In a much-regretted fit of rage, Chloe lost her dream job. Still needing to pay the bills, she resorts to tending bar. Embarrassment about the mishap forces her to take a job twenty-four miles from her home in a dive bar located in small town nowhere. Into this disreputable bar, walks Raff and his intimidating crew.
Chloe’s role in relationships has been the queen. She’s worshipped and adored, while maintaining tight control over what happens. Eventually she loses interest and moves on to the next conquest. Raff is everything she stays away from. He’s cocky about the effects he has on her, arrogant about his own importance, and calls her out on any of her bull. Despite all the warning bells, Chloe cannot help the unexplainable lust she feels around him.
After being drugged, abducted from her home, and dragged to the middle of nowhere, she realizes Raff and his crew are living two stops past crazy town. They are convinced she isn’t human and have a plan to prove it.
With my hand frozen on the door handle, I watched him turn and look back at me expectantly. This is crazy! He could be an axe murderer! My hormones overrode common sense when he smiled and dared me with his eyebrows. I was a sucker for dimples. I popped the center console and reached inside, palming a can of mace, just in case things went south fast. I exited the car.
He hadn’t lied about it being a construction site. Points for honesty there. As I gingerly exited the car he trekked back and held out his hand to me. The desire to place my hand in his was supercharged, and when his hot digits curled around mine, I wanted to cuddle up by his side and nuzzle his neck.
Wow, I’ve been away from men too long. Cool the jets.
He tugged me past a newly poured foundation, helped me over a few obstacles, and headed to a makeshift office structure. Pulling the keys from his pocket, he rifled through them quickly in the dim light selecting the correct one on the first try.
“You wanted to show me your office? I’ll have to warn you, I’m not really into filing.”
“You’re a crack-up.” He chuckled and flipped on the light.
My eyes adjusted as I glanced around, marveling at what I saw. Raff read the look of wonder on my face.
“I said it would be worth it.”
The office was like a museum. A room filled with Native American artifacts. Pottery was displayed on tables, weapons hung on the walls and shelves, and stone jewelry rested in plexiglass boxes. It was a massive collection, and many would have been impressed. I was thrilled. I adored Native American culture, was one of the few girls obsessed with Westerns, and regularly visited tribal lands. My mom said I was part Cherokee, but too small a part to be recognized. Ever since she told me as a little girl, I was hooked on learning everything I could about it.
“How did you know?” I asked breathy.
“That this would be worth it?”
I turned to appraise him. “How much I would like it?”
“What’s not to like? It’s some freaking cool stuff,” he said and smirked.
“Why is this here?” I walked forward and lightly brushed at a clay pot. “An odd place to store a collection.”
“Better than a hotel room. I move around a lot. This trailer comes with us from site to site.”
“This is yours?”
“Benefits of the job.”
“You dug this stuff up?” I looked at him in wonder. “Why did you keep it? This should be in a museum or returned to a local tribe.”
“My brother is an archeologist. His part in all this is to assess if a site needs to halt construction or if we need to halt for artifacts.” Raff placed a wicked-looking spearhead in my palm and I ran its smooth surface over with my finger. “We often work with local tribes. A lot of what you see here are the thank-you gifts at the end of a job. Not everything has value, but I like it.”
That made me feel less guilty exploring the objects. I relished being able to touch and feel everything. Way cooler than just looking behind glass.
“Would you like something?”
The question caught me off guard. At first, I thought he meant a drink, but he had his hand out signaling the room.
“A generous offer. You hardly know me.” It would be amazing to have any piece here. My eyes could not help but rove around the room. “I can’t accept.”
“Nonsense.” He stepped close behind me. I felt the contours of his chest brush against my back causing a liquid flame to heat me through to the core. His arms swept forward and he fastened a pendant around my neck. It was beaten silver adorned with turquoise, not a sophisticated piece, but I loved the roughness. It felt ancient.
My hand clutched the cool metal. “It doesn’t feel right.”
“No?” he challenged.
I shook my head, yet my hand still clutched the pendant. Strangely, I believed it should be mine, but my mind warred with such a notion.
“I want you to have it.” His hungry stare scorched me as he looked at the necklace settled between my breasts.
“Huh,” a puff of air escaped my dry lips. “Do you always get what you want?”
I expected a cocky “most definitely” in reply. Instead, he kissed me. It was unexpected and certainly not gentle. His hand clasped the back of my neck taking full possession of my head. His lips crashed into mine, startling me into opening my mouth, giving his tongue entrance. I was a passive observer for a brief second before my body automatically responded.
I swear if it was any other man I would have reared back and belted him for his aggressive liberties. With Raff, I softened, melting against him. I welcomed the intrusion of his tongue in my mouth. My senses lit up tasting him. His scent was intoxicating, making me almost dizzy. I was instantly aroused and completely ignored the little voice in my head screaming for me to get a grip on the situation.
He pulled away still holding my neck, and stared deeply into my eyes. I was panting, trying to remember to breathe. I needed him to kiss me again. Not wanted. Needed.