EXTREME EXPOSURE by Alex Kingwell (Chasing Justice: Book 1)
NOWHERE TO RUN
Emily Blackstock is running for her life. She thought she’d escaped the men who murdered her cousin, but one terrifying night proves they mean to kill her, too. Trusting a rugged stranger to lead her to safety is risky, but Emily has no other choice…
EVERYTHING TO HIDE
A former Marine, Matt Herrington has seen his share of active duty and knows what it takes to survive a ruthless killer. Protecting Emily is second nature, but as they trek through the wilderness together she stirs something within him that he’s never felt before. Now the only thing more dangerous than keeping her alive is falling in love with her . . .
He caught her hand. “Where are you going?”
“For a walk. I have to get out of here.”
He shook his head in disbelief. “Am I missing something here? I just don’t want you to get hurt.”
“And it’s okay if you do?” She pulled her hand away, rubbed her wrists. “How does that make sense?”
“You’re right, it doesn’t. I just feel protective of you.”
“You don’t think I can look after myself, is that it?” Eyes lit with anger, she turned toward the door again.
Scratching the back of his head, he studied her. “So now you’re going to go? Is that it? Just walk out?”
“It was a mistake, right from the start, trusting you. Letting you get close.”
He scoffed. “You haven’t let me get close. You’ve done everything you could not to let me get close.”
He had hit a nerve. She froze, seemed to be trying to think of something to say.
He pushed. “Why is that?”
“Why are you making this my fault?” She crossed her arms over her chest.
“You’re avoiding the question. Why won’t you let me get close?”
“This is hardly the time to be having this discussion.”
“You want to get close. I can see it.”
She looked down, not saying anything. He waited, let the silence stretch between them. When she looked up, all traces of anger had vanished, replaced not by that cool and collected game face he’d expected, but by a look so raw and unfiltered his heart clenched.
She said, “Because if you get too close, you’re not going to like what you see.” Her eyes, deep and vulnerable, burned holes into him.
Walking over, he took her hand, recognizing the courage it took for her—especially for her—to expose that vulnerability. “It’s the opposite. The closer I get, the more I like what I see.”
She stood frozen in place, her eyes glassy with unshed tears.
He said, “I think you’re the smartest, gutsiest, most beautiful woman I’ve ever met. What’s not to like? Never mind that I can barely keep my hands off you.” She stood, open-mouthed, not seeming to believe him, unidentifiable emotions flashing across her face. He said, “Tell me what you’re thinking.”
She said, with a kind of desperation, “You know, the usual, what a mess I’ve made of everything.”
Tilting his head, he looked at her closely. “Did you ever think it might be the other way around, that things have made a mess of you?”
Her moist, expressive eyes looked huge in that pale face. “I think that’s just about the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me.”
He smirked. “Really? It wasn’t that nice.” The soft swell of her breasts was clearly visible under her T-shirt. He clenched his fists to stop himself from reaching for her.
She said, “It’s funny what you said about having trouble keeping your hands off me.” Something new and dark lit those eyes.
“Why is that funny?” he said, throat dry.
“I was thinking the same thing about you.” She wet her lips, and reached up to stroke his cheek with long, pale fingers.
Her touch sent a surge of blood racing to his groin. Standing on her toes, she brought her lips to his. He shouldn’t, he knew that, but couldn’t stop himself. He’d waited too long. Sucking in a breath, he kissed those warm, soft lips, wanting to go slowly, taste every inch. His hand stroked the silky white skin of her neck.
Tentative at first, she put her arms around his neck and drew him close, swirling her tongue in his mouth and pressing herself against him. She was hurrying, trembling fingers struggling with the button of his jean shorts.
Pulling away, he looked into those gorgeous smoldering eyes. “Emily…”
Her hand went to her lips and she stumbled back. “Is something wrong? Did I do something wrong?”
He shook his head. “Are you sure you want to do this? No regrets?”
She was breathing heavily, the soft swell of her breasts rising and falling through the T-shirt. “No regrets.”
An award-winning writer of romantic suspense, Alex Kingwell is a former newspaper reporter, columnist and editor who much prefers spending her days making stories up. When she’s not writing or stuck with her head in a book, Alex can be found running with her dog, obsessing over tribal textiles or watching offbeat movies with her husband (not necessarily in that order). She lives on the Canadian Prairies.
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