Windswept Danger is the 6th book in my Blackthorne, Inc. romantic suspense series. If you missed my earlier posts, you can find the first one here the second one here, the third one here and the fourth here.
You can also read the first chapter here.
Olivia stopped dead when she saw Hotshot standing in the middle of the living room, his back to her. Lean—maybe a little too lean. Broad shoulders, narrow hips. Well-muscled calves. Tight buns in his gym shorts. She’d seen enough bodies in her line of work. None socked her in the gut like this one.
You’re wrapping his ribs. There’s nothing erotic about doing your job.Yeah, tell that to the nipples tightening beneath her bra, and the tingling below her belly.
And what was wrong about taking advantage of the view? She strolled around to face him. “Where does it hurt?”
Did his lips twitch before he answered?
“I wouldn’t call it hurting. Sore when I move wrong, is all.”
Unable to resist, she placed her fingertips across his pectorals. Ran them down his chest, along his six-pack, rubbing gently, feeling his musculature. He hissed, a sharp intake of breath.
“Did that hurt?” she asked, jerking her hands away.
“No.” His gaze was fixed straight ahead, as if he were concentrating.
She continued her exploration, trying to ignore her own response and enjoy it at the same time. After the ice cream fiasco, there was no point pretending nothing had happened between them. They hadn’t decided how to deal with it yet, was all.
She traced several small scars on his abdomen. Pink, not red, but not faded to white, either. Neat lines, leftovers from surgical incisions. Laparoscopic, almost certainly. Fairly recent. “What are these from?”
“Surgery,” he said, his voice taut.
“I figured that. You going to tell me, or make me guess?”
His hands covered hers, removed them from his belly, but didn’t let them go. “Splenectomy.”
Yes, she remembered seeing that on his medical charts, but hadn’t paid much attention at the time, figuring his records had been exaggerated and fabricated, and she’d never bothered to ask what was real and what wasn’t.
“Any residual tenderness?”
He shook his head. “Not from the surgery.”
She could see him shutting down. Men. Always in control. No admitting emotions, no admitting pain. Denying nightmares. She extracted her hands from his, and went for the bandage. Then shifted to her Nurse Livvy tone. “Arms above your head, please.”
All that did was call attention to his six-pack. Short of playing a Maypole dancer, there was no way to avoid standing close as she wrapped the elastic around his midsection. She ignored the rising temptation to turn the process into an embrace. From her heart-thumping, nipple-tightening response, she might as well have.
After she bound him, he took her hands again. Brought them to his lips. Brushed her knuckles, one by one.
“I’m a lousy patient,” he whispered.
Had he noticed her response? “I’ve had worse.” She tilted her head, let those bold blue eyes fill her with a heat unlike any she’d felt before.
His head bowed lower. He released her hands.
She placed them on the back of his head. Kneaded his neck. Memories of being under the porch returned, but this—this felt nothing like that. Even the ice cream kiss seemed insignificant. A quick, tension-easing lapse.
His lips touched hers. Tenderly. Tentatively. And right now, for whatever reason—and reason was about as far away as anything could be right now—she didn’t want tender or tentative. She pulled his head closer. Threaded her fingers in his hair. Parted her lips. Demanded him. Her tongue sought his. His was there, hot, probing. Matching her demands. Heat pooled between her legs. His hands cupped her buttocks. Pressed her against him. Not hiding his arousal. So it was real for him, too.
In the distance—but not distant enough—a phone rang. Hotshot’s bedroom. Shit. They were working. She broke the kiss. Any calls were likely to be important. “It’s yours.”
He sucked air. “Phone. Right.” When he disappeared into the bedroom, she wandered to the patio door. What the hell had she done? And, what was worse, why didn’t she feel like it was wrong?
Buy links – you can pre-order from the following stores for only 99 cents. Order now and save $3 when the book is released on October 27th.