Outback Meltdown
Alexis Fleming
All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2006 Alexis Fleming
An Authorized Excerpt

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"Oooh, baby. Luscious lips. Wanna gimme some head, sweetcheeks?"

Merindah Byrnes stopped in her tracks. Had she heard what she thought she had?

"Aww, come on, babe. Deep throat me, swallow me whole."

She spun about, looking for the owner of the raspy voice. Afternoon commuters rushing to catch their train home from work crammed the street. Typical city mentality. Head down, pay no attention to anyone else, and whatever you do, don't make eye contact. Those that did quickly flicked their gaze away from her. After all, who wants to eyeball a cop?

No one wanted to be close friends with a cop. That was the trouble with being a policewoman… Merindah grinned. Make that a police person. Have to be politically correct these days.

She glanced around again. She couldn't see anyone acting suspiciously. With a shrug, she turned toward the big gray building squatting on the corner like a giant praying mantis. Police Headquarters, her temporary home for the moment.

With the soles of her shoes slapping on the hard bitumen surface, she marched across the alley that ran down the side of the structure, easy access for the police parking area.

"Come on, bitch. You know you want it. My cock doing a dance in your mouth."

The raucous voice dragged her to a halt. What the fu… She spun around to check out the alleyway. Once -- she could have imagined it. Twice? No way, no how.

"You wanna fuck, baby?"

Okay, that's it. She'd put a stop to this right now. But first, she had to find out who owned the potty-mouth.

People at the entrance to the alley had stopped, bent on the same agenda. Namely, finding out where the obscene language had come from. She pushed through the crowd and stepped into the alley. At the far end, she saw a couple of colleagues coming from the car park. They didn't appear concerned, so odds were they hadn't been close enough to hear.

She allowed her gaze to track across the motley group of Brisbane inhabitants. The voice was definitely male, if slightly distorted. And the person most likely to be responsible was the one not paying the least attention to what was going on. That one, the man crouched over, facing the brick wall of the corner building.

"Hey, you."

He didn't respond. In fact, he hunched down even more. The angle of his body hid his hands from view, but she could see the movement of his upper arms. Up… Down… Up… Down… If she didn't know better, she'd swear he was jerking off. Right here in the alley.

No freakin' way. Not on her patch.

"Yo, bitch, get over here and fuck me."

Merindah pounced, grabbing his shoulder and trying to spin him around. "I'm talking to you, buster. You turn and face me."

"Damn it, don't do that. I'm not finished."

She shook her head. He's not finished? Well, tough.

In the back of her mind, it registered that the voice was different. Smooth. Velvety. Not at all like the croaky tones of before. She shrugged. So he'd disguised his voice in order to get away with his lewd behavior. Still wasn't going to help him.

The crowd started to laugh, riling Merindah up even more. She'd spent the last five years trying to live down the fact that a lot of people thought she was a woman in a man's job. When would they accept that women were just as competent as men when it came to policing?

Not giving the guy time to react, she grabbed one arm and twisted, forcing it behind his back. She bent the hand inward for a little more leverage. "When I tell you to turn around, mate, I mean right now. Not after you finish getting your jollies."

There was a sudden metallic sound and a loud screeching as she pulled him further from the wall. More laughter from the crowd. Merindah looked around, searching for what was so funny. Her mouth dropped open. A tall birdcage hung from the front of his jeans. Inside was a parrot, a sulphur-crested cockatoo with snow-white feathers and a distinctive yellow crest standing up from its head.

The bird was going mental, trying to spread its wings in the limited space. Squawking its head off and banging its hard beak against the wire. Merindah wanted to cover her ears at the cacophony of sound. "What the hell do you think you're doing?" she yelled.

"Let go of me so I can get this blasted cage off my… jeans."

There it was again. That smooth, rich voice that brought to mind sizzling nights and sensual dreams. A girl needed a bit of that in her life. Damn shame she was about to book him.

This time she recognized the American accent. Shit, another tourist who thought he'd take one of Australia's birds home with him. "I'll let you go and you put that cage on the ground, okay?"

"That's what I was trying to do when you grabbed me."

"How the hell did it get attached to your jeans in the first place?"

He leaned over again so the base of the cage sat on the roadway, his hands already at work trying to free it up. "I was carrying it in front of me when the bars got caught around my buckle," he muttered, his head averted as he struggled with his belt.

Hands on hips, she stood there watching him, tapping her foot as he continued to mutter to himself. "Hurry it up. Undo the belt for crying out loud if you can't free it any other way."

"Whoa, baby, you light my fire. I wanna fuck your brains out."

Merindah saw red. How dare this darn… American jerk mock her. The crowd had descended into bouts of laughter, some of them calling out to her to leave the poor bugger alone. To make it worse, her two colleagues stood on the opposite side of the alley crowing like roosters they found it so funny. It'd be around the station in no time flat. Henderson, the oldest of the pair, was the biggest gossip alive.

"Okay, buddy, you're nicked. I don't know about the States, but over here it's an offence to use that type of language in a public place."

At the same time as he whipped his belt off, she reached out and grabbed him by the wrist. The buckle end of the leather strip flew back and swiped her across the arm with enough force to make her wince. "And you can add assaulting a police officer to the charge."

"Hey, it wasn't me," he yelled.

She grabbed his other arm and spun him about, both limbs now twisted up his back. His leg nudged the birdcage, making it rattle against the side of the building. The parrot screamed its outrage, the sound shooting through her head. And all the while, the group of onlookers laughed and snapped pictures as she tried to do her job.

Where was her pride in her status as a police officer now? This guy had made a laughingstock of the uniform. Her ego reared its ugly head. The only way to retrieve the situation was to march him into the police station and book him.

Exerting pressure on his hands, she glared at everyone. "Get about your business, you lot. There's nothing more to see here."

She flicked an angry glance at her fellow officers. "Henderson, if you can stop laughing long enough, grab that parrot cage and haul it into the station."

"Shit, lady, get your hands off me. I didn't do anything. Why the hell are you arresting me?"

"You…" She pushed on his arms a bit harder. "There you go again with the foul language. You're busted, mate."

"I tell you, it wasn't me." He dragged in a loud breath. "It was the parrot." His voice rose on the last word as she propelled him across the alleyway.

"Henderson, get that bloody bird." Ah, crap, now she was swearing in public, but damn it to hell, it was enough to make an angel swear.

Ignoring the laughing commuters, she marched her prisoner up the front stairs of headquarters and down the hallway to an interview room. Henderson and his mate brought up the rear with the screeching parrot held aloft.

"Hey, babe, I'm gonna fuck you until your eyes roll up."

Merindah hauled the American to a standstill at the open door of the interview room, shock ratcheting throughout her system. Oh, my God. Don't let it be so.

Releasing her hold on the so-called criminal, she turned around and stared back down the hallway. Henderson was bent over, holding his stomach, loud guffaws issuing from his slack mouth. In fact, the whole damn station was laughing.

"How 'bout it, sweetcheeks?"

Merindah wished the floor would open up and swallow her whole. Once again, she'd made herself the laughingstock of the station. She'd like to blame the guy behind her, but it wasn't his fault. This was her standard modus operandi. She was either constantly sticking her foot in her mouth, or worse still, acting like the biggest klutz out there.

Another hour. That's all she'd needed. She would have finished for the day and would be heading off on her holiday. One freakin' hour and she'd have avoided all this.

The fucking parrot could talk. She should have recognized the hoarse, raspy tone. She was a country girl, for Christ's sake.

She turned to face her captive. A grin tilted his lips and his brown eyes twinkled with merriment. It was the first time she'd gotten a good look at him and, oh brother…

A spiral of heat snaked from her breasts, down her body to center between her legs. She frowned. What the fucking hell had just happened?

He ran a lazy gaze over her, from her face, down her body to the sensible lace-up regulation footwear. Then up again to linger on her chest. Her nipples peaked and pressed against the soft polyester of her uniform shirt, her bra useless in hiding the telltale effects of his sexy once-over.

She gasped, crossed her arms over her chest and glared at him. For fuck's sake, this guy had totally pissed her off, had contributed to her making a fool of herself, and suddenly her body went on hormone holiday because he stared at her tits? No fucking way.

"I don't want to hear a word from you, or I just might throw you in the tank," she growled. She was acting the bitch, but for some reason, he unsettled her. She was not about to start lusting after some perverted stranger. Okay, in all fairness, he wasn't perverted, but his parrot sure was.

"Hmm, maybe I should put in a complaint about police brutality." He gave a cheeky wink, straightened up and stepped closer. He flicked a finger over the handcuffs tucked through her belt, setting up a metallic jingle. "I did tell you it was the parrot. Maybe we should ask him if he has any suggestions for a good use for these." He flicked at the handcuffs again.

"Ooh, kinky, sweetcheeks, kinky."
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