Excerpt From SNOWBOUND: The Protectors Series
Book Two by USA Today Bestselling Author Karen Fenech
But the sound nagged. Ignoring the beep from the microwave signaling that his meal was done, he made his way across the rough-hewn plank floor of the cabin to the equally rough door and opened it.
A woman fell into his arms. Gage caught her against him as a cold gust of wind blew inside. Snow swirled in the air, the crystal flakes dancing then landing on the wood floor and instantly becoming puddles of water.
The woman was unconscious, wet, and so cold, goose bumps rose on Gage’s own flesh from merely touching her.
The last thing he wanted was company. He felt a surge of anger at the intrusion. He had an instant—a flash—of just leaving her where he’d found her. He went still. He closed his eyes. It was a near thing but he wasn’t that far gone. He hadn’t completely lost his humanity. Yet.
He lifted the unconscious woman into his arms and carried her inside, kicking the door shut behind him. With the door closed, the wind was gone. More than the absence of cold, the cabin was again quiet other than the sound of the clock on the mantel ticking and the groans and squeaks of the old wood as he made his way into the living room.
He placed the woman on the leather couch and checked her pulse. Slow but steady. There was blood along her hair line. He parted her thick, brown hair gently and found a long gash at one temple that looked raw, enough to hurt but not severe enough to be life threatening. He probed further, but found no other cuts. He thumbed open her eye lids. Pupils were normal. Not concussed, then. He’d clean the head wound, but that was no longer his first concern.
Her hair was tucked in the collar of her T-shirt. Oddly, she wore no coat. Her face had little more color than the white shirt. He had to get her warm.
The snow on her skin was melting and droplets of water glistened on her face and in her hair. He got a towel from the linen cupboard and gently dried her skin, then moved on, drying her hair as best he could with the cloth.
Tossing the towel aside, he made short work of one boot, dropping it onto the floor, but as he tried to remove the other, it held. He ran his fingers gently over her lower leg and felt swelling in her ankle. Broken? He needed to free her leg. He estimated that the woman had been inside with him for about three minutes. She hadn’t stirred in that time. Better that she hadn’t. The way her boot had molded to her ankle, when he forced it, it was going to hurt.
With her boots off, he saw that her white socks were soaked through. He peeled them off carefully. Her right ankle was swollen, all right. Swollen but not broken, he judged and on its way to getting one hell of a bruise. He figured she’d had enough ice on that foot, thanks to the snow. Nothing he could do for it.
Her jeans were wet. Her T-shirt soaked through. No help for it, he was going to have to remove them. By the time he’d taken off the garments, he’d broken into a sweat. Not the result of shifting her slight body weight the few times needed to remove the clothing, but from what had been revealed to him. A tight, sexy body now clad only in a lacy bra thing and matching bikini panties.
Gage rubbed a hand, that was no longer steady, down his face. Her underwear was also too wet to leave on and would have to go as well . . .
Red Rock Rises- Excerpt
In the meantime he focused on the rest of her. Tall and slender, her body was as extraordinary as her face. She was all woman. Curved where she should be curved, and, Dameon noted appreciatively, some of those curves were downright monumental. Her dress was a work of art. Its deceptively simple design made the most of her amazing body. A shimmering drape of sea green fabric hugged her voluptuous frame. Cut low across her breasts, it made no secret of the treasures beneath. The hem of the dress hovered six inches above her knees revealing toned, gasp-worthy legs that refused to quit. Her strappy high-heeled stilettos added more alluring inches.
But it was her fiery red hair that had Dameon’s dick straining at his trousers. That in itself was noteworthy, as he’d been so caught up in his divorce he hadn’t responded to a woman for a long time. And I was worried about my dick, he thought with a disparaging snort. No question it had risen emphatically from the dead, thanks to the redhead. Her long thick hair was piled up on top of her head, secured by a four-inch silver clip. Errant curls escaped hanging tantalizingly around her face and neck. Dameon’s breath hitched at the thought of removing the clip and freeing that fiery mass.
As captivating as her appearance was, her demeanor was even more interesting. Although she affected an insouciant casualness, through his practiced eyes Dameon saw her wariness. She was edgy, uneasy, perhaps even afraid. She glanced frequently at the door and then back at her watch. She looked his way and briefly met his eyes but quickly averted her gaze. Hmm, was she anxious? Or maybe shy? A woman who looked like she did? It was an intriguing thought.
Jesse glanced at her watch, trying to appear nonchalant. Damn. Where was Raoul? She hated standing here by herself. Could she look any more out of place? She groaned silently. Bad enough that she looked like a hooker. Obviously that’s why all these men were ogling her. She kept them at bay with her well-honed brush off but she could handle only so many at a time. For God’s sake, had these yokels never seen a redheaded woman in a tight green dress whose boobs were about to pop out? God, why did she choosethis dress? It looked tame on the hanger but added to her shoes and with a little make-up, tame was not the word to describe her.
A better question was why she’d agreed to come to this damn party where she didn’t know a soul. And one of the two people in the whole town that she did know should have been here fifteen minutes ago. For the sixth time, Jesse reminded herself. ‘You came, girl, because if you can pull off this gig, you will make $10,000.’ Sweet! Raoul hadn’t batted an eye at her price. She chortled, the closest thing to a smile since she arrived. Guess a handsome Hispanic Club Owner with questionable ties to the Mexican mafia had different financial standards than most. Good. Now if her tardy client would just arrive, maybe she wouldn’t feel quite as out of place. Hell, her new profession might actually be fun.
That thought fled when she caught a glimpse of the brown-skinned man across the room. Damn, who was he? Gorgeous didn’t begin to describe him. His light brown coloring and features spoke to a mix of heritages. Latino? Maybe African-American with some Asian thrown in? His high cheekbones and chiseled jaw indicated there might be American Indian blood in the mix. His eyes were an aberration. A piece of the puzzle that didn’t fit. How the hell could a warm-skinned Adonis have cobalt blue eyes that gleamed from ten feet away?
His lazy stance didn’t hide his commanding presence. He had ex-military stamped all over him. Jesse stopped taking inventory when she caught his gaze. He was studying her through narrowed eyes. She groaned and quickly looked away. Damn, another bad boy. She attracted them like ticks on a hunting dog. His quirky grin said he knew what she looked like without her clothes. Of course. Her damnable body. That’s all any of them saw.
Jesse stiffened when she saw him approaching. His casual stride belied the power radiating off of him. Drawing her protective cloak around herself, Jesse assumed an indifferent pose. Her heart thudded so hard in her chest she was sure he would hear it. Refusing to be intimidated, she raised her chin and met him with a glare. It was a look designed to repel the most intrepid would-be suitors. The easy grin on his handsome face confirmed he wasn’t impressed or intimidated by her fierce glare
Excerpt from EVERYTHING HE NEVER WANTED
by Mary Leo
Despite his distaste for what she’d done, he immediately went hard gazing at the long line of her magnificent back, all her luscious curves and her naked butt. She seemed much rounder and with more delicious curves in the soft glow of moonlight peeking in through the sheer curtains on the window. Her legs were longer and more muscular than he remembered, but then he didn’t remember much about that night. Plus there was something on the small of her back, right above her sweet butt, but he couldn’t make it out. Even her hair had a much deeper tone to it, although there were dark shadows over the upper part of her body and he couldn’t really see much above her shoulders.
He closed the door behind him and stripped naked figuring he’d get the sex out of the way, then in the morning she’d return his book and he’d be out of there before breakfast.
An easy, sensuous exchange, one they would both thoroughly enjoy.
Within moments he slipped onto the bed and wrapped his arms around the woman who liked to play with fire.
As soon as he nuzzled her sweet neck, taking in her musky perfume, she said, “I sleep with a gun under my pillow, and my hand is on the trigger. I’m an excellent marksman, and if you don’t leave right now I’ll put a bullet in your head.”
Antonio jumped out of bed and was out of the bedroom faster than his thoughts could catch up to his mouth. “Wait! What? Holy crap, woman! It’s me.”
“Me who?” a voice shouted from the bedroom as Antonio stood in the middle of the living room, shaking from fear, his heart beating faster than a humming bird’s, adrenalin gushing through his veins. He felt as though he was going to pass out, but then he took a couple deep breaths and regained clarity.
“The house guest you invited.” He dashed behind the sofa, as if it could serve as some sort of protection from a screaming bullet.
An unfamiliar face peeked out from the doorway, the rest of her body hiding behind the wall, then she disappeared back inside the bedroom.
“Okay. Okay. I’m confused. I don’t know who you are, or what you’ve done with Jackie, but please just throw me my clothes and I’ll get out of here.”
His clothes flew out of the bedroom, along with his shoes, one at a time, without the girl showing her face. Antonio ran up the short hallway and quickly scooped up everything, but couldn’t seem to manage getting anything on. He was shaking too much. Instead he ran back down the hallway holding his things in a tight ball in front of him. “Look, I don’t know who you are, but I’m a . . . friend of Jackie’s. She invited me.”
“How do I know you’re telling me the truth? You just broke in.”
“I didn’t break in. She gave me the key.”
He couldn’t believe he was having a conversation with someone who had just threatened to kill him.
After a long silence, the girl said, “What’s your name and how do you know Jackie?”
“Antonio Milani. I met her in New York. We . . . I . . . I’m here to retrieve something that belongs to me.”
“Shit,” he heard the girl say.
“Everything okay in there?”
“You’re that Antonio Milani?”
“Is there another one?”
“Not that I know of.”
“Good, because I thought I was special.”
“Don’t flatter yourself.”
“Wouldn’t dream of it.” He tried to placate the gun toting lunatic in the bedroom, but he really needed to know who she was. “Who are you?”
Antonio’s potential shooter slowly came into view at the end of the hallway. She flipped on a light switch and he could see that she was wearing stretchy tights that showcased bunnies in various colors hopping down her legs, and a white tee with a huge bunny with floppy ears that seemed to outline her full round breasts. Her thick auburn hair was pulled up in a messy ponytail on the top of her head. Her empty hands were at her sides.
No gun of any kind . . . just bunnies.
He let out the breath he’d been holding. His shooter wore bunnies?