Alec Hardy and the female journalist

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Set just after the Latimer case was solved, DI Hardy is on medical leave but worms his way back in a few hours a day to stop himself going insane while waiting for his op.  An investigative journalist called Rose Tyler arrives in Broadchurch and sets out to make his life a misery until he confronts her and they get tangled up in a love affair while she is still trying to get the lowdown on him.

Set after the Latimer case was solved, Alec Hardy is on medical leave but worms his way back in a few hours while waiting for his op. Then Rose Tyler, an investigative journalist arrives in Broadchurch and sets out to make his life a misery until they get tangled up in a love affair while she is still trying to get the lowdown on him. 

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Chapter 1

Set just after the Danny Latimer case is solved and focuses on Alec and Rose's turbulent relationship.

Rose Tyler never meets The Doctor and leaves school and gets taken on as a junior reporter for a local paper, working her way up and gets spotted by a popular magazine when she starts doing articles on infamous people, especially those who have failed miserably and made a comeback, sometimes for all the wrong reasons. Her editor has followed the murder case in a small Dorset town called Broadchurch and after seeing who the leading investigator was and his sudden reprieve from a damaging past, sends Rose to do a story on him much to Alec Hardy's annoyance since he's just got rid of another reporter. They never expected to fancy each other to the point Alec just wants to take her to bed after their second heated meeting but he's not quite in a fit state to do so and Rose thinks at first he's stuck up but they come to a compromise.

Don't get mad at me - I love David Tennant to bits, he's amazing but I thought it would be amusing to get Rose's point of view about him! She is a little minx!


"Rose, I think it would be a good idea to take a trip to the seaside, that little town that's been in all the news where that poor boy was murdered," Rose's editor of the gritty 'Libra' magazine, Miss Stevens said, looking over her laptop as Rose sat trying to look interested.

Rose had only just returned from holiday after a rather annoying assignment of following some Scottish bloke around who was kicking up a fuss with older actors about bringing his screaming fans to the serious theatre and lowering the tone. Not to mention the fact he'd repeatedly tried to chat her up and wouldn't take no for an answer when she really didn't fancy him and she was glad to get away after snogging him a few times to keep him quiet.

"Oh come on Rose, this is the perfect assignment for you. A male Detective Inspector, heart condition, nearly died on the case plus, his case before that was thrown out because evidence was lost and now he's taking all the glory for solving that poor boy's murder when it was someone close to home who actually committed it. It's right up your street. To make things better, you get a couple of weeks by the sea, all expenses paid. Get Lisa to fix a place for you to stay and get yourself down there. Any questions?"

"Yeah, just one, if the detective in question is Scottish, can I quit now?"

Miss Stevens laughed. "I'll warn you now Rose, he is Scottish, his name is Alec Hardy and he's nothing like your last assignment. He's shall we say more complex. He won't speak to the press and only gave one interview to the town paper after their reporter dug some dirt up on him. You'll have your work cut out for you, just how you like it."

Rose smiled, she liked a challenge so long as the assignment wasn't inviting her to his hotel room every night.

"Okay, I'm in, when do I leave?"

"Soon as you get things arranged. The trial starts soon so you'll catch the detective in an anxious mood wanting to get it over and done with, he won't be in a very good mood and it will make a good story. You could call it the anger after the storm, get the low-down on him and see what makes him tick, the usual stuff."

Rose smiled to herself, just her kind of assignment then, all mean and moody and definitely not wanting a reporter following him around everywhere, unlike the last one who insisted she attended his theatre performances and offered to let her into his dressing room afterwards. She had just about got over that.

With that, she went off to get the arrangements sorted and phoned her mother to tell her she was going away again. She was hardly home these days, travelling around all over the place, sometimes having to follow her assignment around if they were touring or working away. She didn't just cover actors and other personalities, sometimes she followed self made celebrities who had actually got an audition on a TV reality show and been thrown out and they'd made a fuss and got more famous for going to the papers with their sob story of how they were cheated of their potential fame. Still, that was life and her job and she loved it, especially if she annoyed someone along the way and she couldn't annoy the last one as much as she tried, it just made him go after her more.

Right then, this new assignment was going to get the works, detective inspector or not, this Alec Hardy was going to get very annoyed with her and there would be very little he could do about it so she thought - she hadn't met Alec Hardy.


Alec Hardy sat at his desk, well his temporary one, someone else was sitting in his old office, taking charge until he could regain his status and he was determined now that wasn't going to be long. Another DI had been drafted in from a nearby town while he was supposed to be on medical leave but he had bribed his way back a few hours a day, saying he could make himself useful by clearing paperwork from the case he had just solved and that the chief owed him that much for doing so, he could help prepare the case for the upcoming trial. His ex partner had left town to give her kids a new start but he planned to stay in touch with her and stick by her during the fiasco that was to follow.

The last of the mob of reporters had just left town and he was looking forward to having a little peace and quiet to gather his strength, what he had left, to give evidence at the trial which was why he had asked to go back to work otherwise he'd go crazy sitting in his hotel room staring at the walls and contemplating asking Ms Fisher to reconsider her answer. He felt better, now he was taking regular medication and not when he felt like it and the pressure was off, he no longer had to hide the fact he was practically terminally ill, it was sort of a reprieve. Taking it easy, just sitting at a boring desk going through everything and giving testimony at the upcoming trial, he could do that. Stay out of trouble he'd been told by the doctor at the local hospital he had walked out of several times, yeah right, him, Alec Hardy stay out of trouble, it had followed him from his last case.

He had been doomed to have trouble follow him so this was going to be his biggest challenge yet, keep calm, take his medication and give evidence a few minutes a day. The court had his medical report from the police CMO, stating he could give evidence for short periods and there was to be no hostile cross examination and a medical team would be standing by and that was all under the understanding he was to have an operation afterwards. They had practically said there wasn't much of a case without his testimony but if need be, he could give written evidence if he became too ill to appear in person. As for his ex partner, well he didn't know what was happening there but could hazard a guess, she just wanted to put it behind her and support her two boys.

The three hours he spent in the temporary office passed quickly but he was under strict orders not to put in any overtime under any circumstances so he closed his laptop and went to get his jacket. It was just gone two so he thought he'd walk to the caf across the harbour and get a late lunch then take his time walking back to the hotel and try to charm Becca and see if she was interested in taking him on for a while, nothing too strenuous but she knew his condition and might be up for a bit of fun. Crikey, he was desperate, not for choosing her of all people when he knew about her affair with a married man but because he was prepared to take anything he could get. He did not know a certain Miss Rose Tyler had checked into the hotel just after 2pm and would turn his quiet life upside down.


Rose arrived at The Trader's hotel just before two and went to check in before dragging her cases to her room. She had noticed with amusement that Alec Hardy's name was on the register. It seemed a decent place as hotels go, she had been in some really bad ones and she found the owner to be fairly pleasant, Australian by the sound of her accent and Rose thought she may get on well with her. Becca apologised for the lack of staff to help with her luggage but Rose was used to that. It didn't take long for her get her two cases into her room and start unpacking though why she had two small cases instead of one large one she didn't know, it was just a habit. Her shoulder bag contained her laptop and charger and mobile internet for hotels that didn't offer free wi-fi access but she had asked about access and had been given the password.

She started her article, just going over what she already knew about the man she was going to hound for the next two weeks but this one she was going to have to go easy on due to his condition so she was going to have to be tactful and handle him with care or he might get stressed out and she would be in trouble if she caused him to end up in hospital.

Feeling hungry, she went down to the dining room just after six and spotted an empty table then she spotted her prey, Alec Hardy, sat on his own studying the menu wearing a pair of rimless glasses but looking over the edge of them. Since he wasn't eating, she thought it was the ideal opportunity to introduce herself, she liked her victims to know who she was before pouncing on them and following them everywhere. Just her luck to have been booked into the same hotel but now she was going to take advantage of it.

She walked boldly up to him as he put down the menu and put his specs in his top pocket.

"Hi, I'm Rose Tyler, I just arrived today and you are Alec Hardy?"

She hoped to catch him off guard.

"Well, you seem to know me but I don't think we've met before," Alec replied sarcastically.

"May I join you a moment Alec? Can I call you Alec?"

He was about to say this young blonde woman could call him anything she wanted but thought better of it until he knew what she wanted. He gestured for her to sit opposite.

"Alec, I'd like to make an appointment with you to interview you for a magazine, can I do that?"

He shook his head bloody reporters, he'd just got rid of the bane of his life Miss White and here was another one although this one at least had the decency to ask him first and she was far more attractive.

"I don't give interviews and I don't speak to the press. When are you reporters going to leave me alone?"

He picked up the glass from the table and poured some water, taking a sip. He was supposed to take his pill before he had his evening meal along with the one he took at breakfast. He fumbled in his inside jacket pocket and brought out a strip of tablets and tapped one out and swallowed it, quite oblivious that he still had company or simply not caring she saw him, he supposed if she were the press she was aware of his condition so there was nothing to hide.

"Now if you'll excuse me Miss Tyler, I'd like to order my meal."

He waved for the waitress to come over and take his order. Rose didn't move but shook her head when the waitress turned to her and said she would be moving tables shortly and asked her to come back.

Alec tried to ignore her but she wasn't going away. He frowned at her.

"You gave an interview to the local reporter here in Broadchurch but I'm not a reporter as such, I'm an investigative journalist and I do articles on infamous people, not that you're infamous as such but you solved that recent case against all odds after your other case failed and came back from the brink so to speak. I just wanted to get some insight into how you solved the case and battled your illness. I can do the article with or without your help, I like to be polite and ask first. So, have you changed your mind?"

Alec shook his head again, there was no way he was doing this to himself but he was under no illusions she would back off and would do the article whether he liked it or not but she wasn't going to get any help from him.

"I told you, I don't speak to the press and that includes articles from newspapers or magazines. Now I'd like to eat my meal if you don't mind."

Rose got up to leave as the waitress approached and indicated to a vacant table but before she left she turned back to him.

"Well, I did ask so if you see me following you around, don't be surprised. I won't bother you in your own time, just when you're working so I won't be invading your personal life. Nice to meet you Alec."

She walked across to the empty table and looked at the menu. Alec Hardy was indeed going to be a challenge and the tougher the better, just how she liked it.

Alec was annoyed, very annoyed that someone else was bothering him just when the media circus had finally left him alone but they would be back for the trial but since the trial was out of town, he'd be able to commute and stay out of their way, it was only a thirty minute car ride across the border into Devon to the court and he was to be driven there and back each day. What was this Rose Tyler wanting to interview him for? Didn't she have anyone else to pick on? What had he done to deserve her unwanted attention? He risked a glance across the dining room at her, she was certainly attractive, there was no doubt about it. He shook the feeling off and continued his meal, contemplating approaching Becca, she hadn't been there when he'd got back. He could go for a short fling with her, nothing serious of course, she knew it would kill him but just a casual thing wouldn't harm, he was lonely and just wanted some female company.

Rose saw him looking at her, wondering if he had changed his mind. Maybe he was annoyed she had bothered him at dinner. So she decided to try another approach and confront him at the Police Station the next day. She went back to her room and looked at what she had written so far. It was all jumbled up, just random sentences waiting to be made sense of but she added some personal thoughts of her initial meeting with him and concluded he was just lonely and grossly misunderstood. She switched off her laptop and turned on the TV to watch one of her favourite programmes and tried to forget about him.


Alec had no luck finding Becca, she must have gone out for the evening. Oh well, there was always tomorrow, he could even have changed his mind by then and not bother. He'd lasted this long, maybe he could wait until after his operation when he could actually do something about it instead of just thinking about it but he had these sudden urges every now and then that needed something to be done about them, anything apart from pleasing himself, that he'd never do in a million years, he had to take a very cold shower instead but just something to relieve the tension until it passed but finding a woman who understood was not easy. Becca understood, she knew having sex would probably result in him being in hospital but just taking the edge off it until he was well again would help but would she be willing to oblige?

Well at least he wouldn't be embarrassed or insult a woman by not actually going the whole way and risked getting slapped or worse. It seemed Ms Fisher was unobtainable at least for tonight but maybe she had found herself another man anyway and wouldn't be interested in what little he had to offer. So it was the cold shower again for him tonight, something he should be used to by now. It never occurred to him that his answer lay with the woman who had just interrupted his dinner and put him in a bad mood.


Rose was determined the next morning to follow the detective to work so she settled herself in the guest lounge with her magazine and her phone and waited for him to go out. It was ten thirty before he put in an appearance and walked past the lounge and stopped at reception and talked to the woman behind it, Becca. Rose couldn't hear what they were talking about, probably about room prices or he was complaining about something, probably her for interrupting him last night and was going to get the woman to throw her out or politely tell her to get the hell out of his face at dinner.

Rose put her phone away and got up, making sure he had left and walked up to Becca.

"Watcha, tell me Becca, is there anything interesting to do around here, I might be a journalist but I want a social life as well, it's not all about work," Rose laughed, leaning on the desk casually.

Becca glanced up. She knew Rose was a journalist and had read several of her articles, the last one in particular that had just been published in the fortnightly magazine and she had found it amusing to say the least. "Well, there's not much to do on the seafront at night but there are a few places up in the town you might want to try."

Rose thanked her and went out, trying to make it look like she wasn't following the detective, she was good at that when potential victims of her articles didn't want attention and wished her last one had been one of them. Honestly, she must have been the only female in the UK who wouldn't want to get up close and personal with the bloke. He was tall, Scottish and fit, very fit and charming to say the least but she just didn't see anything special in him. Was there something wrong with her? He'd even tried several times to give her his personal mobile number which she had declined and the last few days before she had finished following him around, he'd cornered her and tried to snog her and she'd given in after the second attempt and found he wasn't bad at it but had refused to give him her number but they had parted amicably. She had regretted it afterwards though, she should have resisted a bit more furtively. Still, he had been slightly better than the toad who had tried to corner her a few months before that. She had just slapped him, reality TV star or not.

Rose made her way to the Police Station and walked up the few steps and into the front lobby. It was a strange building, round at the front with a square bit added to the back, well large square bit added plus an underground car park but it looked tiny from the front. She asked at the desk for Detective Inspector Hardy and conned the desk sergeant into believing he was expecting her by flashing her press badge at him and batting her eyelids and was told he had his office on the second floor, turn left when she got out of the lift and it was the second door on the right, just before the door marked CID. Rose assured the poor sergeant there was no need to inform the Inspector of her arrival and she almost felt sorry for the man who would surely get a roasting from Hardy for letting her up there.

She found her mark's door. It was a glass door with glass either side and pull down blinds that were open and she could see Hardy sitting at his desk, looking at a pile of papers. She tapped lightly on the door and he shouted, "Come in" before he had even looked up. His face dropped when he saw who it was.

"Oh not you again, Miss Tyler, who let you up?" he said, getting up to show her out of his office.

"Before you say anything Inspector, just hear me out?"

He stood with his hand on the door, ready to throw her out.

"Look, I don't know why anyone would even want to do an article about me but I'm not remotely interested in taking part. I know I can't stop you if you don't harass me outside work but if you approach me again, I'll have to think about doing something about it. Now please leave before I have that idiot of a desk sergeant remove you and I kick his ass out of the building for letting you in."

He held the door even wider, waiting for her to move.

Rose stood her ground. "Just hear what I have to say, please?" Hardy stood at the door, his arm outstretched to grab hold of her and remove her from his office. "Listen, I'm going to do the article anyway so why don't you just give me five minutes to ask you a few questions?"

She continued while Hardy was looking slightly more flustered. Rose knew she'd have to leave soon or she would be calling for an ambulance.

"I just want five minutes of your time, not now, maybe later in the hotel bar? I just want an insight into how you solved the case and your reactions now it's over," she persisted.

She could see he was getting even madder now.

She turned around and Hardy was careful not to touch her arm as she stopped while he tried to usher her out as fast as he could.

"So you won't change your mind then?" she asked hopefully as she crossed out into the corridor. Hardy shook his head. "Okay, I'll leave for now but my invitation stands if you let me buy you a drink later."

Rose walked back to the lift, hearing his glass door slam behind him and wondered why the thing didn't shatter into millions of pieces on impact. "Must get used to him slamming it then," she thought as the lift arrived.

Hardy went back to sit at his desk and tried to calm himself. Who the hell did she think she was turning up at his office? She must have been waiting for him to leave, he thought he had seen her in the guest lounge before he'd spoken to Becca before he left. That had been a waste of time, talking to Becca. She had told him in no uncertain terms she had a new man in her life and she couldn't go for a bit of fooling around with him anyway, well why should she when she could get the real thing elsewhere? He buried himself back in the papers he was reading before he had been so rudely interrupted and was going to have 'words' with the desk sergeant before he left and kick his arse for letting the journalist in. If it meant he had to take an extra pill then so be it, he would get some satisfaction out of it for that idiot letting her in and getting him all worked up about it.

Why the hell couldn't she just leave him alone and what trashy magazine was interested in writing a piece about him? A newly reprieved detective who had taken weeks to solve a murder when he had sat across the dinner table with the culprit. It had been pure luck he had finally discovered the truth and he wasn't proud about how long it had taken him, if he had been well, he would have cracked it in days, not weeks. That's what you get for being a prat and letting your own now ex wife handle valuable evidence then taking the blame.

Why was he even getting this riled about that woman? He had a good mind to tell her exactly what he thought of her, well that or screw the life out of her if he even could.


Rose was not deterred in the slightest. She had got him riled up but not enough to make him ill thankfully, she never intended it to go that far, she always knew when to leave. Maybe she could lure him into the bar and buy him a drink but did he drink, if he had a heart condition? Maybe not. All she wanted was five minutes to ask how he had finally cracked the case wide open and how he felt now it was over, coming back from the jaws of disaster after a failed case then back into glory. At no stage was she ever going to mention his illness, well not to its full extent, he had come clean about it to the local press so there was no point in pursuing the subject. His personal life didn't come into it. She knew all the facts though, she had done her homework looking at the interview he gave locally. Her job wasn't to dig up old dirt from his past, she left that to the trashy papers, Alec Hardy didn't deserve that, he had come through a lot at his own health's risk and he had got through but that was part of her job, whether she liked the subject of her article or not. She wasn't there to put them in a good or bad light, just to let people make up their own minds whether they were. Alec Hardy was no different. Was he?

Getting dinner early was a good idea, Hardy wouldn't think she was following him again but tomorrow, she was going to have to sort out the notes she had made and put them in order and get somewhere with it. Her usual subjects were pretty keen to give their side of the story, the downtrodden would-be star who got kicked out, the secretary of a celebrity who never got noticed etc. Why was Hardy so reluctant and so adamant he wasn't going to talk to her? Tomorrow, she would casually go out the same time as him and see if he went anywhere or maybe she would sit in the caf across from the Police Station and see if he spoke to anyone. He couldn't arrest her for sitting in a caf , could he? She didn't even know what hours he worked. Well if she didn't get an interview with him soon, she would just have to write the article from her observations and piece things together herself, if he liked it or not. Her editor would want the opening paragraphs in the next day or so and it was already Wednesday, what with her wasting time on Monday and it not being worthwhile coming down.

She saw Hardy come in and sit down, trying to ignore her. He was probably still mad with her from earlier but he looked a lot calmer than he had when he had practically thrown her out of his office. At least he couldn't get her thrown out of the hotel, could he? There were plenty of other hotels but the magazine had of course got the best deal in the available accommodation, cheapskates. Just why did they pick the one Hardy was staying at?

She finished her meal, drank her tea and thought she may as well have a drink at the bar, there was no point in going out. Maybe she would get Hardy's attention by sitting on a barstool and hitching her dress up and showing her legs off. Blimey, she wished she would have got rid of that last bloke, what's is name, David something or other that easily. She hadn't even had to do anything to get his attention even when his screaming fans had been waiting backstage for him to sign autographs, he had been turning to watch her leave the theatre.

It didn't work though, he never came past the bar, he must have gone out for a walk or something so she finished her drink and since she was on the second floor usually took the lift but decided she needed the exercise. She reached her floor and was just passing the other staircase from the side door when she saw Hardy on the last few steps. He looked up and saw her as she carried on to her door. She stopped to get her key out, not knowing if he had to pass her door or not. He stopped as she turned around and she felt him behind her, too close to be just passing. Her heart raced. Maybe he was going to say he would give her that interview after all but one thing she didn't do was sleep with a bloke to get one and there were no exceptions to that rule, she had her reasons.

She was just about to put the key in the lock when he brushed up against her and taking hold of the arm that she was holding the key with, he suddenly spun her around as she let out a faint "What the?" as he pushed her up against the door, now holding both her arms against the door. She could feel his hot breath on her face and she thought he was going to tell her in no uncertain terms to leave him the hell alone or else but instead, he got even closer until she could feel his chest pressed up against her as he leaned down then he kissed her, roughly as she tried to fight him off but he held her arms tightly against the door. He let go and she caught him off balance and freeing her arm, she slapped his face. If her mother had taught her one thing, it was how to slap a bloke's face but he quickly grabbed her arm again, pinning it back with the other and he forced a kiss on her lips again as she tried to fight against his but she gave up and instead, leaned into it and melted into his lips.

Chapter 2

Rose didn't quite know what had hit her and Alec well he surprised himself when they both found themselves kissing. At first Rose resisted by slapping his face but she thought it was kind of nice so she let him go for another try and ended up liking it even more. As for Alec, he had been passing her as she tried to open her room door and had thought "What the hell why not?" and since actions always speak louder than words, he went for it, getting a slap for his troubles but decided it was worth a second try since he had taken her by surprise. Rose to him seemed a much better idea than trying to persuade Becca to give him a go and his spur of the moment actions had paid off.

They leaned against her room door for another kiss without Rose struggling this time, her key still in her hand. He finally let her go, neither of them saying a word. Alec saw the key and took it from her hand and unlocked the door. They stepped through and Alec locked it behind him, throwing the key on the dresser at the side of the door. He took his jacket off, loosened his tie and unfastened the top two buttons of his shirt. Rose just threw her purse onto the dresser and kicked off her shoes then crossed over to him, looking at the tie still in his hands and took it from him and tossed it on the chair then as he unfastened his top buttons on his shirt, she started unfastening the rest of them and was disappointed he wore a white t-shirt underneath.

"What sort of bloke wears a t-shirt under his shirt?" she wondered.

The shirt was unfastened, Alec unbuttoned the cuffs and took his shirt off, throwing it on top of his tie on the back of the chair. Alec walked to the back of Rose and unzipped her dress, letting it fall to the floor, revealing a pink lacy bra and matching knickers, then still standing behind her, he began kissing her neck, rubbing his hands on her shoulders, Rose reached her arms up to grab his hands, pulling them around her neck as he continued kissing it. Then he took her hands and twisted her around to face him, his arms still around her neck. Rose reached her hands down and unfastened his belt and the button on his trousers, then pulled down the zip. Keeping hold of his trousers and teasing him, she put her arms around his slim waist. Alec resumed kissing her neck then he kissed her cheek and moved to her mouth.

Making short nips on her lips, he slipped his tongue between her lips, Rose let him then did the same to him. After liberating her of her bra, he steered her over to the bed and sat her down, Rose pulling down his trousers as he kicked off his shoes hurriedly as she pulled him down on top of her, tugging his t-shirt off at the last second. They kissed again, Alec reaching down to kiss her newly exposed skin, Rose with her arms wrapped around his neck, pulling him down and holding him in place, not saying a word.

Just as Rose was about to pull down his shorts, he stopped her. He knew he had already gone too far as it was. He had not intended to let it, some of the sexual tension was fading away from him but some was still there, like touching her in all the right places for starters but she would expect him to follow it up, not stop halfway. No, he should come right out and tell her and see if she ran away. There again, if she really was a journalist, she would have done her homework and would know about him but he'd best make certain before it went too far, hence the reason he was going to ask Becca in the first place.

He leaned on one elbow and looked at her, a bit of a grin on his face, feeling quite embarrassed he couldn't do anything about his feelings he was bottling up but feeling slightly better. He just had to see how she would react. Rose tried again to reach for his shorts but he took her hand.

"I think we need to talk, Miss Tyler," he said, trying to be somewhat formal.

"I should think so, after you practically threw me out of your office earlier. I hope you didn't give the desk sergeant a roasting for letting me in?" she smiled, her hand still on the back of the waistband of his shorts. "Oh and just how did you prevent your office door from shattering when you slammed it closed?"

She was trying to suppress a giggle.

He smiled and put his hand on top of hers.

"Well, you were being a bit too persistent in trying to get me to talk to you. I told you I don't give interviews. I noticed you left me alone at dinner though for which I am grateful. Why do you even want to do an article about me anyway?"

"Now who's talking about me doing an interview with you? Just to set the record straight, you kissed me outside my door and you took my key and let us in, then you started undressing me. And for your information, I don't sleep with men I want to interview that don't want to talk to me either. It just happened to be nice, that kiss, you took me by surprise when I slapped you for which I apologise but it was a funny way of getting my attention after you got mad with me earlier. Why did you stop me just then? You seemed to be doing quite well. I'm disappointed now."

He knew it. He knew he shouldn't have started something he could never hope to finish, well without it involving a ride in the back of an ambulance again. He knew she would reject him when he stopped her pulling his shorts down and regretted starting the whole thing. He was totally dumb when he had seen her pass him at the top of the stairs and suddenly on the spur of the moment decided she was a better target than Becca and she was just standing there in a really good position fumbling with her door key. He had taken a risk and it had backfired on him. Yes, she had let him kiss her, after the slap on the face that still hurt, yes, she had responded to the second one which led him to believe she was interested and she had let him unzip her dress and she had unbuttoned his shirt and unfastened his trousers. Then she wanted to take his shorts off and that was when he knew she was serious and that was his undoing. How could he tell her that was all he wanted? Just some company and some messing around.

Rose on the other hand partly knew why he had stopped her pulling down his shorts and had not yet attempted to rid her of her pink lacy knickers, just when she was enjoying him kissing her anatomy, which he was very good at and they had each got down to the last item of clothing before he had stopped her twice. What was he playing at? Getting her all worked up then not even attempting to do anything else which she wouldn't have anyway, she would have just played around like she always did and stopped it before it got too intense but she could judge men, who was safe and who wasn't but she never ever went anywhere near someone who she was writing an article about, including the last one who was pretty keen to get to know her better. But Alec Hardy she knew his weakness and knew he probably couldn't take things any further than she wanted to anyway so she knew she was safe with him but he needed to tell her himself, it wasn't up to her to assume anything. He might risk it or he might not.

If she presumed he wasn't up to the job, he might get the huff and storm out of her room or wait for her to kick him out. All she could do was wait for him to say or do something or maybe he was waiting for her to say it was okay, maybe it was all he wanted, just a bit of messing around and some female company and there surely weren't that many women around who would be agreeable. Well it was his lucky night, that was all she wanted too. He was looking at her, waiting for her to make a move or say something. Should she be the first one?

Rose took the plunge and spoke up.

"So, are you going to let me take your shorts off or not? We could debate this all night you know and it would still be stalemate. You don't have to be shy with me Alec, I know all about you. I did my homework before I came here. I wouldn't have let you go all the way, I know what it will do to you. It's okay Alec, you don't have to pretend with me. If you just want some company I'm all for it. Like I said, I never usually go to bed with a man I'm trying to interview. I'm willing to make a slight exception for you however, if you want?"

Alec couldn't believe what he was hearing. Was she saying she only wanted to take it as far as he wanted? He laughed to himself this was crazy. A woman like her who was willing to just keep him company. She had definitely been a better choice than a certain someone downstairs.

"So, let me get this right, you want to keep me company and you know about my problem?" Rose nodded and tried again to tug at his shorts. She wasn't about to give up that easily. "So if you know about me why are you willing to stay with me? I thought you would have kicked me out."

"Alec, I don't care if you have a heart problem, I'm not looking for any more than you are. It's okay, really, I understand. There are plenty of ways of having some fun that don't involve going all the way. We could start by you taking off your shorts and I'll show you. I can do all the hard work, just relax."

"And you want nothing else in return?" Alec muttered, not believing his luck.

Rose tried again to tug at his shorts and he moved the hand that was preventing her.

He immediately dove back down to kiss her as he wriggled out of his shorts, reaching for her lacy knickers, half expecting to get another slap but he didn't. He moved his hand along her thigh as he pulled them down still not believing his luck that she was willing to participate.

Rose looked up at him. "Alec, is there anything I should know about if you get taken ill?"

Alec looked up. Was she serious? "If you're asking about medication, I've taken it, one at breakfast and one with my evening meal but if I have any trouble, the pills are in my inside jacket pocket should I need them, just make sure I take one and if I don't start to come round in ten minutes, then get me to the hospital, no ambulance, just get me to A&E, Becca will tell you where it is."

"Okay but if you look really bad, you go in an ambulance, you won't be in a fit state to argue will you?"

There she was, lying under him in just her pink lacy knickers, he had just lost his shorts and they were talking about if he was taken ill during his stay in her room. Things were really looking up. He did what he was told when she told him to lie on his back and she sat astride him. She pulled his shorts all the way off and ran her fingers through the hair on his chest. He reached his hands and took her by her waist, easing her pink lacy knickers the rest of the way down as she moved to one side.

"Just relax Alec, if it gets too much, just tell me."

Neither of them said a word except to call each other's names as Rose lay and moved on him. It was more than he ever could have expected, feeling her move on him and just about all the tension drained from him. Months of bottling it all up, taking cold showers and telling himself he had to get better before he could ever be fully with a woman again that would give him pleasure but here he was, with Rose, experiencing sensations he thought he could never feel again and he wasn't even panicking. She had been right, all he had to do was lay back and relax and feel better than he had ever done in his life. He even managed to make her shiver several times as she experienced new sensations she had never felt before.

What seemed like an age passed as they kissed and touched until Alec said he was okay and turned Rose onto her back so he could kiss her where he wanted, which was virtually nearly all over but he restricted himself so as not to over-exert himself. He finally lay just over her, breathing just slightly fast but he wasn't in any pain, smiling to himself. Rose could feel him and asked if he was okay and he said he was. He moved onto his back and Rose leaned over on her side, smiling at him.

"Glad to see you're not reaching for your pills Alec," she said. "You didn't overdo it did you? I said to take it easy you know. That was more than just nice you know, I could go for more, if you're interested."

She had to be kidding, he was thinking. Could he go for more of that? He was certain he could. If she was willing to keep him company like that every night while she was in town, he could go for it but what about when she left? Well when she did, it was only a few weeks until he could safely go for his operation and then he wouldn't have this problem. He never thought that things would progress with Rose to the stage he wouldn't want her to leave and she wouldn't take much persuasion to stay.

Rose lay on top of him as they resumed kissing, Alec getting his breath back and recovering sufficiently. He stopped suddenly and Rose looked down at him. He gently moved her to one side and looked like he was about to get out of bed.

"Going somewhere Alec?" she asked, propped on one elbow and now laid on her side as he sat on the edge of the bed.

"Well, I assumed you'd want me to leave now, do you?"

Rose saw the look in his eyes. The look that said he was used to being thrown out when a woman had finished with him when he couldn't take things further, the look that said he was lonely and craved female company but was always getting turned down and feeling guilty he couldn't satisfy a woman, not in his current state anyway. She bet once he was well again there would be no stopping him and women would be fighting over him for a night in his bed. She did feel sorry for him but it hadn't been out of pity she had let him push her into the room and had let him into her bed. There was something about Alec Hardy and she liked it.

"Alec, please stay. Unless you have a valid reason why you should leave? Don't give me excuses that you have to be at work early because I know what time you went out this morning."

"You want me to stay? Even though we can't take this any further?"

Rose nodded and held her hand out to him.

"Come back to bed Alec but put your shorts back on first."

Alec reached for his shorts and put them on, not willing to let her have chance to change her mind. She did however climb over him and got out of bed and reached in the dresser drawer for a clean pair of knickers then vanished into the bathroom to freshen up. When she came back out, Alec was back in bed waiting for her, pleased he was not being thrown out.

"Do you want to talk about this Rose?" he asked.

Rose crawled back into her bed and draped herself over him then got comfy.

"Nope, do you? Unless you want to negotiate a truce?"

"A truce? What kind of a truce?" Then it dawned on him. "Oh right, you mean me not talking to you and helping you with your article? Okay, how about we have a truce from after dinner until before breakfast? And don't think because I'm sharing your bed you're going to be able to use underhand tactics to get me to talk in my sleep either." Rose pretended to look shocked. "I'm still not talking to you about that."

"Okay, fair enough, a truce it is, no pillow talk, fine with me," she said as she reached out to turn off the bedside lamp. "My alarm is set for seven thirty by the way, in case you're wondering. So this truce, is it up before breakfast then?" Alec muttered a "Yes" as he nibbled her ear.

"And don't think I'm talking to you in the dining room either, I have a reputation to keep up for not talking to the press," he said sleepily.

He stopped nibbling her ear and stroked her cheek, kissing her forehead.

"Night Rose, you made me very happy tonight and thanks for being so understanding. It's been a long time since a woman made me feel like that."

He was talking to himself, Rose was already asleep having found the right position to feel comfortable on him and they were both to have the best nights sleep either of them had experienced for a long time.

Chapter 3

The next morning, he woke Rose up and got dressed, saying he had to go to work. She reluctantly moved over to let him and with one eye opened, spied he was wasn't wearing anything on his lower half, thinking to herself he had a nice bum and was going to tell him so. He turned round and smiled at her, she was pretending she wasn't taking any notice so to get her attention, he leaned over and kissed her.

"I know you were watching a minute ago so don't pretend you're sleeping Rose."

She knew the game was up. "Okay but you do have a nice bum you know, shame you never turned around."

"Well if we're having an overnight truce, then better luck next time. Once I leave this room though, we're at war until tonight. I'm not going to help you write that article under any circumstances. Last night was nice, I've not had chance to relax like that for a long time without feeling pressure to go further. But that's all Rose, I won't give you any information and if you come back to my office, you'll not get back in, the desk sergeant had learned his lesson after I threatened him I'd put him back walking the beat."

Rose had to smile, at least the poor man hadn't been kicked out.

"Okay, last night was more than nice Alec and I won't come back to your office. I'll have to find other ways of getting what I need and if you don't like the article, don't say I never warned you. Why don't I meet you after you get out of work? We could have a late lunch."

"I'm not going to be seen outside with you Rose, well not in a friendly manner anyway, I can't have the town thinking I give press statements. I may appear more than a little hostile to you but I won't stop you trying, don't take it personally. So, if you want, come to my room after eight tonight and we'll have more of what we had last night."

"Okay but I won't stop trying to get something out of you for my article so you may as well get used to it."

Alec sighed, believing she would keep her word. It had been more than he'd dared to hope for last night but he wasn't going to make it easy for her though.

Sure enough, Rose didn't bother him at work but she was sat on the wall opposite the Police Station when he came out. She got up when she saw him come down the steps and walked over to him.

"Can I buy you a tea of coffee?" she offered as he shook his head.

She gestured to an outside caterers and several empty tables and he strode towards one and sat down and just answered, "Tea, milk, no sugar."

Rose went to order and came back with the drinks.

"So Detective Inspector, are you prepared to give me that interview then?"

He remained silent and sipped his tea. "No but they don't have decent tea in the station so I wasn't going to refuse the offer of a drink. I told you, I don't give interviews. Why are you being so persistent? What possible story is there that concerns me? I gave a statement during my last case. Also, I never talk about my personal life so there's no story there either. Why don't you just save your time and give up?"

Rose was hoping he was only putting on an act. She didn't know him well enough yet to wonder if he really meant it but he had said for her to go to his room that night and so far, he'd not come out and said not to bother.

"I never give up on the subject of an article I'm writing. I can do it on my own. I just thought you'd want the chance to tell me it yourself."

Alec shook his head and put his empty cup down.

"Thanks for the tea, please, don't bother me at dinner tonight, I'm not going to tell you anything. Good day Miss Tyler."

He got up and walked along the seafront towards the hotel.

Rose was sincerely hoping he hadn't meant it. All through dinner, she was trying not to stare at him without success and thought she had detected him looking back a few times. She went to get changed, a rather skimpy outfit and tucked a thin nightdress under her arm and gathered her mobile and keys and went to knock on his room door. He opened it a second later, he had been expecting her. He pulled her inside and spying the nightdress told her she wouldn't be needing that. She said it was for later.

"I just can't sleep without wearing anything and don't worry, it's not much of a nightdress anyway."

He looked at her skimpy outfit, low-cut sleeveless top and short skirt, one he found he could run his hands up without too much effort to find very little underneath. He began kissing her neck as she clung to him.

"You taken your pill earlier?" she asked, just checking.

He nibbled her ear and whispered, "Yes."

The truce had begun as there was more kissing and Rose lost her top and Alec was relieved of his t-shirt, he had remembered to remove his shirt. They collapsed on the bed, Rose losing her bra as he unzipped her skirt and pulled it off, leaving her in extremely skimpy knickers that just about covered her lower area. Alec still couldn't believe she was willing to indulge him and not want more than he could offer her, he was beginning to wonder exactly why she would settle for it. Maybe she was just scared and never been with a man before, not fully but she would have to tell him, he couldn't just ask her. He had her laid on the bed, kissing her all over.

Rose looked up. "So, you didn't mean what you said earlier then? About me giving up?" she asked, grabbing hold of his neck and pulling his head up for a kiss.

"Only about you continuing to try to get a story out of me, Miss persistent," he managed, getting back to where he had left off.

Rose took the lead again, leaving him to just lie back and enjoy himself again, something he knew he was beginning to wish it was going to last for more than the few days she would be here. He had a murder trial to attend in just over a week and Rose would be the perfect distraction, the relaxation he would need when the time came and someone to come back to or maybe someone to go with him and hold his hand, stop him getting worked up. He knew that couldn't be though, why would she stay once her story was finished? She would just publish it and move on to her next assignment, he was just one in a long line of people she had interviewed and she seemed to have been a bit hasty with the last one from what he had heard. He had sneakily risked a look at the magazine while in the break room to see what she wrote about.

He was surprised she did actually write about people who had been unfairly treated or misjudged but had always left it up to the reader to decide, she never passed judgement on them but tried to steer the reader onto their side in most cases. He actually felt sorry for the last one she interviewed. There was no way he was giving in though, well not without something in return maybe getting her to consider sticking around when she should be going back to London and onto her next assignment. It was something he would have to work on but he wasn't going to admit it to her.

The next morning, he woke to find Rose draped over him. She had slipped her nightdress on during the night but he could still feel her through the thin material. He was liking this, waking up with a beautiful woman laid asleep across him. He had slipped his shorts back on when she had gone to the bathroom, not wanting her to think he was going to try to attempt more than they had already done. He wanted to do something about it, it was only natural. Who wouldn't with someone like Rose? But it was going to have to wait until after the trial and after his operation and she would be gone back to London, just when he could be with her. He told himself that tonight he was going to ask her why she only wanted what he had to offer and see if she gave him an answer.

Rose watched him get dressed again, silently willing him to turn around while he put on some clean shorts and meaning to say something to him about it. Maybe she would, if she was sticking around but the clock was ticking, she had an article to write and it was Thursday, she had to send her opening paragraphs to her editor by tomorrow afternoon and they were still in a jumble on her laptop, waiting for her to decide which ones to go with. She was hoping for some new ones, hoping he would talk to her after they had spent time together but he didn't.

"So are you coming to my room tonight or maybe you want to go out somewhere? Somewhere where no-one knows you? We could drive out of town, have a meal somewhere perhaps?" Rose asked as she slipped out of bed, making sure he saw her take off her nightdress and slipping her knickers back on, slowly.

"Are you trying to bribe me by asking me out on a date?" he laughed, watching her get dressed.

"Well not bribe you exactly but yeah, we could go on a date if you want. You still bothered I might ruin your reputation?" Rose replied.

"No, because I'm not going to let you ruin my reputation. We could go out of town, there are a few places around here. There's a village a few miles from here, we could go find a pub and have a meal but I'll meet you down by the harbour, I don't want to be seen getting in your car."

He told her exactly where he would wait for her. Maybe later when they got back, he might ask her how long she was intending to stay and maybe persuade her to stay a bit longer, in return for him changing his mind and maybe helping her just a little bit.

They agreed, kissing goodbye but it was back to being stone-faced with each other once they entered the dining room. They didn't realise they were amusing Becca with their little charade, she knew there was something going on between them, she had played the same game many a time, the game that was meant to deceive people into thinking they hated each other when they were sharing a bed. Becca knew the detective would never admit it and he wouldn't speak to the press knowingly and maybe Miss Tyler had perfected the art of pillow talk. Whatever it was, she was looking forward to reading the next edition of the magazine to see how it had all worked out.

Rose was going to be persistent, not knowing that Alec was planning on giving in if she agreed to stay a while longer. There was no way she was going to give up but was still drawing the line at just sleeping with him to get a story, she was sleeping with him because they were both lonely and she wanted to feel close to someone when she went to sleep and if it meant him giving her the cold shoulder during the day then she was willing to put up with it. She had got to work after Alec left, putting her few paragraphs together and sending them off. She had got a reply from her editor saying she liked it so far.

It was lunchtime, she went to sit in the outdoor caf across from the Police Station and thought she could wait around an hour for him coming out. It got past two and there was no sign of him. He should have been coming out by now, she was on her second coffee as she waited. He had told her he wasn't supposed to work more than three hours, had something happened to him? He had his own office where no-one probably bothered him. What if something had happened to him? She finished her drink and crossed over and leapt up the steps and through the front door, it was faster than getting the phone number, Alec still hadn't given her his mobile number. What if he was slumped at his desk, no-one would have seen him.

The desk sergeant looked up and saw who it was. He wasn't getting fooled again.

"You can't come in this time Miss, DI Hardy instructed I was not to let you in again."

Rose didn't have time for this. "DI Hardy should have been out of work by now, he's not supposed to work more than three hours and he's twenty minutes late." The sergeant looked at her. "Don't bother asking how I know but you have to ring his office right now. Please do as I ask. Just tell him I'm waiting downstairs for him, he can't shout at you for that."

She wasn't sure everyone knew about his condition so she didn't want to say that Alec may have been taken ill and not got his medication in time. She was more than worried.

The sergeant lifted the phone reluctantly and dialled Alec's number. He shook his head and said there was no reply. Maybe Alec was on his way down. She told him to call his mobile, she was panicking now. The sergeant did as he was asked but got no reply.

"Then get someone to his office, there may be something wrong with him now."

The sergeant just looked at her, he wasn't going to do it and Alec could be dying or he could have collapsed and this idiot wasn't doing anything. She turned to the door and dashed towards it just as he realised what she was doing and he called for the officer outside to come in and follow her, he knew his job was at risk if she got to Hardy's office, he'd taken his threat very seriously after the other day. Then it dawned on him, Hardy should have come down over twenty minutes ago, he was on short hours with a medical problem and wasn't supposed to work over three hours. He got on the phone and rang the CID office, adjacent to Hardy's office and told the woman who answered to get into Hardy's office now.

Rose was up the stairs two at a time, she knew someone was following her, she wanted them to. If Alec was slumped at his desk she would need all the help she could get and that idiot downstairs had delayed her. She was through the door and in front of Alec's door in a few minutes, the uniformed officer just behind her and two people coming out of the door at the end looking puzzled. She daren't look through the glass door. Alec was leaned over his desk. Rose flung the door open and was by his side in a flash, the others behind her and she was telling them to call an ambulance but as they were doing so, he suddenly looked up as Rose was checking his pulse.

Alec looked around at everyone who by now were relieved to see he hadn't died on them and they began filing out. Alec sat up and motioned it was okay for the uniformed officer to also leave. When they had all left, he looked sheepishly at a very concerned Rose and smiled at her.

"What happened Alec? If I hadn't been waiting for you opposite and noticed you were late coming out, no-one would have bothered about you and you never even gave me your mobile number. You can't keep working on your own, what if something had really happened to you?"

Alec got up and pulled the blinds over then put his arms around her. Had he passed out or had he fallen asleep? He didn't know as he tried to assure her he was ok now.

"I might have passed out Rose, I really don't know. It was almost two, I was just finishing going over a report when I felt myself go a bit dizzy and I remember looking at the desk as it got nearer then the next I know, you're holding my wrist and people are standing over me. Did that desk sergeant let you in again, I'm really going to have words with him," he grinned, kissing her cheek.

"No, he didn't let me in, he tried to call you twice and got no answer, then I made him call someone in CID but before he had chance, I was through the door and halfway up the stairs. So don't you go giving him a hard time. Do they actually know what's wrong with you Alec, why are you working alone?"

Before he got chance to answer, there was a knock on the door. He let go of her and opened it. It was his boss, she had been informed of the incident.

"What's going on Alec?" she asked, looking at Rose.

"Nothing, I never answered my phone when the desk sergeant rang to say Miss Tyler was waiting downstairs for me and they all panicked."

He was not going to admit he had passed out, she would stop him working and he'd go insane and he wouldn't be able to give evidence at the trial and he owed Ellie Miller that much.

"And who exactly is Miss Tyler," the super asked, looking again at Rose.

Alec wasn't about to admit exactly who she was and spoke before Rose got the chance.

"She's just a friend, she was waiting outside for me and got concerned when I was late coming out."

His chief looked a little unconvinced. "Alec, if you're not well, I can't allow you to work. It was agreed you did three hours and if it's too much then I'll have to put you on medical leave again. I'm sorry but you're putting yourself at risk by working alone. What if Miss Tyler here hadn't got concerned about you? No Alec, you have to stop working, at least alone." She saw the look on his face. "I'll allow you to work but someone comes in and checks on you every 15 minutes or you get a desk in the main office where you're with people. It's that or you're out again until after your operation."

Alec wasn't pleased but she was right, he shouldn't be working alone, he knew it was risky and now with his nightly rendezvous with Rose, well she wasn't helping by being so sexy and doing things to him he shouldn't even be thinking about doing anymore. It was either stop sleeping with Rose or be in everyone's view for the next week. After that, it wouldn't matter. Rose would be gone, the trial would be taking place then he could go for his operation. He didn't like the first bit at all, he didn't want Rose to be gone, he didn't want to think about the fact she was going, maybe now she might stay.

He had to reluctantly agree. He would have someone check on him every 15 minutes, he couldn't concentrate if he was in the main office. The chief was satisfied and thanked Rose for being so prompt at raising the alarm on him. The chief didn't need to be told what had happened, she knew he was out of it when everyone had arrived or he would have every one of them pounding the beat for daring to disturb him, she knew what he was like. What she didn't know was that Rose was responsible for his predicament in the first place, with her tender ministrations of him for the past few nights nor that she was responsible for the desk sergeant being threatened for letting her in the other day, which had amused the chief.

Rose told Alec he should leave with her, glad that his boss had not asked who she actually was. If she had, Rose didn't know what either of them would say. Would it have been she was a journalist trying to get a story or that she was his girlfriend because if the last few nights meant anything at all, then she was definitely his girlfriend. They went to get Alec something to eat and they sat at a table, Rose insisting he ate something and for him to tell her exactly what happened and if he'd done the same before. He had to admit that he had, twice and the medication was supposed to prevent that. He had scared Rose to the degree that she was no longer interested in getting her story. She had to stick with him, make sure he was okay and get the operation he so badly needed and she had to help him, even if it meant quitting her job. What had started out as a challenge to get him to talk to her had changed to getting him through his operation.

She wasn't going to let him in on it just yet though, she decided she would tell him next week and wait and see if he asked her to stay. Alec finished his sandwich and they walked back to the hotel. Rose said she wasn't keen on keeping up the pretence they were ignoring each other and Alec had to agree to a certain extent. He said if she came to sit with him at dinner he wouldn't throw her out, that was as far as he was willing to take it. Rose had to smile, half the hotel probably thought they were already involved anyway and not much got past the hotel owner. She was going to confront him later and tell him it was no use pretending in front of others that he didn't like her.

They went to Rose's room when they got back and she insisted he just lie down for a while so they lay on the bed, Alec's arms around her and holding each other.

"Rose, you know you probably saved my life earlier, if you hadn't found me. No-one even noticed I was still in my office. I bet the desk sergeant will get told by the chief he should have made sure I left. If you hadn't been waiting for me to come out, I may not have come round. I was feeling okay one minute then I was feeling light headed. I know I scared you Rose, I'm sorry and you're right, we should stop this stupid charade when we're out. I need you Rose."

Rose turned to look at him, did he mean it?

"Alec, I may have started out just trying to get a story out of you but it's no longer the case. You did scare me, I thought the worse and I was right. You should have had someone checking on you, why didn't they? From now on, I meet you every day at two and give me your mobile number so I can call you to make sure you're okay, alright?"

Alec had to agree with her if he had any hopes of getting her to stay and it sounded like she might consider it, at least until he finished work. He had to make it up to her.

"Rose, why don't we stay in tonight then tomorrow, you come and collect me and we'll go off for the weekend where no-one knows me? You book a hotel for two nights and we'll talk about what happens next?"

"Okay, we could go down to Weymouth for the weekend. I have to get my article finished by next weekend then I'm going to take some leave and make sure you make it through that trial deal?"

Alec leaned over and kissed her, he never even asked her to stay, she had volunteered to look after him.

"There is just one thing though, I'll have to go home next weekend and get some more things if I'm staying longer."

Alec looked disappointed. She was still going to leave him the weekend he was going to need her the most.

"Rose, please don't go that weekend, I'm going to need you, the trial starts on the Monday."

"Alec, I have to, I've not brought enough with and I'll have to meet with my editor, tell her I'm taking some time off and if I can't get it, then I'm going to quit. I probably will anyway, I don't want to be travelling around interviewing other people when you need looking after."

"You're going to look after me then?" he asked with a smile on his face.

"Yep, until you get well then we'll see. You said you wanted to be with me but you can't and you asked why I still wanted to be with you. Do you still want to be with me?"

Alec turned to face her. Was she kidding?

"Rose, you know I want to be with you and I really don't know why you even kissed me back the other night, especially after you slapped me, which did hurt by the way. All the time I've been a Police Officer no woman has ever slapped me before, even when I've told them I don't want to go all the way, they've just got up and walked out but you, it didn't bother you in the slightest. Why?"

"Alec, there's a reason why, it's not that I don't want to, it's not because you can't."

She stopped, not sure she should make her confession to him but if knew the reason for her reluctance, it may put him off permanently but there again he may understand.

"Rose, whatever it is, tell me because I can't understand your willingness to go along with this, to be satisfied with what I can offer you and why you're still here with me. I want to know."

Chapter 4

Rose looked at him, running her hand on his cheek.

"Call yourself a detective? You mean you really don't know why I'm comfortable with what you have to offer and I don't want more than you can give?"

Then it struck him. How could he be such an idiot? He was right, she had never fully been with a man before but that still didn't explain why she had chosen him.

"You mean you've never given yourself to a man before? But why are you here with me Rose?"

She looked at him and smiled. It had been all about getting a story but it didn't matter now.

"Alec, because I fancied you when I saw you in the dining room. I had no idea when my office booked me in at this hotel that you were staying here. Getting a story had been my priority when I came over to you the other night but not anymore, not when I learned about how serious your condition was. I wanted to be with you because I knew you wouldn't put any pressure on me to go further than I wanted to and you needed someone who was willing to be with you just for that reason, that you couldn't. Don't tell me you've had plenty of offers Alec, you admitted that women usually run away from you."

She had him there, they did usually run away and now this was the ideal situation, they needed each other because they understood each other, they both wanted something that didn't require a sacrifice, him sacrificing his health and making himself even worse than he already was and Rose sacrificing the one thing she could never get back. They both had to be sure they wanted to take that final step and neither of them could at present. It was something they could only gradually work up to. Well he was willing to work up to it, when he was better but was she?

Rose changed the subject. "Maybe you should just take the day off tomorrow eh? I'm sure your chief will understand after today's episode. Why don't you ring and say you won't be in tomorrow then by Monday you'll feel better. Then we can set off around midday tomorrow and we can have the weekend to ourselves?"

What Rose said made perfect sense to him. Maybe he had been overdoing it, he was only going over things to ensure of a conviction, so he wouldn't let Miller down. Maybe he should just leave it and no amount of going over things would make any difference. He had only gone back to work to stave off the boredom, to give him reason to go out of the hotel every day and now he had another reason Rose. Things had got pretty intense between them in a short space of time, never had he fixed himself onto a woman so fast, even with his ex, they had danced around each other for months, the odd date when they were both off-duty together and it had taken him months to get her to sleep with him, let alone have sex with him but here was Rose, who he had just met and he was sleeping with her and planning a weekend away together. Not that he could now do anything about it, she knew he couldn't and she wasn't even bothered about it.

"Rose, if it makes you happy, I won't go back to work at all. I was just going over evidence for the trial, we have a strong enough case, I was only working to stop getting bored. If you stay next week, I won't get bored and you can keep a close eye on me. Then we'll talk about you going off for the weekend, maybe I could come with you?"

"Alec, it's a long journey, it'll take around two hours. Are you sure you're up to it?"

"We can take breaks can't we? I want to come with you Rose, please? I'm going to need you. If you let me come, I'll give you the story you want, about how I cracked the case and what it did to me. Maybe it could be your last one, a grand exit."

She was no longer interested in the story and was about to tell her editor so but she needed a job if she was going to stay here, in Broadchurch with Alec. He would only be getting sick pay and she would have to support herself and maybe Alec. Then she came up with an idea. Maybe she could do a column where she wouldn't have to travel around. Pick someone out at random, do the research just like she did now but conduct phone interviews and still have the same result. She would have to put it to her editor and she would need some time off but it could work. She thought not to mention it to Alec in case he objected to her still working or she wouldn't get away with it.

"Okay Alec, you can come if you want on one condition." He looked at her with his sexy sad brown eyes. "We go next Friday, I have a meeting with my editor to discuss my options and we come back Sunday morning so you can be rested for the trial. Deal?"


He would have agreed to anything at this stage, he did not want to be without Rose next weekend.

So now they had stopped pretending they hated each other in public, to the amusement of the hotel guests and staff, they told Becca they would be back on Sunday and Rose drove them down to Weymouth, finding that they could get a ferry across to the channel islands so they took a day trip on the Saturday and drove back late Sunday afternoon. By Monday, Alec was feeling much better after his weekend away and Rose agreed to let him do two hours at the station on provision he had someone check on him and she waited downstairs for him at one. He even apologised to the desk sergeant for scolding him about letting Rose in and Rose also apologised to him. They had talked over the weekend about renting a flat or a house short term since it didn't make sense to pay for a hotel and Alec's salary would be reduced while he was on medical leave and he would have to pay full rate for the room, it would be cheaper to rent something.

So Rose registered them at the letting agency and told them they were looking for somewhere furnished preferably, maybe even a holiday let just to get them out of the hotel and they were in luck, there were quite a few holiday apartments all within the harbour area, most with parking and they went to view two right on the seafront and one just on the side of the harbour and they were available for the rest of the season or beyond and would get a good rate for three months or more. They chose a ground floor one bedroomed apartment on the seafront so Alec would have no stairs after his operation and were told it would be vacant the following Monday, the day Alec was to start giving evidence at the trial over in Exeter so they both planned to sign on the Thursday afternoon and Rose would collect the keys and move their things out of the hotel while he was in court. He wasn't happy though, he thought Rose would be able to go with him and she would drive him there every day but they agreed that for one day he would manage and he'd have his own place to go back to.

On the Wednesday night, Rose had by now toned down their nightly activities and moved out of her room, much to Becca's amusement after they told her they were moving out of the hotel together. They usually just lay together, just touching and Alec said he felt well enough to play around a bit more, giving Rose involuntary feelings which made them both giggle as they enjoyed each other. Rose had called her editor saying she had a proposal for a new column and there was really no need for her to follow the intended subjects around and that she needed time off.

Friday, they set off after breakfast, Rose left her things in the hotel room and just packed an overnight bag for her and Alec. She went to her office first, her editor wanting the lowdown as to why Rose was opting to stay in Broadchurch and base herself there. Rose had to admit she had fallen in love with Alec Hardy and was staying to look after him throughout the upcoming trial and his impending operation. Her editor wasn't surprised, it did happen sometimes and she accepted Rose's idea of doing the column from home and granted her leave. Alec was waiting downstairs for her and asked how she had got on.

"It all went fine, I got my leave and I start my new column, well it's not really new, just re-vamped. No more travelling and following someone around you'll no doubt be very pleased to know. Really Alec, I'm surprised you didn't arrest me for stalking you," she joked as they sat in a nearby coffee shop.

"Well I did consider it but you were just too cute and very sneaky the way you did it although I could have hauled you in for getting into my office under false pretences," he joked back.

Then it was crunch time Alec meeting Rose's mother, the formidable Jackie Tyler who was well renowned for disapproving of her daughter's choice of boyfriends and made it quite clear to anyone who passed her inspection that she would be down on them like a ton of bricks if they dared to hurt Rose.

It was around four when they got to her mother's block of flats. Rose had gone back there when it became uneconomic to have her own place when she travelled around all the time so Rose just popped back every couple of weeks to see her and catch up. Alec took it all in his stride, Jackie had been warned in no uncertain terms to treat him with kid gloves and that he was seriously ill and didn't fancy calling for help if her mother slapped him. Jackie had made afternoon tea, sandwiches and cakes and frowned when Alec said he wasn't allowed cakes but she was appeased when he accepted some biscuits. She excused herself and hinted for Rose to join her in the kitchen.

"So how did you manage to bag yourself a detective inspector then Rose? Are you sure you want to have to look after him though? I mean if he's got to have an operation, how long will he be off work?"

Rose hadn't even thought about it, they had never discussed it. They had paid in advance for the apartment and had got a further discount as apparently the owner of the block would rather receive any kind of income than have it empty and have to be maintained and there were a few other long term residents in the block already who were there for the season. They had decided as soon as Alec was well they would look for something more permanent but it gave them some freedom and being on the seafront Alec could get a little exercise and they could go for walks in the evening.

"I don't know Mum but we've taken a little apartment on the seafront for three months so hopefully he'll be better by then. I want to look after him, he's got no-one else, he's all alone down here and the only person he used to know has moved away. Then he's got the trial next week, he needs someone with him to hold his hand when it starts getting to him and someone to make sure he gets to the hospital for his operation."

"You're taking an awful lot of responsibility for him Rose, you've only known him for two weeks and only last week you were complaining about him when he wouldn't give you an interview. What are you doing about your job, how are you going to support yourselves if he's off sick?"

"We have that covered Mum, that's why we paid for the apartment in advance, it was cheaper than staying in the hotel and there are no stairs and I'm sort of keeping my job, just cutting out the travelling."

Jackie was sort of satisfied and try as she may could find no fault with Alec himself, who she could have easily fancied herself if Rose hadn't beaten her to him even if he did have a scruffy beard and looked like he'd forgotten to buy blades for his razor but if Rose cared about him enough to be prepared to look after him, who was she to argue?

Rose went to pack most of her things and they loaded up the car and said goodbye to Jackie and went off to the hotel they had booked for two nights. On Saturday, Rose showed Alec around London on a tour bus, getting on and off at popular places and having lunch in Leicester Square. Later, Rose wanted to go see a film in 3D which Alec wasn't too sure about but he enjoyed it and they ended up getting a taxi back to their hotel which fortunately was in central London and they fell asleep exhausted after their day out.

Alec was not looking forward to having to be driven to Exeter on the Monday morning, leaving Rose to pack the rest of their things and get the keys for their temporary apartment then move everything herself but she said she would manage and she did, she had everything moved by the time Alec got dropped off. She even had time to arrange for a local laundry to collect twice a week since there was no washing machine and had been food shopping for what they would need for a few days.

The next day, it had been arranged that Rose would take Alec to the court from then on and get a parking permit since she was escorting a Police Officer giving evidence and when they arrived, she waited with Alec while he was called after he introduced Rose to Ellie Miller, his ex work colleague, as his partner, not his girlfriend because now Rose was more than just his girlfriend, she was keeping him in check and hardly ever let him out of her sight unless someone else was with him which both amused him and terrified him that she taking it all a bit too serious if she wasn't planning on staying once his operation was over and had to convince himself she was, that she wouldn't put herself through this if she was leaving and talking about getting somewhere permanent.

All the while they had been together, almost three weeks, neither of them had confessed they loved the other, somehow it just didn't need to be said but Alec was determined he was going to tell her how he felt before he went into hospital and Rose herself was also determined to tell him the same because she knew she loved Alec, she just needed to tell him.

The trial was finally over and Alec was relieved. They went out to celebrate, inviting Ellie but she declined, she had nothing to celebrate and Rose felt sorry for her, asking if she could stay in touch with her to which Ellie had replied she needed all the friends she could get now so the two women swapped phone numbers. Ellie had taken Alec to one side to say what a difference Rose had made to him and that she was glad he had seen sense and got a girlfriend and was getting an operation.

The appointment was made for Alec to see the surgeon who said Alec looked remarkably better than the last time he had seen him and asked who Rose was. That made Alec think long and hard. He was going to say girlfriend or partner in reply and settled for partner for now, because now he had something solid with her and he wanted her to more than his partner, if she could put up with him permanently and now they really needed to talk before he was admitted. The date was set for him to go in, the following Monday and he would have to stay 24hrs before his operation and be tied down if necessary, they knew too well of his discharging himself but Rose assured them he would be no trouble this time, she would make sure of that even if she had to handcuff herself to him to get him to stay which Alec believed she really would and when they got home he teased her about it no end.

"So Rosie, you would really handcuff yourself to me to get me to stay in hospital eh?" he asked, settling in bed facing her.

"Yep, if it means you don't get up and walk out because you have a promise to keep in case you've forgotten?"

He had almost, although he had said it in haste at the start of their rocky relationship when he first kissed her outside her hotel room what seemed like ages ago now. He remembered vaguely retorting that she should see him when he was well, meaning that if she thought he was good now then she was in for the time of her life when he got better but that had been before he knew her reason for being satisfied with what he could give her and he'd not mentioned it since. He was thinking now that once he was well and could offer her more that she would run away because she had admitted she stayed with him because he offered her comfort and not an ultimatum to have sex with him properly or get out.

It hadn't been a problem but it would be pretty soon if things went well and now he had every confidence that it would now he had someone to live for but did he? Would she run away as soon as he was back to his old self? There was no alternative but to get this over with even though he didn't want to confront her about it, he had to know where he stood now it was all finalised for him to go into hospital, he was doing it for her as much as himself. He had to convince her somehow he would wait for her and not be hasty, he would give her time and if she wanted him, he was hers.

"No Rose, I hadn't forgotten but I said that before you told me why you stayed with me. So I need to know Rose, do you want me to keep my promise?"

Rose looked at him, clearly not ever expecting to have this conversation.

"Alec, when I said I'd never given myself to a man fully, I didn't mean I never would do. I've never met anyone like you before who treats me so well and understands why I can't just give in because you never asked me to, mainly because of your illness but when you're well again, we'll talk about it, if you want?"

"Rose, I need you to know something. I won't pressure you into giving yourself to me, I'll give you all the time you need, it's just that it would be special for me too, I've never been with a woman like you who has never had real sex before. I know you're scared Rose, I can understand that, I was scared too my first time, which was quite a while ago I admit but there's no need to be scared of me Rose, I won't take advantage of you, I want you to be willing to be with me. Will you Rose? Will you let me be the one you give yourself to? I love you Rose."

Rose could feel tears forming. Alec was so kind and gentle and all the things she had read and heard about him to her were complete lies, they were not talking about this man, this Alec Hardy laid here with her. He was scared of making her think he was pressing her to give herself to him and he was about to go for a major operation, one he was told he had a 60/40 chance of surviving and what she suspected he was willing to risk just to be with her. She knew one day this would happen, she would fall in love with a man and she had fallen in love with him.

"Alec, I love you too and yes, I want you to be my first."

She burst into tears and held onto him tightly as he wrapped his arms around her and comforted her. She was supposed to be the one looking after him.

Alec had been told no exertion and no physical activities until he was admitted which meant that they shouldn't try anything, not even what they had been doing before but he didn't care, he wanted Rose to lay on him and wanted her to touch him, to show her he really loved her and that he would wait for her.

They fell asleep, Rose draped over him as usual at his insistence that nothing would change between them and they fell asleep every night that week the same way after just feeling each other, getting a little bolder each night until the Sunday night when Rose absolutely refused to let Alec into bed without his shorts on and she had a cami-top and knickers on before they both started something that was going to need finishing and Alec was in no fit state to do so as they got closer each night to Rose giving in.

"Something to look forward to when you come out of hospital and you're given the all clear" was all she told him as she got comfy on him and he put his hand up her cami-top but got a slap when he tried putting his hand elsewhere to which he pretended to sulk but he knew she was right, they were so close she would have given in then he wouldn't have stood a chance with his operation, she would have certainly finished him off good and proper but what a way to go he'd thought but he had a responsibility to get well for her, he couldn't leave her now.

Not when they were almost there.

The time came for Alec to be driven to the hospital in Dorchester, the local one didn't do operations and so Rose had booked a nearby hotel for herself and Alec when he first came out to save travelling even though it wasn't that far, she could use the extra time to be with him. Rose had resumed her column and had just put the first one in so as they wouldn't be short of money while he got back to work. He was waiting to be called in to see the surgeon but before he was, he turned to Rose. They had not discussed what would happen if something went wrong and he didn't pull through, something Rose was clearly distressed about when he'd said they needed to talk about it, she was having none of it.

In the few minutes they had before he went in, they were alone and Alec took the opportunity to try to bring up the dreaded subject that if he wasn't coming out, he had made provisions for her to be his next of kin and had instructed a solicitor to take care of everything and he handed her a business card.

"Rose, I know you don't want to talk about this but it needs to be said. I love you Rose Tyler, I wouldn't even have been here if it hadn't been for you, I would have backed out of the operation, I know I would but you gave me something to live for. So take this card, they'll take care of everything. I've left instructions that you are my next of kin and for my ex to be informed. Please don't look at me like that Rose, we should have had this conversation before now but I knew it upset you but there's no putting it off now. I'm coming back to you Rose if it's truly possible, I won't give in, I'll fight to come back to you. Rose will you do something for me?" he asked.

Rose nodded tearfully.

"Say you'll marry me Rose, then if I don't make it then I'll go knowing you said yes to me and if I survive, we'll make plans when I'm well because I mean it Rose, I want to marry you."

Rose burst out crying, she couldn't control her tears any longer. She loved him so she said "Yes."

They managed a hug and a kiss before they were called in and all the risks were laid out before them and this time, Alec told the surgeon that Rose was his fianc e and asked if she could be given 24hr access to his room and being told it could be arranged. He was taken to his room and the surgery scheduled for the next morning. Rose stayed until she was asked to leave to give him chance to rest but not before they had kissed and they held each other for as long as was possible. Rose said she would be there early so she was sat by him when he woke up but they both knew neither of them could sleep alone.

Rose tossed and turned in the hotel room hoping Alec wasn't doing the same or threatening to leave if they didn't let Rose back in to stay with him. They had her number of course, just in case but she planned on not leaving the next day until he was out of danger and only then when he needed to rest. She was up by six and out of the hotel just after and in his room by six thirty, getting a look from the staff on duty. Alec woke up when she took hold of his hand, not meaning to wake him. After saying 'hi' to each other, Alec wanted her to climb on the bed but she said she'd better not, not in the hospital so they just kissed as best they could until the door handle made a sound and Rose got a stern look from the Sister in charge who had come to check on him.

The nurse came back later and told Rose they were going to prepare him for surgery and suggested she went to get some refreshments and he would still be here when she got back so she found the caf and got a drink and something to eat and eagerly went back to his room. She followed the orderlies as they wheeled Alec to the theatre and they had a few minutes before he went in but he was getting sleepy. The surgeon came out and told Rose not to worry, his chances had greatly increased, probably due to her looking after him properly and him taking his medication.

Rose had one last thing to say to him as he was being taken in.

"Alec, don't you make me wait out here for you, you'd better come back out again, you have a promise to keep."

He was taken inside before he could reply. She went to find a seat where she could see the door and prepared herself for a long wait. A nurse came out a few minutes later, asked if she was Rose and said that Alec had heard what she had said and for her not to worry, he intended to keep his promise and she still had something to give him. The nurse said Alec had told her Rose would know what that meant. She did. That meant he had every intention of making it and he was going to fight.

What seemed like hours passed by until the surgeon finally came out and said they were taking Alec to the recovery room and it was like a great weight was lifted from her but he also said he would be closely monitored for the next 48-72 hours and he had to have no excitement and he had to remain calm for him to get used to his pacemaker. Rose promised she would see he behaved but the surgeon somehow doubted that. Rose did manage the impossible, just sitting and holding his hand, both of them making plans together.

Alec was released a week later on the premise that he take it easy and went out for an hour every day and report back to the hospital in a week. The first night Alec was back, they went for a walk along the seafront and went out to the caf next to the river and each night they would just lay on the sofa watching TV and kissing then on the Sunday, Rose drove them up the coast and they found a jewellery shop that was open and Alec bought Rose a solitaire engagement ring then when they got back, Rose had just got into bed to find Alec had taken his shorts off and he attempted to take her cami off saying he felt absolutely fine.

"Fine, but I'm not explaining it if you end up back in hospital, I'm going to make you sign a disclaimer if you want to start something Alec Hardy."

Alec laughed. "I'll gladly sign it for one night with you Rose Tyler. Come on, we've had enough time apart, let's pick up where we left off shall we? Do you remember where we were?"

Rose pretended to think about it and Alec seized the opportunity to remind her by successfully getting her to take her underwear off. Slowly, without Alec getting over-exerted Rose was one step nearer to giving herself to him and finally it happened, the night he was given the all clear from the hospital. They married a few months later in Broadchurch, Rose's mother coming down and they invited Ellie because they still hardly knew anyone and found a house to rent just a little further down from the apartment they had been in and settled down, deciding to get used to the fact they were married before planning to have a family, which Alec was keen to have since he had missed out badly.

Rose went on to write her column from home instead of chasing around all over the country for interviews and made it even more successful than it had been although Alec's had turned out to be the most read edition ever in the history of the magazine as it seemed people were curious about the detective who had solved the Broadchurch murder and his comeback from a damning failed case and overcoming his illness but most of all because Rose had put in his defence that he had been grossly misjudged and had no idea he was stepping out of the limelight only to be in it even more and how he had coped and overcome his battle with his illness and solved the case almost single-handedly. It could also have been because he had opened up to Rose eventually and let her quote him as being relieved that the case had been solved and he had been disappointed it had taken so long to see the obvious that the guilty person had been under his nose all the time and he had talked and even sat across the dinner table with the killer.

Rose put behind her the hectic life she had led, running around the country after spoiled reality stars and those who thought they had been badly done by because Alec had been a far more deserving case than any of them put together and none of them had been through what Alec had been through and she thought that was why she had been so attracted to him, he hadn't wanted the recognition and the glory, he'd just wanted a quiet life which Rose had not wanted to give him when she had first arrived in town. Well that and she finally admitted to herself that he did look a little like a certain Scottish actor that had annoyed the hell out of her by trying to chat her up all the time when she couldn't stand him. Yeah Rose, just you keep on thinking that.

The End