Jaded Hearts Part 1


Chapter 1


 “You’re leaving by choice, Officer Robinson?”

“Yes. Do I have one?” I asked.

Without turning around, I knew that Officer McLaurin was behind me. As he walked around to stand next to Captain Lansky, he smirked. There was a huge part of me that wanted to grab his face and smash it into the desk. But that would only make matters worse in my case. After all, turning in my badge and gun was a big step. I would no longer be Officer Jade Robinson after today. After just two years, I’d had enough. What I’d learned in the time I’d been taking down criminals and helping rid the streets of Philadelphia from the infestation of drugs, sex trafficking and prostitution was that nothing beat what went on in the inside. The inside was filled with more criminals than the streets and I wanted no parts of it.

“Lacey’s death has had a huge effect on you. I can see that,” McLaurin said.

“Steve, were you invited into this conversation?” I asked him, completing dismissing his authority. He’d only been on the force two years longer than me. His jaw flexed. I raised my eyebrow. Try me.

“Jade, there’s no need for the attitude. I’m on your side.”

I stared at his badge and laughed. “No. You’re on their side.”

His nostrils flared. The sweat beads were increasing on his forehead. Whatever nerves I could hit as I walked out the door would be all the more victorious. Leaving this hell hole and doing what I’ve always wanted to do is just the beginning.

“So, what now Jade? You gonna go back to school?” Captain Lansky asked.

“No. I don’t feel I need to. I do know that whatever I do next won’t have anything to do with law enforcement.”

He looked down. I hated pushing him out like this. But the powers that be had made him turn his head and tell me “no” when he should’ve said “yes”. He’d honestly had my back from the day I came to work at his precinct. I’d never had a problem. The first year had been everything a new police officer should expect. But my last year had been one of pure hell. I had never prayed so much for God to get me out of a situation. When I got the call from a friend to do the interior designing for her new salon last month and then got four referrals after, I knew God was giving me a way out. And I was taking it with no second thoughts about a pension, retirement plan or anything.

“You know you will only get a small package,” Lansky continued. He looked down again.
I leaned down on the desk. “Is that dirty money?”

He flinched. McLaurin chuckled.

“Let her go, Captain. We have no room for her wet behind the ears tactics.”

I walked over to stand in front of McLaurin.

“Jade,” Captain Lansky called out. I didn’t move. I was nose to nose with this ingrate and I wanted him to say another word. I was itching to see how Captain Lansky would explain to IA how everything really had gone down over the last few months. Maybe if I hit McLaurin, Lansky will grow a pair. But he didn’t move. Before I could blink again, my hands were around McLaurin’s neck.

“Jade, Jade, stop it,” Lansky screamed. He walked over and pulled me off of him. McLaurin had a few drops of blood coming from his nose, but the smile never left his face.

“I like my woman rough he said,” licking the dripping blood from his nose and wiping it off with the back of his hand.

“Get out of here, McLaurin. Now!”

I wrestled myself out of Lansky’s grip. “Don’t stand up for me now.”

“I had no choice, Jade.”

I grabbed the paper he was waiting for me to sign off his desk and signed it, slamming the pen down with a bang that shook the box I’d placed on the edge of his desk right onto the floor. As I bent to pick up the contents that had fallen out, I brushed my hand over the nameplate. Officer Jade Robinson. I slowly stood up, box in hand and looked at Lansky one last time.

“I’m sorry, Jade. I really am. But my hands are tied.”

I could feel my blood getting hot. I looked down at the picture of me and Lacey that sat on top of everything else in the box. I fought back tears. With one last look at Lansky, I turned and walked out of the office. As I neared the precinct doors, I could feel eyes boring holes in my back. Besides the intense stares from the men and women who also chose to turn a blind eye to what had happened, I knew the ones that were tearing into my back right now were McLaurin’s. I just knew. Grabbing the handle of the door that led to the streets, I turned around one last time and flipped him the bird.

Six Months Later

“The layout is exactly what I’m looking for, but I need different colors for my client. Can you send me over another sample?”

I placed my personal cell back down, ignoring the text that had just come through. My mother was concerned about my sudden change of career and she’d been sure to let me know every moment she got. But I was on an important call – one that would make everyone who doubted my change of career shut up. For my mother, be quiet.

“Yes. Okay, okay. That’s fine. I have my laptop right in front of me so as soon as I get the layout I’ll let you know. Thanks, Bobby.”

I breathed a sigh of relief. Having someone trust me with both their homes was a huge task. This was one of my biggest projects and I didn’t even have to struggle to get it. When God shut the door on my career as an officer, I made a promise to Him to stop fighting the passions that were hidden inside me. I’d hidden them by choice. My father retired as a police officer with the NYPD. Growing up in Philadelphia had made me make some decisions that I hadn’t really wanted to. But all in all, I knew following in his footsteps was ideal. It made him proud. And my mother through it would bring him home.

But nothing ever went the way we planned it in life. In fact, most things turned out the complete opposite. I had wanted my niche to be home interior design only. This would be, my third home project. After doing my childhood best friend’s salon, there were people calling asking me décor questions that I had no idea I even had the answer to. It flowed naturally. My mother had recognized the talent when I was fourteen. My father came home for six months when I was fifteen and all he talked about was having his only child become a police officer.

And that’s what was drilled into my head throughout high school. Even though he was no longer there with us, my mother convinced me that it was my duty to make him proud. I picked up my personal cell again. I looked at the screen. I looked back at my laptop. The email just came through. I looked at the cell again and decided to just call. It wouldn’t last long anyway.

“Baby girl,” my father’s voice came booming through the phone. “What’s good kiddo?”

“Hey dad,” I said, my voice slightly cracking. “Everything’s great. Have you talked to mom?”

“Yes. She’s been calling me every day since you left the force.”

I swallowed. A part of me just had to know. “Dad. Are you mad at me?”

He had no idea what had led up to my decision to leave and I probably would never tell him. Although he’d been a police officer for twenty-five years, my dad was a stand-up guy all around. There is no way he would even allow the precinct to get away with what happened without some kind of legal action. And just for the sake of being true to where we came from, a little street action as well. I chuckled at the thought.

“For following your dreams?”

I sat straight up. Dreams? What?

“Baby, I want you to hear me and hear me very clearly. There is nothing you can ever do to make me mad at you when it comes to doing something you believe in.”

Tears sprung to my eyes and I started breathing heavy. “I thought you wanted me to be a cop.”

“I did. And honestly, I still do. It’s the blue in me,” he said, laughing. “I also know what happens when a woman doesn’t get her way.”

I rolled my eyes and smiled. “Dad.”

“I was a little down about it for a while, but I saw the salon. Perry asked me to stop by.”

Perry was my best friend’s father. Robin and I grew up together just like our father’s had. We’d been inseparable since the fifth grade. We couldn’t stand each other in the beginning. Now, I was convinced our cycles came on at the same time. Weird, but true. I realized I was holding my breath and I let it out. My father had just told me he saw my first real big job and he sounded extremely proud. It was familiar pride – like the day I graduated the academy.

“I appreciate you, old man,” I teased. “Give it to me straight, though.”

“Jade, I couldn’t tell you a cool color from a hot color or what colors are in season. All I know is the before and after pictures speak for themselves.”

I smiled. “Thanks, pop.”

“I gotta take this call coming in. We’ll talk more about it. I’ll be coming to Philly in another week or so. You can hang out with your old man then.”

“Or, I’ll come to New York tomorrow to check on you.”

I heard my father talking to someone in the background. Then, I heard a door slam.

“You know what, baby?” he asked. “You should do that. I actually have someone who may need your help. He’s here in New York but the store he’s opening is in Philly. I’ll send you the information tonight.”

I could tell by my father’s rushed voice he was preoccupied. “Okay. Love you, daddy.”

“I love you, too. Call me tomorrow morning.”

I looked back at my laptop as I ended the call. I sat back in my chair and opened the email that was waiting. There was another email that I hadn’t been expecting. I smiled when I saw the request. This should be interesting.


Chapter 2

I walked into a downtown sneaker store, ready to buy the first pair of sneakers I saw. My feet were on a ten when it came to the pain level. The dumbest idea I’d had all year – wearing four inch heels downtown while running in and out of meetings – had me wishing that I’d just gone with my flats. I would have to find another way to present myself professionally when showing corporate executives my portfolio. On a normal day, sneakers and sweatpants with a cute tank was my thing. Being a cop in uniform had transformed me into someone who needed to be able to move without a second thought.

“How can I help you miss?”

“Whatever you have in a size seven in. Comfortable.”

“Did you see any pair that you liked?”

I cut my eyes at him. I looked him over, smiling at how innocent he looked. Poor baby. I chuckled. I definitely had my father’s sarcasm and assertiveness.

“Whatever you have in a size seven. I don’t care. I just need a pair of sneakers.”

“It should be the best kind of sneakers, though.”

I looked back up at the sales assistant. But his lips weren’t moving. I slowly turned around to see the culprit who would feel my wrath next. I stopped myself before I could say anything. Whatever words were about to escape my lips were now lodged in my throat. He stuck his hand out for me to shake. I took it slowly. As soon as his fingers touched mine, I got my confidence back. Cute. Very.

“Hi. I just wanted a pair of sneakers,” I said, through a tight smile. “Nothing special. I have on four inch heels and I’m travelling through the streets of center city limping like I have some kind of basketball injury. Sneakers. It’s not hard.”

He looked at me. “Not at all. But Carson is just doing his job. It’s what he was trained to do. How about I help you?”

“Help me into a pair of sneakers. Size seven. Yes.”

He smirked. “I’m Corey.”

“Jade. Nice to meet you.”

He turned and walked in the opposite direction. I looked at Carson, who now has his cell phone in his hand. I looked back toward the direction Corey had walked in. He was staring at me.

“Size seven. This way.”

I slowly headed in the direction he was in. If I didn’t come out of these shoes now, I would have a corn salad on my feet for the rest of my life. I could already feel the first corn popping up. As I got closer, he pulled a pair of socks out of his pocket.

“Here. Put these on.”

They were black ankle socks. I didn’t care what they were, I sat down on one of the leather benches and kicked my shoes off.

“I appreciate that,” I said, pulling the socks on. “And thank you for being patient with me.”

I had to regain cool points. Not because this man had my heart fluttering thirty miles per minute, but so that the “all black women have attitudes” stereotype wouldn’t manifest itself in our first encounter. My mother had drilled that into my head as well. “Be delicately strong. Men want to know he’s with a woman.” One lesson I would appreciate for an eternity.

“No worries. I understand. I have a sister.”

“And a mother I’m sure,” I joked.

He looked at me. “It didn’t matter anyway. The minute I saw that gorgeous curly hair, I was on my way to the front. But now, I don’t know if I like you mean girl.”

He playfully stuck his tongue out at me as my mouth fell open. I relaxed as he reached and grabbed three pairs of sneakers off the wall we were standing in front of. I had to laugh.

“Funny. I’m not mean unless I’m in pain.”

“How often is that?”

I looked down at my portfolio bag and then back up at his face. Six months ago, it was every day. “Depends on what pair of shoes I’m wearing.”

Sitting back down, I grabbed the sneakers that were in his hand and looked them over. “Honestly, it doesn’t matter.”

I threw on a white pair of Nike’s. They fit. I tried the black Reebok Classics. Perfect.

“I’ll take them both.”

I stood up and looked at the top of the wall where he’d gotten the sneakers from. “Wait. These are all a size seven?”

There had to be about twenty pairs where I was standing. Each sneaker display told a little story about the sneaker it was holding up. Definitely something I’d never seen before.

“I think I said that already,” he joked. “I keep them this way so it’s easier on the customer. They know before the salesperson goes back what shoes we have in their size.”

I turned back to him. “That would mean you have every shoe out on the floor.”

“Except the exclusives, yes.”

I stepped around him and took in the whole store. I had been in such a rush I hadn’t realized how nice it was. Especially for a sneaker store. The decorum was all blue and beige. So were the displays. Consistent.

“I like this,” I said, moving my hand around. “Not your average sneaker store set up.”

“Nothing I do is average. Nothing.”

I cocked my head at him, not hiding my smile. His vibe was refreshing – not too pushy, but confident.

“I believe you. Now can I get the left shoe so I can get out of here?”

“Only if you promise to come to the party.”

I opened up my blazer. The spring air was quickly turning into summer. Even with his open doors, I was starting to sweat. “Party?”

“My one-year anniversary party is coming up. For the store.”

Carson came to the back. “She needs the other shoe for these?”

Corey nodded. “Thanks, Carson.” Once he was gone, he turned his attention back to me. “I think you’ll have fun. You might even meet some people you can connect with. Not sure what you do, but you never know.”

“I’m an interior designer.”

“So you were judging my store, huh?”

“I was not,” I said, faking innocence. “Stop acting like you know me.”

He laughed. “You were tearing apart my store, passing judgment before Carson even said hello. I can tell.”

“The sad part is, you’re so, so right.”

Carson came back with my sneakers. “Here you go.”

Corey cleared his throat.

Carson looked at me with a boyish grin. “Sorry. Here you go, ma’am.”

“Jade is fine.”

“He has no choice, Miss Jade. It’s just the way I run my store.”

I laughed. “You could use an upgrade to your store.”

It was a joke, but I could tell by the expression on Corey’s face that I’d said something of interest.

“Funny you mentioned that. I wanted something refreshing for the anniversary party. Is three months enough time for you?”

We walked up to the front so Carson could cash me out. “I honestly was just teasing. And my schedule is full for the next few months. There’s no way I could give you what you need in that short amount of time.”

Carson handed me my card back and I grabbed a pair of the sneakers and threw them on. “You can throw all this in the bag.” He nodded.

“I’ll pay you double.”

I turned back to Corey. “It’s not about the money. I just know I don’t have time.” I walked toward the door. “But, here’s my card. Let me know what you’re looking for and I’ll see if I can refer someone.”

He looked down at the card. “Great. A website. I get to see the work you’ve done before we get started.”

I smiled. “Too smart for your own good. Thanks again.” I stepped outside, then turned back. “Oh. Happy anniversary.”

The two block walk to my car would be more bearable now. Something about Corey’s presence had left me speechless. Growing up in Philly had enough challenges. As I got older, I realized the dating scene had a level of challenges that my father couldn’t have even prepared me for. A part of me was looking forward to the anniversary party. I hadn’t told him I was going, but I was sure I would.  But the next time we saw each other again, wouldn’t have anything to do with a consultation. When I was a cop, I had very little time to date. Being a full time entrepreneur left me with even less time. I was ready to get back out there on the scene. If it meant attending a sneaker store party, then so be it.


“You okay, babe?” Corey asked me, as I looked around the restaurant.

I sipped my wine. “Tell me a restaurant in Philly you don’t know. I thought I knew every last one of them.”

“There’s always those golden gems that everyone forgets,” he said, feeding me some of his salad. “Those side streets that you can’t park on because PPA will be all over it, but you just gotta get to that spot.”

I laughed. “Listen. I’ve been in the Philadelphia Parking Authority’s system only once. I learned my lesson the hard way. There’s no restaurant worth going through that again.”

I turned my cell phone over. I had meant to turn it off, but I had a very important call coming in. “You like your appetizer?”

He nodded. “I do. What about you?”

I shrugged. “It’s okay. Nothing fancy.”

“Jade, have you given any more thought to doing the store changes. I just need the lower level done. And I’ve seen your work. It wouldn’t take more than a few weeks.”

“Yeah. If I pushed back all my other projects and only focused on yours,” I said, biting into my bread. “No way.”

“What’s your rush fee?”
“You can’t afford me,” I quipped.

He finished his water in one gulp. “Try me.”

“If I stalled my other projects and only focused on yours…” I paused. “$5,000. That’s just the rush fee. I’d have to explain this to my other clients. They could end up hating me, which means, I would just have to get no sleep.”

“I’ll give you eight.”
I stopped chewing. “Corey, what are you trying to do here? Woo me and screw me?”

He sat back. I don’t think he blinked for a whole five minutes. I stared into his brown eyes waiting for some kind of response. I knew I’d hit a nerve. His broad shoulders were pressed into the chair. The platinum cross chain he was wearing was moving up and down with every slow breath he took.

“I’m a businessman before anything. You can just say no.”

“I thought I made it clear last night on the phone. I don’t want to mix business with pleasure.”

“You did. And I thought I made it clear that I was willing to have you upgrade the store, then get back to getting to know you on a personal level. We never have to do business again.”

I chuckled. “You did say that. I have to be honest.”

“What’s up?” he said, sitting back up. He lightly grabbed my hand.

“Your proposal was one of the best I’ve seen since I started doing this full time. The absolute best.”

“That U. Penn degree comes in handy.”

I almost spit out my water. “You didn’t tell me you went to U. Penn?”

“I didn’t tell you a lot of things. Do you know how many women make assumptions about a guy like me? Because I came from West Philly, I let people think what they want. I like surprises.”

“First, I didn’t think anything. We’re both from this city. Don’t you think I’ve gotten stereotyped walking into some of these corporate office buildings?”

He wiped his hand. “The water you just spit on my hand says otherwise.”

I threw a balled up napkin at him. “Whatever. I was shocked because you said in a previous conversation, and I quote ‘College isn’t for everybody. Some of the best businessmen never stepped foot on a campus’. Did you not?”

“I did. I did. But to be honest, that’s the way I felt. I went to college because my father said I had to. And it was cool, I just didn’t need to spend all the money to do what I’m doing. That’s all I’m saying.”

I nodded. “I can agree with you there.”

We ate in silence, stealing occasional glances at each other. He winked at me every so often and I gave him the cutest girly smile I could. I was going to take the project. Corey called me the next day after we met. That was two months ago. We talked every night on the phone and facetimed twice as much, but neither of us had missed a beat in our business dealings. That was what we talked about forty percent of the time. The other sixty was about God, life and the future. He’d quickly become a friend. Wherever else this led would be all up to “the flow”.

I adopted “the flow” concept two years ago, learning to just flow with God. There was no point in me trying to figure out every step in life or planning every moment. Despite their differences, my parents had ingrained that in me as well. Just flow with God. Corey believed the same, which is why we clicked so quickly. My guard wasn’t up as much with him. I had even surprised myself on that note, since it usually was. Once, I felt a vibration on the table, I grabbed the phone.

“I have to take this,” I said, excusing myself from the table. He nodded at me. When I got to the restaurants foyer, I placed the phone back on my ear. “Hey. So?”

“Lacey’s parents don’t want to talk to you yet, Jade.”

I sighed. It had been three months. “Are they saying anything?”

“Yes. To leave them alone.”

Silence. “I understand.”

There was a noise on the other end of the phone. I could tell he’d taken it off speaker. “You may need to do that whole flow thing you’re always talking about with this situation here. The Givens are adamant in not speaking to you.”

I fought back tears. “Yusef, you know I had nothing to do with Lacey’s death.”

“Truth be told, nobody did, Jade. Nobody at the precinct held that gun to her head. She did that herself. But her parents feel it was the events that led up to her suicide that could’ve been prevented. And you were her partner.”

“Did you remember I still have a gun?” I threatened. His comment was out of line.

Yusef laughed. “I’m not saying I agree. I’m telling you how they feel. That’s how they view it. That you spent every day with her for the last two years and you did nothing.”

I peeked around the foyer wall. Corey was on the phone. I smiled when he looked up at me. He winked. I turned my attention back to the call.

“Okay. I get it. But I won’t give up.”

“Don’t I know it.”

I ended the call. I needed to get myself together before I headed back to Corey. Although Yusef had made an indirect comment, I knew that Lacey’s death was on everybody’s hands. Everybody’s.


“You sure you okay?” Corey asked me for the tenth time since we’d been back in the car. We were approaching my house and I had only said ten words to him since we left the restaurant. I shouldn’t have taken the call. No part of my past needs to enter my future.

“I’m okay. Just some bad news,” I said, giving him a reassuring smile. “Nothing to concern yourself about.”

“Anything I can do to help?”


He continued driving, staring straight ahead. I could sense the agitation just by the way he said ‘no’. “Corey, it’s not that big of a deal. I promise.”

“I believe you.”

I lightly touched the hand that was holding the shift gear. “You promised we would take it slow. Even the friendship part. Every part of my life isn’t going to be exposed to you immediately.”

I was a straight shooter. He stopped at a light and turned to me. He grabbed the hand that was touching his and kissed it softly.

“A woman who holds me to my word,” he said, grinning. “I like it.”

I breathed a sigh of relief. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to tell him. I couldn’t. There was no part of my life as a police officer that mattered now. It had all died the day I left the precinct. It had to. It was the only way I could save my own life.

“Thanks for tonight. My treat next time,” I said as he pulled in front of my house. He got out and opened my door.

“You know I’m going to walk you right up to your front door.”

“Yes, sir.”

We stepped onto my porch and the light came on. I turned around to face him. He wrapped me in a hug and kissed my cheek. I wanted a real kiss, but I refrained. Entrepreneurship was sexy to me and one kiss could lead to other places. ‘She’ hadn’t been touched in six months and I wanted to keep it that way until I was sure. More importantly, there was that promise to God I’d made. That I would wait as long as I could. It was a real promise. I didn’t want to say I would wait until marriage. Baby steps.

“I’ll call you tomorrow after my meeting. I’ll have some ideas ready to go,” I said, giving in to the request to work on the store. “But you have to promise me you’ll close for two days. I need to finish this and I can’t have any distractions.”

He stopped moving. “Two days, Jade? I don’t know about that hon.”

“Then, I can’t help you. I know it’s how you do business, but you can make it happen.”

He sighed. “What if I open from noon until six on the days you need. And give you a key to open as early as you want and stay after hours for as late as you want.”

I pouted. “I usually don’t like people to see what I’m working on until it’s completed.”

He stepped closer to me. “I’ll close one day. The other days we have to do it my way.”

I grinned and saluted him. “Aye, aye, captain.”

Laughing, he grabbed me into his arms for another hug. “Don’t tease me about my two days in ROTC.”

“I think it’s cute you tried.”

“Call you when I get in,” he said, walking back to his car. As I stepped into my vestibule, I kicked off my shoes. I had a good feeling about this. I walked into the kitchen and grabbed some ice water. I was past his handsome looks and his bold business mind. I always watched how a man treated and talked to other people. In the two months we’d been getting to know each other, Corey had shown me the true meaning of the quote, “True leaders always practice the three R’s: respect for self, respect for others, responsibility for all their actions.” I just prayed it was really him, and not an impostor.


I looked around the sneaker store and if I wasn’t so confident already in my skills, what I’d done to Sneaker Nation would’ve had me feeling myself for sure. I looked around at the guests enjoying their champagne and the food that had been catered by Dyson’s Seafood and smiled. The magnitude of the project and what it took out of me all fell to the wayside as I watched the DJ lights hitting the ceiling. The job honestly had been easier than I anticipated. Corey’s vision matched with my precision had turned a two week around the clock job into a one-week adventure. He’d closed the store for a whole day, as promised and I’d found a way to make it work with my other schedule.

“This is the woman who made this store look like it should be in an ESPN footwear magazine,” I heard his voice say. I turned around.

“What do you want?” I teased. He wrapped his arm around my waist and I kissed his cheek.

“Just you, Miss Jade,” he teased back. “Let me introduce you to my man, Ron. He’s been a pain in my ass since we were ten.” He grabbed Ron playfully around the neck. “It’s no wonder he’s a doctor.”

I shook his hand. “Nice to meet you, Ron. You know you don’t have to take that right?”

“No worries. We’ll see if he can take this butt whipping I’m about to put on him.”

As we shared a laughed, I looked at the register and waved to Carson. Corey originally had only wanted to sell at the end of the night, but I told him some people may not stay the whole night. Selling sneakers throughout the whole night would help him capitalize better. Needless to say, my idea worked. Carson hadn’t come from behind the register once since the party started two hours ago.

“I can’t believe the mayor came through,” I said. “Did you get a chance to talk to him before he left?”

“Yeah. I did. He bought a pair of Jordan’s.”

I looked around for my friend Melissa who had somehow gotten lost in the crowd. I was about to introduce her to Ron, when he leaned over and whispered something in Corey’s ear. Corey’s smile faded from his face and he turned to walk away.

“I’ll be right back,” he said, quickly kissing my hand. Before I could respond, he was gone. I finished my champagne and decided to head over to where Corey went. I could see him talking to somebody at the front door. Whoever he was standing in front of was the exact same height as him, because all I could see was his arms. Ron was talking to the person, too. I hated to break up the reunion, but Corey was supposed to make an announcement in a few minutes and I had a gift for him I knew he would love.

“You think he’s nervous about his speech?” Melissa asked, stepping beside me.

“Girl, I was just looking for you. Where’d you go that quick?”

“That line for the bathroom was long earlier. It finally went down.” She handed me another glass of champagne. “For the speech.”

I grabbed one off the table. “He’ll need one too. Can you grab one for his friend Ron?”

We continued walking toward the door. Ron pointed at me and Corey stepped to the side, turning around to face me. I smiled and reached my hand out to hand him the glass. My eyes traced his and he winked at me. But his smile was gone. Something was wrong.

“What’s up?” I asked, grabbing his hand.

“Officer Robinson?”

The glasses I had been holding fell and shattered to the floor. My veins iced up. I’d loathed that voice for two years so I knew exactly who it was. I smiled weakly at Corey before turning around.

“McLaurin. What are you doing here?” I said through clenched teeth.

“Jade,” Corey said, looking between me and McLaurin. “How do you know my father?”

I stood there frozen in fear. There’s no way. No way this man is his father. What have I gotten myself into?

Stay tuned for Part 2 next Wednesday…


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