“Good God. What
The last thing she wanted to be remembered for was the ubiquitous too-stupid-tolive award. She went back into the office and put down the stapler. She dialed security and waited for an answer. The phone line crackled and popped, then the connection went dead.
She might be in the building with the most sophisticated communications equipment on the planet, and somehow nothing worked. It must be the storm.
She opened Mac’s office and tried his phone, with the same results. Sighing, she strode back into her office area and retrieved the stapler again. As she crossed the threshold, the lights went out.
She ran face-first into a body. “Oof!”
Big hands caught her shoulders and fiery yellow eyes blinked at her.
With a startled gasp, she realized whatever made the horrible noises must be in the room with her.
Training kicked in and she swung at the creature’s head with the stapler. The creature grunted and blocked her swing. Impact made her drop the stapler.
Right onto her foot.
Denise A. Agnew
Madder than spit, she resisted the temptation to hop on one foot and lunged toward the general direction of her desk. Maybe she could fumble for her letter opener. Before she could reach the new weapon, a powerful arm looped around her waist and yanked her back against him.
With the last of her strength she aimed a kick at its shin and made contact. The creature grunted and increased pressure on her ribs. One hand covered her mouth.
She mumbled her rage against his hand. “Mmpht. Assoool. Letmf mef goul!”
With a growl of undeniably male frustration, the thing said, “Stop. I’m not going to hurt you.”
She struggled, her breath rasping, adrenaline surging. Fear and determination made her heart bang against her ribs. Before she could elbow him in the stomach, a curious exhaustion made her stop struggling. Like the warmest, most delicious embrace, the feeling cascaded and intruded on her ability to think. With a half-hearted lunge, she kicked back and hit her attacker in the shin again.
“Shit!” The man’s grip tightened and she couldn’t breathe. “Little she-cat!”
Panic ensued. If she didn’t think of a way to fight back, she’d be dead. Her knees weakened and before she could formulate her next move, her focus narrowed, then blinked out.
Thunder broke into Evelyn’s unconsciousness and she flinched as a loud boom echoed in the room. Weak as a day-old kitten, she tried to formulate one coherent thought.
Sensation came before lucidity. Something soft but cold cradled her body and the familiar scent of leather gave a clue to her location. She must be lying on the sofa in Mac’s office. Dim light penetrated her eyelids. She tried opening her eyes and couldn’t, a strange weakness kept her immobile.
What’s happening to me?
Fear threatened, but new feelings stopped all thoughts in their tracks.
Gently and slowly, strong hands touched her ankle. She would have twitched at the delicate touch, but her body didn’t seem to be cooperating other than breathing. Her right pump fell off her foot and onto the floor with a thud. Then a hot, big hand traveled up the side of her calf.
Whoa. Oh. Oh, yes.
The hot touch caressed like a lover’s, tender and possessing certainty, as if the man had touched her like this before. As her muscles shivered in reaction, pleasure sluiced hot and soothing through her body. Befuddled, she didn’t give a token protest.
Excitement danced inside her, moist heat gathered between her legs. Her breasts felt fuller, nipples hard and begging for the soft stroke of a tongue or persistent suckling.
She couldn’t control wanton need as it washed over her from head to toe. Dizzy, she waited for his next move.
Seconds later he reached up under her skirt and skated over her right thigh. Hot and intimate, the contact didn’t
to be anything—it screamed intention. The man had decided to cop a feel. She wanted to be offended. She wanted to kick the intruder’s ass. Instead she couldn’t move a muscle to ward off the touchy-feely.
The man hovered over her now, and she heard his heavy breathing. So she’d given him a run for his money. Gratification warred with fear. What should she do now? Lie here like a beached whale? Attempt to get away?
Warm breath touched her neck. The heat from his body felt comforting and arousing all at once.
“God, you’re pretty,” he whispered, his voice husky with excitement and maybe awe. The voice sounded familiar. “What the hell were you trying to do, honey?”
Denise A. Agnew
She wanted to speak, to refute his assessment and tell him to keep his paws off.
Despite fury at her inability to defend herself, she wanted with aching certainty to discover what he’d do next.
“Damn it,” he growled softly. He drew in a deep breath, as if inhaling her scent. “I can’t resist you.”
When his fingers trailed up over Evelyn’s neck, she couldn’t repress a shiver of unbidden longing. Man, the guy had enough potency in that little touch to start a fire hotter than a blowtorch. Warm breath touched her mouth, startling and erotic.
He captured her lips, asking with determination. She couldn’t resist, didn’t want to resist. Parting her lips to his slow seduction, Evelyn savored the heady, wild sensation of his strong mouth molding hers. His exploring kiss, silky smooth, begged her with hot, drugging persistence. Nothing in her experience prepared her for the sizzling intensity of his touch, the way his mouth cherished and caressed. She wanted to beg for a deeper kiss. Instead she got more. He cupped her left breast, his fingers brushing over her nipple. She gasped into his mouth as unexpected pleasure darted into her belly.
When he broke the kiss and released her breast, she felt woozy and a melting sensation pulsed between her legs. Heated and wanting more, she arched upward and moaned. His lips trailed over her neck, reaching for the soft throbbing pulse at the base.
With lingering kisses he discovered erogenous zones on her neck she never realized she had.
His mouth skimmed hers gently, then retreated. “Come on. I know you’re awake.”
He moved his strategy to the next level. He located the top of her thigh-high stocking and started rolling it down her leg.
Bursting into action, she sat up and launched at him with a snarl. “Get your hands off me, you cretin!”
He grabbed her arms and captured her wrists in one hand. Suddenly she found his large male body sprawled on top of her, pinning her to the couch. As the man looked down on her, she inhaled a startled breath.
Lord have extreme mercy
. Mortification flamed in her face.
It was Conall Tierney.
With his tousled hair of burnished gold and a couple days’ growth of beard, he looked rough-and-tumble and capable of anything. The temper shining from his bright, sea-green eyes said she’d pissed him off but good. A flare of yellow light overruled the green, stunning and filled with incredible fire. She gasped in amazement. It couldn’t be.
He couldn’t have firelight spilling from his eyes.
Maybe the dim emergency lights made his eyes seem unearthly. Perhaps she’d hit her head and hallucinated.
The fire in his eyes blinked out, replaced by the beautiful green.
Okay, so she must have suffered oxygen deficiency to imagine Conall as anything but human. Top that off with a couple of other distracting factors and she wondered 12
how she could breathe at all. When she shifted against him, his body felt muscular and oh…oh, so fine against every one of her curves. His movement made her legs part. Her suit skirt, already pushed up past decency, inched higher. His hips nestled between her thighs. For a few seconds his cock pressed right up against her most vulnerable, tender spot. A wild tingle shot through her clit and she gasped at the illicit sensation. And what a cock it was.
Erect, thick and long.
A slow, burning ache moved into her center and she blushed. In the middle of being more embarrassed than she’d ever been in her life, she discovered this man could turn her thermostat up to blistering in two seconds flat. Evelyn’s stomach did double flips and her adrenaline pumped. She inhaled deeply to try and get control.
“Let me up.” Her defiance sounded weak to her own ears. “Please.”
Conall glared down at her. “If you don’t stop wriggling, you’re going to wish you’d never met me.”
His voice, a soft growl with husky overtones, made a shiver travel up and down her spine.
“Believe me, I’m already there.”
She gave a token wiggle, but he kept his body pressed to hers. Humiliation made her face furnace hot. By attacking Conall with the stapler she’d performed one of the biggest, dumbest faux pas of her life. “Let me up.”
“Let me up?” Soft and husky, his deep voice started a traitorous and yet delicious shiver coiling deep in her stomach. “That’s all you’ve got to say after almost braining the hell out of me with a…a stapler?”
She sniffed. “Like I could have done much damage with it.”
“Huh. You might have stapled me to death.”
“Well, I could have killed you if I’d hit you in the head. I learned that in self-defense class last week.”
“Self-defense?” He snorted a laugh. “You need a better instructor. I could teach you some things—no, never mind. It would help against mere humans but—”
“Mere humans?” She snorted a soft laugh. “What do you think this is, the
His mesmerizing eyes narrowed, and she noted his dark, obscenely long lashes.
Nothing about this man spelled hideous in any way, shape, or form. Unless, of course, you counted his personality.
“Could you get off me?” she asked, determined to quell the beast in him with a reasonable tone of voice.
He released her wrists, his expression filled with mistrust. “If I do, are you going to try and kick my ass again?”
Denise A. Agnew
Involuntarily her palms landed on the warm, hard strength of his wide shoulders.
Tonight he wore a tight navy blue T-shirt that outlined the incredible muscles in his shoulders and arms. He felt stronger than any man she’d touched.
Conall’s jeans did little to hide the feeling of cock pressing her clit in the most delicious way. Involuntarily she shivered at the luscious sensation. Her nipples beaded at the brush of his hard chest against hers.
His gaze blazed down at her. “I’d stop doing that if I was you.”
“Or I’m going to do something extremely unprofessional.”
“Like you haven’t already? You kissed me. Now I call that inappropriate behavior.”
Instead of smiling like the conniving, oversexed creature he was, Conall glowered with unnerving concentration, like a man on the hunt. His gaze devoured, so burningly sensual she could hardly get her breath. He didn’t appear one hundred percent under control, as if he could jump her any minute. Maybe she
fear him. Then again, she shouldn’t be afraid of an SIA agent. All of them went through strenuous psychological screening. Unless this guy decided to turn wacko on her for no reason, everything should be copasetic.
Before she could savor more of his strong body on hers, he moved off her and she sat up.
“Let me look at your foot.” He reached for her leg and brought it up onto his lap.
Okay, so he wanted to play mysterious. If he thought he could charm his way into her good graces, he had another think coming. She didn’t succumb to charismatic, good-looking men with conceit coming out the yin-yang. Never.
His gaze sharpened, and for a moment she thought she saw that extraordinary yellow flame in his eyes returning. “I apologize for frightening you.”
“How—” She cut off, realizing he couldn’t read her mind, even if it seemed like he did. “I’m sorry I tried to hit you with the stapler.”
A cynical smile touched his mouth for a few seconds, then disappeared. What would he look like if he smiled in joy? In wicked delight? She’d probably never know.
“Whatever you did to make me pass out earlier… Could you teach me how to do it?” she asked.
“You can’t or you won’t?”
Evelyn felt like picking up the stapler again and cracking him one, but instead she reined in her frustration. “I’ll make you a deal. Show me how you made me black out, and I won’t report that you tried to feel me up.”
“Why you—” He scowled. “I wasn’t trying to feel you up. I was trying to take your stocking off to see the damage to your foot. Now let me see if you’re hurt.”
Take off her stocking? In front of this sexy man?
When she hesitated, he reached up and continued where he’d left off. His big hands reached up under her knee-length skirt to draw the nylon down with slow deliberation.
The heat in his fingers seared her skin.
She almost slapped his hand away, but then something strange happened. Her belly quivered with yearning desire as he drew the stocking down, down, down. Each brush of his skin against her leg sent warmth pooling deep in her loins. Her nipples tightened against her bra, and she thanked the heavens she wore one of those slightly padded bras so he couldn’t see her reaction. She perused his expression with surprise.
The man looked enraptured as he watched the stocking slide over her knee, then over her calf, then all the way off her foot. He tossed the stocking across the back of the couch.
Conall’s breath hissed in. He cupped her foot and she shivered as his warm fingers held her. “Damn. Look at that. Does it hurt?”
The already expanding bruise on the top of her foot looked angry and felt tender.
“Rotate your foot and wiggle your toes.”
She did as asked.
“Any pain now?” he asked.
“It aches a little.”
He carefully lowered her foot. “I don’t think you’ve broken any bones.”
She grabbed the stocking off the back of the couch, intent on putting the nylon back on as quickly as possible. As she hitched her leg up and slipped the stocking over her toes, he stood. She slid the stocking up over her bruised skin.