His Trouble in Tallulah
In the Line of Duty, Book 2
When faking it takes on a whole new meaning...
Tallulah Duncan is excited about her brother's upcoming wedding in Louisiana, but what she's not looking forward to is facing the man who will undoubtedly be waiting for her. Years ago she and an old boyfriend made a pact. The next time she comes home, if she's still single, they'll get engaged.
He's a nice guy, but Tallulah doesn't love him—or the idea of being an undertaker's wife. And the smokin' hot guy next to her on the plane is a loud-and-clear reminder that her biological clock is on the fritz.
Security specialist Garrett Andersen is pretty sure the gorgeous woman next to him on the plane is about to have a panic attack. And when he tries to distract her, she does the most enchanting, adorable thing he's ever seen. She blushes.
Since they're headed to the same wedding, he finds himself agreeing to step into the role of adoring fiancé. In real life, she's his comrade's kid sister, so it's hands off all the way. Except behind closed doors, her all-out campaign of sweet seduction is burning that strategy to ashes...
Warning: This book contains some very hot, very steamy sex, with a smokin' hot security specialist who knows just how to hit his mark-and make it explode. Did we mention it was hot?
Dumbfounded, Tallulah stared at Garrett, hardly able to believe what he was suggesting.
"So what do you think?" he asked. "Are you up to pretending we're engaged for the next month or so?"
"I don't know." She turned to look out the window, trying to wrap her brain around this unexpected turn of events. "This is all coming at me rather fast."
"But you do think it will work, don't you?"
She shook her head. Was he for real? "You can't be serious."
"Why not? It will get your ex off your back and give your parents the engagement they wanted."READ MORE
She turned back to him and all teasing was gone from his expression. She took in his dark hair, slightly longer than military standards, and sapphire-blue eyes as they stared at her, waiting for her answer. Her gaze moved to the crescent scar running along his right cheek, but it did little to distract from his good looks. In fact it made him looked rugged, sexy, a man who'd go to battle for what he believed in.
"Because I don't even know you," she said.
He glanced at his watch. "We have time."
Garrett screwed up his handsome face, and it made him look so damn cute she nearly swooned. Thank God she was buckled in, otherwise she feared she'd drop to the floor, or float to the ceiling.
"Yeah, I know he's going to kick my ass. But if we can convince him we're madly in love then he'll back off." He squared his shoulders. "And if not, I'm pretty sure I can handle a beating." He snorted, and a grin curled his lips like was remembering something from the past. "He probably owes me one anyway. Besides, when this is all over and we tell him the truth, we'll all have a good laugh over it. In the meantime we can have some fun with him."
"And how do you suggest we convince him we're in love?"
He shifted closer, and the warm heat of his body wrapped around her in the most enticing ways. She tried not to stare at those broad shoulders and hard body of his, but by God, she was only human, and this guy had hot, thigh-melting sex written all over him. Not that she'd ever indulged in that kind of sex before. No, her experiences weren't anything to write home about. They were clumsy and awkward and something she endured, not enjoyed. But she'd read about hot sex before, and damned if she didn't want to experience it. Just once.
Too bad she wasn't a one-night-stand kind of girl. Her hand went to her stomach. If she was, then she never would have considered following through with the pact she'd made with her ex—a pact that would lead to a quick marriage and possibly give her the one thing in life that she really wanted before it was too late.
"I guess the first thing you should do is try not to flinch when I touch you."
"You're going to touch me?" she croaked out.
That bad boy grin on his face tightened her nipples. "Oh yeah, lots."
Her pulse leapt as she thought about this guy touching her for the next few days, months even, with those huge work-roughened hands. She envisioned his palms sliding over her bare skin and pleasuring her in ways she'd only ever dreamed about.
"Tallulah," he said, pitching his voice low. "Are you okay?"
"Yes," she lied, trying for calm as she forced that one word past her lips. "So this touching, what will it involve?" she questioned, far more intrigued than she really should be, seeing as this was just a ruse and he had trouble written all over him.
"When we're in public we'll have to be touching all the time. You know, to convince everyone we're lovers."
"And when we're not?"
"Then I'm afraid you'll have to try to restrain yourself," he teased with a smirk. "You'll have to keep your hands to yourself behind closed doors."
"That shouldn't be a problem," she lied. "You're not my type."
Ignoring her comment-and no doubt seeing right through it-Garrett took her hand in his and ran his finger over the inside of her arm. A warm shudder moved through her.
"That's a good start," he murmured.
"What?" she asked, her thoughts fragmenting as her skin came alive beneath his fingers.
"You didn't flinch. In fact, you almost made me believe you liked it."
"I...uh...just trying to do my part," she said as his glance dropped to her mouth.
"Tallulah," he murmured as she moistened her lips.
"I think you should touch me."
Her eyes slid over his chest. "And here you accuse me of trying to rush things along," she mumbled under her breath.
He grinned and placed her hand on his chest. She could feel the rhythmic beating of his strong heart beneath a layer of packed muscles. As though moving of their own accord, her hand trailed lower, taking pleasure in his hardness and the rippling waves along his washboard stomach. She stopped before she reached the buckle on his jeans, even though her fingers itched to go lower, to discover if he was just as hard...everywhere.
A low groan crawled out of his throat, the heat between them tremendous when she pulled her hand back and murmured, "That's good, Garrett. Very convincing."
"High school drama club," he said without missing a beat and moved closer. As he pressed his arm and leg against hers in scintillating ways, everything inside her urged her to step out of character, to throw caution to the wind and have her wicked way with him. "Oh, and there'll have to be kissing. Lots of kissing."
"We should probably practice that too," he suggested.
While she sat there trying to wrap her brain around what he was suggesting, he dipped his head, his mouth hovering close.
"You do want to get this right, don't you?"
Before she could finish, his lips closed over hers, taking full possession of her mouth. Heat thrummed through her bloodstream and, despite her better judgment, she found herself opening for him, welcoming the kiss and all he had to offer. Somewhere in the back of her mind she registered his soft moan, the increased pressure on her lips and the blazing fire licking over her thighs.
His tongue slipped inside to play with hers, and tension grew in her body, her heart racing wildly. One hand gently cupped her face and everything in the way he held her felt deeply intimate, highly erotic. Her body quivered, beckoning so much more from this hot, heroic soldier, a guy who went to war for his country and all the people in it.
The fresh scent of his recently showered skin curled around her, fueling her hunger in the most frightening ways. If the man kissed this good, she could only imagine how skilled he'd be between the sheets. And imagine she did…
A moment later Garrett eased away and she found herself leaning toward him as he inched back. Then she drew a ragged breath, forcing oxygen back into her brain before she did something she might regret later, something like ask him to initiate her into the mile high club.
"Another good start," he said, running his tongue over his bottom lip as though savoring the taste of her.
"Garrett?" she asked, barely able to string together a coherent sentence.
"Why would you do this for me?"
He pushed deeper in to his seat and once again offered her that sexy lopsided smile that nearly turned her inside out. "Because I need a favor too."
"Ah, I get it. You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours."
His grin widened, and his voice came out a little deeper when he said, "Sure. If that's what you want."
Want? Good God, he had no idea... Then again, he was a man of experience, so maybe he did.
"What I want to know is what I have to do in return."
"Pretty much the same as we'll be doing during the wedding. When we get back to Austin, I'll need you pretend to be my fiancée in order to lock down a security job I'm vying for. I'm in competition with a guy named Phillip McNeil. He's a stand-up guy, married, kids, the whole package. The kind of character the Committee is looking for."
"What will we have to do?"
"We'll have to attend a few dinners where you'll meet the Security Committee in charge of putting together the new team, and help me convince them we're in love and that I'm the better candidate. Nothing too serious. Besides, I'm sure we'll have the part nailed by the time we return."
Nervous anticipation moved through her as she thought about what she was getting into with Garrett Andersen. According to her brother and a few other soldiers she'd once heard talking about him, he would protect the brotherhood at all costs, and die for any one of his comrades. She also knew he helped his comrades train service dogs and put them into the hands of soldiers who were working to defuse munitions that had been left over from former training camps during the wars. But when it came to women he was a playboy with a different set of rules. Ones that didn't involve long term.
Not that she was looking for long term from him. She wasn't. But she couldn't deny that Garrett Andersen made her think of sex—hot, wild, rattle-the-headboard kind of sex that would forever rock her world. And Lord, that kiss. It was pretty damn incredible and left her dormant libido craving so much more from him. She nibbled her lip and started to rethink this dangerous game they were playing.
Steeling herself, she pulled her hand away. "Maybe this isn't a good idea."
"It's your call, Peaches," he said, putting the ball in her court.
She took a long moment to mull things over. While she might have had a moment of weakness where her ex was concerned, understanding a quick marriage could give her the baby she always wanted—before her endometriosis got any worse and she ended up in surgery that would forever leave her barren—she knew she didn't love him or want to spend the rest of her life in a small town with preconceived notions of women's roles.
Then there were her parents. They were strict disciplinarians and she'd learned to do what was expected of her. She'd never been taught to stand up for herself and always tried to please them. Right now they wanted her to come home, because, like everyone else, they thought they knew what was best for her. But Tallulah loved her job in the city and was in line for the director's position. And as much as she hated to deceive them, this would give them the engagement they were looking for and help cement her reasons for staying in Austin. Her glance moved over Garrett, and to the way those perceptive eyes of his were watching her too carefully.
Garrett certainly wasn't the local boy they'd want to see her with, and her folks would undoubtedly praise the good Lord when she eventually told them it didn't work out. But in the meantime a pretend engagement with this seriously attractive guy would buy her some time until she really did find a fiancé. Plus, she wouldn't have to sit through a family intervention where everyone insisted it was time for her to come home and get married.
Oh, and there'll have to be kissing. Lots of kissing.
She exhaled slowly and continued to think things over. She considered her choices, and while one was less than appealing—she stole another glance at Garrett-the other held a promise of excitement. And kissing. And touching.
At least in public.
"Okay, Garrett." Good God, she could hardly believe what she was about to do as she checked her watch. "Tell me everything. Starting with where you were born."COLLAPSE