She didn’t know if she was angry or frightened, but aiming a gun at his head felt pretty damn good. “What are you staring at? Get out of there.”
She motioned for him to exit the guest room and enter the main cabin. He looked like hell. Scratches ripped up his chest, blood darkened the once white bandage on his shoulder, soggy pajama pants were stained and ripped at the knees and his feet, and it looked as if he had walked for miles barefoot. He limped to the curving white leather sofa and fell against the cushions.
“What the hell happened to you?” she asked.
“Would you please put the gun down? You’re terrifying.” He slurred his words as he dropped his arms against the table as if they weighed a thousand pounds.
“Terrifying is my current goal. Tell me what happened.” She scrambled to lock the hatch overhead before sinking on the edge of the sofa a few feet away from him. She kept a firm hold on the gun. “Talk to me, Jon.”
His hands shook as he held them to his forehead. He looked like a shadow of the man she had encountered forty-eight hours ago. That man had owned the world and knew it. This one looked like the world was against him and knew it.
“How did you get here?” She bit her lip. She needed to get away from here.
“Someone took me from the house, dropped me on the street. I walked. Jumped the sea wall. No one is following me.” His gaze pierced into hers. “How did you know I was here?”
“I notice details, and you did a lousy job smearing your tracks.” She noticed the bulge in his waistband and realized he had a gun of his own. “What the hell is that? Take it out.”
His hands shook so violently when he laid the gun on the table that she worried he might shoot a hole in the hull.
“For God’s sake, just leave it alone,” she ordered. “I suppose you’re going to tell me you found that.”
“It’s not mine.” His eyes glazed over as he stared at the gun on the table. “It’s not mine,” he repeated.
“David said Ashley was murdered. The news thinks you may have been kidnapped. David brought it up because he thought my Jon Ryan resembled the infamous Jonathan Alexander. I swear, it’s one thing after another with you. Murder? What’s next? What can be worse than murder? Is that the house you’re talking about? Someone took you from Ashley’s?” Her own hands shook as she moved his gun further away from his trembling hands. “What happened? What have you done?”
“I don’t know.” He shook his head and stared at the gun. Defeat swirled around him like a swarm of mosquitoes.
She strode to the head and grabbed two beach towels. She couldn’t have him ruining the leather. He watched her through veiled eyes as she tossed the towels at him.
“Dry off. Tell me what happened from the moment you went home with Ashley. Leave out nothing.”
She paced while he spoke. His entire body shook as he sat there huddled beneath towels telling her about sangria and murder. With every detail, he slumped further against her cushions. Her mind clicked into overdrive as she listened. Thinking, thinking, thinking…
He didn’t need to say he was terrified. She could see it in the shadows of his eyes. “I was unconscious, in and out, I mean. Someone pulled me from Ashley’s, drove me, told me to run. I think it was Craig, but I don’t know. I came to you.”
“You came to me.” Hands on hips, she contemplated tossing him overboard and setting sail to parts unknown.
Because of him, she had nearly gotten arrested herself. Ms. Careful and Controlled nearly blew it over a kiss. One damn kiss from a guy she hadn’t known since high school. High school, for God’s sake. Damn it, she had lost all sense.
Well, two kisses. Technically. Two.
She cursed under her breath, laid the revolver on the countertop and pulled a bottle of rum from the freezer. Mind racing, she poured them each a glass over ice.
“I think we both need a drink.” She curled onto the seat next to him.
Both listened to the lapping of water against the hull without saying anything for a few minutes.
“This is such a mess.” She spoke more to herself than to him. “I need to get out of here tonight.”
He said nothing, just held the glass between his hands and shivered.
“You need to take a shower, get warm, what am I thinking? Damn it.” She knew the signs of shock. Pale skin. Glassy eyes. Body tremors. “Come on.”
He looped his arm around her shoulders and limped beside her to the stateroom. Biting the inside of her lip, she used her shoulder to keep him steady while she worked his pants off of him. His teeth chattered loudly against her chin.
“When I imagined running away with you, the fantasy involved a lot more fun and less drama.” She managed a grin as they stepped in to the shower. He didn’t smile, but she saw light return to his eyes. “Take a shower. I’ll find some of Jerry’s clothes for you.”
When it looked like he would fall down the side of the tiny shower, she cursed and stepped inside with him. Holding him up with her shoulder, she reached behind her back and turned on the water. She held his head between both of her hands and squinted against the water that covered them.
“Don’t faint on me or anything, okay?” she asked when he simply shivered and stared and shivered and stared. “Damn it, you’re really messed up, aren’t you?”
She smoothed his wet hair from his eyes and attempted to wash the blood from his skin with a washcloth while still managing to keep them both upright.
“Okay, baby, we’re good for now, I think.” She turned off the water and managed to shove her own wet hair from her eyes. “Hold on to me.”
“My feet,” he said between the chattering of his teeth. Blue eyes burned into hers. “Sorry, Grace.”
“Stop saying you’re sorry.” She sat him down on the toilet and coached herself not to stare at his wet, naked body. Sure, she’d seen him naked before but…that was a long time ago and they sure as hell hadn’t been in a life-or-death situation.
“Clothes. You need dry clothes.” She wrapped him in several towels and dragging him to the edge of the bed. “Stay here.”
Lucky for him, Jerry always left items of clothing behind, and he had left his duffel bag with a few items this morning. She found a pair of ancient sweatpants, some socks, and a long-sleeved T-shirt.
With a quick double check to make sure the hatch was locked, she jogged back to her cabin with clothes, his bag, and a first-aid kit. Adrenaline quickened her pace. She wanted Miami behind her as quickly as possible.
Jonathan sat on the edge of the bed, towel around his waist, and stared out the large porthole near her bed. Only the light from the hall and the bathroom filtered in to the room. She soaked up his presence, the well-muscled chest tapering to narrow hips covered with a burgundy towel.
Despite the circumstances, she fought the impulse to wrap her arms around him. She chewed the inside of her lip. Damn him for coming back into her life. She’d had everything in control, everything in balance.
“I shouldn’t have come to you.” He dragged his gaze up to her face. “I keep putting you at risk. This was the last place I should have come. You don’t deserve this.”
Wariness shadowed his eyes like a dog who had been abused by its owner and wasn’t quite ready to trust again.
“Let me look at your feet. I need to change the bandage on your shoulder, too. It’s bloody and dirty,” she said. “If we keep going like this, we’re going to need more bandages.”
“I am so sorry, Grace,” he said.
“Stop telling me you’re sorry.” She held his foot in her hand and winced at the open blisters.
“You’re amazing,” he whispered.
She glanced up, his foot securely in her hands, and shrugged. “You don’t know me anymore. I’m far from amazing.”
“My pirate.” His grin was crooked and unexpected.
“I’ll go,” he mumbled, shadows returning to his eyes. “I have no right to be here.”
God, if only he knew what she had risked this afternoon and why. She squeezed his foot and applied salve to his open wounds. Then again, she didn’t know why exactly. Insanity, Jerry had said. Pure insanity. Simon had another theory that she refused to acknowledge even for a second. She finished bandaging the other foot but kept holding it in her hands.
She thought of the journey he had taken. The drugged sangria, the sight of Ashley murdered, the terror of being chased by the unseen, stumbling through the streets of Miami on bare feet just to swim to her, the only one he felt would not betray him.
And why would he think that? How could he trust someone he had known so long ago? How could she?
“I’m sorry for what happened to Ashley, to you.” Sighing, she leaned her forehead against his knee. “I wish I knew what to do, the right thing to do.”
His hand smoothed through her hair. They remained like that, her kneeling in front of him with her head against his bare leg and his hand in her hair. They didn’t need to say a word. There was an unspoken understanding between them with the contact, a bond that transcended time.
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Here's what the reviews are saying:
Want to read something that keeps you wanting more?,
December 4, 2013
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Absolute page turner! I had a hard time putting it down. Never a dull moment, it definitely kept me on my toes. I find that hard to come by in a book these days. A must read!!
A perfect pairing of action and romance,
January 1, 2012
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
A great read filled with enough twists and turns to keep me up late reading. Romance sizzles thru the heart of the novel, challenged perpetually by complicated characters and their complicated lives. I'm eagerly awaiting more from this new author!
A Riveting and Sizzling Romantic Suspense Thriller!,
April 10, 2012
Kiss Me Slowly is an action packed romance suspense thriller that will have you sitting on the edge of your seat with every chilling twist and turn. The storyline is well written and full of intrigue that pulls the reader into the action that follows Jon and Grace. The interweaving plot of embezzlement, diamond smuggling, betrayal, murder, mayhem, and sizzling romantic chemistry keeps the reader guessing what will happen next as Jon and Grace race against the clock to prove his innocence while encountering unknown dangers that wait around every corner. The characters are realistic, their complex lives and engaging interactions with each other give the story more depth and make it that much more powerful and compelling. I absolutely loved the sizzling chemistry between Jon and Grace, even though they tried to deny it, their passion for each other still simmered below the surface. The description of the setting in the story is fabulous, who wouldn't love to visit the beautiful South Beach area of Miami, the Florida Keys or floating on the ocean in a beautiful yacht? This story has so much suspense and action going on that I couldn't help but hold my breath with anticipation as I turned the pages.
Kiss Me Slowly is a riveting, slow burning, sizzling romantic suspense thriller that will captivate you from beginning to end. This is one story that romance suspense thriller fans should put on their reading list, you won't be disappointed!
Those are just a few of the great reviews for Kiss Me Slowly! Get your copy now.