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Big Guns Out of Uniform
By Nicole Camden Liz Carlyle Sherrilyn Kenyon
Pocket StarCopyright © 2003 Sherrilyn Kenyon
All right reserved.
Chapter OneKyle Foster lay behind a short clump of bushes, scoping out the large compound that lay sheltered in the sand - his latest target.
It was fifteen hundred hours and all the explosives were rigged. Their timers set. The beach was silent with a mild northwesterly wind that would carry the shrapnel and debris a minimal distance, toward the empty lagoon.
He was watching the countdown on his watch, waiting for something that would alleviate his extreme boredom.
He'd thought it would be the well-placed, perfectly executed explosion.
At fifteen seconds and counting, disaster struck as an unknown, unexpected civilian popped out of the small wooded area near the compound.
Kyle cursed. There was no way to stop the explosives, and he didn't dare shout at her.
Damn civilians never took orders well. Instead of doing as they were told, they invariably assumed the position of a deer in the headlights and asked, "What?" Which would be followed by the ever aggravating, "Why?"
By then it would be too late.
If he said "bomb," she'd scream and probably run straight for the explosion. Murphy's Law.
He was out of time.
Combat trained and ever ready to fight, Kyle launched himself from his covert position to intercept herbefore she drew any closer.
He mentally continued the countdown in his head as he ran full speed toward her....
Marianne saw nothing but a blur from the corner of her eye. One second she was heading toward the small sand castle that looked as if someone had constructed it with careful, minute detail. The next some large something had scooped her up into its arms and run off with her.
Breathless from shock and the feel of two extremely strong arms carrying her while the man ran across the beach, she didn't even have time to protest as the two of them flew in the opposite direction of the castle.
Just as they reached the pathway she'd been following, she heard a sharp click.
The man holding her threw the two of them to the ground and rolled them under some bushes as a massive explosion rent the air. The earth beneath them shook.
Her breath was knocked out of her from their fall, and panic welled inside her.
A sleek wall of muscle covered her body again as something began to rain down on the sand around them. She was overwhelmed by the combined scent of Brut, warm masculine skin, and Finesse shampoo.
Marianne instinctively covered her face until the "rain" stopped.
"What in the world just happened?" she asked, her heart pounding as she dared peek from between her fingers.
The man lying on top of her lifted himself up to look down at her.
In all her life she'd never seen anything like him. His eyes were bright and blue. Electrifying and filled with mirthful mischief. They reminded her of the boys in her classes whenever they were planning some youthful prank.
Only there was nothing boyish about the man on top of her. Obviously in his mid-thirties, his face was ruggedly handsome, with sharp cheekbones and at least a full day's worth of stubble on his cheeks and chin.
He was even more handsome than the actor they had playing Brad Ramsey.
And the feel of his long, hard body covering hers ...
It was heaven. Pure heaven.
He swept a heated gaze over her face and body before giving her a devilish grin that should belong to the worst sort of Regency rake. Not to mention the fact that his waist was lying between her legs, and she felt a sudden swell pressing against her intimately. One that let her know this was no small man. Nor was he completely uninterested in her.
It was all she could do not to moan in pleasure.
"Hi." The deepness of his voice was as startling as their meeting.
"Hi," she answered back rather lamely.
Kyle tried to remember what the woman had asked him a second ago, but all he could really think of was the peekaboo dimple she had in her left cheek. It flashed at him as she frowned.
Not to mention the fact that she felt damn good underneath him.
Her white tank top had fallen off of one shoulder, leaving it bare where it beckoned him to touch and kiss the smooth skin it revealed.
Her dark brown eyes were warm and friendly with a healthy dose of suspicion in them. She had sleek brown hair that fell around her head, onto the sand. It was the kind of hair a man dreamed of running his hands through. The kind of hair a man liked to feel whipping his chest while the woman who had it sat on top of him, grinding her body against his until they both came.
It took every ounce of control he possessed not to rub his swollen, aching groin against her and dream of sinking himself deep inside her hot, wet body.
Oh, yeah, he so wanted a piece of this woman. One small taste of her lush, soft, feminine curves.
"You ... uh ... you want to get off me now?" she asked, her voice sounding a bit peeved.
"Not really," he answered honestly. "I kind of like it here." More than he dared admit even to himself.
And he found himself suddenly fixated by the bared skin of her shoulder that didn't seem to betray a bra strap.
Was she naked under there?
His cock tightened even more at the thought of her naked, unrestrained breasts being only a tiny push of fabric away. Of taking one of them into his mouth and suckling its tip while she buried her long, graceful fingers into his hair.
Marianne arched a brow at the man's unexpected response and tilted her head as she watched him. She wasn't sure if this was part of her whole fantasy package or not. What with the explosion and all, it was possible he was one of the actors who had been playing out her novel.
But Rachel Fire hadn't written a scene about a sand castle being blown up.
Then again, there was a scene in a few more days where they blew up a cabin, so maybe the man had been practicing.
At any rate, he was a cutie-pie. Gorgeous in fact. His darkly tanned body held the muscular definition of an athlete. One that begged a woman to run her hands over it.
"You always sweep a woman off her feet like this and throw her on the ground?"
He laughed at that, a warm, rich sound that made her actually tingle. "No, I have to say this is a first. But given how it seems to be turning out, I might make it a habit." He winked at her, then pulled back from her slowly and held his hand out to her as if to shake hers.
"Kyle Foster," he said.
Hmm, not one of the names in the book. Maybe he was one of the extras they had hired to play commando with.
"Marianne Webernec," she said automatically as she shook his large, callused hand and did her best not to think about what it would feel like to have it cup her breast or have those long, masculine fingers sunk deep inside her body.
He had beautiful hands. Powerful hands. Strong and manly, they appealed to her in the best sort of way.
"Oh, wait," she said, trying to distract herself from those thoughts. "I'm supposed to be Ren Winterbourne. Sorry, I keep forgetting."
He scowled at her words. "What are you? A federal agent or something?"
"Something, definitely something." She started to push herself to her feet.
Kyle helped her up with an effortlessness that overcharged her hormones and made her yearn to lean into the strength of his body until she swooned from delight.
What was it about this man that made her want to do him right here on the beach? She'd never been sexually flagrant before, but something about Kyle Foster made her long desperately to rip that tight white T-shirt off and have her way with him whether he wanted it or not.
"You must be from the other side of the island," he said in that innately masculine voice.
He released her all too soon, and she ached from the loss of his body heat being so close. It had warmed her more than the overhead sun.
"Uh-oh. Did I really come all that way? They told me I wasn't supposed to go too far away. Did I end up on the private side of things?"
"Yeah, but it's okay. I'm the only one staying here right now." He glanced around the vacant beach. "It's been boring as hell up until now."
"Tell me about it. For a fantasy vacation, it's been rather meek compared to what I was expecting."
Interest sparked deep in those electric blue eyes. "What were you expecting?"
Marianne squelched a smile. She'd been expecting something along the lines of studly fine Kyle Foster to come into her life and ravish her day and night until she couldn't move, never mind walk.
Marianne bit her bottom lip at the thought and lowered her gaze to the snowy sand to keep him from seeing just how embarrassed she was.
"I don't know," she said with a small shrug. "Some handsome man to throw me down on the ground and save me from an unexpected explosion?"
Kyle laughed again. He didn't know why. Normally, he was about as serious as they came. His sometimes partner, Retter, had often commented on the fact that Kyle's face would freeze if he ever cracked more than a half grin.
But something about this woman made him feel ...
Kind of giddy. There was no other word for it. And he really hated that girly-sounding word. Giddy and Kyle Foster went together about like a cobra and a mongoose.
He must have been even more bored than he suspected. She wasn't ravishing or even beautiful. She reminded him of the woman next door.
A woman who shouldn't draw his notice at all, and yet he found himself staring at her and the way her light, tiny freckles kissed the skin across the bridge of her nose.
Even more startling was the desire he had to taste every one of those freckles with his tongue. To kiss and tease each one and see how many more she might have in other, more provocative areas of her body.
Like those creamy thighs that were virtually hidden by her drab tan walking shorts. Thighs that would look much better naked and wrapped around his neck ...
Marianne felt suddenly awkward as she realized the T-shirt Kyle wore displayed more of his muscled chest than it concealed. Of course, built the way he was, it would take several layers of sweaters and a heavy overcoat to disguise that body.
He reminded her of a linebacker. One with a very tight end.
He was gorgeous all over. From the top of his sun-kissed dark brown hair to the toes of his scuffed black leather biker boots.
She frowned as she noticed that.
"Who wears boots on the beach?" she asked unexpectedly.
He glanced down at his feet. "I didn't even think about it. Guess it's not normal, huh?"
She smiled up at him. "Says to me you don't spend a lot of time on the beach."
"Not really. I'm here under extreme protest. What about you?"
"I'm this month's winner."
He frowned as if he had no idea what she was talking about.
"You know," she said, "the Hideaway Heroine Sweepstakes winner? I'm the one they chose this time."
"Ah," he said, nodding. "So how's it going?"
Twirling a small section of her hair, she shrugged. "It's going, I guess. South more than north, but I suppose nothing's perfect."
"Now, why would you say that?" He indicated the vibrant blue sky with his thumb. "Just look at that sky. It's perfect. Great day. You got the beach to run around on, the surf sliding up. Hell, you can even hear birds chirping."
"Which is why you were blowing up a sand castle?"
He gave her a guilty smile that made her knees weak. "Well, okay, nothing's perfect."
Marianne licked her lips as she watched him hitch his thumbs into the front pockets of his jeans. He had such a manly stance. One of power, like some sinuous beast just prowling the beach waiting for a morsel to gobble.
How she wished she were that morsel.
"So," she said, stretching the word out, "do you do that a lot? Blow up sand castles?"
"Only if they deserve it." He glanced back to the hole in the beach where his sand castle had been. "That one, unfortunately, had gone bad. Real bad."
She covered her face as she laughed again. "I guess I better stay on the straight and narrow then, huh?"
She cringed as she heard the voice of "Brad" coming through the trees from the opposite direction of her uncovered pathway. The actor was extremely handsome, but was pale and rather feminine compared to the man in front of her.
"I guess I need to be going," she said reluctantly.
She started away from Kyle, but he caught her hand in his. The feel of that steely grip on her skin made her entire body burn.
Before she realized what he was doing, he'd pulled her against the hard, lean strength of his body and lowered his mouth onto hers.
Marianne sighed at the taste of his lips as his tongue explored her mouth, flicking masterfully in and out. It made her breathless and weak. She held on to those broad, muscled shoulders as she felt the heat pounding between her legs. Heat that made her wet and desperate for this man.
His muscles flexed beneath her hand, whetting her appetite all the more. How she wished she were touching his tanned skin, sinking her teeth into all that lush, fabulous maleness.
Kyle growled at how good she tasted. But then he'd known instinctively that she would.
His cock hardened to the point of pain as he imagined what it would feel like to lay her down on the beach and spend the next few hours watching her come for him over and over again while he slid himself in and out of her sleek wet heat.
There were few things in life he liked more than the sight of a woman caught in the middle of an orgasm. The sound of her delighted cries as he nibbled and teased the last tremor from her body.
And this was a woman he could savor from now until the end of time....
He didn't want to let her go, but then, he'd never been the kind of guy to perform before an audience, nor did she strike him as the kind of woman who would appreciate him trying to broaden their horizons in that respect.
Reluctantly he released her.
Damn. Kyle didn't say anything as he watched the klutz - who tripped over the sand castle's crater as he crossed the sand - take off with his woman.
He glanced at the blackened hole on the beach.
Target number one had been destroyed.
Target number two ...
She would have to be conquered.
For the first time in a month he felt the familiar adrenaline rush surging.
At last he had a mission.
Marianne Webernec and her sweet little mouth that had tasted like honey.
One taste and he'd been hooked. And he wasn't the kind of man to leave well enough alone once his curiosity was aroused.
Curiosity hell, his whole body was aroused, and he wouldn't be sated until he'd tasted a whole lot more than her lips.
No way. Before he was through with her, he would know every minute part of her body and every way to make her scream out in pleasure.
Kyle smiled at the lecherous thought.
This was one challenge he was going to savor well.
Excerpted from Big Guns Out of Uniform by Nicole Camden Liz Carlyle Sherrilyn Kenyon Copyright © 2003 by Sherrilyn Kenyon. Excerpted by permission.
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