With her life on the line, can she protect her heart?
A Chances Are story.
Phoebe's work at Second Chances, a women's shelter, has gone a long way toward her own healing after surviving an abusive relationship in college. She's moved on in every sense--except when it comes to dating.
Everything changes when Craig visits the shelter. The hot, young cop sets her pulse racing in a way that makes her consider making a move--and moving him into her bed for a casual fling. The first step: ask him out. Subtly, of course.
Craig has been attracted to Phoebe for months, so he's more than happy for the chance to get to know her better, in bed and out. His interest goes way beyond casual, but convincing her to think long term is going to take some time.
When it becomes clear her violent ex has come out of the woodwork, though, time is the one thing they don't have...
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November 03, 2009
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Excerpt from Protecting Phoebe by Shelli Stevens
"Are you going to leave me tonight?" she asked huskily.
His body tensed. "Do you want to be alone?"
"No." She wiggled a finger under the collar of his shirt, running her short nail over his light brown skin. "I don't want to be alone."
His chest rose against her cheek and stayed risen as he held in the breath. A few seconds passed before he exhaled unsteadily.
"I can sleep on the couch if you'd like," he offered carefully.
A soft laugh escaped her throat and she lifted her head from his chest to meet his gaze.
"If you stay, you will not sleep on my couch. You'll sleep in my bed." She quirked an eyebrow. "I just explained that I can defend myself, Craig. I'm not asking you to sleep over for protection."
Heat flared in his gaze and she felt the unmistakable hardening of his cock against her thigh.
Obviously torn, he muttered, "Phoebe, you've had a big shock tonight. You've been drinking. This may not be the time--"
"Look. I'm not a little girl. I'm a grown woman." She curled her fingers around a button on his shirt and pushed it through the hole. "I'm asking you to stay and make love to me tonight. I need you to hold me." Her confidence slipped on that last confession. "I have had a shock. And forgive me for coming on strong, but this is how I want to deal with it."
He glanced down to where she'd undone another two buttons, baring his chest.
"By sleeping with me."
"Well, that was the plan when we left the club anyway." She gave him an impish grin and, because his chest looked so damn enticing, leaned forward to brush a kiss across it. "I haven't changed my mind. And unless you have..."
"No." The word came from between clenched teeth. "Hell, no. You win."
He slipped his hand between them, fumbling with the buttons on her shirt as his mouth covered hers.
Her moan was a mixture of relief and pleasure. His tongue eased past her lips to stroke against hers, while his fingers delved into the cup of her bra to stroke her nipple.
Pleasure spiked through her and she let out a ragged whimper. Amazing how fast she could lose control with him. How he could make her brain turn to mush.
Cool air on her shoulders indicated he'd won the race for who could get the other's shirt off first. Her fingers went lax the moment he touched her breast.
She bit her lip and then resumed her task, managing another button even as he unfastened her bra and tossed it to the floor.
"Beautiful," Craig whispered.
His large hands cupped her breasts, squeezing the flesh and tugging the nipples into harder points. Oh God, it felt so good.
With a frustrated groan, she tore her mouth from his to rapidly undo the rest of the buttons on his shirt. She was so out of practice.
A moment later his shirt hung open, showing the defined muscles of his chest and abdomen. Her mouth dried at the sight. So sexy. So male.
The last thought sent a tiny wave of unease through her. She hadn't been with a man in seven years. Hadn't let herself trust one enough to become physical with him. There'd been too much bitterness covering the small layer of fear.
And yet, here she was, throwing it all to the wind. Ready to jump between the sheets with a man she barely knew.
"You sure about this?" His question indicated he sensed her inner turmoil. She lifted her gaze to meet his, searching his eyes for any sign that he'd hurt her or excessive dominance.
His expression only held desire and a surprising amount of tenderness.
"Yes," she murmured and pushed his shirt off his shoulders. "I'm sure." Leaning forward, she flicked her tongue over one dark nipple. "But thank you, Craig, for checking."