January 1, 2010
If Dana Cummings was inclined to list the best ways to meet men, having one arrest her for burglary-during a tornado, no less-wouldn't be in the top ten. Dating isn't high on her agenda, period. She's sworn to never again fall for know-it-all men with fiery gazes and devastating smiles.
Besides, she's only in Wyoming to help her eccentric aunt find out if horny ghosts really do haunt the family bed. And hopefully bust a hellacious case of writer's block. Extracurricular activity with a gruff, hunky lawman is off limits, even if he does fire her libido.
Witnessing too much of life's seedy side led Brennan Marshall to live by three simple rules: work hard, play hard, and never fall for a sweet-faced female with a witty tongue and snappy comebacks. Especially the ones with a dollop of vulnerability-like Dana. But their razor-sharp sexual tension cuts right through his defenses and leads them on a dangerous journey.
One that will test the limits of their beliefs-and could cost their lives.
"What did Lucille tell you about these strange occurrences plaguing her?" he asked, leaning his arms on the desk.
"She called my mother a few weeks back. Mom said Aunt Lucille had this trembling voice, like she was scared. That's not normal for Aunt Lucille. She bends under pressure but never gives in. She's one tough lady. Anyway, Aunt Lucille said that she'd heard noises in the attic and in the basement. Especially the basement."
"What kind of noises?"
Dana wished she hadn't opened her mouth and mentioned the basement. "Uh…well…" She glanced up and saw he waited, twiddling his thumbs like he had all day. "You're not going to believe this but-"
"Trust me, I've heard just about everything at least once."
"Not this you haven't."
He tossed her a smile. "Humor me."
"Okay. You asked for it. You know that big…uh…heart-shaped bed downstairs?"
"Well, she started hearing people having…" She squirmed in her chair and made a face.
"Go ahead. People what?"
"People having sex. She heard people having sex on the bed. But when she went downstairs there was no one there."
Marshall never twitched. Yet Dana saw the suspicious twinkle in his eyes before he managed to smother it. Instead, he did something much more disturbing.
Rising from his chair, he came around the side of the desk and paced the broad area behind her chair. She craned around to watch him.
"What kind of sounds exactly?" he asked.
Her chair made an obnoxious protest as she turned it so she could observe his purposeful stride. Eight big steps one way, eight big steps back. Eight big steps one way, eight big steps back.
"I'm going to get hypnotized watching you do that. Would you mind taking a seat?"
He increased his pace. "I think better this way." He came to an abrupt halt, leaned against the wall, cocked one booted foot across his ankle and hooked his thumbs in his belt loops.
She gulped. Good thing he wore that flannel shirt. If he'd stood there in that tight T-shirt-
"What kinds of sounds?" he asked, jerking her back to the real world.
She couldn't say it. Come on, Dana. You aren't a blushing teen talking to a boy in high school. Spit it out.
When she didn't answer fast enough, he walked toward her and rested his hands on the arms of her chair. She leaned back, inhaling a quick, startled breath.
"What are you trying to hide from me? Maybe you know something about the sounds?" The query came filled with subtle, sensual nuances that caused his voice to vibrate in his chest and made her tingle in places that shouldn't be tingling.
In defense she crossed her arms. "Of course I'm not hiding anything." When he glared, she took the plunge and elaborated. "You have heard people having sex before, haven't you, Marshall? Gasps. Sighs." She shrugged. "Grunts. Moans. She said it's like people having sex, and they never get to…you know."
A thunderstorm seemed to build in his eyes, but not the kind that promised rage. The type that guaranteed sinful, daring pleasures. She'd never seen a man look at her this way. Predatory and intense all at once, ready to eat her alive. No mistaking that look.
His lips parted and she stared at his mouth.
"No, I don't know," he said. "Why don't you tell me?"
A tiny, rebellious corner of her almost refused to speak. What could he do to her anyway? Spank her?
A hot blush swept into her face. Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy. Marshall's devouring gaze cruised over her face. His attention landed on her lips.
Crazy arousal spiraled through her, and she leaned forward until they almost touched noses. Dana couldn't remember the last time she'd felt so out of control and so turned on all at once. Hell, she'd never felt this way before. "These…these horny ghosts or whoever they are never get to finish-"
Her entire body felt like it might go up in flames. Oh man! Why couldn't he have said something like climaxing? Did he have to use a word that described the nitty gritty?
"Yeah. That's it," she said, licking her lips and swallowing hard. She slumped in the chair.