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She'd been rescued by Tarzan.
Alex blinked up at her savior, who wore only a strip of brown hide around his narrow hips. Luckily, he had the kind of body that could pull off an outfit like that. Shoulders easily twice the width of hers, biceps the size of coconuts, and a six pack that made her want to purr, It's Miller Time! His legs were long and muscular, giving her the impression he'd easily catch anything dumb enough to run away.
Not that she had any intention whatsoever of going anywhere.
And his face--well, he definitely didn't look anything like the parade of pretty boys Mama assembled for her approval every time she went back home. First, of course, there was the long, blond hair that lay in wet tangles across those quarterback shoulders. Daddy wouldn't have let him in the house with that hair. Yet he was intensely masculine, with a regally Roman nose and broad, high cheekbones. A broad jaw and square chin gave him the look of a heavyweight boxer, though a sensual, well-shaped mouth and smoky gray eyes saved his face saved from outright brutality. Judging by the hungry heat in his gaze, it was for damn sure he wasn't gay. That wasn't always a given with Mama's dinner guests, whether Virginia Kenyon realized it or not.
The question was, how the hell had she gotten from her bed to the feet of a sex god, with a dunk in the ocean in between? "Who are you?"
"John Hawke. And who are you?"
"Alex. Alex Kenyon."
"Nice to meet you, Alex Kenyon." Reaching out, he cupped her chin in long, strong fingers, tilted her head up, and leaned in close. "Very, very nice."
Even as her inner Southern Belle squealed in offended shock, his mouthclosed over hers in a warm, wet slide.
Her heart, just beginning to slow its frantic beat after her brush with death, lunged back into a gallop. Automatically, she started to pull back in surprise, but his callused fingers tightened, holding her in place. His tongue stroked boldly between her lips as he kissed her with a rough, predatory hunger that made her nipples peak. She really should knock him on his backside for his gall, but God, it had been so long. And maybe he deserved a kiss for saving her life.
So Alex closed her eyes and kissed him back.
Then a wet hand boldly cupped her breast. The big opportunist was groping her! "What are you doing?" She jerked back, outraged. "A kiss is one thing, but saving my life doesn't entitle you to paw me."
Tarzan's luscious mouth curled into a dark smile. "Look around, Dorothy. You're not in Kansas anymore. This is the Goldfish Bowl, and I make my own rules."
He had a point about the Kansas thing. She'd already noticed it was broad daylight, which was pretty damn weird considering the moon had been shining just a minute ago.
And then there was the beach. She lived in Atlanta, hundreds of miles from the ocean, so how had she got to the seashore?
Frowning, she turned to look out to sea. And stared. She sure wasn't in Georgia anymore. She wasn't even in Miami, despite the stretch of pristine white sand underfoot and the clusters of big palm trees inland.
For one thing, the horizon was far too close. It was almost as if they were an immense, round room--if a room could be ten or fifteen miles across. And the sky ... Alex tilted her head back and stared upward. It had an odd, milky quality, painted in swirls of iridescence--not clouds, but patterns of moving light, something like the Aurora Borealis. She couldn't see the sun at all, yet the light was as bright as noon. "Where are we?"
Hawke rose to his considerable height. "Like I said, I call it the Goldfish Bowl."
"I can see why." It felt odd lying at his feet, so she scrambled up too, noting absently that he didn't offer her a hand. To her annoyance, her legs trembled. She stiffened them as he strode to a pile of equipment on the sand. "What are you doing?"
"I've got a bad feeling we're about to get a guest a lot less pleasant than you." He crouched and started picking through the gear.
"What kind of guest? And what makes you think that?"
"It's the pattern. They send me something, and then something worse shows up." Hoisting a pouched belt that reminded her of something solders wore, he buckled it around his narrow waist with the grim air of a man expecting eminent attack.
She propped her fists on her hips and frowned at him. "What do you mean, worse?"
"As in 'kill it before it kills you' worse." Next, he strapped a short, sheathed knife to his ankle. Tarzan evidently had access to Velcro.
Then he picked up something she first took for a stick and some kind of belt. As he swung it across one shoulder, she got a better look. "Is that a sword?"
"Yep." He belted the thick leather strap diagonally across his torso. The sheathed sword it supported was easily three and a half feet long, not counting the two-handed hilt.
He wasn't Tarzan, he was Conan the Barbarian.
Hawke turned toward her, settling the blade into place with a shrug of those Olympian shoulders. "When I was first snatched, this weapon was an M-16. By the time I arrived here, it had morphed into this. Evidently the Bastards didn't want me having access to fire power."
"I have no idea what you're talking about. Could you please quit being mysterious and tell me what's going on? Who are the Bastards?" She was getting thoroughly fed up. "And how did I get here?"
He lifted his head suddenly and turned to stare off into the trees, his expression alert. "Same way I did, I'd imagine," he said absently. "You were abducted by aliens. And I think you're about to find out why I call them the Bastards."
Aliens? Good God, she was stranded with a lunatic. "Is this some kind of joke? Because it's really not funny."
Anger zapped her appreciation of his amazing butt as he turned his back on her. Nobody talked to a Kenyon that way. "Who do you think you are?"
He closed a hand around the hilt of his sword and levered the big blade out of its scabbard. "I said shut up. Something's coming."
Before she could tell him off, the bushes rattled. A roar split the air, loud enough to make her jump.
Something burst from the trees in an explosion of scales and teeth. Alex screamed like a fire siren as it lunged right at Hawke, snapping massive jaws.
"Get back!" he bellowed, running to meet the monster. Even as it tensed to spring, he swung his sword. Blade bit into scaly hide. The monster howled and reared, slashing at him with knifelike front claws. Hawke leaped back and circled. It turned with him, snapping.
Good God, it had six legs!
It scuttled on four of them while it tried to rake him with long, thin forearms, snapping and roaring like a nightmare cross between a Tyrannosaurus Rex and a scorpion. It was easily the size of a horse.
Alex wanted to run. She wanted to help him. But she couldn't do either, because she couldn't move. Her body was completely frozen with terror as he hacked at the monstrosity slashing and snapping at him like something out of Alien.
I've got to do something! It's going to kill him!