Book 2 in the Lock and Key Series.The only thing better than a man in uniform is a man out of uniform. Sasha has never been more certain of anything in her life, and she’s never wanted anyone more than she wants Officer Henry Dryden. Tall, tough and battle-scarred, he’s the first man to capture not just her eye, but her heart. With curves and the confidence to use them, it’s not hard to attract his attention, or get him to break out those cuffs and keys. But for the first time, getting exactly what she wants feels dangerously like risking it all. There’s no question about the one thing Henry wants most when it comes to Sasha: to protect her. After their coastal North Carolina community is sent a message via the brutal murder of the prison warden, no one is safe. Henry can’t afford to be distracted by things like the all-consuming desire Sasha inspires. There’ll be time for that later … if he can keep her from getting caught in the crossfire of a killer’s revenge scheme. Haunted by the ghosts of his past, he’ll do anything to avoid being the only one to walk out of a war zone alive again. The way forward is clear: stop the convict who’s hunting officers in Riley County, and keep Sasha safe … or die trying.
Officer out of Uniform EXCERPT 1 - EXPLICIT
Henry had had a hard-on pretty much constantly for three days straight, and there was no end in sight. There had to be something wrong with him.
The hardness that made his uniform pants uncomfortable was all natural, but snippets of late-night prescription drug commercials haunted his thoughts anyway: see a doctor if an erection persists for more than 4 hours.
4 hours? He hoped to God that that timeframe only applied to men who used those drugs. Because if that was a rule of thumb for everyone, he was in serious trouble. And seeing a doctor wasn’t going to fix it.
“Damn it.” He sucked in a quick breath as he buckled his duty belt, fastening the heavy black nylon around his hips. He was used to wearing it, but with his dick in the way, it was suddenly uncomfortable.
Wolf, his German Shepherd, raised his head off the kitchen tile, ears perked forward, gaze questioning, like he was waiting for a command.
Henry spared a glance for the silver sable dog. “It’s nothing, boy.”
Now fully dressed for work, he filled Wolf’s food and water bowls, then downed the rest of his half-finished, half-cold cup of morning coffee. It tasted like nothing at all, just the impression of bitterness sweeping over his tongue, leaving him even thirstier than before.
He drank a glass of water, but that didn’t help either. The craving that kept nagging at him just wasn’t that kind of thirst. Setting down his glass, he closed his eyes and saw red.
Fire engine red, to be specific.
“Ah, damn it.” He swore again, his words resonating through his house – a small house that now seemed too big, too empty. Like he hadn’t been living by himself ever since he’d been discharged from the Marine Corps five years ago. Like he wasn’t used to waking up alone and being just fine with it.
There was no question about it: as his dick twitched against the fly of his pants, he wasn’t fine. Not even close. He was a walking wreck of memories and nerves and lust that hadn’t been slaked by what’d happened three days ago.
He hated not having it together, not being in control of himself, almost as much as he hated the quiet emptiness of his home, something he’d relished for the past five years.
His house was his place. Secure and silent. Sanctuary. Only now, he would’ve given just about anything to share the limited space with a woman again. One very loud, very specific woman, in particular.
Jesus, he’d sell his soul to hear the silence shattered by her voice again. No words, just breath and sounds that didn’t translate into any language. Moaning. Screaming, really. The noises of that night were still echoing through his mind, fueling the erection he couldn’t get rid of.
And he’d tried like hell over the past couple days – had taken matters into his own hands plenty of times. Not that it’d helped. No, he’d felt his self-control slipping through his fingers each time, obliterated by the friction generated by his palm against his dick, by the memory of her red bikini.
He’d peeled her out of it after their day at the beach, had thrown it onto his bedroom floor.
There’d been sand dusted across the generous curves beneath, fine, pale grit against her fair skin. He’d brushed it away, seizing the excuse to put his hands all over her body, touching every last inch of her. And then he’d retraced his movements with his mouth, tasting the sweet skin he’d only touched once before then – to apply sunblock to the places she hadn’t been able to reach herself.
Thinking about it now had him breathing harder, aching more deeply. He glanced toward the hall, thought about collapsing onto his bed and jacking off before he left for his shift.
Instead, he headed for the door. He didn’t have time, and it wouldn’t help anyway.
Besides, work would quell the hardness he couldn’t lose on his own. There was nothing like a day spent inside a huge prison, surrounded by some of the shittiest human beings in the state of North Carolina, to get his mind off sex. Temporarily, anyway.
“See you later, boy.” He left Wolf in the house. The dog could go in and out as he pleased, thanks to a pet entrance that led out the kitchen door and into a small, fenced-in yard. Wolf would watch the house for him while he was gone, keep the place secure.
And when Henry got home, it’d be just as safe and empty as always.
The thought sent a pang of regret sailing through him as he climbed into his truck. Sasha had come at him like a freight train, fast and overpowering, direct and incredibly loud. They’d had the best sex of his life, but when he’d woken up in the morning, she’d been gone.
He’d only spoken to her once since then – he’d called her later that day, worried, wanting to make sure she was okay.
She’d claimed to be fine, but the conversation hadn’t lasted long. She’d seemed in a hurry to get off the phone.
And so, satisfied that she was okay, he’d spent the couple days since aching for more of her, wondering why he could make her scream beneath him one day yet couldn’t keep her on the phone the next.
Had she really meant for it to be a one night stand?
The thought was depressing as hell. But it was also balanced by the memory of what she’d said after they’d had sex, just minutes before they’d both succumbed to exhaustion and fallen asleep. She’d said she’d been waiting for what they’d done for what seemed like an eternity. And she’d said that if it’d been up to her, it never would’ve ended.
So unless that’d been complete bullshit, he didn’t get why she’d left him high and dry after their one and only time together.
Maybe it was something he’d done – or rather, hadn’t done. Maybe she was waiting for him to get his act together and do things right, take her on a real date. Not with their friends – just the two of them. Maybe the fact that she went after what she wanted when she wanted it didn’t mean that she didn’t want all the things they’d skipped in their haste, too.
He hoped so, anyway. Because he wasn’t about to chalk what they’d done up to a one-time thing. The people in his life meant something to him – each and every one. Including Sasha.
Especially Sasha. Apparently, she just didn’t know it yet. Which meant it was up to him to show her.