Pissed off, crabby, and contemplating getting a guard dog, Wallis Gardner is goddamned tired of being laid up with a gunshot wound while her men—blond, blue-eyed Austin Cooper and dark-haired, grizzly bear Michael Gallo—finish the job they’d all been working on with the Bureau of Criminal Investigations. An anonymous tip sends her partners on a futile chase, leaving Wallis to deal with the massive cast on her leg and the creepy new tenant in the small cottage at the edge of her property. When Austin and Michael return, the welcome home party leaves them all exhausted but satisfied before a call comes in with yet another missing girl. Unprotected, Wallis finds herself dancing at the end of a killer’s blade. But with life and love on the line, this is one dance she intends to lead.
They’re back. My boys are back. They…are…baaack! If it wasn’t for the cast, Wallis would be doing an energetic Snoopy Dance of happiness.
The last assignment had been the first time their team had been dispatched, short one member. She was honest enough with herself to admit she missed her specialty, which was pouring through evidence. Missed the adrenaline kick when her theories panned out. Missed working within the tight, cohesive unit formed by the three partners as they worked major crime scenes. She’d been stuck at the house, feeling useless, awkward—and oh, so lonely.
Wallis leaned on the kitchen counter, elbows on the cool tile, mug of fresh, hot coffee cradled in her hands. She gazed through the multi-paned windows over the sink, enjoyed the color-drenched patch of relentless wildflowers that struggled for survival at the back edge of the lawn. Engrossed in her reverie, she yipped when a pair of strong arms grabbed her around the waist.
Austin nuzzled the back of her neck.
“Yuck, cowboy, I spilled my coffee. And your hair is still wet. You’re dripping on me.”
“Sorry, darlin’, I couldn’t bear to spend another single minute away from you.”
She twisted in his arms, kissed him. “That’s the best excuse I’ve ever heard. You’re forgiven.”
He took her face in his big hands, returned her kiss with enthusiasm.
She leaned into him. “Mmm, baby, I missed you, missed you, missed you.” She inhaled, deeply. “And you smell so good.”
“Definitely better than I smelled before. I missed you, too. You left me alone with Gallows-Boy. You know how cranky he can be, especially when he’s tired.”
“It wasn’t like I did it on purpose, y’know.” She tapped against the cast with her fingernails.
Austin snorted. “Like getting shot in the line of duty is a good enough excuse for leaving me with him.”
However, his interest in her closeness was immediately evident beneath the towel wrapped around his waist.
Her eyebrow arched then she smiled. “Wow, you did miss me.”