I am so excited to have Jessica Scott with us today, sharing an excerpt from her upcoming book Catch My Fall, the fourth book in her Falling series!
I’m so grateful to Lime for hosting an excerpt from my new book CATCH MY FALL. For people who aren’t familiar with the series, it follows a group of Army veterans adjusting to life around a prestigious southern college campus. In many ways, the series reflects some of my alienation that I felt while attending grad school and when I first started teaching at West Point.
My novels tend to deal with some of the more real aspects of coming home and deployment because for me, they reflect an opportunity to process everything – the good and the bad.
I decided to incorporate cadets into this book because I wanted to reflect some of the really difficult questions they ask and the ways that we as instructors and mentors struggle with providing them with answers.
And yeah, there’s a romance involved too. Because it wouldn’t be a true romance without smoldering looks between the two protagonists.
I hope you like this glimpse of Deacon and Kelsey’s classroom and some of the struggles they’re working through! And thanks again to Lime for hosting me!
Former Army Sergeant Deacon Hunter is trapped.
Trapped in the friend zone. Longing for the woman who captured his heart when they were deployed in Iraq.
Former Army Sergeant Kelsey Ryder has scars, the kind of scars she hopes that no one ever sees. Working around the guys at the Pint, she’s reminded of everything she lost when she left the Army behind.
But some scars refuse to stay hidden.
One fateful night changes everything and neither of them know if their relationship will ever be the same.
All Deacon knows is that he’ll be there to catch her when she finally falls.
Hello friends! Today we have Jessica Scott guesting with us … AND MAN this post would’ve been perfect during Social Media for Social Good … or maybe not? Maybe SMSG is the pressure Jessica is talking about? That’s going to give me a headache/complex – so yeah. Let’s not go there. Anyway – let’s just go ahead with her post, shall we? :X
Why did the ALS Ice Bucket challenge go viral when so many others were not? What was it about that specific challenge – the calling out of your friends on social media to either dump a bucket of water over their head or write a check – that got so many people around the world and from vastly different socio economic backgrounds up off the computer/phone/tablet and into the spirit of it? Continue reading →
My dears, we have the wonderful Jessica Scott visiting with us today! <3 She is the cutest darn thing ever, and if she weren’t so awesome I’d hate her – seriously. She’s the bees knees. >.> Even though she was all “WTF?” To these questions. Guess she hasn’t checked out the other Author Interviews, eh? 😉
Also? Today is RELEASE DAY!!! Yes! Her newest book All for You is out today! Pretty, yes? 😀
Can a battle-scarred warrior . . .
Stay sober. Get deployed. Lead his platoon. Those are the only things that matter to Sergeant First Class Reza Iaconelli. What he wants is for everyone to stay out of his way; what he gets is Captain Emily Lindberg telling him how to deal with his men. Fort Hood’s newest shrink is smart as a whip and sexy as hell. She’s also full of questions-about the army, its soldiers, and the agony etched on Reza’s body and soul.
. . . open his heart to love?
Emily has devoted her life to giving soldiers the care they need-and deserve. Little does she know that means facing down the fierce wall of muscle that is Sergeant Iaconelli like it’s just another day at the office. When Reza agrees to help her understand what makes a soldier tick, she’s thrilled. Too bad it doesn’t help her unravel the sexy warrior in front of her who stokes her desire and touches a part of her she thought long dead. He’s the man who thinks combat is the only escape from the demons that haunt him. The man who needs her most of all . . .
And because it’s Black History Month (and sometimes called Black Heritage Month) – I gave Ms. Scott an “assignment” of sorts. This is what she came up with. Very thoughtful <3
How about this: Before we get to the fun, though, we need to take a moment to remember that February is Black History Month. I was talking with my daughters the other day about Black History Month and why it was important. I pulled up a video of Martin Luther King’s I Have A Dream Speech. I told them to listen to his words and to look at that crowd. The crowd was a diverse group: there were whites and blacks standing together fighting for the right to simply stand together.
I think we’ve forgotten far too much that we are stronger together than we are divided and that we must continue the fight for equality. We may not get there together but we still have to carry on the torch that Dr King and Rosa Parks and so many others have left us.
Now … to the fun inanities! (Which you know, is how I operate :X)
If you were a candy, which one would you be? Along those lines, what would you put in your perfect candy bar?
Mounds with the option to be Almond Joy because well, I am a little bit nuts sometimes.
What’s the best admonishment your mom ever gave you, or that you’ve ever given a kid? e.g. if you make that face it’ll freeze like that. or… if you walk from the kitchen to the table w/ a fork in your mouth you’ll stab yourself through the throat and die
My mom told me when I was a kid that she didn’t like onions when she was little and now she loved them. I may have said the exact same thing to my kids. I hear my mother far too often in my own voice. It’s scary, honestly.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten?
Well, I managed to dodge octopus when we were in Korea. My husband had to eat one that a little old lady forced on him. He said it tasted like salty rubber. I chickened out.
What do you prefer? Winter Olympics, or Summer? And which sport/event?
I think I like the Winter Olympics probably because it involves being in lots of clothing and well, bathing suits and I aren’t on speaking terms currently:) Downhill skiing. I miss skiing.
What do you think about clowns?
That they are best avoided.
When did you get your first aol screen name? Do you remember what it was?
Waaay back in the dark ages of 1996. It was Space Frog. Don’t ask.
Deadliest Warrior. Who would win? A Ninja or a Viking?
Ugh, you’re going to make me choose between my love of Johanna Lindsey’s Vikings and Laura Kinsale’s The Shadow and The Star? I have to vote for Samuel. The ninja takes it in this case.
What’s the first type of alcohol you ever tried to drink? Is there a story to tell?
Heh, not one that can be shared in public but the first thing I ever drank was 151 and Mountain Dew. I’ll leave the details to your imagination but it was not a good night.
If you were to become a spammer, what product would you peddle? And what would your message be? Come up with the most attention getting, creative, crazy thing. Yes, that’s a challenge.
Did you ever wake up laying on the sidewalk in front of a McDs in Tokyo at 5 AM after a night of drunken debauchery? If yes what were you doing? If no – tell us – what do you imagine it would take for such a thing to happen?
Nope. Never gonna happen. I’m a good girl. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it and anyone who can say otherwise is no longer living 🙂
What are your five most prized possessions?
The things that would get saved in a fire: My kids, my cats, my dogs and my hamsters and my photo albums. You can replace everything else.
Hostile alien invasion, or zombie apocalypse? Which one do you think is more likely to happen? Which one is scarier?
Zombie apocalypse is so going to happen and it terrifies the hell out of me.
A person has you trapped and will shoot you if you do not a) eat yourself sick on something and b) watch a marathon for 72 hours. What do you choose to eat, and what show/series or movie would you watch?
Ice cream and Lord of the Rings
If you could be a super hero, what would your nemesis be named? And what would your super hero name be?
I always wanted to be Jean Grey. Or Rogue. Rogue would be awesome. I have no idea how to answer that otherwise. My nemesis? Snappy Cumberpatch? I don’t freaking know, lol!
Coffee, tea, other caffeine, or no caffeine? Also, how do you take your coffee/tea/other?
Caffeine of the coffee persuasion with LOTs of cream and sugar.
Hee! So I hope you get to know Jessica a little better with these silly questions. Now, it’s your turn! What questions do you have for her? And note, all you happy print readers … Ms. Scott is giving away a print copy of I’ll be Home for Christmas. Let’s do this!
There’s nothing in the world Army Sergeant Vic Carponti loves more than his wife and his country. Smart-mouthed and easy tempered, he takes everything as a joke . . . except his promise to come home to his wife, Nicole, for Christmas. As he prepares to leave for his latest deployment into Iraq, Vic will do everything he can to shield his beautiful, supportive wife from the realities of war . . . and from his own darkest fears.As a career army wife, Nicole Carponti knows just what to expect from her husband’s tour of duty: loneliness, relentless worry, and a seemingly endless countdown until the moment Vic walks through the door again. But when the unthinkable happens, Nicole and Vic’s bond is tested like never before and changes everything they believe to be true about the power of love and the simple beauty of being home for the holidays.
I had the chance to meet Jessica Scott this past summer, and it was a total highlight for me, even though we didn’t really get to chat or hang out. Fair warning ;-), she’s a hugger. So it’s doubly a sign how much I like her that there’s that, and I’m ok with it, and this. You all know I’m not big on blog tours (or you know, at all) – and I don’t think I’ve ever done one of these generic reveal things… but for Ms. Scott … here we go. An ALBTALBS first! A post that other people will have. O_O
There’s nothing in the world Army Sergeant Vic Carponti loves more than his wife and his country. Smart-mouthed and easy tempered, he takes everything as a joke . . . except his promise to come home to his wife, Nicole, for Christmas. As he prepares to leave for his latest deployment into Iraq, Vic will do everything he can to shield his beautiful, supportive wife from the realities of war . . . and from his own darkest fears.
As a career army wife, Nicole Carponti knows just what to expect from her husband’s tour of duty: loneliness, relentless worry, and a seemingly endless countdown until the moment Vic walks through the door again. But when the unthinkable happens, Nicole and Vic’s bond is tested like never before and changes everything they believe to be true about the power of love and the simple beauty of being home for the holidays.
“You’re not serious.”
Carponti turned around, his shoulders covered in flecks of red hair. “What?”
Nicole grinned as she leaned against the door. “Garrison is going to kill you.”
“Garrison is going to love my new hair cut. It looks just like his.”
Nicole arched one blond eyebrow. “Except for the bright red fuzzy patch in the center of your head.”
Carponti shrugged and rubbed his hands over his freshly shorn scalp. “I can’t wait to see what the sergeant major says.”
“Isn’t he going to be mad?”
Carponti brushed the hair off his neck. “We’re going to war. My hair isn’t on the list of things he’s going to worry about.”
Nicole looked down at the pile of hair on the floor and sighed. “Then why do it?”
Carponti smirked. “Because it’ll get a rise out of him and I live to make his blood pressure go up.”
She laughed. “You need a hobby. Other than blowing things up.”
He sidled across the room and hooked his thumb into the waist of her jeans and tugged her close until their hips met. “I have a hobby. Keeping you well satisfied.”
She sniffed but her lips curled at the edges. “You’re going to be derelict in your duties for a while.”
“But I’ll be home soon enough and then I’ll make up for it.”
“I think I’m going to need a deployment boyfriend.”
He grinned wickedly. “Did you already get one?” He backed her up against the wall, his body hard against hers. God but she loved this man. “Can I see it?”
A slow flush crept over her face and she tried to look away. He threaded his fingers with hers and lifted her arms over her head. Her back arched with the movement.
“Please?” he whispered against her lips. “That would be an awesome memory to take with me downrange. Just think of me, alone in the middle of the desert. One visual of you with your deployment boyfriend and it could make a lonely night go by so much faster.”
Nicole giggled until the laugh overwhelmed her and she was gasping for air. He released her hands and she threaded them around his neck. She buried her face against his throat and laughed.
“There’s something really wrong with you,” she said when she could breathe again. “I’ll send you a video.”
He brightened instantly. “Really?”
“Yes. And dirty letters.”
“Promise?” He nibbled along the edge of her jaw, guiding her slowly backward toward their bed, stacked high with his two duffle bags and all the crap he still hadn’t packed.
But he didn’t care.
“I promise. And you’re going to be late.” Her voice caught in her throat.
“Screw it,” he whispered. “This is the last chance to make love to my beautiful wife before I have to go traipsing across the desert like Lawrence of Arabia.” He nibbled at her earlobe while his hand slipped down her belly to the moist head between her thighs. “Tell you what. You send me a picture of yours and I’ll send you a picture of mine. Maybe I can get him a little horse and saddle and send you a picture. Maybe a Barbie camel. I can put him in a little man dress.”
She laughed and Carponti’s heart swelled in his chest at the sound of it.
“I’m going to hold you to that.” She traced her fingers over his scalp, her body soft and warm against his erection. “I want a picture of him in a man dress in exchange for a video of the deployment boyfriend.”
Her legs bumped into the back of the bed and he followed her down. Tangled between the duffle bags and his uniforms, he made love to her one last time before he got on a plane and headed to war.
LOOKIT! WE MADE IT HAPPEN! An exclusive excerpt just for ALBTALBS 😀 All of chapter two! Whoo!
“Hey babe, can you find my socks?”
Nicole narrowed her eyes in the direction of the bedroom. Since the night they’d first met six years ago, she’d learned to tell when he was up to something. And he was always up to something. The man didn’t know how to be serious and it was the thing she loved most about him.
But she hadn’t known it that night she’d pulled him and a couple of his buddies over and arrested him. She’d been a young military police officer, eager to make a difference and her very first traffic stop at her new duty station had been a car full of smart-mouthed infantrymen, fresh out of basic training.
She’d walked up to the driver’s side window and had been greeted by…a sock puppet. A sock puppet that had asked her out on a date after she’d threatened to put him in the back of the police car. Her lips curled at the memory.
Yeah, most people had romantic stories about how they met their husbands. Nicole? She had a sock puppet. She’d learned that night that when Vic’s voice sounded funny, he was up to something.
And right then, standing in her living room, his socks in her hand, she paused because her husband’s voice sounded a little too funny.
And that was never a good sign.
“What’s wrong?” she called, stuffing his socks into the bag that would keep them protected from the desert weather.
He was deploying for the third time later today and Nicole was doing her best to stay busy, to help him pack. She was determined not to spend the last twenty-four hours she had with him crying. She’d done this all before, right? This was nothing new. Nothing different. So why did it feel like her heart was breaking in her chest? She blinked rapidly and breathed deeply. She wouldn’t cry. Not tonight.
No, she’d save that for later, after he was gone. Today, she would laugh at his jokes because he needed her to laugh. She’d help him pack and savor the last hours she had with him.
Later, after she’d kissed him goodbye, the year would start and her countdown would begin. One day at a time, trying not to let the worry and the fear and the sadness crush her.
“Nothing’s wrong. I just need you to come here for a second.”
The odd catch in his voice made her instantly suspicious. Still holding the gallon bag of his t-shirts and socks she’d been packing for him, she rounded the corner into their bedroom.
And stopped short. Blinked. Then doubled over laughing.
Her husband—a decorated infantryman—stood in the middle of their bedroom wearing her panties. And not her time-of-the-month granny panties. No, not her husband. He’d managed to squeeze into the tiny little patch of white lace.
She doubled over and clutched her sides and tried not to pee her pants. “Oh my god. I can’t breathe,” she said, trying to stop laughing. He turned around and wiggled his ass. “Does this make my butt look big?” Nicole gasped for air. “There’s something the matter with you.” “Does this get you horny, baby?” She caught the edge of shadows in his eyes despite her
own tears of laughter. They were both trying so hard to laugh away the sadness of the night. She loved him even more for that. Something so simple but so important.
She swiped her fingers beneath her eyes, glad at least that she had a moment to hide the well of sadness that had surged behind the laughter. She would miss his sense of humor when he was gone. Nothing seemed as funny when Vic deployed. It was like he took funny with him every time he got on that plane. Still laughing, she crossed the small space, dropping the gallon- sized bag and t-shirt on the bed before sliding her arms around her husband’s neck. “You know that you wearing my panties always gets me horny.”
He pulled her close and she arched into him. He nuzzled her lips with his. “I’m not really sure what that says about you or me but I’m not going to complain.”
She reached between their bodies and wound her hand beneath the fabric clearly not meant to contain male anatomy and found him—flaccid.
“I think we need to get you out of these. They’re inhibiting your performance,” she said, hooking her thumbs in the waistband.
“I think that’s an excellent plan.”
He shimmied out of the panties and then surprised her by scooping her up and tossing her onto the bed.
She bounced once then opened her arms for him.
She held him close for a long moment, savoring the feel of his body on hers, knowing it was going to be the last time she would have him with her for a long while.
She knew the fear she would live with for the next year. And she hated it.
But she loved her husband and he loved being a soldier. She’d never planned on making the military a career. Vic? Vic wanted to stay forever. And because she loved him, she’d wait for him. No matter how much it hurt.
She blinked rapidly, trying to hide the tears that burned behind her eyes, and pressed her face into his neck. Her no-crying plan was failing miserably. She swiped at her eyes and tried to keep him from seeing the tears that ran down her cheeks.
Carponti might be a smart-ass but that didn’t make him an idiot. His wife was crying. He hated it when she cried. It was worse because he knew it was his fault—he was leaving again. No matter how much he tried to make light of the situation, no matter how ridiculously he behaved to coax a laugh out of her, this deployment was different and everyone knew it. He shouldn’t have been surprised that Nicole was having a hard time with it. Even Captain Davila and his wife looked like they were having a hard time.
Everyone was—her, the guys, the guys’ wives. Carponti and his boys were getting ready to head downrange into the Surge, a shit hole time in a shit hole war that didn’t make a damn bit of sense to anyone. This war sucked.
But that didn’t make saying good-bye any easier. And Nikki, God bless her, was doing her best to put on a brave and happy face. He felt her shudder beneath him and he tightened his arms around her a little more.
He didn’t want her to cry. He hated it when she cried because it usually meant he’d screwed something up. He tried not to do that on a regular basis. He never wanted to give her a reason to realize that she could do better than a redheaded infantryman. Nicole was so far out of his league, every day he woke up wondering if today would be the day that the love of his life left him for someone better. The day she would stop laughing at his jokes.
Because let’s face it, he wasn’t much of a catch. Scruffy redhead with a penchant for saying the first thing that came to mind, Carponti knew his weaknesses. And still, his wife, his
beautiful, talented wife with a degree in criminal justice, chose him. He’d married her as fast as he could just to keep her around. Even when she’d gotten out of the army to pursue her degree, even when she could be with someone smarter, better looking—not better in the sack, though. Carponti had always taken care of her that way. He marveled at the ways he could bring her pleasure — just like the sound of her laughter, the sound of her coming was its own special pleasure.
All because she’d pulled him over for driving like an ass and said yes to a date with a sock puppet. He was the luckiest son of a bitch on the planet.
He lifted himself on his arms and looked down at her, stroking her blond hair out of her face and cupping her cheek. Her eyes were a little bit red and she was trying to hide it and failing badly.
“Don’t cry, babe,” he whispered. “I’m trying not to.” She pressed her lips to his. “Sorry.” He grasped for anything to say to make her laugh and came up empty. She shifted then,
her body rubbing against his, and he smiled slowly, stroking his thumb over her damp cheek. “We are really wasting this opportunity,” he said, kissing the side of her lips. “What’s that?” Her mouth curled into a faint smile, the remnants of her laugh trembling
through her body. “I’m naked. What other opportunity did you think I was talking about?” He loved it when she laughed. Her eyes lit up and her whole face smiled. He laughed and
shifted, rocking gently against her. “It’s a shame you’ve got on so many clothes.” She lifted her arms for him as he dragged the t-shirt over her head, leaving her in a bra
and her jeans. She reached between them to unhook her pants but he stopped her, his hands
covering hers. He shimmied down her body. “That’s my job,” he whispered, then he flicked his tongue over her navel.
He loved the little sounds she made as he tugged her pants off. “Your panties look so much better on you,” he said.
“I’m glad you approve.” There was laughter in her voice. She threaded her fingers through his hair, her nails tracing his scalp with tiny bites of electricity.
He framed her hips in his hands and pressed his lips to her center. She arched beneath him and shifted her thighs, opening to his touch. He held her there, his thumbs holding the fabric in place when she tried to shuck out of her panties. “I want to try something.”
She pushed up onto her elbows, looking down at him, a tiny frown knitted between her brows. “What, the night before you leave, now you want to get creative?”
He met her gaze, his eyes not moving from hers, and traced his tongue over the swollen mound beneath her panties.
“Oh, I am definitely going to miss your tongue when you’re gone.” She gasped and her breath caught in her throat. “Where on earth did you learn that trick?” she whispered.
She reached down to cradle his face in her palms and Carponti was lost for a moment in the love looking back at him. His wife, his beautiful, smart, sexy, funny wife. A tiny curl of fear licked at him. What if she got tired of waiting for him?
“I watched this sex in your marriage video with Wilks last weekend on staff duty.” Nicole fell back into the bed and cracked up. “The art of making love or something. He’s going through counseling with his wife and the therapist is trying to save their sex life first. So I watched it with him. See if I could pick up any pointers.”
Nicole sighed and turned her head to look down at him. “You are a strange, strange man,” she said, smiling. But there was a fear beneath his smile. Fear that someday, the deployments would be too much. That the distance and the time spent apart would change them. That she’d stop wanting to make love, stop loving him enough to wait for him. Garrison, Carponti’s platoon sergeant, had recently gotten divorced. They both knew it was because Garrison had been gone too much. Carponti shoved aside the melancholy, focusing instead on her body. Her touch.
“And you’re wasting an opportunity to use that talented tongue of yours.” She arched into him, lifting her hips in silent offering.
The laugh snuck out of him and he rested his forehead against her thigh until he could control himself. “This has got to be the corniest thing we’ve ever done,” he said, stroking his thumb over the seam of her panties.
She scraped her nails over his cheeks, gently. “It beats spending the morning crying,” she whispered.
A lump rose in his throat and he crawled up her body, capturing her face in his hands. He kissed her then, fiercely, pouring a thousand unsaid things into that one moment. He wasn’t good with words or big gestures. There wasn’t a way for him to tell her how much he was going to miss her. How much he worried that she would be alone, that she might go through a day without laughing because he was gone. And the unspoken fear that he would leave her alone forever. He kissed her like a dying man, peeled her clothes from her body like it was the last time he would feel her writhe beneath him—because he was terrified that it was.
He paused a moment before he slid into her body, desperately grasping for something funny to say to lighten the moment, to make her laugh. But he had nothing as he fell into her embrace, sliding into her body and completing his soul.
He savored her in those final moments before her release crashed over her, shuddering through them both and taking him under with her.
Hi everyone! Today we have badass author Jessica Scott visiting with us! She’s got a great sense of humor. And as you see, we learned a little bit about each other while setting up this post. (I will throw the gauntlet, and she will pick it up. I like that.)
Hamsters & Dishwashers
Thanks to Lime for being gracious enough to invite me here today! When we were chatting about what I should write about, she mentioned off hand that I should talk about whatever I wanted, except, you know, maybe dryer lint.
Well, you know me and my tendency to put my foot in it. I asked for a topic b/c well, otherwise, she’d get my hamsters…and the gauntlet was thrown. Could I write about hamsters and dryer lint and not make it suck.
Not sure about the suckage (which is entirely mine) but here goes nothing.
So if you follow my blog you know that I have a hamster named Fluffy that likes to escape. A lot. Like every other week the little rat is running around my house somewhere causing me a major heart attack about maybe this time, my – her – luck is going to run out and there will be scarred children for life in my home.
So far, we’re going on a little over a year and she’s holding strong. One of these days though. Fluffy is a fun distraction though because as I was writing my last book, I realized I’d written her into Laura & Trent’s book. The hamsters were never planned on in the story, they just happened. And they actually happened really well because not only does Fluffy serve a purpose in my life (random acts of chaos) but she served a story purpose too.
So what about the rules about separating life from your fiction? Obviously, I’m not going to put a real person in my books. That would be unethical at best, possibly a civil violation at worst. BUT what about experiences? In the same story, Laura is a military spouse who is home while her husband is deployed and she has to either fix the dishwasher or call a repair man. I wanted a way to show how the deployed husband doesn’t realize sometimes all the things the spouse back home has to face and so I used my experience of actually tearing apart my dishwasher to show Laura’s challenges.
I don’t think that breaks the rules. If anything, I’m able to land an air of authenticity about the hamster escapes and the frustration of trying to fix the dishwasher.
Then again, I’ve got rules issues and well, it should come as no surprise that Claire, my heroine in Until There Was You has rules issues, too. I’m excited to share an exclusive excerpt from Evan & Claire’s story. It’s probably my favorite scene in the whole book, where Evan tells Claire he loves her. And no, it doesn’t give away any spoilers just b/c its the I Love You moment. At least I hope it doesn’t.
After you read it, tell me, do you like realism in your books? Or do you prefer not to know what your authors have done for research?
He plays by the rules, she’s not afraid to break them. Now these two strong-willed Army captains will prove that opposites attract . . .
A by-the-book captain with a West Point background, Captain Evan Loehr refuses to mix business with pleasure–except for an unguarded instance years ago when he succumbed to the deep sensuality of redheaded beauty Claire Montoya. From that moment on, though, Evan has been at odds with her, through two deployments to Iraq and back again. But when he is asked to train a team prepping for combat alongside Claire, battle-worn Evan is in for the fight of his life.
Strong, gutsy, and loyal, Captain Claire Montoya has worked hard to earn the rank on her chest. In Evan, Claire sees a rigid officer who puts the rules before everything else–including his people. When the mission forces them together, Claire soon discovers that there is more to Evan than meets the eye. He’s more than the rank on his chest; he’s a man with dark secrets and deep longings. For all their differences, Evan and Claire share two crucial passions: their country and each other.
Claire’s body was tense as a det cord beneath his touch. She was beauty and sensual energy bound together in one woman who could send him into the darkest rage or draw him into the fiercest passion.
Her thighs clenched against his forearms but he kept stroking that impossibly soft skin between the edge of her thigh and her intimate heat. He’d dreamed of her like this.
He barely restrained the urge to tear her panties off, instead dragging them slowly down her thighs. “Oh my God.”
His mouth went dry. She was completely bare except for the tiniest stripe of the deepest copper red at the very center of her.
He looked up at her. She smiled sheepishly. “Surprise,” she said weakly.
“Oh, you’ve got to explain this,” he said when he could speak. He nuzzled the soft skin of her inner thigh, kissing her gently, then blowing on the moist skin. “Later.”
And when he tasted her, long and slow and smooth, Claire’s entire body tightened. He stroked her with his tongue, teasing her until her body was tight beneath him.
Her orgasm was beautiful against his lips. She trembled beneath his mouth, her cries pure balm to his ragged soul. He didn’t stop stroking her until she was tight and tense once more.
Only then did he crawl up her body, teasing her with his thumb. He was darkly aroused by the sight of his dog tags resting between her breasts.
She tried to turn like she always did. He gripped her hands, threading his fingers through hers and dragging her arms over her head. “Don’t.” He brushed his lips against her cheek. “Trust me, Claire?”
She turned her face away from his, closing her eyes. He released one hand to cradle her cheek in his palm. Please don’t turn away. But he didn’t say the words. Reality had crawled into bed with them and Evan wanted to kick the bastard out into the cold.
He kissed her sweetly, coaxing. Soothing. Doing everything in his power to relax her, to keep her from turning away and shutting him out. “Claire.”
He whispered her name, his lips near her ear. “Look at me.”
She didn’t open her eyes.
“Claire. Please look at me.” His words were ragged, his voice shredded, his control shattered.
Finally. Finally she met his gaze. Iridescent shards of emotion glinted back at him. Releasing her hands, he cradled her face in both palms. Her fingers clenched his as her thighs wrapped around his hips and urged him home.
“I love you,” he whispered, holding her gaze as he pushed deep inside her.
She tried to turn her face away. Closed her eyes so she wouldn’t have to meet his gaze. He gently urged her chin back.
He slid fully inside her again, a slow, deliberate stroke. “I love you.”
She gasped quietly as he sank fully inside her and she closed her eyes, arching and opening for him.
* * *
His breath was hot on her ear, his words a whisper against her skin. Everything rioted inside her, violent fear mixed with insecurity. This wasn’t supposed to have happened. She wasn’t supposed to care about this man. Not like this. She was a good friend. A good soldier. A terrible lover.
“Look at me,” he whispered again, not moving inside her, denying her the release she needed.
She rolled her hips, digging her fingers into his skin and urging him to move. He refused and she opened her eyes, looking into the depths of Evan’s own dark need. Her breath caught in her throat, desire welling up from deep, deep within her.
She met his gaze and he moved inside her, bringing her pleasure toward an intense, unreached peak.
“I love you,” he murmured against her mouth and she captured his words inside her.
“Evan—” Her breath caught as he gripped both her hands in his so he could cradle her cheek with his other hand.
He kissed her then, as he drove them both closer to the edge of no turning back. The abyss spiraled wide and inviting, urging her to take the leap, to embrace everything he offered.
She shattered, her name on his lips the last thing she heard as she tumbled into the chaos.
BIO: Jessica Scott is a career army officer, mother of two daughters, three cats, three dogs and two escape-artists hamsters, wife to a career NCO and wrangler of all things stuffed and fluffy. She has commanded two companies, served in Germany, Korea, Fort Hood and Iraq, and been lucky not to get fired. She is a terrible cook and an even worse housekeeper, but she’s a pretty good shot with her assigned weapon. Somehow, her children are pretty well adjusted and her husband still loves her, despite burned water and a messy house.