FBI profiler Kerry Satterfield feels she can never live down her mother’s sordid past. She pursues her chosen career with dogged determination that leaves no time for a life, certainly none for romance.
Then she gets a strange tip on her current case. She ends up prisoner of a man she hasn’t seen for over fifteen years before he hands her a most unorthodox means of breaking this case. If it fails, she’s in deep trouble. She may be anyway, because she finds Frank Ogden all too alluring.
Frank has cooperated with his stepbrother out of fear his mother will be killed if he doesn’t. He agrees to get the nosy FBI agent off Gary’s back, but he will not stand to see her hurt or killed. When he realizes she’s the girl he befriended when they were both teenagers, he can’t resist the opportunity to pick up where they had left off. Kerry is a hottie now even if she doesn’t realize it.
Then Kerry, Frank, and his friend Roy band together to bring Gary to justice. In the process they discover they make a great team, both armed and amorous.
Frank. Roy had referred to his roommate as Frank. What Frank would linger in her dimmest memories? Maybe Frank Steadman, the tall skinny kid who’d become her champion her first two years of high school. Shutting her eyes she tried to dredge up a mental image of the youth and then do an age progression on that face, that body. It could be. It really could be.
As the thought took shape, she wanted to wake him up right then and ask, but she stopped herself. Time enough when morning comes. At least this tangent served to take her mind off the conditions that had her edging into panic. So she was lying in bed between two men and handcuffed to them both ...
The slow slide of a male hand from her waist to her neck jolted Kerry sharply back to the present. Hold on. Was that conscious and deliberate or simply a reaction to a dream and have nothing to do with me? Fingers twined into a curl of her hair that had slipped free of the elastic band she’d fastened it off her face with, the strands she’d wanted to brush away. Then the same hand explored her face with the lightest of touches. She could not move, mesmerized by the sensuality of the feather-soft touch. Why did it have to feel so good?
That gentle touch reverberated through every atom of her body. A shocking sizzle of sexual awareness started in her depths and spread like wildfire. How could she respond this way to a man who had kidnapped her and even now held her prisoner? It was far too soon to develop the twisted bond of a captive for the jailer. Was she so hard up for a man’s touch the first one in months set her aflame?
When she didn’t think she could stand it another minute, the hand finally cupped her breast, kneaded the flesh with a firm yet gentle rhythm, and then slowly rolled her pebbled nipple between a thumb and forefinger. Lust jolted through her like an electric shock. She bit her lip hard to stifle the moan building in her throat, in her chest. Fear was a distant shadow now as desire grabbed her.
I’m going to come absolutely unglued in a few more minutes. What is this guy up to?
“Still fighting to hang on to your chastity, Kerry Satterfield?”
The question was posed in a whisper, so close the exhaled breath tickled across her ear.
“What the hell are you talking about? Who are you?”
“I think you know on both counts.”
“Frank, Frank Steadman. No, it can’t be.”
He exhaled, almost a sign. “Yeah, it is, but I go by Ogden now, my real dad’s name. Don’t want to be connected to my damned step-brother in any way I can help. He’s the man you want. Don’t ask me how but I know. I’m sorry for what we did to you but you’re safe right now. As long as you aren’t getting too close, Gary isn’t going to worry about you for a while.”
A different sort of excitement sizzled along Kerry’s nerves. “Gary, your stepbrother, the one who always bullied you. He’s the kidnapper?” She barely kept her voice in a matching whisper.
“Yeah. No question about it. I didn’t dare go to the law yet because he’s said he’d kill my mother if I didn’t cooperate a hundred percent. And he would. He wants her gone anyway, so as to get the rest of the money Max left. Max put a lot into a trust fund to keep her for the rest of her life. Gary hates that. He figured he should have it all.”
A mixture of rage and pity twisted with her arousal, knotting emotions into an impossible tangle. “I need to get out of here and get a tail on him. Once he’s put away you can stop worrying. And he won’t be terrorizing any more kids.”
“No, Kerry. I agreed to get you off his case for a few days as much to protect you as anyone else. I didn’t even know it was you right then, not at first. There may be a chance later -- I’m just playing this by ear right now, one day, one hour at a time.”
She growled her frustration. “You knew what you were doing when you were teasing me while ago, didn’t you? So why did you stop?”
“I wasn’t sure if you ... well, you were in no position to resist. I started to feel guilty about it. I’ve wanted you forever, way back when we were in school but I knew you weren’t ready for it then. All I could do was help you fight off the other guys.”
Regret bit at her for a moment. Frank had left just before she was ready to accept him as a boyfriend instead of just her protector. “Yeah, everyone thought you were crazy, protecting the village whore’s daughter, who had to be one too. Only I wasn’t. I’m not a virgin anymore if you were wondering, but I’m still not easy.”
“I didn’t expect either virgin or easy. You must be near thirty now, right? I’ll be thirty two in September. You’d never be easy, too much pride in yourself. It’s all right, Kerry. I gained a lot by standing up for you, respect for myself and the courage to stand up to Gary and other bullies of the world. Maybe we each gave as good as we got from our friendship. I guess you won’t want to trust me now after what I’ve pulled on you. I’m sorry.”