Alexandria Collins learned the hard way not every man can be trusted. After her husband tried to kill her, she and her son went under FBI protection where they've spent the last ten years. Her trust issues with men have created a nonexistent sex life. But when they move to a small Arkansas town, she's drawn to the biggest, hottest man she's ever seen.
Brody "Brutus" Jackson is immediately attracted to Xan when her hot little body walks into the shop where he works as a mechanic in an official capacity, and as a mercenary unofficially. He knows instantly she's off-limits. He doesn't do single moms--too much baggage--but more importantly, he knows her from somewhere...a dangerous sign since he only remembers the last twelve years of his life, and what he's learned of his past needs to stay buried.
He fights his overwhelming desire, but when he discovers his assignment is her protection, he realizes how easily one hot little momma can bring him to his knees...and how difficult facing who he was can be.
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November 13, 2009
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Excerpt from Darkest Sin by Mandy Harbin
"What happened to you?"
"I'm fine," he barked at the same time as she asked her question. He obviously saw the worry building on her face before she expressed it. He sighed, shoulders relaxing a little. "I'm fine," he repeated without the edge. "What're you doin' here?"
What was she doing here? Oh, right. She was here to chew him a new asshole. Somehow staring at him in this state was like sprinkling water on her flame. It wasn't a bucket dousing it out because she still felt mad at how he'd been treating her, but something bad had happened to him, and, no matter how angry she might be with him, she didn't want him physically hurt--unless she was the one dishing it out. "We need to talk."
He inclined his head and stepped aside to let her in, though she didn't get the feeling he was really acquiescing, just biding his time. He hadn't answered her question about what had happened to him, rather he jumped right into why she was here, changing the subject. He was probably plotting excuses for his bruises or a new way to make her stay away from him.
As she stepped into his house with him following right behind her, her liquid courage seemed to disappear, and without the estrogen fest that was this evening, her resolve started to waver. Her anger was slowly evaporating, leaving behind her worry and, if she could be even more pathetic, arousal. Once she entered the minimally decorated, masculine living room, she turned, facing him.
"We do repos on the side. The guy didn't want to give up his car." He stepped around her to the couch, picking up an empty bottle. "You wanna beer or something?"
Couldn't hurt to revitalize that liquid courage she was just thinking about. She nodded as she processed his answer, then watched him walk into the kitchen. She could still see him since the only thing separating that room from this one was a small bar. If she didn't know any better, she might've believed that piece of bologna he'd tried to feed her about the repo. He said it so effortlessly that he might actually do those jobs on the side and he might've gotten into a tussle a time or two because of it. But the answer was a bit too forced and his stance a bit too nonchalant for her liking. He was trying too hard to distract her from the truth. Why? Was it because he was a private person?
Maybe it's because he's asked you to stay away from him and here you are inviting yourself over like you're BFFs.
She shook off that thought as he walked back into the living room, handing her a beer. Well, if he wanted to play it like this, then fine.
"Did you get the car?" she asked, taking a sip of her beer as she sat on the couch. He followed her lead, sitting beside her but not close enough to touch.
He grunted, shaking his head. "Got away. He had some friends."
Now that she believed. "Maybe you'll have better luck next time."
His gaze cut to her. "I'm countin' on that."
They sat and drank in silence for a couple of minutes. Not long, but long enough for her to get antsy. She came here for a reason, and she needed to get to it. She couldn't wait on the beer to renew her motivation. She'd just have to discuss this without the edge of anger from before.
She eased her beer onto the table and turned to face him. Because it was the polite thing to do, he did the same, turning to face her. Though why he bothered to be polite now, she didn't know. "What's your deal?"
He immediately stiffened, his eyes shielding again. "What do you mean?"
She sighed, rubbing her hand in her hair and realizing she probably should've taken some time to gussy up a bit. Too late now. "I mean you act like you're interested in me, but then you avoid me. This isn't high school," she chastised lightly. "If you regress any more, you'll be pulling my hair and running behind the monkey bars." She laughed to try to ease the tension in the room.
It didn't work. His already stiff body seemed to grow, his chest expanding, his presence strengthening before her eyes. She couldn't help it. She looked, and yeah, it looked as if he were housing a damn Louisville Slugger in his worn jeans. He was getting bigger everywhere.
"If I was pulling your hair, you'd be too busy screaming my name, and I'd be too deep inside you for you to run anyway," he rasped.
Oh. My. God. Xan felt heat creep up her face, her nipples tighten, her pussy creaming. Any question she had about him being interested just flew out the window. She tried to latch on to her sanity before it followed that same path.
What in God's name was she doing here? She'd avoided men ever since she'd gotten away from that psycho ex of hers and now it seemed she walked right into the lair of the very beast she'd tried shunning. She should've heeded Brody's request to stay away because she just realized it wasn't a request. It was a warning. She didn't know how to get out of this, but one thing was for certain. She was going to kill her nosy neighbor for fueling this craziness.
"I-I should go," she mumbled, attempting to get up. It was no use. He closed the distance between them, anchoring his hand around her tummy on her hip to keep her from moving.
"Not yet," he breathed right before his lips crushed hers.
And there went the sanity she'd tried desperately to keep. His lips were like fire, like a balm. Both hot and soothing, moving over hers. She moaned as his hand caressed her cheek and slid into her hair. She knew all logic escaped her, but she tried to minimize the damage he was doing to her body.
"Let me in," he growled against her lips as his hand tightened in her hair. She gasped at the erotically sharp tingle on her scalp, giving him the access he sought, breaking her last defense against his invasion.
His tongue dove into her mouth while his other hand tangled into her hair to control the kiss. He tugged at her hair, creating electrical currents that arced through her body and straight to her pussy. Then he massaged the pleasure-pain with a gentle caress. The sensation was so confusing to her mind, but pure ecstasy to her body. It was too much.
It was not enough.