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Too Good to be True
By Marie-Nicole Ryan
Samhain Publishing, Ltd.Copyright © 2007 Marie-Nicole Ryan
All right reserved.
Chapter OneAfter dinner, which was served on the patio, Rilla slipped off her sandals and dabbled her toes in the water. Callahan stood right behind her-too close for comfort. "Still warm, isn't it, from the sun?" His tone was warm, too. What the heck was he up to now?
"Yeah, feels good though," she admitted grudgingly. Warm water. Warm tone. It was enough to drive her batty.
"Why don't y'all go for a swim?" Katie suggested.
As tempting as it sounded, Rilla shook her head. "No suit."
Lloyd's voice boomed. "What's wrong with skinny dippin'? Or don't you do such things up North?"
"You just hush, Lloyd. We're not about to do any such thing. Rilla can borrow one of my suits, and Mac can borrow one of yours."
"Well ..." Rilla hesitated. The idea of seeing Callahan in a pair of swimming trunks was more than tempting, but was it a good idea? He was still her choice for drug kingpin. And no matter how good he looked, she'd still arrest him once she proved it.
"Sounds good to me," the traitor said and winked.
She glanced away, refusing to humor him. He had no business coming to dinner with her especially after she'd warned him she didn't have time for a social life.
"Okay, that settles it." Katie nodded toward the cabana. "Come on, Rilla, I've got the perfect suit for your cute figure."
Rilla's face heated. This hadn't been part of the dinner plans. Cavorting about in a skimpy suit ...
Ten minutes later she stuck her head out of the changing room. The men hadn't appeared yet, so she ran across the slate slabs and dived into the pool. She skimmed along the bottom until she needed air and pushed for the surface.
Brushing the hair from her eyes, she found herself facing a pair of bare feet and a fine set of muscled calves. Her gaze moved higher to his thighs and to the bulge-and away from the bulge back to his right knee and thigh. Damn, if there wasn't a surgical scar at least eight inches long which started on his muscular thigh and traveled down below his knee ... and what suspiciously looked like a bullet wound.
"Like what you see?" he asked, his tone amused. His blue eyes shone with good humor.
"Uh, that's a hell of a scar. Old football injury?"
Mac laughed and turned to his host. "Lloyd, call off the sheriff. She's interrogating me again."
Lloyd straightened from his pool chair. "Damn, son. I think Rilla's right. Looks like something got a-hold of you."
"Almost but not quite. I had a compound fracture. The bone came through the skin-say, you remember the old movie with Burt Reynolds where he and his pals went canoeing? That's sort of what happened to me, except I was in a car wreck last year. I've a metal plate and a bunch of screws holding this leg of mine together."
"They did a good job. I never noticed any kind of limp," Rilla said, wondering if he was telling the truth.
"I had six months of intensive rehab. I worked like an S.O.B. to get rid of the limp."
"Come on in," she said. At least if he were in the water, she wouldn't have so much trouble keeping her eyes away from his crotch.
"You're an excellent swimmer."
"Thanks." Rilla treaded water and tried to shrug, two activities she discovered weren't easily accomplished at the same time. "Come on. I doubt you'll melt." But I might.
He tentatively eased into the water beside her, holding to the side as if he were afraid to let go.
"What's the matter? she asked. "Don't you swim?"
He rolled his eyes. "No."
"Then you need to learn."
"Everybody ought to know how to swim. It's easy. Even little babies can learn." She splashed some water in his face.
Callahan shook his head. "It's been a long time since I was a baby. I've forgotten."
She laughed. "Chicken." With practiced ease, she backstroked away from him. "Come on. Come to me. I'm not far. Push off from the side, put your hands out in front like this." She stretched her arms out, hands together in a V. "And let your body float to me. I'll catch you."
He glanced toward the pool deck. "Where are Katie and Lloyd? They need a good laugh."
"If you'll just do it, you can be swimming before they come out."
His dark brows drew into a frown. "You'll let me drown."
"I assure you I won't. I was a lifeguard at the country club when I was in high school. It would be morally impossible for me to let you drown, even if you are a real pain in the behind."
"Harsh, but true." He grinned.
Did anything ever make him stop smiling?
"All right. I'm trusting you with my life."
She watched as he pushed off from the side of the pool, arms in front as she'd directed.
He reached her and snaked his arms around her, pulling her up against his chest. A thin scrap of fabric was all that separated her tensing nipples from his bare, muscular chest. Could he tell?
She felt the quick hammering of his heart against hers. Her hands splayed down his chest while his blue-as-the-pool eyes shone with merriment.
It hit her. "You can swim, can't you?" she murmured, strangely unwilling to let him go even if he had tricked her.
Callahan grinned. "Yeah. I knew it was the only way I was going to get you in my arms tonight."
He wanted her in his arms? A heady rush of warmth pooled in her belly. Her body molded against his-like they were made for each other-twin keys for the same lock.
She looked into his eyes, his gaze soft and warm. The heat built and shimmered between them. His muscled thigh was between hers-when did that happen? Instinctively she pressed against him and a thrill of pleasure shot to her core. She clung to him, her fingers kneading into his shoulders. Her lips parted. More than anything she wanted to taste him, rub against his hard erection and take him inside ... She took a ragged breath.
"Woo hoo. Look at them, Lloyd." Katie Bass's shrill voice rang out. "I think they're already in love."
Hastily Rilla pulled away from Mac and swam for the opposite side of the pool. "Come on in, you two. The water's great."
Excerpted from Too Good to be True by Marie-Nicole Ryan Copyright © 2007 by Marie-Nicole Ryan. Excerpted by permission.
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