It was supposed to be a sexy calendar shoot to raise money for K-9 service dogs. Photographer Georgie Flynn never expected to break all her personal rules and jump into bed with one of the hunky men posing. And after their steamy night together, she certainly never expected to see him again…despite their powerful connection.
When she's targeted by a stalker and possible bomber, Georgie finds that her gorgeous one-night stand is the only one who can help.
Brad Lawson, an FBI operative, and his K-9 bomb sniffing partner are assigned to protect the pretty photographer--and this time, he's determined to keep things professional. He just didn't count on their explosive connection rekindling. But with a deadly threat on the horizon, will he be able to keep his body's demands in check and complete his mission?
About the Author
D.D. Ayers loves men in uniforms and dogs, making her series with St. Martin's Press a dream come true. She currently lives in Texas where she's at work on her next novel.
D. D. Ayres is the author of the K-9 Rescue series which includes Primal Force and Force of Attraction. She loves men in uniforms and dogs, making the K-9 Rescue series with St. Martin's Press a dream come true. She currently lives in Texas where she's at work on her next novel.
Read an Excerpt
By D. D. Ayres
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2014 D. D. Ayres
All rights reserved.
Georgie Flynn slipped out from beneath the sleeping male in her bed and reached for her camera. Ordinarily she didn't sleep with clients, and she certainly did not do beefcake photos. But screw the rules. Here, in her bed, was the winner of yesterday's hunk parade. Because he had made her laugh.
He lay on his stomach, his tanned skin in stark contrast to the snowy white sheets. His dark head was turned away from her, his features lost in the plumpness of a pillow. He snored lightly, just enough to assure her that he was oblivious to her lens. Vulnerable yet vividly alive. One long muscular leg stretched out fully atop the sheets. The other was tangled in the bedding, drawn up at a right angle to offer tantalizing shadowy glimpses of his impressive equipment.
Sexual energy zapped Georgia in her most vulnerable places with a reminder of how well his parts and hers had fit together not once but three times during the night.
His was a body that could sell underwear, swimwear, body spray, or a romance novel. Yet she wasn't after slick, overproduced advertising snapshots. She moved around the bed, trying to capture the intimacy of the moment.
After a few shots from the foot of the bed, she moved to open the shades so that the morning light slatted in and across the bed. She loved to play with light and shadow. The indentation of his spine became a dark mysterious valley while the high plains of his shoulder blades rippled up and over into the contours of his shoulders and arms. Hard to say which part of him was her favorite.
Who was she kidding?
It was his butt. She snapped a few tentative shots from the side of the bed. Those taut twin curves were the sexiest thing she'd ever seen. Muscular and perfectly formed, they were a testament to the raw male power this man possessed even in sleep.
She was in lust for the man in her bed. A man she wasn't ever going to see again because, well, because. She had behaved very unprofessionally. It went against all her personal rules about relationships. And because she was pretty certain that her actions had been motivated in part by the very bad week she'd had that preceded her arrival at Harmonie Kennels.
She had a stalker. Well, not a stalker exactly, but a pretty intense secret admirer. He'd been e-mailing her through her blog for two years. It was to be expected. Everyone who had a regular audience had at least one overeager fanboy or -girl. This fan, who called himself Secret Admirer — how original — seemed to know when and where every photo she'd ever gotten published was. He knew more than she did, running down reprints from sources across the world. Part of her was flattered, part of her creeped out. But lately he'd become more intense, especially after she lost out on a Pulitzer photo award she had been shortlisted for. Fanboy had gone berserk, saying that she had been robbed and deserved picture of the year, then lashing out at the winner on every online forum available. And that wasn't all. His last series of comments sounded vaguely threatening, as if he thought he could secure for her the "shot of her career."
It was true, she wanted to win a Pulitzer the way a singer wants a Grammy or an actor an Oscar. She was a serious photojournalist by profession. So she wasn't happy to be doing beefcake photos of hunky men with oiled biceps and mischievous smirks this weekend. But a promise to a friend was a promise. And Yardley Summers had a way of making her friends do things they would not ordinarily do.
Still, that didn't explain the man in her bed. Or why she was stealthily photographing him with the intensity of a chance meeting with a snow leopard in the wild.
"Georgie, Georgie." She was muttering to herself. She had so not planned for this to happen. And now she didn't know what she was going to do about it. Do, specifically, about him.
He even had sexy feet. They were big and long, but with elegant curving arches she had the sudden insane desire to bend down and lick.
The soft click of her shutter was the only sound as she moved like a dancer around her subject, dipping and bending, searching for the perfect angle.
She had spent the previous day surrounded by hard-bodied men in various states of undress. And, for the most part, they weren't a lot happier to be photographed, all oiled pecs and abs, than she was to be the one taking the photos. That was because they were not professional models but real men with serious jobs such as policemen, firemen, deputies, and such. All were K-9 officers for their various departments. Only Yardley Summers could persuade all of them to come out and reveal nearly all in the name of charity.
The men who had "volunteered" were most worried about being posed in ways that made them look girly or too slick or just cheesy.
Georgie tried her best to get the money shots quickly. She made her living photographing the D.C. scene, politicians, and other newsworthy events. Trying to get men to loosen up while staring at their half-dressed hard bodies was not the pleasure it might seem.
Thankfully, her twenty-one-year-old assistant, Zoey, a college student, had been doing the prep work: keeping track of the order of the men for the photo shoot, checking for strategic shaving needs, and spraying them with an oily mist so that their admirable torsos and ripped backs and arms would catch and reflect the light for the lens.
It was only after their dogs were added into the mix that the men relaxed and gave Georgie the easy smiles and cocky poses she'd been trying to coax from them in the warm-up shots. Man and dog. Powerful combination.
And then Philip Dexter arrived.
"Oh my gawd! Who's that?"
Georgia hadn't bothered to glance up from her camera at Zoey's exclamation. Zoey's jaw had dropped so often during the workday that Georgie no longer trusted her judgment of exceptional.
But then she did have to look up.
She liked strong noses. The man standing nearby had a bold and blunt nose, in perfect balance with his broad brow and strong jaw. Thickly lashed hazel eyes in dark olive skin. Damn! He had the eyes, the lips, the height, and the biceps. It was as if the Greek god of beauty had ransacked the gorgeous aisle of some celestial Macy's and gifted him with all the best deals. He was tacky with attractiveness, and she couldn't look away.
"Hi. I'm Philip Dexter. What do you need me to do?"
Georgie couldn't believe the X-rated thoughts rushing into her head. It was so unlike her, so unprofessional. She'd photographed presidents and heads of state. Even a couple of A-list movie stars. Why did looking at — Philip? — unglue her brain?
"Check with Zoey." She pointed and walked away before she made a fool of herself by drooling.
Georgie usually smiled at her subjects to put them at ease. Even the most confident person sometimes needed reassurance when being stared at down the barrel of a photo lens. But there was no need to reassure Philip about anything.
When his turn came he seemed perfectly at ease in his half-nakedness. At home in his fireman gear. And a perfect counterpoint to the gorgeous yellow Labrador retriever named Zander he held on a leash. Two beautifully proportioned animals that put the pheromone in phenomenal.
Unlike the other men who, after their shoots, escaped to pull on a shirt and accept the usual rude comments of their friends, this man had come right up to her. "Hi. Great session. This is Zander."
Embarrassed by the intensity of his gaze, Georgie had reluctantly taken the hand he held out. "Hi. I'm —" Her gaze dropped to his feet.
"Nickname." Holy samoly. Where had that come from?
"Interesting. You want to tell me how you got that name over a drink later?"
Boy, did she ever! Once she thought of an answer. But Georgie didn't mix business and pleasure. So she asked a question instead.
"What does Zander do?"
"He's got a great nose for search and rescue."
She took a few shots of just the dog, then dropped to one knee and waited for Zander to sniff her. When satisfied, the dog gave her a bump with his head, permission to pet.
Georgia did so, then rubbed each velvety ear with her fingers. "What a gorgeous animal you are."
"Thank you. Zander's handsome, too, don't you think?"
The audacity of his reply jerked her gaze up to his. Hazel, with a lot of tortoiseshell highlights. Gorgeous. Absolutely.
"About that drink." He wasn't going to give up easily.
She rose to her feet and leveled a glance at him that usually got her message across without the actual brush-off words. "I'm pretty busy. Lots of others waiting for their turn before the camera. Let's see how the rest of the shoot goes."
He had stared at her for a second, those honey-caramel eyes assessing something, then he nodded. "Right."
Now, in the early morning light, Georgie lowered her camera to stare with her vulnerable gaze at the sleeping man she'd invited to her place and into her body.
She'd had that drink with him, and several more. But that was not the reason he had gotten into her bed, and was still there.
It was the way he had looked at her all evening, as if she was the most important thing in the room. No man had ever looked at her with such single-minded intensity. Georgie knew she was attractive in a curly redhead, freckle-face way. But there were other more attractive women present, for instance her friend and their host, Yardley Summers. Summers, owner of Harmonie Kennels, was strikingly female. Tall and lean with cliff-hanger cheekbones, long red-mahogany tresses, and coal-black eyes, Yardley made every man who saw her look twice. Yet Philip hadn't seemed to notice Yardley was present.
When she'd pressed him a bit on the subject of women he'd answered, "What do you call a man on a date with a redhead?"
She had stiffened. Just when she was beginning to like him he turned out to be one of those jokers who thought making fun of her hair color was okay. God. She'd had enough of those jerks by fifth grade.
She started to stand up when he reached for her hand. "You didn't let me finish. He's the luckiest bastard in the room. And, if he's got half a brain, he won't try to be clever and risk losing her."
And now he was waking and turning over to reveal the reason she was still humming and quivering after a night of oh-so-happy. Morning hard-on.
She lifted her camera without a thought of anything more than the desire to immortalize his erection in all its glory.
"What are you doing?" His voice was as rough and rumpled as the bedding. The scowl on his face reminded her that he was a serious man with a serious job. Firefighter. K-9 division for search and rescue missions.
She squatted down beside the bed. "Just taking some informal shots." Her finger never left the shutter button, recording shots reflexively.
"I didn't agree to this. Not nudies." And yet he didn't reach to pull the sheet over his nakedness. Ooh boy. Just reclining there he was messing with her mind.
"What are you planning to do with those?" He pointed to her camera.
Georgiana lowered her camera and tried to think. Of course, she should assure him that she wasn't just some salacious female who would tweet and Facebook his ass all over the Internet.
"I'm an artist. When someone or something attracts my eye, I photograph it. If I was a painter, I'd have my easel out. Understand?" He was still scowling. "You're a professional, award-winning photojournalist. That makes you very competitive where your work is concerned. How do I know those photos won't show up somewhere public like a gallery?"
"I wouldn't do that." How did he know all about her credits? She had asked Yardley to keep her name secret in the Harmonie Kennels promo for the calendar shoot, and she certainly hadn't told him those details during their date. Of course, she had been shooting law enforcement professionals. These men would have easy access to such information. Maybe word got out anyway. "You have my word."
He cocked an eyebrow, an expression that defined skeptical.
"Fine." She sighed and handed him the camera. "Erase them."
He took it without hesitation.
"If I were you, I'd look at them first. Just so you know what I was doing."
She watched him click through the photos, the doubt on his face turning to surprise and then a faint smile. When he finally looked up, he raised both eyebrows. "You didn't take a single shot of my face."
"Not what I was interested in."
"So I noticed." His face caught fire with a grin so lewd she tightened her thighs in a purely female response. "What are you going to do with them?"
"Keepsake." Dear lord. How lame did that sound coming from a grown woman?
"You do this often?"
"I never do this."
He set her camera aside then stacked two pillows behind his head before reaching out a hand to her. "Then let's make some more memories."
She didn't need to ask what kind. Stretched out before her was the definition of a male in his prime. Six-pack, check. Ripped and ridged torso and arms, check. Heavy corded thighs and firm swells of calves, yep. As for the eager-to-please erection, oh my. Someone needed to thank his mama for producing the sinfully delectable man in Georgie's bed.
Lust rushed to her lower regions, feeding an ever-tightening ache at the apex of her thighs. Trouble. She was in a lot of trouble. She really liked this guy. He was cool, calm, totally in control without any of the macho swagger and antics that turned her off from the alpha males who strutted around Capitol Hill.
For the first time she realized that she was naked, too. Squatting down there by the side of the bed, she finally felt the chill of the morning.
"You're shivering." He wiggled the fingers of his outstretched hand. She noticed a tender, not predatory, smile on his face. "Come back to bed and let me warm you up."
She didn't doubt he could do that. Despite her shivering she was already quite warm in all her intimate places. "I don't usually do this."
"It's okay. Keep the photos. But keep them private."
"No, I mean I don't do this." She came up to her knees, letting the mattress hide her nakedness to just above her nipples. "I don't sleep around."
His smile could rearrange the stars. "We didn't sleep much."
Okay, she needed to be more specific. "I don't screw strangers. I don't pick up men. I don't do" — she swung an arm out to include the entire bed — "this."
His frown came back. "Is that why you took photos? Because I'm a stranger? I'm not part of your real world." He let out a small sound of male disgust. "I'm just a nude man in the bed."
"No. I have standards. Rules I live by. This isn't how I live my life."
"I broke your rules?" His smile returned. "I never broke a woman's rules before. So what was the thing I did that made you decide to break a rule?"
She didn't have a good explanation, or at least one she was willing to share with this outrageously sexy man. Even now, her traitorous gaze was wandering toward the tent pole under the sheet he'd pulled up to crotch level. Talk was so overrated. She really, really just wanted to reach out and touch.
"I'll erase them." She reached for her camera but he was faster than she would have thought possible. With a predator's grace he launched himself from the pillows and grabbed the camera out of her hand.
He lifted the camera to his face and began taking pictures of her, hunkered down and nude beside the bed. After a dozen shots he lowered the camera and offered it back to her. "Keepsakes. So you can remember how you were, too." He grinned. "Captured: a moment in time to remember."
It took her a second to catch up. "Are you brushing me off?"
He leaned back and folded both arms behind his head. "Let's just say we both got what we asked for. And it was ... better than that." He let his gaze slide over her, taking in every inch of bare skin not hidden by her crouch.
"I have to work this morning."
"I have to leave this morning."
They spoke at the same time.
"Listen, I'm sure there are sophisticated and clever ways to ease out of these situations. I don't know them." Georgie sighed. "Last night was great. Really great. But I've recently broken up with someone and I'm not looking."
"Sounds like we agree. I can't get any more involved either."
Her face stiffened. "Married?"
Excerpted from Necessary Force by D. D. Ayres. Copyright © 2014 D. D. Ayres. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Fan-frickin-tastic! That’s all I’ve got to say right now. Just fan-frickin-tastic. I absolutely loved this novella. I can’t say that I read this in a single sitting because I started reading it over breakfast and then had to go to work, but I definitely couldn’t stop thinking about it all day. Ayres is a very descriptive author. Everything is laid out creatively, yet plainly for the audience allowing them full access to the story. The story itself was riveting and very suspenseful. She develops a complex plot in a rather brief look at the world in her upcoming series. Her characters were completely unique. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know both main characters. Watching them struggle against their attraction to each other while trying to do what’s right was quite inspiring. Ayres combines the best of many worlds to create this perfectly unforgettable story. This was a great intro to a series that I’m not going to be able to resist. I can’t wait to read the next! Please note that I received a complimentary copy of this work in exchange for an honest review.
I would have gladly given this more stars but was disappointed it wasn't even 100 pages. Good storyline though. I'd love to read even more with these 2 characters, especially the lab!
What's not to like? She did jump into bed with him a little too soon for my taste, but that's my personal preference.
I came across this novella when I was trying to find something good to read. I am so happy that I ordered this book. I absolutely loved the characters and the story telling was so good.the story flowed wonderfully and now I am getting ready to start the next book in the series. Can't wait to read more by this author.
The book has interesting and thought provoking premise. No one would think they end up being watched for terrorism when they have been victimized himself with burglary. The tension, pressure, and strain growing as the story develops, kept me glued to my Kindle through this novella. When you put an alpha male romance hero with a K-9 dog, it is highly swoon worthy. The connection between Brad and Zander was fascinating and well described. More so than the connection between him and Georgie. It was hot and steamy, no doubt, but the real emotional bonding beyond physical attraction was lacking. Also the dialog at times was a bit tense, not really natural and flowing. But overall I enjoyed the story, introductory book to the new series K-) Rescue ~three big spoons with a teaspoon on the side from me.
Very good start to a new series, I have already pre-ordered the next book.
This seems like it's going to be a pretty good series centering around K-9 units in different law enforcement agencies. This one was the FBI and the bomb detection unit. It wasn't too bad, definitely would've liked it to be a bit longer since it was introducing a new series. Looking forward to reading more by this author. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.
Romantic Suspense fans have something to celebrate -- D.D. Ayres!!!!! Necessary Force is smart, compelling, and sexy, all the necessary elements for a terrific read. My regret is that I have to wait until August for the next book.
I love military men and dogs, so I had high hopes for this story--and I wasn't disappointed. I loved it! Georgie and Brad have amazing chemistry, and I loved Zander the K-9! An delighful read that I read in several hours, and enjoyed every second! So glad I discovered this new author. One of the best romances I've read in a while!.
Prequel Novella My synopsis: Photojournalist Georgiana Flynn is not so thrilled to be spending the weekend shooting half-naked men. That isn't her type of gig. She is a serious photographer. But when her friend, Yardley Summers, calls in a favor, she reluctantly agrees to photograph a charity calendar of Alpha Men and their K9 Partners. One persistant subject persuades her to have an after-shoot drink, which leads to a fantastic one-nighter and a mouth-watering keepsake. Everything was great until she learns that he is not who he says he is. Special Agent Brad Lawson, and his lab Zander, are part of the FBI's Bomb Detection and Assessment division. They pride themselves on maintaining a calm, emotionless approach and excelling on the job, afterall there are no second chances in his job if he screws up. But that calm is about to be greatly tested now when he's called in to investigate the scene of a burglary at person of interest's residence; a resident that just happens to have a portrait of his naked body hanging on her wall. The FBI can tie Georgie to one sucessful bombing and another bombing that failed, can connect her to one of her blog followers turned crazed and fanatical stalker, and note that Zander has found trace residue in her ransacked apartment. She fears the violent escalation of her stalker and FBI finding her guilty of terrorism. She agrees to work with the FBI in drawing out the crazed madman stalker, and to prove her innocence, before her life becomes even more endangered. SEX RATING: Sex scenes were done in a hints and suggestives with afterglow manner as opposed to giving the reader the thrust -by- thrust details. Very PG, almost hinting at PG-13. My thoughts: This is a nice, quick read with a fairly full plot. It's very well-written. The characters, primary and secondary, are developed and enjoyable. Their chemistry is very good. The interaction and dialogue is believable. On the downside, I was able to pick up on the "bad guy" immediately. The climax's conflict and resolve were clean and neat, without much elaboration due to the novella's length. Sufficient ending. Overall: 3.7 / 5.0
Necessary Force is the first novella in the K-9 series centred around Georgie "Boots" Flynn, a professional photo-journalist, and Brad Lawson and his K-9 partner Zander, both special forces agents on assignment. Georgie is doing a favour for a friend and a good cause, shooting a sexy calendar to raise money for K-9 service dogs. Sparks fly between Georgie and Brad, a night of passion follows, both of the understanding that it will be a one night stand. Unfortunately Georgie is unwittingly entangled in an FBI investigation into the whereabouts of a terrorist. When her home is violated and the FBI calls in the bomb investigation unit, namely Brad and his dog Zander, they realise that the brief connection they shared may not be so temporary after all. I love romantic suspense stories, the danger element, the intrigue and mystery, combined with romance is very appealing. This story was fast paced and action packed, the romance was hot and sexy and I read it in one sitting and was entertained throughout. You can't expect a lot of character development in a short novella but I thought the author did well in conveying the personalities of these characters. I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series.
When I saw this cover on Netgalley, I couldn't resist it. Totally due to that hot blonde on the cover, you know the one giving you that soulful stare. When I saw it was about a K-9 unit, I had to request it. I have been a fan of K-9 teams since Tom Hanks and James Belushi were upstaged by their 4 legged companions. An though I wish that the dog, Zander had a larger part in the book, I can understand it is a novella and therefore his role was limited. This book opened with Georgia Flynn, up and coming photojournalist, waking up after a night of mutual seduction with a man whom she believes is a K-9 officer with the fire department. Georgie had gone to do a charity shoot for a friend. All day long Georgie had been taking pictures of hard bodied men and their K-9 companions and been able to be professional. That is until Philip Dexter arrived; then she nearly lost her composure. When he talked her into dinner and she invited him home, she figured that would be the end of it since they were both incredibly busy people, both concentrating fiercely on their careers. That is until two months later when Georgie came home to find her house broken into and items missing. It wasn't long before the FBI showed up and insisted on bringing in a bomb sniffing unit to check her apartment that she realizes that Philip wasn't exactly who he said he was. Instead she is introduced to Brad Lawson, and that's when her life begins to flip upside down. This was a decent novella and introduction to a new series. Two characters who have mutual attraction and former relationship, put into a stressful situation that speeds their connection and trust of one another. Overcoming their rocky start and working around the professional parameters set by him being FBI and her official protector. I do wish that Zander had a larger role, but there is only so much that can be done in a novella. I look forward to reading the next full length book, Irresistible Force, in the series. I gave this 3 stars.