I broke into his office, p.1
I Broke Into His Office, page 1part #4 of Love at First Crime Series
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I Broke Into His Office
(Love at First Crime #4)
By Jessica Frances
All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2017 Jessica Frances
This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance of characters to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. The Author holds exclusive rights to this work. Unauthorized duplication is prohibited.
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I Broke Into His Office (Love at First Crime #4)
He broke into his office, and had his heart stolen in return.
I broke into his office,
But I didn’t have a choice.
So what if he is good-looking?
So what if he is single?
So what if he is my type?
Why should it worry me that he could easily overpower me?
Who cares if what I’m doing is wrong and illegal?
I can’t second-guess myself, even if there is the possibility of more between us.
The risk is too great.
The threat all too real.
Unfortunately, my life is about to implode,
And the least of my problems is an irate private investigator.
When old threats return,
And new threats—mainly four scary women—attack,
The best thing I can do is just keep my head down and ride it out.
Then, why can’t I stop thinking about him?
Why do I find him so irresistible?
And what happens if I make one mistake and lose him forever?
Because this is quickly becoming far more than either of us could have ever imagined,
And the life and death stakes mean neither of us can mess up.
I can’t believe breaking into his office has led to all this.
Then again, as some people say: there is nothing quite like love at first … crime.
Dedicated to the LGBT community.
I hope change is coming,
and I look forward to the day when everyone is treated equal.
Love is love.
The Christmas party is off to a noisy start. Glasses and bottles clink, laughter and loud chatter echo around us, and the obnoxious Christmas carols are drilling holes into my ears, sure to get stuck in my head for days to come.
I glance around the small crowd, at least thirty people mixed into random huddles. I recognize only one person in the room.
Everyone is laughing, seeming pretty tipsy. My mom is definitely halfway drunk, although she rarely drinks, so I doubt she’s had an embarrassing amount of liquor.
When loud laughter gets my attention, I watch as four women jump up and down excitedly to my left. They are standing by a large wraparound desk that appears to be the temporary bar for tonight.
“That’s what happens when you are finally childless for the night,” Mom tells me, also noticing the four women.
“How do you know that?” I ask, my mouth dry and my voice strained. It’s incredibly obvious that something is off with me tonight, except the only person who should easily be able to see this is halfway drunk.
“Because,” Mom slurs, “I had a few nights like that in my youth, and because I overheard one of them speaking about getting a babysitter.”
I nod, fearing it looks more like a nervous tick. Then I glance down at the barely touched drink in my own hand. I’m sticking with soda, though my nerves could use some alcohol to help loosen me up.
If this wasn’t a social setting, where almost everyone is close to or definitely drunk, I’m sure I would stand out like a virgin at a sex show. My eyes are shifty, my hands sweaty, my body shaking, and I’m not paying a lick of attention to what my mother is saying.
Everyone here is already in groups. It’s clear there is a lot of connection at this party. For one, everyone is hugging, laughing, and touching each other. For another, I saw three couples disappear to likely hook up. Each one comes back more rumpled than when they left, and all with shit-eating grins.
I admit to feeling smug knowing what they were doing, especially since I have been stuck in a drought lately. Nevertheless, I can’t get my mind off what I must do tonight.
I need to break into Harvey Newberry’s office and find the incriminating evidence he has on my dad.
Mom and Dad are recently divorced. She handed everything she had over to Newberry, and I know he followed Dad around and took photos of him. And, while I know my dad is a criminal scumbag, I can’t ignore his threat to hurt my mom if any of his business dealings come to light.
I need to get my hands on what Newberry has.
I squeeze my laptop bag that is swung over my shoulder, nerves making my eyes jump to the people around me in case someone is eyeing my bag suspiciously.
Mom taps my shoulder. “Phoenix, dear, this is Mr. Harvey Newberry.”
I immediately shift to stare at the man who has made my life a living hell. Okay, that title should land on my father’s shoulders, but Newberry hasn’t made things any easier for me.
Why couldn’t he be bribed like so many others my father has thrown money at? Why couldn’t he be lazy and incompetent?
“Hey,” I mumble, wincing when Newberry holds his hand out so I have to take it into my sweaty grip.
What will he make of my hold? Is it suspicious to look so nervous at a Christmas party?
“Hi, Phoenix, nice to finally meet you.”
As he gives me a small smile, the paranoid part of me wonders if he sees right through me.
“Nix,” I correct automatically. My mother will never call me another name other than Phoenix. I try to make it so she’s the only one who gets away with it.
“Right, Nix.” He smiles a little wider now. “Feel free to call me Harvey.” He keeps a hold of my hand, and I finally pay attention when Mom begins clapping her hands excitedly from beside us.
“I’m so glad you’ve finally gotten to me
For years, Mom has taken every chance she can to set me up with anyone she can. She is convinced my Prince Charming is out there, just twiddling his thumbs and waiting to be found. She knows my father is incredibly homophobic and beat the crap out of me when he finally found out I am gay, so she tries to be the complete opposite, cheering me on and trying to get me laid every chance she gets.
Okay, so she’s trying to get me to date and be in a relationship, but I think she forgets how unsociable my job forces me to be. The best she has managed is a few hook-ups before we have gone our separate ways.
Thankfully, she hasn’t pushed to know any details from the men I date, but I get the feeling she wants to know why I haven’t settled down with anyone yet.
She is supportive of my job, yet at the first whiff that it’s preventing me from finding love, her mind will quickly change and her nagging that I work too much will double.
“Yeah.” I drag myself back to staring into Mom’s hopeful eyes. “Thanks for all you’ve done to help Mom out,” I say as she beams at me.
“It’s no problem,” Harvey replies, releasing my hand.
I finally focus back on him. He’s younger than I expected, likely in his mid-thirties. He has light-blond hair down past his ears, tanned skin, and is about half an inch taller than me. He doesn’t look like a muscle head like some of the other guys at this party, but he’s far from sporting a gut. He just looks solid, hot, and entirely my type.
His jaw is rounded, his lips are parted, and I see his Adam’s apple bob as he assessing me. I wonder what he sees. If he sees me as just a thirty-year-old restaurant owner who has dark circles under my eyes; pale, sweaty skin; and a tremble running through my body; or if he sees my guilt, fear, and worry.
“Well, I can see you guys are hitting it off,” Mom comments, making me wonder if she’s being sarcastic since we barely said a thing to each other, or if she thinks we are eye-fucking each other and that’s why we are so quiet. “I’ll just—”
“Actually, I need to use the bathroom,” I blurt out. I have one job coming here tonight. I need to stop stressing myself out and start doing it. “Mom, why don’t you tell Harvey here about the time I broke my foot,” I suggest, purely because it’s Mom’s favorite story to tell, a tale of woe, drama, and action. I won’t be surprised if she commissions it to be made into a telemovie one day. Plus, it buys me half an hour where I know Harvey won’t be near his office.
Mom doesn’t waste a second before beginning the story. Meanwhile, I barely spare Harvey a glance before I make my way down the corridor.
I don’t know if the bathrooms are even down this way, but I did see an office door labelled Cynthia Park, as well as another one farther along labelled Gemma Lane. Therefore, I infer these are offices, which also explains why the three couples I saw sneaking away earlier prowled down this way.
Two more doors down, the lights from the lounge area become dimmed, and the darkened corridor becomes harder to see in. I have to stand close to the doors to read the signs on them clearly. I sigh in relief when I find one labelled Harvey Newberry.
I place a pair of gloves on before trying the handle.
Of course the door isn’t unlocked. Why make any of this easier?
I glance back down the empty hallway, deliberating if I should just try this after everyone is gone. However, I don’t know what type of security they have. Breaking through a door isn’t past the realm of what I can do, but bypassing a digital security system is far beyond me.
This is the perfect opportunity to do this. Everyone is here, yet no one is paying any attention. No alarms are set, and everyone is getting too drunk to notice me doing anything suspicious. By the time they realize something happened, which will hopefully be tomorrow at the earliest, the information will be long gone and Mom will be safe.
Is there the possibility that I am being recorded? That I will be caught? Yes. However, it’s a risk I have to take.
I grab the small laser cutter out of my bag then glance up and down the hall nervously. No one appears to be approaching, and with the loud Christmas tunes, the booming laughter, and the chatter filtering down to me, there is no time like now to do this.
Turning the laser on, I quickly make a circular cut around the lock. This doesn’t take long, maybe a few minutes. To me, though, it seems like a lifetime.
Once I cut through the door, I attempt to open it, but it doesn’t budge. It actually takes several shoulder knocks before the door opens inward. I cringe at my loud stumble as I finally make it through the door.
I poke my head out into the hallway. Still, no one follows.
Leaving the door ajar, not wanting to wedge it completely shut in case I get stuck in here, I twist the blinds a tiny bit to allow a sliver of light in from an outside street light. I don’t dare light the room up further.
With music still softly floating through the cracked door, I rifle through Harvey’s things, hoping I won’t have to look for too long to find what I need.
The drawers along his desk are all locked, and a quick search around the desk doesn’t produce a handy key. It does show that the only photo Harvey has in his office is one of a German Shepherd. At least Mom checked he was single before she started imagining us together.
I glance back at the drawers. In case there are other important documents in there, I don’t want to use the laser and risk damaging them. I’m already messing up Harvey’s life with what I’m doing here, no need for this to spread into every case he’s working on if I can avoid it.
Opening my laptop bag, I pull out the weighty crowbar, then forcibly open all three drawers.
Inside are documents, a spare set of clothes, and a gym bag. The final drawer has a small locked box, most likely housing a gun. There are no files and nothing worth stealing.
Closing the now broken drawers, I look at his computer sitting on the desk. It’s shut down and no doubt password protected. If I can’t get the information out of it, maybe I can destroy it. I can grab a soda from the party and pour it over the hard drives. Sure, he will likely lose everything, but this is my mother’s life. I can’t just do nothing and let Dad put a target on her. Not when I can stop it.
Shelving that idea for now, I notice a filing cabinet with four drawers in the corner behind his desk. I attempt to open them, but it’s also a no-go. They are all locked.
I again search for a key, hoping he keeps one somewhere close. However, I get no further than looking at a shelf full of photography books when I am forcibly shoved against the filing cabinet, my arm pulled back until my shoulder feels as though it’s about to pop. The crowbar drops, knocking into my leg and loudly banging the cabinet as it falls to the ground. Then my head slams into the top of the cabinet as a body pushes me against the cold, hard surface.
“Can I help you?” a voice growls from behind me as I gulp in air, trying to not completely freak out.
“I’m sorry! I’m sorry!” I cry, attempting to move, but unable to manage an inch before my shoulder protests.
“Why are you in here?” the voice demands.
Is it Harvey or someone else? I can’t get a good look at the person, and I couldn’t hear Harvey very well in the crowd. It is his office, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t still suffering through my broken foot story while someone else has me pinned.
“I needed … I just … I had to …” I stumble over my words.
My arm is released, and I’m spun around and slammed back into the cabinet, the top edge digging uncomfortably into my shoulder blades.
In front of me is an irate Harvey Newberry, who doesn’t look like he’s at all concerned by the way he’s manhandling me.
“Spit it out. And it better be good or I’m having you arrested,” he growls, his words kicking me into gear.
Dad threatened he would have Mom killed if I told anyone what he wanted me to do, but there isn’t anything I c
I had one chance, and I blew it.
Harvey crosses his arms over his broad chest, his biceps bulging through his dark sweater.
“Phoenix …” he rumbles, the threat and anger clear in his tone.
“I need to get whatever information you have on my dad,” I blurt out.
He narrows his eyes. “Why? I thought you weren’t close to your father.”
“I’m not.” I shake my head, a snort bubbling out of me at just the thought of me and my dad being close.
“Explain this to me, then,” he demands.
“He … He told me, if I don’t get him the information, if the investigation doesn’t go away, he’s going to kill my mom,” I manage to get out, my voice shaking by the end.
Harvey’s eyebrows rise as he drops his arms to his sides, but he doesn’t comment.
Maybe he doesn’t believe me?
“I swear to you that I’m not lying. He came and saw me at the restaurant last week and said I had until Christmas Eve to deliver him the evidence. He said, if he didn’t have it by then, my mom wouldn’t survive to see Christmas Day.”
Harvey finally glances away from me, his eyes roving to the window where the blinds are now shut from the attack.
“Fuck!” he growls, pulling his phone out of his back pocket.
“What are you doing?” I whisper, not even attempting to move myself away from the filing cabinet.
“I need to reach out to a colleague,” he mutters distractedly, not lifting his eyes from the screen lighting up his face.
“I thought all your colleagues are out there.” I point to the open door, realizing I never even heard him enter. “And they’re all looking rather tipsy—”
“Someone else,” he snaps, his fingers flying over the keyboard.
I nod, not that he glances up to see it, before I finally push myself off the cabinet and begin pacing in front of his desk. Meanwhile, he plonks himself down into his desk chair.
by Jessica Frances / Paranormal / Science Fiction / Romance have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes