The time is now. A vile demon is threatening to tear down the veil between our world and the realm of monsters.
Six is receiving rave reviews. One of those you can't put down... sorry for the insomnia when you really need to get to sleep, but just need one more page... 😉
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Here's a sneaky peek at Six. Not the beginning; just a teaser ;), as I'm a sucker for love at first sight, or, in this case, lust at first sight with a wallop of distrust and... something else.
At 0634, Quinn’s eyes fluttered open. She read the time from the red numbers on the clock built into the far wall, glowing brightly in the dim, windowless room. She tried to sit up, but her head throbbed, and her body ached all over. A heavy, but very toasty blanket covered her body. Under, she was… naked?
“At last, she awakens,” the sexiest voice she’d ever heard rumbled through her ears, vibrating through her weary limbs, filling her veins with pure heaven. She almost didn’t care that the words were dripping with sarcasm.
Sitting up to her elbows - nearly losing the blanket - she grabbed it in the nick of time before she flashed Mr. Sexy Voice. Hair wild around her face, she pushed her stylishly overgrown bangs out of the way to see the source of the deliciously deep timbre.
Damn, he had a nice face, too. Calculating steel gray eyes… yeah, he was a smart one. Chiseled, masculine features. Military short, deeply brunet hair. Her eyes strayed downward, assessing more than was appropriate, but she had trouble focusing on anything else. Snug t-shirt that hugged some spectacular muscles; USCG written across the front. Arms folded across his chest impatiently. Leg ticking with quite probable irritation.
Crap, she had crossed a line.
Psychic or something, he answered with a very serious scowl before she even needed to ask. Sexy voice, spectacular body, good face… but lousy attitude. “You’re on board the US Coast Guard Cutter Valkyrie.”
“Taking me to Valhalla then?” She was totally joking… or maybe she wasn’t?
Something flashed in her brain. Huh. Why would her first thought be that she was on her way to Valhalla, and actually mean it? Although, if she’d died and gone to heaven, the view was certainly better than what she would have imagined.
The corner of his mouth quirked up in humor, then quickly faded. “Not today. We’re a few miles off the northern coast of Alaska. Pulled you out of the water last night.” His eyes flashed with something dark, more of a gunmetal gray now, and boring right into her.
“Why was I in the Arctic?” she breathed slowly to fight the panic bubbling under the surface. Scanning the unfamiliar room, her brow scrunched in stark confusion. The bleak desert in her brain wasn’t giving her a clue. “I guess that would explain the heated blanket,” she nodded, accepting at least one facet of her predicament.
“You tell me.” He stared into her, unflinching, asking dozens of silent questions that she couldn’t answer.
She shrugged, head shaking, brow scrunched and mouth pulled tight, her expression flashing NO IDEA, in big, silent letters at him.
“Ok, we can play it that way. Who are you?” He shifted and leaned back in his chair next to her. His feet, with some awfully massive black combat boots, rested on the foot of her bed next to her blanketed feet.
“Really not playing here. I’m…” Dammit. Double dog dammit. Didn’t know her own name, but she knew what the hell this bullshit was, that was causing the thick cobwebs in her hippocampus. “Fucking shit, I have amnesia.” Struggling to not panic, she focused on his face, the warmth of the blanket covering her, her pulse pounding through her toasty limbs... anything real that she could grasp.
He scowled, but instead of looking as shocked as she felt, he sank deeper into his chair and folded his arms behind his head, leisurely closing his eyes and settling in for a nap. Not very helpful. And she’d had such high hopes, considering he’d been heroic enough to pull strange a woman out of the ocean in the middle of the night.
“Nice try,” he said flatly, his eyes closed in disinterest.
“No, dammit. This is stupid. Just fucking stupid,” she cussed and sputtered some more. He raised an eyebrow as he glanced at her, but he still didn’t appear concerned. “Fine, I have amnesia and Tourette’s, but come on. Throw me a bone here.”
Sighing, he reached to grab a pile of wet clothes from a nearby table. Long arms with massive biceps, dang. Nice definition, too.
Okay, whoever she was, she was a desperate horndog. This was getting ridiculous.
He sifted through the wet pile, not seeming to care that some of the drips splattered onto his clothes and the floor. “I don’t know shit about clothing brands, but these look nice. Oh, and you had a bulletproof vest. Explain that one for me,” he rolled his eyes without looking at her, but continued to study her clothes.
“Not helpful,” she muttered, sitting up proudly in the bed. She really didn’t think she was a cop, but worth considering. The blanket, only covering her front, left her no backside modesty as she leaned forward to see the wet pile of her mysterious belongings. His eyes flashed to her exposed rear, lingering a moment until she adjusted the blanket to cover her back.
Scowling, he looked more irritated with himself than her this time.
Looking back at her clothes, he inspected the vest further. “Ah, cute. You wrote your name in here. Quinn. And a smiley face. No last name. Guess you’re Quinn Smiley.”
“Hardy har har,” she nudged his foot with hers, appreciating that he might actually have a sense of humor. Sadly, the name didn’t ring a bell.
Finally, he faced her directly. “Quinn, I’m Ryan.” He extended his hand in friendship. Hopefully friendship. It could also be one of those pull-you-in-so-I-can-punch-you-in-the-face handshakes. Not that she’d experienced many of those. Probably. Hopefully.
Taking his hand, she shook it firmly, letting herself enjoy the zing she felt at the connection. He didn’t let go. Maybe he felt it too? She had to hold tight onto the blanket with her free hand or she’d flash him with the front half while she was at it. Although, she suspected he’d seen it all last night anyway, as her clothes were cut to bits.
“Nice to meet you, Ryan,” she said chipperly, ensuring he knew this was a friendly handshake.
“Yeah, nice. Anyway, you’re on a government vessel. Fuck with anything, and I throw you back in the Arctic.” Definitely the teeth-baring gorilla sort of handshake. Oh well, her hand was still securely held in his big, warm hand, and she felt quite at home despite the lack of hospitality.
Stop it, she yelled at herself. A bit pathetic to be attracted to an overbearing, albeit attractive, jerk. Irritated with herself as much as with the irksome man, she finally pulled her hand away. “Okay, so I don’t know much about me, but I’m pretty sure I’m a decent person.”
She scowled at him.
He shrugged, sighing heavily as he relented, “Really, you might be. You probably are. But give me a break. Not exactly a trustworthy entrance, splashing down into the arctic wearing a bulletproof vest and combat gear. I’m not putting my crew at risk.”
Closing her eyes, she tried to remember something. Anything.
“We are hell and gone from civilization. We’re on active deployment, scouting the coast, with a few resupply stops along the way in Dutch Harbor, Kodiak and then Sitka, so we’ll probably drop you somewhere along the way. Worst case, you may be stuck with us for a month or two, if you can’t figure out who you are.”
He returned to his comfy position leaned back in his chair with his feet on her bed and closed his eyes.
Brow slightly scrunching, he grunted in response.
“Ryan? I’m hungry. And I’m naked.” At least she could take care of the basics and get started on figuring out where she belonged.
His eyes remained tightly closed, but the corner of his mouth quirked up again. “I’m okay with naked. I’ll call for food though. Just give me a few minutes to catch up on sleep. Thanks to you, I didn’t get much rest last night.”
Kicking out her foot, she shoved his feet off her bed. He fell forward at the jarring drop and glared at her. The glare was unconvincing, as his dark eyes twinkled with amusement. “Fine.” He moved across the room and grabbed a pile.
Less than cordially, he tossed the small stack of dry clothes onto her lap. Could have offered sooner, jerkwad. The bra tried to bail as the pile landed precariously, but she caught it with a quick motion, nearly dropping the blanket.
Staring at him, she waited for him to leave so she could get dressed in peace. “Ahem,” she hinted loudly.
He didn’t move.
“Ahem,” she cleared her throat loudly and meaningfully, directing her eyes towards the door in an obvious request for privacy.
Arms crossed, legs planted firmly in place, he raised an eyebrow at her. Damn he looked good when he made that irritating face. “Nothing I haven’t already seen. Who do you think cut those clothes off you last night?”
“I figured. But come on. Now I’m conscious. No longer medical, just creepy.”
“So, now I’m creepy?” He smiled with pure attitude, his eyes wide with amusement.
She muttered under her breath, “Defensive ass.”
Grinning wickedly in surprised humor, his eyebrow was halfway to his hairline now, “What did you call me?”
“Ryan. Will you ever so kindly turn your back so I can have some privacy?” She smiled as serenely as possible. It was not a familiar expression. Apparently, she wasn’t a serene person. Although, smartass seemed to come to her as easily as breathing.
Finally, he turned around, but didn’t leave her much space to change. Quickly, not trusting him to stay put, she slipped on the bra - not a bad fit and quite pretty, and the t-shirt - way too big. She scrounged around, knowing there must be more left than just jeans.
“Ryan?” She tried out her sweet voice this time. Didn’t seem to suit, but worth a try.
“Yes, Quinn?” He seemed to realize this was not her natural demeanor and chuckled at her, his head turning slightly towards her so she could just see his adorable grin, but he politely kept his eyes averted.
“I hate to be a bother, but did anyone donate any underwear?”
Infuriating man. Nice backside, though. That was the kind of ass they wrote sonnets about. None specifically that she could come up with, but worth considering. If she never found out who she was, perhaps she could make her fortune with nice ass poetry.
“Are you sure?” she pleaded, less sweet and less serene now, but remaining as pleasant as possible, lest she chuck something heavy or sharp at him.
He sighed dramatically. “Really, no underwear. You’re lucky anyone was willing to lend you any clothes. Leah is letting you borrow the bra and jeans; she’s about your same size. However, she wasn’t willing to share her underwear with a stranger, so you’re going commando.”
“Okay. I get it. Weird thing to share, I suppose.” She laid back and pulled on the jeans. She hopped up and slid off the bed. Landing on her feet, she started to feel human again. Man, she felt good for someone that was pulled out of the Arctic a few hours ago. And that likely had a sustained a serious head injury. Who got amnesia, anyway? Such a cliché.
The shirt was gigantic; clearly didn’t belong to this Leah person. At least Leah wore great jeans and the bra was delicate and lacy; way more girly than anything she wore. At least, from what it felt like. She ought to buy more like this; nice to feel pretty. She tied a quick knot in the side of the shirt so it fit cuter. “Okay, you can turn around.”
Ryan turned toward her and hesitated, his mouth briefly gaping open, but he quickly slammed it shut before she could think anything of it. He was back to scowling at her again. “Don’t ruin my shirt.”
“That’s my shirt. You’re stretching it out with the knot.”
That would explain the heavenly smell. All fresh air and nice cologne. “I was swimming in it, so I fixed it. If you didn’t want it ruined, you shouldn’t have loaned it to me.”
“Okay. I’ll take it back.” He stepped towards her, hands out as if ready to take her shirt right off now.
With a quick squeal, she dodged him. Not that he was actually going to take the shirt off her, right? Damn, she really wanted him to. When was the last time she’d had sex? This was getting downright absurd. “I’ll buy you a new one when I find my wallet.”
“Deal.” He flashed her an adorable wink that made her want to take the shirt off right then and there for him.
Wow, Quinn Smiley was a slut.