"DO YOU DO THESE THINGS just to keep me in practice?" Cade
asked, grinning at his favorite perpetual–victim, her
silky brown hair a dark curtain over a face he knew would
be sliding into a sheepish smile.
Eden Gillespie always looked sheepish when she had to be
rescued. Something, if he'd ever considered it, he'd have
figured she'd have outgrown. He eyed her legs, smooth and
bare all the way to the top of her hot pink panties thanks
to the way her dress was hanging. Her arms were wrapped
around the tree limb and one foot dangled while the other
was caught in a snarl of branches and leaves. Clearly he'd
have figured wrong.
"Consider it my welcome home present," she muttered,
blowing a puff of air so her hair cleared enough that he
could see the resigned amusement in her big brown eyes.
That was one of the things he'd always admired about Eden.
She could laugh at herself. So many of the girls he'd grown
up with, and the women he'd dated for that matter, took
themselves and life way too seriously. They were so worried
about controlling the impression they made, they didn't let
themselves just live.
Without thinking, his eyes shifted back to Eden's legs.
Long and sleek, they wrapped around that big, hard branch.
He frowned at the scrapes and faint reddening of her tender
flesh, for the first time ever, tempted to kiss away a
boo–boo. All the way up to her panties. Practical
cotton, he noted, his mouth going dry, but in a fun sassy
color. Since she was face down on the branch, the curve of
her butt was perfectly highlighted in that pink fabric. His
fingers itched to touch, to see if her curves were as firm
as they looked.?Whoa. Not cool, he lectured himself.
Lusting after the sweet girl next door was walking an
awfully close line to settling down. Nothing wrong with it
in the big picture, but in his personal rulebook? Totally
out of the question.
"Want some help?" he offered, wondering how many times now
he'd had to hurry these rescues along because of a hit of
inappropriate lust. After all, he was pretty sure he'd been
hauling her out of scrapes since his pre–teen days.
But it'd only been since that rescue, when he'd seen her
naked, that the sight of her made him instantly horny. He
sighed with relief. There, now he was only a standard guy,
not a weird pervert with a superhero complex.
"I can do it," she muttered, tugging her foot to try and
loosen it from the branch. Her shoe, a cute little black
strappy thing, was good and stuck. She sighed and slanted
him a rueful look. "But maybe you could just unhook my shoe
Cade didn't bother arguing. He reached up and pulled the
twigs from her foot. Then he wrapped both hands around her
surprisingly narrow waist, easily lifting her from the
overhead branch. It was like doing a military press, he
thought with a grin as he lowered her body toward the
Except he hadn't counted on her shocked reaction. She
gasped, struggling a little as if wanting him to let her
go. Since he wasn't about to drop her three feet to the
ground, he shifted. Her breasts skimmed his chin. He froze.
Other than to gasp and grab onto his shoulders for support,
so did she.
Cade had felt the same energy pounding through his body
when he held a live grenade. Danger, excitement, all senses
on full alert.
Wrong, his brain screamed. Eden was the sweet girl next
door. The same girl he'd been rescuing for years. She
wasn't supposed to inspire this degree of lust. The kind
that made him want to take her, right there against the
tree. He didn't care that they'd only said a dozen or so
words to each other in years, or that her friend was over
there, face pressed against the window of the wrecked car,
watching.?It was neither of those things that had Cade
ignoring the hot need in his belly, or his body's demand
that he taste her, touch her.?It was the flutter of Eden's
lashes. The way her pulse trembled in her throat. The tiny
trembles of her fingers where they dug into his shoulders.
He, and his wicked desires, were out of her league.?So,
nope. Not giving in to the need.?But that didn't mean he
couldn't enjoy himself up to that limit line.