Something, Seriously

Something, Seriously (working title)

This full-length standalone is an Us, Again spin-off about Marisa and Derek!

Coming in 2021 (Release Date TBD)

He believes in love. She’s just in it to have fun. Now he’s determined to convince her that they could be something…if she’ll take it seriously.

Marisa Perez is more than happy to cheer on her friends getting their happily ever after’s, but she’s permanently benched herself from the game of love. Been there, done that, gave the shitty t-shirt to Goodwill. She’s too busy getting her PhD to care about an “MRS” Gracias, pero no.

So when she meets Officer Derek Schwartz and sparks immediately fly, she’s all for getting horizontal with the sexy cop (or vertical…she’s pretty much open to any and all positions). What she didn’t count on was the stronger feelings that start to develop, or that Derek would be hellbent on pushing their relationship from Casual Town to Commitmentville.

Marisa doesn’t let anyone push her around, and she won’t give in easily to Derek’s attempts at persuasion. That body, though…

Seriously, what’s a girl to do?

Continue reading for an excerpt!

01. Officer Guapo

boca grande: 
big mouth (also the name of an island in Florida where lots of old rich people live)


What am I doing?

Mama always says, “Ah, my Marisa, always so quick to use her mouth before she uses her brain.” (Of course, it sounds much more dramatic in Spanish, which my mother insists on using almost exclusively despite being fluent in English after 15 years living in the US.)

Well, Mama would be right about this one. My boca grande is definitely to blame for my current situation.

Don’t get me wrong, there are worse places to be – the man sitting across from me at this table is smoking hot. Even hotter than the coffee he just bought me, which I sipped too fast (I was trying to stall) and burned my tongue. Adios, taste buds. See you in a couple of days.

However, there are a few major problems with this scenario:

1. Our little date is taking place in a hospital cafeteria (which has terrible coffee, by the way).

2. The reason I’m in this hospital in the first place is because my BFF slash roommate Mackenzie was attacked outside our house earlier.

And the real winner:

3. The man I’m with is a Boston police officer I met because he was here to take Mackenzie’s statement about the assault.

How do you get yourself into these kinds of situations? I ask myself, because sometimes holding inner conversations in the third person is refreshing.

I didn’t mean to be the insensitive asshole who basically goes on a date while her best friend is laid up in the Emergency Room. It’s not like I planned it.

Approximately half an hour ago, I left Kenz with her boyfriend Graham and took a walk to gather myself. (Even a badass cabrona like yours truly can get a little shaken sometimes, and seeing my best friend bruised and battered is essentially the equivalent of a tornado for my nerves.) So, I wandered down to the cafeteria and bought a coffee (I know…wait for it) before making my way back up to her little hospital room.

It was when I opened the door that my eyes first landed upon the delectable ass of Officer Derek Schwartz. The cheap fabric of those police uniforms is not particularly forgiving—his middle-aged female partner is a prime example—but the manufacturers should photograph this man’s backside to use in their catalogs, because he makes them look like Hot Couture. Then he turned around, and I saw the front—broad shoulders, dark hair in a neat crewcut, a smoothly shaven jaw so chiseled it would make Michelangelo weep, and eyes the color of the ocean.

Seriously, the Boston Police Department should put him on some billboards, because holy mother of mouthwatering man meat, I’m tempted to sign myself up right now.

But again, this was a less than ideal moment to be ogling Officer Schwartz. He was there looking into my best friend’s case, meaning he was in the middle of writing up a report about how this afternoon a man accosted her in our driveway, tried to drag her into his car, hit her hard enough to give her a concussion, and cut her with a knife. There is nothing laughable about this situation. So, being the levelheaded and respectful person I am, I do the most appropriate thing possible: I start flirting with the police officer.

I’m a Psych major, which means I’m fully aware that I deflect when things get too serious, inevitably defaulting to humor and sex. What sucks is that, while I can recognize the behavior clinically, I’m still human so I do the shit anyway.

I don’t know what I was expecting to happen—actually, I never even had the chance to create expectations because I didn’t stop for a single second to think my actions through. If anything, I guess deep down I just thought it would break up the stress of the day—I’d have some fun pushing the man’s buttons, eye fuck him for a couple of minutes, maybe put a smile on Mackenzie’s face.

Then he surprised the hell out of me with an invitation to get coffee with him downstairs. I agreed while pulling a straight-up ninja move slipping my—yep, still totally full—coffee cup onto the table behind me.

“Lead the way, Officer Guapo,” I said. I like giving people nicknames, and guapo (aka handsome) certainly fits him.

Then he went a step further and did something that simultaneously shocked me and turned my panties into a humid tropical climate.

“¿Crees que soy guapo?”  That’s right, without so much as a pause he asked, “You think I’m handsome?” In perfect Spanish with only a hint of an American accent.

Yeah, folks, there is definitely a strong chance of precipitation happening down in the southern tropics.

But while it was sexy, it was also kind of frightening, because he caught me off guard, and I am not a woman who is caught off guard often. It’s not an easy thing to do, to render me speechless. But I was, and I remained speechless our whole walk down the hall to the elevator.

Let’s be real—when I spontaneously came up with that little nickname, I never thought he’d know what it meant. I’m almost embarrassed, which is also not something I experience often. I mean, it’s like being back in junior high—I just wrote a note about how I think he’s cute and passed it to a friend, only to have him intercept and read it. Was I being subtle about the fact that I’m attracted to him? No. But there’s a difference between openly eye fucking a man and telling him you think he’s handsome. As a general rule, I don’t lay all my cards out on the table like that. 

I feel oddly vulnerable and exposed – which probably has more to do with this Mackenzie situation than the sexy cop, but he’s here to witness it and that’s not okay. At all.

“So, how long have you and Mackenzie been roommates?” the aforementioned sexy cop asks me, breaking me out of my extremely uncharacteristic silence.

“Ever since we got paired up in the dorms freshman year.”

“And you’ve known Graham a while?”

I glare at him. My eyes say, I don’t think so, Mr. Policeman. You’re not going to get information out of me.

He raises his hands palms out, chuckling. “Just making conversation.”

Right. That makes sense. Retract claws, you maniac! I suppose I’m extra touchy because Graham has a criminal record, and there’s more to the story behind this guy who hurt Kenz that I’m pretty sure didn’t make it into her statement. It’s a real clusterfuck. And I am not going to be the one who tells Officer McSexy about any of that. You can go take that honeypot to some other tree, Pooh Bear.

I forcibly relax my shoulders, and answer his question like a sane person. “I haven’t known Graham too long. He and Mackenzie recently reconnected—they dated in high school and started things back up a few months ago.”

This is like saying “Harry Potter is about a boy with a scar on his forehead”—oversimplified to the point of absurdity. I’m also not going into that story right now, though. Those two have enough drama to fill an entire damn novel.

Derek’s blue eyes scrutinize me, and I curse myself for acting suspiciously a moment ago. I seriously can’t remember the last time I was this off point. Fortunately, his next words have nothing to do with Graham or Mackenzie.

“I’m clearly asking the wrong questions. Help me out here. What should I want to know about you?”

“You’re asking for a cheat sheet? You’re a cop—shouldn’t you be top-notch at the questioning thing?

“I’m better at questioning criminals than pretty girls.”

He smiles wider than before and—holy shit—Derek Schwartz has a dimple. A single perfect dimple a few inches from his lips on the left side of his face. That dimple mesmerizes me, and I get sucked into its forcefield of charm. How can something so adorable also be so fucking sexy? I can’t decide which I want to do first: bite it, or stick my tongue in it.

I realize I’ve been staring way too long when he laughs softly, which makes the dimple dance and deepen. My eyes fly back up to his to find them sparkling at me with knowing amusement. Get it together, Marisa! 

“So, what do you do?” he asks, apparently deciding to let my gawking go without comment. He also seems to be going with First Date 101 questions. Okay, I can deal with that.

“I go to BC with Mackenzie.”

“What are you studying?”

“I’m getting my Ph.D. in Psychology.”

I watch his face, waiting for the inevitable flicker of surprise that the loud-mouthed brown girl has a brain as impressive as her ass. There’s nothing, though, except a brief reappearance of that dimple.

“Are you from the area originally?”

“Boston girl, all my life.”

I’m usually not this closemouthed, but something about this man—or this day, or maybe both—has thrown me off kilter. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it) he seems undeterred by my lackluster responses.

“I grew up in the South Shore. Most of my family still lives right around Boston.”

“You have a big family?”

The dimple appears again. “My mom and stepdad, and four sisters. And lots of aunts and uncles and cousins.”

“Wow, four sisters!”

“Yep. My older sister and I are pretty close in age, then my mom had my other sisters after she married my stepdad, so they’re a lot younger. What about you? Any siblings?”

“One sister, she’s two years younger.” 

He sips from his coffee, but his eyes never stray from my face. “Is your family local?”

I expected this, so I’m able to keep my face expertly impassive even though this happens to be a bit of a touchy subject for me. “My grandmother, sister, and niece still live in Mattapan in the house where I grew up.”

“And your parents?”

“They moved back to Cuba a few years ago.”

“Oh,” he says, unable to contain the edge of surprise in his tone. I can’t blame him—what parents leave their two daughters and grandchild and move to another country? Mine, apparently.

“How old is your niece?”

“She just turned 5.”

The conversation is surprisingly comfortable after that, and I even feel a touch of disappointment when he says he has to go and meet his partner (the uptight looking blonde woman I caught only a glimpse of earlier). 

I give him my phone number when he asks (have I mentioned the dimples and fantastic ass?) but I’m half hoping he’ll forget to use it. As much as I like looking at Officer Derek Guapo Schwartz, he gives off a decidedly strong “looking for a girl to wife up” vibe, and that’s not something I want to touch with a ten-foot pole. (Damn, that expression could inspire some epic penis innuendos! Another time.) The last thing I need or want in my life is a man who’s set on riding the commitment train—I’m firmly on the Fuck Buddy Express these days and don’t have any intention of switching lines.

We’re about to get up from our little table and leave the cafeteria when he leans forward and pins me with those gorgeous blues.

“I like you, Marisa Perez.”

I’m all for straight shooting, but madre de dios this man is direct. 

“Don’t worry, the condition isn’t terminal.”

Instead of giving me disapproval eyes for making the crack while we’re in a hospital, or looking hurt that I’ve all but shut him down, he grins. 

“Who says I want to be cured?”

I can’t.

Copyright Elle Maxwell 2020. All Rights Reserved.