Excerpt from Renegade's Kiss

   
     He rose out of the water, clothes clinging to him like second skin, sun-bleached hair slicked back and wet. The endless work of summer had left him taut and hard—the lines usually hidden by his loose-fitting clothes were suddenly evident. Even his thighs, she thought, looked as if they'd been sculpted out of granite. Water lapped at his legs and sparkled on his skin. He took a step closer to her.
     Andrea stared at the hand he held out to her and had second thoughts. Beyond the amused twinkle in his eyes, she saw something more. Something predatory, hungry. But she was feeling reckless and at the moment, a little wild. So, she reached out and put her hand in his.
     His skin was cool from the water, but his touch was hot. He pulled her effortlessly from the water. So effortlessly, in fact, that her momentum sent her colliding into him. She gasped the moment her nipples made contact with his chest. He was flame and ice at once, friction and smooth solid mass. And the moment her hips pressed up against his she encountered the undeniable hardness at the precise point where their bodies joined. The realization took her breath away and frightened her more than any words he might have spoken.
     Spreading her hands across the wall of his chest for balance, she absorbed the racing thud of his heartbeat, then pushed back. Jesse released her almost reluctantly. The suction of their wet clothes made a naughty sound.
     Yet his eyes held not a trace of apology. Instead, he gazed at her with a look that set her bloodstream on fire. His chest rose and fell unevenly, and his eyes only strayed from hers long enough to drift lazily to the front of her blouse where the water had left it all but transparent.
     "I guess," she said, covering her chest with her arms, "this wasn't really such a good idea."
     He didn't answer. He only stared at her. Shaken, she watched his eyes change color from sky blue to a smoky lapis.
     "Maybe," he suggested, "we should go."
     "Maybe," she agreed, but neither of them moved.
     "Jesse—"
     He put one silencing finger to her lips, then traced his knuckle down the hollow of her cheek and beneath her chin. He tilted her face up to him. "Do you know how you make me feel, Andi Mae?"
     She shook her head, mesmerized by the intensity of his stare.
     "Alive. For the first time in years, I feel like I'm part of something again." His thumb burned a path across her lips.
     She closed her eyes. Weakness stole the strength from her knees. "Jesse..."
     "I want you, Andi. I want you so much I ache with it. So much I can't think straight half the time."
     Her heart raced and plunged like a frightened thing seeking escape. But escape was the last thing on her mind. Pressing her cheek into his cupping palm, she murmured, "This is all wrong—"
     "Is it, Andi? Maybe it’s the first right thing I've done in years."
 
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