Loch and Key is now on sale as of today! Thanks to all the readers, reviewers and bloggers who’ve picked this up and are leaving awesome reviews. I’m thrilled that it’s in the top hundred for military romances on Amazon already! This is book 3 of The McLaughlins series, but you don’t need to have read the first two books in the series to read the third, but it does make it more powerful).
All the military training in the world won’t help him knock down her walls.
Years ago a terrifying attack left Kenzie McLaughlin trusting only a few men in her insular life on Whidbey Island—her brothers and her father. But when a sexy Navy guy who waltzes into the family pub doesn’t hesitate to makes his interest known, no amount of mental red flags are enough to keep her from being tempted to dip a toe back into the dating pool.
Twice burned in the past, Brett Craven has sworn off serious relationships, at least while he’s still in the Navy. A gorgeous redhead with a fiery wit and wariness of men, though, has blown his well-reasoned strategy out of the water.
There’s no denying the attraction between the two, but Kenzie teeters on a tightrope anchored on one end by hope, the other by caution. Because if she lets her guard down long enough to fall for Brett, it could leave her vulnerable to the one man who’s been left free to prey upon her fear.
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He was so potently masculine right now, for a moment she had a brief stirring of panic as he commanded softly, “Come here.”
Her feet felt glued to the ground, and it wasn’t until he held out a hand that she forced herself to take the six or so steps to the bed.
His fingers laced through hers. “Thank you for breakfast. For coming over this morning.”
“You’re welcome.” She sat down on the edge of the mattress beside him, struggling with the urge to bolt.
His fingers stroked her knuckles and a tremor raced through her.
“Lie down beside me, Kenzie,” he said softly. “I won’t touch you. I promise.”
They were only words, and lying down beside him opened her up for all kinds oftrouble. But she trusted him. He wouldn’t touch her unless she asked him to.
He scooted over, leaving her enough room to climb on top of the blankets beside him. It should’ve been weird. Maybe even a bit terrifying. Brett was larger than Charles, and likely stronger. Deadlier if he needed to be, but when her head fell against the pillow and they continued to hold hands, she had no fear.
“You don’t work today?” he asked casually.
“Not ’til tonight.”
“But you were at the pub?”
“Aye. I was dropping off my roommate to go to work.” She smiled. “The pub is very nearly my home. My brothers are there quite often, and I’ve worked there since I was sixteen.”
“Brothers? How many do you have?”
“You’re the only girl?”
She laughed, and some more of her nerves dissipated. “Oh, aye.”
They fell silent again. She held quite still, breathing in the scent of him and his room. The overall masculine presence of the room. The heat gathering inside her swelled, spreading far and wide throughout her body.
She was aware of every breath he drew in. Every little maddening stroke his thumb made over her knuckles.
Moisture gathered low between her legs and she bit her lip. He was the first man in many years that she could remember being able to arouse her. It wasn’t that she hadn’t thought about sex or had orgasms, but generally they were fantasy induced and achieved alone in her room.
Now there was Brett, a very solid, tangible presence lying right next to her. Awakening her body to sensations she’d thought long dead. She wanted, she realized, more than anything to take advantage of that fact.
“What are your plans for the day? What time do you work?” he asked, his voice a bit more strained now.
Maybe he was aware of the mounting sexual tension between them.
“I have none. I don’t want to talk about work,” she admitted, almost on a whisper. She rolled onto her side and faced him.
“You don’t?” He adjusted his body as well, so they lay facing each other. “What do you want…to talk about?”
“I don’t want to talk.” Oh God, she was being awfully bold right now, and it felt a bit liberating.
His gaze darkened. “What is it you want, Kenzie?”
She wanted to answer. Tried to answer, but her heart was beating so fast and the words were thick in her mouth. Her eyes must’ve conveyed what she wanted, because he drew in a deep shuddering breath that made his beautifully defined chest expand.
He moved slightly, so that he could cup her cheek in one hand and lower his lips to brush against hers.
She closed her eyes and tilted her head back, parting her lips to give him access to her mouth. He took it without hesitation. His mouth slanted across hers before his tongue plunged deep inside to tease and suck.
He tasted of coffee and bacon, and all sorts of wonderfully male goodness. His fingers on her cheek were exquisitely gentle, even as he plundered her mouth.
Today’s Throwback Thursday excerpt is from Savage Hunger!
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Crossing the room to the dresser, he pulled out one of the drawers. “Go ahead and get yourself settled in. Here’s a T-shirt you can throw on for bed. Unless you want to sleep in that dress.”
She made no effort to catch the shirt he tossed at her.
“You have clothes here?” she asked skeptically.
“Not mine personally. All our safe houses are stocked with them. We need to
be prepared to stay for awhile.” He shut the drawer. “There are also some packages of underwear in there. Not exactly the silk and lace type of stuff, but I bet you can pull it off.”
Sienna’s face reddened and the glare she turned on him should’ve had the effect of a cold shower. Instead he found himself getting hard. Dammit, what was it about her that turned him on? She could be scrubbing toilets and he’d find it sexy. And this is why you’ve stayed away from her for the past six years.
“When are you going to tell me more about you guys?” she asked as she tucked back a strand of hair that had fallen free.
Before he could answer, his gaze caught on the flash of silver. He stepped forward and pulled her hand forward, circling her wrist with his fingers and touching the thin bracelet that lay there.
His chest tightened and he frowned, lifting his gaze to hers again. “You still have this?”
A pretty flush filled Sienna’s cheeks and her mouth tightened. “It went with the dress.” She tugged her wrist away and cleared her throat. “You didn’t answer my question.”
All thoughts of the bracelet and what it symbolized abandoned his mind and he bit back a sigh. “No, I didn’t and I don’t have time now. We’ll talk later.”
“Wow, that sounds a bit like déjà vu,” she mocked, her fists clenching and her mouth tightening. “How much later? I’ve been dragged to a safe house by men dressed up like G.I. Joe on crack. I mean, come on already, Warrick. I think I deserve an explanation.”
“You’ll get an explanation later, Sienna. And then I’ll get mine,” he warned her but felt no triumph when her face lost color at his warning. Turning he headed toward the door. “Because you will explain to me just how the hell you’re involved with this goddamned mess.”
It’s available at Amazon and other ebook retailers: http://amzn.to/1kORAb0
Throwback Thursday is an excerpt from Anybody but Justin, from the Chances Are series.
The line between friends and lovers can get a little blurry…especially when you add tequila.
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“Look at me, Gab.”
Her shoulders rose with the deep breath she dragged in, and then she tilted her head to give him a sideways glance. Her eyes were carefully schooled. He knew that look. She’d come to poker night too many times with the guys for him to not recognize that you won’t get shit out of me look.
“I want you to be completely honest with me,” he said quietly and tightened his grip on her hand—her dainty, soft hand. His brows drew together. Had her hands always been this feminine?
“Okay.” She arched an eyebrow. “Are you going to ask it?”
He shook his head, wondering how the hell she was managing to get him so damn flustered.
“Yeah. I’m gonna ask it,” he said gruffly and then focused his attention on her face again. “Did you move out because of that night?”
The only sign that he’d shocked her was the slight widening of her eyes. But then she narrowed them just as quickly and a sardonic grin slipped across her mouth.
“That night? Ah, Justin, you’re going to have to be a lot more specific than that. We lived together for a couple of years.”
“Damn it, Gab. Don’t pull that crap on me. Anyone else might buy it, but I don’t.” He scowled. “You know exactly which night I’m talking about.”
Her fingers arched against his hand, but he didn’t loosen his grip. The slight smell of sweat from their run lingered in the room, with the overlying scent of her lotion. Some melon thing she’d worn the entire time he’d known her. It had never seemed seductive before, but now…
She lowered her gaze from his and her tongue swept across her bottom lip before retreating safely back into her mouth.
Desire stirred low in his groin and his next breath in wasn’t quite as steady. Jesus. He still wanted her.
The idea rocked him to his core.
Bad idea, Justin.
“Are you telling me—” He leaned forward and caught her chin, his face just inches from hers. Very bad idea, Justin. “—that you don’t remember this?”
The need to remind her of that night consumed him. Her eyes widened in trepidation, just before he lowered his mouth down onto hers.
So soft. So sweet.
When she would have pushed him away, he moved his palm to her back and held her still, moving his mouth against hers.
Half a year. How had he gone a half a year without her? And why had it taken two years for them to reach this level of intimacy?
His tongue teased the crease of her mouth open, and then slid inside to taste her.
The angry sound she made morphed into a frustrated moan and finally one of surrender. Her tongue moved out to meet his—almost angry in the bold strokes she made to tease him.
Justin’s blood pounded through his veins. His entire being focused on the smell of her, the press of her breasts against his chest, and the soft sounds she made as she kissed him back. Sounds that alternated between pleasure and frustration.
Her hands slid up to his shoulders to wrap around his neck, pressing her body snugger against his. The scrape of her hardened nipples against his chest sent another rush of blood to his cock, bringing it fully erect. He groaned, grateful for his loose running pants.
He explored her mouth thoroughly, teasing the hidden spots before returning to spar with her tongue.
His hands, which had been resting on her waist, slid up her ribcage to just under her breasts.
He barely hesitated before sweeping his thumbs up to stroke over the tight peaks of her breasts. He lifted his lips from hers just a fraction to allow her strangled gasp, before he captured her mouth again.
All rational thoughts on why he’d come here tonight—because it couldn’t have been for this, could it?—abandoned his mind. The need to touch her naked skin, to taste the salty sweet softness of her flesh, swept through him.
He deepened the kiss, caught her nipple between two fingers and pinched, all while easing her onto her back on the couch. It was a move he’d mastered in years of seducing women.
Tonight it failed.
Gabby wrenched her mouth from his, shoving him so hard he fell off her and onto the floor.
“Stop.” She scurried off the couch and across the room from him. “What was that, Justin? What the hell was that?”
He winced, picking himself up from the floor. His balls ached and his dick still throbbed with the need to be buried inside her. Inside…Gabby. Shit.
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Today’s throw back excerpt is from Command and Control. Book 2 in my Holding out for a Hero series. This book took some researching just what our soldiers go through, and I really can’t thank those who’ve served enough.
Out of habit, Trevor started to shrug out of his light jacket to offer it to her, but she shook her head and stepped back, her expression pinched as she looked him over.
“Let’s just be clear about this,” Megan said. “I’m not really happy being buddied up with you, Trevor. I’ll do it because I care about your family and this wedding, but don’t be getting any ideas about us.”
Had she been practicing that little speech in her head all through dinner? He arched an eyebrow. “Ideas, angel?”
“Don’t call me angel anymore. And yes, ideas. What happened this afternoon was a complete mistake. A fluke.” She turned on her heel and started toward her car.
“You coming on my finger wasn’t a fluke, Megan.”
She spun around in an instant, her palm arcing toward his face. He caught her wrist before it connected, barely blinking at her sudden attack.
Beneath the streetlamp he saw the anger and humiliation blazing in her eyes.
“Whether your mind is ready to acknowledge it or not,” he continued softly. “Your body still wants me.”
“Yes, well my body would also love to eat a half dozen cupcakes a day, Trevor. Fortunately, I have a brain to overrule its bad instincts.”
His lips twitched. “Hmm. Guess it wasn’t working this afternoon?”
Megan let out a growl and tugged her hand free. “My original point was—and still is—I’m not sleeping with you again.”
“Why not? Would it really be so bad?”
“For one, I’m dating Henry.”
He shook his head and called her bluff. “Henry means nothing to you. You’re barely dating him. I bet you haven’t even let the guy kiss you.”
The way her cheeks went red made him realize he was likely right. A wave of relief and triumph swept through him, easing some of the tension from his muscles that had appeared when she’d thrown Henry in his face.
“Regardless of what I’ve done with Henry, I am still seeing him.”
Something about the way she kept throwing the other guy up as a barrier made his blood pressure kick up a notch.
“So call it off,” his suggested tersely.
She stared at him. Hard. Until Trevor felt heat stealing up the back of his neck now. He knew it was an asinine request.
“Answer me one question, Trevor,” she finally said, her gaze searching his face. “Are you getting help?”
Trevor’s abs clenched as if she’d just kicked him. All the emotional doors slammed shut inside him and his expression become flat. Stoic. He went to that place in his head, where everything was automatic and disciplined. It was easier just to be in soldier mode.
“I don’t need any help.”
He couldn’t tell if it was a trick of the light or if her eyes shimmered briefly with tears. Then she blinked and gave a short nod.
“Right. Then a year’s gone by, but we’re still at an impasse.” She turned and unlocked her car door. “I’ll contact you soon about us planning a menu for the reception barbeque. Good night, Trevor.”
He didn’t make any attempt to stop her this time as she climbed into her sports car and revved off into the night.
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Here’s a fabulous, recent review on this book from a reader named Janet:
“Some times you if you are a great author pack more into a little book than draw it out in a big book! Command and Control Trevor and Megan tackles PTSD and how far will someone go to save someone they love! This is a great and intense series set in a small sleepy town with powerful men and a loving family named Wyatt ! It is a must read!!!”