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Kept: A Dark Romance by Piper Stone – Sample

Chapter One

Hawk

“Go! Go! Go!”

The scream from the captain rang out over the rush of flames, the heat and acrid smoke blinding.

“Come on!” I called to no one in particular, jumping over the massive line of debris, racing toward the clearing. The fire had nearly gotten out of control, sweeping up the side of the mountain. Thank God it had been contained, at least enough we’d veered the blue-hued flames away from the city.

Weather wasn’t our friend, the wind whipping in the wrong direction.

Crack!

The single sound escalated quickly, several of the burning trees twisting from the severe damage as well as the harsh wind. Blinking several times, I could just make out one of the crew up ahead, directly in the path of what I knew could be a catastrophe. Lumbering forward, I swung the ax, powering through the charred debris. “Get out of the way!”

My call was swiftly pulled into the roar, the fire all consuming.

And he hadn’t paid a damn bit of attention.

Adrenaline rushed into every cell and muscle in my body, catapulting me forward. I swung the metal blade down hard and fast, moving in a straight line in my effort to get to him. The firefighter was a sitting duck.

I heard another hard crack followed by booming sounds from off to the right. My advance was hindered by the amount of debris, every move labored, the swirling smoke creating tears in my eyes.

Go. Go. Go.

The mantra kept repeating in my mind, pushing me harder. Faster. I would save him. Just a few more steps. Just a few…

Boom!

Lunging forward, I caught the firefighter’s arm, yanking him to the left only mere seconds before the tree broke in half, crashing down on the terrain. Rolling, the momentum kept us going, everything happening in a blur. As we tumbled down a slope, somewhere in the dark recesses of my mind, I knew we were headed for the edge of a cliff with nothing to grab onto.

As if by the hand of God almighty, my legs became tangled in rubble, stopping our progression in a quick jerk.

“Fuck!”

My call reverberated in the dense air and for the first time, I was able to see the blue sky.

“Jesus.” The deep baritone was followed by a series of brutal coughs as he disengaged, rolling over on his back. “What the hell was that?”

Cole Lincoln had been a buddy of mine since I’d joined the Wildland Firefighting team almost eighteen months before. He was also strong as an ox and never made these kinds of mistakes. Hell, he had a smokejumper brother that would kick his ass if he did. Sadly, we were all disoriented from the horrific series of fires that seemed to go on without any end in sight. At least we’d diverted a true catastrophe.

“You all right?” I managed, yanking off the visor and rubbing my watering eyes.

“I’ll live. You?”

I struggled to get to my feet, taking a look at what was left of the fire. The final clean-up stage was in effect. Throwing out my hand, I helped him up and we both stood looking over the ridge. The folks in the lovely town of Missoula had no idea how close they’d come to having their lives destroyed. “I’ll live.”

“Holy crap, fellas. You had us scared to death.” As Grinder approached, he grinned, his blue eyes managing to twinkle through the haze. “You both look like shit.”

The former biker’s statement was always the same after every fire or brush-clearing event.

“Funny, dude,” Cole said under his breath. He tipped his head, giving me a nod of respect. This wasn’t the first time I’d saved his life.

Thank God I had a few solid days off and they were going to be spent fishing, drinking, and lounging with my dog.

And not necessarily in that order.

“What’s wrong, buddy?” The instant I pulled the truck in front of the cabin, Buck clawed at the windshield, his low-slung growl ripped with anxiety. When he broke into a full bark as he stuck his head out of the partially open window, the hair stood up on the back of my neck.

What the hell?

“Okay, settle down.” I’d lived with only his companionship for long enough to know when something was wrong. I glowered as I stared at the front of the cabin. The last thing I needed at this point was some shit to deal with. My legs felt like two tons of iron from the recent grueling events.

I threw the gear into park and cut the engine, immediately reaching behind the seat for my rifle. I’d certainly seen my share of drifters over the last two years, and had even experienced a break-in. I snorted as I remembered the incident. The kid hadn’t taken kindly to being on the barrel end of my gun, running away like a scared rabbit.

Something told me this was entirely different.

My senses were working overtime.

“Just stay here, boy. Let me see what we’re dealing with.” Easing out of the truck, I stood for a moment surveying the property. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary but looks could be deceiving. I moved toward the left side of the house, peering around the corner, taking cautious and quiet steps, repeating on the right. There were no obvious signs of a break-in. But as I moved onto the porch, I knew all bets were off.

The front door was unlocked.

I might live several miles away from civilization, but I never went on a single forestry call without locking down everything I owned.

Trust was a huge problem of mine. I had my reasons.

Very slowly I opened the door, hissing when the hinges creaked. Another reminder of chores I’d been putting off taking care of. The brutal fire season had certainly taken a toll. I was exhausted, ready for a tall glass of whiskey and a good night’s sleep, not evicting some jerk who decided to break into my house. Buck continued to bark, the deep rumble from his chest an indicator that there was someone inside.

Whoever had decided to take up residence would have a rude awakening.

The moment I walked inside, my annoyance shifted into full blown rage. Not only had someone broken in, but they’d taken the liberty of eating my food and drinking my prized bottle of whiskey. Grabbing the mostly empty bottle, I fingered the rim, resisting taking a swig. I slammed the thick glass onto the table, sending a jarring echo all throughout the small room.

I stared down at the mess covering the kitchen table and counters, doing my best not to unleash my fury. The last thing I needed was cleaning up broken dishes on top of everything else.

“What the hell,” I muttered, deciding to drain the rest of the bottle. At least I had one in reserve.

I moved through the rest of the house, peering into empty rooms then heading into my bedroom last. The door was open, the blinds pulled, but I didn’t need any light to see I’d been right. The covered lump in the middle of the bed added fuel to my already raging fire. How the fuck dare the creep have the audacity to fall asleep on my bed, under my covers in my house? I pointed the long barrel toward the interloper, planting my feet apart then poking the solid mass not once but twice.

The bastard had to be awake.

“Now, as you might be able to tell, I have a gun and it’s locked and loaded. I suggest you pull down the covers slowly and get the fuck out of my bed so we can talk about this little issue like two adults.”

There were no cries of horror or any movement, but I could tell the person was at least alive by the rapid rise and fall of the covers. “I’m going to give you one more warning and a count to three. Then things are going to get mighty ugly.”

Still no response.

The fucker.

“One. Two.” I hesitated. I honestly wasn’t in the damn mood for a fight, but the asshole had no idea the kind of man I was.

Or what I was capable of.

“Three.”

When the covers were thrown back, I was surprised as hell, enough so she managed to jump out of the bed, nearly tossing me to the floor. Her flaming red hair captured my attention first, her voluptuous body with curves meant for a man to hold and squeeze second, and her penetrating, nasty glare last. Her eyes were luminescent in the stream of sunlight and I could swear to God they were glowing with fury.

“What the—” My words were cut off given she reacted quickly and within a split second, a hard kick was placed in my gut just seconds before the asshole managed to skirt around me, racing out of the room.

I could swear she gave a warrior’s battle cry as she fled.

This was no ordinary interloper.

Shock rushed into my system, the mere hint of pain laughable. I knew one thing for certain. She wasn’t going to go very far in a tee shirt and bare feet.

By the time I regained my wits and raced toward the front door, I simply stood on the porch, grinning like a little kid. Buck had everything completely under control. He’d managed to climb out of the window, his need to protect his master exactly what he’d been taught.

“No! Get off. Get off of me!” she screamed as Buck wrestled her to the ground, his massive one-hundred-twenty-pound frame easily keeping her pinned underneath him.

A prisoner.

My prisoner to be exact.

I had to admit, now that the shock had worn off, that my cock was twitching. Everything about this woman was intriguing. I wasn’t ashamed to admit my balls were tight as drums. Even with a hunk of a fur ball straddling her, I managed to catch one hell of a glimpse of her stunning physique. She thrashed on the ground, moaning and throwing up her hands in an effort to try to keep his muzzle from her face.

Too bad.

I enjoyed the show, listening to the stream of curse words as she pitched and rolled. Finally, she seemed to notice my presence as Buck continued to enjoy alternating between barking and licking. “Get this beast off of me!” she demanded, as if she owned the joint.

“Beast. Well, Buck, I think we might just have to change your name.” I sauntered forward, the rifle still in my hand. Buck’s tail wagged back and forth, satisfied that he’d taken command of the intruder.

“Are you going to get him off?” she snapped as she tossed her head back and forth in an effort to avoid his rough tongue.

“Maybe, but only after you tell me what the fuck you were doing in my house. Breaking and entering is a felony in this state.”

“What?” Her eyes opened wide. “I just… I just found the door open and no one was here. I didn’t think anyone lived here and…” She kicked her foot on the ground and closed her eyes, groaning.

“Nice story.” There was a part of me that was enjoying this way too much. I had to admit a sexy intruder certainly got my blood boiling. I bit back a laugh before motioning to Buck. “Go on, buddy. I think we have her trapped. She’s not getting out of my clutches any time soon.”

“Trapped? What? Don’t you even dare think about it. You’re an asshole.”

“Hell, woman, I’ve been called a lot of things in my life. Give it your best shot.”

“Jerkoff. Creep. Prick.”

Buck whined then dragged his tongue all the way from her chin to her forehead.

“Such a foul mouth. Did your mama and daddy ever teach you manners? By the way, I think he likes you. Must mean you’re not all bad,” I said as casually as possible.

After giving me the middle finger, she folded her arms, giving me a hateful look.

I threw out my hand, beckoning with my fingers. “All right, sweetheart. Enough with the games. Come on and get up. We need to talk about this… intrusion.” I certainly hadn’t seen another vehicle of any kind and she certainly didn’t look like the camping type. My radar was on high alert.

“I don’t have to talk to you!”

Sighing, I shook my head once again. “For a woman in a tee shirt and no shoes, you really don’t understand who’s in charge. Do you?” It seemed like the light finally settled in, her smug look shifting to one of conciliation, but I wasn’t about to buy it.

Yet.

“He’ll eat me. What the hell is he? A ferocious beast.”

Another demand. The girl was a little hellion. “Buck is a black lab husky mix. Every bit of him muscle and verve.” I watched her face pale, her entire body tremble. “Oh, and he’s very dangerous.” The lie seemed plausible enough. Little did she know that Buck might lick her to death, but nothing more.

“Dangerous,” she moaned. Furrowing her brow, she hesitated before carefully moving to a sitting position, realizing all of a sudden that I had a bird’s-eye view of her long, shapely legs and perfectly smooth pussy. The tee shirt had shifted, bunching up by her upper thighs and I bit back my own series of moans. My mouth watered, my throbbing cock now shoved hard against the rough zipper of my jeans. I should do the gentlemanly thing and look away, but damn, the woman turned me on.

She jerked the tee shirt, or I should say my shirt down, her glare turning nasty. She’d even raided my closet.

“Asshole,” she muttered, snapping her legs together, her face shining a bright crimson.

“You’re calling me an asshole when you’re the one sleeping in my bed in my tee shirt?”

“I…” she stuttered, her luscious lips pursing.

The moment our hands touched, a burst of electricity shot through me, yanking my mind in dirty, vile places. For a few seconds, everything slipped into slow motion, allowing me to absorb the beautiful essence of the woman who’d been sleeping in my bed.

Perfect porcelain skin.

Dashing green eyes.

Voluptuous breasts.

I wanted to ravage every inch of her body like some damn Neanderthal. Jesus Christ. What was wrong with me? Oh, yeah. Celibacy.

She tipped her head, staring into my eyes, hers all dreamy and riddled with fear. She had no idea what to make of the hulking man no doubt still covered in soot and grime. I hadn’t bothered to take a shower after making it back to the base. I’d simply grabbed Buck and took off, needing my space.

“Who are you?” I heard her whisper, dragging me back to reality.

I knew if I wasn’t careful, I could be drawn into her web. Giving her a yank, I pulled her onto her feet. I towered over her and in truth, she seemed tiny and helpless as she stood mere inches away, her lower lip quivering. “I think I need to be the one asking questions. What’s your name? This could still get very ugly if you lie to me.”

“Fuck you! I’ll get out of your hair. You’ll never see me again.” She slapped a hand on her hip, further outlining all the glory God had given her. Her eyes held fire and the fading sun highlighted her face, giving her complexion a soft rosy glow. I could see the outline of her hard nipples poking through the thin shirt and every caveman-like desire roared through my system.

I wanted nothing more than to kiss her.

Lick her.

Fuck her.

Her answer was laughable. “That’s not going to happen, sweetheart.”

“I ain’t your sweetheart, buster,” she said, snorting.

I hadn’t expected the hard punch, her fist connecting with my chest. When she swiveled and kicked out, almost catching me in the balls, all the time for fantasizing was over. In one easy move, I threw her over my shoulder, immediately storming toward the house. I wasn’t the kind of man to take shit from anyone, including a feisty woman who thought she was all that.

No matter the condition of my cock.

Buck remained on his haunches near the truck, whining as he usually did when he couldn’t get his way. I gave him a single lift of my eyebrow as I stepped onto the porch and he came running.

“Put me down, you brute! You horrible man.” As she pummeled her fists against my back, my cock only ached more, my mind shifting into every delicious thing I wanted to do to her.

To a stranger.

To an intruder.

But first things first.

Getting to the bottom of who the hell she was and how in God’s name did she get here? I hadn’t noticed any clothes, a suitcase or anything personal. The terrain was harsh, the fires surrounding a significant portion of the mountain, closing off several of the roads. And it appeared she’d been here for a few days. My curiosity might kill me, but a damsel in distress was difficult to resist.

I kicked the door shut then moved into the center of the living room, finally easing her down onto her feet. I held both her arms, even as she struggled, giving her a stern look. “We’re going to try this again but if you make a move to harm Buck or myself, I’ll tie you up in a dead-ass second.”

“Fuck you! I’ll… I’ll hurt you!”

Right. The spunk certainly hadn’t left, even though I could smell her fear. “And gag you,” I added, taking a single step back and sliding on the safety before placing the gun out of harm’s way. I certainly couldn’t trust the little hellion.

“You wouldn’t dare.” She folded her arms once again, the glare even more defiant.

“Do you really want to try me, sweetheart? I think you better need to think about your circumstances.”

She chewed on her lip as she glanced around the premises, obviously checking for the closest way out that didn’t go through me. I heard the slight strangled sigh pushing past those lovely lips before she darted a look in my direction. “What do you want?”

What do I want? Boy, that was a can of worms. I folded my arms for the hell of it, keeping my eyes locked on her. “Name. We’ll start there.”

“Sunshine. Sunshine Bite-My-Ass. Yours? Oh, yeah, asshole.”

I had to admire her continued spunk, but the lady needed to learn manners and I was the kind of man who was happy to teach them. I counted to ten, keeping my anger in check. I knew exactly what the little lady needed in order to get her attention. “One last time or I’m going to take you over my knee.”

Shock slid down her face, her eyes opening wide, but that didn’t last long.

“You try that, jerkoff, and I will rip out your eyeballs. Pluck. Pluck.” Her haughty attitude was formidable, but the girl definitely needed a fine lesson in the art of obedience.

“Don’t say I didn’t warn you.” I rubbed my jaw before advancing, grabbing her wrist as I eased down on the couch. “I know exactly how to handle this situation. One hard spanking coming up.” I pulled her over my knees, almost immediately forced to plant my leg over hers to curtail her mischievous behavior.

“No! Oh, hell, no! Get your filthy hands off me! I’ll call the law. I’ll…” Her words trailed off.

Kicking out, she almost managed to slide off my lap. Everything about this girl both infuriated and sparked my attention. As she threw back her arm, I snagged her wrist, holding her in place. She still continued to wiggle, cursing under her breath.

“Damn you, fucking asshole. You’re a bastard! Did anyone ever tell you that? Asshole. Jerk. Son of a bitch.”

“And did anyone ever tell you that you have a dirty little mouth? We have ways of taking care of that as well.” I yanked the shirt up to her waist, holding my breath as I laid eyes on her perfectly rounded bottom. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I knew this probably wasn’t a good idea, much like the majority of my decisions, but what the hell. The girl needed to learn a lesson what it took to build trust.

“You have no right to do this.”

“Let me think about this. You have no right to break into my house and steal my things.”

“I didn’t steal anything,” she insisted, still wiggling. Still pontificating.

“All evidence to the contrary, but I tell you what. I can give you a choice if you’d prefer.”

“What?” she barked, all fire and brimstone. She continued to undulate, sliding back and forth across my aching cock.

Lights flashed in front of my eyes, my desire moving to the raging stage. I could hear the hard thumping of my heart against my chest walls, the sound echoing in my ears. Fuck. I was turned on as hell. “I can either punish you the old-fashioned way or I can take you directly to the local sheriff’s office. He and I are good buddies. I’m certain he’ll be just as incensed as I am. I’m certain his interrogation methods, which are quite crude up here in the wildlands, will help in getting to the bottom of this.”

I heard the gasp leaking past her lips. I’d touched a nerve.

“No. No! You can’t take me to jail. Please. Don’t. I’ll do anything. I swear to God.” Suddenly, all the fight seemed to slink away. She did indeed have a reason for being here.

All alone.

Terrified.

“All right. Then you’re going to be a good little girl and take your spanking like a lady,” I huffed in an exasperated tone. “And you’re going to stop cursing. Is that understood?”

She moaned, kicking out once again.

The hard smack on her bottom gave her pause.

“Ouch!” she yelped, panting and pummeling her fists on the couch. “That hurt.”

“I’ll give you a hint, sweetheart. Spankings are supposed to hurt. Now, do we have a deal, or should I get some rope so I can tie you up during the long ride to the sheriff’s office?”

“No!” Her whimper was elongated. “Fine. We have a deal.”

I couldn’t help but smile. I could tell this girl was more than a handful. “Then a spanking it is. I’m not going to be gentle here. You need to learn your lesson.”

“Fine. Just get it the fuck… I mean the heck over with.”

Another grin crossed my face. Maybe the feisty little girl could learn after all. I proceeded to give her one hell of a spanking, moving my hand back and forth from one ass cheek to the other, every action with distinct purpose. This felt right as well as something she needed. She whimpered, burying her face into the upholstery, but to her credit, she stopped kicking.

I kept my hand rigid as I spanked her, savoring the redness sweeping across her bottom. Buck was watching me intently, his ears perked up every time the hard cracking sound floated into the air.

“You know, sweetheart, this could have been entirely different if you wouldn’t have lied about your name in the first place.” I caressed her bottom before starting again, enjoying the heat sliding into my hand. When she sniffled, crying crocodile tears, I rolled my eyes. The girl was far too much of a drama queen.

As if she was going to get a sympathy vote from a rugged, surly man like myself.

“That really hurts,” she said quietly.

“Yep. I’m glad it does.” I peppered her ass with slaps, enjoying the way her beautiful plump cheeks bounced every time I smacked her. The warm blush on her skin added gasoline to the already sizzling fire. Damn, I wanted this girl like no other.

Inhaling, the scent of her sweet little pussy filled my nostrils, the sultry fragrance from the very gods above. All I could think about was shoving my cock deep inside, savoring the way her muscles clamped around my shaft. Truth was, I wasn’t that kind of man, but I hadn’t been with a woman in over two years. The last time had left a bad taste in my mouth.

And a huge dent in my bank account.

Accepting this position far removed from any humans had allowed me to heal, the bitterness fading at least to a point. While I wasn’t a good man in society’s standards, taking advantage of a helpless woman, no matter the circumstances, wasn’t on my bucket list.

But punishing an intruder certainly was.

Still, my dominating side craved nothing more than taking over, requiring her to submit to me in every manner.

A thunder of need rushed into every cell, creating a shimmer of fog surrounding my eyes. I was like some wild beast on a collision course and going straight to hell. You know what? I was beginning not to give a fuck.

I made certain to cover every inch of her now crimson bottom, smacking her long and hard. I wanted her to feel this particular round of discipline for a very long time.

“Please stop. Please!” Her pleading was lost on deaf ears.

I continued, moving from one side to the other until she was thoroughly spanked. Only then did I gently caress her skin, brushing just the tips of my fingers around in circles. The same heated electricity remained, skating through my arms and heading straight to my cock. I could tell she was wet, her pussy juice staining my pants. All I could think about was shoving my tongue inside, lapping her cream.

Fucking every hole.

Chaining her to my bed.

Great, I had turned into that primitive Neanderthal. Perfect.

She took several deep breaths, trembling in my hands.

“Now. Let’s try this one last time. What. Is. Your. Name?” My voice rumbled in the dense space.

Buck barked only once, signifying his interest. I winked at him, shaking my head. I smacked her twice more, just for emphasis. She was going to learn one way or the other.

“Kelly. Okay? My name is Kelly.”

“Well now, that wasn’t so tough. Was it?” I heard her mumbling under her breath. She wasn’t going to be broken that easily. “Let’s try a second question, just for kicks.”

“Sure. Fine. Whatever.” Her defiance had returned.

“Why are you here?”

Another hesitation.

Another two smacks.

“Because my truck broke down. Okay? There was nowhere else to go.”

“Interesting.” I thought about her words, not buying her story entirely, but she certainly was all by herself. I eased her off my lap, giving her an admonishing glare. Her legs were shaking, her lower lip still trembling, but her eyes were raking me over the coals. The girl had her own trust issues to deal with.

Kelly took several steps away, yanking on the shirt until I heard a slight ripping sound, her face even more flushed. “Why interesting? Why would that be interesting in any degree?”

“Because I came up the only road from here to Missoula that remains open because of the fire, and I didn’t see a single broken-down vehicle along the way. As a matter of fact, I didn’t see a single car or truck for miles. Do you want to try that bullshit again? What’s the real story?” I watched as her hand moved nervously, her fingers trembling as she eased a strand of hair from her face. She moved back and forth from foot to foot.

“You cursed!”

I exhaled, ready to yank her over my lap again. “My house.”

She snarled and looked away, looking more like a wayward little girl than a grown and very sexy woman.

“Who are you running from?”

“I’m not telling you anything. Fuck you.” As soon as the words were spouted from her mouth, her eyes opened wide. She took a step back, as if realizing her faux pas. “I mean…”

“That’s it.” I moved in front of her, holding up my index finger. “So far, I’ve only given you one rule.”

“You don’t own me, asshole.” Kelly took another very decided step backwards.

My God, the woman was testing me, pushing every button that had ever been created.

I’d had enough of playing games, my need for absolute control in this situation blinding any concept of reality. For right now? I owned her and she was going to obey my rules. I grabbed her arm, tugging her toward the kitchen. Immediately, she was like a hellcat, squirming to the point it further fueled my utter discontent.

And my resolve.

This girl needed a hard lesson, one she’d never forget.

“What the fuck do you think you’re doing?” she demanded once again.

I was quite frankly astounded at her level of vehemence, her blatant actions in front of a stranger and one she’d already stolen from. The audacity was…

Delicious.

And twisted.

And everything I craved in a woman.

But I had a job to do at this moment. The other nefarious desires would have to wait.

“While you’re certainly not in a position to demand anything, including respect, I’ll give you a hint, sweetheart.” It took some finagling, but I finally managed to drag her all the way to the sink, keeping her arm in a firm grasp while I fumbled to grab the bar of soap I kept in a tiny plastic holder, positioning it to within one inch of her face.

And her luscious mouth. “This.”

“Bu… Bu… No! You’re crazy! I’m not doing this.”

“Need I say this again? My house. My rules.” Using my elbow, I turned on the water, shoving the soap under the heavy stream. “Open your mouth.”

“No. Fuck, no!” She squirmed even more, jerking and twisting her body, flailing to the point I almost lost my grasp.

“Keep that up and I’ll pull out my belt in addition to this.” I gave her a heated and very stern look, moving my body closer until I towered over her.

A horrified look crossed her face, as if I told her I was going to lock her in a cage. Now… Yeah, that wasn’t a bad idea. I held back a grin, keeping the same demanding expression as I scolded her with my eyes. My cock was twitching like a son of a bitch, the zipper pinching to the point of sheer agony. “Open. Your. Mouth. Now.”

“Uh-huh. No.” Her voice had softened, her actions becoming tamer. That is if a woman like her could be tamed in any manner. The wildfire in her eyes seemed to highlight the flame in her shimmering hair, adding to my body’s agony.

“Yes. This is necessary and somewhere deep inside you know it.” Whether she did or not wasn’t going to stop me from commanding her full attention.

And her obedience.

Every inch of her sultry, voluptuous body.

“You’re not getting away. I can stay here like this all night if I need to,” I added, yawning as I leaned against the counter for emphasis.

Kelly moved from foot to foot, her mouth pursing, her brow furrowing. She was as furious as a lioness but knew there was no getting out of her punishment. “Then you’ll leave me the fuck alone?”

All I could do was exhale. “Your choice. Belt or soap.”

She actually stomped her foot like some kindergarten princess but finally two full minutes later, she did as she was told.

“Stick out your tongue,” I instructed. She gave me a single snort and a roll of her eyes.

The adrenaline rush was at the point of giving me a heart attack.

But she obeyed like a good little girl.

Very gently I placed the slender bar of soap on her tongue, rubbing back and forth then moving the edge to her gums.

Coughing, she glared at me with murder in her eyes. I could already see another ‘fuck you’ coming on. Even her eyes watered but I had the distinct feeling she was playing the drama card again.

When I was satisfied the taste was going to be downright nasty, I pointed toward the only free area of wall in the room. “Go stand in the corner. Ten minutes.”

“Bla ga. No tha…” Gagging, she blinked several times.

“I suggest you go there now. Time doesn’t start until you’re standing with your nose pressed against that wall.”

I was honestly shocked that she obeyed instantly, scampering toward the wall and pressing her nose so hard against the surface that I had to wonder how she could breathe.

I stood staring at her for far too long, darting glances at my watch. In truth, I was shocked to my very core that she wasn’t whining and cursing, even with the soap residue in her mouth.

She was very quiet.

Completely obedient.

Which not only made me realize that she could be plotting my demise but that I wanted this woman like no other, the lightning bolt of yearning nearly splitting apart my atoms. Even beads of sweat were rolling down both sides of my face, my heart racing to the point I almost staggered against the table.

Some hotshot I was.

All fired up and no place to shove my cock.

I rubbed my eyes, pushing away the visions of stripping off her tee shirt and thrusting her down on the kitchen table, feasting on her sweet pussy before driving my cock so deep inside she screamed out my name. My God, I was pathetic.

Ten minutes finally passed. I cleared my throat and walked closer. “You can rinse out your mouth now.”

Kelly jerked around to face me, her expression no softer than it had been before. She was furious, ready to spit the residue all over my face and no doubt prepared to launch into another stream of obscenities.

I wanted to egg her on. Instead, I handed her a towel after she rinsed her mouth out at least six times.

She yanked the towel from my hand, glaring at me once again. “I didn’t deserve that.”

Her nipples were rock-hard little pebbles, peeking through the thin fabric like a beacon of wanton sin. And I wanted nothing more than to suck and pluck, twisting them between my rough fingers before shoving them past her slickened folds.

“Yes, you did.” I walked away, determined to keep my grubby hands off her. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck!

Count me in as one bad man, ready and willing to take everything I wanted.

I finally heard her behind me a few minutes later and fisted one hand, adjusting my crotch with the other before turning around. “You ready to talk?”

“Why do you care?”

“Because there’s a part of me that wants nothing more than to protect you.” The words stunned even me.

Her eyes glistened with moisture and my words seemed to confuse her.

“Who’s after you, Kelly? Just tell me.”

Her entire face paled and she was unable to look me in the eyes. “Some really bad men. Okay? I had to get away from them. I ran. I didn’t know where I was going, but my truck really did break down.”

“Bad men, huh?” I softened my tone. She did sound more convincing than before.

“Yeah. The kind that would cut out your heart with a spoon and eat it for breakfast then move to your entrails.”

“Wow. Those kind of men.” I studied the way her eyes darted back and forth. She was definitely not telling the entire truth, but at least it was a start.

Sultry.

Sinful.

Shameless.

The words settled into my mind and my gut told me one thing for certain. She was in desperate need of protection. I sighed and ran my hand through my grungy hair, thinking about what to do. “Okay. Here’s how we’re going to play it. There’s a hell of a lot more to your story, but I’ll buy it for now. I need to take a shower and when I do, you’re going to clean up this mess, one that you created I might add. Then we’re going to sit down and have a chat.” I rose to a standing position, inching closer.

This time, she didn’t scamper away. Kelly needed someone on her side. My gut told me that much. What the hell had happened to her? “Do you understand?”

“Yes.”

“Yes?” I pushed.

“What? Do you want me to call you sir or something? Over my dead body.”

I bit back another laugh. Sir wasn’t a bad idea. “Hawk will do, at least for now.” The name seemed to suit her. “Hawk Chambers.” I took a few steps away, hesitating before dangling my keys into the air. I had no intention of giving her fuel in any regard. “And don’t go thinking that you’re going to leave. Besides, Buck will be watching you. Every. Move. Buck, guard her.”

Woof!

Kelly mumbled under her breath, no doubt another series of curse words as I moved toward the hallway. What in God’s name was I going to do with her? Bad men, huh? The story should be interesting.

As I turned on the bathroom light, I noticed a heap of clothes in the corner by the shower. Hunkering down, I lifted a piece into the air. “Holy shit.”

They were orange. Prison detail.

The sinfully beautiful girl had broken out of jail.

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