Authors: Kimberly Kaye Terry
Her panting breaths mingled with his and he groaned huskily as he spoke against her mouth.
“If we don’t stop now, Emma, I don’t think I can. And as much as I want to pick you up and do all kinds of carnal things to this sexy body of yours—” he stopped, drawing in a deep breath “—I don’t want you to think I’m trying to manipulate you, trying to…” He closed his eyes. “I just don’t want to screw this up. I—”
When she placed a hand over his lips, his eyes opened to see her staring up at him.
“You’re not manipulating me. I know exactly what I’m doing. I know exactly what I want.”
He drew in a harsh breath when her small hand reached between them to stroke the front of his pants, cupping his bulge through the thick fabric of his jeans.
“And what I want is you. Now.”
Hot to Touch
Kimberly Kaye Terry’s love for reading romances began at an early age. Long into the night she would stay up until she reached “The End” with her Mickey Mouse night-light on, praying she wouldn’t be caught reading what her mother called
types of books. Often, she would acquire her stash of
books from beneath her mother’s bed. Ahem. To date she’s an award-winning, acclaimed author of fourteen novels in romance and erotic romance, and happily calls writing her full-time job.
Kimberly has a bachelor’s degree in social work and a master’s in human relations and has held licenses in social work and mental health therapy in various cities within the United States and abroad. She volunteers at various social-service agencies weekly and is a long-standing member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., a community-conscious organization. Kimberly is a naturalist and practices aromatherapy. She believes in embracing the powerful woman within each of us and meditates on a regular basis. Kimberly would love to hear from you. Visit her at www.kimberlykayeterry.com.
To my beautiful daughter who always inspires me to be the best that I can be.
I’m very excited to introduce you to Shane Westwood and Emma Rawlings. Writing their story was an absolute blast! Shane is a smoke jumper used to fighting extreme fires in the West, and Emma is a photojournalist who is always after the most dangerous stories. Yes, they are two hotheads! Two stubborn people who fight against love, but when they finally give in, boy, do the fireworks start! They took me from scaling walls, to jumping out of airplanes…to hot, sultry nights making love under a starlit sky. I hope you enjoy reading their story as much as I enjoyed writing it.
I loved the West so much that I decided to stay there for a while. Look for
To Tempt a Wilde,
book one in my new Wilde family series, featuring sexy alpha cowboys in Wyoming, coming out this spring. I appreciate your support and will do my best to continue writing hot, sexy, exciting stories featuring alpha men and the women they love!
Keep it sexy,
Kimberly Kaye Terry ;)
To “Buck,” Bruce Nelson:
The courage that you and your fellow jumpers display, the sacrifices you all make, is truly humbling. Your willingness to share your knowledge, point me in the right direction, and answer my emails at one o’clock in the morning and not choke me was truly amazing ;).
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Eighteen months ago
he roar of wind competed against the loud purr of the turbine engine, breaking the silence that otherwise prevailed inside the Twin Otter plane.
Butterflies fluttered in Shane Westwood’s stomach as he sat hunched on the narrow bench, shoulder-to-shoulder alongside six other men, as the plane circled the dark column of smoke that rose from the blazing fire below.
He fingered the Celtic cross around his neck unconsciously, before tucking it inside his beige, Kevlar-coated jumpsuit.
The closer they flew to the billowing smoke, the more anxious he became.
His anxiety had nothing to do with the jump ahead, or the potential danger he and the others faced. Like a junkie jonesing for his next fix, Shane lived for the exhilaration and potential danger each mission would bring. After his first jump six years ago, he had logged in more than 125 jumps; 75 for training and 50 live fires.
No, his anxiety had
to do with the fear that he wouldn’t make it in time to save his best friend.
“Give us the go-ahead already, damn it,” he spat out tersely into the microphone line in his ear, connecting him to the ground crew.
“The pilot doesn’t have a clear landing shot, Shane…hold your damn horses, man, we’ll get down there!” one of the support crew shot back in response to Shane’s impatient demand. The drama of what was unfolding below was evident in his voice. Jumpers and ground crew alike were feeling the stress. “
us a clear shot…time is running out.”
“We have to be at three thousand feet before it’s safe to jump.”
“Aww no…I think I’m gonna hurl!”
When he heard the man next to him moan, a rookie smoke jumper, Shane didn’t bother giving him a second glance—not in the mood to give the rookie a pep talk.
The fact that the rookie was his jump partner for the mission hadn’t sat well with Shane, but they were running low on jumpers as all the other available men were already on the ground.
He knew it was the young man’s first “live” fire jump, and he knew that like most of them, rookie or seasoned pro, he’d either hang on or get the hell out. There
no in between.
No matter how much instruction you had, no amount of training could prepare a man for his first jump into live fire. It was as exciting as it was frightening. And, it was their way of life. Most men figured out pretty quickly if they had what it took to be a smoke jumper.
“Get ready, men, we’ve found a landing spot.”
Shane swiftly stood, motioning for the others to follow. The spotter had identified an opening.
The plane flew with doors opened and Shane peered down, viewing over three hundred acres of red flames crowning the large spruce trees below, as the plane circled around the billowing columns of smoke, trying to find a safe spot for the men to jump.
His heartbeat kicked up a notch, his gut clenching at the sight.
The acrid, sweet scent of wood smoke filled the plane as air rushed in through the open door. Shane and the others quickly donned their masks and flipped down the heavy wire-mesh screens.
An unexpected bump of turbulence hit. Shane swallowed down the nausea that rolled through his stomach. Steadying himself, he grabbed the overhead cable.
The plane lined up for their initial pass over the identified target and the spotter threw the first set of drift streamers out to gauge the wind. The spotter
turned to Shane and held up two fingers, giving the team the “go” sign. Everything looked good. Time to roll.
Shane acknowledged the sign, paused and glanced at his temporary partner. When the man nodded, letting Shane know he was ready, he turned back to face the door. As the senior jumper, Shane would be the first man out.
Despite the gear, Shane felt the heat hit his face as he stood at the edge of the jump door, his gaze sweeping the scene below.
When he felt the spotter’s slap on his shoulder, he propelled himself forward, immediately starting a mental countdown “jump-thousand, look-thousand, reach-thousand, wait-thousand, pull-thousand…” he thought, his fingers curling around the rip cord as he jumped from the plane.
Timing it just right, he pulled on the cord, threw back his head and watched his bright orange-and-white-striped parachute balloon open with a smooth-sounding pop.
Shane yanked the toggles and faced into the wind for landing.
Steering his chute away from one of the flaming trees, he felt every muscle straining, sweat pouring down his face behind the mask as he fought against the pull of the wind, his chute violently swaying back and forth.
In less than a minute he’d be on the ground. And once he was, he’d have to hit it running. His concentration
was fully on making a safe landing, but soon all other thoughts would have to be shoved to the side.
His best friend’s life depended on it.
ush off. Legs spread. Release. Push off. Legs spread. Release…
Shane leaned against the wall with his arms folded across his chest and studied the woman, his brow creased in concentration.
He ignored the activity going on around him and throughout the gym, his attention focused solely on the small figure several feet away, making her way down the faux-stone-covered wall.
One small, black-gloved hand was wrapped securely around the rope just above her at chest level; the other was loosely wrapped around the part of the rope near her backside as she made her way down the wall.
And what a backside it was.
Shane found himself staring at her curvaceous little
body in fascination as she rappelled the wall. His gaze shifted away from her round, firm buttocks—that even the shapeless khaki shorts she wore didn’t disguise—to trail down her bare, dark brown legs.
Shane shook his head, berating himself for noticing her legs, sexy or not.
Although it had been too damn long since he’d been with a woman, this one was
This was the woman who’d managed to wrap his base manager around her finger and somehow convince him to allow her to do an “in-depth” story on him and his fellow smoke jumpers.
He tore his gaze away from the petite woman and glanced around at the crowded gym.
Although it was P.T., the time of morning when his men, if not on mission, performed physical training, apparently the base manager wasn’t the
one taken with the reporter, Shane noticed, his scowl deepening. Several of his men were hanging around the rappelling wall, watching the reporter, nudging each other and pointing at her like schoolboys checking out a cute girl.
He pointedly stared and made eye contact with several of them, but his scowl didn’t seem to scare them off. If anything, it seemed to encourage them. One of his men gave him a thumbs-up, jerking his head toward the woman, grinning his fool head off, as if Shane had something to do with her being there. Not even close, Shane thought, his irritation growing. And if he had his way she’d be packing up as soon as her curvy little body hit the ground.
He’d recently returned from a mission where he’d volunteered to help the short-staffed Alaska unit with a kicker that had blazed for twelve days before they’d gotten the fire under control. Afterward, he’d stayed on and helped with the massive cleanup.
Pleased with how it had gone, but beyond exhausted, a month later he was just looking forward to a little R and R. Preferably in the form of staying in bed for forty-eight hours with one of the always-ready, always-willing, long-legged blondes from the local town of Landers.
When Roebuck, his base manager, had first informed him on his way back home that he was allowing a reporter to come into the jumpers’ camp to research an in-depth article on their lives, one that would possibly hit the national papers, Shane had been less than enthusiastic.
After the series of fires taking place over the last eighteen months across the coast, their small, sleepy community had been a hive of activity, gaining national exposure and bringing in a lot of media attention.
In particular there was the fire that had occurred near the start of the spree that resulted in two jumpers dying and the only female jumper on staff leaving. There’d been plenty of speculation as to why she’d left, but no one besides Roebuck, Shane and a few of the senior jumpers knew the real reason.
When Roebuck had explained his reasoning for allowing the reporter access, eager for a chance to show what he and the men did on a daily basis, a reluctant part of Shane had understood. The attention the article
would bring, would give good press to their small base, and with it, much-needed donations to keep the satellite office up and running.
That was until he’d found out that Gene Raw was in fact Emogene Rawlings; that the reporter used the shortened version of her name on her byline.
His eyes narrowed as he watched her—“Emma” in person—carefully, but swiftly make her way down the wall, pushing away the spark of admiration he felt for her ability.
From his vantage point, he had an optimal view of her. He found his attention riveted on her small nuances—the way her brow furrowed as she scaled the wall, the way the full bottom rim of her lip was pulled between her top teeth, the small bead of sweat that rolled down past her temple, over her cheekbone and down the curve her of her cheek.
She quickly maneuvered her way down the rest of the wall. Once she made it to the floor, she spun around jubilantly and gave several of the nearby men high-fives.
“She’s amazing, huh, Shane? I’ve never seen a first-timer go down the wall so fast!”
Shane turned to one of the jumpers who’d come to stand next to him. He nodded his head curtly and glanced around. He’d unconsciously moved closer as he watched her and was now standing a few short feet away from the rappelling wall.
“Yeah, she’s a regular marvel.” As soon as he made the snide remark, Shane wished he could retract it. The younger jumper frowned, a puzzled look on his face.
“Do you know her, Shane?”
Shane shook his head and turned to watch the reporter with narrowed eyes.
“I guess you gotta wonder about a woman like that,” the man went on, oblivious to Shane’s irritation.
“What do you mean?” Shane asked.
The jumper shrugged his broad shoulders. “I don’t know. She’s so small, looks kinda fragile to me. Wouldn’t think a woman like that would be in her line of work. I guess I figured when they told us a reporter was gonna be following us around, living at the camp, I didn’t figure it’d be a woman. Damn sure not one as fine as Ms. Rawlings.”
When Shane raised a brow, the younger man blushed. “Well, you know what I mean,” he murmured.
When the woman in question turned toward them, as though she knew they were talking about her, she and Shane locked glances. From his short distance away he saw her large brown eyes widen as he deliberately allowed his gaze to leisurely slide over her, from the top of her head down to her small, boot-covered feet.
When his eyes met hers again, he noticed the subtle once-over she gave him as well before her eyes darted away. But not before he saw the flush of red on her deep brown skin.