Monday, June 7, 2010

Scarlet and the Sheriff Excerpt 1

Sheriff Hart seemed even bigger without his cop’s uniform. Which didn’t seem fair. As Scarlet certainly felt much smaller standing neck deep in the lake with not a scrap of clothing between her and the beach.

“Got a report someone was skinny-dipping.” The Sheriff shoved his hands in his cut-off jeans and glanced at the small pile of her clothes that suddenly seemed very conspicuous on the sandy beach.

“I was hot.” Scarlet tried very hard not to look at his muscular legs, though the bright moonlight insisted on showing them off. “Some law in this town against cooling off?”

“You shouldn’t be out here alone in the dark.” His deep voice carried easily over the calm black silk of the water. “I heard your car’s not going to be fixed for a few more days.”


"So you were just passing through town until the accident.” He kicked off his sneakers and stepped into the water. “You need a place to stay?”

“Nah. I got a room at the No-Tell Motel.”

He regarded her thoughtfully for a long minute. “How is it?”

“It’d be a lot more fun if I had something to do there that I didn’t want to tell about.”

He raised his eyebrows. “I’m sure you could’ve convinced that trucker to prolong his stay in town.”

“Yeah, I was tempted.” She shrugged, hoping her nonchalance looked convincing. “But he was too uptight for me. The uproar over his truck.” She rolled her eyes. “You would’ve thought I destroyed his favorite toy.”

He smiled. “Mistress of innuendo.”

He waded in deeper, walking directly in the path of the moon, and suddenly she couldn’t breathe with the water caressing her, pressing its liquid, heavy weight against her bare breasts.

“What are you doing?” She knew she sounded breathless.

“I need to cool off, too. You don’t mind, do you?” He stopped, and with one swift motion pulled his dark t-shirt over his head and tossed it behind him onto the sand. “The water feels great.”

She still couldn’t breathe. In the clear moonlight, his chest looked wide enough to fill the lake. She could finally see the muscled ridges she’d fantasized were there, but the reality made her mouth water. And other parts of her, as well. Her gaze traveled down as if drawn by the ripple of muscle until she reached the point where his cutoff jeans obscured her view.

“Want me to keep going?” His voice rolled over her, smoother than paint, darker than the night.

She didn’t know if he meant keep going with the stripping, or keep going into the lake toward her. But she did know she was in trouble. Standing here, naked in the middle of a lake on a moonlit night with the sexiest man she’d ever seen approaching, she knew that common sense had never been further from her reach. The water flowed silkily around her, massaging her body with its buoyant touch, relaxing her and yet, within her, a fine tension was building as he approached.

“Double dare you, Mr. Officer of the Law.” Oh, God, if he came close enough to touch, she didn’t know what she’d do. She had to curb these impulses that pitched her right into trouble.

“You like to taunt men, don’t you?”

“It’s fun. What do you do for kicks?”

His white teeth gleamed in the moonlight. “If you’re a good girl, maybe you’ll find out.”

“Darn. I’m never a good girl.”

He took a step closer.

“For a bad girl, you’re rooted to your spot over there pretty firmly.”

"I’m comfortable.” Though her nudity, which had been simply delightful when she was alone, seemed both daring and nerve-wracking now that he’d appeared.

“I don’t doubt it,” he said. “Hot night. Cool water.” His voice dropped a register. “Naked body. I’m sure you feel fine.”

He grinned as if he suddenly heard his double entendre. “Really fine,” he repeated.

“So join me,” she said. “Take off the rest of your clothes.” Oh, she knew she was tempting the devil, but she couldn’t seem to stop. She wanted desperately to feel that hair-roughened chest slam against her, to feel his big hands clasp her head, holding her tightly for a demanding kiss. She wanted to see that tough façade morph into needy greed.

“I wonder why you’re so desperate for attention?”

“Come on,” she said, pitching her voice low enough to just reach him. “You’re dying to see what I showed that trucker.”

“Dying might be too strong a word.” He inhaled slowly, his chest expanding. “Under different circumstances, though, I wouldn’t mind seeing the real thing.”

“Seen a lot of fake ones, have you?”

“I’ve handled a few in my time.”

He was close enough now that she could see his brown nipples, and they were puckered just like hers. She was sure he was interested. So why was he holding back?

“The water’s warm over here.” She swirled her arms, savoring the embrace of the silky liquid. But she wanted something rougher. “Come closer.”

“Don’t think so.” He stopped his slow wade towards her. “As much as I’d like to.”

“You’re afraid we’ll end up having sex.”

“Call me old-fashioned. I like to kiss a woman first.”

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