Saved by a Dangerous Man

By: Cleo Peitsche

Feelings might be a bit strong. Unless interpreted in a purely tactile use of the word. Henry expected that something would happen between us during this trip. I was ostensibly single. We’d gone out several times, had mostly enjoyed ourselves, and he’d kissed me once.

By agreeing to go out of town together, I was expressing an interest in seeing him.

Mrs. Mannerly’s Etiquette Compendium didn’t cover that situation.

My phone buzzed with a text. We’re here!

I jammed my feet into my boots, tied the laces, and was getting into my coat when the phone buzzed again. This time, the phone number showed as 000.

I stared at it a moment. I hadn’t expected to hear from Corbin so soon. My mouth dry, I quickly read the message: Check your bedroom windows.

Odd. Corbin had never been inside my apartment, and he had no way of knowing that even on the coldest nights, I slept with my bedroom windows cracked and often forgot to close them in the morning. It was the only way I could manage the mustiness.

Frowning, I walked through my short hallway and across the tiny, dingy kitchen. The floorboards squeaked underfoot, marking my progress. I pushed the bedroom door open. Even with my coat on, the change in temperature was staggering. The nearest window gaped open, cold gusts of wind billowing the blue polka dot curtains. I hadn’t left it like that.

A dark form stirred in my peripheral vision.

I gasped and lurched to the side, too startled to scream. But I wasn’t fast enough, and a large hand clamped over my mouth.

Thankfully, I didn’t need to get away from my surprise visitor; my body knew him long before my mind tallied the details. Because I would recognize Corbin’s warm, masculine scent anywhere, not to mention the press of his hand on my mouth, the solidity of his large body pushed up against me.

“It’s just me.”

As if he were ever just anything.

Corbin eased his hand from my mouth, then moved in to kiss me. He licked at my lips, delaying my protests. My eyelids fluttered, blurring the image of his gorgeous face—square jaw darkened with stubble, full lips, vivid blue-green eyes, dark hair that curled around his ears—into my mind.

He murmured something unintelligible, the words buzzing against my lips. Then he delved deep, claiming every inch. It was a sloppy kiss, possessive, his tongue practically fucking my mouth.

By the time he released me, my legs had transformed into rubber and my pulse spiked into an almost continuous hum. Even though it had only been a day since he’d cooked me omelets in his mountain home, it felt like a year had passed. My body wanted him. Badly.

And then I remembered. I shoved him away, panicked. “Henry’s outside!”

A smile tugged the corners of Corbin’s lips. “I’m aware. Or did you think I was trying to make a dramatic entrance?” He went to the window, shut it, then checked the flimsy locks. When he turned, the frown on his face warned me that he had something to say about my lack of home security. I, however, wasn’t interested in hearing it.

“Henry is hot on your trail and you’re here?”

“My trail is leading him to Florida, not to your bedroom.” He surveyed the room, his hands on his hips like he had all the time in the world. “Nice place, by the way. Homey.”

There wasn’t any sarcasm in his words, but he couldn’t possibly find my sagging bed and shabby furnishings the least bit appealing. My basement-level apartment had nothing to recommend it except price. And maybe an utter lack of pretension.

“Especially the bed,” Corbin continued. “What size is that? Twin?”

I snorted. “One-track mind. How are you here? I thought you left.” And why didn’t you arrive thirty minutes earlier?

The muscles in Corbin’s face tightened, and the mood in the room turned somber. He seemed to repress a sigh, almost as if his playful manner had been a ruse that had left him exhausted. Pulling me close, he leaned down until his forehead rested against mine. His fingers caressed my cheek, my neck. “I was able to briefly come back.”

“Why?” I murmured even though I didn’t expect an answer. Not where his job was concerned.

“Several reasons, but the most important is that I want to change your mind,” he said softly. He sounded a little surprised, as if he’d only just realized it at that moment. “Don’t do this.”

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