It’s late when despatch puts out the call about a disturbance. Much as I want to, I can’t ignore it. I sigh. Another half hour and I would’ve been heading home.
Apparently, a young woman is outside the gates of Stanislaus Correctional Facility causing a scene and demanding entry. Strictly speaking, the prison guards can’t touch her while she’s still outside the perimeter, so it’s down to me, as the nearest available unit, to go check it out.
I call it in, turning the cruiser in the direction of the detention facility on the outskirts of town which is only about fifteen minutes from my current location. I don’t turn on the blues, knowing I won’t have to fight traffic at this time of night.
Why the fuck is someone trying to get in the place when most sane people want to break out? Probably some whack job protesting her man’s wrongful imprisonment. It’s rare, but it happens. Just what I fucking need! My plan to kick back with a beer or two while I watch the boxing on cable is evaporating.
Fifteen minutes later, I pull up behind a black VW Golf which looks like it’s been abandoned at a random angle at the side of the road. The detention facility is in the middle of nowhere - for good reason - and it’s just my cruiser and the other car on the long stretch of road.
I climb out, my hand automatically hovering over the Glock in my holster as I cautiously approach the other vehicle. I draw level, seeing that it’s empty, and continue walking towards the prison gates. I can just about make out the figure of a woman sitting on the sidewalk that runs up to the prison security checkpoint, her head and shoulders slumped forward so that her blond hair obscures her face.
I raise my hand to the shadowy figures of the guards in the security box, a silent signal that I’ll take care of the situation, before turning my attention back to the woman sitting on the ground.
For some reason, her down-beaten posture bothers me, an unusual reaction as I’m not usually a soft-touch in situations like this. I’ve developed a healthy caution during the last five years but there’s something about the abject way the woman sits there that stirs something within me.
“Ma’am? You shouldn’t be here,” I say firmly, keeping my voice neutral and coming to a halt several feet in front of her.
She doesn’t look dangerous, but emotional women can be unpredictable, as I have good reason to know, and I make sure to keep a little distance between us until I’ve got the measure of the situation.
Her head lifts and I literally feel the impact of her forlorn eyes all the way from the tip of my head down to my suddenly aching balls. She’s the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen, with her pink bow of a mouth and high cheekbones. Even her bright blue eyes are captivating, despite being swollen and red from crying.
But the biggest surprise of all is that I know her.
She frowns at me, her empty gaze replaced with confusion as she tries to figure out how I know her name.
I tend to forget how much I’ve changed since high school. It’s not surprising she doesn’t associate me with the awkward, skinny senior she tutored in Math back then. The beard is probably throwing her off as well, along with the fact that I’ve now filled out to fit my six-five height. My passion for boxing in my spare time has given me a fitness level I could only have dreamed of at high school, along with a body that’s honed and hard with muscle.
Kaylee was a sophomore to my senior, but even back then she was a sure-bet, straight A student. She was the perfect example of why stereotypes are dangerous. Her blond hair and blue eyes bely a sharp intelligence, and I know I wouldn’t have scraped through graduation without her help, being as Math was my weakest subject.
She was a beauty back then but there was no ego about her, and I liked the way she treated everyone the same, regardless of how they looked or where they came from. There’s no denying, she’s matured from beautiful to jaw-dropping, despite the fragile edge that clings to her now. I’m curious about what’s put that air of frailty there. She’s lost the soft, tempting curves I tried so hard not to notice five years ago.
I’m suddenly hit by an overwhelming urge to take her home and fill her up not only with a good meal but with my suddenly needy cock, to brand her mine from the inside out. My eyes drop to her lips and I wonder what they’d feel like, whether she would open up and let me taste her with my tongue.
I give myself a mental shake, wondering what the fuck is wrong with me and try to get my wayward thoughts under control along with my horny dick. I can’t believe I’m having such an immediate and urgent reaction to Kaylee Kemp, the girl who used to sit at the kitchen table with me while she taught me the finer points of trigonometry.
“Dawson? Dawson Ford?”
My attention is brought back to the present as Kaylee’s expression clears, recognition dawning on her face.
She pushes herself to a standing position and I’m reminded of how tall she is as I get a tempting eyeful of her long, tanned legs in what appears to be a cheerleading skirt. My cock swells at the thought of having those legs wrapped around me and I discreetly adjust myself.
“What are you doing here, Kaylee?” I ask, ignoring her question. I try to get my mind off the unsettling demands of my body and back to the situation at hand.
She looks at me and her face crumples as a fat tear rolls down her cheek. “I wanted to see him. I don’t know what else to do, where else to go. Everything is such a mess!”
Her words make no sense to me. “See who?”
“My father. He’s in there.” She points in the direction of the prison.
“Your father’s in there?” I repeat, unable to believe that the mild-mannered, church-going Mr. Kemp I remember could have possibly done anything to get himself locked up in Stanislaus. “We are talking about the same man, right? James Kemp? Accountant in Bakersfield?”
Another tear escapes down Kaylee’s cheek and she shakes her head, pressing her lips together as if she really doesn’t want to say the next words out loud. “No. My real father is Levin Sarado Ivanovich, and he’s in there awaiting trial for...a lot of bad shit.”
I stare at her in disbelief, trying to decide if she’s mad, drunk, or both. “Wait. You’re telling me that Lev Sarado, ex-cop-turned-mob-boss, is your father? Why the hell would you think that?”
“Because it’s written on my birth certificate. Jennifer and James Kemp weren’t my real parents. They adopted me,” she says flatly, as if she’s still coming to terms with the truth herself.
I frown. “Wait, you said they weren’t your parents?”
Kaylee swipes at the tears on her cheeks. “They were killed in a car wreck a month ago.”
“Shit, Kaylee, I’m so sorry! What happened?” I ask, shocked.
Kaylee shrugs. “The coroner said that Dad had a heart attack at the wheel, ploughed straight into an oncoming truck. The truck driver was treated for broken bones and a concussion, but Mom and Dad were killed instantly.”
I close my eyes, feeling her pain, having lost a parent myself not so long ago. “So, how did you end up here?”
“I found my birth certificate and adoption papers when I was dealing with Mom and Dad’s legal affairs. Apparently, Maria Campbell and Lev Sarado are my biological parents. Guess I was never meant to find out,” she says, a bitter edge to her voice. “Mom and Dad are gone, so I thought it was about time I met my real father.”
“You’ve driven here from Bakersfield? Alone?” I demand, feeling weirdly protective over her. Anything could happen to a beautiful woman on the road on her own at night. “Are you mad? What if you’d broken down or gotten a flat or…?”
“Yeah, well, excuse me if I’m not particularly rational, right now!” she snaps, her eyes holding a world of hurt.
It’s hard for me to swallow the fact that the couple I knew back in high school weren’t Kaylee’s biological parents, so God knows how difficult it must be for her. “Listen, you can’t stay here. You’re lucky I was the one who got the call, or you could’ve ended up in a cell for the night!”
“Like father, like daughter, huh?” Kaylee quips with the first glimmer of a real smile.
It does amazing things to her already beautiful face and I reluctantly find myself smiling back. “Come on, let’s get you out of here. You must be frozen.” I indicate her short skirt and the top that, while not skimpy, clings to her breasts, which are still a delicious handful despite her slender frame.
Kaylee purses her lips. “Are you arresting me?”
An image of her naked and handcuffed to my bed, springs to mind and I clear my throat before I speak. “Not tonight, sweetheart,” I chuckle, the endearment rolling off my tongue surprisingly easily. “Do you have anywhere to stay?”
She looks uncertain, biting at her lip as if she suddenly realizes how far from home she is. Seeing her chew on her lip like that makes me want to run my tongue over it, soothing the area she’s worrying with her teeth.
“I came here on a bit of an impulse,” she admits sheepishly. “I didn’t really think about what I was going to do beyond trying to see my…beyond seeing Lev,” she catches herself.
“Well, you’re not driving home now.” My protective instincts bristle at the thought of her driving anywhere on her own at this time of night. “You can stay with me tonight. Drive back in the morning after a good night’s sleep.” The words are out of my mouth before I fully consider the temptation of having her under my roof for the night.
She shakes her head. “Oh, no. I couldn’t …!”
“You can, and you will,” I interrupt, overriding her arguments before she can articulate them. I’m faintly surprised by my insistence. “My shift is finished now, so I was heading home anyway. Your car will be safe here. I’ll have someone collect it and drop it to my place tomorrow morning.”
“Okay. Thank you,” she concedes with a sigh. She looks lost and vulnerable and my heart aches a little at her defeated tone.
The woman before me is a shadow of the Kaylee I remember, who was full of enthusiasm for life. The joy has been syphoned from her and I’m more than a little curious to learn why.