Flirting with danger is reporter Grace Grainger's modus operandi. But she's learned the hard way not to grow attached to the soldiers she's embedded with in Afghanistan. To escape from her pain and loneliness, she fantasizes about the hot night she spent with a gorgeous stranger three years before in D.C. Grace never thought she'd see him again-let alone need him to rescue her . . .
AN EXPLOSIVE NIGHT
Air Force Master Sergeant Josh Travers knows journalists are nothing but trouble. So when he has to risk the lives of his team to save some reporter who's been separated from her patrol, he's not happy-until he recognizes her stunning eyes and delicious curves. Josh has never wanted a woman like he wants Grace. Even in an Afghan cave with a sandstorm and enemy troops closing in, he can't deny the desire. This might be the end for both of them-or one hell of a beginning.
“Sure, I drank all my water in the M-RAP.”
“Here.” He reached up into the darkness and his hand collided with bare skin. He felt further up and encountered more bare skin. “What the…?”
“Oh! That’s embarrassing. When you bought me in from the bathroom, I had only put my panties back on. My jeans are still out there.”
“What? You take your pants off to pee?” He was getting a strange insight into women here, and he was incredibly uncomfortable and intrigued. Not about the pee, but about the type of woman who felt comfortable enough to take off her clothes in the middle of a war zone.
“I don’t have a dick, you know. How did you expect me to pee?”
“You might not have a dick, but you have balls,” he said grudgingly. “Do you want me to get your pants?”
“It’s okay. I’ll get them. I know where I left them.” Her voice trailed off as she went around the corner toward the entrance to the cave.
“No wait!” he hissed. Shit. What was he thinking, letting her wander around outside. He jumped to his feet, ignoring the pain that shot up his leg, and rounded the corner, to see her perfectly silhouetted in the mouth of the cave against the moonlit sky. “Get down!”
She turned to look at him instead of ducking. Damned civilians. He launched himself at her, pulling her to the ground, but trying to brace her fall. He didn’t really succeed.
Breath huffed out of her as he landed right on top of her. “Shh,” he said against her ear. In the distance, he could hear voices. With the echoes it was difficult to know if they belonged to people who were directly in front of them or across the valley. And suddenly, as the voices drifted off into the distance, he became aware of her body under his. The silence. When he moved slightly, his mind shifted to the perfect night they shared in D.C. The night he’d thought about so often. The night that had sustained him through some difficult deployments. He’d wanted to find her, but was honestly too scared to let go of his fantasy. Reality always sucked, and her being a damn reporter sucked the most.
He raised himself on his forearm and whispered against her ear, “Are you all right?”
She nodded, causing her short black hair to brush against his face. He closed his eyes and inhaled. His body weakened, and then got a lot harder. Fuck, he almost wanted to cry. He had dreamed of being this close to her again, to be on top of her, to be able to feel her scent overwhelm him again. But hell. Fate had played a dirty trick. Here, in a fucking cave in Afghanistan. What a fuck up.
She moved under him, and holy shit, he was sure she had moaned. Or wait, maybe that was a groan. “Am I hurting you?” he asked, suddenly concerned.
“In ways you can’t possibly imagine.” She let out a sigh. “No, I’m fine. I might need help up, though.”
He pulled himself off her and helped her up, and was very, very glad for the darkness of the cave. He knew his dick was tenting his BDUs. Thank god no one could see him. Then she stood to one side and the moon shone directly at him.
“Well, soldier, is that a night vision scope in your pocket or are you just pleased to see me?”
“I’m a fucking airman, not a soldier. And what did you expect, you writhing under me when I was just trying to save your sorry ass.”
“Oh. I’m sorry. I was joking, I thought that was your scope in your pocket. I was just trying…”
Shit. Shit. Busted.
He took a deep breath. And tried to laugh. “We seemed to understand each other better three years ago.”
“Well, we didn’t exactly do a lot of talking back then.” She smiled wryly.
Josh tried really hard not to close his eyes and give in to the emotion still coursing through him from being so close to her again after all those years of just dreaming about her.
Holding up one finger, she turned. She pointed at her jeans and nodded for his approval. He gave a tiny nod, and she virtually scampered out to pick them up.
As she entered the cave again, with a grin, he leaned against the wall to watch her in the moonlight. She bent to step into the pants and her glossy dark hair swung in front of her. She pulled them up, and started to fasten them. He couldn’t help himself, God help him.
His hand hooked over the top of the jeans, preventing her from finishing doing them up. She straightened. She should have had a quizzical look on her face. But she didn’t. It was like she knew. She met his eyes and he detected a tiny flicker of her eyebrows, as if saying “Yes?” Still holding her jeans, he pulled her toward him, his whole body throbbing for her. Every one of his cells felt as if they were reaching for her. Every feeling he had ever had, every warm thought, wrapped around her. He wanted her so badly. Had wanted her for three years. If he didn’t think about it, maybe he could forget she was a soul-sucking hack. His body certainly seemed to have forgotten already.
Desperate to taste those lips again, he abruptly pulled her against his body and in the same instant, claimed her mouth as his. She tasted every bit as good as his memory served. His body responded instantly, as if it had been waiting three years just to find itself in this very place.
Her mouth opened under his, kissing him back, her tongue dancing under his, making him long for the feel of her tongue elsewhere on his body.
A crack of a twig or something from outside put his instincts back in place as he wrenched away from her. Christ, what had he been thinking? He never broke the rules. She looked puzzled, but still she didn’t say anything.
He took a huge step away from her, shaking his head at himself. What. The. Fuck. Was wrong with him?
She took a deep breath in and let it go in a long sigh. But still she remained silent. Why didn’t she say something? Shit was she planning on writing about this? Of course she was. That was what she did. His career was over. His status as one of the most fast-tracked senior enlisted airmen in his career field was over. Damage control.
“I don’t know why I did that. I’m sorry for breaking protocol. I hope we’re still off the record?” He hated how hopeful he sounded.
She laughed lightly. “Exactly what about this…” she gestured around the cave. “…is protocol? Exactly what are you breaking?”
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