This excerpt is from the first Banshee Creek book, Must Love Ghosts. Soldier Mike Stone has loved Abby Reed for years, but, as his dead friend's fiancé, she's been strictly off-limits. A trip to Banshee Creek, however, changes all that and, when the local Halloween party turns steamy, Mike starts to wonder if maybe he has a chance after all.
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“And,” he put his arm around her back and led her to the house. “I think you have more pressing issues you should be worried about.”
The steel band of his arm on her back and deep growl of his voice made her whole body tense with anticipation. Her concerns for the partygoers faded away, replaced by dark, carnal thoughts.
“Oh, really?” she asked archly as they climbed the front steps, his hand a warm weight on her back. “Like what?”
He frowned at the locked door. “Well, for starters, where is your key? It didn’t…er…fall out of your costume, did it?”
A look of dismay crossed his face as he contemplated the possibility that her house key now lay abandoned on the floor of the Lavender House. Abby stared at him in confusion until she remembered sticking the key into her cleavage. Did Mike really think she’d spent all night with a sharp metal object stuck between her boobs?
Apparently so. He looked positively horrified.
She fought down a giggle. “No, it didn’t. I put it in a safe place.”
He looked at her skintight costume, doubt clearly written on his features. “So, where is it?”
She arched a brow, amused. “Let’s see. How can I put this?” She affected a thoughtful expression. “Ah, yes.” She struck a sexy pose, gave him her best Mona Lisa smile and continued. “That’s for me to know and for you to find out.”
Mike’s eyes narrowed and he stepped forward, his movements smooth and agile. She was suddenly keenly aware that he was a warrior, a predator.
And she was the prey.
He took the jacket off her shoulders and hung it on the doorknob. She stood, waiting on pins and needles, as he walked around her and assessed her costume.
“A utility belt would be very useful,” he said behind her.
“Yes,” she agreed, feeling nervous. “And also very inaccurate.”
He snorted in exasperation, clearly not one to sacrifice practicality on the altar to authenticity.
A light touch on her back made her jerk. His fingers trailed down her spine and over her hips until he took her hand into his own. The skin-to-skin contact made her shiver and gritted her teeth, trying to hide her reaction. It took every ounce of self-control she possessed, but she stood perfectly still as he felt around her wrists, checking to see if she’d stuck a key into a hidden pouch. His touch was quick and professional, almost impersonal, but it made her muscles clench.
Finding nothing, he frowned and felt her arms, his fingers tracing the seams of her homemade costume. His fingers slid quickly over the smooth leather, leaving trails of fire in their wake. He leaned forward to reach a tricky spot, his breathing ragged.
She wasn’t the only one affected by the body search. The thought was both reassuring and exciting, and she bit her lip, struggling to keep her composure.
He reached her chest and ran his fingers over the zipper of the cat suit. “Well, I know it’s not in there."
Abby almost moaned as he continued his search, his hands thoroughly exploring her waist, then her hips. She endured his explorations stoically, but had to take a shaky breath when his fingers grazed her inner thighs. Her heart skipped as he gently stroked the back of her knees.
Finally, he zipped open one of her boots. She waited, breathless, for the inevitable discovery.
“Gotcha,” he said triumphantly.
She almost giggled. “Gotcha” seemed such an incongruous, although very Mike-like, exclamation. But her amusement drained away when Mike stood up, his jaw tight and his eyes dark with desire.
The search had excited him as much as it had affected her.
He reached, cupping her head in his hand, and her hard-fought self-control disappeared. She trembled as he kissed her harshly, sucking on her lip. He pushed her against the front door, fumbling with the key, and the feel of his hard body pressed against her made her moan out loud.
The door opened and they tumbled into the living room.
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