The Right Kind of Trouble
In the small Southern town of McKay’s Treasure, everybody knows that the handsome local police chief, Gideon Marshall, has been carrying a torch for Moira McKay. It’s also no secret that Moira has been rejecting Gideon since…forever. But after an attack from a mysterious stranger bent on taking down the McKay family, Moira becomes filled with distrust toward most men. Now she wonders whether she’s been wrong about Gideon all along—and if it’s not too late to admit him back into her life…and into her bed…
Gideon has finally convinced his wasted heart to give up on Moira, who he’s loved since he was sixteen years old. Moira’s attack changes everything, however—and he vows to protect her. But how much is he willing to risk for a woman who’s always kept him at bay…until now? And is it too late for Moira to tell him that her love for him has always been locked deep in her heart—and he holds the key?
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She caught one wrist in her hand, bringing his hand to her cheek.
Gideon had gone rigid and he didn’t move at all when she pressed her mouth to his palm.
She didn’t let it stop her.
She’d known he hadn’t brought her up here with any intention other than to make her rest. Gideon, ever her protector.
She didn’t want protection, though. She just wanted him. She wanted what she’d been throwing away all these years and she wanted him back for always. After she’d pressed a kiss to his palm, she nudged him back. His eyes glittered, his cheekbones standing out in stark relief against his deeply tanned skin. He was all hollows and angles and long lean lines. He’d always been able to stop her breath and the rugged masculinity of him had become even more refined over the past few years.
She caught his face and tugged.
He resisted for a minute and she was almost certain he’d pulled away.
So she rose onto her toes and pressed her lips to his chin, slid them down. When she got to his neck, his head fell to the side—slightly. It was enough. His skin was salty and warm and she could have happily spent the next few hours doing nothing but learning the taste of him all over again. She found the rapid beat of his pulse with her tongue—then her teeth.
“Fuck!” Gideon’s snarl was vicious and he tangled his hand in her hair.
She found herself trapped in the next moment, between his long, rangy body and nearest column of her poster bed. Her breath stuttered out of her as he boosted her up, shoving his hips into the cradle of hers. “Don’t,” he said, his breath coming out in ragged pants. His eyes burned as he stared at her. “You aren’t jerking me around like this again, Moira. If you don’t mean this…if you…”
He stopped and looked away and she saw his jaw clenching, his Adam’s apple bobbing. The emotion coming out of him battered at her and she wanted to draw him close, stroke away all the misery. But she’d caused this. She’d done this. Could she even begin to fix all the pain she’d brought him?
“If you’re just going to walk away again, Moira…don’t.”
He put her down and started to pace. Moira wanted to go to him, but what was she supposed to do? Pantomime what she was feeling? She’d already tried to show him and that wasn’t working.
A muttered curse caught her ears and she looked up just as he spun to face her, rage written all over his normally calm features. “You’re killing me inside, okay? You’re…”
Then he stopped, his cheeks puffing out as he blew out a slow breath. He drew in a deeper, slower one, holding it for a few seconds. She opened her mouth, but he lifted a hand.
He wasn’t asking her, though. The question was directed inward.
“Look, you can’t even talk,” he said, turning away from her. “You can’t explain what’s going on and I can’t see inside your head. We should talk about this when you can talk. Right now, I don’t know what you want—”
She reached for the buttons on her shirt. He’d never leave without looking back at her one last time.
She didn’t think.
But then again, she’d messed up something awful.
Maybe this wasn’t the right way to tell him, but there were a hundred wrong ways to let him leave. And that was without trying again. Without reaching out, the way he’d done a hundred times.
She shrugged out of her shirt while he was still standing there. Her bra fell away next.
“When you’re feeling better, we’ll have to talk any…Moira?”
She looked at him through the fringe of her hair. He’d turned around.
She found no pleasure in knowing she’d been right. She was manipulating him and she hated herself, but if this would keep him here, with her, a little longer, until she could convince him she was tired of running, tired of pushing him away?
Then she was going for it.
When she reached for the button of her jeans, her fingers shook.
Gideon was staring at her, his chest rising and falling in a harsh rhythm. She thought maybe that if she reached out then, he might have turned and walked out. So she just pushed her jeans down her thighs, along with her panties.
Naked now, she stood there waiting. She figured this was best. If he turned around rejected her while she was naked, vulnerable, maybe it would even the scales.
The old wooden boards of the floor creaked a little as he took one step, then another toward her. She licked her lips, hardly daring to breathe.
“And what about tomorrow, Mac?” he asked. “You going to push me away…again?”
She saw the answer he thought to be true in his eyes.
Slowly, she shook her head.
She held out her hand.
For the longest time, he didn’t move.
Then he did—toward her.
In the time it took for her to take a deep breath—whether it was to blow out in relief or to brace herself, she didn’t know—Gideon had hauled her up against him and she found herself pressed against the wall.