“Mind if I join you?”
Kougami looked up, seeing Akane. Their latest case had been one bloodstained twist after another, ending in an old-fashioned standoff. The perp had cornered himself in an alley, waving a hunting knife while ranting like a mad man. Kougami wasn’t sure why he’d holstered his Dominator, but the choice had resulted in an all-too-satisfying fistfight. Even better was how Akane had reacted afterward, chastising his recklessness while she doctored his wounds. The one on his arm was the deepest; the result of a second’s distraction when she’d called his name. He scooted over, making room for her.
She smiled, the faintest blush on her cheeks when she sat next to him. She always acted shy after seeing him shirtless, he noted, even if she did a pretty good job of hiding it.
“I passed Kagari on the way here,” she giggled softly. “I asked Masaoka to take him home.”
He chuckled. Kagari had been experimenting with white wine in his cooking when he’d wandered in, released after spending the night in the infirmary. At Akane’s insistence, of course.
“He said we could help ourselves to what’s left,” she smiled up at him. “Wanna take him up on it?”
Kagari had made him the same offer before stumbling out, most of the wine having gone down his throat instead of in the food. He’d also mentioned something about asking Akane to show up later, to celebrate their solving the case. He briefly wondered if the kid had gotten drunk on purpose, since he was one of two people who knew about his co-worker’s attraction to the new Inspector. He dismissed the idea, almost scowling as he grabbed an unopened bottle and a pair of clean glasses.
Akane wiped her mouth once his back was turned. She’d already had a bit to drink with Shion and Yayoi, excusing herself when she’d remembered Kagari’s offer. The ginger hadn’t told her Kougami would be there, her heart fluttering when she’d seen him in the lounge. He’d loosened his tie, the first button of his shirt undone. And from the way he was walking, he’d been drinking, too. Her blush deepened when he set the glass in front of her, already half-full. He poured himself some, setting the bottle aside.
“I can’t believe we solved this case,” she swallowed. The wine was warm, calming her nerves as it flowed to her stomach. The victims had all been single women, lured to out of the way places by an ad they got in their email. Once there, they were met by a mysterious man who claimed he could make their dreams come true. Instead, he’d forced them to take a pill and dragged them to his van. They’d found the vehicle abandoned on the edge of the city, the interior drenched in blood new and old. The latest victim had been lying in the middle of it, wide awake but unable to move. That was how the drug worked, Shion had explained, inhibiting movement while increasing awareness. He then proceeded to rape them, wounding them within an inch of their lives. Yet all of them had been found alive, placed where they’d been easily noticed.
Even so, the team had been at a loss until Akane had gotten the email a week later, coming up with the idea to use herself as bait. Despite everyone’s objections, she’d headed to the location that very night, Ginoza appearing the same instant the pill had been forced past her lips. The perp had used her as a human shield, holding her in front of him and pressing his knife to her neck. She’d spit out the pill, slamming the back of her head into his chin. His grip had loosened enough for her to wriggle free, sustaining only a minor cut to her neck. He’d managed to run off before any of them could take a shot, leading them through one of the many uninhabited slums, where he’d eventually cornered himself in that alley. Kougami had caught up to him by then, putting his gun away in favor of a more hands-on approach.
“That was a stupid idea,” Akane said now. “You could’ve been killed!”
“You don’t have much room to talk,” he reminded her. “You ran off to meet that guy empty-handed!”
“At least I didn’t go after him alone,” she shot back. “I had you guys as back-up!”
“I can take care of myself,” the wine was starting to get to him. “Unlike you!”
He knew he’d gone too far when she started crying, tears brimming in her honey-soft eyes. He put an arm around her shoulders, the other holding her thigh to keep her from leaving.
“I’m sorry, Akane,” he said, his voice softer now. “I shouldn’t have said that.”
She sniffled, dropping her gaze. He did as well, realizing she’d opened her shirt a bit. The swell of her breasts, her creamy skin, the sight of it all made his mouth water. He gulped, licking his lips.
She sniffed again, looking back up at him.
The next instant, her lips were pressed against his, his eyes widening in shock. He blinked, then closed them, returning her kiss carefully. His mind lurched back to the night before, after he’d finally managed to subdue the perp; the guy had been tougher than he’d looked. Akane had waited at the mouth of the alley, clutching the first-aid box from a drone. Had the rest of the team not been there while she’d doctored him, he’d have kissed her with everything he’d had.
He did so now, taking her in his lap. She draped her arms around his neck, moaning softly when his tightened around her. He wondered how far things would go, feeling her teeth tug gently at his lower lip, the soft warmth of her tongue invading his mouth, her fingers pausing on his cheek before slipping through his messy hair. Her hip rubbed against his steadily growing arousal. God, just how long had it been since he’d felt like this?
She couldn’t believe this was happening. Her drop-dead gorgeous subordinate, the one she’d fantasized about since day one, was actually kissing her! Not only that, but if the bulge in his pants was anything to go by, he was enjoying it just as much as she was. She pulled slowly away, her breath heavy with passion.
“I’m taking you home,” she murmured. “We can…be alone there.”
He chuckled, licking his lips before kissing her again.