Snow Bound

By: Dani Wade

To his surprise she didn’t fall into the helpless “little ole me” routine he expected. “Just hush and let’s get into the house.” If he hadn’t been working to stay upright, he’d have been struggling not to get hard. Between the gun and the sex-kitten look, she was blowing all his expectations tonight.

They managed all right crossing a few feet of yard, though he did his best not to lean on her more than it took to keep his balance oriented. That lasted until they reached the steps leading to the porch. The first was manageable, but the minute her foot hit the second, it slipped out from under her. His reactions were too slow to keep her from going down, and she twisted before slamming into the edge of the porch with a sharp cry. A wince slipped out in sympathy, but the echo of noise reminded him that they might not be alone. Inside the house was the safest place for them.

Suck it up. The grating voice of Damon’s long hated drill-sergeant rang in his mind, the one that often returned when he least wanted to hear it. He steeled himself for pain and swung her body into his arms, his work boots transporting them safely up the icy steps and in the back door. The heat of the enclosed space thawed his cheeks first, then his ears. He’d lost his hat somewhere. Shivers worked their way down his spine as cold water from his hair dripped beneath the collar of his coat.

Without thought to the polished wood floors, he tromped through the dark of the spacious kitchen to the living room beyond, groaning in appreciation of the rolling flames in the fireplace. He lay his burden on the overstuffed burgundy sofa, then stepped back to look down at her small body against the surrounding darkness.

A mental flash of his mother, curled on the sofa after his father had hit her, flickered in his mind’s eye. But he reached for reality, letting the heat, the faint scent of cinnamon, and the vibrant colors pull him back from the nightmares. The shotgun still clasped in Tori’s hand contrasted harshly with all her delicate beauty. Reaching out, he wrapped his hand around the grip and used gentle pressure to ease it from her. She didn’t protest.

Warmth penetrated his muscles, which were rapidly loosening now that he’d secured the weapon. He found himself looking down at the woman laid out before him, and his body jolted. Somehow his male brain had equated those sophisticated-lady clothes she wore with shapeless and saggy, like she had something to hide. Yeah, right. Only if she was hiding the most valuable treasure God ever gave Cadence, Tennessee.

The damp silk robe hid no part of her body from him. At less than five-and-a-half feet, she was perfection in miniature. Her skin was pale and creamy but with an undertone that hinted at an ability to tan. The part of material down the front, aided by her position on her side, allowed him to glimpse the inner curve of one nicely rounded breast, her softly rounded stomach, and muscled inner thigh. But the thin covering skimmed over a tiny waist and the voluptuous hips beneath it and—lordy, lordy, one more inch and he’d get a full view of Miss Priss’s surprisingly delectable ass. This little lady was far from bland; her curves, without the covering of civility, urged him to taste, then taste again.

A sudden movement of her hands pulled the robe together, jerky and swift as if she’d just realized how much skin was on display, snapping his attention back to where it should be. The wide, startled look in her bright blue eyes and the darkening flush spreading down her cheeks to her neck told him she wasn’t used to being ogled. Just as he wasn’t used to ogling—her, at least. Miss Tori Anderson.

As tremors raced down her limbs, he wrenched his mind out of his pants and back to the situation at hand. But she beat him to it, trying to rise from the couch. “Where are you going?” he asked, reaching out to resettle her, his hands chilled by the wet satin.

Thick lashes swept down over her blue irises. “I need to get dressed.”

“Dressed. Right.” This time he moved to help her up until he noted the sharp inhale of her breath and the quick shift of her body to the right. “What’s the matter, sweetheart?”

Her breath had changed, panting now, light and quiet like a dog at rest. “Just a little sore where I fell, that’s all.” She pulled at the damp material, attempting to cover her newly uncovered possibilities.

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