Happy Memorial Day my dearest readers!!!  I spent the long weekend working on MORE THAN A NIGHT, but I thought today I’d share a little unedited excerpt from the beginning of SAFE FROM THE STORM, coming out just in time for the 4th of July holiday.

Still need to write up a blurb, but here’s the basics:

Sheriff Tony Arnetto has been mourning his presumably dead wife for five years after she disappeared in a sailing accident.  Since then, he’s had to deal with all sorts of crazy rumors about missing fortunes, former husbands, and legal nonsense about her will.  Just as he’s finally thinking to put it all behind him, Nora shows up again, clearly not dead, and clearly in trouble.  This scene takes place just after she first shows up, and Tony refuses to help her (bad Tony), because he feels betrayed and angry and totally freaking insane that she’s still alive and hid it from him.  Fun stuff. 🙂

Safe From the Storm

EXCERPT:

It wasn’t hard to spot her, and Tony caught a glint of weak sunlight on flame-colored hair turning the corner at the end of the block.  The sight of her disappearing…again…was too much for him, and without conscious thought he was striding swiftly down the street.  Then jogging.  Then running at top speed, nearly crashing into a mailbox as he turned the corner, scanning the block for a glimpse of her.

Nothing.

Just the ordinary citizens of Bright’s Ferry going about their business, completely unaware that their beloved Sheriff Tony was in the middle of a nervous breakdown.

Frantic, Tony started down the block, desperate for a clue as to where she’d gone, when a soft little sound from the alley behind the butcher shop had him stopping short.  Heart pounding, Tony stepped into the dim alley and peered around the scarred dumpster.  His gut churned at the sight of her huddled against the brick in that fucking coat that was too thin for late fall in New England, and her gloveless hands wiping wet cheeks as she struggled to hold it all in.

“Goddammit, Nora,” Tony growled, and she looked up, startled.

The anguish and fear swimming in those big blue eyes was too much for him, and before he knew it, he was across the alley, yanking her into his arms just as she burst into tears.

His good sense was screaming at him.  What the fuck are you doing, Arnetto?  This woman is nothing but wrong.  Are you having trouble remembering that she played you, stuck your heart in a food processor and left you a pathetic shell of a man?

These were all excellent points, but the tirade was just a dim irritation because Tony was reeling, every nerve ending overwhelmed by the sensation of Nora’s lush body pressed against his own.  How could he have forgotten?  She was all soft, trembling curves, and Tony’s hands shook as he stroked her back in an old, familiar gesture while she sobbed against his chest.

Alive, he thought, marveling.

Her hands were cold and that was unacceptable, so Tony slid them under his jacket, the move pressing her breasts against his, his heart jumping into his throat when she snuggled in even closer.  The scent of strawberries rose from her hair and Tony felt himself go hard in an instant.  He’d avoided strawberries since she’d left, the scent she preferred twisting the knife even deeper, making the longing and grief that much more unbearable.  Now he was unprepared for the surge of lust that swamped him, pushing him to affirm her existence with a primal thrust between creamy thighs, hearing her cries of pleasure as he took them both over the edge.

“Tony,” whispered Nora, clearly aware of the hard length cuddled against her belly.

“No,” said Tony, furiously.

Whether he wanted them or not, soon there would be lawyers and explanations and shouting, and then she would be gone again.  He didn’t want to hear it.  Right now, the only thing that seemed to matter was that she was alive and in his arms again, where she belonged.

She doesn’t belong, whispered his common sense.

Nora looked up at him, her blue eyes wet and dark with emotion, and Tony snapped, swallowing her gasp as his mouth came down on hers, her plump, pink lips parting for him as her back hit the brick.  At the first taste of her, Tony lost his mind, starved for her kiss, demanding a response as his hands tried to re-learn every inch of her.  Though still curvy where it counted, she’d lost a little weight she couldn’t afford to lose, and he growled at the feeling of her ribs under his fingers.  Nora gasped against his mouth as his hand found her breast, the weight perfect in his hand, her nipple hard and tight under his fingers.

Stop!  You have to stop!

For a panicked second, Tony didn’t think he could.  He was seconds from yanking her skirt up to rip her panties away, and for an insane moment, couldn’t see the problem with taking her against a dirty brick wall in a cold alley behind a dumpster.  He’d keep her warm.  Hell, he’d make sure they both went up in flames.

And she’d let you.

She was unbelievably soft and yielding, and it was that thought – that she’d go along with anything he suggested – that had Tony wrenching his mouth and hands away, panting.  He couldn’t do it.  He couldn’t let her lure him in like this again.

“Shit,” he muttered, closing his eyes to block out the sight of her, no longer cold, but flushed and tousled, her mouth swollen from his, the buttons of her prim little dress undone to reveal a mile of mouthwatering cleavage and a hint of white lace.

When did I do that?

“Tony, we have to talk,” Nora said, her voice unsteady.

Tony stumbled back.

No talking.  Not ever. 

She was like a siren luring him to his doom, and he couldn’t risk her soft voice lulling him toward the rocks.

No matter how fucking good it feels.  I have to get out of here.

“Talk to my lawyer,” he managed, and fled.