Excerpt from THE DEPARTED


due out in January…

For so many years, cold had been a part of Dez’s life. The departed felt cold. The long empty nights she spent following leads were often cold. She went home to a cold, empty bed and she awoke to a cold, empty house.
She was more used to cold than warmth.

So it was something of a shock when she drifted awake and found herself surrounded by warmth. She stiffened, the breath locking in her throat as she stared at the wall straight in front of her, unable to move, hardly able to think.

A hand rested on her hip and in that moment, as her mind tried to figure out just what in the hell was going on, it started to move, stroking upward. She shivered, feeling an odd, tickling sensation in the wake of his hand.

“It was a mistake insisting on the three months,” Taylor said quietly, his voice muffled against her neck.

She lay still, not moving, hardly daring to breathe. Even when his hand rested on the curve of her nape, she didn’t move. “I knew it then, even if I couldn’t have made myself say it. I can say it now. It was a mistake . . . and I’m sorry.”

Dez closed her eyes. Swallowing, she asked, “Why are you in my bed, Jones?”

For the longest time, he was quiet. Then, he finally, he pressed a kiss to her nape and replied, “Because I seemed to have a lot of trouble walking away from you last night. I needed to tell you that, needed to tell you I was sorry.”

“Okay. You told me. You’re still in my bed.”

He let go and she felt something fall across her neck. Reflexively, she caught it, but she didn’t look down because he’d caught her hip and started to tug, slowly. A gentle, unyielding pressure.

She could have resisted it, but that would have felt more than a little childish. She settled for keeping her eyes closed—that was only a little childish, right? Even as she lay there clutching whatever it was in her hand, she kept her eyes closed. Even as Taylor guided her to her back and pressed a hand to her belly and even as her heart skittered and danced in her chest.

She couldn’t look at him. She didn’t dare.

“I have the hardest damn time putting you out of my head.” Taylor brushed his lips over her cheek.

She had to bite her tongue to keep from hissing out a surprised gasp. Don’t listen to him. Whatever new game this was—

Then his lips covered hers. Thought stopped. As his tongue stroked along the seam of her lips, Dez opened for him with a startled moan. What in the . . .

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