Mia was in trouble.

She was alone and she was scared. She prayed for a miracle, and then she met Augustine. A Marine, turned sheriff, named after a saint.

 Augustine Roy liked his job as Sheriff of East Baton Rouge Parish. He liked the town and the town’s women, some said too much, but he’d never heard any of them complain. He wasn’t interested in monogamy, a fact most single women in town had come to understand. He loved his family and friends and when his best friend, Clay, needed his help, he jumped at the chance to use his skills as a former Marine Corps field extraction expert.

While Augie thrived when life ran calm and controlled, his current situation was anything but. Mia had entered his life and dumped it on its head. To top it off, she was so not his type. He preferred large breasted Southern blondes with experience in the sack. Mia was slim, Canadian, and to his utter disbelief, a twenty five year old virgin.

But then he’d gone and married her . . .

 . . . and then she’d passed out.

When Mia woke, she had a new name, and a new ring. She just hoped like hell she’d not missed the wedding consummation.

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He was a nice-looking man, even with the blood dried in his hair and scalp. Tall and muscular. His clothes fit pretty snug and with him standing before her, she could see just how tight his body was. His jeans were faded and he wore cowboy boots. He even had one of those belts with the big buckles. His snug and threadbare light blue T-shirt completed the contemporary cowboy look. His hair was a dusty blond, dark at the scalp and sun lightened on the ends. He wore it messy, a look she liked.

His hands were full, and he handed her an envelope. “Get the door, will you?”

“I’ll need the key.” And the lock. She didn’t see one.

“It’s a keycard.” Keycard? She saw the slot in the door and put the pieces together. She dug around in the envelope and removed what seemed to be a credit card. She swiped it in the slot, heard a click, and opened the door.

“Shall we eat?”

“I’m not hungry, I want to shower, and I need . . .”

“Right.” Augie tugged her to the bathroom.

“Unlucky for you, there’s a window so I’ll have to monitor your bath.” He pointed at the tub. “Draw a bath.”

“But I take showers.”

“If you want to get clean tonight, it’ll be a bath. Fill the tub first. Once the water is off, you can get into the tub. One more rule: I’ll need you to strip down out here. And no towels. When you’re done, I’ll greet you with a towel.”

Mia's blood simmered. “I don’t think so.”

“No? Okay, how about an option? You’re very scrappy and I’ve yet to thoroughly search you, so you can strip down in front of me to demonstrate that you aren’t hiding anything that could cause me or yourself harm or”—he raised his palms in the air and wiggled his fingers—“I can thoroughly search you. Mind you, this requires my hands on you.”

So he wasn’t dumb. She’d actually snagged a fork from the lobby and thought of bending the prongs back into a makeshift knife. She turned away from his knowing gaze, plugged the tub, and turned on the water. On second thought, a bath would be calming.

She started undressing.

And took a very long, very deep breath.

She’d never undressed before a man. But he wasn’t really looking, at least not obviously ogling, so she removed her shoes and socks, followed by her jeans. Her shirt was long enough that she was still covered. He took the clothes from her. When he discovered the fork, he held it in up and cocked a brow at her.

“Going to fashion this into some kind of prison weapon?”

“I thought I might stab you in the throat while you slept.”

He started laughing. Loud. Great, she was overwhelmingly nonthreatening. His full smile stretched his face, startling a tingle from her belly.

Wow, the man was a hottie; who would have guessed?

Yet tingling girl parts aside, he still wanted her to strip down in front of him. Was he a pervert?

“Hey!”

His attention was diverted from the faux knife as he angled toward her, brow raised.

“How can I be sure you aren’t going to try something with me once I’m naked?”

He placed an open palm on his chest. “I’m flattered you think so highly of me, but you don’t have to worry, because I really am a nice guy. Besides, you’re so not my type, you’re forever safe.”

His cocky smile infuriated her.

“Do you know how badly I want to hit you in the face right now?”

He wagged a finger at her. “Extremely hostile, Miss Brown.”

Of course she wasn’t his type. She wasn’t anybody’s type. She should have been a boy. She was built like a board with barely a curve, so his comment didn’t faze her. She pulled her shirt over her head, unclasped her bra, and dangled it slowly to the floor. Finally she hooked her thumbs in her panties and slid them down. She picked everything up and piled the clothes in his arms. As she waited for him to make the next move, she saw his forehead crease ever so slightly and his jaw clench tight. Hmm, so he really hated her body. She shrugged and turned toward the tub.

“Earrings too.”

She froze and turned back to him. “What?”

“Take off the earrings.”

“They’re studs.”

“The back is sharp, and I understand you have a fondness for pronged items.”

She huffed and walked toward him at the sink. He held his palm out, and she placed the earrings in the center. “Happy now?”

“Immensely.”

She moved to close the door, but his hand stopped it. “Door stays open.”

“Oh, for God’s sake. Are you a perv or what? You gonna stand there and watch me pee?”

He swallowed and ran his free hand through his hair. “Er, no, I’ll just eat my dinner.”

“Good. You do that.”

She hoped he’d choke on his drive-thru fish. Serve him right, the cocky bastard.


Augie moved the furniture around, putting the table and chairs in line with the front door so he’d hear if she tried to escape. The window in the bathroom was an issue, but with the water off he’d for sure hear if she slid it open. And now he wished he hadn’t thought of that damned bathroom window because it had him thinking of her wet and sudsy in the tub. No, she didn’t have huge round tits or thick graspable hips, but she’d been confident as she stood naked before him. And her body suited her. Really well. Too well. He’d never seen a woman built like her. Or maybe he had, but he’d definitely never noticed them. There was no excess. That meant there was nothing left over for pleasure or fun, but that didn’t mean she couldn’t use that body to accomplish those things as well.

What was he thinking? He rubbed his jaw, the rough skin reminding him he needed to clean up and maybe shave. But how would he manage that with her wanting to escape him?

He tried to eat, but with every chew his head pounded. He would love to stand under a hot shower.

He heard the water swish before Mia said, “I need a towel.”

He held a towel out for her as she backed into it, her skin pink and silky, wet and smooth. Fuck! He needed to keep his head in the game. He shook off thoughts stirred by her before his head exploded.

“I need to take a shower.”

She eyed him curiously. “So what’s stopping you?”

“Quite frankly, you are.” He studied her a moment and then went to his pack and retrieved two pieces of rope. “I need you to sit on the toilet seat.” He collected her clothes and shoved them into his backpack, placing it on the rack above the toilet.

Then he removed her towel.

“I wasn’t done with that.”

“Yes, you were.” He grabbed the other towels and placed them all on the rack in the shower, high above his head.

“I hate you so very much.”

He smiled and pointed. “Sit on the toilet.”

“Why?”

“Please just do it. My head is pounding, and I’d like to have a shower.”

Her face softened. “Fine.”

She sat on the toilet lid, and he tied her wrists.

“So while I was passed out, they attacked you?”

“Yeah, I guess they did.”

“As far as white knights go, I’d rather hoped to get a more official-looking one.”

He tried to keep his eyes focused on her wrists, but other parts were in his peripheral vision. “Are you questioning my skills?” Mocking him further, her nipples hardened before his eyes. He started binding her ankles.

“I’m not questioning them, I’m stating they’re not very good and this isn’t necessary. I’m not going to leave without my clothes.”

“Well, if I’m showering, you could easily retrieve your clothes from the rack. Plus I’m not entirely convinced you wouldn’t flee completely naked. You seem like a fighter.”

“What if I give you my word that I won’t?”

“Do you trust me?”

“I don’t even know you.”

“My thoughts exactly. Your word is of no value to me.” He stood and pulled his shirt over his head. Then he started the water for a shower.

“Am I supposed to sit here while you do that?” She gestured with her tied hands toward the tub.

“I won’t take long. And for the record, you can trust me.

I’m in law enforcement back home. Sheriff of East Baton Rouge Parish.”

“That’s very comforting.”

As he waited for the water to warm, he removed his boots and jeans. Mia watched him. Closely. Trying to hide her body from him—her parts might not be too curvy, but the ones she had worked just fine—she held her knotted hands to her chest. Unfortunately his cock was hard, so he turned his back to her before removing his shorts and cupped himself.

He didn’t typically show any modesty, but he’d sensed an air of innocence in her and didn’t want to make her nervous.
He stepped into the tub and sudsed up. As he washed, he heard Mia clear her throat several times. Heard also one long sigh from the other side of the shower curtain. He stuck his head through the curtain. “You still here?”

“Hey, watch it! You’re getting me all wet.”

Back under the pulsing shower head, he made short work of rinsing. He chuckled under his breath as he thought of her sitting on the toilet seat, simmering mad, while she waited for him to untie her. He shut off the water and opened the curtain. He reached for a towel and she turned, her eyes at the level of his crotch. Luckily he wasn’t still hard. She shot up and teeter-tottered before he caught her.

“Easy does it.”

“Will you just untie me please!”

He wrapped the towel around his waist and undid the knots that held her wrists together. Then he worked on the ankle rope until she was free. He unzipped his bag and tossed her clothes at her. She grabbed them and stormed out in a huff and he got a great shot of her ass as she walked away.

When he came out of the bathroom, she was on the bed, flipping through TV channels and wearing her underwear and shirt. “When can I see my sister?”

“I have to take care of something before we can leave.”

“Then I want to call her.”

“No phones.”

“Why not?”

“It’s too risky. Too easy to trace.”

She clicked off the television and groaned. Leaning on one side, she punched a pillow three times and then squished it in her hands. She laid her head on the fluffed mound and closed her eyes.

She was asleep in no time, and Augie wondered what that felt like. It took him hours to fall asleep, if he even could. He sat in the chair next to the door and rested his head back against the hard edge.

He heard when she got up and used the bathroom. He heard her pad back to the bedroom, and then he listened harder when she stopped. Pretending to be asleep, he didn’t rise from the chair, but squinted one eye open. She was standing in the center of the room, looking around. She pulled her jeans on, followed by her socks and shoes. Grabbing her purse, she went to the bathroom and shut and locked the door.

Damn, she was going out the window. He jumped up and into his shoes. He opened the door and jogged around the perimeter to the window that lined up with their room. Not a moment too soon, he thought, as a long denim-clad leg dangled from the window. She continued out until her body straddled the sill, her back to him. Placing her hands between her legs, she managed a pretty decent dismount into his waiting arms.

She hit with a thud.

“Howdy.” He smiled down at her.

She squinted at him and squirmed.

“I’m not putting you down, so you can stop that.”

“Let me go!”

“I can’t.”

“Why not?”

He walked and said, “I made a promise to Eve and Clay.”

“Who’s Clay?”

“Clay is the man who loves Eve.”

Her eyes widened. “Does she love him?”

“That I wouldn’t know. She’s a woman.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“I try to stay out of your heads. Crazy things go on in there.”

“You’re crazy.”

He shrugged. “Been called worse.”

“Will you put me down?”

“Can’t—you tried to escape. And after giving your word.”

“You said my word was of no value to you.”

He cocked his head. “Is that what I said?”

“I have an excellent memory. It’s exactly what you said.”

“Huh. Well, that seems to be pretty clear.”

She scratched at his arms, but he still didn’t let go. He carried her in silence the rest of the way and when he got to the room, he dumped her on the bed.

She stood on her knees and waved her finger in the air.

“I’ll have you know I am an upstanding, truthful, and respectful individual. You have no right to judge me or decide what kind of person I am. Had you accepted my word, I would have abided by it.”

She was really cute as she tried to convince him of her character. Too cute. He wanted to use his charms to soothe her. He imagined how her slim, feminine body would feel in his arms—silky and taut, warm and writhing. He wanted to see if she’d respond as most women did when he dialed up his game.

***

They occupied the same bed.

Last night he’d slept in a chair, but she’d said there was plenty of room in the king bed.

She’d started out under the covers and that had been a good thing since they had nothing to sleep in. But Mia wasn’t a quiet sleeper, and she’d shifted excessively the last few hours. Augie glanced again at the woman currently taking up two-thirds of the mattress, the woman who wore only her underwear. He’d taken off his shirt, but knew better than to remove his jeans. A slender arm landed across his chest. He exhaled loudly, hoping to disturb her enough so she’d reposition herself. She rolled and her thigh slid onto his, but she was still asleep. He’d be changing his name to Saint Augustine as soon as he got back to Baton Rouge. His hand went to her hip in an effort to move her, but that was a mistake.

She was warm and smooth and her hips were displayed in a provocative manner that had him going full-on hard. He clicked on the television and the shopping network came blaring to life. She stirred and raised her head from his chest. She eyed him with one eye open and one squinted shut, looking disoriented.

“Were you deliberately trying to wake me up?”

“I don’t know—were you deliberately trying to give me a hard-on?”

She pushed herself up, attempting to push away from him, but the bed was shit—soft in the middle and hard on the edge, creating a bowl effect.

“God, do you have to answer using vulgar language and descriptions?” She ran her hand through her hair. “And for the record, I wasn’t aware I was disturbing you. I apologize.”

“Human-body pillow aside, can you at least get under the covers so I’m not in pain?”

From the glow of the television he could see that she turned as red as an apple when she eyed his erection. She quickly pulled back the covers and slid under them.

He turned off the television and rested his eyes. Her warmth seeped through the comforter, but she was safely covered, so at last he could get some sleep. His muscles slowly relaxed.

A blood-curdling scream pierced the room and hit his brain like a two by four. She jumped up and he followed. Eyes wide, they gawked at each other across the bed.

“What the hell?” he demanded.

She was shuddering as she rubbed one leg and pointed with an unsteady hand to the bed.

“Something bit me on the leg. Something huge. Oh God, it was on me.”

Her voice was so high, she squeaked. She shrieked again, and his head pounded.

“Goddamn, woman.” He took a deep breath. Patience wasn’t his strongest character trait. He pulled back the sheets and identified the culprit. A huge beetle. He approached from the back and was closing in on it when Mia screamed again, causing his pulse to hammer in his ear.

“Oh my God, is that what bit me?” She cupped her hands to her mouth.

“Stop screaming. Let me get rid of it, and then I’ll look at your leg. Sit in the desk chair.”

She was shaking her head and hugging herself.

“Mia, sit in the desk chair.”

She stopped rubbing and made eye contact with him.

“Sit.”

She slowly lowered herself into the plastic chair.

He scooped up the bug and flushed it. Walking back into the room, he was attacked by warm, soft, sugary woman. She clamped her legs around his waist and her arms around his neck.

“Thank you. I can’t believe it bit me.” She shivered. “Do you think it’s poisonous?”

He set her on the bed. “Let me look at it.”

“Oh no!” She clutched her leg. “You do, don’t you?”

“No.”

“But you would have just said no. You hesitated.”

“Well, dammit, some beetles are. Now sit still and let me look at you.”

Shit, the damn thing had left a welt on her smooth skin. He grabbed a towel and some ice from the bucket. The welt was large, about an inch and a half in diameter. When he set the ice pack on her leg, she winced.

“I don’t think that’s necessary.” She pushed the pack away.
“Do you want to scar?”

She looked at the bite, then back to him with pleading eyes. “No.” Her voice was a deflated whisper.

She was so sadly pathetic. He couldn’t take it, so he climbed onto the bed behind her and pulled her to his lap.

He delicately set the compress on her leg. She needed a distraction, at least until the ice melted.

“When I was in the marines, we had to do these drills. We’d go out in the field and stay for two to four weeks, learn to survive off the land and stuff. One of the gigs was in western Texas, dry and hot. One morning this guy we called Nuts—he had a pair of the hugest balls any of us had ever seen—well, the crazy fucker took out an Iraqi FROG in Fallujah all by himself. Later that morning he used one of the field toilets, basically a Port-O-Pot. Now would you think a two-hundred-twenty-pound, six-foot-four marine named Nuts could scream like a girl getting sand thrown in her eyes on a playground?”

She was laughing so hard tears leaked from her eyes. He thought it was the cutest sound he’d ever heard.

“Your scream, Miss Brown, was manlier than his. Seriously, his screech woke up the entire company and had us scrambling. We thought a woman was being murdered. It sounded like a cross between a seal and a hyena captured in a jaw-tooth trap. When we got to him he was rolling in the dirt in front of the toilets, his pants around his knees. Sand was stuck in the tear tracks on his face. The enormous marine had been brought down by a teeny spider bite to the ass.

“To be fair, it wasn’t your average house spider. It was a goddamn tarantula. Poor bastard had to let his ass air out for two weeks. He carried a donut around to sit on.”

Mia’s laughter eventually evened out and, given her proximity, they shared a way-too-intimate look. Her shy sweetness was playing tricks on his libido. He lifted the bag from her leg and lightly traced the swelling tissue. She turned in his lap and straddled him, leaning her head against his shoulder like she was going to drift off.

“Did you check the bed for any more beetles?” Her soft voice in his ear made his cock twitch. Her head lifted, and sincere lavender eyes met his.

“I did. We’re safe.”

“You’re a real-life hero.” Her lips feathered a kiss to his cheek and then to the busted skin at his temple and jaw. “My hero.” She pulled away slowly, her eyes hooded. She held up two fingers, “That’s twice you’ve rescued me now.”

She was so close, her breath heated his skin. Wanting to taste her rosy lips, he closed the gap between them. And he tasted. Her warm, soft mouth vibrated with sounds of pleasure.

He pulled away to keep from getting carried away. He caught her gaze before she stared down in a shy gesture—gray laced with lavender. Spectacular. She snuggled into him and sighed.

Great, a moral dilemma. The warm female on top of him was as sweet as Louisiana iced tea, and her soft groans had him as hard as oak. He’d rescued her from two life-threatening situations—though the beetle hardly counted. Still, he wasn’t one to quibble over details. He wondered if he was taking advantage of this bashful but passionate, honeyed woman.

Thank God he still had his jeans on, because with the way she was straddling him, he surely would have come like a teenage boy without them. With her in just her white cotton panties and a bra with tiny black polka dots, Augie could see the perkiness of her small breasts and the way the hard peaks poked against the thin fabric. She was fresh, too fresh, and innocent to boot—he felt it in his gut. She seemed much younger than twenty-five, with the kind of innocence that came from inexperience. He wanted to take her youthful inexperience and incinerate it. Wanted her to be a woman who knew the score so they could share some hot sex without him having to even think about worrying about it. Without worrying about her.

From what he’d read in the file he had on her, she’d been caring for her mother for years. She’d lived at the same address, in that small town, her entire life. She didn’t have the moves to impress, so she was simply herself—pure and honest. When was the last time he’d had a woman like that? He couldn’t remember. He thought he liked sophisticated and aggressive—the kind of woman he didn’t have to teach for her to know what he liked. But the thought of teaching Mia had him so close to coming that he squeezed his eyes shut and thought about Afghanistan.

Then his thoughts shifted to Nicolas Claude Renaud. The bastard he’d hired had had his hands around Mia’s neck when he’d intervened. Yet despite her situation—being attacked by Renaud’s goons and then being pulled away from her home by him—she remained upbeat and constantly put others before herself. What would it be like to have a woman like that?

Augie still couldn’t believe they’d spent an hour getting Russell situated with his mixer. An hour. And then she’d helped that family in the lobby, expecting nothing in return. She did it just for the joy of giving to someone in need. Most of the women he knew were egocentric, thinking only of their hair, their lipstick, their nails, but she didn’t seem to care about any of those things.

She bent and kissed him innocently on the mouth before lightly running her fingertips down his neck.

He wanted her. And couldn’t believe he’d thought her plain at first glance. She was anything but. Granted, she was a far cry from the forced perfection he was used to in the South, but he loved her dewy freshness. Her hair was a natural light brown with sun-kissed blond threads running through it. She didn’t flatten it into an unimaginable slickness, nor was it artificially curled. It was just her hair and it suited her. He didn’t think she wore any make-up, but she didn’t need to—her skin was as smooth as porcelain.

But something had changed.

Her eyes were darker now, the color more intense, hazy and sleepy. He wanted to know what had caused them to change.

Could it be their bodies pressed so close together?

Her hand landed on his jaw as her lips nuzzled near his ear. She rubbed her body against him, and it took all his discipline to not roll her beneath him and pump away into her tight heat.

There was that smell again from his childhood, fruity and sweet. Runts. Her scent. It had him off balance.

Shit, he had to put a stop to this. He’d never been out of control when it came to women, but she held his mind in a fogbank.

But maybe just a minute more . . .

She squeezed his cock through his jeans and licked her top lip. Groaning, he palmed her core, and the moisture he felt on her panties made him lose his tight control. He frantically unhooked her bra, her small tits hardening as he slid the material down her arms. She unbuttoned his jeans as he hooked his thumbs in her underwear and removed them. He lifted his ass from the mattress and she pulled his jeans down with his boxers and then they were skin on skin. Their heated bodies gave off so much heat that they were covered in a light sheen of sweat, silk and satin rubbing against one another, and it felt so right. God, it felt good.

Rolling her beneath him, he ran his cock through her wetness. Shit! Condom. Hovering over her, he grabbed his wallet from the nightstand. She raked her hands up and down his chest as he fiddled with the package, then rolled the latex over his erection. He fisted himself and aligned with her, but there was no easy passage. She was small, so he positioned her better to take him by putting a pillow beneath her ass. He tried to push in again, but thought he might hurt her if he forced himself. Yet he needed to be inside of her. Now.

“Fuck, how long has it been for you?”

She inhaled sharply, panting against his skin.
“Um, I haven’t ever actually had sex.”

End of Excerpt

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Seize is available in the following formats:

Seize

ISBN: 9781941059128
May 2014

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