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A Finalist in RWA’s Vivian Awards for the Best Romance Fiction of 2021
A Standalone Crossover Novel with Kristen Proby’s Big Sky Series
Getting in deep has never felt this good…
Commercial diving instructor Tara Hunter nearly lost everything in an accident that saw her medically discharged from the navy. With the help of the Warrior Fight Club, she’s fought hard to overcome her fears and get back in the water where she’s always felt most at home. At work, she’s tough, serious, and doesn’t tolerate distractions. Which is why finding her gorgeous one-night stand on her new dive team is such a problem.
Former navy deep-sea diver Jesse Anderson just can’t seem to stop making mistakes—the latest being the hot-as-hell night he’d spent with his new partner. This job is his second chance, and Jesse knows he shouldn’t mix business with pleasure. But spending every day with Tara’s smart mouth and sexy curves makes her so damn hard to resist.
Joining a wounded warrior MMA training program seems like the perfect way to blow off steam—until Jesse finds that Tara belongs too. Now they’re getting in deep and taking each other down day and night, and even though it breaks all the rules, their inescapable attraction might just be the only thing truly worth fighting for.
Finalist, RWA Vivian Award for the Best Romance Fiction of 2021
“I’ll come up,” Tara said, taking a chance even as the city spun around her. Because things like this just didn’t happen to her. At least, they never had before. And that seemed like a really good reason to hold tight to it and see where it was going.
Pure, raw satisfaction rolled over Jesse’s expression, making her belly flip. Dark eyes blazed down at her. “You sure?”
Was she sure that she understood how something so awesome was happening? No, not at all. Was she sure she wanted whatever was coming next? Oh yeah. “I’m sure.”
He squeezed her hand as they crossed the street. The very first time he’d grasped her palm, she’d nearly melted at how warm and unexpected and sweet it was. She’d still been doing a mental Snoopy dance over how amazing their kiss had been when he’d started dragging his thumb back and forth across her knuckles. And that had made her need the feel and the taste of him again.
Thank God he’d gone along with her solution for being cold. She adored that he seemed to enjoy her particular brand of probably goofy flirtation. Once, she would’ve been far too shy to suggest to a man that he kiss her, but then she’d nearly died, and ever since all the game-playing and beating-around-the-bush of life felt too much like wasting time she didn’t really know she had.
Inside the lobby, both of them nearly groaned as the heat enveloped them. “God, that feels good,” she said.
“Hell yes, it does,” he said, taking them to the bank of elevators.
Heat pooled low in her belly. God, she wanted him. She didn’t want to overthink it or debate it or question the right and wrong or smart and dumb of it, she just wanted this man. “I’m counting on it.”
“Damn, Tara,” he bit out. “Whatever you want or don’t want, you gotta tell me now. Because once we get in my room, it’s gonna be really fucking hard for me to not be all over you.”
She squeezed her thighs together at the promise of his words, but it didn’t give her the relief she needed—the relief she needed from him. “Jesse, I wouldn’t be in this elevator with you if I didn’t want you all over me.” God, he was looking at her like he wanted to devour her, and she was so down with that.
The bell dinged their arrival to his floor, and the doors slid open.
“Thank God,” he said, drawing her into the hallway with a speed and an urgency that was as hot as it was humorous, because she felt the same way. His room was the last one on the left. A quick swipe of his card had them nearly falling inside, hands and mouths all over each other, pulling off coats and shirts and shoes. “I want to see you,” he said, flicking on a switch that illuminated the lamp next to the couch.
“Agreed.” She shed her sweater to the floor where it joined both of their coats and his Henley, leaving both of them bare from the waist up and baring her second scar—the one at the base of her throat from the emergency tracheotomy she’d needed.
But she was too focused on how freaking hot he was to worry about her scars. Jesse had a tattoo that extended from the base of his throat, over his shoulder, and down his left arm—black stars connected by blue and gray swirls. And wow was his upper body a thing of muscled beauty. Lean and defined, with a thin covering of dark chest hair that trailed intriguingly beneath his jeans. There were scars, too, more than a few. The longer hair on top of his head was a finger-raked mess, and it was sexy as hell.
Given the number of times his hands had been in her hair tonight, she guessed she looked the same. “I don’t want to miss any of this, otherwise I might convince myself that it was all a dream.”
His grin was deliciously predatory as he closed the little distance between them, bringing them chest to chest. “Fuck, I’m torn between hot and fast or spreading you out and taking my damn time.”
Yes, please. A shiver raced over her skin, because she wanted whatever he wanted. “Do we have to choose?”
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