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Stuart “Saint” Paulson looked down at Sienna, his brow furrowed, shoulders tense, his own headache inviting itself in.
“I can’t do that,” he replied after a long pause. She didn’t respond. She’d fallen asleep.
Saint’s head dropped down, chin to his chest. His self-hatred sliced deep with each breath. He gazed at Sienna, swept the hair out of her face, skimmed his finger down to her chin; he couldn’t stop. He indulged further in the feel of her, her hair, her skin. She wasn’t what he would call a stunner. Sienna was…unique. Right now, her skin was pale and drawn because of her headache. Once she was better, he bet it would be flawless and pink as pale porcelain. Her jaw was sharp angles down from high cheekbones, almost to a diamond shape at her chin. What softened her face was the subtle slope of her nose, and her big eyes lined with thick lashes that seemed to go on forever. He noticed she was tall when he held her on the dance floor, maybe six foot two instead of his six foot four. Sienna fit him snug and in all the right places. She was muscular too, but in his arms, she felt soft, pliable. The way her firm breasts pressed into the planes of his chest as he helped her from his truck and carried her into the house was like a shot of adrenaline. Saint wanted to take full advantage of all her slight curves. He jerked his hand away and balled it into a fist.
Out Now! Skin Deep by Kimberly Kincaid.
Kellan took a step back on the pavement. He’d done what he’d come here to do. Moreno was safe at her car. The scene around them was secure. He needed to go before he did something stupid. “I guess I should get out of here. I called in for the first couple hours of my shift tomorrow, but I still have to punch the clock at oh nine-hundred.”
“Oh.” Isabella swiveled a glance over the quiet street. “Did you park nearby?”
Ah, hell. “No, I…walked.”
“You walked?” Her tone painted the question as a direct descendant of are you crazy? and screw it. He nodded, letting one corner of his mouth drift up into a half-smile.
“I was in the Army. I’m used to humping it places. Anyway, the trip’s not too far.”
At Moreno’s lifted brows, he caved the rest of the way. “Okay, okay. My apartment is six miles from here. But the walking clears my head.”
It would have to do for an explanation, because if she thought the walking part was nuts, he was pretty certain the whole I walk to get my emotions in check otherwise there’s a decent chance I’d fucking self-destruct thing would go over like a two-ton boulder.
“If you say so.” Isabella laughed, the soft, throaty sound hitting him right in the center of his chest. “Six miles is kind of a lot, though, and you’ve already done it once tonight. Do you want a ride?”
Kellan realized in that moment that she’d stepped toward him to regain the space he’d given her; that suddenly, her body was very much within touching distance, and that despite the warning coming from the small corner of his brain still allowing rational thought, the darker, baser rest of him wanted nothing more than to make their earlier kiss a prelude to better things. Hotter things.
“I’m not sure that’s such a good idea,” he said, the roughness in his voice spotlighting the words as a lie. But the hungry look in her eyes, along with the current of want burning in his veins at the sight of it, was the product of circumstance and nothing more. They’d just snuck into a sex party thrown by a highly dangerous criminal and garnered a lead that would blow Isabella’s case wide open. Of course they were wired. They probably had more adrenaline winging through their bodies than blood right now. But Kellan of all people knew that actually acting on those keyed-up endorphins was dangerous as hell.
Fuck, he wanted her anyway.
Isabella’s catlike smile—this one genuine, sweet and sexy and shared like a naughty secret—ensured he wouldn’t get a blink of sleep tonight, even after the six-mile haul home. “Not a good idea,” she repeated. “Because?”
He weighed his options. Saw that he had no good ones. And went with the truth.
“Because if you give me a ride back to my apartment, I’ll be tempted to ask you to come upstairs.”
“Ah.” But rather than retreating or clamming up in awkward silence, Moreno tilted her head to bring her mouth mere inches from his. “Is that what you want? For me to come upstairs with you?”
“Yes.” His honesty flew out, hot and unchecked.
Isabella met it with a twist of her lips that made his cock go hard and his pulse rush fast against his throat.
“Get in the car and ask me upstairs, Walker. My answer’s not no.”
Kimberly Kincaid social media contacts are as follows:
If I had to describe Charley Davidson in one word it would be caffeinated. Darynda Jones has created one of my favorite, funny, and fantastical characters. And in The Curse of Tenth Grave, the reader is sure to see her hijinks once again in full color. As the grim reaper, Charley’s backed up against awful odds…again. But she attacks everything with a flare that has me laughing most of the time. But there’s always more to her than meets the eye and in this edition, she’s sure to give us a good, caffeinated ride.
MC–Motorcycle Club, romances are some of my favorite books to read. Sarah Castille’s, Sinner’s Tribe Motorcycle Club is a favorite. In Chaos Bound, we see Holt “T-Rex” Savage again. Tortured by the Black Jacks and left to fend for himself by his own club, he’s been through what no one should have to endure and he’s focused on revenge. But I think things might go in a different direction once Naiya Kelly gets involved. At least that’s what I’m looking forward to seeing. I can’t wait to gear up and read.
In Hard to Serve, a Hard Ink, and 1001 Dark Nights novella, by Laura Kaye, we get to hang out with Detective Kyler Vance. But it’s not in the setting where he wears a badge, suit, and tie, where the police commissioner is having him investigated by internal affairs. No. He dons his other hat as a Master. I already know this title will be a great addition to the 1001 Dark Nights. I can’t wait until he walks into Blasphemy–love the name–and gives Mia Breslin what she needs while taking what is his. But there’s a little problem. Mia Breslin is the commissioner’s daughter.
Reading Sweet Little Lies, Heartbreaker Bay #1, is on my to-do list, because one, it’s Jill Shalvis, two, the little towns she creates have all kinds of interesting quirky characters in them, and three, it’s a new series. I wouldn’t miss a new series by Jill…ever.
The music was too loud. Sienna’s head pounded. It was too soon to be wearing a dress so tight she had cleavage, her spiked heels so tall she felt like she would fall on her face. But Megan said she looked killer when she helped pick it out. If she happened to come across Layton while out, well, dammit, she wanted to look and feel like a goddess.
“Ugh!” Sienna lifted her hand, tried to block the lights, and searched for Megan. Her friend would be pissed. But if she didn’t get out of this club this instant, she was going to have a total meltdown, witnesses aplenty. When Siena caught a visual of Megan, she danced with abandon, between two tall, hot men. Sienna sighed and made her way over to the man sandwich.
Megan’s smoky done-up eyes lit with glee. Her brows danced in a look-at-these-hot-guys kind of way. She couldn’t help but smile until she yelled at the guy behind her, “Dance with Sienna,” she said, “her ex-boyfriend is a total dick.” Megan snuggled her butt so close to his she could claim they knew each other more than this one encounter. Why did that notion piss her off? Sienna frowned as a surge of jealousy straightened her spine. Never mind, she shook her head at the thought and regretted it. Her groan washed out by the music. She grabbed her head to settle the spinning, her bed, and dark room her only thoughts. Sienna needed to get home.
The one Megan spoke to looked at Sienna. She barely raised her head to see his stare. In a slow perusal, he scanned her starting at her toes, and winded his way up and over every inch of her overheated skin that tingled underneath her skin in all the right places, her pain momentarily forgotten. He tilted his head and his fiery gaze changed to a questioning glance that seemed gentle, more open, approachable. Was he concerned about her?
Sienna cataloged his attractiveness. Too perfect. She tried to clear her mind, but her interest stirred nonetheless. Thoughts of getting involved with another man, with perfect hair and perfect bone structure, well…perfect everything should be the last thing on her mind.
“I’m going home,” she yelled to Megan and wanted to grab her head. Her friend stopped her gyrations, turned and gave Sienna her full attention.
“You can’t leave yet!” Outrage rung in her tone but Sienna knew Megan would let her do what she needed to if she wasn’t feeling well.
“My head’s pounding,” which proved truer than she would have liked, when the song changed, the bass got even deeper, harder, and even louder.
Sienna swayed, lights flashed in her vision, and standing was more precarious as the pain pounded in her head, it not related even a little bit to the music. The light turned and vibrated in a rainbow of zigzags, the strobe lights on the dance floor nowhere near the plethora of color needling her eyes like fractured glass. She felt hands wrap around her shoulders.
“Are you okay?”
Her lashes brushed her cheeks, and her eyes opened once again. The man that went with the voice bent his legs to look into her eyes. Her vision cleared in what she knew was only a short reprieve. She grabbed onto the stranger. He easily steadied her. Then she realized she moved with him. Bodies pushed and swayed into her, with each jostle her nausea grew.
“Megan?” She questioned as her voice floated away into the sea of bodies.
“I’m right here baby-cakes,” her best friend said, “Stuart’s got you.” She heard a masculine laugh behind her that was deeper than the man’s that helped her. The other man must have been the one grinding on Megan earlier, she thought. Then she realized Megan had told her her rescuer’s name.
“You don’t look like a Stuart,” she mumbled, the pain in her head making her words slur.
He leaned in and touched his lips to her ear from behind. She would have shivered from delight, him being so close, but her head hurts too damn much. “Call me Saint.”
In the next instance it seemed, Sienna was leaned up against a large tweaked out F-150 Ford Pickup.
“Sienna, Saint is going to drive you home.”
“What?” Her mind reeled with all the things wrong with that statement. Her mind screamed the words, “I can’t go home with a complete stranger,” but the words came out in a whisper. Saint buckled her into the seat. She tried to swat his hands away. “Megan? Megan!” Both her hands held her head still as she struggled not to vomit.
“Right here, honey.”
She turned her head and looked down. Megan stood at the open door.
“Stuart,” she said and then laughed as a growl came from the driver’s side. “I mean Saint is driving you home. His friend and I are going to follow behind to make sure you’re all tucked in and comfy in bed. Her brows danced up and down again. She tended to do that when she was drunk. Okay, so her friend was useless right now as it related to driving. Great! She whined in her head. Then moaned again. She closed her eyes and leaned back against the headrest. She took deep inhalations through her nose and out through her mouth.
“I’ll be right behind you,” she said.
“Mmm.” That’s all she could utter. Breathe. In. Out. In. Out.
“You all set?” the low voice next to her said.
Her door slammed. She flinched. Saint started his truck, and they took off. Sienna wanted to look behind her, see if Megan followed in the car, truck, whatever, behind them, but she was afraid if she moved even a millimeter, the vomit that threatened earlier would finally make an appearance.
When the truck stopped, she didn’t move and tried to concentrate on anything but the pain. When her door opened, arms went under her knees and behind her back. Saint lifted her into his very strong arms, and she let herself fall against an extremely hard, sculpted chest. Yeah, she thought. That would do it. Breathe. In. Out. In. Out.
“Huh?” she muttered.
“Baby, I can’t open your door if I don’t have keys.”
“Oh, right.” Opening her eyes slowly, as if superglued shut, she looked around for her key. “Where’s my purse,” she asked.
She felt a feather light touch across her cheek. That felt nice. “It’s in your hand sweetheart.”
She started to float down until her feet hit her porch. Not steady on her stilettos she didn’t let go of Saint. Lifting her hand, she stared at her purse that hung from her wrist as if she’d never seen it before. Saint laughed softly, took it from her, opened it, reached in and grabbed the key.
He unlocked the door, helped her inside. He went to turn on the lights, and she said, “No! Leave them off.” Sienna swayed on her feet, her voice too loud in her head. Her belly sunk, flipped with acid, her knees shook, and sweat beaded on her face. She needed her bed. She took a step forward and started to go down. Then she wasn’t. Arms lifted her up, and she floated again.
“I’m still here.”
“Okay.” She could feel the corners of his mouth turn up in a smile as he held her close, but she didn’t dare look. Any movement brought more nausea. She needed darkness, quiet, and if possible she needed to be completely still until she could sleep.
Sienna heard loud bangs and giggles. Megan had followed them home as she said she would. When she hit soft comforter, she thanked God for the respite. It wasn’t much, but she would take it.
“Do you need anything sweetheart?”
“Pill. Larger orange bottle. Bathroom cabinet,” she said, just audible.
She heard him move around, didn’t care if he ran across her tampons or condoms. All she wanted was a migraine pill. Sienna felt the bed depress, a calloused hand wrapped around her neck, and lifted her head up. She cracked an eye open, saw what she needed. It wasn’t at all the man holding the pill.
“Open up, baby.” She pressed her lips tight. This man was a stranger. What was she doing? She needed that pill. On a shaky inhale she opened up, he set the pill on her tongue, which was so intimate she didn’t know how to feel at the moment. Saint tipped the glass to her lips. She took a sip and swallowed. With the utmost care, he let her head come down onto her pillow and with the softest caress swept away the hair that fell on her face.
“You going to be alright now?” He asked.
“Mm-hmm.” His fingers caressed her cheek again. Why did that feel so nice? God! She didn’t need another man to sneak in behind her already shattered shields. Layton had done enough damage already. Her trust of any man should be non-existent. But somehow, this one took the utmost care with her, made her feel safe.
Giggles interrupted the contemplation of her bad choices.
“Oh, sorry,” Megan whispered, snorted, as she fell into the room.
Saint got up and looked down at her.
“You coming, man?” she heard Hot Guy Number Two say.
“Yeah,” Saint replied. He started to walk toward the door, Megan and Saint’s friend exited before him.
Saint had walked under the doorframe about to leave when Sienna blurted one word she wanted to take back—the concept so asinine–the instant it floated past her lips.
Note: This was previously posted on the Deadwood Writers Voices Blog on August 10, 2015.