Hot hunks for summer – what could be better? I was looking back over my heroes and dang there are some hunks there. I gravitate to law enforcement and veterans and visualize those calendars we all drool over. A friend at work has been a police officer at all levels and is such a help when I write them – he keeps me accurate and now even throws in ideas. He’s a keeper and the model for Ryan in Wraith’s Heart. I already see his influence in a Christmas novella I’m working on.
Good thing my home hunk isn’t the jealous type!
Leave me a comment for a chance at an e-copy of Red Shoes!
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Nikki almost stepped back. The sight of that broad chest and shoulders was more than unexpected. How had Micah hidden all those muscles under those white shirts? He could hurt her easily, but he wouldn’t.
She didn’t think he would.
Silently she held up the pizza box in her hand. His eyes never left her face but he stepped back. She entered and placed the box and six-pack of beer on the counter. When she turned back to him a small smile was growing on his face.
“I wasn’t sure I’d ever see you again.”
“You surprised me.”
“You’ve surprised me. I desperately need a shower, but it’ll be a land speed record. Don’t go anywhere, please.”
She felt her own smile grow. “I’ll wait.”
He headed for the back of his apartment but at the hall stopped and looked back at her. The joy in his smile left her breathless. He didn’t speak, just disappeared down the hall.
She sank onto the bar stool at his counter, her knees weak. Had she ever seen anyone look that happy before? It couldn’t be because she was here. Could it?
Nikki rose and put the beer in the refrigerator, then rummaged around the kitchen to find plates. The place was stark. He hadn’t been kidding about having boxes still around. There was a table and chairs, a couch and a TV across from it. Some framed pictures sat on the table beside the TV. She didn’t move to investigate them. There were no curtains, just the blinds that came with the apartment.
It hit her, this looked like a barracks. Just the essentials with little or no comfort. Why did that make her a little sad?
She looked up startled when she heard him return to the main room. He was wearing low slung jeans and a t-shirt that did not hide those muscles in any way. His hair was still damp and slicked back and he was still smiling.
“I had napkins?” He glanced down at the table.
“No, I picked up extra at Sal’s.”
When had he stepped so close to her? She let her finger catch a drop of water from his hair and he smiled again.
“It seemed appropriate.”
“Yes, it does.”
Nikki didn’t know what to say, but found she hadn’t stepped back. Then he was leaning down just so slightly and let his lips gently, tenderly touch hers. She could feel the heat, and not just in her cheeks. She saw the delight in his eyes, but he stepped back.
“You knew I wouldn’t have gourmet tea, so you brought beer?”
“To add to your collection.” She retorted as he moved to open the refrigerator.
“You can never have too much beer in case you have company.”
“I’ll try to remember that.” She accepted the bottle he handed her. “Let’s eat before it gets cold.”
The smolder in his eyes told her he took that the wrong way, but she said nothing. How was she supposed to eat when he looked like that? It hadn’t been a mistake to come, but it was scary.
She didn’t give of herself anymore. Too much had been taken never to be returned. But it didn’t feel like that would be the case here.
They finished the pizza, him eating three slices to each of hers. He got second beers for them as they moved to his couch. “I should clean up.” She glanced back at the table.
“There’s an empty box and two beer bottles. I can handle that later. Please, sit with me.” He patted the cushion next to him and she took the seat, taking a long drink of her beer.
“Are you scared of me?”
She nearly choked.
“Well that answers that,” he said quietly.
“No, no I’m not scared of you. Since you quit trying to kill me.”
Micah rolled his eyes and Nikki relaxed a little more.
“Good. Because I don’t mean to scare you or hurt you or rush you. But I think I do all of that.”
Nikki looked at those strong arms again but shook her head. “No, I don’t think you mean to scare me or hurt me. Rush me, I’m not sure.” She smiled. “You overwhelm me.”
“Is that a good thing?”
“It’s new, or at least unfamiliar.”
“How familiar may I get?” He asked, not moving closer.
Nikki would never know where she got the courage, but she leaned toward him and it was her lips that took his. She could taste the beer and a little pizza and him. And he tasted good. She could feel his restraint as he accepted the kiss, so she moved closer. Her hand came to rest on his chest and her fingers brushed his nipple.
He groaned into her mouth, but kept his arms down by his sides.
He really was letting her make the decisions, lead the way.
She took his face in her hands and looked at him. Those chocolate eyes met hers making her want to melt. He had a tiny scar in his left eyebrow and faint smile lines around his mouth that grew deeper as she watched him. Had she once thought that haughty and arrogant was attractive? This man, this real man was the most gorgeous thing she had ever seen.
He still moved slowly, but his arms came up to gently enfold her as he gathered her against him. He seemed to sigh as she fitted herself to his hard chest. He leaned down and she felt his lips move up her neck, behind her ear, into her hair.
Tentatively she moved her hand, caressing the bicep her hand couldn’t encircle. No wonder he had been able to catch her that day as she fell from the stool. He was warm, his skin smooth over those muscles.
“God, Nikki . . . ”
His hand brushed her breast and heat flooded her. She wanted more. It was insane, they were friends. She worked for the man. How could he possibly know exactly where to touch her? Her hand touched skin where his t-shirt had ridden up as he reclined and slipped her hand inside to outline the ridges of his chest. His skin was hot to the touch and her fingers found a ridge of scar down the right side of his abdomen. She hadn’t even seen a scar when she arrived. The rest of him had completely absorbed her. She pulled back a little and realized just how free he had made her.
Yes, they were reclined on the couch, making out like teenagers, but she was on top and he hadn’t confined her in any way. She looked down and her eyes widened at the bulge in his jeans.
“Ignore that? Your zipper could become a lethal weapon if the denim gives.”
He threw back his head laughing. “God, you are so the woman for me.”
She stared at him as he seemed to realize what he’d said.
“Don’t leave,” he whispered.
“We haven’t even dated.” She shook her head. “What if we mess this up?”
“We’re friends, Nikki. If you want to stop right now, we will. We can be friends for a while longer, but I’m still going to want you. You need to be prepared for that. And we have too dated, as much as this place allows. We haven’t gone into the city for a movie, but we’ve had lots of lunch dates, and a few library dates. We went to the batting cage and I did watch that chick flick at your place.”
“That was not a chick flick!”
“I don’t remember any cars chases or bombs. It had to be chick flick.”
She propped her elbows on his chest. “It’s a classic. I can’t believe you’d never seen Casablanca. You’re uncultured.”
“I never said I didn’t like it, but wasn’t it a date, kinda?”
He was getting to her.