Nicole Chambers’ track record with men is bad. Very bad. She’s sworn off dating for the foreseeable future. Recovering from an assault by the last man she’d only casually dated, Nicole is attacked again in her rural home. If not for the hot guy who showed up about her rental cottage, she would have been dead for sure.
Her self-imposed sabbatical is soon tested when he moves into her backyard.
Kyle’s mother was kidnapped and murdered when he was just a kid. Filled with rage and a determination to hunt down the man who became known as the Clove Hitch Killer, he goes into law enforcement. When his efforts lead him to Nicole Chambers, he falls for her completely.
Now he’s torn between keeping her safe, or using her as bait to capture a killer.
Nicole paced nervously, waiting for Kyle to return. She’d thrown on her workout clothes; a black pair of Capris, a long purple T-shirt with large cut-out armholes, and a black sports bra peeking out from underneath. She was covered practically from head to foot, so why did she get so nervous thinking about Kyle seeing her in the outfit?
Because he’ll be touching me, that’s why. And though not as daring as what a lot of the women wore at the club, it still showed far more skin than Nicole was used to, except when she was working out. Did this qualify?
This is a bad idea.
Her doorbell rang.
She took a steadying breath. Too late to back out.
When she opened the door and Kyle saw her, his eyes lit with a smoldering fire. But all he said was, “Ready?” as he walked past her, greeting her dog, “Hey, Charlie.”
Taking a moment to close the door, and calm her jittery nerves, she turned back to him. The desire she’d so clearly recognized in his heated stare, had lessened to a more neutral expression.
He nodded toward the living room, where she’d pushed the furniture out of the way, clearing a large spot in the middle. “You should have waited for me to help.”
Nicole rolled her eyes. “Please. I do vacuum, you know. The furniture doesn’t move itself.”
A slightly crooked smile curved Kyle’s lips as Charlie headed over to his dog bed for a nap. “Suppose not.”
Her stomach fluttered. He was too charming for his own good. How in the hell was she supposed to resist him? No men rule, remember. Gah! What a dumb rule. What had she been thinking?
Maybe that your taste in men is crap, and you needed a good long break after the last guy you dated almost killed you.
Oh, yeah. That was it.
Kyle moved to the center of the room, looking all too fine in a pair of tight jeans. He waved her over with two crooked fingers. Her cheeks flamed, hoping he hadn’t caught her checking him out. But by the smirk on his face, she figured he had.
“Now,” he said as she approached, his tone shifting to all business. “If someone tries to grab you, whatcha gonna do?”
“Um. Run away?”
He nodded. “Might work. But, let’s say he manages to get a hold of you. What then?”
She licked her dry lips, nerves rolling around in her stomach. “Is this a trick question?”
The smile that split his face stole her breath. Gone was the serious tenant-slash-police officer from her backyard cottage. The man who stood before her now was a total, flat out, hands-down, no-question-about-it, hottie. His sex appeal exploded into the room like an atomic bomb filling up every nook and cranny.
And in just a minute or so, he was going to put his hands on her.
Ohmygod. Trouble. Seriously.
Maybe this really wasn’t such a good idea—
Nicole screamed when she was suddenly grabbed and her back brought up against Kyle’s chest. One arm clamped around her waist, the other across her throat.
Her natural instinct was to struggle, but he had one leg wrapped around her shins, totally immobilizing her. The heat from Kyle’s body burned her up, and she wasn’t unaware of the rising bulge against the small of her back. Excitement tickled through her.
Charlie let out a little bark, but only lazily watched them. She scowled at him. Some guard dog!
Mouth pressed against her ear, Kyle murmured in a seductive drawl, “If I were the bad guy, sweetheart, your pretty little ass would be mine right now.”
Adrianna Morgan’s life takes a dangerous turn when she’s given an incorrect address for a notary assignment, ending up in the wrong place, at the wrong time.
Attempting to take down a local drug ring, Lucas Hunter’s cover is blown when he goes to the aid of a beautiful woman during an undercover operation.
But the bad guys better watch out, because this sexy cop will do anything to protect the woman he loves, no matter how high the body count.
Lucas watched as Adrianna gave her head another vigorous shake, glaring at the paramedic. He instinctively moved toward her to see what was wrong. She’d been through enough and he didn’t want this guy making her more upset.
What am I doing? She’s not my responsibility. That thought didn’t slow him down for an instant. He came to a stop in front of the paramedic, narrowing his eyes on the man. “Is there a problem here?”
The paramedic scowled, not appearing intimidated by Lucas’ surly attitude in the slightest. Pretty damn brave of him, Lucas admitted with grudging respect, given that the guy was no taller than Adrianna, and almost as skinny.
“She refuses to go to the hospital to get checked for a concussion,” the paramedic complained. “Maybe you can talk some sense into her.”
Lucas frowned at Adrianna and her stubborn chin jutted forward, a kiss-worthy pout pursing her mouth. Did the woman have no sense whatsoever? First, she shows up at a strange house late at night, then stuck around when she should have been hauling her fine ass out of there. Although there was a good chance he’d be dead if she hadn’t, which ticked him off further. It was his fault she’d been injured, and dammit, she was going to the hospital to get checked out if he had to carry her there.
“I’ll take her.”
She gave him a look of exasperation. “I’m not going.”
“Yes . . . you are,” he returned, his annoyance rising. What the hell was wrong with this woman? Stubborn didn’t even come close to her attitude.
She crossed her arms and tapped her slender bare foot, irritation marring her pretty features. Her alluring eyes flashed a deep shade of green. “No. I’m not.”
She shifted her gaze to the paramedic in a look of reproach, then spun around and headed for a blue Ford Focus parked in front of the house.
“She can’t drive,” the paramedic snapped.
“Right,” Lucas agreed, sprinting after her. “I’ve got this.”
He came up behind her just as she neared the Focus, her steps slowed, then came to a complete stop by the driver’s side door. But she didn’t open it. Instead, her shoulders drooped and her head fell forward as she tugged the blanket more tightly around her. When a tremor shook her shoulders, the need to comfort her nearly undid him. She was due for a meltdown after what she’d been through.
His annoyance fell away at the sight of her distress. “You okay?”
“My car’s broken,” she said, her voice no more than a whisper. A chill nipped the air as a slight misting rain fell on them.
He reached for her and slowly turned her around, placing a finger under her chin and tilting her face up. Her eyes were glassy with tears. “What?” he asked softly.
She blinked moisture from her lashes and squinted up at him. “I had an accident”—sniffle—“on the way here and now it won’t start.” Her bottom lip trembled.
His gaze fell to her mouth and an urge to press her back against her car and taste those full pouty lips coiled inside him. He swallowed hard and forced the image out of his mind, but it was harder to force the desire from his body. “You weren’t hurt?”
She hadn’t appeared injured when he’d seen her peering inside the dirty window. His eyes dropped back over her body, accessing her injuries. His body tightened, noting the way her conservative outfit, still damp, clung to her soft curves.
His mouth pressed tight. Since Susan’s death, he’d taken less than a handful of women to bed to scratch his itch. All one-nighters who knew the score. This woman had ‘long-term’ written all over her. Lucas didn’t do long term.
Adrianna continued. “I just need my purse.” Her voice shook and two fat tears leaked from her eyes. “And I—I lost my glasses when that man hit me,” she ended on a wail.
The thought of Ellis touching her, hurting her, made Lucas want to do some damage to the guy. His nostrils flared and his spine stiffened. Too bad the bastard was already dead. The anguish he heard in her voice bothered him. On pure instinct, Lucas found himself leaning in to comfort her. Inhaling her sweet floral scent reminded him of everything good in the world and the reason men like him fought to protect innocence.
Two more tears rolled down her face, one dripping off the end of her cute nose. An emotion that could only be described as tenderness flickered to life inside him. An emotion he’d sworn never to feel again. An emotion he sure as hell didn’t want. One he did his best to tamp back down, as the need to claim and protect her smoldered, like a low burning fire. Then she sniffled again, the sound soft and feminine, as two more tears fell.
Like throwing gasoline onto a flame, the emotion exploded, raging out of control.
Held captive somewhere in the mountains by men intent on blackmail, Casey Gillette soon discovers her only chance to survive is to trust the one man among her captors who seems different from the rest.
As an undercover cop, Matt Sash has had made plenty of tough calls in the field before, but this may be his toughest yet. Only days away from stopping a terrorist attack in Chicago, he’s thrust into the role of protector to the beautiful woman being used as a pawn in the deadly game.
With Time Running Out:
A desperate race ensues to stop an act of terror and save the woman he loves.
Due to requests from my fans, here’s an epilogue
that had ended up on the cutting room floor.
Casey ran her hands down her body, over the small baby bump underneath her wedding gown. She was five months along now, and the baby seemed to be as excited about the wedding as she was. Her full-length chiffon gown had an empire waist, creating a flattering A-line silhouette, with an elegant, flowing skirt. The one-shouldered bodice featured large rosettes and a red ribbon under her now voluptuous breasts and was tied into a pretty bow at her back, adding a touch of glamour.
“You look beautiful,” Connie said. Tears glistened in her eyes as she secured the long, wispy veil to Casey’s head.
Casey chuckled. “Next time it’s your turn.”
Connie smiled back, her eyes going soft. “I know, can you believe it! Shawn wants a Christmas wedding.”
The door to the dressing room opened and T.J. stepped inside.
“Is the bride about ready? The crowd is getting restless,” she said with a chuckle.
Connie laughed, and turned Casey toward the door. “Yep, she’s ready to go.”
T.J. lifted a tissue to her eyes and dabbed. “You make a lovely bride.”
“A pregnant bride.” Casey gave a nervous giggle then ran her hands over her baby bump again, as nervous tension coiled inside her.
T.J. stepped into the room and took her hand. “Your pregnancy only makes you more beautiful. We’ll be lucky if Matt doesn’t swoop you up and carry you off to bed before the ceremony is over.”
The thought of the way Matt worshiped her body each night tamed her nervousness as anticipation moved in. She would soon be Mrs. Matt Sash. She smiled. “Jacob has the rings?”
T.J. smiled. “Yes. I double-checked this morning before he left the house. Relax. Enjoy your day and leave the little things to us.” She waved between herself and Connie. “We’ve got everything covered.”
“That’s right,” Connie piped in. “Now get your butt out there and get married before this baby arrives.”
Casey took a deep breath. “I’m ready.”
T.J. kissed her on the cheek, then left. The sound of the “Wedding March” began.
Connie handed her the bridal bouquet, kissed her cheek, and made her way to the door to take her place in the wedding procession.
When the music for her grand entrance began, Casey stepped into the room and paused, her gaze locking with Matt’s, who looked super-handsome in his black tux. Her pulse quickened as a sexy grin spread across his face. God she loved him. She shot a nervous glance around the room at their guests, then her gaze slid back to her father who was waiting to walk her down the aisle. Happiness swelled inside her to see his loving face. It had taken him months to recover from his injuries. But, just as Shawn said, he was too stubborn to let a few bullets stop him.
“Ready, Pumpkin?” he asked, holding his arm out for her.
She nodded as butterfly wings tickled her belly. Taking her father’s arm, her gaze swung back to Matt, who winked at her, and her nerves settled. They’d decided on an intimate wedding, and there were no more than seventy-five of their closest family and friends there.
Maintaining eye contact with him, she made her way down the aisle and took Matt’s hand. Her father kissed her cheek, then took a seat in the front row, next to Shawn. As the music continued to play, Matt caressed her pregnant belly. His eyes flashed with heated possessiveness, before he leaned in and kissed her, long and deep.
Chuckles broke out in the room.
Jacob snorted. “Hey, Sash. We haven’t got to that part yet.”
The pastor laughed, then cleared his throat as though to get their attention.
Matt lifted his head, holding her gaze for another long moment, before they both turned and faced him, still holding hands.
Still grinning, the pastor began.
“Dearly Beloved, we are gathered here today in the presence of these witnesses . . .”