Guarding Midnight by Kacey Hammell
Canadian Muscle 1
Released April 1st with Evernight Publishing
When Desires Need Protecting.
No one knows sacrifice better than former Army Sergeant Gavin Bennett. He’s witnessed firsthand the emotional, physical and mental toll of being caught in the crossfire. Being a bouncer-slash-bodyguard may not be Gavin’s dream job, but he’s willing to do just about anything to help out family. When Gavin reports for his first day of work, he quickly discovers a woman who threatens to crack his legendary cool.
Shree Walker is on the run from a dark past she tried to shut away. Battered and broken, a happily ever after doesn’t exist for her. Ready to start fresh with a new life in a new city, she is happy dancing at the Vixen Club. She’d be even happier without the presence of the prickly new bouncer who won’t let anyone or anything get past his carefully guarded defenses. He’s a distraction she doesn’t need. And a temptation she can’t resist.
When Shree is kidnapped by the criminal mastermind hell-bent on taking the club at any cost, Gavin has to make a decision. Hold tight and continue to keep Shree at arm’s length. Or break down his walls and take a chance on something more powerful than them both: Love.
Without pause, he hurried after the tantalizing hips swaying and maneuvering around the crowd. Men and women called out how amazing she’d been tonight. Shree nodded and waved as she marched by them all.
He liked an independent woman, but she needed to understand he wasn’t kidding about her not going anywhere alone. Especially after placing a call to his buddy at the FBI to learn more about this Hagen fellow. What he’d learned from Frank Shaw didn’t impress him.
Hagen was one of the bureau’s most wanted criminals. Nothing stuck to this guy. Every open and shut case dissolved quickly, no matter how much evidence was against him. Witnesses changed their minds or went missing, and drug dealers were willing to serve life to keep mum about who their supplier was.
It was only a matter of time before Hagen brought down the hammer on Charlie’s club. The FBI now knew of Gavin’s appearance at the club and was willing to work with him to bring Hagen in. Whatever it took. Frank was coming to town as soon as he could arrange it.
He pushed through the side door and followed her out into the warm evening air. “Shree, wait.”
She stopped at the bottom of the enclosed stairwell and turned swiftly, her legs locked in a fighting stance.
Surprised, he also couldn’t help but admire her. She’d been trained to protect herself. Smart woman.
“I’m just upstairs, Gavin. Really, I’ll be fine.”
He moved closer and leaned against the wall. “Not your choice. You’re stuck with me.”
She harrumphed. “Don’t you think your girlfriend will get annoyed with you following me around all the time?”
Gavin grinned. So she’d given his relationship status some thought. Nice. “Girlfriend?”
She shifted and grabbed the railing. “Charlie’s my boss. I understand she’s trying to protect me, but to have her boyfriend follow me around at all hours of the day and night…” She shook her head. “I wouldn’t like it much if my boyfriend was in the company of another woman so much.”
“That’s a good point, but not relevant. And Charlie knows I’ll be all over you twenty-four-seven if I need to. She’s okay with that.”
Shree’s eyes widened. “If you have an open relationship with her, that’s your business, but don’t drag me into any sick games. Goodnight.”
As she turned and ascended the stairs, he grabbed her wrist. “Hey, come on. Wait.” She turned her head and glared at him. “Charlie and I are friends. We’re not in a relationship. Her brother is one of my oldest friends.”
Her arm relaxed in his hold. Gavin took it as a good sign that she was attracted to him and moved up onto the first step. Standing on the fourth plank, she towered over him, but it put him at perfect eye level with her tits. He fought the need to ogle at them.
Smoky black abysses stared at him, and his gaze clung to hers. Seconds rolled by. His gut clenched and his blood heated. She drew him in—the loneliness he saw behind those eyes, the air of solitude, had him eager to know more. He rarely cared about the many layers of a woman, but he anticipated there was a lot to Shree. She intrigued him.
Hell, he barely knew her. Yet, very little seemed as important as getting to know what made her tick. What made her laugh, get up in the mornings, and even what could piss her off. And he definitely wanted to know what made her hot and wet.
Her pulse beat fast beneath his thumb. His own accelerated as she shifted to face him and descended a step. Her breath quickened in the silence around them.
“Shree,” he whispered. He caressed her elbow as he advanced another step, bringing them eye-to-eye.
She swallowed hard, nostrils flaring. Gavin tightened his hold on her wrist. Her breath hitched and she swayed as he moved in closer. He acted fast and gripped her hips.
Her hands wandered up onto his shoulders, bringing her in closer. Shree’s head dipped toward him slowly and Gavin tightened his fingers on her skin, anxious to pull her in even more, but he held back to let her make the first move.
A door slammed behind them, the boom cutting through the air. He jerked and glanced to his right at a couple walking to their car.
He turned back to her as she scurried up a step away from him. “No. No, this can’t happen. Goodnight, Gavin,” she stated, then turned and fled up the remaining steps.
Gavin held onto the railing and cursed whoever interrupted the moment.
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Avid Reader. Romance Author. Redhead…
A mom of three, Kacey has made certain each of her children know the value of the written word and the adventures they could escape on by becoming book-a-holics in their own right. She lives her own happily ever after with her perfect hero in Ontario, Canada, and is a true romantic at heart.
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