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Sworn to Be His(The Archer Family Book 3)

By:Allison Gatta

For Elsie-my sweetest and dearest friend and the best editor a girl could ever ask for

Chapter 1

Chirp. Chirp. Chirp.

Jade Lockhart gripped the down pillow and shoved it over her ears.  Stupid birds. Didn't they know she'd only just fallen asleep? All she  needed was a few more precious moments of beauty rest and then-

She sat up in bed, holding her breath while she stared around for her cell phone.

"I should never fall asleep with that damned thing." She grumbled, then  shook out the sheets and tossed all the pillows from the bed. The phone  flopped onto the floor with a dull clunk and she snatched it up and  pressed the power button.

Nothing happened.

"Shit," she hissed, then pulled on a pair of slacks that had been laying  on top of her dresser from the laundry she still hadn't gotten around  to putting away. After she shoved on a reasonably work-ready blouse from  her closet, she sprinted down the hall, toward the kitchen and-

"Double shit." The neon green numbers on the oven flashed 8:00. She was late. Again.

"Okay, okay, okay," She scurried into the living room, grabbed her  sidearm from the hook near the wall, and shoved her cell phone into her  pocket. She'd just have to charge it when she got to the station. If she  hurried, she'd still be on time to catch the meeting, and once she got  there-

The damned speech was on her phone. The reason she'd been up half the  night was lost in the ether of her notepad app and she was left with  nothing. All those beautifully worded arguments. Poof. Gone.

She slipped on her shoes and pulled her blond hair into a messy knot on top of her head.

"How am I gonna fix this?" She glanced at her cat, Lisa, who rolled over as if to say: "not my problem."

"Very helpful. Right," Jade said, then dropped some cat food into Lisa's  bowl before fumbling through her cluttered living room and out her  front door.

"Keys," she reminded herself, then grabbed them from the table beside the door and headed out again.

"Okay. Okay. I can totally do this." She squinted in the early morning  sunlight then slid into her not-so-glamorous, yet inconspicuous 2010  Camry. That was the one thing people never warned other people about  being a detective-the chances of getting a car you'd actually be proud  to drive were slim at best. She just counted herself lucky that her car  had actually been manufactured within the last ten years.

"Maybe if I think really hard, I can remember what I was going to say," she said. "Okay. New Badges. I was going to say..."

She tried to recall the polite wording for the fact that the rainbow on  their new Hawaii State Criminal Investigations Unit Badges looked, well,  like a multicolored dildo. Of course, the two little clouds at the base  did nothing to help that impression.

Honestly, didn't the police have enough problems without walking around sporting big old d-

"Hey!" She honked her horn as someone cut her off on the interstate into  Honolulu. She should pull them over and show them just...

No, she didn't have time for that. She had to come up with a plan for  what she was going to say. How she was going to say it. And, of course,  how she was going to convince the unit supervisor that she was not, in  fact, an hour late for work but rather fashionably tardy.

"Yep, that's gonna be an easy one." She shook her head. "Okay. The  badge. I'll just walk in there and say 'ladies and gentlemen, I've put a  great deal of thought into this case and I feel there are a number of  pros and cons to this badge situation. While I understand we're all  busy, we need to band together to rectify-"

But could she say rectify? Didn't that sound a little too much like "erection" given the circumstances?

"No, what about...When you get to the bones of it-"

Nope, that wouldn't work either. Maybe the best option was just to blow  the thing up and outline the problem area. Like a little crime scene  unto itself.

She pulled into the lot and parked, barely taking the time to lock her  car before sprinting into the building and making for the elevator. When  she got to the third floor, she summoned her courage, stepped out, and  headed for the conference room. Through the slats on the wide, glass  wall, she could already tell that Supervisor Sanders was detailing  something or another, some other unfamiliar outline was standing beside  him.

"Okay. Here goes nothing," she mumbled, and then she pushed the door  open. "Supervisor, I'm so sorry I'm late, but I have a pressing matter  to discuss that cannot-"

Her gaze fell on the man beside the already boiling supervisor, and she  lost her ability to speak. And think. And possibly to breathe. He was  here. Right here in her unit standing in front of all her coworkers.  Staring back at her.         



And why shouldn't he stare? She was probably gaping at him like he had  three heads. That had always been the problem with him. She could never  keep herself from falling apart whenever she took in his lean, toned  muscles and his sleek chestnut hair. Like James Marsden and James Dean  rolled into one.

"Detective Lockhart," The supervisor practically chewed on the word. "I  was just thinking it was blissfully quiet in here. I should have known  why."

She did her best to concentrate on the older man whose hair looked  especially white now that his plump cheeks were growing redder with  every second. Oops.

"Yep, I'm here." She let out a frail little laugh and someone at the  conference table covered their face with one hand. Derrick. She could  only see his thick, dark hair now. Well, that and the fact that he was  shaking his head at her.

"Well, could your very pressing matter wait until after I've finished  introducing Detective Flynn to our unit? Or is it really that urgent?"  The old man's mouth pursed so hard she knew which answer he expected.

"Nope, I can, uh, wait. I guess." She chanced a glance at "Detective  Flynn" then skirted around the table to drop into the empty seat beside  Derrick. As soon as she sat, he scrawled a message on the legal pad in  front of him


She pulled another pad toward her snatched a pen, then wrote back

Ha ha. What did I miss?

Derrick shrugged.

Nothing much. I may have pointed out that the new badge looks like a dick and balls.

Jade blinked. Of course he did.

"As I was saying," The supervisor pressed on with a very pointed glance  at Jade. "We're pleased to welcome Zac Flynn to the department. He's an  expert in mafia behavior and he's agreed to come on with us to help  build our case against Paulo Scaglietti."

"Hey." Zac raised a hand and offered them all a dazzlingly white smile.

Jade crossed her legs, all too aware of the heat rushing to her cheeks.  She still couldn't believe it. After all this time. Here he was. Right  here. Ready to help with a case she was working on.

Need a tissue for your drool?

She glanced at Derrick's note and rolled her eyes.

Oh please. He's a coworker.

Derrick eyed her and gave a little shake of his head, but she ignored  him. She was going to focus on Zac. Zac Flynn. Their new coworker and  her high school crush.

Dreams really did come true.

"Thank you, Detective Flynn. You can take a seat. Unfortunately, we're  getting you started on the Scaglietti case even sooner than we'd  anticipated. Last night, we apprehended a suspect whom we believe to be  connected to Scaglietti. He was discovered not long after a robbery in a  nearby restaurant. Flynn, while you're debriefing yourself on the case,  I'll need Detective..." The old man scanned the table, pausing briefly  on Derrick and Jade before moving along and saying, "Fitzsimmons to  interview the perp. Archer, Lockhart-you two can interview the  witnesses."

Derrick gritted his teeth. It was obvious by the other man's tone that  this was bound to be some kind of punishment. Odds were that the  witnesses were Looney Tunes themselves or otherwise impossible to work  with. Whatever the case, he could be sure that his work would be cut out  for him.

He grabbed his pen, about to write as much to Jade, when the new guy cleared his throat and started to speak.

"Excuse me, sir, but if we have this person apprehended, I should be  able to review the file in time for an interview this afternoon. We  don't need to bother Detective Fitzsimmons-"

Fitzsimmons, a balding red headed man, shot Flynn a nasty look that  everyone at the table was apparently deciding to ignore, including the  supervisor. The old man shook his head and said, "No, no. We've been  working this case for months. We need you to study up, not rush it. With  any luck, you'll have plenty more chances." He let out a rusty laugh  and everyone offered their fakest half smiles in return.

Not Derrick, though. He was focused on Flynn. There was something about  the guy that he couldn't place. Or maybe it was just that he'd never  learned to trust a man who intentionally used hair gel. Before Jade came  in, the supervisor had been praising all Flynn's military training and  awards. Apparently he'd been a Navy man.