Celebrity archaeologist Cari Dunn knew an affair with Jasper Benjamin was dangerous. Especially after the sound of shattering glass interrupts what was supposed to be a pleasure-filled night. When the threats against Cari start to stack up and the list of suspects seems higher than ever, Jasper calls for backup. Some very hot and exciting backup. For one night, Cari feels more protected than ever. But if they're lost in passion, can they see the danger before it's too late?
The Uninhibited! 3-Part Serial is best enjoyed in order.
Part 1 - Untamed
Part 2 - Unbound
Part 3 - Undone
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I braced myself for an impact that never came. Even though he'd been the one to shove me to the ground, Jasper somehow still caught me in midair and rolled, cushioning my fall and covering me with his body. My lungs were on fire as I instinctively held my breath, waiting for what came next.
Adrenaline pumped through me, and after what felt like ten minutes but was probably only one, I pressed my hands against his chest, needing to see what the hell had just happened.
"Damn it, Cari. Stay down!" No matter how much pressure I applied, those massive arms remained, a cage around my face. It would likely have been smart to stay there, to let him do his job, but I'd never liked small spaces, and pressed beneath him as I was, it was hard to catch a breath.
"Please." I huffed and pushed again. "Can't ... breathe."
Irritation glittered in his eyes, and as I blinked up at him, I realized that this wasn't a man I'd met yet. The Jasper I'd spent the day — and night — with was stern, with a facade that would crack if you wedged yourself in there just right. The person acting as a shield for my body as the last of the glass tinkled down around us?
If I hadn't just seen that he would do whatever it took to keep me safe, I might have been afraid. Whoever had just shattered this glass, I didn't want to be in their shoes.
Anger was fire in my veins, evaporating the fear. I shouldn't need a bodyguard. I shouldn't be scared in my own damn room when all I'd done was my job.
"Let me out." After a moment's hesitation, during which I would have bet my soul that he was assessing the remaining threat, he rolled enough for me to get free. I crawled to my feet, wincing as I became aware of a thousand tiny cuts, bee stings that would probably hurt like hell tomorrow.
Right now, I didn't care about these little cuts. Right now, I'd been pushed from mildly concerned about the vandalism to furious that I was being targeted.
I was a good person. Hell, most of the time I couldn't even stand up for myself. What had I done to deserve this?
"What the hell do you think you're doing?" He cast a sidelong glance at me, most of his attention fixed on the icy shards of glass jutting out of the window frame like the teeth in a jack-o-lantern.
"Standing up for myself." Careful not to step on any glass, I snagged my dress from the floor. I cursed when I saw the straps that had been sliced clean through with his knife, but I tugged the remains of the garment over my head anyway.
My legs shaky, I wobbled on the high heels that I still wore.
I gasped once I'd smoothed the fabric back over my body, holding it to my chest with my hands. He'd pulled his pants up and moved, quiet as a big cat, and was standing a mere whisper away, still angling himself between me and the broken window. "If you think you're going out there, think again."
"Excuse me?" I could feel the vertebrae in my spine snapping into place as I straightened, incredulous. "It was Daly. You know it was Daly. He's a chauvinistic redneck pig who'll keep pushing until someone pushes back. I shouldn't have to be scared. I shouldn't need to have you."
"And what are you planning to do?" He stepped back the tiniest bit, and his gaze swept over me, reminding me that I was in a skimpy, torn dress, high heels, and that I was missing panties. This, I'm sure, was his point. "Slay him with your vicious rhetoric?"
He had a point, but I couldn't just stay here — couldn't just take this. I'd worked damn hard to get where I was — the schooling, the doctorate, the show. Now, with fear a jagged blade sawing at my success, I felt as though it could all be snatched away.
I wasn't going to have it. Gathering all the little bits of bravery that I could manage, I raised my chin into the air. "You can't stop me."
"I can." He arched an eyebrow. "And I'll enjoy it."
I guessed his intention moments before he moved, and my eyes widened. I choked out a breath as he lifted me straight off my feet, hoisting me up and over his shoulder.
"Jasper!" He was not going to carry me out of here caveman-style ...except that, with his arms acting as steel bands around me, I found that I had little say in the matter. I cursed as his boots ground the shards of glass into a powder, white sand that glinted up at me as I hung upside down.
I was about to tell him exactly what I thought of that, but the words caught in my throat when I realized that at some point he'd pulled out his gun. The black metal gleamed in the low light that filtered in from a streetlamp outside, and the bitter taste of fear, undiluted, spread over my tongue.
If that gun was out, then he thought there was real danger. I couldn't hold back the slight shudder that vibrated through me, and instead of fighting Jasper, I found myself digging my fingers into his muscle. I pressed my face against his shoulder, eyes squeezed tight as he slowly, quietly opened the door to my room. Backing out, blocking me with his body, he craned his neck, grunted with satisfaction, and swung fast into the hall, his massive frame curled in, enclosing me in its shell.
I remained curled into a ball, having finally realized that what I saw as standing up for myself was really just making his job more difficult. I heard the sound of a lock opening and the thud of a door swinging open, and then I was being set down. My eyes flew open as my feet touched the ground.
"Whose room is this?" I watched, wide-eyed, as Jasper closed the door with the heel of his boot, then tucked his gun into the waistband of his pants. When he looked at me again, that stranger was still visible in the lines of his face. He was cold, hard — ready to do whatever it took to get the job done.
"Mine." Methodically, he checked every inch of the room, which was identical to mine. Finally, he nodded with satisfaction, turning to leave. "I'll be back soon."
"Wait!" My muscles locked as that very real fear turned them to ice. He looked back over his shoulder and raised an eyebrow. "I'm not staying here alone!"
That pale green of his eyes softened, deepened, and I expected ... I don't know what, exactly. That he'd say he would stay?
"I doubt that whoever did this is hanging around, not with the noise the breaking window made." I relaxed a bit, but his next words stiffened me back up. "But I have to go make sure everything is clear. You know that."
Yes, I knew that. At least, my brain did. My emotions? They were a big, giant mess, but they agreed on one thing: staying here alone was not an option.
"I want to come." I tugged the severed straps of my dress behind my neck and tied them in a hasty knot. Not pretty, but it would hold it up. "Please."
"No." Jasper pulled the gun back out of his waistband, and I knew I'd been dismissed. "You're staying here, where it's safe."
"No." I didn't want to admit the truth, not even to myself, but I had no choice. "I don't want to be alone."
When Jasper looked at me, I saw a bit more of that softness he'd already shown me. To my horror, I felt the back of my nose start to tickle, wetness gathering in my eyes.
I didn't think that someone was out to kill me or anything, not really. To scare me? Absolutely. What sliced at my soul was that someone hated me this much.
It didn't set right, especially with my emotions still flying from the super-intense intimacy with Jasper, and the fact that being left alone was my biggest fear.
"Cari." His hands went to his belt, which was still unbuckled. I tilted my head, puzzled — surely he wasn't going to try to have sex with me right now?
He pulled the length of leather from his pants and closed the space between us. I understood what he was about to do seconds before he grabbed my wrists, pulling my hands behind my back.
"Get your hands off me!" I hissed as he used his body to herd me against the slender support beam that stood in the middle of the room. My hands were trapped behind my back where he'd twisted them, and I thrashed as he wrapped the belt around my upper arms and torso then around to the back of the column. "Jasper. You're not seriously doing this."
"My priority, above all else, is making sure that you stay safe." Buckling the belt and pulling it tight, he leaned back to look me in the eye. My teeth started chattering when I realized that he was really, actually planning to leave me here. "I promise that you will be safe here. I just need ten minutes, okay? Ten minutes during which I know where you are."
I shook my head, a chill settling over my body. It was completely irrational, and I knew it, but it didn't stop the feeling. "I hate you."
He didn't even flinch. Instead, he slid a finger between the belt and my skin, testing its tightness. "You can hate me all you want, as long as you're safe."
I bucked against the restraint as he slid his gun from his waistband again. "Jasper. Please."
He paused at the door, looking quickly back over his shoulder. It was infuriating to find no regret in those eyes, no sense that he was doing anything wrong. "Ten minutes. I promise."
And then he was gone.
I stopped trying to free myself the second he was out the door. This was Jasper, after all — if he wanted me to stay put, he would have bound me up well enough that I wouldn't be able to get free, no matter what.
The anger helped to cover the fear, so I clung to that.
What kind of person abandoned another when they knew they were scared? Seriously?
It didn't matter what kind of connection was between us — he was never touching me again.
The minutes ticked by — literally, because I could see the alarm clock on the bedside table. I tried closing my eyes, willing the time to go faster, but kept peeking, so instead I focused on various things around the room. The pale green wallpaper with the faded pattern, the worn carpet beneath the soles of my shoes. The stack of jeans and T-shirts that Jasper had unpacked, and beside it a well-worn paperback and a glossy magazine.
Both of the latter surprised me — first, he seemed more the type to go hit things than to kick back and read. Also, the book was a copy of Foundation by Isaac Asimov, and the magazine was something called SciFi Now.
My big, hulking bodyguard was a geek.
At the nine-minute mark Jasper pushed back into the room, gun again tucked into his pants, eyes finding me immediately.
"Whoever threw the rock is long gone." He wasn't surprised, and the set of his body told me that I wasn't in any danger anymore, either, at least not right this moment. "The police are knocking on doors to talk to people, but I don't think they're going to turn anything up."
"You knew that before you tied me to a fucking pole," I spat out, wriggling against my bonds again now that I had an audience. "It would have been safe for me to go with you. You didn't have to leave me here alone."
"I suspected," he corrected me, approaching slowly. "I didn't know. And because I didn't know, I made the best choice to keep you safe."
"You left me here alone!" To my absolute dismay, my voice cracked. I wasn't a big crier — I preferred to get out my frustrations physically, which was why I'd taken up Krav Maga.
Ever since I'd met Jasper Benjamin, I'd been a mess. All the more reason to hate him. Even if that book and that magazine had given me a tiny peek into the man behind the muscles, making him more of a real person and less of someone representing my lack of safety.
"Cari." Jasper closed the rest of the space between us. Tracing a finger over my cheek, he cupped my chin in his hand when I tried to turn my head away.
I stayed silent, but he nudged my face up until I was looking into his eyes.
"I'm sorry that this wasn't what you wanted, but I'm here for a reason. I'm here to keep you safe." He huffed out a breath of frustration when he saw that I wasn't softening. "Do you really think I'd leave you here alone if you were really in danger?"
"I don't know!" I shouted suddenly, jerking my face away from his grasp. "That's the thing, isn't it? I've only known you for a day. I don't know you at all!"
"For all I knew, you were never coming back!"
"I didn't know, don't you see? And that was what scared me!"
"Cari!" Dipping his head, he stopped when his face was just a whisper away. My breath caught in my throat when I smelled sweat and a hint of the musk from sex.
I was angrier than I'd ever been, but my body had already memorized the scent of him — it knew I was safe.
"I'm sorry I had to leave you when you were scared," he said, running a hand though his hair.
"That sounds like a sorry-not-sorry to me." I glared. "You're sorry you left me when I was scared, but you'd do it again?"
"Absolutely." His calmness was infuriating. "That's my job."
"Well, your job is done." My tone was laced with bitterness. "Now let me go."
"It's a very stupid man who releases a woman ready to kill him." Amusement warmed his tone. "I think I'll just wait until you've cooled down some."
"You can't be serious." I wriggled against the belt that was holding me to the pole. "You'd better hope you're far, far away when you do let me free. Remember Lorena Bobbitt? I don't mind being called a copycat."
This time the amusement pushed all the way through, and he laughed — he actually laughed. I was tied to a pole, I was still wearing my stupid high heels, and I was so mad that castrating him was a sweet option compared to some of the things I had I mind ...and he was laughing.
I was done. I was done with this day, done with the vandalism and the fear and needing a bodyguard.
"Please let me go." My voice was soft. "I want to go to bed."
He said nothing, but I again saw that hint of something softer. Moving to the side of the pole, he reached for the buckle, pausing when his fingers brushed the metal. "You do know me."
"What? I know almost nothing about you." Craning my head to look at him, I narrowed my eyes. "I know you're bossy. I know you fold your T-shirts like you work at the Gap, and I know you probably play with your lightsaber in your spare time."
"Most men play with their lightsabers in their spare time," he said solemnly as I hissed. His fingers trailed from the belt, across the leather, and to my shoulder. Despite my anger, the feather-light sensation made me shiver. "But those things ... those are more than most people know."
This took the wind from my sails. "That's sad."
One side of those wicked lips lifted in a half smile, and he shrugged. "That's just how it is. In this line of work, it's best not to have ... those kinds of attachments. It's hard for the other person to watch me walk away, knowing I'll be in a dangerous situation. So it's just ... better."
"It's still sad," I informed him, but my anger was mostly gone. I understood why he'd told me this.
He could keep me safe, but when dealing with my emotional fallout, he would be clumsy.
Not sure what to say, I dipped my head and brushed a kiss over the fingers that were resting on my collarbone. The pressure on my skin increased for a moment as he pressed down, and then he lifted them to my lips.
I kissed them again, letting my head fall back as I enjoyed the sensation of his rough fingertips brushing over the soft, swollen skin of my mouth. He circled to again stand in front of me, and my entire body tensed when I saw the clench in his jaw, the tightness in that ridiculously long frame.
He'd shared a part of himself with me, and he wasn't sure how to feel about that.
I only knew one way to thank him.
Parting my lips, I nipped at his fingers, and I wasn't gentle. He hissed, tapping my mouth in warning, and I did it again.
He lowered his head slowly, giving me time to refuse, but I welcomed his kiss.
His lips brushed mine softly, but there was still nothing gentle about it. The intensity between us rose instantly, and I tried to lift my arms, to thread my hands through his hair or to run them over the defined muscles of his back and hips, but I was still pinned in place.
He chuckled darkly against my mouth, pulling back to look into my eyes. I don't know what he saw there — anger, empathy, frustration — but he seemed to know just what I wanted right now.
I gasped when he pressed his full body against me. He was semi-hard, his growing erection heavy against my hip, and I rocked against it, triumphant when he lengthened and thickened under my touch.
Excerpted from "Unbound"
Copyright © 2017 Lauren Hawkeye.
Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
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
Hot! Hot! Hot! The heat really picks up to scorching Hot, in the second part of this series. Cari and Jasper's chemistry will singe your fingers as you turn the pages, in this fast paced suspenseful and erotic read. This part picks up right where part one ended and the excitement doesn't stop. After learning more about Jasper will Cari be able to be the one he has been looking for? Will their relationship be strong enough for more? With danger still present is Jasper all that Cari needs to survive? And will the secret waiting for them in their hotel room, lead to a HEA? You will have to read to find out. Received an ARC from the author and voluntarily wrote an honest review.
Unbound is the second part in a three part serial by Lauren Hawkeye. It picks up immediately from where the first part left off, so if you haven't read the first one, you should do so. Cari hadn't really taken to heart that she was in danger. But, when someone shatters the window in her room - while she's in it, she realizes that the threat against her is real. The list of enemies grows as she struggles to accept the protection Jasper offers her while trying to figure out just who is responsible. Removing her from the area is Jasper's way of ensuring they have at least one night of peace but danger still threatens. In the first part, I wrote in my review that I wasn't sure what to think of Cari, that her character was written very unevenly. This is still true. Her actions and reactions to certain events left me scratching my head wondering why. She is in danger and rather than accept the help offered her, she instead pushes back, usually against common sense and making her seem irrational. And yet, following such scenes will be something that shows that Cari is a rational being. The strength in this part lies in the sex scenes. Jasper and Cari light the sheets on fire with their passion. I won't spoil it but there are definitely so truly hot fantasies brought to life here. At this point, I'm fairly certain I know who the villain is and I'm curious to see whether Ms. Hawkeye will focus more on the action rather than the passion in the next and last part of the serial. This second part of the serial has the same strengths and weaknesses as the first. If you enjoyed the first part, you'll enjoy this. 3.5 stars
the second part in the uninhibited series, unbound, goes full on sexy with cari and jasper. as the danger to cari escalates, so does the sexual tension. when things reach the breaking point, jasper brings cari to her knees only the way he can. and if he has a little help from his friend, jackson, well, all the better. this is a quick, very hot read. it continues the stalker story without giving away where things will end, but also ramps up the tension to the mystery and the tension between cari and jasper to steam-worthy levels. out of the three parts, this is probably the sexiest and the hottest. nothing wrong with that, in my book. **unbound will publish on july 10, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (brazen) in exchange for my honest review.
Celebrity archaeologist Cari Dunn knew an affair with Jasper Benjamin was dangerous. Especially after the sound of shattering glass interrupts what was supposed to be a pleasure-filled night. When the threats against Cari start to stack up and the list of suspects seems higher than ever, Jasper calls for backup. Some very hot and exciting backup. For one night, Cari feels more protected than ever. But if they’re lost in passion, can they see the danger before it’s too late? Review: The action starts right where the first book ended. This like the first installment is a quick read, easy to finish in a lunch break. The sexy goes up a notch in the second part as we get a little menage a trois. The danger also escalates as Cari and Jasper are attacked in her hotel room as well as others are attacked who are associated with Cari. I hate to give away more as it really is a very short read. I will say the writing is great and the story is very sexy with a little mystery and action thrown in. Again, this is the second book in a three part serial and need to be read in order. 3.5Stars *I voluntarily read an advance reader copy of this book provided by the publisher.*
Okay, book two immediately starts off where book one ended – right in the middle of an attack against Cari! Jasper is there to protect her but this is where Cari truly gets to know this very protective (alpha) side of him. Annnnnnnnd the story is sexy and hawt. Whew! While they deal with who is trying to get to Cari, we get to read about Cari and Jasper and how steamy their relationship is becoming. Can’t wait to read the next book!
This is the second book in the series and I do recommend reading them in order. This story is fast paced and takes of right where the last book ended. The story has plenty of drama and suspense and the chemistry between Jasper and Cari is HOT. I really liked it!
3.5 stars 'Unbound' by Lauren Hawkeye is book 2 in the "Uninhibited" series. This continues the story of Cari and Jasper. Since this is a continuation of their story, you should read the previous book first. Cari and Jasper are getting closer and so is the person who is after Cari. Jasper tries to keep Cari safe and secure but Cari has a mind of her own too. This is a Novella with about 70 pages. The Uninhibited! 3-Part Serial is best enjoyed in order. Reading Order: Part 1 - Untamed Part 2 - Unbound Part 3 - Undone "My honest review is for a special copy I voluntarily read."