First Chapter Excerpt – Needing Nita

Excerpt from

Needing Nita

a free Novella in the

Serve and Protect Series


Norah Wilson

Copyright © 2010 Norah Wilson

Published by Norah Wilson

All rights reserved.




Chapter 1


“So, what’s the story?”

Nita Reynolds glanced up at her law partner, Brad Knopfler, who stood framed in her doorway, without really seeing him.

Brain tumor. A couple of bad headaches, and now they said she had a tumor in her head. Just like her father. God, she’d only had that MRI because her mother had hounded her within an inch of her life to ask for it. Neuro-imaging was not the medical community’s usual first response to a complaint of migraine with aura, and she’d felt like a major hypochondriac even asking her doctor about it.


She blinked. Shit. “Sorry, Brad, what was that?”

Taking her question as an invitation, he crossed the plush carpet to settle in one of the leather armchairs opposite her desk. “Your meeting with the Crown Prosecutor this morning,” he prompted, loosening his tie and lounging back in the chair. “How’d it go?”

Better than the visit with my doctor right after that.

“Good.” When that came out as little more than a croak, she cleared her throat. “It was good. I talked her down from indictable to summary offence.”

Brad lifted an eyebrow. “Good job. That’ll save your guy four or five years, if he’s convicted.”

“Yeah, and there’s a pretty good chance he will be.”

“Hey, are you okay, Nita? You look a little … I don’t know. Wiped.”

Wiped? Try dying.

She bit back on a bubble of laughter that threatened to erupt. Gawd, if she laughed now, she’d start crying.

“You know what? I am tired.” She closed the file she’d been staring at for the past half hour. “I think I’m gonna play hooky and go home.”

“Nita, Nita, Nita.” Brad shook his head sadly. “It’s four o’clock in the afternoon. That hardly qualifies. Hooky is when you call the office whilst tangled with your lover who is nibbling you in places that make your voice go husky, thereby lending you some credibility when you plead swine flu or bubonic plague or something.”

At his words, a mental image sprang to life. Specifically, the image of Detective Craig Walker’s hulking length sprawled on her five-hundred-dollar Egyptian cotton sheets, and her own body sprawled atop his….

Suddenly, her heart beat faster. And not at the mental image alone. She’d conjured it too often in these past few months for it to have that dramatic an effect. No, her heart beat faster at the idea taking root in her mind. The mind that could be lost to her all too soon, like her father’s was after his first surgery. But it wasn’t lost yet. She still had full mental capacity, full motor function. Full control of her life, at least for the immediate future.

Time to put it to good use.

She stood, smiling for the first time since leaving Dr. Woodbridge’s office. “You know what? You’re right again, Brad. You’re absolutely right.”

Grabbing her purse, she strode out.




Detective Craig Walker massaged his forehead as he listened to his aunt’s friend’s mother rant about the graffiti artist who’d been tagging abandoned buildings in her neighborhood in the decaying west end of Fredericton.

“I’ll ask patrol to look into that, ma’am,” he interjected, when it appeared she was winding down. Unfortunately, that only served to rev her up, as she interpreted his response to mean the police department did not concern itself with vandalism. He switched the receiver to the other ear and slouched back in his chair, resigned to listening a while longer.

Frankly, he’d driven through that neighborhood the other day and thought the graffiti was an improvement. And for once, he could actually approve the messages, which were clearly the work of environmental activists rather than the usual gang-related crap. Vegan environmental activists, judging by the two-buildings-wide Stop feeding cows; start feeding people message. But his favorite was the one with the beautiful, amazingly detailed rendition of the earth with the caption beneath: Earth. Pass it on.

“I understand your concern, Mrs. Brewer,” he said when she paused again for breath. “But I’m assigned to Major Crimes, and my Sergeant would kick my butt if I took time away for something like this. I’ve had two serious new cases just today, and dozens more getting colder by the minute. The best I can do in the circumstances is pass your concerns along to patrol, who will look into it. If Aunt Gena herself called me, I’d have to give her the same answer.”

That wasn’t strictly true. He couldn’t think of much he wouldn’t do for Aunt Gena, if she asked him. But the rest of it was true, including the grinding workload. And with the fiscal belt tightening undertaken by the newly-elected mayor, the manpower additions they’d been counting on weren’t likely to materialize.

After a few more assurances, he managed to get Mrs. Brewer off the line. A quick call to patrol/community policing, and the whole thing was someone else’s problem.

Too bad he couldn’t slough off his personal irritations so easily. Ray Morgan, a colleague in Major Crimes, was trying to set him up with his wife’s friend from the newspaper. Or rather, Ray’s wife Grace was trying to set him up. What was so hard to grasp about ‘not interested in a relationship’? These people who were so damned happy were a pain in the ass.

And on the other side of the spectrum, he kept having to stave off Denis Dallaire. Newly divorced, Dallaire was hitting the bars again, and couldn’t seem to grasp that every single guy didn’t want to be out there chasing skirts every freaking night. The thing was, Craig had caught his share. Now, it just seemed more trouble than it was worth, which depressed the hell out of him. He was only 34, for chrissakes. A healthy 34-year-old man should want to be out there, shouldn’t he? It was almost enough to make him take Denis up on the challenge.

But nah. Too much effort. Not so much in the chase, but in the extrication afterward.

And yeah, the vague emptiness it left him with. Not that he’d ever admit to it. At least not anywhere within earshot of Ray Morgan. There’d be no stopping Grace’s matchmaking.

He’d just gotten back into the flow of his arrest report when his phone rang again. “Walker.”

“Detective, it’s Nita Reynolds.”

He’d straightened in his chair even before she identified herself. He’d have recognized that voice anywhere. Confident, controlled, self-contained, but with an underlying hint of heat that was all the sexier for its subtlety. Much the way she looked.

“Ah, Ms. Reynolds,” he said, pushing down the jumbled mixture of feelings she always managed to evoke. “Let me guess. You’re representing the enterprising Edward Rayburn, who set out to find a buyer for his girlfriend’s daughter while said child’s meth-addicted mother sits out a jail term.”

“I think you mean he stands accused of trying to sell the child,” she corrected. “But no, I don’t represent him. I was calling—”

“Of course! Gordon Bohner. I wondered who he’d find to represent him.” The thought of what Bohner had done to his own mother to extract enough money for his next fix hardened his voice. “Your mother must be proud of you, Nita.”

She snorted. “I don’t think she ever got over her disappointment when I left Highpriced & Pompous to do Legal Aid work. And I’m not even going to ask what Mr. Bohner did.”

He grinned at her use of the nickname for the multi-province mega-firm Hightower Ponder. “Don’t you mean you won’t ask what Mr. Bohner stands accused of doing?”

She made a sound, but he couldn’t tell whether it was an exasperated sigh or a stifled laugh.

“God, I must be crazy,” she said.

This time, he definitely detected laughter in her voice. And in that moment, he knew she wasn’t calling about anyone’s case. The realization sent a bolt straight to his groin. He glanced up at fellow detective Sean Casey, who sat two desks over in the detective’s bullpen. Casey appeared to be engrossed in reading a file, but Craig angled his chair away from his colleague.

“I wouldn’t say that,” he said. “You had the good judgment to call me, after all.”

“Good judgment?” She laughed again. “That remains to be seen.”

He waited. Pointedly. He could have waded in there, helped her out, but dammit, why should he? He’d done the asking last time. Two times, actually. The first time, he got a polite turndown. He would never have asked again, except all the signals were still there, in flashing neon. When she turned him down the second time, she’d made it clear she didn’t date cops. Period.

“I was wondering if you’d like to go to dinner with me tonight. My treat. I thought maybe Soloman’s.”

Soloman’s. Pricey, but they had the best steak and seafood in town. They also had a relaxed enough atmosphere and dress code to attract regular Joes like him once in a while. And more significantly, Soloman’s was a two-, maybe three-block walk from Nita Reynolds’ downtown condo apartment. The thought sent another jolt below the belt. Settle down, boy.

“To be completely clear, are we talking about a date here?”

“Yes.” One word, but it managed to sound strangled.

He leaned back his chair, feeling in control. A strange sensation indeed when it came to this woman. And probably short-lived, so he should enjoy it.

Apparently, he must have enjoyed it a little too long, because her voice was a little testier when she spoke again. “What? Have I stunned you into silence? Shocked you with my forwardness, maybe?”

“Nah, I was just searching for the weather report from hell. I’m guessing it must have frozen over down there.”

“Very funny.”

“What about your no cops rule?”

“Some rules are meant to be broken, Detective. I know you of all people would subscribe to that notion.”

“Given how often I land myself in hot water with the brass, you mean?”

She made no reply.

“No comment?” he prodded.

“Sorry,” she said politely, “I was letting the record speak.”

He laughed. “Okay, it’s a date. I’ll meet you there.” After a few beats of silence, he added, “What time?”



“One last thing, Detective….”

“What’s that?”

“Come prepared.”

He heard her disconnect, but still he sat there with the receiver in hand, her words echoing in his mind. Come prepared. The dial tone kicked in, and he hung up.

Jesus. He was sitting in the middle of the bullpen with a hard-on. Suddenly, he didn’t feel so in control.




Nita resisted the urge to pull her compact out of her purse and check her lipstick. It was perfect when she’d applied it, and it was still perfect. For what she’d paid for it, it wouldn’t dare smudge. And dammit, she looked good in her new DKNY tank dress, cute denim jacket and with calf-hugging leather boots. Hot without being too over-the-top, man-hunting slutty.

Or was it? Maybe the boots were too much.

Argh! Stupid to be nervous. It would be better when he actually got here.

Not that he was late. She’d come early to get away from her silent apartment, hoping that the buzz of conversation and the discreet bustle of the wait staff would distract her. Plus she’d wanted to be in place first to establish some kind of … what? — ownership? — control? … of this piece of recklessness she was about to embark on.

Drink. Now.

She picked up her wine, but instead of gulping it nervously, she forced herself to slow down and appreciate it. She swirled it in its glass, admiring its legginess a moment before inhaling its bouquet. Lovely. She’d bypassed the subtle sophistication of her usual French favorite and picked a lively Australian Shiraz. Lush and peppery, it was perfect for her mood. She took a sip, savoring the dominant blackberry flavor and the feel of the tannins in her mouth.

“Am I late?”

Dammit. She’d wanted to see his entrance, watch him cross the room. She glanced up and smiled. “Not at all.” Their gazes collided, and her pulse leapt like she’d touched a live wire. Oh, Christmas! What had she invited? He was so big, so raw, so masculine. “Have a seat.”

He did, and the hovering waiter moved in on him immediately. He glanced at her wine, then ordered a beer.

“You look beautiful,” he said when the waiter left. The frank appreciation in his ridiculously blue eyes echoed the sentiment.

“Thank you.” She inclined her head in acknowledgement. “You look pretty good yourself.”

That was the understatement of the year. Their previous encounters had pretty much been confined to the courtroom or the stationhouse, so she knew he cut an imposing, if slightly incongruous, figure in a suit. But tonight he wore a tan-colored ultrasuede sport coat over an oatmeal colored sweater with a very fine looking pair of denims in a shade of blue almost as piercing as his eyes. Her hands itched already for the tactile sensation of those fabrics. And as for what lay beneath….

She didn’t realize how hungrily she was staring until her eyes completed the journey up his chest, past his strong neck to the brutally hard planes of his face and met his gaze. Oh, yikes!

“Are you hungry?” she asked.

He lifted an eyebrow. “For what’s on the menu, you mean?”


“Depends. Is there something else on offer?”

She felt a blush climbing her neck, but held his gaze. “Most definitely.”

He stood abruptly, jarring the table and nearly toppling her wine. Flagging down a passing waiter, he said, “The lady’s not feeling well.” He pulled out his wallet and pressed some bills into the waiter’s hand. “For the drinks.”

She stood and he was at her side instantly with a solicitous hand at her back. As they wended their way among the tables to the exit, she felt the burn of that touch through her clothes. Come to that, she felt his body heat reaching out to her. God, he was a blast furnace. She couldn’t wait to get her hands on him.

“Your car or mine?” he asked when they hit the street.

“My place is just a few blocks away. Why don’t we walk it?”

“Okay, but first I have to do this.” He pulled her into the alley between the restaurant and the art gallery next door, pushed her up against the cool brick of the building and kissed her.

It was not a searching, tentative kiss. It was urgent and fiercely demanding, as were the hands that skimmed down her shoulders to her hips. Her blood leapt in response, and she met his mouth with demands of her own. Her hands found their way under his jacket, then under his sweater. His skin was just as hot as she knew it would be, but the muscle beneath was so much more solid than she’d imagined. Like no man she’d ever touched.

She slid her arms around him, and he made an approving sound against her mouth. And when she slid her hands down to test his butt through the denim of his jeans, he surged against her thrillingly, once. Then he pulled back, the cool of the August evening replacing his warmth.

“Baby, we gotta get this off the streets. C’mon.” He tugged her back onto the sidewalk and wrapped one arm around her shoulders. “Lead the way.”


Needing Nita, a 15,000 word novella, is free on all platforms. Please help yourself at the online bookstore of your choice.

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