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Her Wild Coast Hero

Darcy & Brian

Chapter 1


“Come on, say yes,” my roommate Willow says with a roll of her eyes. “He’s actually one of the nice guys.”

I drop to the edge of my bed and sigh. Grant Littleton does seem nice for a rich kid, but I’m still trying to get over “the incident” with Brian aka the biggest mistake of my life.

The best thing would be to forget it ever happened. He made it clear that he’ll never see me as anything more than his boss’s nerdy kid. I should be grateful for his honesty. If only it didn’t hurt so much.

My other roommate Tiffany pops her head into my room and grins. “Grant’s a marketing major. Maybe he likes poetry.”

I force Brian from my mind. He’s likely done the same to me.

“That’s a bit of a stretch, don’t you think?” I ask, frowning.

I should be majoring in marketing, too. It would be a lot more useful than poetry. But my dad says to follow my passion. I miss him, but I would never tell my roommates that. They complain about their parents—they’re dorky, or stingy, or laugh too loud, or meddle. My dad is probably a little bit dorky, but I love him anyway. Plus, he’s all I have.

Which is why I would never do anything to upset him, like tell him about my ridiculous crush on Brian. My dad got him involved in the fire service and has been like a father to him. I’m sure Dad sees Brian as family.

Definitely not someone who should be taking his little girl to bed.

Brian has this confident, almost cocky way of moving, like he could scale a ten-story building or run a hundred miles. Or keep me hot and bothered all night long.

I almost groan out loud but catch myself.

“What if we made it a triple date?” Tiffany asks.

“Ooh, yeah!” Willow says, her eyes bright. “We could go to the drive-in! It’s retro Friday. I think they’re showing Twister.”

“That would be so fun!” Tiffany says, already texting.

“Come on, Darcy,” Willow says. “It’ll be low-key, promise.”

I gaze up at my roommates, both watching me with eager eyes. Flutters tingle through my stomach. It does sound fun, and at the very least, it’ll be a distraction.

“All right,” I say. “I’ll go.”

My phone buzzes on my desk. While my roommates high five then head for the door, bantering their favorite lines from Twister, I grab my phone. It’s my dad.

“Hey, pop,” I say.

“Darcy.” The tone is serious, and it’s not my dad’s. It’s Brian.

It takes me a split second to realize he would only call me for one reason.

“What’s wrong?” I say, my heart hammering.

Brian huffs a heavy sigh. “It’s your dad’s heart. They’re taking him into surgery right now.”

“Oh my God,” I say, rushing to my closet.

“Darce, he’s going to be okay.” Though the words are reassuring, the worry in his voice is sending me into a panic.

I grab my suitcase and start throwing in items. While I want to believe Brian, I need to be there. “Thank you for calling. I…I’ll get on the first plane I can.”

To my relief, Brian doesn’t try to talk me out of coming. He knows how special my dad is to me.

“I’ll pick you up from the airport,” he says.

My phone pings with a new message. It’s Brian’s contact info.

“Text me, okay?” he says.

“Okay,” I say as I zip up my bag and race for the door.


Vermont is a long way from my small town of Storm Harbor, Alaska, and even though I manage to get a seat on the commuter flight out of Burlington, I have to wait all day in JFK for my connecting flight to Seattle, then wait through the night, sleeping in spurts while hugging my belongings, until my 6:05 flight to Anchorage. Throughout my journey, I get updates from Brian. My dad’s bypass surgery goes well, and though I’m relieved, I won’t be fully calm until I see him with my own eyes.

By the time I finally arrive in Storm Harbor, I feel like I’ve been run over by a truck, and I’m sure I look it. If Brian notices, he doesn’t say anything. In fact, there’s something off about the way he’s looking at me. Maybe I look worse than I think.

Or maybe he’s still tense about what happened between us before I left.

“Good to see you, Darce,” he says, and pulls me into a hug. Though his solid frame and fresh-cotton scent steady me, his arms are stiff and it’s like he’s holding his breath.

So it’s worse than I thought. He hasn’t forgotten my mistake, and it’s changed things between us.

My chest fizzles with emotions I’m too tired to suppress—fear for my dad and regret for what I’ve done to push Brian away.

I force myself to step back. “Thank you for everything. My dad is lucky to have you.”

“He’s done so much for me,” Brian says, swallowing hard before glancing away. “It was the least I could do.”

He takes my bag and slings it over his shoulder. It’s not intended to be sexy, and now is not the right moment for my stomach to get fluttery, but that’s a perfect example of what Brian does to me.

If only I hadn’t gone over to his house the night before I left. If only I’d kept my stupid idea to myself. Maybe by now I’d be dating someone. Or lots of someones.

Alas, I am destined to be a spinster with five cats who knits socks for soldiers and writes sad poetry for journals nobody reads.

“Come on,” Brian says with a kind smile. “Let’s get you home.”

During the drive, Brian fills in the details. My dad collapsed at his desk at the fire station, which is probably the only reason he’s alive. Brian and another firefighter restarted his heart and got him to the hospital, where he was rushed into surgery. His fall also caused an injury to his shoulder, which will need extensive rehab. Thankfully, he’s recovering quickly, and he’s been allowed to return home. Brian dropped him off before heading to the airport to fetch me.

I have been warning my dad to slow down. He’s been the chief at McKenzie Mountain Fire & Rescue for almost ten years, and in the fire service for almost twenty-five. It’s a stressful job, and though he takes decent care of himself, there have been warning signs that his job is taking a toll on his health. Maybe now he’ll listen to me.

If my dad had been at home, alone, when his heart stopped…

I wipe away a tear and gulp a full breath. “I should have been here.”

Brian frowns. “Darce, don’t think like that.”

“But…he needed me, and I wasn’t there.”

“Your dad is so proud of you,” Brian says as we turn down my street. “No way would he want you to give up your dreams to stay home with him.”

I slump against the seat. Though my dad has expressed this plenty of times, urging me to take the scholarship even though Vermont is thousands of miles away, a part of me has always felt guilty for leaving.

As soon as Brian pulls his truck to a stop, I jump out and grab my bag.

“I picked up some groceries and I think a neighbor brought over a casserole. Tomorrow I can pick you up so we can get his car.”

“Thanks, Brian, for everything,” I say. Our eyes lock for an intense moment, but I don’t take time to read into it. I’m too afraid it’ll break me all over again.

“Call me if you need anything,” he says.

I shut the door and race up the walkway.

“Dad?” I call as I tear through the front door. The screen slams shut behind me.

“In here,” my dad’s gruff voice calls from the back of the house.

I hurry through our comfy kitchen with the fridge that hums too loud and the living room with the worn couch where Dad and I have watched every sporting event under the sun, then down the hallway lined with pictures of the two of us. The one of my mom holding me when I was a baby is there too, the frame worn from years of me running my fingers over it.

Inside Dad’s room at the end of the hall, he’s sitting propped up on pillows, his right arm in a sling and his whiskered face gaunt.

“Dad,” I exclaim, practically jumping on him. Wrapping my arms around his shoulders, I savor his warmth. He smells of medicine but deep down there’s his woodsy scent.

“Whoa, easy,” he wheezes, then chuckles as I let him go.

“I’m sorry it took me so long to get here,” I say, settling on the bed next to him. He looks awful, but at least his eyes are bright and he’s smiling.

“I’m sorry you had to leave school,” he says.

I shrug. “I’m needed here.”

“Brian bring you?”

A tickle scrapes the inside of my stomach. “Yeah,” I say.

“Good,” he says with a nod.

The memory of Brian’s intense look brings the anguish right back. His truck cab smelled like the cinnamon gum he chews, and his citrusy aftershave.

“I’m going to need you to go to the station,” he says. “Thank everyone for saving my life.”

“You’re going to do it yourself when you’re feeling better,” I say.

He closes his eyes. “Thanks for being here, Darcy.”

“Of course,” I say, and pull his covers higher. “We take care of each other, right?” I lean down and plant a soft kiss on his forehead. But he’s already asleep.

The next morning while I wait for Brian to pick me up, I scour every surface, do laundry, dust, mop the floors. I have only been gone for six weeks, but it feels longer. Maybe because summer was so busy—me with my camp counselor job, and Dad with an intense fire season, complete with an international incident involving a boat fire in the bay that nearly killed my best friend, Petra.

I’m so lost in my thoughts about Brian and how good he looked and smelled and the way he was there for my dad that the sound of his truck in our driveway makes me jump.

I spy on him as he steps from his truck, wearing a plaid shirt, shearling jeans jacket, and faded gray chinos. It’s almost as good as him in his crisp, navy-blue uniform.

“Hey,” I say, my voice tense.

When he passes, I get a hit of his citrusy scent. His face looks like he shaved it five minutes ago, making it hard not to touch him. To make doubly sure I don’t, I ball my fists.

“How is he today?” Brian asks, his eyes sharp with concern.

“Good. I filled him up with blueberry pancakes. He’s watching football now, but I haven’t heard any yelling, so he’s probably asleep.”

Brian smiles. From under his arm, he pulls a small plastic pill organizer. “I thought this might be handy. The docs prescribed a bunch of stuff. I could barely keep them straight.”

When I take the pill organizer from him, our fingers brush. My skin prickles. “That’s so thoughtful, thank you.”

He shrugs. “Ready?”

“Yes,” I say, and grab my coat.

He walks me to the passenger side of his truck and opens the door for me, then offers his hand to help me climb up.

The flutters in my belly fizzle like soda pop on a hot day. They rise through me, making it hard to breathe. I take his hand. It’s warm and rough with callouses—just as I would expect—and stirs an intense craving to feel those hands on my body.

I hop up to my seat and Brian slides his hand from mine. Our eyes meet again, making the air feel tense.

“What?” I ask.

He flashes his smiles that sexy, crooked grin, the one I’m sure has broken many hearts. “No book today, huh?”

“Nope,” I say, relieved that at least we still can tease each other. “I’m gracing you with my company instead.”

Brian lifts an eyebrow. “Is that so?”

My belly twists with nerves. “Yep.”

“I’m honored, your highness,” he says with a little bow.

I laugh while my chest fills with longing. If only I could tell him how much I’ve missed him. And how I’m sorry for ruining the easy way we used to be.

Now everything is awkward and weird. I used to think that the teasing and banter we shared meant something.

That he could want me.

But I was wrong.

Brian closes my door and strides to his side.


Chapter 2


It takes everything I have to shut off my crazy thoughts. But damn it, seeing Darcy again, with those knockout curves and that smart mouth makes that impossible. I get in my truck and start the engine, then drive down her quiet street.

When I stop at the intersection, in the split second I’m looking both ways before turning, she checks me out.

She’s had crush on me for years, but it always felt harmless. I should stop teasing her. It’s likely the root of the problem between us. But I like teasing her. I like seeing her smile. I like the way she gives it right back to me.

Darcy is the only woman who does this to me. Which is exactly why I had to turn her down that night she came to me. I’m not the kind of guy she needs. She deserves someone sweet, and patient. Someone who can give her the world.

And though there are a hundred ways I’d like to fuck her senseless, I can’t and I won’t.

I thought she understood that what we have can’t ever be more, can’t ever change.

Never in a million years would I have predicted she’d show up at my place with the ridiculous idea that I would break that pact.

“I have, um, sort of a problem,” she’d said after I invited her in, curious what would bring her to my place so late. Thank God I hadn’t been entertaining.

Stupid me, I had thought it was a real problem, like her car broke down or she and Milt had a fight and she needed someone to talk to.

“Will you sleep with me?” she said, her pretty blue eyes so tense that I almost missed the meaning in her words. “I’ve never, uh, done it, and…I just want to get it over with.”

I put my hands on my hips and stared at her, my mind filling with all kinds of thoughts. That she’d never been touched filled me with a kind of tenderness I don’t usually feel for a girl. But I also couldn’t deny the protectiveness I felt for her in that moment. And the sudden heat in my core. What if I was the one who could unlock her desires? Teach her all the dirty ways I could make her come?

“Hold on,” I said, giving her a stern look. “That’s why you’re here?”

Her cheeks blazed a bright pink, but her eyes had that steely determination I knew all too well. “Yes.”

“Darcy,” I said, trying to steady my tone. “I’m honored. That’s…wow. I care about you, you know that, right? And I would do anything to help you.”

Her face brightened. “So you’ll do it?”

“No,” I said, my voice gruff.

“Why?” I’ll never forget the hurt I saw in her eyes. I almost changed my mind, just to make it go away.

“Several reasons,” I said. “The first is that your dad is like a father to me. I’m not jeopardizing the trust he’s placed in me.”

“He doesn’t have to know,” Darcy said.

I pointed at my chest. “I’d know.”

Darcy looked away. “What are the other reasons?”

I stepped close and wrapped my arms around her. But her body felt charged. Stiff.

“That I’d hurt you,” I said.

“I’m tough, Brian,” she replied.

“I know,” I replied, inhaling the honey scent of her hair. “But you’re so young, Darce. I’m not the right guy for this. You need someone patient, and kind. Someone better than a jerk like me.”

She softened against me, resting her head on my shoulder. Even though I was turning her down, holding her like this felt good. I clenched my eyes shut to keep the longing I had locked away from tearing loose.

Darcy pushed back from me and mumbled something about seeing me at Christmas.

But now she’s back. In my truck. Looking just as tempting as the day I said goodbye.

I realize that I’m spacing out at a green light and step on the gas.

“Dad says you’re studying?” Darcy asks, reminding me of our purpose—picking up her dad’s car.

Not driving up the nearest dirt road so I can peel off her clothes and have her ride me like the wind.

“Yeah. Fire Investigation,” I say, unable to shake the image of her naked body rocking against mine. After making her come, I’d eat her sweet pussy until she begged me to stop.

“Does this mean you’d become an investigator?” Darcy asks.

“I could someday,” I say, keeping my eyes straight ahead.

“You’d be able to solve crimes, then, like that show CSI,” she says, one curious eyebrow arched.

“Yes to solving crimes like arson and sabotage,” I reply, and turn down main street. “But it’s not nearly as glamorous as the show, and results can take months, not hours.”

“Is it hard?” she asks.

I practically groan out loud. I’ll show you hard.

“The chemistry and math part isn’t so bad,” I say to regain control of my thoughts. “The writing is killing me though.”

We pull up to the fire station parking lot and I park next to Milton’s little Nissan. I kidded with him once about his pussy car but he just laughed. “I’d rather spend my money on making Darcy happy.”

That’s the kind of guy he is. Selfless, loving, kind. Sometimes tough, but he’s always fair.

It’s a good reminder that I need to keep my distance from Darcy. I’d only break her heart, and no way can I do that to her. She’s too good a kid. And her dad would murder me if he knew one-tenth of the filthy thoughts I’m having right now about his daughter.

“School going okay?” I ask, shifting in my seat to relieve some of the tightness in my pants.

“Really good,” Darcy says. “The workload is intense, but I love it.”

Darcy’s always been a hard worker. Straight As. Honor student. Scholarship winner. A pleaser.

My dick gives a hopeful throb but I try to cool down with a firm breath. “I’ll bet it’s really different there,” I say to try to ease the tension in my voice.

“The people are. They’re definitely less chill.”

“You making friends, though?”

She shrugs. “A few.”

I try to think how old she must be now—nineteen? I also think about what I jerk I used to be to her, tugging her pigtails and teasing her about those books she loved so much. I wonder what she’s studying at that fancy college, and I wonder what the boys think of those long legs and pouty, perfect lips.

I shake my head to derail this train.

Off. Limits.

“Sounds like you and Dad have been spending some time together,” Darcy says.

“He’s decent company,” I say with a shrug.

I have plenty of friends—and a rotating list of girls, too—but I like to make sure the guy doesn’t get too lonely. I know he misses Darcy a lot when she’s away at college.

“He made me promise to invite you to dinner tonight,” Darcy says.

“I’d love that,” I say, and I mean it. It’ll give me a chance to see how Milton is doing. The guys at the station will want a full report. I tell myself it has nothing to do with spending more time with Darcy.

“Great,” she says, clasping her hands in front of her in a way that squeezes her perfect tits closer. Damn it.

Feeling desperate, I hop out of the truck and help her down.

“See you tonight, then,” she says, her glossy, pink lips so tempting.

I get a quick flash of what those lips would look like wrapped around my cock. I’d comb my fingers through her long, auburn hair and tell her to take me all the way inside.

I force a smile. “Yep.”

She gets in the little Nissan and gives me a quick wave as she drives off.

I cruise to the curb, my mind playing a loop of what I’d do to Darcy if she wasn’t the chief’s daughter, and so young.

“Quit it, dickhead,” I mutter to turn off the fantasies unspooling in my filthy mind.

Once I’m home, I go for a long run, the brisk autumn air the perfect antidote to the inferno building inside me. I set a hard pace and arrive back home sweating and spent but throw in a set of pushups and a grueling core workout before jumping into the shower.

But it takes only a minute before I’m back to thoughts of Darcy. Of her sweet laugh and bright eyes and the way she looks at me. I’m not used to that kind of attention. Girls see me for the fun times I can show them, nothing more, and I like it that way.

The hot water slides over my skin. I imagine having her with me. I would kiss down her neck to those full, ripe tits, giving them plenty of attention, then stroke her gently, then harder until she’s needy and desperate. Then I’d lift her into my arms and fuck her hard against the wall.

Unable to stop myself, I glide my wet hand over my erection. I’m so hard it’s painful. I stroke up and down, my grip firm, thinking of Darcy on her knees, those long lashes fluttering closed as she takes me deep into her mouth. I think about how I’d brush back her long, thick hair and rock into her, holding nothing back. I stroke harder, faster, bracing against the wall. Darcy moans around my dick as she sucks me, her lips tight. I close my eyes as I come with a grunt.

Tremors rattle through me as the hot water brings me back to reality.

But by the time I step out of the shower, I’m back to thinking of her.

In an attempt to move on with my day, I brew a pot of coffee and make a sandwich. Several chapters of reading await, plus a homework assignment, plus there’s a term paper looming in the distance and one I’ve been putting off. I suck at writing.

When I take a break a few hours later, I check my phone and see several messages. One is from my friend Cooper, inviting me out for a game of pool this afternoon. Two are from girls. One is a former hookup who wants an encore, the other is a regular who wants me to come over. An hour or two with her would certainly take my mind off Darcy. But something holds me back.

With a sigh, I text my fuckbuddy that I’m busy. She replies with a lingerie-clad selfie and the words: you sure?

But even the sight of her perky tits in black lace doesn’t change my mind. Instead, I text Cooper with a thumbs up.

At the Rusty Pelican later, Cooper’s at the bar, ordering, so I join him and add a lager to his tab.

“How’s the chief doing?” Cooper asks as we wait for the bartender to pour.

I relay the update from the surgeon and the orthopedic nurse. “He’s going to be okay.”

“You gave Darcy a ride from the airport, right? How’s she handling it?”

“All right. But I’m glad she could come home.”

“She’s a good girl.”

“She is,” I say, forcing down the tightness in my throat.

Cooper gives me a sideways glance. “Something you’d like to share?”

My pulse feels like it’s going to burst out of my neck. “Nope.”

Our beers arrive and we carry them to the game area. Cooper racks a set of balls while I chose a stick.

“Please tell me you’re not tapping the chief’s daughter.”

I bark out a laugh. “I’m not.”

There’s a group of girls at the bar, all clustered around one tall brunette who’s wearing a colorful party hat. One of her friends has been sending me glances. There’s something familiar about her, but I can’t place it. Under normal circumstances, I’d send back my want me to take you home? look, then saunter over there and see where a little conversation could take me.

But I’m in the same funk as I was earlier when my fuckbuddy basically offered herself to me on a platter. I’d only be thinking of Darcy, and that’s not fair. Even I don’t stoop that low.

Cooper breaks, and the six drops into the side pocket. He lines up another shot. “Then explain why you’re white-knuckling that stick.”

I sigh, but it comes out like a groan. “I didn’t think I’d see her again so soon.”

“I’m still not following,” Cooper says, and taps the two into the corner pocket.

“She wanted, uh, help with something, but I turned her down.”

Cooper lifts his gaze from the scanning the table for his options to fire a pointed look at me. “Would you stop speaking in code and tell me what the fuck you’re talking about?”

I should keep this to myself, but it’s been eating me alive. And Cooper’s my best friend. I can trust him.

I take a sip of my beer for courage. “She wanted me to be her first.”

Coop’s eyes widen. “No shit?”

I can feel the eyes of the woman at the bar locked on me, so I make sure to turn away and lower my voice. “I would definitely not shit you about something like this.”

“When did this happen?” Cooper leans on his pool cue.

“Before she left for school. She came over to say goodbye.”

“You turned her down,” Coop says, frowning.

“Fuck yes I turned her down,” I say.

“Damn, that’s intense.”

I scrub my face with my free hand. “Tell me about it.”

Cooper takes his shot and misses. Grateful for a distraction, I lean over and tap the ten into a side pocket. I move to the other side of the table and line up the thirteen.

“She has grown up,” Cooper says, lifting an eyebrow.

“You think I haven’t noticed?” I reply. I hit the ball and it bounces off the edge of the pocket.

“You and half this town,” Cooper says, adding chalk to his stick.

I stare at him. “What do you mean?”

“Remember Wilson’s retirement party this summer?” He lines up his shot and drops a ball into the corner. “I caught several guys checking her out.”

“Which guys?” I say, my inner caveman roaring to life. “If any of them lay a finger on her…”

He shoots me a warning glance. “Easy bro. It was totally harmless.”

“Did Darcy know?”

Cooper shakes his head. “She’s only got eyes for you, man.” He hits a cluster of balls on the opposite side of the table, but one of mine goes in.

“I thought her leaving for college would change things,” I say, and try to get my last ball in, but miss. “It’s a big world out there. She should have the best it can give her.”

“And you aren’t the best?” Cooper asks with a sly grin.

I fling a coaster at him.

His look turns serious. “One thing is for sure. She’s an attractive young woman. Guys are going to want into her pants. One of them is going to be her first. If you’re cool with that, you need to walk away.”

The thought of some clueless fuckwit touching Darcy makes me crazy. “I can’t.”

Cooper gives me a grimace. “Even though we both know you’d break her heart?”

“I’m so fucked,” I say.

Cooper drops the eight ball in the side pocket. “In more ways than one, brother, because we’re out of beer.”

While Cooper racks up again, I head back to the bar for a refill. The group of ladies are drinking shots and girly drinks. I give them a wide berth.

The bartender takes my order and while he’s filling it, the petite brunette flashes me a smile in the mirror. I look away, but then she’s standing next to me.

“You probably don’t remember me,” she says, her red lips curving into a grin. She smells good, like some kind of an exotic spice.

My mind races, pulling out memory drawers one by one but coming up empty. Did I fuck this girl? “You’re right, sorry,” I say, giving her an apologetic smile.

“My sister and I were in a car accident last year. You were one of the firefighters who got us out.”

Shit. Now I remember. A car had run a red light, smashing into their left front side. It’s lucky they weren’t killed. “Right,” I say, nodding. These conversations are always awkward. The last time I saw this girl, she had a gushing head wound and a broken collarbone. I had to cut open her side of the car to get her out. I saw her at her most vulnerable, which means something different to her than it does to me.

“You look much better now,” I say, trying for humor.

A flicker of emotion plays on her face for an instant, as if she’s still not over the accident that nearly killed her and her sister. “That was the scariest thing to ever happen to me. We survived thanks to you.”

“I didn’t do it alone,” I say firmly because I’m no hero.

“Of course,” she says, then extends her hand. “I’m Ingrid,” she says.

We shake. Her palm is small and smooth in mine, but I feel exactly nothing. “Brian Ambrose,” I say.

The bartender slides my beers across the bar to me. Finally, I have an excuse to leave.

“We’re doing a private karaoke later at my house,” Ingrid says. “Give me your number and I’ll text you the address.”

This girl is giving me so many vibes. I know what she wants and I have no interest in giving it to her. But I take the coward’s way out and rattle off my number.

I pick up the beers and raise them in a goodbye salute.

“See you later,” Ingrid says, tucking a lock of her brown hair behind her ear.

Back at the pool table, Cooper is standing with his back to the wall and his arms crossed. He’s got one eye on the baseball game playing on the TV mounted in the corner, and one on me.

“You make a friend?” he asks.

Just then my phone chimes with a text, and I grimace. “No,” I say, ignoring the message.

His eyebrows arch. “Damn. You’ve got it that bad for Darcy, huh?”

I clench my eyes shut, hard, to banish the image of folding Darcy over my couch while she quivers with need.

“I can’t stand the thought of her with someone else,” I say, my voice tense.

“Then maybe you need to give her what she wants,” Cooper says. “She’s an adult, after all.”

I shake my head but it only makes me feel more conflicted. “I’m supposed to be at her place for dinner tonight.”

Cooper raises an eyebrow. “Just dinner?”

“Yeah, just dinner.”

The brunette from the bar leaves with her friends, giving me a little wave before slipping through the door.

But there’s only one girl on my mind, the one girl I can’t have.



Chapter 3


I make the soup on autopilot, my mind too wrapped up in thoughts I shouldn’t be having—of Brian. He’s even swoonier than I remember. Just as quiet, with those intense eyes. But nothing’s changed. He doesn’t want me.

I text my best friend Petra, who is back at college in California.

Me: how long until I can get over him?

The little dots in the reply window start to dance.

Petra: the barista?

I suppress my groan, then fire back my reply: not talking about the barista

Last summer, I flirted with the new barista at the Muddy Moose. We went out a few times, and just when I was ready to fling myself at him, he told me that he likes guys.

Petra: Ohhhh. Him.

She’s the only one who knows about Brian. About my unrelenting and foolish longing.

Me: At least he’s back to teasing me

Petra: Are things changing?

Me: doubtful

Petra calls and I snatch up my phone. “I don’t want to interrupt your studying,” I say.

“I need a break anyway,” she says. “So…teasing, or flirting?”

I lean my hip against the counter. “I don’t know.”

“Did you guys talk?”

My face feels hot. “About my stupid lust? What would I even say?” Hey, Brian, did you know that I hump my pillow thinking about you? Yeah, really.

Petra scolds me with a sigh. “That you want him to sneak into your bedroom and do unspeakable things to you.”

I close my eyes to banish the idea but it only makes the fantasy more vivid. I give a groan of longing. “He’s coming over for dinner.”

“Ooh, what are you making?”

“Just soup and bread.”

“Are you going to jump out of a cake for dessert?”

I laugh. “Oh how I miss you, girl.”

“How’s your dad doing?” she says in a kind voice.

Grateful for the change of subject, I give her a quick update.

“How much longer do you think you’ll stay?” Petra asks.

“With his shoulder pretty much useless for the next month, I’ll stay at least that long. My teachers are being really supportive of it.”

“A lot can happen in a month,” she says.

I sigh with envy. “Speaking from experience?”

“Keep an open mind, okay?” she says with a lightness in her voice. The same lightness that practically shines from her pores every time she talks about her fiancé, Hunter. We used to joke about her crush on him. And while I appreciate her perspective, things between Brian and I are much different. Not to mention he’s a player with a trail of broken hearts to prove it while I’ve never been past second base.

A knock at the door sends a pulse of jitters through me. “Crap, he’s here,” I say, and use the window over the sink like a mirror to check my hair.

“Text me tomorrow,” Petra says.

I end the call and slide my phone into my pocket while hurrying from the kitchen, second guessing my choice of faded jeans and off-the-shoulder sweater. Should I have worn makeup? At least I put on lip gloss.

“Hey,” Brian says, standing on the front porch in a teal-blue t-shirt, his shearling coat, and jeans that hang from his frame just right. My knees practically wobble as I step back to let him in.

Thank goodness he doesn’t try to hug me or I’m afraid I might cling to him. He offers me a bouquet of flowers.

“Wow, these are beautiful.” I press my face to the flowers and savor their fresh, sweet scent. Then I give him a curious look. “You didn’t have to bring anything.”

He gives me a rare smile. “I like showing my appreciation.”

My face must be turning red because he looks away.

Brian hangs his coat on the wall peg next to my dad’s. The motion looks practiced, making it clear he’s been here more often than he’s let on. The thought makes me swoon all over again.

The tattoo peeking out from under the sleeve of Brian’s t-shirt catches my eye. I’ve always wondered what it stands for. A girl? His mom? I know he lost her when he was young—something we have in common. The difference is that I had my dad. Brian spent most of his childhood in foster care.

“Smells good,” Brian says as I lead him into the house.

“It’s just a simple stew and bread,” I say.

“That what they’re teaching you at that fancy school?” he teases. “Baking and cooking?”

“I had to genetically modify the basil and clone the lamb first,” I say, throwing it right back at him. In high school, I actually liked science, but my passion has always been literature. Books and stories have always been there for me.

Brian grants me a smile, but it fades. “How’s the old man?” he asks, jerking his chin in the direction of the hallway and my dad’s room.

“Okay. He’s resting but maybe you could check on him for me?”

Brian nods and heads down the hallway. I can’t help but watch him walk, his stride purposeful, his muscular arms swinging easily at his side.

Before he can catch me drooling, I spin away and set the table.

A little while later, I’m ladling soup into bowls when my dad and Brian exit the bedroom. My heart fills with gratitude at the sight of Brian helping my dad shuffle down the hallway. I see he’s helped Dad change his shirt, too. My dad even combed his hair. Did Brian help?

I finish slicing the bread and setting it on the table with the butter by the time Brian gets my dad settled into his chair.

“Looks great, Darce,” Brian says, catching my eye.

“Thanks,” I say as my belly warms. He’s the only one who calls me that.

“Hate the circumstances, but it’s great having you home,” Dad says, pulling his napkin slowly to his lap.

I lean over to kiss the top of his head. “I’m glad to be here,” I say. “And I’m glad you’re okay.”

Even though we’re not religious, we say a quick thanks, something we’ve always done. Brian joins in—another testament to the time he’s spent here keeping Dad company.

Dad and Brian chat about work and their mutual hobby, cars. My mind drifts, but Brian’s got a hold on me. I shouldn’t make a big deal out of him bringing me flowers, or that teasing, but I can’t help it.

“You keeping up with your classes okay?” Brian asks me, taking a bite of soup.

“Hmm?” I snap back to reality. Where is my brain? “Yes. I actually did some writing today.”

Brian gives me a look of appreciation that makes my belly tighten. “What did you write about?”

Most people aren’t interested, so I’m not fully prepared with an answer. Most of my poems are about mundane things. Some are sad. Some are lusty and passionate. Some are quietly joyful. Atmospheric, my AP Literature teacher said.

Some are about Brian but no way can I ever tell him that.

“Sand,” I say, then laugh. It’s not just about sand. It’s about rain making raindrop polka dots on the pale gray beach. It’s about the salty scent of the sea, and the fading warmth of the sun as the season bends into fall. At its core, it’s probably about home.

“Darcy won the Mecklin Prize last spring,” Dad adds, beaming at me.

My face heats. I don’t like to share that kind of stuff—it makes me feel like I’m boasting. “It’s not that big a deal,” I say.

“A thousand dollars and a scholarship to England next summer is absolutely a big deal,” Dad counters.

“Good for you,” Brian says with a nod. “Can I read one sometime?”

“You read poetry?” I say, teasing him.

“I do now,” he replies with a wink.

Thankfully my dad is too focused on spooning his soup to notice this, or the way I practically choke on my bite of bread.

By the time we’ve made it through dinner, I’m exhausted. Maybe it’s from the long travel the day before, my worry about Dad, or the way I’m edge about Brian, but my brain feels like mud and my belly unsettled.

After I help Dad into bed and kiss him goodnight, I’m ready for bed myself. But when I return to the kitchen, Brian is scrubbing the dishes, his strong arms covered in suds.

“You don’t have to do that,” I say, hurrying over.

“You cooked,” he says. “It’s only fair.”

“But you’ve already done so much.” I step next to him and attempt to shoo him off with a playful tap of my hip.

His face tenses, but before I can ask about it, he hands me a sudsy pot.

I roll my eyes. “Fine.” Up close like this, I detect his citrusy scent, and it takes everything I have not to dive against his chest for a closer inspection. Gawd, wouldn’t that be ridiculous? Who sniffs other people’s necks? The weirdo with an incurable case of lust, that’s who.

Our eyes lock for an instant and my heart ka-thumps into my throat. I think about what Petra said and practically groan out loud.

That you want him to sneak into your bedroom and do unspeakable things to you.

Um, yes please.

Brian turns back to the sudsy water and pulls the drain. “What kind of sand?”

It takes me a moment to follow his train of thought. “Oh. I walked along the beach today and it was just this perfect moment.”

“Even though it rained?” He dries his hands.

“Especially because it rained.”

He gives me a puzzled look.

“That’s what I love about poetry. Catching just a blink of time. A moment.”

“Is it always about nature?”

I set the pot on the drying rack, grateful that I’m turned away from him so he won’t read what’s on my face. “No.” Here’s my opportunity to tell him I sometimes write scandalous X-rated sonnets in my spare time. Usually while fantasizing about him.

Ugh. No.

He gives me a quick glance and crosses his arms. “I wish I had skills like you. I have this big paper due and I have barely started.”

“Can I help?” I ask, practically bouncing on my toes.

He gives me his teasing grin. “A poem about fire behavior, hmm. Not sure that’s what the professor is looking for.”

“I don’t just write poetry,” I fire back, giving him a playful snap of the dish towel.

Something dark and hungry flashes in his eyes. Before I know what’s happening, he snatches the towel and snaps it back.

I shriek, then cover my mouth because I don’t want to wake Dad. Brian raises an eyebrow as if to tell me he’s not done, so I take off for the couch, but he’s fast on my heels, snapping the towel at my butt. We round the easy chair, then I dash for the sink, but he gets me.

“Ouch!” I cry as the sting heats my skin. I rub the spot while laughing. I’m also winded from my sprint. Or maybe it’s from the way he chased me.

“Aw, that didn’t hurt,” he says, stepping closer.

“It did, too,” I protest, even though the sting sent a throbbing ache right to my core.

“I think you liked it.” His voice has a low, deep tone that makes my tummy flutter.

I’m too flustered to answer him, so I turn to the pile of drying dishes. Maybe if I focus on putting them away, I can turn off the raging heat building in my core.

Brian steps in behind me. The warmth and closeness of his body sends a pleasure chill down my spine.

“Maybe we should find out what else you might like,” he says in a sexy, low voice.

The dish in my hands slips and lands on the floor with a crash, breaking into several pieces. I get down to pick up the mess, but Brian’s right there with me.

“Shit, I’m sorry,” he says.

“It’s my fault,” I say, stacking the broken pieces into my palm. When I grab a thin sliver, it slices into the flesh alongside my thumb.

I cry out, dropping the shards to the floor. Grabbing the wound, I try to staunch the sudden flow of blood.

Bria helps me rise to my feet. “Let me see it,” he says, cupping my hand with his.

Grimacing, I gaze down at a two-inch-long cut beaded with blood. The room starts to spin. I’m tough, but seeing blood makes me woozy.

Brian presses the hand towel to the wound.

“You all right?” His gaze locks with mine.

I inhale a deep breath. “Better now.”

“Everything okay out there?” a voice calls from the end of the hall, startling us both.

“Fine,” we both call out. Our eyes meet again. A flicker of an emotion I can’t read passes through his gaze.

“Good,” Dad calls out, snapping me back to reality.

Brian cradles my hand and gently examines the cut. “I don’t think you need stitches. You got a first aid kit?”

“In the bathroom cabinet,” I say.

He tells me to keep applying pressure to the wound with the towel, then dashes off. He returns with the kit and pops it open on the counter.

Brian gently cleans my cut. It stings but I don’t flinch. He dries the skin around the wound then dresses it, carefully smoothing the tape so it sticks. Just this small amount of kindness should not get me trembling, but it does.

“Thanks,” I say.

He closes the first aid kit before setting it aside. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that.”

We’re facing each other now, our bodies so close that I can feel his heat, hear his soft breaths.

“Did you mean it?” I ask even though I’m afraid of his answer.

“Fuck, Darce,” he says, and runs a hand through his hair. “I can’t answer that,” he finally says, his eyes bright with challenge.

My belly flutters tickle up my throat.

He steps back, a pained look on his face. “I should go. Thanks again for dinner.”

I want to urge him to stay, but my thoughts are swirling around and around in my head. “Of course,” I say as he strides for door, grabbing his coat on his way.

I’m still reeling when he slips through the door and hurries to his truck. I watch him reverse out of our driveway, then bang my forehead against the window.

Maybe we should find out what else you might like.

Him pulling back from this means he’s trying to push me away. It’s not fair and pisses me off. Something’s different between us. Tonight made that clear.

Why did he act so afraid of it?


Chapter 4


Nice work, dickhead I sit in my truck and try to calm my pulse rate before starting the engine. I swore I was going to keep my big mouth shut. What is wrong with me?

Snapping her with the towel was my first mistake. That surprise in her eyes when the sharp sting turned her on is going to play on a loop in my brain until the end of time. But I’m no fool. Darcy is a good girl. I don’t think she’s ever had anyone spank her.

Maybe that’s why I can’t get the idea out of my mind. She would role play the misbehaving student and I’d be the strict professor. I would bend her over my desk and peel her jeans down, exposing everything. We’d start with a gentle tap, right in the sweet spot. When she’s good and hot I would kiss her all better.

I barely make it home before I practically burst in my jeans. I make it to my bedroom, but the fantasies of what I’d do to her here only makes the ache worse.

I unzip my jeans and, bracing against my dresser with one hand, I picture her on all fours, her back arched as I slide slowly inside her tight heat. “That’s it, beautiful,” I say as I thrust deeper. I grip her waist and start to rock, her body welcoming me. We move faster, our bodies in harmony. She begs me to make her come. With a hard grunt, I explode into my fist.

When I’m done, my chest heaving, I resolve to get my shit together. Darcy Reyes is the chief’s daughter. And not only that, she’s never been touched. She needs someone kind and patient, who can be tender with her, who will listen to her, be there for her.

I groan in frustration. If I could be that guy, I would. But I can’t.


I get up at 5am to work on my essay. It’s something I’ve been doing since a construction crew started working on a new house nearby, blasting the air with noise from dawn till dusk. I make coffee, make some toast, then settle in. But as soon as I try to write, it’s like the words trip over each other. My sentences ramble and I misspell every other word, which breaks my focus. I want to beat my head against the screen. I suck at this. Darcy’s offer rises through my funk, but even though I’m feeling desperate, I can’t call her at 5am.

I can’t call her at all.

Frustrated, I manage to grind out a page—that’s two total out of the ten I need—before I have to get ready for work.

But in the shower, the hot needles prick my skin to awareness, turning my craving for Darcy up several notches. I remember my resolve to get my shit together, so turn the water to ice cold and brace against the wall. It’s brutal but it clears my head.

I’m at Station 31 today, the rescue base. After I drop off my bag, I head to the kitchen to scrounge or maybe make some grub when I hear a female voice.

It’s Darcy.

My heart beats faster in my chest.

I round the corner, where Darcy and Cooper are talking. There’s a giant plate of blueberry muffins and some kind of egg and veggie casserole. She turns, and a flicker of heat fills her gaze.

I guess I don’t blame her for being ticked off. It’s kind of cute. It’s also totally justified, thanks to my mixed signals.

“Darcy brought us breakfast,” Cooper says, sipping from his mug.

“I wanted to thank everyone,” she says.

“I’ll warm up the casserole,” Coop says, grabbing the dish and sliding it into the oven. While he is busy with setting the temperature, I sneak a quick look at Darcy. She’s wearing jeans again, and a cream-colored V-neck sweater that hugs her in all the right places. Her auburn hair falls in waves down her back.

Two firefighters enter the kitchen. I try not to watch over Darcy as they talk and make her laugh. One of them hugs her.

My protective side prickles to life but I use the time it takes me to fill a cup of coffee to settle them.

By the time I turn around, my crewmates and Cooper are gone and it’s just me and Darcy.

Her face has that soft glow and her lips are glossy and pink. Kissable.

I force myself to think of Milton and the mentoring he’s shown me over the years. The trust he’s placed in me.

“How’s your hand feeling?” I ask, nodding at the bandage around her palm. “It’s not hampering your writing, is it?”

She shakes her head. “No, it’s okay.”

“You write about sand fleas today?” I tease.

She gives me a murderous look, but it’s adorable, and I laugh.

“What?” she asks, crossing her arms.

“What did you write about, then?” I say to reel in my surging blood.

Her cheeks turn a rosy pink and she looks away. “I’d better go. I have, uh, things.”

“Things, huh?”

She nods. “Yeah.”

“I’ll walk you out,” I say, my curiosity so triggered that I’m quickly fantasizing the ways I could torture her to make her talk. I imagine her on my bed, her knees parted so I can tease her with my tongue until she begs for release.

I shake my head to derail this train of thought and lead her out of the kitchen.

Darcy has spent enough time in the fire station to not need a guide, but it’s standard operating procedure for a female visitor to be escorted from the building.

“I didn’t expect to see you,” she says.

“I rotate to the rescue station a couple times per quarter,” I answer. “Someone’s gotta a keep Cooper in line.”

From the living room, Cooper calls, “I heard that, asshole.”

“How’s your essay coming?” Darcy asks as I open the stairway door for her.

I sigh heavily. “How much can I pay you do to it for me?”

“That’s cheating,” she says, aghast.

“Darce, I’m kidding,” I say as we descend. I don’t cheat, ever. I would rather fail.

“Oh. Well, my offer stands. Anytime. Really.”

That she’s flustered is fucking adorable.

“I’m off tomorrow,” I say as we reach the bottom of the stairs. “I was thinking of working at the library.”

“The library?” She gives me a curious look. “Do you even know where it is?”

“Fuck yes I know where it is,” I fire back. If she were mine, that little remark would require some discipline.

Her eyes have an alert, watchful quality. Like she’s testing me.

Since when did she get so bold?

“I could meet you there. Help you,” she adds as we turn down the hallway. Her voice is tense now, almost hesitant. It’s making the air thick and electric.

Meeting her is a bad idea. Very, very bad.

But it’s the library, for crying out loud. The safest place on earth.

“Sure,” I say with a shrug. Like I don’t care.

I open the door for her and we step into the sunshine. I walk her to her car, our footsteps on the gritty pavement and the sounds of passing cars filling the silence between us.

“Kissing,” she says as we get to her dad’s car.

“Huh?” I say, lost in thoughts of shuffling her into a dark corner of the library and kissing her senseless.

She gives an exasperated breath. “What I wrote about.”

“Oh,” I say. “Wait, kissing who?” With a grimace, I stuff my hands in my pockets. “Sorry, I didn’t mean that. It’s none of my business.”

“I’m not kissing anyone,” she says, looking so vulnerable with her arms at her sides and her intense blue-gray eyes sparkling in the sunshine.

Good, I want to say but hold it in. “Then how do you write about it?”

She chews on the edge of her lip, like she’s working up her courage. “I have a very vivid imagination.”

I take a step back before I do something stupid, like give her a real-life example of how a kiss should feel. “Cool,” I say even though it might be the stupidest thing I’ve ever said to a girl.

The look on her face makes me feel even more like an ass. She slips into her car and turns on the engine. I turn away so I don’t have to watch her drive off.

When I go back inside, Cooper is in the kitchen, cutting up Darcy’s egg casserole while the rest of the guys set the table.

He eyes me with a mischievous grin. “You sure you know what you’re doing?”

“I know what I’m not doing,” I say.

He nods slowly. “That’s not what I’m seeing.”

“Fuck,” I say, and clench my eyes shut for a moment to block out the images of kissing Darcy. I’d start with her perfect lips, then move to the place behind her ear and down her slender neck, undressing her as I go.

“I don’t know how long I can keep this up.”

He sets the spatula aside and steps closer. “Think of Chief Reyes coming at you with a sledgehammer.”

I pinch the bridge of my nose. “Good. Yes. That works.”

“I’m here for you, brother,” Cooper says, offering his fist.

I bump it and we settle down as a crew to eat. But two bites in and I’m imagining Darcy walking in the rain, daydreaming about kissing.


Storm Harbor’s library is near city hall and Station 16 but I’ve only been here twice, both times to respond to smoke detector activation. Thankfully, they were both false alarms. The building is two stories, with big timbers and big glass windows which let in lots of light.

Inside is an atrium with a circulation desk facing the door. Past that are shelves and shelves of books, open areas with tables, and a row of solo study tables along the side. On the right is the children’s section. A school group must be visiting because it’s packed with boisterous kids accompanied by several teachers and one of the librarians.

I decide to go upstairs, and slip into the stairway. It’s definitely quieter up here, and not as bright. After a quick look around to see if Darcy’s already arrived, I find a study table and unpack my textbook and computer and mouse. I unwrap a stick of gum and pop it into my mouth.

The essay blinks to life on my screen. It’s a research paper about a suspicious fire sixteen years ago that resulted from a train accident on the Juneau-McKenzie route. The train had gone off the tracks. It was summer and the surrounding forest was incredibly dry. A spark started a fire. The fire spread quickly, and several people were killed. Cooper’s little brother Reid was one of the victims.

The essay is supposed to pick a conclusion—foul play or accidental—and back it up with initial claims as well as an outline of the investigative steps involved along the way.

The accident happened before I even knew Cooper, so I didn’t pay much attention to the story back then. At the time, I was dealing with my own shit, so I wasn’t about to get caught up in someone else’s.

When Cooper moved to Storm Harbor, his parents had just been killed. Cooper and his siblings moved in with their grandparents. We were forced to work on a science project together, and I remember him being quiet, which suited me just fine because I’m not much of a talker, especially then. Cooper was smarter than me but didn’t make a big deal out of it. Then I found out he was a good soccer player. I recruited him for the team, and we won state that year.

So I guess, the investigation into the train accident that killed my best friend’s little brother carries a bigger meaning than just the way studying it could sharpen my skills. What if there’s answers that could put Cooper at peace? He’s hinted that he blames himself for not being able to rescue Reid in time. What if the crash wasn’t an accident after all?

I’m scouring my notes for a quote I can use in my evidence section when the swish of fabric alerts me to Darcy’s approach.

“Hey,” she says, lifting her shoulder bag over her head. By the way the bag thumps to the floor, it must be heavy.

“Sit here,” I say, pull out the chair next to me.

A confused look passes through her eyes when she realizes that I’ve just given her an order, then her lashes flutter lower. “Thank you.”

My pulse jumps. Little miss smartypants likes someone else being in charge, huh?

As if I needed any more fuel for my fire.

I settle back in my seat and watch her unpack while spinning my pencil around my thumb.

“I found some resources, in case they’re helpful,” she says, tapping the lid of her laptop. She’s wearing cutoff jean shorts today and a turquoise-and-black flannel over a fitted camisole. The jean shorts aren’t the tiny kind I see some girls wearing, but they’re definitely short. The camisole reveals plenty, too.

The complete package is like sex on a fucking stick.

“How can I best help you?” she asks once she’s settled. “You want me to read what you have so far?”

No, I want you up against a wall so I can finger your wet pussy.

I close my eyes and breathe. Get your shit together, Ambrose. “Sure,” I manage, and turn my laptop toward her.

When she unpacks a pair of black frame glasses and slides them on before starting to read, I can’t help but stare. She’s even hotter with them on, which inspires several new fantasies.

Her as the naughty schoolgirl. The horny librarian who needs to be taught a lesson. The secretary who’s wound way too tight and needs someone to release her desires.

My dick throbs inside my pants. Holy hell, am I going to have to jerk off in the bathroom to get through another minute sitting here with her?

“Okay,” she says brightly, completely consumed in my essay to notice my raging hard on. “I can totally help you. Where’s your outline?”

“I, um, don’t do them,” I say.

She nods. “Ah. You’re a discovery writer. Got it. What about your notes?”

“Uh,” I say, and turn the laptop back to me so I can pull up what I’ve saved, then turn it back to her.

After skimming down my list of chaotic musings and questions, she sits back and crosses her arms. “You have a decent opening here. If we use the expository essay template, it’s just a matter of filling in your arguments and supporting them with evidence from the text or other sources.”

I can’t help but laugh. “You make it sound easy.”

She grins. “It is easy. Tell me your three main arguments, and we’ll use them like a road map.”

I rattle off what I want to say, bringing in some ideas I’ve been thinking over.

She types furiously as I talk, nodding along and pausing when I do. This simple form of attention and obedience shouldn’t get me hot, but the way she’s perched there with her back straight and those glasses on her pretty face and her focus so completely on me is making it impossible to concentrate.

“That’s good,” Darcy says as I try not to pant like a fucking hound dog. “Where’s the evidence for your argument?”

I open my textbook to the section on investigations and flip to the page I need.

Darcy leans in to read it, her shoulder pressing into mine. The heat from her body radiates through me, filling me with an insatiable curiosity. What would it be like to caress her soft skin? Hear her needy moans?

She frowns. “This is hardly enough for a ten-page paper.”

“I have the articles here,” I say, and point to an open tab on my browser.

In a flash, she’s skimmed several. “Okay. These are good. Let’s print them. It’s easier to go back and forth.”

“I didn’t bring my printer,” I say to mess with her.

“Of course not,” she says with a snort. “Just connect to the library’s print queue. I think you can get up to ten pages for free.”

I try to act like I know what I’m doing by swiveling my laptop back to me and clicking around the library’s website.

“I can see this is your first time, so I’ll go easy on you,” she says, giving me a sly glance.

What the fuck did she just say? I’m too stunned to come up with a reply before she nods at the corner of my screen and adds, “click those upper right menu bars.”

I do as she says, and a list of options opens up. “Print documents” is one of them. I follow the prompts.

She cocks an eyebrow. “Do I need to show you where the printer is?”

“No,” I growl. “Stay here.”

I push back my chair and hurry from the table. I have no idea where the printer is but I’m not about to let her show me. I pass by the bathrooms, the drinking fountain, and a reading area with chairs and rows of magazines. Finally, I round the last row of shelves to see a large black machine—the printer—but Darcy has beat me here. She’s holding my pages, her eyes lit with a bold expression.

I walk over, taking my time.

“I thought I told you to stay put,” I say, my tone low.

She hands me my papers. “I didn’t feel like staying put.”

My cock presses painfully against my pants. She is playing with fire, and judging by the look on her face, she’s enjoying it.

I shouldn’t be enjoying it either, but as she swivels and walks away, her hips swaying just so, I absolutely enjoy it.

I am so fucked.

Get the rest of this suspense romance HERE.


Content warning:

sexual misconduct (not by the hero)