|Cover by Nicole Austin at email@example.com|
Belle Scarlett's scorching and suspenseful military romance, Her Soldier of Fortune (Hero's Kiss Book 1) is now on sale in the Audible store, with m/f duet narration by Honey Scarlett & Leeroy Will: The Audiobook Lovers.
Leia has no idea who ex-Marine Major Tate McIntyre is when he saves her life in a dark alley. Yet Tate’s certain Leia is his to have, hold, and protect. He vows to keep her safe at any cost. His only price is her heart. Semper Fi!
He shrugged again. And winced in pain once more.
She rolled her eyes. “All I can say is, it’s a lucky thing you opted to ‘acquire’ a healthcare professional tonight.” She straightened up in her seat. “Now where is the damn first aid kit?”
Tate nodded behind them at the passenger cabin with a bemused expression. “Back there.”
“Can you leave the pilot thingy on automatic so I can clean that wound?”
He unbuckled his seat harness. “Where you go, I follow, boss lady. Anything to avoid having ancient, epic monster poems quoted at me in Old English.”
“Smart man.” Leia unbuckled and slipped out of the cockpit to the more spacious interior of the passenger cabin, wishing her soldier of fortune wasn’t so darn charming. And sexy.
She felt his presence following close behind her, tall and warm. Goosebumps prickled the back of her neck at his proximity. She summoned her most professional, no-nonsense nurse manner.
“Remove your sweater, please,” she said briskly.
She turned just as, in a smooth movement, Tate pulled the wool over his head, revealing sculpted shoulders and torso, cut biceps, and washboard abdomen. Her professional facade nearly shattered. Wow. She wasn’t sure her panties would ever be dry again.
The defined muscles of his broad chest were smooth. She could detect smatterings of older scars across his tanned skin, similar to the network of weals on the backs of his hands. A treasure trail of nut-brown hair on his taut, lower abs arrowed down from just under his navel and disappeared below the belt buckle on his trousers. No doubt pointing the way to Big Mac.
“Where do you want me?” Tate’s laconic tone broke her avid visual inventory of his naked torso.
Deciding it was safer not to look directly at his chiseled form for too long, Leia averted her gaze and waved in the general direction of the eight beige, leather club chairs fixed to the floor of the luxury cabin.
“You’re in luck, sir. The ER isn’t busy tonight. Take any seat in our waiting room.”
As Tate settled into a chair, she spied the first aid kit clipped to the wall just outside the cockpit door. Detaching it she took a deep breath and turned to face her patient.
She examined the wound on his arm.
“It’s not deep. Your coat and sweater took the brunt of the blade. You won’t need stitches.”
“Told you so.”
She gave him her sternest head nurse look. “But it does need to be cleaned and bandaged. No use risking infection.”
Crouching down beside his chair, she cracked open the kit. No latex gloves. She tore open a packet with a pre-moistened alcohol towelette and carefully cleaned her own fingers. Then she ripped open another packet and leaned in close over his wound, trying to ignore again their heady combined scents of mutual arousal.
They had gone through a dangerous scenario together, she reminded herself firmly, and that was a natural aphrodisiac. The sex urge after an adrenaline rush was common in human biology. What she was feeling was just a desire for a primal tension-breaker, she reminded herself. Human beings can override their base desires, she told herself.
Expertly, she cleaned the dried blood from the shallow slice on Tate’s upper arm and dabbed it with a Q-Tip smeared with antibiotic cream from the kit. She bandaged the cut with sterile gauze and neatly secured it around his bicep with a length of self-adhesive bandage.
“That could have been my carotid artery tonight,” she said. “You really did save my life.”
“It needed saving, Nurse Lightoller,” he answered quietly. His unwavering gaze captured hers and refused to let go.
Task completed, she let her hands remain lightly on his bare bicep, enjoying the heat of his skin while trying to resist the urge to stroke it. She didn’t want to break contact, she realized.
Something about this man drew her, she couldn’t deny it. As a trauma nurse she had long ago learned to trust her gut instincts about people. She could size up situations quickly and make accurate determinations about what course of action to take. Although she had only met this man less than two hours ago, and under the most unusual of circumstances, she knew in her bones she could trust Major Tate McIntyre, retired. Body and soul.
“There. How does that feel?” She smoothed her fingers over the bandage on his arm and cast her gaze downward to peruse her work. After a beat of silence, she peeped up again to find his Lapis Lazuli blue eyes still trained on her intently.
“You have a healing touch, Nurse Lightoller.” Tate lifted his other hand and touched a burnished tendril of her loose hair on her shoulder, winding it loosely around his finger, seemingly mesmerized by its red-gold color.
In an unhurried, natural movement, his hand slid from her hair to under her chin.
“I’ve wanted to do this for a long, long time,” Tate said huskily as he tilted her face up before capturing her lips with his. Softly at first, as though not to startle her, his parted lips lightly brushed hers.
When her mouth opened hungrily, his lips became rougher, more aggressive. Never breaking their kiss, she found herself pulled up to lay across his lap, her bottom pressed against his full erection under his trousers at the apex of his powerful thighs.
Her heartrate skipping hard, she entwined her arms around his neck, turning her torso to press herself wantonly against his nude chest. Her cream silk blouse and matching bra were the only barrier to skin on skin. Cradling her, his uninjured hand tunneled under her hair to cup the back of her head and held her still as he deepened their intimate kiss even further. His other hand reached up to cup one of her breasts possessively over her blouse.
He lifted his head a fraction of an inch and groaned. “God, woman. You taste even better than I imagined.” His voice in passion was deeper, wilder, more hoarse than before. She once again had the distinct sensation his voice was familiar to her, somehow. Where had she heard it before?
Her lust-fogged brain couldn’t quite make out what he meant by his words, and what’s more she didn’t care. She was about to pull his head back down to her, so she could keep those addictive kisses coming, when a slight shudder trembled through the plane.
Suddenly, Leia found herself placed firmly on her feet as Tate rose out of his chair in a fluid motion, suddenly all business, and strode the couple of steps back to the cockpit.
Leia swayed, gasping, and slowly followed, his sweater in her hands. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing serious. Just a bit of weather. We’ll climb a bit higher above it.” He shook his head. “You are hella distracting, woman.”
Tate pulled his sweater back over his head and returned to the controls. He shot her a frank look as she settled back into the co-pilot’s seat. “You realize, a few more minutes of your warm bedside manner back there, Nurse Lightoller, and we both would have joined the Mile-High Club.”
She felt a blush stain her cheeks. She knew he was right. She was so carried away by his lovemaking, she might well have let him take her on the floor of the Learjet. A sudden thought struck her.
“Wait a minute. We both would have joined the Mile-High Club? You’ve never…?”
He shook his head. “Kind of hard to do that when you’re always the pilot in charge, right? Oh, well. Maybe next time.” He gave her a roguish wink.
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