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Releasing 9/21 from Liquid Silver Books
As he straightened, the foyer lit up, blinding him for a second. He blinked when a young voice rang out from the top of the steps. “Hold it right there! Put your arms up and back away from the stairs.”
What the fuck?
Mace had expected to see his sister bounding down the stairway of his two-story colonial, excited after not seeing her brother for the past two years. Actually, more like one year, eleven months and fifteen days. Not that he was counting. But instead, he stared up into the deadly eye of a Glock. And from his viewpoint it looked like a model 23, a .40 caliber. A compact but still a decent sized gun in a very small, very uneasy hand. Instantly, the hairs on the back of his neck rose.
Damn. He’d dealt with crime bosses and their flunkies--from drug to porno rings--and had managed to survive. Now he was going to be killed by some measly punk he surprised while burglarizing his house? The cruel irony made him want to laugh. Instead, he did as he was instructed. With caution, he raised his hands above his head before stepping back toward the middle of the foyer. He avoided standing directly under the light, trying to get a better view of the top of the steps. But he didn’t have much success; the upstairs hallway and the upper section of the stairway were hidden in shadows.
If he played his cards right, this little situation would be under his control in no time at all. He just had to keep the kid calm and make the skinny punk believe he was the one in command. From experience, Mace knew the Glock didn’t have a conventional safety. All the kid had to do was pull the trigger and pull it again and again until all the rounds in the clip emptied into Mace’s body. And from what he could see in the limited light, the kid’s fingers were twitching from nervousness.
Not a good sign.
Where had a young punk gotten an expensive handgun like that? It certainly hadn’t been in the house. And if it had been, it would have been locked up in the gun safe.
If only he could see the boy’s face. He needed to see the eyes. Without seeing his eyes, Mace couldn’t even begin to predict what the kid would do.
“Don’t you dare move or I’ll blow your face off!” The kid’s voice raised an octave, making him sound more and more like ... a girl.
Tension ran through Mace’s body as the person started down the steps. At first he could see bare toes, a slim calf, then another. His gaze flicked to the gun, before returning to the shapely naked thighs which couldn’t belong to a kid--no way. Especially not a boy. Those smooth legs definitely belonged to a woman--and he couldn’t wait to see the rest of her. So far, the view almost made it worth being held at gunpoint. Almost.
He was disappointed when an oversized T-shirt--shit, was that Marmaduke on it?--blocked his view of creamy flesh. His arms were tired, his leg throbbed painfully, and his patience was wearing thin. But he still wasn’t going to move, since he had no idea who this woman descending the stairs was. His curiosity piqued when she stepped down into the light, which highlighted her long, curly red hair and made her wide, green--glaring--eyes sparkle and snap.
A twitch shot through his lower stomach and landed in his groin. Fear or pain didn’t make him suck in his breath. It was her unrestricted breasts bobbing under the cotton shirt with each step she took. Her nipples stood out like two beacons under the worn cotton. Jesus.
He had to clear his throat twice before he could ask her, “Are you robbing this house, dressed like that?”
If he was lucky, she would perform a body search on him for valuables. A very thorough body search, one involving body parts. He could wish, anyway. It might make this all worthwhile. He tried not to smirk. Irritating a woman with a gun wasn’t smart. Experience, and he had plenty of it, had taught him that much.
She hesitated halfway down the staircase, still pointing the gun at him. A look of uncertainty crossed her features, before disappearing as quickly as it had come. She narrowed her eyes and glared at him. “Am I robbing this house? The question is: What are you doing here?”
His leg began to throb again, the way it had earlier on his long drive into town. But he preferred the ache to no feeling at all. He was glad to even still have his leg. Hell, he was lucky just to be alive.
“I live here.” She didn’t believe him; he wasn’t surprised. “Can I put my arms down now?” His fists clenched high above his head--fighting the pain and fighting the urge to drop them to rub his thigh.
“No! Don’t move! I’m going to call the cops. Back up.” She jabbed the gun in his direction.
Mace didn’t move, instead he let out a long, very loud, impatient sigh.
“Back up, I said! Or I’ll shoot you.”
“It’s happened before,” he said dryly.
The redhead looked at him in surprise, her feet faltering on the last step. “What?”
“I’ve been shot before. So go ahead. I’ll probably survive again. I’m pretty lucky.”
She squeezed the gun tighter in her hand, if that was even possible. “Well, your luck has run out, buddy.”
“Hmm. Especially if you have hollow points in that clip.” She glanced at the gun; it was a just a quick flick of her eyes, but he caught it. “Did you ever see anyone shot with a Black Talon? It’s pretty nasty. Slugs go in and come out. Hollow-points go in and blow out--usually half your body. Makes quite a mess.”
The arm holding the black, lightweight gun, trembled.
“Did you ever hear of the saying, ‘Don’t pull it, unless you’re going to use it’? If you decide to use it, make sure you use both hands. Be sure you kill me, not maim me.”
Mace did. The woman placed her free hand underneath the gun to support it. At least she was open to suggestions. His talking had unnerved her, and he didn’t need her to squeeze the trigger by accident. Hollow-points or not, all bullets tend to hurt. He frowned at the thought.
“Lie on the floor! Your hands behind your head! Now!”
Christ, the bitch was starting to get annoying now. But at this point she was close enough to kill him, even if she was a bad shot. He’d had enough with the games for tonight. He was tired and just wanted to go to bed in his own house.
Mace judged the distance. “Can’t.” He just needed her a few steps closer.
She waved the gun at him recklessly, her left foot moving forward. “Do it!”
One more step...
“I can’t kneel easily. I’ve got a bum leg.” The bum leg was true enough, but he exaggerated a bit on the kneeling part. He’d been known to lie when he had a gun directed at him. Sometimes lies came easier than truths. And he’d had a lot of practice.
“From all those times being shot, huh?”
“Down on the ground or I’ll blow your brains all over this foyer.” Her slow words, muttered through gritted teeth, made him think she might be serious. Her right foot moved to keep her balance.
Now was his chance.
Mace lunged. He cracked her extended arm with his fist, causing a cry of pain. As she grabbed her injured wrist, the gun dropped, skittering across the tile floor. He grasped both her flailing arms, pushing her. She fell back against the stairs, air whooshing from her lungs. Her head had missed the edge of the steps by a fraction of an inch. He planted his knees on the outside of her bare thighs, pinning them together.
Mace looked down at the woman trapped beneath him. His weight crushed her into the carpeted steps. And he didn’t care. He was in pain, so why shouldn’t she be?
“Oh, God, please. Don’t--” she whispered, her voice catching. Eyes wide, she sank her teeth into her bottom lip.
Mace scowled. “Don’t what? Hurt you? After you just had a gun pointed at my head, you don’t want me to hurt you?”
The pulse in her delicate neck pounded against her creamy skin--like it wanted to escape.
“If ... if you leave now, I won’t call the police. I’ll forget this ever happened.”
Liar. If she got the chance she would run into the kitchen and dial 911.
Mace chuckled at her discomfort, even though he felt a little of his own. Damn, not just a little but a lot. His leg muscle burned like hell. “If you call the police, the only person they are going to be taking away is you.”
She twisted underneath him, making him wince with pain. He gritted his teeth to avoid groaning out loud. That groan would not have been a pleasurable one. No, what a pity. It had been a while since he had been with any beautiful females like the one underneath him. He’d have to make an effort to change that soon. But right now he had a problem to deal with and the problem continued to squirm underneath him. Even though he wasn’t feeling at all charitable right now, he was going to have to let her up. For his own sake.
Mace stood, lifting her with him, careful not to release her wrists. He angled away from her slightly, making sure a knee or foot didn’t connect with any of his vital areas. He was in enough pain already. “Who are you and what are you doing here?”
“I could ask you the same.” She exhaled loudly, visibly regaining control of herself.
Mace shook his head, tightening his grip on her wrists--a little reminder of the change of power. “No. I’m in charge now. Unless you want me to have you toted out of here with handcuffs on, you’d better answer my fucking questions.”
“I’m not going to tell you, a ... a criminal, who I am.”
Oh, brother. “I’m not a criminal.”
She eyed him skeptically through the long mane of red hair falling over her face. “Okay, so what are you doing in this house?”
Mace let another impatient sigh escape. Maybe he should close his eyes and count to ten... Nah, fuck it. “I told you, I live here. And stop trying to screw with me. Just answer my questions.”
“I’m not screwing with you. Go ahead and call the police.” She flattened her lips together and tilted her chin toward the ceiling.
Christ, was she stubborn! He would have to try another tactic to get her to talk. He was trying to be reasonable, but ... he didn’t have many options. He really didn’t want the local police involved. Not if he could avoid it anyway. And it wasn’t necessary; if he couldn’t handle one skinny-assed woman by himself, he needed to give up his day job.
Hell, that wasn’t fair, she probably wasn’t skinny-assed. She probably had a nice rear on her, one which matched the nice front. He wouldn’t mind checking it out, just to make sure. He loved a woman who was nicely balanced--tits and ass.
“If you don’t tell me who you are and what you’re doing here, I’ll strip off this skimpy shirt of yours and anything else you’re wearing--which probably isn’t much.” He raked another look down her long, supple, hot little body. It has been too long. “And drag you out onto the front lawn. I’ll start yelling like a carnival barker until all of the neighbors come out and look at you buck naked. They might enjoy a nice little side show.”
It was an empty threat, but Mace contained his smirk when what little color she had drained away from her face. What she didn’t know was if he made the effort--even as small as it would be--to get her naked, there wouldn’t be anyone looking at her but him. His cock was already at half-mast.
She remained silent. He couldn’t believe it, she actually wasn’t going to talk. He grasped both her wrists in one hand and with the other began to slowly pull up the hem of her nightshirt, revealing pink satin panties. Hot damn. His dick was at complete attention now, but unfortunately caught in an uncomfortable position. He was not going to adjust himself right at the moment, proving what a horny shit he was.
Before he could raise the soft cotton shirt above her flat belly--Goddamn, she was an innie-- she squirmed her hips away from him, the color returning to her face in full force. “Okay, okay! My name is Colby Parks.” In what looked like defeat, she closed her eyes.
Mace reluctantly released the shirt, pushing away the feeling of regret, and watched the fabric catch on her hip. For half a second, he wished she would have been more stubborn; she was obviously not wearing a bra. He would have liked to see what was under the big dumb Great Dane. He gave himself a mental shake. “Colby Parks? Is that your real name?”
“Yes!” She tossed her head, flipping the hair away from her face.
A dusting of freckles crossed her nose. He knew better than to be distracted by something so simple like freckles. He wondered where else she had freckles. Okay, he needed to concentrate! This woman had pulled a gun on him. In his career he couldn’t afford to lose his focus. “It must be. Who could make up a name like that? What are you doing here?”
JEANNE ST. JAMES loves to write hot, steamy romances. BANGED UP (a m/f erotic contemporary romance) will be released on 9/21 at Liquid Silver Books. Her interracial menage a trois (m/m/f), DOUBLE DARE, will be released in November at Loose Id. Her m/m novella, RIP CORD, will be released in December as part of Phaze's "Rebel" Heatsheets. For more information on Jeanne and her upcoming releases check out her website at www.jeannestjames.com.
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