Police Officer Brad Livingston sees some movement behind a vacant house and goes to check it out. The last thing he expects to find is the wriggling derrière of a young lady caught in a window while attempting to break in. Yet, there she is, struggling to get in or out, her legs kicking wildly and her arms flailing, trying to grab onto anything. He is surprised yet again when he asks if he could be of assistance, and she lays into him with an attitude that has him shaking his head, trying to understand her theory that her predicament is somehow his fault.
Brad and Chloe eventually get things straightened out, and the next time their paths meet, things go much more smoothly. In fact, it’s smooth sailing for the two of them – until a string of events threaten more than just their relationship.
Publisher’s Note: Top Cop is a romance that contains not only humor, but elements of domestic discipline.
It was a beautiful warm, sunny fall day and Brad Livingston was enjoying his afternoon on patrol in the small town of Peidmont. The leaves were in full color, and it was seventy-two degrees outside with a slight breeze. The weather man was calling for a chance of a pop-up storm, but in his opinion, right now it was the perfect day.
That is, until he turned the corner and started down the back alley behind a row of houses. He was sure he saw someone slip behind a house that was presently empty. The sweet little lady that had lived in the house as long as he could remember had passed away just a couple weeks ago. He’d been in her house a few times and knew she had a good number of antiques. He’d been keeping an eye on the house, and planned to continue to do so, until he knew what was going to happen to it. She was a sweet old lady and he wanted whoever inherited it to see it exactly as she’d left it; not after being broken into and stripped of the family heirlooms and antiques she’d been so fond of.
He quickly formed a plan to drive past the house slowly to see if he could see any trace of the person he was sure he’d seen. If he didn’t, he’d follow the alley back to the main road and pass by the front of the house and park in the drive, where he could get out and look for any signs of who may have been there. They were probably gone now, but he wanted them to stay gone. Hopefully they were still close enough to see the police car in the driveway, and that in itself would be a deterrent.
Brad did just that, and soon turned into the driveway of the house. To his surprise, he didn’t have to look for any signs as to who may have been there. She was still there! Not only was she still there, but she was standing on a bucket, trying to break in through a window!
Parking the cruiser and getting out quietly, he pulled his gun, something he wasn’t used to doing in this small town, and made his way closer to the lady, where he could see her better. He was amazed to find a small female, he’d say not over fifteen or sixteen, in jeans, a tee shirt, tennis shoes and a baseball cap, who was concentrating totally on trying to get a window out. He looked at the young girl carefully, and seeing no weapons, he quietly put his gun away, but kept his hand on it just in case. “Do you need some help with something,” he asked, watching her carefully in case she ran.
She jumped and had to grab onto the window sill to keep from falling off the bucket. She looked back at him and frowned. “Yes, I do. I can’t get this dang window open,” she growled. “And don’t scare me like that. I almost fell.” She went back to working on the window.
Brad shook his head a bit. What was this girl up to? That certainly wasn’t the reaction he’d expected. “Can I ask why you’re trying to break into this house?”
“Because I don’t have the key.”
“If you don’t have a key, perhaps you shouldn’t be trying to get in.” He sounded as frustrated as he felt, but he didn’t care.
“Well, how else am I going to live here, if I don’t find a way in?”
“Okay, Miss, I think we need to talk a couple minutes. Come down here and tell me who you are and what makes you think you’re going to live here? You can’t just find an empty or abandoned home and move in.”
She looked over her shoulder at him, clearly not happy with his questions. “I’m sorry, but I really do need to get in here. My name is Chloe Sindell, and I’m not breaking in; I own this house.”
“Miss Sindell, I’m going to have to ask you to step down off that bucket and over here for a second.”
“Because I need some answers. You can answer them here or we can go down to the station, but I’m not going to stand here and watch you commit a felony.”
She paused long enough to look at him with another frown. “Felony? What are you talking about?”
“Breaking and entering is a felony.”
“Not if it’s your house,” she insisted.
“Lying to a police officer is also a crime.”
“Which is why I’m not doing either of those things.”
She turned back toward the window and started working again. Brad had had about enough and needed some answers. He took out his handcuffs, stepped up closer to the annoying girl, and in one quick swoop brought her hands behind her back and put the cuffs on. He then wrapped an arm around the waist of the young lady who was now struggling to get free, and picked her up off the bucket. He carried her to his cruiser, then put her back on her feet and turned her around to face him.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing? You have no right!” The little lady was furious!
“I have every right, and watch your language, little girl! Now maybe you’ll answer some questions for me. You said your name is Chloe Sindell. What did you mean when you said this is your house?”
“Take these handcuffs off me right now or I’ll have you arrested for police brutality!”
“I don’t think so. Now answer my question. What do you mean this is your house?”
“Are you kidding me? What’s not to understand? I know this is a little hick town, but are all the people here really this dumb, or just you? This is my house means just that; this is my house, and I plan on living here, at least for the time being.”
Brad took a deep breath and tried to grab onto what little patience he still had. “You, little girl, are a true, genuine brat, and what you need is a good spanking. Keep up that smart mouth of yours and you’ll get just that. Now, I need a few answers, without the attitude. What exactly is your connection with this house?”
“Stop calling me a little girl. I’m a woman, and this is my house. As in, I own it. I don’t know how I can put it any simpler, to where maybe even a Neanderthal like yourself would understand it.”
“This house is in your name?”
“Very good. You’re starting to listen.”
“Now it’s your turn to listen to me, little girl.” He emphasized the last two words and smiled at her reaction to them. “You have to be twenty-one to have real estate in your name in this state. I’m getting tired of this and I want some answers now. Who are you really, and do you have any actual connection to this house or are you just a common thief, as it would appear?”
“You really don’t listen, do you? Either that or you really are a Neanderthal. Listen carefully and see if you can understand this. My name is Chloe Sindell and I own this house. Yes, I said I own this house. I’m twenty-four years old, and I own this house. Do you understand any of that yet, or should I say it a few more times so it can soak in?”
“You really know how to try a man’s patience, don’t you?”
“I don’t know. If there was a man around we could ask him.”
Brad glared at the little brat, and she glared right back. “Okay, if you own this house, I assume you have a deed?”
“And I assume you can show that to me?”
“I assume I could if you’d take these damn handcuffs off me.”
“Watch your language,” he admonished as he took the key from his pocket.
He unlocked the cuffs and took them off a moment too soon, as she swirled around and stood on her toes to stand as close to eye to eye with him as she could. “You can shove that ‘watch your language’ warning up your – oomph!”
Brad wasn’t sure exactly why, but this little lady and her big attitude had gotten under his skin. Before she could finish her sentence he had her whirled around and face down over his police car. He could tell it had taken her by surprise, which was good. He wasn’t sure what she expected next, but judging by her stunned reaction, it apparently wasn’t the sharp swat he landed on her bottom. She opened her mouth to object, but he gave her another swat, harder than the first, and he started talking at the same time. “Now you listen and you listen good, little girl. I don’t care if you’re sixteen or twenty-six or eighty-six. That is no way for a lady to talk, and I’ve had more than enough attitude from you!”
He continued to spank her bottom, and he seemed to have finally gotten her attention. He gave her a couple more swats. “Are you ready to lose the attitude and answer my questions now?”
“Oooh, I’ll tell you what I’m ready to do now! I’m ready to file charges against you for assault, and police cruelty. I want to talk to your general, or major, or whatever you call the top cop in this little fleabag town!”
Brad was shocked! He thought she’d settle down and be ready to talk to him in a civil manner. Apparently not yet! “Fine,” he said. “First off, I’m the chief of police, so I guess that means I’m the top cop in this town. If you want to file charges against me, we can do that. The first thing I’ll have to do is take you back to the station so I can get the camera and take pictures quickly before the evidence fades.”
“Take pictures of what?”
“If you want to file assault charges we’ll need pictures of your bare bottom to show the results of the little spanking I gave you.”
“You want to take pictures of my ass? What a pervert! I don’t think so!”
“Again, the language,” he said, shaking his head. “We’ll need pictures of your bottom showing the spanking. How else will you be able to show the judge and jury what I did to you so you can prove your case?”
“What do you mean show the judge and jury?”
“If you file charges we’ll have to have a trial. You can explain to them what happened, that I spanked you, and I’ll tell them why, because you were being a brat and wouldn’t tell me why you were trying to break into a house. But you’ll need the pictures so you can pass them around to the jury to prove what you’re saying. So let’s go back to the station and we can get them now. I didn’t give you much of a spanking, not nearly what you deserve, so there’s not going to be much evidence to begin with, but if we don’t get the pictures right away you won’t have any evidence, and without any evidence you won’t have a case.”
She glared at him, and this time he was the one glaring right back at her. She sighed. “Fine. I won’t file charges this time, but don’t let it happen again.”
“Don’t cuss and give me attitude again, and I won’t,” he warned. “But if you do, it will indeed happen again. You’ve been warned this time, though, so if it happens again it won’t be over top of your jeans.”
She swirled around to stare at him yet again. “Meaning what?”
“Meaning if it happens again the spanking you get will be on your bare bottom.”
“You wouldn’t dare!”
“Don’t dare me, little girl,” he said in an ominous tone. “Now, can you show me the deed you say you have that names you as the owner of this house?”
“Yes, I can, but probably not today. My stuff is supposed to arrive tomorrow. All I brought with me is what I’ll need for tonight. Now, if you’ll kindly move out of my way, I need to get this window out.”
“You’re not taking any window out until I have some kind of proof that this is your house. How and when did you become the owner of it? Do you know the lady that used to live here? If so, how did you know her?”
“That’s a lot of questions, and most of them are none of your damn business!”
Before she could finish her latest tirade, Brad had her by the upper arm and was leading her to his police car. He held her tight while he reached into his glove box and took out an envelope. With his hand still on her upper arm he led her to the front door of the house. He opened the envelope and took out a key, which he used to unlock the door. He ushered her inside, and turned and locked the door behind him.
She was surprisingly quiet, he assumed speechless, as they entered the house. He remained silent as he led her to the living room and sat down on the couch. She was looking around as he swiftly picked her up and placed her over his knees. In no time he’d reached underneath her and unfastened her jeans and pulled them down. As he was pulling her panties down she found her voice. “What the hell? If you had the key to the house, why didn’t you tell me that? Now let me up!”
“I will let you up as soon as I teach you a lesson, little girl. Your language and attitude are in dire need of revision. You are much too pretty to be talking like that, and that attitude is going to get you in trouble.”
“How is it going to get me in trouble? And let me up, you jackass!”
“Jackass? Really? Ignore for the moment that I have a police uniform on, and in fact I told you I’m the top cop here, as you put it. I have you over my knee, your bare bottom, cute as it may be, offered up before me for a good spanking, and you decide it would be wise to call me a jackass?” He chuckled. “You may be a pretty little thing, but you’re apparently not the sharpest crayon in the box.”
He started spanking her bare bottom, and smiled when he got more of a response than he did outside when he swatted her bottom a few times over her blue jeans. That had been meant simply to get her attention. In here, where they had the privacy to bare her bottom, he intended to teach her a lesson. If she wanted to press charges, so be it. He’d lost his last ounce of patience with this little brat.
“Oww! Stop that right now! Oh, it hurts. Please stop!” She was crying now, but he continued.
As he spanked her with solid, steady swats, he started talking. “Chloe, if that is your real name, I asked you those questions for a reason. I knew the sweet little lady that lived here, and I will not allow someone to break in and steal anything she had. Not on my watch! She had a heart of gold, and if a family member gets this house I want them to get it the way she left it. I want them to see it and everything she had in it, just how she left it. It will probably mean a lot to them to see it that way. Hopefully, they’ll be able to see her in their mind when they look at some of the things in here, by the memories they evoke. She was a wonderful little lady and her family deserves that much.”
Chloe was crying hard now, but he had a feeling it wasn’t all from the spanking. He assumed it was because she felt guilty about trying to break into this house. He stopped the spanking, but kept his hand on her bottom. Before he could say anything else she whispered, “Thank you for that.”
His eyebrows shot straight up. “Are you thanking me for spanking you, Chloe?”
“Oh, hell, no. You had absolutely no right to do that,” she said between sobs. “But thank you for not letting anyone change anything in here. It’s exactly the way I remember Aunt Helen’s living room.” After a few sobs she added, “Or at least the parts I can see.”
Brad was now momentarily speechless when he heard her refer to Aunt Helen. He gently pulled her up and sat her down on his lap. She tried to get up and get away from him, but he wrapped his arms around her, hoping to comfort her a bit. “No, stay right here, Chloe. I think I owe you an apology.”
“Yes, you do,” she said between sniffles. “That hurt and you had no right to do it.”
“Oh, I’m not apologizing for spanking you. You deserved every bit of that.”
“I did not,” she insisted.
“Oh, yes, you did.”
“No, I didn’t. But if you’re not apologizing for that, what are you sorry about?”
“Who’s your Aunt Helen?”
“My Aunt Helen Armstrong, the lady that lived here and gave me her house.”
“Helen was your aunt?”
“Yes,” she said, still sniffling.
“That’s what I’m apologizing for. I thought you were just someone trying to break in and take what you wanted. Helen was a wonderful lady and I wanted her family to have her things; not some stranger.”
Brad could tell Chloe was sore, but she also now seemed humbled, even contrite. “I’m glad you did. As I look around, I see so many things that bring back memories. I used to come stay with her sometimes in the summer when I was little.”
The two of them shared several minutes of quiet while they looked around Helen’s living room. Eventually he looked down at the little lady on his lap. “I’m sorry for your loss. Your aunt was a wonderful lady.”
“You said she gave you this house?”
Chloe nodded her head. “About a month ago.” Fresh tears started down her cheeks, which she tried to swipe away with her sleeve. “We were supposed to live here together after I graduated from college.” She swiped a few more tears away as she quietly went on. “I graduated two and a half weeks ago and she was there, at my graduation. She looked good.” There were a few more sniffles and a few more swipes at the tears. “I was going to move in last week. But then she died, and I couldn’t bring myself to do it.”
Brad felt sorry for her. He rubbed her arm and was a little surprised when she leaned in against him, resting her head on his chest and shoulder. “But then I thought she’d want me to live here. So I decided it was time to put my big girl panties on and move in. So here I am.” She was crying again as she managed to add, “But I forgot my key and now you think I was trying to break in.”
He tightened his arms around her a bit more. “Sh, it’s okay, Chloe. I did think that, but you’ve explained it to me now and I believe you.”
She turned her face into his chest and cried. He rubbed her back gently. “I know this has to be hard for you. Take all the time you need, and let all the tears out, Chloe. I’ll hold you right here where you’re safe. You go ahead and let all the hurt out.”
She looked up at him with a confused expression, then did just as he suggested. She cried. He watched as she started to pull herself together, but then cried again. She once again seemed to calm a bit, but then collapsed into tears again, still leaning against his chest. He wasn’t sure what exactly was going through her head, but he knew all the tears were from more than just the spanking, so he kept his arms around her.
He would have been surprised to learn that she was in fact crying for the aunt she’d lost, and for all the memories her house was bringing back to her. He would have been happy to know she cried for how terribly she’d acted, and how embarrassed she was that Brad deemed it appropriate to spank her. And that spanking hurt, so a few of the tears were for the pain. He would have had to hide a smile if he knew she then cried because she hated crying in front of people, and she’d just cried in front of this man that hadn’t deserved to be treated the way she’d treated him, and was now being so understanding to her, even if she didn’t deserve it.
As he watched her, he could tell she was just starting to gain control of her emotions and her tears when the sky outside lit up, followed by a loud clap of thunder. She jumped, grabbed his shirt, and cried again.
Although Brad didn’t know what all the tears were from, he sensed some of the feelings fighting inside her, and quietly tried to give her some assurance. “You’re okay, Chloe. You’re safe here. Try to relax.”
Just as she was beginning to relax a little she saw another streak of lightning, followed by another clap of thunder. Again she jumped and clutched his shirt a little tighter.
Brad felt her jump both times it thundered and knew she had a real, genuine fear of storms. He gave her a little hug, and gently rubbed one of her arms. “It’s okay, Chloe. Once you’ve lived here a little while you’ll learn that these little late summer storms pop up quickly, but they’re generally over with just as quickly. If you’re outside when one pops up you need to get inside, but you’re safe in the house.”
He felt her start to relax a little, so he kept talking softly and rubbing her arm. He told her how often she could expect these little storms to pop up and what the weather was normally like this time of year. It seemed to be helping her, so he kept it up as the rest of the short-lived storm passed.
He waited until it was over to make a suggestion. “Chloe, I think we got off to a bad start. How about if we start all over?”
She looked up at him, looking confused. “What do you mean?”
“Let me help you up, then I’ll show you.” He stood her up in front of him, with her back to him for the sake of privacy, and helped her get her pants and panties back in place. He turned her around and said, “Chloe Sindell, I’m Brad Livingston, chief of police here in Peidmont. Welcome to your new home.” He held his hand out and was happy when she smiled and reached out to shake his hand.
Her face was red and he knew she was embarrassed, but he took the opportunity to actually look at her for the first time and was very impressed. She was a petite lady, not much over five feet tall, and looked young, although now that he could look at her closer he could believe she was early twenties. She said twenty-four, and he supposed it could be possible. She had very pretty long auburn hair with just a touch of curl in it, and beautiful brown eyes that right now held too much sadness for his liking.
“I’m sorry if I was a little quick to doubt your intentions,” he told her, “but I thought an awful lot of your aunt. One of her sisters came by to check on the house last week. I saw her here and stopped in to be sure everything was okay. I told her I’ve been keeping an eye on the house since she passed away. This lady seemed very nice, and she thanked me and gave me a key so if something didn’t look right I could check it out. Was that your mother I met last week?”
“Yes, it was. I had planned on moving in, but when Aunt Helen died so suddenly I just couldn’t do it. Mom said one of us should at least come by and check on it and make sure everything was okay. I couldn’t do it. I had envisioned living here with Aunt Helen after I graduated, and I just wasn’t ready yet to see this house without her. I know it sounds crazy, but I really had to get my head wrapped around the idea that she wouldn’t be here.”
“It doesn’t sound crazy at all,” Brad assured her. “I understand completely.” He thought a few minutes. “I think I also understand now the attitude you had earlier. This was hard for you, and I now see that I didn’t make it any easier for you.”
“No, but that wasn’t your fault. I’m sorry. I didn’t get to see her much for the last seven years. We moved four states away and didn’t get to visit her often, and then I left for college and was gone for six years. We used to be really close, and I was looking forward to getting that closeness back again. I think we both were. Anyway, now I won’t have that opportunity, and I’ve been angry. Then I forgot my key, and I was angry about that, too. I took that anger out on you, and I’m really sorry. I had absolutely no business doing that. Mom and Aunt Helen would be so upset with me right now.”
Tears started again, and it about broke Brad’s heart. He sat back down on the couch, taking her down with him so she was sitting on his lap again, and put his arms around her once again. She laid her head back against his chest. “I’m not so sure they’d be as upset with you as you think, Chloe. I think they’d both understand how you must be feeling right now. I know I do. This has been a very difficult day for you, a very emotional day, and that’s understandable.”
He’d been talking softly and rubbing her arm again, and he felt her calming down. He tucked that into the back of his mind as a useful piece of information he could draw upon in the days to come. As that thought crossed his mind he realized that he hoped there were days to come between them. He felt a connection with this little lady and wanted to get to know her better, but he knew they’d had a rather rough beginning to a relationship. He wasn’t sure she’d be willing to give him that chance, but he knew he had to try.