Erotic Romantic Suspense
Re-released Dec. 2022
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Just when you think the danger has passed...
Just when you've stopped looking over your shoulder...
Evil finds a way...
Tammy Carter lost her psychic abilities in the aftermath of tragedy. Now, years later, her power resurrects when evil returns to her town. Everything in her comfort zone is disintegrating, except for one thing-the searing attraction she feels for one man. The one man who might stand between her... and death.
Bodyguard Kyle Hawthorne doesn't believe in the supernatural or in Tammy's psychic gift, but when her life is threatened he'll do anything to protect her. Professionalism requires a platonic relationship with his coworker at Taggert Security Team, yet the sizzling connection he feels for Tammy demands exploration every time he's near her.
Tammy harbors lightning-hot fantasies about Kyle. Suddenly their sensual desires and emotional connections are too powerful to ignore, and as they seek to sate the long-denied sexual hunger, they spark a chain reaction of events that may bring them together, or allow the evil to consume them.
Coffee cured everything. When Tammy stood, she held on to the desk while she regained equilibrium. The aftereffects of these strong visions mimicked illness, and all she needed now was for Hawthorne to arrive and find her collapsed on the floor.
She headed for the lounge at the back of the large office space. Her footfalls made a soft swish over the carpet, and the minute sound made her feel vulnerable. Once inside the lounge, she grabbed her mug and poured a cup of mocha java. She tried a sip. A little bitter from too many hours on the hot pad. No matter. She loved mocha java despite its condition. Tammy switched off the machine and distracted herself by cleaning the coffee pot and the counter.
Sighing, she ruminated over Hawthorne's insistence that he stop by the office and walk her to her car. Earlier she wouldn't have hesitated to enter the parking garage alone. After that slimy call, her knees had weakened. No, she'd feel more secure now that Hawthorne would arrive any minute.
Immediately she pushed aside a feeling of helplessness. She had never come close to being a weak, defenseless female in all her twenty-nine years.
Her fingers trembled as she put down her mug and rubbed her arms again. The turtleneck sweater dress couldn't protect against the cold fright that skulked into the room and wrapped itself around her like a many-tentacled beast from a nightmare. Ice sank into her bones, digging deep like a dagger.
"Oh, God," Tammy whispered.
For the umpteenth time a shudder ran through her. No. She had to think of something else. Something pleasant.
She didn't even know whether to call him by his first name or his last anymore. For months she'd called him simply Hawthorne. She called all the bodyguards by their last names. But sometimes he became Kyle. Had become Kyle since that night six months ago when he'd suffered a bullet wound.
He was a man of mystery, but Tammy did not intend to try to decipher him. In the year he'd worked at the bodyguard agency, she'd seen his quick wit, his professionalism, and his cool, cocky side. He flirted and joked, but tonight she'd heard a difference in his voice. Or had she? Maybe the stress of the day had fried her brain.
For a second she got a vision of that famous commercial from the seventies.
"This is your brain. This is your brain on drugs," she said aloud, then a made a sizzling noise. Tammy laughed weakly. "Yep. That's me."
But he'd called her babe. He'd never called her anything other than her first or last name before.
Although Edith Taggert, owner of the agency, didn't have a stated policy on sexual harassment, Tammy had no compunction about trading witty repartee with the bodyguards. Flirting meant absolutely nothing. She knew that from long experience.
She wasn't getting involved in a romantic relationship for a good long time, if ever. Her track record proved she couldn't trust her feelings in that arena.
The phone rang again, but Tammy let the machine get it. From this distance, she couldn't hear the person leaving a message, and that was mighty fine with her. Let the bastard babble to a machine. Maybe he'd get off on talking to himself and leave her alone.
Less than two minutes later, the phone rang again. Once more she ignored it.
She thought of something that sent her heart into a rapid jig.
Was the front door to the office locked?
Putting her mug on the counter, she trotted out to the front area. When she reached her desk, she saw the door unlocked. Damn! This might be a secure building, but Tammy never left it unlocked when alone in the office.
Before she reached the door, a blast of scorching, vivid red blinded her and she stumbled back, falling to the floor and landing on her butt. She gasped, startled by the force.
Whoever or whatever had called her had entered the building and was close. Too close.
Tammy struggled to unscramble her senses as another wave of scarlet splattered across her vision. Power flooded her system and she stood, legs wobbly and step uncertain. Dread surged through her veins like electricity, and she knew she must reach the door and lock it before the fiend with the blood red aura could arrive first.
Now. Go. Hurry.
The crimson retreated, draining away like the lifeblood of the dying. She closed her eyes and the burning sensation left her body. Relief made her almost as dizzy as the vision, and Tammy took another step. Must lock the door. The person may come back.
She stepped forward and had just touched the knob when the door came open.
Tammy jumped back, a startled yelp leaving her throat. Her heart slammed in her chest as her heel snagged on the carpet and she started to fall backwards. Before she could make another sound, the big man in the doorway leapt forward and caught her in his arms. He hauled her against his chest.
"Tammy?" Concern drew Hawthorne's dark brows downward and his lips thinned into a frown.
"You," she said, sighing in total relief.
No red. No colors at all. She never saw colors when she was around Hawthorne.
"Were you expecting someone else?"
"No," she said weakly. "I was going to lock the door when you came busting in and scared the bejeebers out of me."
"You're trembling." He tucked her a little closer and the heat of his body warmed her.
"I think the air conditioning was up a bit high. I-I got cold."
Although stunned, Tammy couldn't ignore the fact she pressed against his tall, rock-hard body. The soft, denim shirt couldn't hide the evidence of broad shoulders under her fingers.
No, he'd never be model handsome, but perhaps that was what made him interesting. Most women found Hawthorne's dangerous air mixed with a sharp sense of humor almost mouth-watering. His face had a mixed-up perfection that belonged in the movies. Dark and deep, his brown eyes could switch from amused to frosty in a heartbeat. His almost too long nose matched well with his uncompromising jaw. Cocoa brown hair was cut close enough to his head to be neat, but not quite military length. Tammy had a notion if he let it grow much longer the waves would go wild. Despite his looks, his face could turn hard and unforgiving. No one could ever call him boyish.
"Are you sure you're okay?" he asked, his eyes narrowing.
His touch, his nearness had wiped away the terror. "I feel good."
As she gazed up into Hawthorne's eyes and cursed the gods that gave some men long sexy lashes, she saw something change within him.
A sudden, shocking warmth ignited in his eyes and flickered into full flame. "You feel great."
Her mouth dropped in surprise. Was he flirting with her again?
Hawthorne's mouth turned up in his trademark quirky smile. Between tender and hard, his mouth looked undeniably masculine. His hands moved in a caressing motion over her back, then held still, keeping her pressed to him.
Suddenly Tammy was downright breathless. His warm, spicy scent had teased and tantalized her many times before, but now she felt every inch of him, every nuance. Something had changed and it sent waves of heat straight to her toes. His six-foot-four frame towered over her five foot six inches. Her body responded despite the fright, as her breasts mashed against his muscled chest and her thighs plastered to his.
Lean without being skinny, big boned and perfectly muscled, Hawthorne looked capable of kicking anyone's ass. His jeans slicked along narrow hips, tight butt, and long, powerful legs. Tammy licked her lips and swallowed hard as another fluttery sensation darted into her stomach.
Maybe she should say something before he thought she had lost her mind. Tammy pushed against Hawthorne's chest and eased from his arms.
"Where are you off to in such a hurry? I thought you were waiting for me?" he asked.
"I got another one of those phone calls and I remembered the door wasn't locked."
It didn't help when he came close, standing so near she inhaled a whiff of his aftershave again. He cupped her shoulder. "You look a little shaky."
She realized that she'd been rubbing her arms. "I'm fine."
As if to contradict her, her body rebelled and a wave of nausea replaced the desire she'd felt moments ago.
"Can't fool me." His quiet voice soothed her senses. "You're pale as the dead."
Barb's grave. The caller had awakened the dead. "I'm okay, Hawthorne."
Hawthorne didn't look convinced. He shoved a hand through his already mussed hair. "What did the caller say?"
"Stupid things. It's nothing."
He looked doubtful. "All right. About ready to go?"
"Yeah. Let me get my coat."
But then the queasiness increased and as Tammy turned, she pressed her hand to her stomach. Before she could say or do a thing, dizziness assaulted her.
Darkness blotted every color from her vision.