He's got the military command...
Army Special Forces Major Blayne Forbes has always desired Jemma Teagan, but knows she's off limits for a casual relationship. The last thing he wants is involvement with a forever kind of woman.
Jemma's desire for the diamond-in-the-rough soldier has never faded, and when he tumbles into her arms, the tough guy sends her heart rate into orbit. She doesn't want to love a man destined for danger, until he challenges her with a display of hardware she can't resist.
Publisher's Note: Originally published in the By Honor Bound anthology.
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November 13, 2009
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Excerpt from Major Pleasure by Denise A. Agnew
Major Blayne Forbes felt like hell. He also had an attitude to match.
As he drove his small blue Ford Focus onto Fort Carson, an army post near Colorado Springs, his head throbbed and his eyes burned with the need for sleep. He had arrived back from his deployment after more than four months sweating, fighting, and almost dying with his fellow soldiers in the desert. Instead of chilling at his apartment with a cold beer, he'd felt wired and compelled to visit the one person who could put things into perspective. Jumping into the car and heading to the military post would cure what ailed him.
After countless hours in a military transport aircraft with less than first class jump seats and then another flight in cramped coach quarters, his patience had worn thin. Rigors of deployment didn't bother him. Except for this last time. The battle had been hell, the situation gruesome, and the pain extraordinary.
Most of all, the reason why he'd been sent back to Fort Carson instead of fighting with his men irked him no end.
His hands gripped the steering wheel too tight, and his stomach lurched with sudden nausea. Get a grip, Forbes. This isn't the way a Forbes reacts to adversity. Punch through it. What would Dad think if he could see you now?
Dad wouldn't think any less of him. His father had never given him anything but respect and support, even when he'd made some decisions in his life that hadn't rubbed Dad quite the right way. Like joining Special Forces.
An ache rolled through Blayne's healing body. Maybe Dad had been right all along. Perhaps Special Forces had done more than given him pride and purpose--it had drained his soul and his energy until he had nothing left to offer. Blayne didn't quite believe Dad in that respect. After all, Dad had met and married Mom. And he knew for a fact his warm, caring mother wouldn't have married a man who had nothing to give. He always admired his parents' marriage, even if he didn't think he'd ever find the right woman for him.
Damn, a cold beer, a warm bed, and a hot woman might help what ails me.
Right now none of these things was an option. Beer would probably make the lingering effects of his illness worse, and he needed to vent more than take a woman to bed.
Talking to his buddy Graham Teagan would put his head on straight and his sight on the goal. He could pretend he needed a few things at the exchange and the commissary, and in reality he did. The refrigerator was empty. Plus, he needed shaving cream.
He pulled into the parking area near the building where Graham worked and got out of his car. Winter intruded on the area this October, and although the day sparkled with brilliant sun, a thick line of snow clouds already drifted over Pikes Peak and threatened a significant snowstorm later in the day.
He stepped out of the car and cold frosted his breath. As he headed toward the renovated offices, his head throbbed harder. He'd pick up a bottle of aspirin, too. Just before he reached the entrance the door swung open and out walked Graham's sister, Jemma Teagan. He couldn't repress a grin. Every time he saw her, his gonads did a full stop and double take.
This time he did more than a double take--his cock stood at full attention. Didn't matter he felt crappy, the heat poured straight into his loins and demanded attention. Seeing her sweet face, sparkling eyes, and heart-stopping smile did crazy things to him that would cure any illness on the spot. He swallowed and reined the animal reaction into submission with difficulty. It wasn't like he could march right up to her and say, Let me fuck you until I get it out of my system. In fact, he wouldn't think of saying anything remotely like this to Jemma.
Not if he wanted to live.
Graham would kill him if he knew erotic thoughts about Jemma bounced through Blayne's head every time she came within viewing distance. Blayne had wrestled with his attraction to her more than once, and he could bludgeon his physical interest into acquiescence if he tried.
Pfft. Right, asshole.
Who was he kidding? He wanted her under him, on top of him, any way he could get her as long as he could part her thighs and slide deep inside her wet, tight heat. At the same time, he knew he couldn't screw her without becoming a little too interested in more than her body. She was his best friend's little sister and a damn fine woman.
That was half the problem. The last thing in the world he would do is hurt her. Plus, Graham was extremely protective of his baby sister, almost too protective as far as Blayne could tell. Blayne couldn't afford to become involved with a woman who let her family dictate her social life.
So he shoved aside thoughts of making it with her, regardless of how much his body craved her.
Think of the battlefield. That should do the trick.
When she turned and caught his gaze, her brilliant grin wiped thoughts of death and destruction straight out of his head and launched him into full-on, raw sexual need. Battle often left a residue, a powerful need to connect, that he sometimes satiated with a willing woman. He'd never given into sexual need with Jemma, but right now it sounded damn good. She looked so fuckin' cute.
Sun caught the red highlights in her straight, waist-length light auburn hair. She stood in the doorway dressed for winter with a black beret hat and long black wool coat. He wanted to call out a greeting. Instead he felt a wave of dizziness.
Hell, this isn't good at all.
Jemma saw the big man walking toward her with confident strides. Her heart leapt in surprise and happiness, then thundered with excitement.
She couldn't restrain how her breath quickened and her body hummed whenever she saw him. It didn't matter that months of separation parted them, or that he traveled the world keeping freedom, hope, and democracy intact. No, she responded to him with unadulterated pleasure and a full-on lust she couldn't control.
Then reality intruded. What was Blayne doing home? She almost called out to him in greeting, until she saw his slight limp and the tired expression on his face. Pale, with five o'clock shadow and a haunted look in his eye, he didn't appear like the tough, indomitable soldier she'd known for almost two years. He caught sight of her and his trademark sultry smile started, then came to a dead stop. His mouth opened but instead of greeting her, he put one hand out to prop against the doorframe.
"Damn," he muttered as his eyelids started to flutter.
Worried, she reached up to cup his face in one hand. "Blayne, are you all right?"
The dazed look in his eyes retreated. "Yeah, I'm okay."
With instincts honed by years of growing up with brothers who didn't see the doctor unless their parents hogtied them, she shifted her touch to his forehead. "You're feverish. What's wrong?"
He blinked as if someone had just told him he'd jumped out of a plane without a parachute. "Nothing's wrong. I'm good."
A little surprised by his gruff tone, she withdrew her hand. His stubble-roughened jaw scratched against her palm, and though he looked tired, he could still make the molecules in her body come to a standstill and take notice. No doubt about it, in her personal dictionary under the word hunk, the description said Blayne Forbes. From the first time Graham introduced them, she had a gut-level reaction to the man. Blayne's unique combination of gallantry combined with a dangerous edge intrigued her. So did the soulful, sexually charged nuance in his thickly lashed dark eyes. A short, military cut restrained the curls in his lustrous, thick ash-colored hair. His somewhat crooked nose and strong jaw line added to the craggy image. His incredible, conditioned body spelled sin. In the recipe book of life under delicious there should be a picture of Major Blayne William Forbes.
For too long, steamy, sexy dreams of being with him haunted her. It didn't help he looked delicious enough to eat.
Swirling heat filled her loins and mixed with her extreme pleasure at seeing him. God, the man is gorgeous.
Today he wore a black leather bomber jacket, thick red turtleneck sweater, and butt-loving jeans showcasing his long, muscular legs. But it didn't matter what he wore because every time she saw him, her libido caught on fire whether she liked it or not.
More often not.
After all, getting involved with a footloose, rough-and-tumble Special Forces officer didn't define her idea of safe and secure. He had a risky job. Chances are one of these days he'd come back from a mission in a flag-draped coffin.
Right now, though, he looked anything but tough and it worried her.
He kept his hand on the doorjamb. "Sorry, Sweets. It's been a long day."
Sweets. Only Blayne could get away with calling her something like that. And she'd been too damn chicken to ask him why he'd pinned her with the nickname not long after they'd met. He never said it in an insulting manner, but always in a warm, teasing tone.
"I didn't know you were coming home," she said. "I figured Graham would have mentioned that your unit was back."
A grim, almost sarcastic smile spread over his face. "Graham may not have heard. I'm back alone."
Clutching at the doorjamb, he shrugged those mile-wide shoulders. "Long story."
Her eyes narrowed as she frowned. "I saw you limping. Is that why you're back?"
His mouth thinned, his gaze sharpening. "Among other things. Is Graham here?"
"I stopped by to see if he wanted to go out to lunch, but he apparently ran out to do some errands."
"I should have called first." He released the doorjamb gingerly, as if unsure he could stand without the support. "It doesn't matter. I needed to come on post anyway."
His gaze centered on Jemma again and this time the way he looked at her brought wild, rushing feelings back to her. Warm and appreciative, his attention caressed her face. Her cheeks flushed under his unbridled interest. As her nipples tingled in response, she wanted to reach up and hug him. Every so often she thought she caught two emotions running across his expression and it always caught her off guard.
Lust and tenderness.
Tingling built in her belly, moistening forbidden areas deep between her legs in a shocking rush.
The man knows how to turn me into mush every time.
"You look good, Jemma." His smile went brilliant, a touch of the old Blayne in his grin. "How are you?"
"I'm great." Before she could thank him, he closed his eyes a second and winced. That did it. She clasped his arm. "I think you should sit down a minute."
"It's no big deal."
"Right. You almost fainted in my arms a moment ago and you look like the semi from hell plowed over you and then backed up and did it again."
He placed his palm over her hand, effectively trapping her fingers against his arm. Big and well-shaped, his hands always inspired some pretty interesting fantasies for her.
He resurrected a wolfish grin. "Big, bad Special Forces officers don't faint."
She rolled her gaze to the sky a moment, then sighed. "Oh, excuse me. You don't faint, you pass out." She tugged on his arm and started to pull him along. "Well, Major Forbes, what am I going to do with you if you fall flat on your face right here? I'll have to call for EMS and that would embarrass you, big bad Special Forces officer or not. Why don't you sit in my car a minute and take it easy."
To her surprise he allowed her to guide him to her Taurus. She opened the door and he slid into the passenger seat. She got into the driver's seat.
When he leaned his head back and closed his eyes, she asked, "So what's wrong? Why did you come back early? Were you injured during the mission?"
The thought of him hurt at any time made her heart drop into her shoes.
He opened his eyes but kept his head back on the seat. "Maybe I should have taken a nap before I drove straight to the post."
"You just got back? No wonder you're out on your feet."
"I changed clothes and came right over. I need to talk with Graham."
"Well, in lieu of my big brother, I can be a pretty good listener."
He shook his head.
She grinned and crossed her arms. "Oh, is this one of those I'd-love-to-tell-you-but- then-I'd-have-to-kill-you things?"
"Yeah, some of it is."