Love Is Heartless

By: Kim Fielding

A Love Can’t Novel



Small but mighty—that could be Detective Nevin Ng’s motto. Now a dedicated member of the Portland Police Bureau, he didn’t let a tough start in life stop him from protecting those in need. He doesn’t take crap from anyone, and he doesn’t do relationships. Until he responds to the severe beating of a senior citizen and meets the victim’s wealthy, bow-tied landlord.

Property manager and developer Colin Westwood grew up with all the things Nevin never had, like plenty of money and a supportive, loving family. Too supportive, perhaps, since his childhood illness has left his parents unwilling to admit he’s a strong, grown man. Colin does do relationships, but they never work out. Now he’s thinking maybe he won’t just go with the flow. Maybe it’s time to try something more exciting. But being a witness to a terrible crime—or two—was more than he bargained for.

Despite their differences, Colin and Nevin discover that the sparks fly when they’re together. But sparks are short-lived, dampened by the advent of brutal crimes, and Colin and Nevin have seemingly little in common. The question is whether they have the heart to build something lasting.





Thank you to the incomparable Amy Lane, who gave me part of the name of a certain punk band.





Prologue


September 1997



THE HANDCUFFS fucking hurt. That bitch of a cop could’ve used a zip tie, but she’d slapped cuffs on Nevin instead and ratcheted them tight enough to trap his small wrists. The knuckles of his right hand throbbed where they had connected with Prick’s face. Nevin kicked hard at the inside of the squad car, but he only managed to hurt his foot, so he settled into a deep scowl instead.

The cop kept him waiting as she took her sweet time talking to Nevin’s foster father. The guy’s name was Price, but Nevin called him Prick instead—because he was one. Like right now, Prick stood in his driveway with the sun glaring off his bald spot, and he waved his hands in what looked like a dramatic retelling of the afternoon’s events. Dramatic and full of fucking lies, no doubt.

Nevin Ng snarled as he watched. Prick’s nose had swelled, and drying blood splattered his polo shirt. That was good.

The cop finished her conversation with Prick and then spent a long time talking to someone on her radio. When she finally plopped down into the front seat of the squad car, she slammed the door and sighed. She didn’t say anything for such a long time that Nevin began to fidget.

“C’mon,” he finally growled. “Juvie’s waiting.”

She twisted around to look at him through the metal grille. “How old are you, Nevin?”

“Fifteen.” He looked younger. On the rare occasions he’d gone to a restaurant with any of his foster parents, the restaurant staff automatically handed him the children’s menu and crayons. He fucking hated that.

“Pretty soon you’ll be too old for juvie,” the cop said.

“So?”

“So what do you think is going to happen when a pretty little thing like you ends up in jail?”

He bared his teeth. “Any of those assholes come near me, I’ll rip their balls off.” He would, too. He could beat the shit out of guys twice his size.

The cop snorted a laugh. “You’re a tough little twerp, aren’t you?” Her expression softened a bit as she looked at him. “Tell you what. Let’s go get something to eat and have us a little chat.”

“You’re gonna give me a burger before hauling me in?”

“I was thinking something better than burgers. And if we have a good talk, maybe I won’t have to haul you in.”

Nevin narrowed his eyes. “You’re just saying that to keep me calm. I know Prick’s gonna press charges.”

“Prick—um, Mr. Price—has no choice in the matter. I decide whether to arrest you, not him. And if I do, someone in the juvenile unit at the DA’s office decides whether to file a petition.” She faced forward, put on her seat belt, and started the engine.

Nevin’s wrists still hurt, but now he had something else to think about while the car rumbled through traffic. He didn’t know if she was telling him the truth about pressing charges, and he had no idea what her angle might be. What the fuck did she want from him? He considered various possibilities, but nothing made sense.

The car turned onto Macadam, which surprised him. He’d expected her to take I-5 over the river into Northeast, where the juvenile facility was. Instead she pulled into a small strip mall and parked. Then she got out, opened his door, and looked down at him.

“If I take those cuffs off, will you behave?”

“I can’t eat with them on, lady.”

“Not unless I spoon-feed you like a baby bird. But I’m not that maternal. Okay, I’ll take them off, but I warn you—if you make a run for it, I will catch you. And then you’ll be eating your dinner at Donald E. Long instead.”

“They have shitty food.”

She grinned. “So don’t run.”

As she unlocked the cuffs, he considered taking off. But although he was fast, this cop had long legs and looked athletic. Besides, this wasn’t the kind of neighborhood where he could easily hide. And he was hungry. He followed her across the lot.