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One hot holiday, p.20

One Hot Holiday, page 20


One Hot Holiday

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  “Fuck, yes.”

  Her lips skimmed over the head of his cock. Her tongue licked him again, a series of fast, short licks. Then long, teasing ones.

  “You are making me crazy.”

  Good. She took him inside her mouth again. Sucked him and licked that thick length and then—

  “No.” He pushed her back. “I’m about to fucking explode.”

  He said it like that was a bad thing.

  His eyes glinted down at her. His cock bobbed toward her. She wanted another lick. But he’d backed away so…

  She rose. Let the cover slip to the floor with a rustle of sound. He drank her in. His expression hardened as his gaze slowly drifted over her body. She waited for his gaze to rise. Waited for him to look into her eyes once more. When he did, she smiled at him.

  “I think it’s time we went to bed.” Haley turned away. Made sure to walk all nice and slow toward the stairs. After all, she was trying to give him a show. When her hand touched the bannister, her fingers were still trembling. Sure, she was trying to act confident, but she was nervous as hell inside. Haley risked a quick peek at him. Spencer hadn’t moved. “Don’t you want to join me?”

  “Hell, yes.”

  “Don’t you want me to…finish what I started?”

  “Hell the fuck yes.” He bounded toward her.

  Before she could climb the stairs, he’d scooped her into his arms. The man was so strong. Sexy and strong and he held her easily. He carried her up the stairs in no time, and when they got to his bedroom, he was kissing her. Kissing her like he couldn’t survive without her mouth.

  She loved the way he seduced her with his tongue and lips. Loved the way he kissed her neck and made her moan. Her nails raked over him when he put her on the bed. She wanted him in her, deep and hard.

  But he pulled back to grab a condom from the nightstand.

  She watched as he put it on, her greedy gaze taking in every moment. He ditched the jogging pants. Flipped on a light. He was so sexy to her.

  “On your knees, baby,” he growled.

  A shiver skated over her.

  “Turn toward the headboard. Hold it tight.”

  That sounded like fun to her. She rose and moved toward the headboard. Her hands clutched the wood. “Like this?”

  He kissed her shoulder as he moved behind her. “Exactly like this.” His hand slid around her side, moved down her stomach, down between her legs. “Because now I can touch you…like this.”

  One hand pressed to her clit. The other hand guided his cock to her sex. Her hips surged back against him and took him in all the way…and his fingers rubbed fast and hard against her aching clit.

  His thrusts had the bed shoving against the wall. Every time he filled her, she arched back against him with the same fierce passion. His fingers kept working her. He touched her just the way she needed. Over and over again, and when she climaxed, her body arched like a bow. She clawed at the headboard as the orgasm pounded through her.

  He grabbed her hips, sealed her tightly to him, and roared her name.

  Her heartbeat thundered in her ears. Haley opened her eyes and saw her hands gripping the headboard. As she fought to steady her heart, his hands rose and covered hers. His mouth pressed to her shoulder. He covered her. Surrounded her.

  His voice was low as he told her, “I’ll make sure the bastard never hurts you again…but, baby, when you leave me, it’s gonna rip me apart.”

  She turned her head. Met his gaze. “Why?”

  “You know why.”

  She didn’t. She only knew how she felt. She didn’t know what they were to him. Yes, he wanted to keep her safe, but he was the sheriff. Safety was his thing and—

  His lips brushed over hers. “You know why,” he said again. He pulled out of her.

  She didn’t move for a moment. He padded toward the bathroom. Shut the door. Turned on the sink and she could hear the surge of water.


  Jumped out of the bed. Marched toward the bathroom and yanked the door open. “You heard me.”

  He turned toward her.

  Yum. No, no, focus. “You heard me downstairs. You heard what I said to you.”

  His expression didn’t alter.

  “You told me that you didn’t like lies.” She was naked. She should have grabbed a sheet. They’d just had mind-blowing sex, and now she was nervous about being naked with him?

  She was because…he suddenly seemed so intense. A dark aura surrounded him.

  “I don’t like them. I won’t lie to you. I’m not him.”

  Okay, good. Wonderful. “I never thought you were.”

  He stepped toward her.

  They needed clothes. But first—“You heard me downstairs.”

  “Maybe I didn’t. Maybe you need to say the words again.”

  Her gaze searched his.

  “Or maybe…” Spencer growled. “Maybe you didn’t mean the words. It’s easy to say things in the heat of the moment that you want to take back later. You just met me. The sex is great.”

  All right, fine. They had just met. The sex was great.

  “You don’t have to say anything else to me. You don’t have to make me any promises, Haley.” His jaw was hard. His eyes were burning hot. “I’ll stand between you and any threat, any day of the week, and you don’t have to promise me a thing.”

  It wasn’t about promises.

  He brushed by her. Gave her a killer view of his fine ass. He grabbed his gray jogging pants and yanked them on.

  She stumbled after him. Haley spied one of his t-shirts on a nearby chair, and she jerked it over her head. It was soft against her skin, and it carried his crisp scent. “I’m not promising.”

  He turned toward her. A frown pulled at his eyebrows.

  “I never told Andrew that I loved him.”

  He stiffened. “Why not?”

  “Because I didn’t.”

  “You were going to fucking marry the sonofabitch. You didn’t mention that to me before.” He took a hard step toward her.

  “He said he wanted to marry me. But there was never a proposal. Just him talking. I liked him. He was charming and—”

  Spencer growled.

  “I didn’t feel the spark. I didn’t feel the connection. It was never there. It had never been there before, not with him or anyone else. Do you get what I’m telling you?”

  He stared back at her.

  “I thought maybe it wasn’t real—this big, earth-shattering emotion that people are supposed to feel. I never felt it. Look…I lost my parents the summer after I turned eighteen.”

  Sympathy flashed on his face. “I’m sorry.”

  “It ripped me open. It was a car crash. One minute, I had them. I was loved. I was happy. The next minute, I was alone.” And terrified. She wet her lower lip. “I didn’t get close to people after that. I put up a wall. I didn’t want to hurt again, not like that. Time passed and I realized the wall was keeping me away from everyone. It was stopping me from living. From falling in love. So I tried to let down the wall with Andrew. I tried, and then I found out that I’d made a terrible mistake.”

  Spencer stalked closer to her. “He never deserved you.”

  Her stomach twisted in knots. “I didn’t have a chance to put the wall up with you.” Did he get what she was saying? “You barreled into my life.”

  “You barreled into mine.” A pause. “I lost my parents when I was ten years old. I know what it’s like to have your world ripped away.”

  “Oh, God, Spencer…” Sorrow pierced her heart.

  “My grandfather raised me after that, but he passed when I was seventeen. I would have been alone after that but…I had this town.”

  She didn’t understand.

  “The town took care of me. The people here surrounded me and protected me. That’s why I came back here when I needed to step back from the life I led as a SEAL. The people here needed me, and I needed them.” A pause. “The place can heal you, if you give it a chance
. It can change you. Hell, for a while, this town was the only thing that kept me going.”

  It wasn’t the town that was healing her. But she was changing. “I’m so sorry about your family.”

  “And I’m fucking sorry about yours, baby.”

  He understood her, in so many ways. He…“You were past my guard before I even realized it,” Haley confessed, understanding as she slowly spoke. “Everything that I thought I should feel for Andrew, I felt it with you. Without even trying, it was there.” The instant connection. The desire, yes, but more. So much more. Determined now, she said, “I meant what I said downstairs.”

  A phone rang somewhere in the house. Jingle Bells.

  No. Dammit, no.

  She’d been afraid when she woke on the couch, terrified that he’d heard her confession. But why bother with fear? Why not tell him exactly how she felt? Life was too short for hiding. Nothing was guaranteed. Nothing. “I love you.”

  “You don’t have to say—”

  She grabbed his arms. “I love you. I know how I feel. This isn’t about sex or adrenaline or anything else. It’s about me falling in love with you before I could stop myself. It happened fast and hard. It happened. I love you.”

  The phone was still ringing.

  And he hadn’t said a word. But then, she hadn’t told him how she felt to force any kind of confession out of him. She’d done it because she was afraid there wouldn’t be another time for her to say the words. She’d been shot hours before. Been cold on the ground and realized how easily her life could be over.

  She’d made the confession for herself. Not for him.

  The phone on the nightstand gave a loud peal of sound. It startled her and she jumped. She hadn’t even noticed the old landline.

  Spencer swore and grabbed the phone.

  Haley put a hand to her chest.

  “What?” Spencer barked into the phone. Talk about sounding pissed off. His face darkened as he added, “No, I don’t give a shit who he is. Andrew is not getting out of that station until I arrive. Yeah, yeah, I’ll be there soon. You can count on it.”

  He hung up.

  Haley’s hands twisted in front of her.

  “The FBI finally showed up. Not the locals from across the bay in the Mobile, Alabama, office. Some strangers that Titus has never seen before. They’ve got paperwork demanding Andrew’s release.” His hand pressed to the top of the phone. “Titus won’t let the bastard walk. He’ll stay there until I arrive. I’ll get this straightened out.”

  She glanced toward the window. It was still dark outside. How long had she slept downstairs?

  Had Spencer slept at all?

  Or had he been watching over her all that time?

  “I want you to come with me.” He was staring down at the phone. “I want you at my side. I need to know that you’re safe.”

  She nodded but realized he couldn’t see the move. “Okay. I’ll get dressed.” Going with him meant returning to the station and facing off against Andrew. Chill bumps rose on her arms as she turned away and stumbled a bit toward the bathroom.

  Haley heard the creak of a drawer behind her and, a moment later, Spencer’s fingers curled around her arm.


  Immediately, she stilled. His fingers were warm and strong. Would she ever get used to the way his touch made her feel?

  His fingers slid down her arm. Caught her hand. Opened it. And pressed a gun to her palm.

  Holy shit. She almost dropped the gun. But he curled her fingers around the gun’s base. Held tight.

  “If some sonofabitch is coming to hurt you, you fire and you keep firing until you stop him.”

  A lump rose in her throat.

  “If I’m not there, if anything should separate us, then you’re going to have this gun for protection. You’re going to shoot, and you will stop anyone who comes at you.”

  Her head turned so that she was staring into his eyes.

  “Because if you die, I will go fucking insane.”

  “Can’t have that,” she whispered.

  He didn’t smile at her. If anything, his expression became even grimmer. “I don’t trust the Feds. I don’t trust Andrew. Something is going down, and we have to be prepared.”

  The gun felt heavy in her grip.

  “Shoot, baby. Don’t hesitate.”

  Don’t hesitate to kill. Could she do that?

  In order to survive…yes.

  She nodded.

  “Good.” He kissed her temple. “I’ll get fresh clothes for you.”

  Clothes. Crap. She’d forgotten all about them. All of her stuff was still down in the guest cottage.

  “I’ll set the alarm and lock the door. You go ahead and get showered. I’ll be right back.” He eased away from her. Strode toward the door.

  She stared down at the gun in her hand. Her world had changed so much since New York. Since the parties. The gallery shows.

  All of that felt like another world. So far away. So distant.

  Another life.

  One that she wasn’t so sure she wanted anymore.


  “He left the house,” he muttered into the phone. “Move, now. You have to be fast. He’ll be back in moments. Yes, man, I got eyes on him.” He could see the big bruiser right then.

  The sheriff was rushing toward the cottage. Moving far too fast. Hell, at this rate, the guy would be back before his partner even had a chance to get past the security system at Spencer Lane’s home and inside to Haley Quick.


  He had to fucking improvise.

  He slid from the shadows. Took the knife from his boot. He’d been at the property for a while as he waited and watched, so he knew exactly where all the cameras were positioned. He could avoid them.


  Spencer had entered the cottage. How long would he be inside? Long enough for Haley Quick to die?

  I can’t let him get back to her. My job is to stop the sheriff.

  But Spencer was already heading back out of the cottage’s front door. Looked like he was carrying something. Spencer turned to secure the lock.

  He rushed up behind Spencer and lifted the knife toward the sheriff’s back.

  Chapter Eighteen

  She took a shower in record time. Fear helped to make her even faster. Haley jumped out of the shower, wrapped a towel around her body, and left her hair dripping over her shoulders as she hurried toward the bedroom. The gun was on the nightstand. The bedroom door still open.

  No sign of Spencer.

  Rocking forward onto the balls of her feet, she let her gaze dart around the room. Heavy furniture. A few framed photos. She inched closer to one of the photos and felt a smile curl her lips. She was staring at Spencer, obviously, but it was a teen Spencer. Thin, gangly, with a wide grin. A man with white hair had an arm around Spencer’s shoulders, and they were both smiling proudly as they held up a fish. She recognized the dock that they were on—it was the one down below, on the beach.

  Spencer and his grandfather. The resemblance was there in the strong features and hard jaws and—

  The door opened downstairs.

  There was silence. That was…odd. Spencer had said that he’d reset the alarm. Shouldn’t she have heard it beep when the door opened?

  Her head cocked as she strained to listen. Haley expected Spencer to come rushing up the stairs. Instead, the silence stretched.

  Unease slithered through her.

  She crept toward the bedroom door. The heavy carpet swallowed the pad of her steps. She eased out of the room and peeked down below.

  A flash of shaggy, blond hair caught her eye.

  Not Spencer.

  Her lungs hurt because she sucked in a breath so fast. She rushed back toward the bedroom. Headed straight for the nightstand—

  Footsteps thudded up the stairs.

  She grabbed the gun.

  She didn’t hear the steps any longer. Was it because the blond was already upstairs? The carpet now muff
ling his steps?

  “Hello, sweetheart.”

  That wasn’t Spencer.

  Her back was to the intruder. His slightly nasally voice was familiar to her. Just as the cut of that blond hair had been familiar.

  “I think I warned you once before, you need to stay the fuck away from cops.”

  Yes, that voice had scared the hell out of her before. It was the voice that belonged to the man who’d attacked her in New York. The jerk who’d grabbed her outside of the subway station and told her that if she ever betrayed Andrew again, it would be the last thing that she did.

  Her breath came slowly even as her heart thundered in her chest. “I’m not alone. I—”

  “Your boyfriend isn’t coming back to save you. Hell, I don’t think he’ll ever be back.”

  No. Her breath stopped being slow. She didn’t breathe at all. And her heart wasn’t thundering. It had frozen.

  He laughed. “I am going to enjoy driving this knife into—”

  She spun around. Pointed the gun at him.

  Surprise flashed on his face, but then he lunged forward.

  She fired.


  Spencer whirled at the blast of gunfire, and he saw the bastard who was rushing toward him with a knife. He dropped Haley’s clothes, caught the attacker’s hand, shoved it back, and twisted.

  The perp—wearing a black ski mask—screamed as he dropped the knife.

  Spencer drove his fist into the guy’s face. A hard hit that he knew broke bones, and he didn’t fucking care.

  The blast of the gunfire echoed in his ears. A shot that had come from the main house.


  Spencer’s attacker staggered back, but the fool rallied and lunged forward again.

  Spencer yanked out his weapon. Pointed it at the fellow. “Try me,” he dared. “Do it. Keep coming. See if I don’t bury a bullet in you.”

  The masked attacker stopped. His hands were near his sides.

  “Get them up!” Spencer barked. “Now. I want them up!”

  The guy lifted his hands into the air.

  Spencer looked toward the house. The light was on in the bedroom upstairs, but he couldn’t see any movement up there.

  “She’s dead.”

  Spencer’s head whipped back toward the piece of shit who’d just spoken.

  “You’ll run back to that house, and she’ll be dead. And when you step inside, my partner will kill you, too.” A grating laugh. “There is no way you make it out alive tonight. Your mistake was fucking her in the first place. Never should have touched her.”

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