A red-hot fling leads to peril on the Emerald Isle…
Hearts & Heroes, Book 2
Tired of eating sand and dodging bullets, Marine Captain Mack Magnus is ready to relax and enjoy his brother’s Dublin wedding. If that involves a few pints in a quaint Irish pub and getting laid by a pretty Irish lass, all the better.
Instead he winds up getting ordered around by the cousin of the bride. Fed up with her mouthy attitude, he kisses her to shut her up. Now he has a new mission: get into the sexy redhead’s panties.
Busy international model Deirdre Darcy knows the six-foot-four Marine’s type: hit-and-run sex and off to the next port. Fall into bed with an arrogant bastard like Mack? No thanks. When she stumbles upon a couple of Irish gypsies leaving a murder scene, she must go into hiding or become their next victim.
His protective instincts kicking into high gear, Mack whisks Deirdre away to a small town where it’s easier to keep her safe. Except there’s no escape from their growing attraction—or from the one thing neither of them thought they wanted. Love.
Product Warnings: Battle-hardened, ready-to-cut-loose Marine teams up with a stunning Irish lass who thinks she can handle him. You’ll need the luck of the Irish to hang onto your seat for this sexy, suspenseful race across the Emerald Isle.
Copyright © 2014 Myla Jackson
All rights reserved — a Samhain Publishing, Ltd. publication
“Do you believe in love at first sight?”
Mack stared down at Deirdre for a long moment.
The fire in his eyes made her blood rush through her veins and her core tighten.
“I don’t know about love at first sight. You captured my attention from the moment you first stepped through the door of the airport terminal.”
“Yes. But then I pegged you as an ice queen, dressed in white, hiding behind a scarf and sunglasses, your body ramrod straight.”
Mack laughed. “Just like that.” When she tried to step out of his arms, he tightened them around her. “Then I kissed you and I realized how deceiving looks can be. Beneath the outer shell was a fiery, passionate women.” His words ended in a whisper, his head lowering, his mouth sweeping down to claim hers.
As though caught in a time warp, Deirdre couldn’t move. Nor did she want to. Since he’d kissed her in the airport, she’d thought of little else. She lifted her face to his and met him, her mouth opening to accept his tongue, her own coming out to sweep across his.
It was as if the world stopped turning and time stood still. Even the music ceased to beat against her ears.
“Hey the song’s over, you two.” Ronin bumped against Mack’s shoulder. “Come on. I think we’re about to start the serious drinking, and I believe you have to get it going with a toast.”
Mack broke away from Deirdre, his dark eyes nearly black, his lips wet from hers. He shook his head and focused on the room around him. “Toast? I thought we only did that after the wedding.”
“We need more reasons to piss the night away.” Sam shoved a mug of beer into Mack’s hand and one in Deirdre’s as well.
“I didn’t think my brothers or any Irishman needed a reason to drink,” Mack grumbled. He lifted his mug toward the ceiling. “To my brother, Wyatt and his bride-to-be, Fiona. I wish you all the love your hearts can hold and long, healthy lives together.”
The mugs rose in the air to a hearty “Here, here!”
Deirdre raised her mug and drank a long, healthy swallow. She hadn’t had a whole mug of beer in the ten years she’d been working as a model. After the first swallow, she tipped the mug and drank it all.
“Hey, slow down there or you’ll be crawling under the table before the end of the night.” Mack chuckled and took the empty mug from her, setting it on the table.
“That’s the first beer I’ve had since I was a teenager.”
“I thought the Irish loved their beer. Why have you waited so long to have another?”
She snorted and wiped her mouth with the back of her hand, feeling a little buzz creeping up on her. “Do you know how many calories there are in one bottle of beer?”
“No, I don’t know, but I’m sure you do.”
“Sadly, I do—” A hiccup escaped her mouth and she clapped a hand over her lips, her cheeks heating. “Excuse me.”
“Here, have another.” Sam handed Deirdre another mug full of beer. Before she could think to say no, she was raising it in the air. “To my beautiful cousin Fiona and her fiancé Wyatt, may you both live as long as you want, and never want as long as you live!”
The roar of approval shook the rafters of the old pub.
A slow, sweet melody filled the room. Paddy O’Connell held the microphone and sang with only a guitar as accompaniment. Fiona and Wyatt came together in a tight embrace, swaying to the music.
At the sight of the couple so in love, Deirdre’s heart squeezed so tightly that breathing became difficult. She downed half the mug of beer before Mack took it from her hand and set it on the bar.
“Dance with me,” he commanded. His voice low, heated and sexy as hell, combined with the effects of the beer, made her completely powerless to resist.
The music and Mack’s arms wrapped around her. Deirdre leaned against him, resting her cheek against the side of his neck, the stubble on his chin rasping against her temple. He smelled of soap and male musk, a heady combination, more potent than the alcohol she’d consumed.
A moment later, or so it seemed, the song ended and the O’Connell brothers broke into the Irish song “Finnegan’s Wake”. The Irish guests all joined in and helped the others who didn’t know the words to sing along.
When Deirdre made a move to step out of Mack’s embrace, he slipped an arm around her waist and tugged her up against his side.
She didn’t argue or try to pull away.
As the noise swelled in the pub, Deirdre longed for the quiet.
“Wanna make a break for it?” Mack asked.
Her heart skipped a couple beats and raced to catch up. “Yes.”
Mack clapped his brother Wyatt on the back. “I’m going back to the hotel. Sleep well your last night as a bachelor.” He leaned over and kissed Fiona on the cheek. “Are you sure you know what you’re getting into?”
She nodded. “I do.”
“Did you hear that?” Sam laughed. “She’s already practicing to get the words right.” He punched Wyatt in the ribs. “You should too.”
While his brothers poked fun at Wyatt, Mack gripped Deirdre’s hand and he guided her through the crowd to the exit.
She had every chance she needed to tell Mack she wasn’t ready to leave, especially with him. The trouble was, she wanted to leave with him. And she didn’t want the night to end. Not yet. That first kiss was nothing compared to the one they’d shared during the dance. That one liquefied every bone in her body.
No man had ever inspired such a complete meltdown before. Like a cat was drawn to catnip, she couldn’t resist him and followed him willingly, frustrated at the amount of time it took to get through the crush of people in the pub.
At the door, he snagged her jacket from a hook on the wall and held it for her to slide her arms in.
When at last they spilled out into the street, she sucked in a deep breath of chilled, misty air, hoping to cool the heat building inside.
As they started toward the hotel, the mist thickened into rain.
“Come on!” Mack’s hand tightened on hers, and they ran to the end of the block and turned. The hotel was only a short distance and they ran hand-in-hand, arriving in the lobby of the hotel, wet and laughing.
Mack didn’t stop there, dragging her into the lift, closing the door before anyone else could get in with them. He punched the button for his floor and immediately pulled her into his arms, his mouth crashing down on hers.
What little breath she’d gathered after their mad dash was stolen away in his kiss. It wasn’t nearly enough. Before they reached Mack’s floor, Deirdre was pushing his jacket from his shoulders and fumbling with the buttons on his shirt.
Tearing her mouth away from his, she pressed a kiss to the side of his throat and to his chest through the gap in his shirt.
The elevator bell rang and the door slid open.
Deirdre grabbed his hand and ran out into the hall. “Which one?”
He pulled his key card from his pocket, kissed her hard on the lips and hurried toward a room near the end of the hall. In seconds he had the door open and they fell through, ripping at each other’s clothes.
Mack pushed her jacket off her shoulders, letting it fall to the floor. He unwound the scarf from her neck, tossing it to the side.
Deirdre finished unbuttoning his shirt and shoved it down his arms. She turned, presenting her back and the zipper to her dress to him. “Hurry,” she said.
His hands dropped onto her shoulders and he pulled her back against his warm front. “Are you sure?”
She nodded, afraid that if she thought too long, she’d sober up and talk herself out of making love to him.
His fingers moved to the zipper and slid it down her back to the swell of her bottom. “We can stop at the kiss,” he said.
“No, we can’t.” She stepped away from him and turned, sliding the straps of the dress off her shoulders. The garment dropped to the floor at her feet and she stepped out of it. Wearing nothing but black, lace panties and her high heels, she stood in front of him, her chest rising and falling, her breathing ragged.
When he didn’t make a move to take her into his arms, she froze, afraid she’d gone too far. Afraid he didn’t find her attractive. Afraid of this man’s rejection.
Was she insane for throwing herself at him?