Pele Tuitama’s Morpheus Squad mission infiltrating a Smoky Mountain children's camp is FUBAR. He might be a virally-enhanced military experiment, but augmented abilities won’t help him protect Reagan McNeill, the most unsecure-able target imaginable. Sweet Reagan’s kisses and the possibility of a future he should never consider, distracts his laser focus. If Pele can’t keep Reagan safe from an evil adversary bent on revenge against the entire McNeill family, then Reagan will die.
After a nasty breakup, Reagan doesn’t trust any man—or herself. Enter handsome Pele, the world’s worst camp counselor. She doesn’t believe his story or his motives. When overly-protective Pele draws her close and then rejects her, Reagan is finished with games. Then the truth she learns rips open recently-healed emotional wounds.
In order to escape through the mountains, Pele must share his deadliest secret. To have a chance at their future, they must reveal their demons and pray for acceptance ... and survival.
Pele kicked the door closed with his booted foot and turned to her. “I meant what I said. You’re beautiful.”
“I, um— Okay, thanks.”
“No, Reagan. You don’t understand.” When he framed her face in his hands, a strange emotion, something sad but hopeful, sparked deep down inside her walled-off heart.
Almost reverently, he brushed his lips over her forehead, her eyebrows, and both cheeks. Shivers shot through her body after each light kiss, and she leaned into his touch.
As much as she wanted him to transport her on a cloud of happiness, they’d been here already. Twice. She didn’t trust either of them in this situation.
“Pele, stop for a minute.” Tugging on his wrists, she pulled his hands away, hating the lack of connection. She needed a little distance to breathe. To think. “See this here? You and me in the cabin? Doing this?”
She stepped back, breaking contact. “We’ve rehearsed this scenario before. Spoiler alert: It ends with you making an excuse and then running out that door.”
“I had to go before.”
“Sure you did.” She waved off his retort. “Look, you’re a great guy, like, really great.” She swallowed. “But I don’t have it in me to go through another repeat of how we’ve done this before.” Damn it, when her voice cracked. “I can’t handle another rejection. Not after this week, and not after tonight.”
“I didn’t reject you,” he protested.
“That’s not how it appeared from where I stand.” She crossed her arms. “Why are you here, now, Pele?” she said, not caring if she made him uncomfortable. It was time for stark truth. “What do you want?”
His jaw worked for a full minute. Cords tightened in his neck and shoulders. Damn. She might not want his answer if it took that long.
The words came out raw, like he’d yanked them from his chest. “I want you, Reagan. All of you.”
She sucked in a breath. “You have a funny way of showing it.”
“Like, I said … chalk the last two nights up to really bad timing and some personal issues on my part.”
“Huh. Go on.” Was that sweat on his brow? Good.
“I would only want to … be with you, if you want the same exact thing.”
“Be more specific.”
“Ti’o, you aren’t making this easy.”
“It hasn’t been an easy week for me.”
“That’s fair.” He rubbed his thigh and glanced over her shoulder toward the window. Then the full weight of his deep, dark eyes fell on her. “You want specific?”
“Yes?” Her voice cracked.
“If it was up to me, we would go downstairs to your room. I would strip you naked and taste every inch of your body before we have what I pray to any god out there is a night of amazing sex where you are totally satisfied. Multiple times.”
“Oh,” she exhaled, a liquid heat pooling between her legs where a throbbing sensation began.
“You asked for specifics.” Was his chest rising and falling faster? “Let me know if you want more details.”