Snow Bound

By: Dani Wade

The look she shot up from her inferior height was probably furious, but he didn’t even blink. “Do you even know what you’re looking for?”

“Of course. I was in the military for eight years.”

“As a medic?”

“No, but even the rawest recruit is taught basic first aid and situational awareness.”

She conceded his point with a nod, though part of her wanted to continue arguing. She’d been taking care of herself since her parents died, and her relationship with Bobby Joe had taught her not to give up that control as easily ever again. Besides, letting him check out her bruises would involve the baring of some sensitive skin, and she wasn’t sure just how impartial she could remain with his eyes on her butt.

“All right,” he said, a thread of mischief stretching his lips and narrowing his eyes. “Bottoms up.”

* * *

Was it outrage that had her stiffening like that… or embarrassment? Evil as it was of him, Damon found he enjoyed ruffling Miss Priss’s feathers.

But he’d been serious about checking her out medically. The last thing he needed was some serious situation sneaking up on them when help wasn’t available. Better to carry out every preventive protocol they could. His own aches wouldn’t turn into bruises until tomorrow, and his ribs weren’t broken despite a few well-placed punches and slams to the cold ground. No bleeding and no concussion. He’d been damn lucky.

Now he just hoped he could keep himself calm while checking her out. Hell, two minutes of her sitting before him on the couch, her mouth even with his crotch, had been more than enough for his body to sit up and take notice. Not to mention the brain that started running through the possibilities in six seconds flat. Knowing she had spent time in an abusive relationship, on top of his earlier arguments with himself, should have had him running fast and furious.

But instead of being turned off by her, Damon found himself increasingly attracted the more he got to know Tori. She wasn’t uptight and gullible, the way he’d imagined her. Instead, she was damn capable and on top of things. And her half-naked with a loaded gun in her hands—his body spasmed at the picture in his mind. Da-yum.

He could be in trouble here.

Focusing on the task at hand, telling himself this was simply a field situation, he motioned for Tori to lie down on the couch. “Just slide over and I’ll take a look.”

A straight line of white teeth sank into the fullness of her bottom lip, making him wonder for a moment whether she would refuse, but she leaned sideways onto her elbows and allowed him to guide her sculpted legs onto the couch. Her skin was smooth and warm beneath his fingertips, her muscles lean and well-formed. Images of how she’d feel beneath him, those legs curled around his thighs, had him breathing deep, his eyes drifting shut for just a moment.

As she settled, he squeezed along her calves, testing the firmness and searching for any lumps. Her legs twitched under his touch, bringing his gaze to her face, but no pain showed there. As his hands slid higher, she stilled; then her breath released in slow, even pants. Too even. She had to be deliberately controlling it. As her eyes remained trained straight ahead, he clued in.

She was as aroused by him as he was by her.

The realization slowed his movements, lent a whole new element to his touch. He gave himself free rein to catalog every dip, every curve. His thoughts turned from exploration to satisfaction—his and hers.

His fingertips flirted with the hem of her sleep shirt, which had slid down almost to her knee. This time her breath stopped completely. Letting his eyes drift closed, he palmed the front of her upper thigh, cupping her as he followed the curve to the back. The smooth muscle tantalized him. The ache of arousal excited him. The sight of her need pushed him past his former barriers.

But the gathering desire ground to a halt as his fingertips brushed a spot that had her flinching. “What is it, Princess?” he whispered.

He opened his eyes to the sight of his fingers buried under her shirt, her gaze wide and bright, glancing back at him over her shoulder. His body roared to attention, though he couldn’t pinpoint the exact source. His brain told him to back away, but his body left his brain in the dust. Something primitive was taking hold, whether from the primal instinct to protect or the more basic instinct to mate, either way, his body was pulling for her on a cellular level. With her warm flesh against his, he wasn’t sure he could resist.

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