by Amy Andrews
Publication Date: August 10, 2015
Synopsis: Sign: ScorpioThe sting of this Scorpio is unforgettably hot...
Ivy Danforth is out from under her Colonel father's overprotective control, and she's making it count. Big time. She's taken the summer off to travel through Australia with her bestie and experiencing all that life has to offer—when you’re not under constant military surveillance. She wants to end her summer with some sexy fun, and she has just the hottie in mind.Seth Rodrigo is ex-Special Forces working undercover and keeping an eye on Ivy as a special favor to her father. All he has to do is not give the game away and reveal who he really is. And especially not give into the hunger that's burning through his careful control... Then they're forced into protective custody. Alone. Together. For four days. And this time, the Colonel's daughter isn't taking no for an answer...
“I really am okay,” he murmured.
It was more than Ivy could stand. Of course he was okay. She had no doubt Dean would always soldier on, alwayscome out on top.
Dean Bennet was always going to be okay.
But that didn’t mean she couldn’t grieve for all that he’d lost. That there wasn’t a wounded kid in there somewhere who needed a hug just as much as she did.
Screw it. He was getting one whether he wanted it or not.
Without asking permission, Ivy walked between his legs, sliding one leg over his thigh until her bent knee was resting on the couch.
He looked alarmed as he sat a little straighter. “Ivy?”
There was a definite note of warning in his voice. She ignored it, repeating the motion with her other leg until she was essentially straddling him. Then she settled herself into his lap, pushed her hair back, slid her hands onto his stiff shoulders, and pulled him forward. His head came to rest against her chest and neck and Ivy circled her arms around his back, reveling in the width of him.
She rested her cheek against the top of his head, shutting her eyes, pouring all her empathy into the embrace, soothing the emotions that had clogged her throat. She could smell the shampoo in his hair. The steady pound of his heart echoed her own. There was silence for a beat or two and Ivy basked in it.
His voice was muffled and, if she wasn’t very much mistaken, a little strangled. God alone knew what he was doing with his hands because they certainly weren’t touching her. She could picture him in her mind’s eye sitting stockstill, her clinging to him like…well, ivy, his hands held up and out, way the hell away from any chance of contact with her.
The thought almost made her smile.
“Ivy.” He braced his shoulders against her arms a little but she held on tight.
“Shh, it’s okay,” she whispered, running her hands up and down the broad expanse of his back like a mother might do to soothe a child. “It’s just a hug. I need it even if you don’t.”
Some of the tension left his shoulders, but his frame remained erect. She sighed after a while when it became apparent that Dean wasn’t going to go all cuddly on her. She removed her arms from around his shoulders and put him out of his misery.
“See?” She smiled, looking down at him as she sat back a little. His hands actually were hovering in the air off to his sides, just above the surface of the couch like he didn’t know what to do with them. “Not too hard, right?”
His eyes widened a little before he cleared his throat and placed his hands on the couch. “Err…no,” he said glancing away.
Great. Now he couldn’t even look at her. Awkward, much? But what had she expected when she’d impulsively climbed into his lap? Was it the hug that had embarrassed him the most or what she’d said? About it being hard?
He shifted uncomfortably beneath her and Ivy’s gaze fell to his lap as she gathered herself to climb off again. It was then she realized what had made him so uncomfortable about her choice of words. A thick, hard bulge pushed the confines of his zipper to its limits.
A rock-hard bulge.
Ivy sucked in a breath as her pulse skipped a beat. He had an erection. For her? Pressing herself against him had made him hard…
Her pulse spiked. It was probably just a normal male physiological reaction to being in this positon with any woman, right?
But what if it wasn’t?
She looked at the tense set to his jaw. “Dean?”
His gaze locked with hers. “Hugging time’s over now, Ivy. Time to get up.”