Authors: Becca Jameson
Tags: #Fiction, #Romance, #Contemporary, #erotic romance
Published By: Taliesin Publishing, LLC,
400 Gilead Road, #1617, Huntersville, NC 28070
Copyright © 2014 by Becca Jameson
Digital Release: July 2014
Cover Artist: Georgia Woods
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.
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, locales, or organizations is entirely coincidental.
To save her, he may have to break all the rules…
Katy Marks has worked hard for years to make partner at her law firm and be accepted in a man’s world. She hasn’t had much time for play. Now she has a stalker, one of the firm’s partners who hopes to entice her to gain promotion by sleeping with him. Backed into a corner, she grabs an unexpected opportunity. She wards off his unwanted advances by plastering herself against the sexy man leaning casually against the wall outside her uncle’s gym.
Rafe Wesson is stunned by one look at the sexy woman so totally out of place in the gym and finds himself flattened by his best friend and sparring partner. Scrambling to ensure he gets a chance to speak with her, he instead finds himself KO’d by a kiss that rocks his world and hardens him in all the right places.
Katy isn’t Rafe’s type. She’s far too innocent. Besides, she’s the gym owner’s niece. But two dates don’t dampen his desire or release her from his thoughts. Rafe has personal rules against sleeping with a woman before they are fully informed about his dominant ways. But Katy is testing his patience. She wants him, but he fears she won’t be as persistent when she finds out about his preferred lifestyle.
Rafe tries to step away from her, but he can’t ignore the unknown threat that stalks her, and time is running out. Someone wants Katy dead. And Rafe wants Katy...very much alive.
To my fantastic editor, Lisa Dugan, for all her input. And to my awesome publisher, Georgia Woods, for providing the inspiration for this story!
It only took one second. Not even an entire second. A quick glance to the left at the leggy woman in a tight skirt and Rafe found himself flat on the ground with a shiner that would pose a lot of questions from his clients for weeks.
“God damnit, Rafe. What the hell?”
Rafe Walker twisted onto his side before his vision cleared and popped back onto his feet. Nope. He hadn’t imagined her. And she was looking right at him, probably because he’d been laid out by his friend and sparring partner, Mason, as though he had no fighting abilities at all.
Her bow-shaped mouth hung open as she stared at him wide-eyed for a heartbeat before jerking her gaze back to the ground in front of her to avoid a similar catastrophe of her own. In those heels he imagined she would need all her concentration to keep from sprawling out on the mats and equipment that made up the inside of the gym.
He heard Mason calling, but his ears were ringing, and it had nothing to do with the blow he’d taken to the jaw. His gaze remained locked on the sexy curls that bounced behind the woman following the owner, Joe Marks, to the back room.
Who the hell was she? He’d never seen her here before. Hell, few women ever entered the testosterone-packed facility. And those who did, did so at their own risk.
“A woman? You let yourself get pummeled by me to stare at a girl?” Mason chuckled. “I never thought I’d see the day.”
Rafe turned his head back toward his friend, rubbing his jaw and opening it wide to work out the stiffness. Until that second, the pain hadn’t registered. Mason had clocked him below the eye, close enough to leave a nice blue circle and rattle his teeth at the same time.
Instead of heeding his friend’s ribbing, Rafe glanced back at the office the goddess had entered. “Do you know who that was?”
“I think it’s Joe’s niece.”
“Niece? I didn’t realize Joe had any relatives in the area. I’ve never met any of them.” Rafe and Mason had been training at the gym for years. Rafe had never seen this woman coming or going.
Rafe pulled off his gloves and wiped his forehead with a towel he’d flung over the fence before they’d started sparring. He wasn’t usually the kind of guy to get flustered over a woman. Never, actually. It had been a while since he’d been on a date. And longer since he’d been laid.
Something about those tight curls and the way the woman stepped through the gym as though she might catch something if she touched anything had his cock harder than a two-by-four.
Mason laughed again. “Man, I’ve never seen you like this.”
Rafe turned around and whipped his towel at Mason, snapping his friend in the leg. “Like you never ogle a hot woman.”
Mason shook his head. “Oh, I admit I do. It’s you who doesn’t usually take heed.”
Rafe gathered his gloves, grabbed his water bottle, and opened the fence to exit the octagon.
“So, I guess we’re done here?” Mason called after him, his voice still ringing with mirth.
Rafe ignored him and headed for the shower. He prayed he could get cleaned up fast and be back out before the sexy, short skirt left. He wasn’t overly concerned about finding out who she was, but it would be much easier to find out from her himself rather than asking the owner for details. For all he knew, the man could wig out and tell Rafe nothing, especially if she was a relative or someone special to him.
On the flip side, why not? Rafe was a good guy. Easy on the eyes. Hard working. Who wouldn’t want him dating their niece?
It took him under fifteen minutes to clean up and get out of the locker room. He held his breath as he peeked into the back office and saw the finest ass he’d seen in forever leaning over Joe’s desk. A cold sweat broke out as he thought about running his hands over that pair of cheeks. If there was such a thing as fate, Rafe had been bitten by the lust fairy.
Taking his time, he sauntered out the door and leaned back against the wall outside the gym. A black Lexus sat idling in the parking lot, catching his eye. No one he knew at the gym drove a Lexus and the driver was still inside. In fact the man sat facing him, staring, his eyes narrowed as though he were irritated Rafe would dare take up a position against the wall.
Rafe hoped his dream woman would leave soon and alone. It was hot outside. Summer hadn’t officially begun, but Vegas was already sweltering. He could only stand idly against the side of the building for so long before he would melt. And the jackass staring at him was making him testy.
Luckily, he got his wish. Soft laughter proceeded her exit. He hadn’t heard her voice yet, but he had no doubt it was her. There were no other women currently inside the gym. With the exception of a group of female fighters, few women ever entered Joe’s gym. Thank God. It kept Rafe from getting his face smashed in on a regular basis from not paying attention.
Rafe crossed one ankle over the other and pretended to check his phone messages while he waited. Her sweet voice leaked out the door as someone held it open and she said her goodbyes. “Thanks, Uncle Joe. I’ll call you next week then?”
“I’ll be here.”
And then the waiting was over. The first thing Rafe saw was a tan sexy leg emerge into the sunshine. And the body that followed made his palms sweat.
“Oh.” She set a hand on her chest, startled, as the door behind her closed with a snick. “You—”
“Sorry. Didn’t mean to scare you.” Rafe alternated his weight from one foot to the other.
She stared at him for a moment and glanced over her shoulder. The running car engine must have grabbed her attention.
Two seconds later she whipped her head back toward Rafe, stepped into the space between his legs, and entwined her arms around his neck. “Mind if I use you?” She didn’t wait for an answer. Before Rafe could wrap his mind around his good fortune, the pixie had tipped her head, leaned in, and planted a kiss on him that scrambled his brain. Not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, he set his hands on her lower back and held her tight as he deepened the kiss.
God almighty. She tasted of mint and smelled like sunshine. He was vaguely aware of the Lexus speeding away but didn’t break contact with the woman’s soft lips to investigate.
Finally, she pulled back. Her eyes were wide, her mouth open, wet from their kiss, and she gasped for air. “Shit.” She stepped back. “You can kiss.” She touched her mouth with her fingers as though ensuring it was still there.
Rafe smiled. “Thank you. Um, I don’t know what to say. Rafe Walker.” He held out his hand in the narrow space between them. “Can’t complain about meeting a gorgeous woman in that fashion.”
The woman smiled, awkwardly shaking his hand with her head tipped to one side and her eyes narrowed. She pointed toward the door with her free hand. “You’re the one who got punched in the face.” Her gaze landed on his left eye.
“The one and only. I got distracted.” He smiled. “But not as distracted as I am now.”
She blushed, her face turning a deep shade of red before her mouth turned up in a beautiful grin. “Sorry.” She jerked her hand back as though suddenly realizing it had been in his grip longer than strictly necessary. Her stance went from controlled to slightly nervous, her fists gripped at her sides, her legs shifting back and forth.
“And you are?”
“Oh. Right. Katy.”
“Katy.” He tried the name out, liking how it suited her. “I’ve never seen you here before.”
“Yeah. I’ve never been here before.” She stepped back a pace and twisted to look behind her. He glanced down at her high heels, black pumps that made her shapely bare legs go on for miles. The day it became fashionable for women to stop wearing hose was a fine day indeed for men everywhere. “My uncle is the owner,” she said as she turned back to him.
So it was true. She was his niece. Where had she been all these years? “Ah. Joe. Good guy.”
“What are you standing out here for?” She glanced around again, rubbing her arms as though spooked.
He narrowed his gaze. “Waiting on you. I was trying to think of a nice ice breaker before I asked you out, but I never came up with anything as clever as what you had planned.”
She startled and gasped. “What? That? No.” She shook her head. “You have it all wrong.” She pointed behind her. “The asshole in the Lexus is stalking me. I wanted to fend him off.”
Rafe’s smile faltered.
“All right then. Glad I could be of assistance.” He stepped forward to make sure the Lexus was indeed gone and not lurking around the corner. Nothing. “Is it serious? Are you in danger?”
“No.” She shook her head. “At least I don’t think so. But man, is he persistent.”
“I’ll say. Following a woman and waiting for her out front is hardly what I would call innocuous.”
She smiled, the act lighting up her face.
“Do you live nearby?”
She paused a moment. “Are you hitting on me?” Her mouth turned up on one side and she cocked a hip, some of her confidence returning after he’d startled her with his presence.
“Yes.” No sense lying about it. “I mean, I fully intended to before you hit on me first. I’m still not sure what to think of that. Do you always kiss like that? I mean I’m not complaining. In fact, I’m intrigued. If that’s how you kiss when you don’t know the guy, how do you react when you’re really into him?”
She ignored his question. “I’m flattered. Really, but—”
“Don’t finish that,” he interrupted. “You don’t know me. I get that. But, before you judge, how about you join me for a cup of coffee? What can it hurt?” He held his breath as he put the ball in her court. Then he thought to add a few more details. “If you’re worried about your safety, Joe can vouch for me.” He pointed at the gym over his shoulder. “I’ve known him for years.”
She shook her head. “God, no. That would be mortifying. It’s not that, it’s—”
He interrupted again. “Just coffee. That’s all I’m asking. You do consume beverages, right?”
She giggled, a shaky short noise that rang out for a moment. “Are you always this persuasive?”
“When I need to be, yes.” Inside, he thought he might faint. He prayed he was exuding confidence on the outside.
Katy glanced at her watch. “I don’t have much time.”
“I don’t need much.” He stepped closer. She was going to go with him. There was indeed a God.
“Are you always this cocky?”
“No. I’ve never done anything like this in my life. Honest truth.” He set a hand on his chest. He wasn’t kidding about that. He’d never approached a woman so brazenly and put himself out there, but if ever there was a time and place, it was here and now. “But I’ve also never been approached by a stranger and mauled against the wall.” He grinned.