She bucked and fought, with a stream of words so dirty they’d earn her the instant respect of his Recon brothers. He was surprised he heard them at all, the familiar buzz of danger and adrenaline filling his ears and making it difficult to focus on anything but survival. His body was screaming for him to pummel, restrain, and beat his opponent into submission—a natural response cultivated by years of combat in ugly, violent places. Lucky’s muscles strained with the effort not to hurt the woman, his skin tight and slicking with a sheen of sweat.

“Get off me!” She was slight but strong, and the muscles flexing under her soft skin were a testament to an athletic lifestyle. She tried one more time to dislodge him, almost succeeding in racking his balls. While he and his mama were eternally grateful she didn’t ruin his chances for fatherhood, he admired her ability to get that close. He was a trained Marine, and usually his opponents were unconscious piles of goo at this point.

Yeah, he definitely wanted to see her after all this was over.

Due to either exhaustion or the patience to wait for him to make a mistake, the woman under him stilled and relaxed with an exhale of air that pushed her breasts against him. In spite of the adrenaline kicking through his system, he took a few moments to collect his thoughts, his mind taking inventory of her physical attributes, strengths, and weaknesses.

She was tall, her length stretched out under most of his six-foot-three-inch frame even with their legs tangled together. And he could feel every inch of her long, silky-skinned limbs as they extended out of the sexiest, tiniest pair of boy shorts ever sold without a warning label. Those shorts, coupled with the tiny tank top, left absolutely everything to fuel his imagination.

Damn, she smelled good too. From where his face rested in the crook between her face and her shoulder, he was enveloped in the combination of coconut and a sharp, exotic floral scent. Their exertion had caused the unique combination to intensify, and he couldn’t resist taking one last deep breath and dragging it in. It reminded him of the beach, long summer days, and suntan oil.

“Are we going to lie here all night?” Her voice was breathy, but she maintained a healthy edge of “kiss my ass” in the delivery.

“Nope. Only until the sheriff arrives and he confiscates the gun you tried to kill me with.”

“I didn’t try to kill you.”

“Sugar, if you point a gun at me you better be prepared to—” Lucky lifted his head to get a good look at his would-be assassin, and the shock of her identity hit him between the eyes, swirled around for a bit, and melted his brain. The hair was different, shorter and colored in broad stripes of blond and darkest brown, but he’d know those eyes anywhere—hazel with all the colors of autumn on the mountain—just like her brother, Teague. Just like all the Elliotts.

“Holy shit. Taylor?”


“What the hell are you doing here?” Shock, instant remorse at the way he’d tackled her, and the crazy need to touch her threaded together in his mind in a confusing jumble of conflicting desires. The only clear thought was that Taylor was here—in the flesh— after two long years. He didn’t even mind his hands shaking as he released her arms from over her head, trailing his fingers down one smooth cheek, and finally stopping to cup her jaw in a light grip that forced her to maintain eye contact. Not that he needed to—her gaze never wavered from his. The warmth of welcome and the edge of heat in her expression made his fingertips tingle where they stroked her skin. “The last time I saw you in Elliott, you were stealing my car.”

“I only borrowed it. I called to tell you where I left it.” Her sexy lower lip pushed out in an amused pout, and instantly he was back in the moment outside the church when he’d gotten the first full-throttle view of the woman who’d been hiding inside her all along. Damn, she was still the most exciting woman he’d ever known.

“You took the keys out of my pocket when you kissed me.”

Lucky still remembered that kiss. There had been nights in the desert and shittier places where that kiss had pulled him through to the dawn. The kiss had been way too short, with lots of tongue, a truckload of regret, and the bitter edge of good-bye. As always, the memory of her caused his body to react, and the arousal coursing through him battled the adrenaline to heighten the buzz in his brain.