Frisk Me

By: Lauren Layne

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS




First, to the team at Grand Central—this series is absolutely yours as much as it is mine. Thanks for being there every step of the way, from conception to model photo shoots to final comma tweaks. To Lauren Plude, especially, for being the kind of skilled editor who knows exactly what this book needs. Ava and Luc thank you, as do I.

As always, to my agent, Nicole Resciniti, who single-handedly got me “un-stuck” when this book went off the rails right halfway through, and patiently brainstormed how to get it back on track.

For Jessica Lemmon and Kristi Yanta, my constant iMessage companions who were always there to talk me down from a panicked state of “This book will never get done! Ever!” You were right, of course. It got done, and it’s extra fabulous thanks to your help in nudging me in the right direction.

For my family, especially my husband, for their unflagging patience when I drop off the face of the earth for days at a time when I get on a roll.

And lastly, a huge shout-out to my fabulous in-laws, Tony and Patty LeDonne, for your insight into the inner workings of an Italian family. From the typical Sunday family dinner to what’s cooking on the stove, your input was invaluable. Your support of my career is much appreciated—so grateful to be Italian by marriage!





CHAPTER ONE



Holy crap! You’re like, that guy! You’re the cop!”

Luc Moretti deliberately ignored the high-pitched squeal.

He took a slow sip of his much-needed coffee and threw up a silent prayer that for once, the women would be talking about some other cop.

“Tina, it is him! The cop from the YouTube video!”

Shit.

Pray as he might, it was never some other officer who was subjected to overenthusiastic hero worship. Not these days, anyway. It was always Luc who couldn’t do so much as get on the A train without hearing some form of, hey, aren’t you that guy…?

Yes. Yes he was that fucking guy. Unfortunately.

“Can we get a picture with you?” one of the women asked as they both closed in on him.

“Actually, I—”

Luc’s ready protest was interrupted by the deep voice of his partner.

“Ladies, ladies, let’s give Officer Moretti some space! The man likes to refresh his makeup before a photo op. Moretti, did you bring that special lip balm you like to use? The one you say makes your lips all rosy?”

Luc’s eyes narrowed at his partner as he reached up and scratched his nose with his middle finger.

Both women had already pulled cell phones out of their purses, ready for a shot with New York’s latest hero.

Luc shot another fuck you glare at his partner, but Sawyer Lopez was already reaching for the girls’ phones, gesturing his hands in an “all-together-now” motion.

Two curvy blondes flanked Luc on either side. Their too-sweet perfume was ruining his caffeine buzz, but he smiled for the picture anyway. The grin was habit, if not exactly genuine.

Once, Luc’s smiles for pretty women had been easy and authentic. Now they were reflexive, born out of a month’s worth of misplaced hero worship.

Sawyer Lopez, on the other hand, had no such hang-ups, and was in full charm mode.

“So where you ladies visiting from?” Lopez asked, handing the girls back their phones.

Luc took another sip of his increasingly cold coffee and rolled his eyes. At least someone was profiting from Luc’s brush with fame.

“Little Rock,” the taller blonde said, her fingers moving rapidly over the screen of her phone.

Luc had no doubt that his face had just been plastered all over every possible social media site. Again.

“Ah, that explains the cute southern accent,” Lopez told the woman with a wink.

Uh huh. It also explained what the women were doing wandering around Times Square—a place no New Yorker would be caught dead in unless someone paid them to be there.

In Luc and Lopez’s case, that someone doing the paying was the NYPD.

Crowd control in midtown wasn’t exactly the sexy part of being a New York cop, but it was a necessary one, especially on days where the latest teen pop star was giving a concert at 47th and Broadway.

Times Square was every cop’s least favorite gig. But when there was a concert, parade, or holiday, it was all hands on deck.

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