing the crease of her lips.
Catching his face between her hands, she nodded vigorously. “Very much so.”
The instant she dropped his chin, Cameron sprang into action and crawled up beside her. Sweat lined his brow as he dug a hand into his back pocket. He knelt before her with a small black box in his grip.
Whispers scattered through the crowd around them, but neither paid heed. The sun cast perfect light through the tree’s leaves, enveloping them in eternal bliss.
“How about now, Joci?” Cameron said in a loud voice. The shimmer in his brown eyes matched the one in hers. “We’re not well-traveled archaeologists, and I think I’m a few years late, but I love you. If you will have me, I’ll spend every day I live proving we were always meant to be together.”
In stunned silence, Joci gaped at the three-carat diamond, impressive for a modest police officer. Without a doubt, his continued alliance with the Del Rossi mob assisted him in the purchase. “Will you arrest me if I say no?” she replied, with a smirk.
“Hell yeah!” a heckler who sounded a lot like Quinn called.
She swiveled her gaze from the ring back to Cameron. The brilliant colors of his ornate tattoos poked from beneath his police uniform, a perfect collision of worlds. Her eyes darkened to green and a shy grin spread across her cheeks.
“Then I better say yes before another woman does,” she managed, her face blushing a shade that would put a rose to shame.
Cameron flashed a set of straight teeth and hauled her to him. “Good, because otherwise I owe Quinn five hundred bucks.”
Gaping, she swatted the back of his head, but he still possessively kissed her lips. The group surrounding them clapped, a few whistled, and the women cooed over the scene.
From beneath the flowing branches of a weeping willow, the scarred onlooker had another reaction. The one emotion that looked best on Joci Dorous was love. Unfortunately for his mangled self, the same happy gleam in her ever-adapting hazel eyes had shone on him not yet seven months ago.
But now he was back. Back for his wife and unborn child. Hell would come as a welcoming embrace for Cameron Shearer when Adrian Petosa was finished with him. Taking his life for a short amount of time was one thing, but after the grueling battle Adrian fought the last few months, the mobster turned cop wouldn’t get her eternal devotion too. Not while he breathed. Not while he watched their every move.
The Mobster Files, Book 1
Appointed by Fate