FROM A DREAM excerpt
Jennah flipped the covers back and groaned. How can the alarm be going off already? Didn't I just get to sleep? Sitting up, she squinted over at the clock on the other side of the bed, on the other side of the man still sleeping. She smirked. He was the reason she felt like she?d just gone to sleep.
How he could sleep through the alarm beeping, she'd never understand. She shifted to try and reach over him. Twice she had to slide further up in the bed and reach over his muscled chest.
Finally balancing her weight on one hand, she managed to stretch across him and hit the top of the clock. Dropping her hand back down to rest beside him, she looked down at the masculine face beneath her. His long, dark lashes and relaxed face made him look like a dark angel. She smiled as her heavy gaze moved over his shadowed face and his hair, which had grown considerably in the last month. He really was a beautiful specimen of virile maleness.
Easing up slightly, she started to move back to her side of the bed when large hands grasped her waist and yanked her down on top of him. She squeaked in surprise.
"And where do you think you're going?" a deep, sleepy voice murmured in her ear.
She leaned up on her elbows. "To work. Some of us do that." His soft chuckle vibrated through her.
"I worked non-stop in that prison for six months. I deserve this time off."
She sighed and kissed his soft lips. "I know. I?m just being pouty because I have to leave you in this warm bed every morning." His lips trailed across her shoulder, causing her body to relax into his.
"You could call in..." His shifted the back of her gown up over her bottom. "Why are you all dressed?" He moved his head and looked up at her with dark eyes still filled with sleep. "I fall asleep beside you naked-something I'm very fond of-and you always have clothes on again in the morning."
She grinned at the playful, whining tone he used. "I'm hardly all dressed. It's a thin, short nightgown." She kissed his mouth softly again. "I get cold easily."
He bit her bottom lip. "Am I not hot enough to keep you warm?"
She laughed softly. "You are definitely hot, and you know it." She quickly dropped another kiss on his mouth and moved to get out of the bed. His arm clamped around her as he rolled with her. "Dominic, I have to go." She half-heartedly struggled against his hard arms as he flipped her onto her back.
He chuckled deep in his throat and leaned down to lick a path up her throat. "Stay."
She lay there beneath him and seriously debated if she really wanted to go to work. Spending time with him were the happiest moments she could remember. "I have to run someone to the next county..."
He growled playfully. "They're locked up. They'll still be there later."
She giggled when he lifted his head and feigned a pout. Smirking at him, she quickly sought the path to his mind. "I can't, and you have to get up and get ready to meet with your captain."
He groaned and rolled onto his back. "Is that today?"
Taking advantage of the freedom, she sat up and scrambled off the bed. "Yes, at lunch time."
He hissed out an annoyed breath and propped up on his elbow to watch her move around the room. "If he tries to send me back to a safe house, there will be violence involved."
She grinned and shook her head. "It's the tenth of February. I think if he was going to drag you back there he would have right after Christmas." His dark eyes were moving all over her, sending shivers through her. "As long as you don't run off with Brody to play spy again, I think you?re allowed to stay."
He studied her for a moment, and then, with a quick move, was out of the bed and standing right in front of her, completely naked. She looked up at his face, knowing if she studied those precisely formed muscles and mouth-watering abs too long she'd be late for work.
He leaned down and brushed his cheek against her hair as he pulled her against his body. "I don't care what the captain thinks I'm allowed to do..." He whispered close enough to her ear she could feel his breath. "It's you wanting me to stay that matters."
Ignoring the thoughts, which was stating she was a weak, wanton woman, she stretched up against him and wrapped her arms around his neck. "I'll shoot anyone who tries to take you." He grinned briefly just before his mouth covered hers. She would never tire of his kisses. They could be soft and coaxing and make her head spin, or hard and demanding, heating her in an instant. He nipped at her lips with his teeth and dipped his tongue in a few times, trying to be teasing and playful. She leaned back and smiled up at him. The phone shrilled from the other room. "I really have to go."
He dropped his hands down to her waist. "You have lots of time."
His voice had dropped down to a whisper and it sent flashes of heat through her. "I don't like being late."
He bent down and ran his tongue under her ear. "Live dangerously, be a few minutes late." His grip on her waist tightened as he began to walk her back toward the wall.
The clothes she had been clutching in one hand were dropped to the floor, forgotten when his mouth moved back to hers. His mouth was soft and coaxing, making her knees weaken. The phone rang again. He moved his hand into her hair to hold her head while he continued the dizzying kiss. He was refusing to give up her mouth so she could speak
When her shoulders touched the wall, his hand slid back to her waist. In one slow, fluid move, he lifted her up against the wall and trapped her there with his warm body. She gripped his hard shoulders with weak hands and rested her knees on his hips.
Dom finally broke the kiss and began to move his lips down her throat. "I miss you when you?re not here." The husky note in his voice vibrated through her. "I sit here and think of how you taste..." His tongue made a slow path up her throat to her ear. His lips brushed against her ear. "How you feel against me..."
She closed her eyes and leaned her head back against the wall as he rubbed his bare chest against hers. The thin cloth between their bodies offered no barrier and her nipples tightened. "I walk around here all day and every room lingers with your scent." His hand moved up to rest at the back of her neck as he lifted her higher on his body. His teeth gently bit a path across her shoulder.
The part of her mind that wasn't clouding over recognized the phone ringing again, but she had lost all interest in who could be on the other end of the call. His voice filled her mind in a soft, breathless whisper. "I love how you respond to me, Jennah." His hand pushed the nightgown up her body so he could taste more of her.
She gasped when he licked one hard nipple and then suckled it softly. She dropped her head down to rest on his, her hands running over his soft, dark hair. Each touch from him made her tremble with need. He slid one hand down behind her and lifted her from the wall. She was vaguely aware of him moving as his lips moved to the other straining nipple.
He lowered her onto the bed while his lips roughly traveled over her skin and back up to crush her mouth under his. Grasping her hip with one hand, she moaned as he slid inside and filled her.
She wrapped her legs around his waist and held him there as he plunged his tongue into her mouth. He lifted his head and gazed down at her with half closed eyes as he slowly pulled out of her. As he thrust his hips again and pushed into her harder, she raised off the bed to meet him.
The phone started ringing again, and she remembered work. She bit her lip and inhaled deeply as their bodies connected. "You are so bad."
He reached under her and held her tightly against his chest. "Only for you."
She was going to be late for work.
Dominic watched from behind the curtain as she got into her car and left. He waited until her lights were out of sight before scanning the entire area. He couldn't see anything except the tall snow banks lining the road. There was no trace of movement in the early dawn. He turned and looked the other way, watching for shadows.
No signs of movement again this morning, but for the last few days his gut had been telling him someone was out there. He slowly moved the curtains back into place and stepped back from the window. He rubbed a hand over his face. ?Probably just paranoia setting in,? he mumbled to the empty room.
He turned around and grabbed his cell phone from the table. Rolling his shoulders, he tried to relax as he punched in Brody?s number. A groggy voice answered on the other end. "You weren't sleeping, were you?"
"Some people do that, Dom."
Dominic grinned at the sound of irritation from the other end of the phone. "I sleep."
Brody sighed into the phone. "I've never experienced that happening." He groaned. "It's barely dawn."
Dominic grinned. "Best part of the day." He heard the other man moving around.
"For you-I don't have a hot, sexy body snuggled into me when I wake up." He could hear clanking of glass and guessed Brody was making coffee.
"Well, the sexy body gets up and leaves for work almost every day..."
Brody chuckled. "Good, she is immune to your charming, persuasive ways."
Dom snarled at the phone. 'So, did you go pick it up?"
The sound of a chair dragging the floor came through the phone. "Told you I would. It's a beauty. She's going to moon over it for the rest of her life."
Dom dropped down onto the couch. "Listen, thanks for doing that. The captain flipped when I left here the last time. I didn't want to piss him off by sneaking out again."
A deep laugh came from the receiver. "The captain my ass! You just didn't want Jennah to be pissed at you again-even if it was to go pick up an engagement ring for her."
Dom shrugged. 'I'm sure she'd have forgiven me."
"I need to talk to that woman; she is far too sweet to you."
"You just stay out of it, thank you very much. Things are going great without your assistance."
There was a long pause. "Are you sure about this? Don't fly off at me. I know Jennah rocks your world-but you've only known her for, what, a month?"
Dom stared at the closed curtains. "Yeah, so?"
"So, I?m saying the white picket fence and rose gardens might be rushing it a bit."
Dominic stood up and paced back to the curtain that was taunting him. He moved it a fraction of an inch and peered out into the winter morning. "She got my ass out of prison when the rest of you had all but abandoned me and went after Warden Light for me..."
"Right. I guess that's a difficult quality to find in a woman." He chuckled. "I might fall head over ass for a woman if she handled a gun like yours too."
Dom's gaze skimmed over the shadowed snow banks once more before he dropped the curtain back in place. "It has nothing to do with her gun skills."
Brody sighed loudly. "Yeah, I guess not. Although in the bed..."
Dom smirked. "Don't even go there." He walked out into the kitchen and looked at all the files all over the table. 'I've got the captain coming here today-did you find anything on those two other possible locations?"
He could hear the slurping of a coffee maker. "I don't think they?re going anywhere."
Dom rubbed the bridge of his nose. 'Where the fuck did this guy disappear to?"
"I don't know." He heard a spoon hitting the edge of a cup. "What time is the cap coming?"
"Noon." He glanced at the clock.
'I'll be there at ten and we'll go over everything one more time."
Dom flipped open one of the folders. "We have to find something soon. I'm tired of being cooped up all the time."
Brody snorted. "Lounging all day and sweaty sex every night-a real hardship."
Dom shook his head. "I'll see you later, and bring the ring."
"I thought you were waiting until Valentine's Day?"
"I am, but I'd like to see it."
"All right, see you later."
Dom closed the phone and sat down at the table. The endless leads so far had gotten them nothing. There had been plenty of arrests, but the one he wanted more than anything else just kept eluding him. He flipped through surveillance photos of all known associations and scowled at them. "Where are you, you slimy son of a bitch?" The hair on the back of his neck stood on end again. Turning toward the front room again, he studied the curtains.
Jennah sat at the desk, grinning. She'd managed to get here just before it would have been considered late. She liked this time of day at the office. It was quiet, deserted, and the reason she always asked to take the first shift of the day.
'Good night," Scott called as he went through the door.
She grinned, but didn't tell him again it was her morning. She remembered working the night shifts and losing all reality of what time was what. Eating breakfast at five in the evening and dinner at three in the morning was something she had never quite gotten the hang of.
"Hey, beautiful. Is everything all right there?"
She smiled when Dom's deep voice went through her mind. Her body responded with a warm buzz every time, whether she wanted it to or not. "Yes, why wouldn't it be? Half of the town is still sleeping."
"Just a feeling...something..."
She frowned. "What?" She got up and looked out the window across from the reception desk. There was nothing happening out there.
"Just stick close to people today, babe. My guts is saying something is going down."
She wanted to object. She knew how to look after herself, but Dom was a good cop, and if his guts were telling him things, they were probably right. "Okay, don't worry, Dom. I'll be fine." She looked around the empty station. "And stay in the house!"
He chuckled. "I've got Brody coming this morning before the captain. I'll behave."
"Okay. I miss you."
The voice inside her mine whispered, "I miss you too, beautiful."
She felt his hand brush down over her cheek, and she stood there grinning to herself alone in the office. How does he do that? She?d tried many times to send a touch to him, and it never worked. Sighing, she turned slowly and went back to the window. The school bus went past, just as it always did. She looked as far as she could see without going out into the cold. Nothing looked off out there. Maybe Dom just needed to get out. She frowned and pursed her lips together. She could use a few days away.
Grinning, she went back to her desk and rummaged around in her purse for her pocket calendar. Maybe around Valentine's Day. That was only a few days away. They could find some quiet, romantic place to hide in, no phones, no work... She stopped and flipped back on the calendar. What was wrong? That little part of her brain that nagged in little hints and told her she'd forgotten about something was humming loudly. She squinted at the little book in her hand and flipped it forward to the present again. Something...
The phone on her desk rang and she jerked, almost sliding from the chair. She placed a hand on her chest and blew out a deep breath before answering it. Rudy came through the door as she lifted the receiver and waved to her. Life was on hold while her work day began.
Dom inhaled the cool air deeply. It felt good to be outside, even if it was to tromp through the snow in the little treed area behind Jennah's building. She knew he went for these little strolls and had given him one of those female looks that told him she thought he shouldn't, but she had never voiced it. That was one of the things he loved about her. She got him. She didn't fake understanding what he was all about. She genuinely grasped what made him tick.
He stopped and looked back behind him again, and checked for any movement that wasn't supposed to be there. He smirked. She probably understood him because they has a lot of things in common.
He reached for her with his mind. "Hey, beautiful, are you heading home to me yet?"
Her soft chuckle filled his mind. "Soon. I had to stop at the store and get a few thing, so you can cook me dinner after a hard day at work."
He grinned even as he sunk into snow deeper than it had looked. "I might be persuaded to cook for you." He could picture her standing in the grocery store, grinning with that sexy mouth of hers.
"And how would I go about persuading you?"
Her soft, sultry tone had his body hardening. It amazed him how it only took a look or a certain tone for that to happen, or just seeing her, period. "I'm sure you?ll think of some way."
"I'm sure I will too. Dom? Why are you cold?"
He stopped in midstride and looked down at the snow that was almost to his knees. "Damn, babe, you're getting too good at this."
"I really have to focus...you're outside, aren't you?"
"Relax-I'm armed. I?m in the bush, just getting some air and walking off some frustration."
"The meeting with the captain not go well?"
He sighed and leaned against a tree, making sure he kept his eyes searching as he did. "No. Nothing has turned up from any source."
"I'm sorry. I know how hard this is for you. I'm heading to the checkout now, so I'll see you in ten minutes or less."
The understanding in her voice warmed him despite the snow packed in his boots. "Okay, beautiful, I should be back then."
"Okay." There was a pause. "And Dom? I think you should get naked and into the bath."
He grinned. "Only if you join me."
"You are insatiable, Mister Palmer-but I could be persuaded.
"Only for you, Miss Best." He felt her break from his mind. Putting his hands in his pockets, he felt the small box and grimaced. He had meant to find a place to hide it, but the captain, and lack of helpful information, had distracted him. Pulling it out of his pocket, he opened it and looked at the ring. It wasn't a huge cluster of stones, nothing too flashy for Jennah, but it was large enough that he hoped she'd be proud to wear it and show it off. Snapping it closed, he stuffed it back into his pocket. Things were going to be perfect when he asked her to spend the rest of her life with him.
He glanced around and decided he?d better start heading back to her place. You know you're in love when the snow in your boots doesn't even bother you, he thought with a shake of his head.
Brody would laugh his ass off if he could see me now. A noise behind him had him jumping behind the closest tree. His hand was automatically on his gun and ready. He squatted down and looked around the tree in any direction he could see from his position. He exhaled slowly when a rabbit frozen in its tracks came back to life and fled in the opposite direction. He slowly tucked his gun back into his jeans as he stood up. Paranoia was definitely an issue.
Quickening his pace, he headed back, making sure he stepped in his own tracks. Jennah would laugh when he told her he was being stalked by an assassin bunny.
The panic in her voice sent him running in the direction of the building. "Babe, what is it?" He kept moving fast, his hand riding beside the gun grip now sticking up for easy reach out the bottom of his coat. "Jennah!" He reached for her and felt panic.
"I'm coming!" He lengthened his strides and jumped through the snow as fast as his legs could manage.
When he reached the back door, he whipped it open and ran into the kitchen. He stopped and listened-nothing. Pulling the gun, he gripped it lightly and let his arm hang down his side. He walked out into the living room with slow movements and let all senses filter back what was around him.
When he'd almost reached the front door, he stopped, his heart lodged in his throat as he looked at the table knocked to the floor and grocery bags scattered with the contents spilled all around them.
With long strides, he was out the door and into her driveway. Her car was there. A movement caught the corner of his eye and he spun, gun aimed and ready. A black-capped pickup was fishtailing down the street. He ran to the end of her drive and aimed at it. Squinting, he tried to make out the plate, but there wasn't one.
He swore and lowered the gun. It was too far, and without knowing if Jennah was in the back of it, he couldn't take a chance on a stray shot.
Fumbling for his phone in his jacket, he flipped it open and started to walk slowly back over his own boot prints toward the house. He punched in Brody's number as he knelt down and looked closer at the red drops in the snow. He clenched his jaw and resisted the urge to touch it. Brody answered the phone. 'They got Jennah."
"What? When? Where are you?"
Dom straightened slowly and looked at the footprints in the snow. There weren't any individual prints that he could make out. She was struggling if the drag marks were any indication. "At Jennah's. Get the kit, call the captain and get here before it's dark!" He flipped the phone closed and stuffed it in his pocket. Reaching into the other one, he pulled out one of his gloves and knelt down by the drops of blood again. Please, don?t let it be hers, he chanted in his mind as he tented the glove over the red in the snow, to mark and protect it until Brody arrived.
Standing up slowly again, he looked around for his own tracks. Finding them, he walked back toward the house as he followed the marks beside the drive. He spotted another spot of red and clenched his jaw again. Dammit! Every instinct in his body had told him something was going to happen. He should have done something about it!
Something inside him went off when her voice filled his mind. She could still call him. "Are you okay?" He swallowed the lump in his throat.
"I thin ...yes."
"Not mine. I think I broke one of their noses."
A beast he didn't know lay inside him rose up at the thought of her struggling against two assailants. "There are two?" He took careful steps toward the door and made sure he didn't touch anything as he waited for her to reply.
"Yes, two. One is your height, the other closer to mine..."
"Did you get a look at either?" He stepped carefully over the spilled groceries and went back toward the kitchen. He couldn't take a chance in touching anything until Brody got here.
"No, they wrapped something around my face."
He leaned on the counter and gripped it tightly in both hands. "Are you in a truck?"
His anger flared. He'd been looking right at it! He should have been faster!
"They knew you weren't in the house, Dom..."
He cursed under his breath. "I'm sorry, babe. I should have stayed in the house..."
He took a deep breath. "Can you tell me anything else?" He wanted to tell her he loved her and that he would find her, but she was a cop. She knew as well as he did that he needed facts to find her.
He straightened from the counter, every muscle in his body tensed. "Babe?"
The connection was gone. It hadn't faded like she had moved out of that range. It was like she was just gone! "Jennah? Babe!" Nothing. He clenched his hand and slammed his fist down on the counter. The cup that had been near the edge bounced to the floor and shards flew across the floor.
He turned and dropped down to squat with his back against the counter. Dropping his face down into his hands, he sat there. Nothing could happen to her. She had to all right. His hands were trembling with the adrenaline pumping through his veins. Lifting his head, he glanced back out toward the door. Focus! He had to get it together and do what he was trained to do.