Read An Excerpt
General Romantic Suspense, Romantic Suspense
Jillian lifted both hands. “I swear. I’ve already got an appointment. Follow-up from the helicopter crash. It’s been a hell of a week.”
“No kidding,” Simon said, leaning against the frame, his voice washing over her like some kind of tonic. “You okay? ”
“Couple of stitches.” She pulled her shirt into place.
Simon had moved closer now, standing only inches away, his breath warm against her cheek. “You were injured to start with. And now . . .” he trailed off, looking at the bloody gauze in the trash can.
“I told you it’s just a cut and a few stitches. Nothing to worry about. But your leg—”
“Is going to be just fine.” He brushed a strand of hair back from her face. “Thanks to you.”
“I already told you it was nothing.” Her brain was telling her to move. To widen the distance between them, but the rest of her wasn’t listening, concentrating instead on the cadence of his breathing and the silvery flecks in the depths of his eyes.
“Like hell.” He leaned closer, framing her face with his hands. She tried to ignore the feel of his skin against hers, but memory surfaced, and she caught her breath, waiting. “You’ve always had my back, J.J.”
“I just reacted in the moment,” she whispered. “All I could think was that he was going to hurt you. And I couldn’t bear the thought of losing you.”
The minute the words were out, she regretted them. But he took them as an invitation, his lips closing on hers, the heat of contact setting her nerves on fire. And for just a moment, she allowed herself the pleasure, opening to him, their tongues touching, tasting. Drinking deeply. Sharing a passion born of fear and relief and other emotions she wasn’t willing to put a name to, the past and the present blending together, the horrors of the last few days receding against the power of their attraction.
In the circle of his arms, she felt safe.
She’d been here before. And she knew the cost was too high. She’d only just found herself again. And she’d sworn that she wouldn’t let anyone take that away. Not even Simon.
Especially not Simon.
She pushed away, rubbing the back of her hand against her lips. “I’m sorry. We can’t. I can’t.” The words were low, almost a whisper, but he reacted as if she’d yelled them, stepping back, his expression impossible to read.
“I’m the one who should be sorry. I took advantage—”
“No. I was right there with you. It’s just . . .” she trailed off, unsure of what to say. There was so much standing between them.
“Ryan,” he said, having no idea just how right he actually was. “I know. And like I said, I was out of line. I promise, it won’t happen again.”
She nodded, knowing it was the right decision, and yet wishing somehow that it could be different.