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Authors: Adrienne Giordano

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Negotiating Point (9 page)

BOOK: Negotiating Point
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“You okay?” Janet asked.

Maybe.
If he could fill the hole, yes, he’d be okay. Once again, he grabbed Janet’s arm, hauling her with him to the barn. When he’d walked out of that house with Roxann, the sight of Janet holding his iPod sent every emotion he possessed on a high-speed chase. She hadn’t just handed him the device, she understood his need to go inside himself and unwind. To relieve the stress and center himself.

Not only that, she
encouraged
it. How rare had it been to find a woman who had no expectation that he’d immediately talk about his feelings? Most times he
never
talked about his feelings. And women, at least the ones who had entered his realm, took issue with that.

But here stood quirky, dedicated Janet Fink who might be the person to fill that hollow place in his chest. If so, he’d have to step up and let her know.

Once inside the barn, he pulled the door closed and walked right up to her, his gaze steady on hers.
Step up.
“Yes. I saw that. Mike and Roxann. Yes, it was amazing.”

For years now he’d put his life on the line, trading places with hostages and jumping into mental battle with lunatics. Sure he’d saved lives, but at what cost? He’d lost a marriage to his job, not to mention a chunk of his own emotional freedom. If he continued on this path, in a few short years he’d be burned-out human flesh.

Not exactly something worth attaining. Beyond that, all he knew was Janet had been the first person he’d seen when he stepped out of the house.

She
was important. What she’d be in his life, he wasn’t sure, but he knew he wanted to experience it.

Step up.

He kissed her. A solid press of his lips as he gathered this tiny peanut of a woman into his arms, crushing her ribs, wanting to feel her heartbeat. Everyone was alive.
He
was alive. After facing a shotgun aimed at him, he’d figured out what was important.

Resisting the urge to strip her naked in this broken-down barn, he backed away from the kiss. “Here it is.” She blinked a couple of times, focused those big brown eyes on him and he decided he might just be driven to begging. “You don’t report to me. I’m in no way your superior. You report to Vic.”

“Exactly.”

He squeezed her arms. “Can you deal with the gossip? Because it’ll be raging.”

“I know. It scares the hell out of me.”

“Me too. But the gossip will die down and then it’ll be us figuring each other out. That’s what I want. I want to figure out my life with you in it. I think
that
will be amazing.”

Not a peep out of her. She stood there, her mouth partly open, her gaze leaving skid marks on his face.

He held his hands out. “What are you thinking?”

“That I’ve successfully turned stupid and it’s not so bad.”

He laughed.

“It’s not funny. Not for a second. I’ve spent years trying to be the unslut. The girl people took seriously because of her skills. I’ve been brutal to myself. And then this thing with Rox happened and I’m questioning everything.”

“Sometimes questioning is good. Is it good now?”

She hesitated, her eyes on his. “It
feels
good. Which scares me even more. I’ve always been the socially inept computer geek and you’re, well, you could talk a cow into a vacation at a slaughterhouse. In some crazy way, we balance out. So, I’m gonna say screw it and live a little. The witch twins can kiss my ass.”

Then she did that crazy monkeylike thing when she threw her arms around his neck, leaped up, wrapped her legs around his waist and kissed him. Funny woman and he couldn’t help laughing, which turned out to be complicated. What with her
tongue
in his
mouth.

A squeak came from the direction of the barn door. Someone coming in.
Jig’s up.

“Ack!” the knuckle-dragger hollered.

Gavin broke away from the kiss.

“Oops,” Janet said.

“Get lost.” Gavin jerked his head toward the door. “We can handle this.”

But Vic already had his hands over his eyes. “Are you
shitting
me? Did I need to see that? I think I’m fucking blind!”

Janet grinned. “I told you his eyes would bleed.”

He shrugged. “I guess he’ll have to get used to it.”

She twisted to look at Vic. “Hear that, boss? The head-shrinker says you’ll have to get used to it. Go home to your family and leave us alone.” She turned back to Gavin, her lips curving into a wicked smile. “We might be here awhile.”

* * * * *

About the Author

Adrienne Giordano writes romantic suspense and women’s fiction. She is a Jersey girl at heart, but now lives in the Midwest with her workaholic husband, sports-obsessed son and Buddy the Wheaten Terrorist (Terrier). She is a cofounder of Romance University blog. For more information on Adrienne’s Private Protectors series please visit
www.AdrienneGiordano.com
. Adrienne can also be found on Facebook at
www.facebook.com/AdrienneGiordanoAuthor
and Twitter at
twitter.com/AdriennGiordano
.

We hope you enjoyed this Carina Press anthology. Want to discover a family as quirky as yours? Craving more protection? Need a bit more steam? If you loved this book, don’t miss the other books from Adrienne Giordano. Available wherever ebooks are sold!

Adrienne Giordano—Private Protectors Series

Man Law
A Just Deception
Risking Trust

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ISBN: 978-14268-9383-4
Copyright © 2012 by Harlequin Books S.A.

The publisher acknowledges the copyright holders of the individual works as follows:

Kilts & Kraken
ISBN: 978-14268-9384-1
Copyright © 2012 by Cindy Spencer Pape

Negotiating Point
ISBN: 978-14268-9385-8
Copyright © 2012 by Adrienne Giordano-Maynard

Slow Summer Kisses
ISBN: 978-14268-9386-5
Copyright © 2012 by Shannon Stacey

All rights reserved. By payment of the required fees, you have been granted the non-exclusive, non-transferable right to access and read the text of this e-book on-screen. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, down-loaded, decompiled, reverse engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of publisher, Harlequin Enterprises Limited, 225 Duncan Mill Road, Don Mills, Ontario, Canada M3B 3K9.

All characters in this book have no existence outside the imagination of the author and have no relation whatsoever to anyone bearing the same name or names. They are not even distantly inspired by any individual known or unknown to the author, and all incidents are pure invention.

This edition published by arrangement with Harlequin Books S.A.

® and ™ are trademarks of the publisher. Trademarks indicated with ® are registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office, the Canadian Trade Marks Office and in other countries.

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BOOK: Negotiating Point
13.18Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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