Officer Off Limits Online - Tessa Bailey Page 0,1

you like to see our dessert menu?”

“No, thank you,” Fisher replied, already reaching for his wallet.

And honestly, denying her a look at the dessert menu was the straw that finally broke the chocoholic’s back. Perhaps it made her childish, but Story figured her wasted months of planning a wedding that would no longer take place had at least earned her some damn tiramisu. Call off my wedding, but leave me my desserts.

“Actually,” Story interceded with a bright smile, “I’d like a slice of chocolate cake and a bottle of your most expensive champagne, please. To go.”

Fisher’s valuable surgeon’s hand froze in the act of removing his credit card. “Very funny.”

She merely raised an eyebrow at the waitress, who shifted rather uncomfortably. “Ma’am, we can’t sell you alcohol to leave the premises. It’s against the law.”

“Really?” She jerked a thumb toward Fisher. “Because my fiancé brought me here tonight to break off our engagement. Two weeks before the wedding.”

She nodded primly when the waitress’s mouth dropped open, her eyes flashing wide at Fisher. “I’ll see what I can do.”

Story clapped her hands once. “Excellent.”

As the waitress scurried off toward the kitchen, Fisher turned to her. “You’re making this harder than it needs to be. I didn’t want it to be like this.”

With a calm she didn’t feel, Story pushed back her chair and stood. “I think I’m going to head home now. Unless you were planning on offering me some kind of severance package…?”

“I’m sorry,” he responded, looking as though he wanted to say more, but ultimately remaining silent.

Deciding then and there that Fisher wasn’t worth another moment of her time, Story ignored him. Between his distant attitude the last few months and now his halfhearted apology, she’d had enough of feeling undeserving. Never again. She spotted the waitress exiting the kitchen holding a bottle of champagne. Her posture and expression communicated how indignant she felt on Story’s behalf and it made her want to cry for the first time that evening. A fact that definitely needed further investigation, since she hadn’t yet shed a single tear over her broken engagement.

Placing the to-go box and a bottle of chilled champagne on the table, the waitress ignored Fisher, addressing only Story. “I’m supposed to tell you that any open containers must remain inside the restaurant. But if you happen to slip out without me noticing, I guess I can’t do anything about it, can I?” After casting one final glare at Fisher, she pivoted on a heel and stalked away.

Gotta love female solidarity.

Story aimed the bottle away from her body and twisted the cork, eliciting a loud popping noise and drawing the attention of the surrounding patrons. At least the ones who hadn’t already been watching the scene unfold with rabid interest.

With a shrug, she raised the bottle to her lips and took a long, healthy swig. Whispers and uncomfortable laughter filled the room. For the first time in way too long, she couldn’t have cared less.

“Story, please stop this,” Fisher begged, as he shrank down into his seat.

Holding the bottle by the neck, Story weaved her way through the now-silent restaurant, to-go bag tucked under the opposite arm. To her right, one particular table caught her eye. A man and woman sat shaking their heads.

She gestured with the bottle in their direction. “Oh, what are you looking at? He’s leaving me for someone with a bob. A fucking bob!”

Finally outside, her painfully uncomfortable heels clicked along the sidewalk until she reached the town car Fisher had hired to drive them to and from the restaurant. The driver hopped out and opened the door for her, thankfully without acknowledging the bottle she carried. Story dug around in her purse and produced two twenty-dollar bills before rattling off her apartment address.

Leaning back against the leather seat as the town car pulled onto the highway, Story took another deep pull of the cold champagne, then held the bottle against her forehead as she swallowed. She’d have a bitch of a hangover tomorrow, but at least she didn’t have to teach a room full of kindergartners in the morning.

Thank God for summer vacation.

She reached into her purse and pulled out her phone with the intention of calling her mother. Instead, the device buzzed in her palm, signaling an incoming call. With a frown, she stared down at the unfamiliar area code and slid her finger across the screen to answer.


“Yes, hi. Is this Ms. Story Brooks?”

She tipped the already half-empty bottle to her lips and