And he was holding her... and he smelled good... and she looked up into his smiling face ...and promptly passed out.
There was deep laughter from the barkeep and hearty male chuckles from the patrons when Detective Joe Taggert hauled the little gal he had just met over his shoulder.
"Whatcha gonna do now, Tag?" the barkeep asked. "You caught her. I'd say she's yours for the duration." His laughter was echoed by the other patrons watching.
Joe shook his head, not quite sure what to do with the sweet thing he was holding. "Can I put her in your backroom?" he asked. "Let her sleep it off and..."
"No can do," the big man shook his head. "My missus find another gal passed out in her storage room - hell, I can kiss my butt goodbye. Take her home. Sober her up. Get to know her. She's a pretty little thing; probably as sweet as they come."
"Oh yeah?" Joe arched a brow. "How many sweet things you know get drunk as a skunk?"
"Probably had a crappy day. Heard she's been in and out of the house all day."
"And she did come on to you, Tag," his partner grinned. "Not that I think you should take advantage of a lady when she's drunk..." he let the thought dangle.
"Anyone know who she is?"
"Check her ID," was the response. "And her address. Get her home so she can sleep it off."
They checked the handbag that had been hanging on the barstool she had been warming for the past couple of hours. Her driver's license identified her as one Louise Rogers, 32 years old, 5'2" and 102 lbs. Her photo ID didn't do her justice but it was a good picture for a driver's license. She lived in an old brick apartment building off Market Street and by the time he hauled her inert body out of the car, he was half in love with her.
First... she was a doll. A drunk doll but a doll nonetheless and she talked in her sleep. He hadn't stopped chuckling at her rambling speech and didn't know whether the outrageous things she said had happened that day, that week, that month or was an entire chronology since she reached puberty. He was torn between spanking her and kissing her and thought that when she was coherent again... he might just do both.
And oh boy! She was a looker and so sweet when he held her in his arms that he had been hard pressed to let her go so he could drive her home. By the time they got to her building, she had snuggled up against his side and had her hand in his shirt. And when she started talking, it had taken a moment for him to realize she was still in the "Bud" zone and not aware of her words or her actions.
He grinned, wishing he had taped this. She was pretty darn graphic about her needs and her wishes for the size of his equipment and whether or not he'd be a one-night stand or worthy of a repeat performance. Chuckling at her outrageous words, he knew then and there she was gonna get her bottom warmed regardless of what she thought of his performance.
"That Louise you got in your arms?" the building super asked when he carried her into the elevator.
"Sure is," he replied. "Can you fish into her purse and get her key out for me?"
"Who're you?" the super asked, eyeing him with more curiosity than concern.
"Joe Taggert," he smiled. "Detective Joe Taggert, Kirkland Division. My shield's in my inside pocket. Give me a sec; I'll show you."
The super eyed the gold shield, nodded and when they reached the apartment in question, keyed open the door. "You gonna leave her on the couch or put her to bed?"
"I'll leave her on the couch, write her a note and..."
"I wouldn't do that if I were you," the older man said in a serious tone.
"She get drunk a lot?" Joe asked.
"No, but when she does, she gets pretty darn sick. You wanna get her close to the bathroom; put her on the bed, okay? I don't want to have to clean the rugs this close to the changeover."
"Building's going condo Monday; Louise gotta be out of here by midnight tomorrow."
"Do you have the address for her new place?"
"She ain't got one. Far as I know, she's on the streets or in her car till she gets settled again. Lock the door when you leave, 'k?" he said calmly and left one sober Detective Joe Taggert alone with one drunk and unconscious Louise Rogers who it was rumored would hurl when she woke up from her drunken stupor.
"Louie, Louie, Louie," he grinned as he moved toward her bedroom. "Passed out and in my arms. You are *such* a naughty little girl." He chuckled, then burst into full-blown laughter; he was going to have so much fun with this little doll.
Every time she turned over, she groaned. Every time she groaned, Joe Taggert chuckled. "You might hurl, little girl, but I'll tell you right now. You're gonna have a hell of a hangover and a bit of aspirin isn't gonna cure you at all."
"Wh-a-at-?" she mumbled as she finally opened her bleary eyes. "Who the hell are you?"
"Your savior?" he asked with great mirth, gently picking her up and heading for the bathroom... just in case.
"My what?" she hissed and then her stomach took that moment to turn upside down, bile and beer rising... Her eyes went wide and her next breath hitched onto a hook in her throat and gasping for oxygen, she hurled. Her aim was slightly off but Joe had maneuvered her close enough to the commode that when they made it to the floor, most of what she got rid of was deposited in the right place.
"Better?" he asked softly as he kneeled behind her.
"How's your head?" he asked as he wet a cloth to wash her face.
"Fine," she muttered and yanked the cloth from his hands. "And I will ask one more time. Who the hell are you?"
"Ohhhhhh," she moaned as her brain finally registered the piercing stabbing pain between her eyes. "Jesus, this sucks!" she declared and then sank to the floor before he could stop her.
"You drink too much," he said softly as he lifted her into his arms and made his way back to her bed. "And you have a naughty mouth. Got to do something about that," he added as he lay her on top of the covers.
"Who did you say you were?" she asked, her hand covering her eyes, her stomach still dancing the marenga.
"I'm the guy you asked to dance and who picked you up when you passed out," he informed her. "I'm the guy you propositioned..." he let the words dangle and chuckled when she raised her brows at that declaration. "I'm the guy who brought you home from the bar and I'm the guy who's gonna take good care of you... in my own fashion."
"What the hell does that mean?" she asked, suddenly remembering him and then winced at the pain in her head caused by simply moving her jaw.
"Keep up the belligerence and find out," he cautioned.
"You're a dumb cop, aren't you?" she hissed, her nerve coming back with the pain.
"If some damn cop hadn't ticketed my car, I wouldn't be in this mess in the first place. Never a cop around when you need one," she complained. "But always there when you could give a flying f..."
"Woman!" he said sharply, his hand covering her mouth. "Don't say it! Don't even think it! Lose the attitude or I'll spank you silly!"
"Spank me?" she huffed. "As if I'd let you!"
"I can just warm your butt sweet," he said calmly as he lifted her to his chest. "Or I can sear it so it burns for a week. Your choice, doll," his words firmly spaced, his voice low and his eyes daring her.
"Police brutality!" she spit and tried to swing at him but her head was still spinning, her stomach lurched again and it seconds, the rest of what she had imbibed that day erupted all over his chest.