Big city party-girl Amanda Barber has been spoiled most of her life. But life for Amanda suddenly becomes a major challenge: adapting to small town life, dealing with her handicapped brother and constantly butting heads with a frustrating local cop.
As a police officer and former Marine, “responsibility” is Max Bryson’s middle name. Never having been in a serious relationship, he has no plans for being in one in the near future. He likes being his own man. And even if he were interested in a serious relationship, he certainly wouldn’t choose it to be with someone so immature and irresponsible as Amanda. But no matter how hard he tries, he can’t get sexy Amanda out of his head or his heart. Watching her mature in front of his eyes, his protectiveness towards her only strengthens.
Bossy and possessive aren’t the only words Amanda uses to describe this frustrating cop. She can’t deny just looking at the man makes her tremble. But she’s done with having anyone control her and this man isn’t going to be any different. Or is he?
She laid her head on his shoulder and snuggled her nose into his neck. She could feel his strong pulse against her cheek.
It felt so good to be in his arms. She circled his tattoo with her finger. Semper Fi. Mary Ann had made sure to tell Amanda that it meant “always faithful.”
“Did you always want to be a cop?”
He had one hand on her hip and the other on her thigh, rubbing it slowly back and forth. “Yes.”
She waited a moment, and when he said nothing further, she prodded. “Why?”
His deep voice resonated through his chest. “I was always in awe of my grandfather and my father. That’s why I followed in their footsteps. That’s why all three of us did. The Marines first, to serve our country, and then the police department, to serve our community.”
“To protect and serve, huh?”
The pride exuded from his words. “It’s the Bryson family motto.”
She moved her nose up to nuzzle him behind the ear. “Well, you can protect and serve me anytime.”
“I’d planned to since the minute you bitched me out in that parking lot when you first came to town.”
She raised her head, pushing herself up with a palm against his chest. “You were only trying to get into my pants.”
“True…” he said slowly.
Amanda grabbed a nearby decorative pillow and whacked him.
“Hey! You didn’t let me finish. True, but when you saw me in my uniform, you just wanted a big ol’ piece of this bad boy.” He opened his arms wide as if offering himself to her.
Amanda whacked him again. “Yeah, right.”
“You can’t say you didn’t want this.” He reached out, and his long fingers cupped her face as he leaned in to kiss her. It was only a slight brush, leaving her wanting more.
“No, I didn’t.”
“Would you have kissed me if I had torn up the ticket?”
“For twenty-five bucks? Get real. I wanted to take out that retractable metal stick you carry and beat you over the head.”
Max laughed. “You mean my ASP baton?”
“Only because you were sexually frustrated.”
He poked her side gently. “Admit it.”
“Okay. You’re right. I was sexually frustrated because I couldn’t jump your bones right there in the middle of town, in the free parking lot on the pavement amid a bag of spilled dog toys, while Greg looked on. Satisfied?”
His smile widened. “Yep.”
“Good. Now kiss me again.” She grabbed the back of his head and pulled it down until their lips were a breath apart. “And do it like you mean it this time.”
The light peck was easily forgotten as he claimed her mouth with his, crushing her to him. This was what she had been waiting for. She groaned into his mouth, tangling her tongue with his. She felt a twinge and wiggled her hips in his lap, feeling his body harden.
He pulled back slightly. He ran a finger under the edge of her skintight black pants. “You know, I’ve drunk too much to drive. I guess I’ll have to stay put until I sober up.”
“Hmm. Maybe I should make another pitcher to make sure it takes you a while to sober up.”
“Forget it. I want to make sure you remember everything I do to you.”
“You’re right. I want to make sure you can do everything to me.”
“So we’re going to seal this new compromise with another kiss?”
“No, even better…” Amanda unfolded herself from his lap to take his hand and lead him upstairs.
As the steps creaked underneath him, she whispered, “We need to be quiet.”
At the top of the stairs, he answered, “I’m not sure that will be possible. You squeal like a pig.”
Amanda stifled a laugh and poked him in the ribs with her elbow.
“Shh!” She pulled him into the master bedroom and shut the door quickly behind them.
She leaned against the door and watched him rub his ribs. His fingers were long and strong, and she knew what they could do to her, how undone she could become. Her stomach fluttered at the thought.
He splayed himself over the bed and held out a hand to her. “I feel like a teenager trying to have sex in my parents’ house and not get caught.”
Amanda reached behind her to turn the lock.
“Are you going to be able to stay quiet?” she asked him.
A wicked smile crossed his face. “Oh yeah. But I doubt you will be able to.”
“I hear a challenge.”
He laughed quietly. “You betcha. Are you game?”
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