Thursday, February 9, 2012

Tantalizing Thursday: Reckless Endangerment, a work in progress

This is a short excerpt of "Reckless Endangerment", which is very near completion.  This story is one of the more emotional ones I've written.  It's about a fallen marine returning home, disabled, unsure of his new role as "civilian" with a larger-than-life local celebrity for a wife who's an investigative reporter immersed in a human trafficking story. The challenges they face are both personal, emotional and dangerous as Hope's human trafficking story entrenches them in a much different type of war.

A preview of "Reckless Endangerment"
by Amber Lea Easton


Hope sat on the arm of the sofa and smoothed her hands over her jean-clad thighs before looking at him.  “Does this happen often?  This rage?”
“No.”  He gripped the arms of his chair.  “But I think it’s been a long time coming.”
With a nod, she blew out a long sigh.  “What triggered this blow up then?  Why now?  Was it this morning’s major drama over you getting some sun?  Being in Denver?  Me interfering?  What?”
He squeezed his eyes shut.  The memory of Callie looking at him like he was a piece of trash started the drumming in his skull again.  
“I’m not your problem; none of this is your problem,” he muttered.
With another long sigh, she sat on his lap and pressed her forehead against his.  He wanted to wrap his arms around her and tell her about Callie, confess how he wanted out of here, beg her to take him home with her, admit how much he’d missed talking to her.  He gripped the arms of his chair until he thought he would rip them off.   
“I love you.  For better or worse, remember?”  She kissed him tenderly on the lips.  “Come home to me.  Please.  Come home to me.”  She kissed him again.  “Please. Stop all of this so you can come home to me.”  
Anger morphed into passion.  Hands moved to her back. He ground his mouth against hers.  When she sank against him, he moaned deep in his throat.  Her hands wrapped around his neck.  Mouth opened to him as he deepened the kiss.  Hot.  Wet.  He yanked her blouse from her jeans. He craved her skin.  
“You have no idea what I want to do to you,” he said.
“Oh,  I know exactly what you want to do to me because I want the same thing.”  She yanked his T-shirt over his head while he fumbled with undoing her bra.  “You’re the  sexiest man alive, soldier boy.  I’ve really missed touching you.”
“Do you really want me?  Like this?  Don’t lie to me.”  His hands closed over her breasts.  God, she felt like heaven.  He looked in her eyes, saw them darken with passion and knew the truth.  She wanted him.  Miracles did happen. 
“You know I do.”  She smoothed her hands over his shoulders.  Her mouth followed where her hands roamed.  Over his neck, his shoulders, his chest.  Her hands moved down his arms.  “I love you, Michael.”
His fists wrapped in her hair.  “I missed you touching me, missed touching you.”  
Her mouth returned to his with a fervor that he matched.  He wanted more than groping in his chair.  He wanted her naked against the counter with his head between her thighs and his fingers inside her.  He wanted her naked and gasping his name.  
And then they tipped backward.  Whack, his skull knocked against the floor. 
A tangle of wheelchair, limbs and clothes, they looked into each other’s eyes and laughed harder than either of them had laughed in months. 
“I guess making out in a wheelchair isn’t a good idea,” she muttered against his cheek. 
“Unless we have the brake on.”  He held her against him when she tried to move.  Tangled or not, he liked her naked chest against his.  “Stay here for a minute. Don’t move.”
“Are you hurt?” She kissed the side of his neck but stayed still on top of him.
“No.”  He closed his eyes and held her tight.  “Just don’t move.”
“I love you, soldier boy.” Her arms snaked around his shoulders and held him as tightly as he held her.  “Let me back in.  You know you want to...let me back in.”
“I’m really screwed up.”  He buried his face in her hair.  
“I noticed.”
“I lost it today.”  He combed his hands through her hair.  “Aren’t you scared of me?”
“No.” She raised up on her elbows, her hair falling around her face and her smile as wicked as sin itself.  “I am turned on, frustrated, and excited by you…but I’m not scared of you.” She kissed him again while her right hand curved over his erection. “Guess what I found?’ 
He smiled against her lips.  “It hurts like hell.”
“Which means you feel more than you wanted me to know.”  Her teeth caught his lower lip.  Her eyes glowed with challenge.  “And if you feel something, then Becky’s right.  You  can—”
“Stop.  Don’t.”  He held her face between his hands. How could he explain that, erection or not, he couldn’t move like he used to, couldn’t walk, run or toss her onto the bed and grind himself into her like he used to. 
“What is it?” She braced both hands against the floor on either side of his head and looked at him until he answered.
“I have a long way to go.  I don’t know how to…it’s just an erection, Hope.  I can’t…I’m not…you know.”
“Stop telling me what you’re not.”  Her mouth lowered to his again.  Lips moved tenderly over his.  “You need to trust me, trust yourself, trust Becky. We can do this.”
Spasms ripped through his chest.  He arched his back and bit back a scream.  His hands squeezed her until she winced.  
“What’s wrong?  Oh, my God, I hurt you, didn’t I?  Damn it.” She scrambled off of him as another spasm shot through his back and seized his neck.  “Okay, okay.  This is bad.”
She looked between him on the floor with the wheelchair pitched precariously beneath his legs.  She pulled her blouse on without the bra and kneeled next to him as yet another spasm took hold.  He couldn’t talk, couldn’t tell her that this happened all of the time, couldn’t erase the fear on her face.  
“I need to get someone, get help,” she said.
He shook his head no.  He had caused enough trouble and knew that this situation wouldn’t help.  “You.”
“Me?”  Eyes widened with surprise.  “That’s not a good idea, babe.  I’m not qualified for this.”
“You.”  Burning pain ripped up his spinal column and erupted in the back of his head.  
“Okay, me.  I can do this.  I’ve done harder things, right?  I mean...fine.  I can do this.”  Hands moved over his chest as she surveyed the situation.  She crawled around him and grabbed his shoulders.  With a yank, she pulled him free of the chair.
He couldn’t help her because spasm after spasm seized up his entire torso.  Helpless, he watched her move around him muttering about being a walking disaster and getting in trouble and being kicked out.  
Chair upright, she stood over him, hair a wild mess, and the curve of her breasts visible beneath the open blouse.   He was certain he’d had a fantasy like this once or twice. 
“I should just get the hell out of here before Becky comes back and let you explain this yourself.  Can you help me at all?  What’s happening?  Did I do this?”
“No.”  Despite the agony, he pushed himself up onto his elbows.  “Lift me.  C’mon.  You’re always saying you can do anything, right?”
“I did it before.”  She grinned and squatted next to him. “Of course then we were dodging bullets and fleeing for our lives.  I had the strength of a thousand men.”
“Becky’s pretty scary.” 
“True. Okay, let’s try.  I don’t want to hurt you again.”
“You won’t.”  He squeezed his eyes closed when another spasm ripped his remaining strength from him.  
Legs on either side of his hips, she lifted while he pushed against the floor with his free hand.  Somehow he ended up half on the chair and half on top of her.  Both breathing hard they struggled to disentangle their various limbs before he finally sat in the chair again.  
She sank to the ground and rested her head against his knee.  “We need to get you to the bed, right?”  
He couldn’t say anything as the fist of the Devil himself squeezed his chest in two.  
“Yep.  Bed.” She pushed his chair into the bedroom.  “Thank God for hospital beds, at least right now, right?” She smoothed her hands over his face.  “I’m going to get someone.  A nurse. Someone with pain pills. You don’t need me right now.”
He snagged her hand when she would have pulled away.  “You can do it.  C’mon, Shane. Don’t quit on me now.”
With a muttered curse, she looped her arms beneath his shoulders again.  Together they maneuvered him onto the bed.  She sat next to him, head bent, hair shielding her face.  Absently, she buttoned her shirt.  
“I’m a lot of work.  I told you so,” he muttered.
“Yeah, well, making out in the chair is a bad idea.” Eyes sad, she looked at him.  “I’m not scared off.  Whether you’re throwing things, falling on the floor or telling me to go to hell, you do not scare me.”
“Not even a little bit?” 
“Well, maybe a little bit.” She grinned before standing up.  “Thank God I have a hot tub.  I need a good soak after that work out you just gave me.”
“I wish it could have been a different kind of work out,” he said without thinking.
“Oh, that will come. Trust me.”  She pointed a finger at him.  “I’ll be back.”
“You’re leaving?” he asked as another spasm tore him in half. His fingers curled into the sheets at his side.
And then she was gone.  Just like that.  As if she’d only been a dream.







"THE LONG WAY HOME" should be out in the early summer of 2012, depending on if I finish revisions in time.  Just kidding.  I'll finish them. In the meantime, my novel, KISS ME SLOWLY, is available in paperback and all ebook formats on bookstrand.com, barnesandnoble.com, and amazon.com.  

Follow me on Twitter @mtnmoxiegirl to stay up to date on my latest releases.  IN TOO DEEP is my next novel to be released in late April 2012.  

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