Ten years ago, Angela Meyers told everyone she went to New York to find herself. It was a lie. She fled from the aftermath of one hot night with Clay Waters. A night filled with wet heat, all-consuming releases…then his regret.
Now, with a stalker threatening to destroy her career, there’s only one man she trusts to protect her. The man she still loves, hates, needs with every breath she takes.
It’s not that Clay never craved his best friend’s younger sister. With a ticket to boot camp burning a hole in his pocket, he couldn’t allow himself to love her. The moment he lays eyes on her again, the old need—to take down her tightly wound hair, press her long, lean body to his—surges inside him stronger than ever.
But this is no ordinary bodyguard assignment. The best way to identify the voice in Angela’s shadow is to lure it into the light of day. Even if it means convincing her to trust him with her heart…and surrendering his own.
He knew the moment she saw him standing across the gym.
Khaki pants and a simple plain black T-shirt stretched across his big, broad chest adorning his hard body. He stood with his arms crossed in front of him, brooding.
He was a warrior and looked it. Dark skinned and very short, dark brown hair with a lean body, toned from his time with the Marines. His nerves were on edge and he ached for release. Damned if he wasn’t hoping Angela would be willing to help him out with that.
His body reacted to hers like it was the last drink of water in the driest desert and he was so thirsty. Clay could see how he affected her as a shiver ran up her back.
She stood in the arms of her date, who pulled her closer, quite certain a lucky night was in his future. For sure, her trembling body was for him and not for the man glaring at her across the gym.
Angela swayed slowly to the music and her date turned her around. Her gaze that had been locked with Clay’s, finally broke.
She blinked repeatedly and Clay slipped into the shadows, leaving it up to her whether she wanted to explore what they could have together.
Watching her extricate herself from her date was like watching a tennis match. He seemed thrilled, shaken and then thrilled again as he kissed her cheek and then walked away. What the hell?
Angela straightened her dress and started towards the door at an almost run. His heart actually skipped a beat, when he knew she searched for him. He had faced down the enemy from several different countries. He was as cool as a cucumber. Barely broke a sweat anymore. But one little eighteen-year-old girl…he shook in his boots.
She almost pushed the door open to leave when he called her name from the dark corner of the gym.
Her breath caught, stepping closer to the darkness, trying to shield her eyes with one of her hands at the same time.
“Clay?” she asked, “Is that you?”
He stepped into the dim light where she could barely see him. He didn’t say a word, but held a hand out to her.
It took her eons to reach him. She placed her hand in his and he tugged her into the shadows behind the screen he had found when he walked in.
“It’s been a long time, Angela.” His voice strained to keep level as he drank in her body. He spun her in a slow circle so he could see her up close.
She was all grown up now and his hands ached to touch her.
Slowly he pulled her into his arms and swayed her body to the music.
“It’s been too long, Clay.” She laid her head on his chest and wrapped her arms around his neck, weaving her fingers through his short hair. Tingles of sensation raced down his spine at her simple touch, and his cock surged to life, knowing he finally had his arms around the one he wanted.
As the music stopped for a minute, Clay whispered harshly, “How’d you ditch your date? He looked eager to continue the evening?”
Angela smiled, rolled her eyes and looked up into his hard features. “Wasn’t he the same guy I had to drag you away from last time?” he questioned.
His eyebrows pulled down into a scowl when she answered. “Yes, it’s the same guy. And I told him that his ex-girlfriend wanted a night to remember. That is how I freed up my dance card so quickly.”
He could tell there was something she didn’t say, but he drew her close again moving to the music. Angela wound her arms around his waist and ran her hands up his back. Her body moved against his, and he had to grind his teeth together to keep from sighing at the heat of her skin. She was smooth as silk and smelled like a bouquet of wildflowers. His hands ran along the fabric of her dress at her hips, clenching it subconsciously as he rubbed his cock, straining for freedom, back and forth across her abdomen.
“I’ve missed you,” Angela whispered in the darkness. She sounded out of breath, and he was glad he’d come for her tonight. His heart beat against her cheek when he thought about the possibilities of having her alone.
He wrapped his arms tighter around her body. “I expected to come back and find you madly in love with some guy. I could walk away, knowing I did the right thing.”
Angela turned her head, searching his face for something.
“Disappointed?” Her voice was harsh, accusatory.
Clay stared at the face of the girl now a woman…the woman he had come back for. “Very,” he whispered as he brushed his lips against hers.
Waves of anticipation flooded his mind as the air cooled his mouth around her indrawn breath. She stood on tiptoes as he pulled her higher so he could get a better taste. The smooth skin of her cheek slid against his rough stubble. If he wasn’t careful, he’d leave marks on her. Something primal inside him stood up and took notice. He shouldn’t think that way. He shouldn’t be doing this. Any of this. But he had no intention of stopping. Allowing both of them to catch their breaths, he nibbled her jaw, sucking her bottom lip into his mouth.
He buried his hands in her hair and tilted her head back so he could thrust his tongue past her lips. The scent of her skin and the moans escaping her lips went straight to both his heads. Her hands wrenched at his back as she rode the leg he didn’t remember shoving between her thighs.
A groan rumbled through his chest as she ran her tongue across his bottom lip, almost losing her balance as he kissed her with enough force to curl her toes.
Several years of pent-up need exploded between them as they fought to control themselves.
Clay thought if he wasn’t careful he could take her right there in a gym full of kids.
“Wanna get out of here?” Angela asked him between breaths. He sucked her earlobe into the hot cavern of his mouth, tonguing the soft skin below her ear, tasting the silky flesh like he wanted to taste her pussy. The heat of her core drove him insane and he needed to bury himself inside her body.
He searched her blue eyes for a second before leaning his forehead against hers. He held her close, not wanting to see her rejection if she didn’t want him. “Are you sure about this, Angela? Is this something you really want from me?”
She stepped back, looked him in the eyes, and said six little words that changed the course of his life forever. “You’re the only one I want.” Then she kissed him deeply and did things with her tongue that had his need clawing to escape.
He finally pulled away and ground out, “Then let’s get out of here or I’m going to fuck you right now.”
Clay grasped her hand, drawing her through the exit doors, out into the parking lot where people called her name to say goodbye.
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