Authors: Melissa Schroeder
When this Dom falls hard, he will do anything to protect the woman he loves.
Elias St John has lived a life most people wouldn’t believe. An Aussie by birth, he has found his way to the Big Island working as the right hand man to Joe Kaheaku. When his boss dies and leaves the ranch to Eli and Joe’s niece Crysta Miller, Eli finds himself more than a little attracted to her.
After finding her fiancé in bed with another woman and helping her father through his illness, Crysta is ready for a new start. The offer of the ranch far away from home is perfect. The only problem she has is with Eli who constantly tells her what to do. When an argument turns into a passionate kiss, both of them get more than they were expecting.
Eli finds himself completely enthralled with Crysta as his submissive. As seemingly simple accidents turn deadly, Eli realizes that someone is bent on destroying the ranch by any means possible—even murder.
this book contains the following: A cynical Dom, a woman ready for adventure, Hawaiian cowboys-yeah they have them, horse rides, stunning sunsets and a new island for Addicts to cherish. Remember, it’s Harmless so bring on the ice water and towels
A Little Harmless Ride
To Heather Long because she understands my insane humor even if I don’t understand her fixation on Super Heroes.
A big thank you to everyone who has help me along the way. There are so many of you to mention and my brain gets muddled when I think about it.
First, a shout out to the Addicts. Seriously, can you believe we are on number NINE?? And a special thank you to Sheri Vidal and the Militia who get the word out about my books. Thanks to Heather Long for the formatting, to Noel Varner for editing and to Brandy Walker for helping me to keep it together. Oh, and Joy, Miranda and Ali who have always respond to my crazy texts even though they make no sense. And, I would be nowhere if it weren’t for Wax Creative and their support of my career. You ladies ROCK.
And a special thanks to Les and the girls. You really kept me going for this one. Thank you once again for being the support I need.
transferable. They cannot be sold, shared or given away as it is an infringement on the copyright of this work.
This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the writer’s imagination or have been used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locale or organizations is entirely coincidental.
A Little Harmless Ride
Copyright © 2013 by Melissa Schroeder
Cover by Scott Carpenter
Editing by Noel Varner
All Rights Are Reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.
The sharp sting of the whip against his flesh jolted Eli awake. Pain surged through his body once again. He tried to swallow but found his throat too dry. He didn’t know how long he’d been there…he didn’t care. All he wanted to do was die.
We can’t have you falling asleep, St. John,” the sultry voice whispered in his ear. He had been stupid enough to let that voice seduce him…and now he was paying for it.
He opened his eyes. Correction. He opened his right eye. The other was swollen shut. His arms were stretched above him. His wrists were shackled. He was just high enough that his feet touched the floor but he couldn’t gain any traction.
Every cell, every muscle, every bone in his body hurt.
There is too much information I want from you...Eli.”
She walked in front of him and stopped. The whip she held in her hand was huge. She used it like a fucking master, as if she had been trained for it. Knowing the bitch, she had. A bullwhip, and with every flick of her wrist, she caused him more pain. Worse, he knew she was getting off on every bit of pain she caused him. Sadistic bitch.
She stepped up so their faces were only inches apart. She slipped her hand beneath his chin to raise his head so she could look at him. “Ah, Eli, does it hurt too much?”
He looked at her, then stared at that wall.
You know, I thought you would be harder to get into my bed.”
He heard the snickering. It stabbed him in the gut. After five years in SASR, he should have been known better, been more prepared for a witch like her. After the last mission though, he had wanted to forget. Just lose himself in bed and forget.
And now, he was paying for that.
No comment?” she asked. He looked at her again and understood why he had let her get to him. She was what he liked. Dark hair, dark eyes...athletic without being too skinny. And Jesus, what an ass. But, it had all been a game to her. She wanted what was in his head.
He would die before he would give it to her.
Tsk, tsk. I guess we need another round,” she said, sick excitement filling her voice. He knew men like her in his own unit. They got off on pain, on seeing how far they could hurt someone before they could break the person they were torturing. She stepped back and flicked her wrist. The slap of the whip sent another jolt of pain coursing through his body. He was almost numb to it. He’d stopped caring the moment she had turned on him.
Hmm, I think we need another tactic, boys. Let’s get the water.”
Eli woke stifling a scream. His heart was smacking hard against his chest as he drew in huge gulps of air. He scrubbed a hand over his face and tried his best to escape the memories of the dream. It didn’t diminish the taste of bile in his mouth, or his need for a cigarette, although, he’d quit smoking five years earlier.
He opened his eyes and stared at his ceiling. The fucking nightmares were back and they were worse than before. He could blame it on all kinds of things, but he knew without a doubt why they’d returned.
Damn Joe for dying on him, the old bastard.
With a sigh, Eli slipped out of bed and headed to his bathroom. It was a long walk, he thought. His room was big enough for a family of five. Joe had insisted on it. Eli had said all he needed was a bed and a bathroom to use, but Joe wouldn’t hear of it. The California king bed looked small in the middle of the room. The sitting room Eli had scoffed at now had a comfortable loveseat and a table covered with books he’d been reading.
For a guy who barely made it out of SARS and grew up in Australia’s foster system, this was one damned wonderful way to end up. He turned on the cold water and splashed his face. The last bits of the nightmare dissolved, almost forgotten.
As he dried his face off, he thought of the nightmares. They’d resumed when Joe had been transferred to Queen’s Medical on Oahu a few months earlier. When Joe’s health had deteriorated, the dreams had intensified. Eli was pretty sure a psychologist would have a field day with it, but he didn’t have time for that. The Millers were arriving today and there was a memorial service to conduct.
He turned on the shower and waited for the water to heat. He told Joe when they built the house they should have put in those heated pipes, but the man had said Eli needed time to contemplate his problems. Waiting for the shower to heat was a good way of doing that according to Joe.
The thought had Eli’s lips curving—although it hurt. It was hard to think Eli would never have another conversation with Joe...that he would never get to argue about unimportant things or sit and watch the sun set over the land.
He shook himself out of his funk and decided to get on with it. He needed to keep his wits about him when dealing with Joe’s relatives. He knew they weren’t going to be happy—especially his brother Dave. Man wasn’t going to be happy when he realized that not one inch of the Big Island ranch was going to be his.
The other part of the family was a mystery. Joe had spent time with his niece and brother-in-law, but they had never come to the Big Island. Eli didn’t have any idea how they would take an outsider owning the ranch. Of course, as far as he knew, Joe’s niece hadn’t stepped foot on Hawaiian soil…
Again he shook his thoughts away and started to get ready for the day. Joe had entrusted his ranch to him, and Eli wouldn’t let anything happen to it.
* * * *
Crysta Miller stared out the window of the rented car and sighed. Huge mountains shot up into the sky as green as a field of clover. The little bit of rain they had hit on the way to the ranch was now just a drizzle with the sun peeking through the clouds. Crysta thought it was perfect when she saw the rainbow. Well, perfect if Joe had been there with them.
She rubbed her hand over her chest and tried to ignore the pain. It was naïve but Crysta had always thought Joe would live forever.
You know the Kaheaku don’t live long, honey. Actually, Joe lived a pretty long life considering he was a SEAL and then worked on a ranch,” her father said.
She glanced at him. For so many years it had always been just the two of them. They both knew each other well enough to guess their train of thought. When she had been a teenager, it had been disturbing but now in times like this, it was comforting.
Stop being reasonable. I want to be sad,” she said.
He chuckled. “I wished we would have made it over last year. It would have been better to see the ranch with Joe to give us a tour.”
Yeah.” She looked at her father. “But, you know we couldn’t come. Joe understood that you were getting treatment.”
The last year and a half had been a hard one. Losing her mother at the age of five had been enough of a blow to Crysta, but when her father had been diagnosed with cancer, it had shaken her world to its very core. Logically, she knew there was a day when that would happen, but she hadn’t been ready to face it last year.
Now, Joe was gone.
Do you know anything about this St. John?” she asked.
Not much, just that Joe had known him for awhile.”
Someone from the military he knew? I hope he takes good care of the ranch.”
You really think Joe would leave it to him?” her father asked.
I think he should. From what Joe said, this St. John helped him build the ranch back up. I actually think he saw him as a sort of surrogate son.”
She left it unsaid that neither of them wanted her other uncle to get any part of the one hundred acre ranch. He was one of the reasons Crysta’s mother had left and never returned to her island home all those years ago. His prejudice against her father for being black and her for being part of him, kept her from knowing her mother’s life before marriage.