Ever since being rescued from a human trafficking ring, Hailey Mason has been trying two things: getting her life together and catching the attention of Lucas “Luke” Gonzalez. She’s failed so far at one, and much to his dismay, succeeded with the other.
US Marshal Luke Gonzalez wants to keep distance between him and a young woman who has occupied his thoughts for years. One he knows he would be unable to stay away from.
Problems arise when he discovers Hailey is wrapped deep within an undercover operation involving human trafficking and the ringleader has set his eyes on her. Luke is determined to protect Hailey while also trying to protect both of their hearts. Playing house in a cabin far from home probably wasn’t the best idea … but neither one of them are willing to back down from what they want.
Be Warned: public exhibition
“Luke,” she called.
The light changed, and he pressed the gas, drove the remaining few blocks in silence, and saw an open spot just outside the clinic. He made a mad dash to take the spot although it was obvious no one else would need it. The clinic was very closed today and he, very demented in his need to get away from one Hailey Mason.
He slammed the truck in “park” but didn’t move fast enough to exit the vehicle.
A palm landed on his thigh, startling him out of his need to escape, from his darker hunger to just give into this want for her, and from his own wild thoughts. He whipped around, snagging her wrist in the process and holding it in the air.
“The fuck?” he snarled, his face a mask of disbelief that she actually touched him. Actually tempted the unbearable beast within. Did she have no sense of self-preservation?
Wide doe-brown eyes stared up at him in shock. Her pink, kissable lips parted. He couldn’t help but wonder if they felt as soft and moist as they looked.
“What?” he asked, punctuating the word.
Her eyes studied his face, roaming over his features as if she couldn’t understand what was happening.
“Why are you … why are you ignoring me?” she asked, and that damn velvet moved along his spine like a tease.
He tossed her hand back and leaned against his door, as if he could get as far from her as possible. “What do you want, Hailey?”
She shivered but brushed it off. He watched as she physically shook herself out of whatever had caused that questionable reaction. He wanted to ask what it was, but refrained from doing so. There was no fucking need to figure her out. No need to understand what made her tick, what she craved.
No. All he needed was to keep her at arm’s length.
He took a deep breath, and her scent filled his lungs.
Damn it. Maybe farther than an arm’s length.
“What do you want?” he asked, the question coming out like a growl.
“Can we just talk? I feel like I haven’t seen you in forever.”
She was correct. He’d made sure of it. And this here? He had to shut it down. Now. “I don’t want to talk. Not to you. Not now. Not later. This needs to stop.”
Her lower lip quivered, drawing his attention. The damn piece of flesh looked bitable as hell. He clamped down on his need and ground his back molars together. Pain pulsed through his jaw.
“Did you get my letters?” she asked. He felt as if she’d trailed the softest of silk over his back with her voice reaching out and touching him like it was a physical caress.
“Damn it, Hailey, take the hint. I don’t want to hurt you. We’re never having this conversation.”
She reached out as if to touch him again and alarms screamed through his head. No way could this happen. “Fuck this,” he muttered, then shook his head and exited his truck as if the hounds of hell were after him.
Not a bad comparison, too, because if she’d actually contacted him again, there was no guarantee he wouldn’t have allowed it, then taken his fair share of her, too.