SERVE AND PROTECT
For Vitus Hale, only one mission has ever gone wrong. All he had to do was rescue a beautiful woman from her kidnappers. But falling hard into bed—and into love—with the stunning innocent was not part of the game plan, and when she leaves him in the dust, Vitus has nothing but a blemished record and a hardened heart. Now, after three long years, his beauty has finally come back into his life—and this time, failure is not an option…
SEDUCE AND DESTROY
Damascus Ryland knew from their first steamy embrace that stoic warrior Vitus Hale is the only man for her, but when her power-hungry Congressman father offered her an ultimatum—sever ties with Vitus, or he dies—Damascus knew she had to walk away to save the man she loved. But now, three years later, a new threat is closing in on her—and tossing Vitus right back into her life. Damascus needs to keep her love for him locked in her heart if she is to keep him safe, but the old flame that burned between them is still as vibrant and hot as ever. Now, Damascus and Vitus must risk it all to find their freedom…and embrace their love…
“Can’t look me in the eye, Princess?”
Damascus grasped at her resolve, drawing on the memory of just what her father had looked like when he’d pointed at his desk phone.
“There’s no reason to. I’ve said what I came to.”
There. It was done. She turned to leave. Vitus moved in a motion that was as fluid as it was sharp, intercepting her, stepping into her path so that she ended up recoiling into a corner between the doorjamb and the wall. He was suddenly too close for her failing composure. Her façade was coming apart at the seams.
“You took a damn stupid risk coming here by yourself. Thank God I had the system enabled to let you in or you’d have been stuck on the step like a sitting duck for who the hell knows how long. Don’t be stupid like that, Princess. Your father has a lot of enemies.”
He was hissing through clenched teeth. She tried to recoil from his temper, slapping at his chest when he held her without any real effort. Somehow, she’d forgotten just how bloody strong he was, but what she really needed to get away from was the way he was trying to protect her. She couldn’t take shelter in his embrace. It would be the kiss of death for him.
“Well, I did do it,” she shot back. “You and your brother aren’t the only ones who know how to play shadow games. And no one taught me how to do it.”
She was suddenly free and stumbled back a few paces, finally coming to rest against the wall.
“You shouldn’t have to learn,” Vitus said softly. So softly, she might have missed the sympathy in his tone.
But she didn’t, and she lifted her chin, needing to be more than the helpless creature she was the last time she’d been inside his house. “You think I want to be the princess you always called me?” She shook her head. “I’m not a little girl.”
His lips twitched, curving sensuously as his eyes narrowed in a purely male way. It had been three long years since she’d seen that look on his face, but she recognized it instantly, sensation rippling across the surface of her skin in response. There was no thinking, no deciding what she felt, there was only him and the way her body sprang to life when he was close enough to touch her.
“I have never ”—he stepped closer, her senses so keen, she heard the soft sound of his boot connecting with the wooden floor—“never . . . thought of you as a little girl.” All the tiny hairs on her skin were standing straight up as he closed the space so that he could flatten his hands against the wall on either side of her face.
His eyes were closed now as he leaned down and inhaled against her hair.
“I tried so damn hard to forget the way you smell . . .”
She heard the desire in his voice, felt it wash through her like a flash flood, sweeping everything else aside in a blink of an eye. There was only the moment and the fact that she knew it would be her last with him. Wrong? It seemed a far greater crime to turn her back on what fate had delivered. All she wanted to do was cherish it, until she was forced to resume being realistic.
“.” She couldn’t have held the words back if she’d tried.
“Don’t say that,” he warned, but it sounded like he intended it for himself. “I need to get you back . . . before we both lose our heads.”
“I can’t think . . .” What she wanted was right there. She could smell him, feel his body heat, and all she wanted was a taste to go with it all, to send her into sensory overload where reality could just fucking drown. “. . . when you’re this close.”
She lost the battle and reached out, finished with waiting and being cautious. He was too close, too real to be ignored in favor of doing the wise thing. His chest felt as good as she recalled, hard and sculpted. His T-shirt was a thin barrier, but it frustrated her because it kept her from what she craved.
So she dug her fingers into the soft jersey and yanked it up. The tail came free from his belt, rising up to give her exactly what she wanted.
Dawn Ryder has not been abducted by gypsies. She stepped through a time tunnel and has been busy writing about Scots in kilts and English Knights for Kensington’s Brava line. but she will return, very soon to her special operations guys and the other characters that are demanding their turn to tell their story. please check back for updates and click on over to MaryWine.com to discover what she’s got releasing.