I look around because the hair on the back of my neck prickles. “We need to get out of here.” Someone is here, watching, listening, and now it’s time to do what I do best. “I’ve missed you.” I smile while I use the tip of my finger to trace his jawline.
Mark’s eyes shift over my head as he pulls me flush against his body. We’re both facing exits. “I’ve missed you more,” he plays along.
This might just work. He’s on alert as well and senses something awry. His fingers splay across my lower back as he holds me close. “Maybe we should head back to my place so you can show me just how much.” I glance over his shoulder. His blonde hair falls in his eyes as he dips his head into my neck. I know the move, but a shiver runs down my spine.
“You’d like that, wouldn’t you?” I release a very low moan, which I didn’t give permission to escape. Mark’s lips glide across my skin.
I’m not sure he’s acting.
I’m not even sure that I am.
Then Mark reminds me this is serious. “There are two guys behind you.” His voice is low enough that only I can hear him. To anyone passing, we’re two lovers reacquainting ourselves. “One at my two o’clock, and the other is out of my view.”
“One just passed behind you twice. I think going toward my exit is best.” I snuggle closer. “I’m ready when you are.” The double meaning is meant for anyone to hear, but Mark should know it means I’m ready to disappear. “You’ll have to keep up, though.”
He leans back while cupping my face. His lips hover over mine. “I don’t have any problems keeping you satisfied, princess.”
My pulse spikes. I know he can hear it, feel it, see in my eyes that I’m affected. My breaths are shallow as his hands slowly make their way down my arms.
“Arrogant prick,” I mutter.
I can tell he’d be an incredible lover. His overconfidence would only play to my benefit. We’re both cut from the same cloth, ready to fight for dominance. He’d win, though. I can see it in his eyes. There would be no battle, Mark has already won. Right now, he controls me. He determines whether we kiss, what it’ll be like, and for the first time in my life—I surrender.
His lips come closer. “They’re closing in,” he whispers, his eyes locked on me. “Charlie?” he asks.
“What?” My voice is barely audible.
“This will happen again when we don’t have to fight off people, and then you’ll be mine.”
I don’t have time to reply. His lips crash down on mine as he spins me around so he leads our exit. The second our mouths collide, my brain disconnects. My fingers tangle in his hair, grabbing it to pull him close. Mark’s hands hold my face to his and he continues to guide me. I know we’re moving but I have no idea to where. In this instant, I don’t care. Never has someone made me feel so desperate for them. I never lose control, never feel so lost, yet right now, I am. I’m raw, exposed, and completely vulnerable.
My life is a secret.
His life is dangerous.
We’re both stubborn, calculating, and controlling.
Mark Dixon doesn’t know what he’s getting into. He doesn’t know his games could cost us our lives. I have to do what is necessary to keep us alive, and that means guarding my heart.
But I know I’m defenseless against him, and in the end, he’ll force me to surrender.
Corinne Michaels is an emotional, witty, sarcastic, and fun loving mom of two beautiful children. She’s happily married to the man of her dreams and is a former Navy wife. After spending months away from her husband while he was deployed, reading and writing was her escape from the loneliness.
Both her maternal and paternal grandmothers were librarians, which only intensified her love of reading. After years of writing short stories, she couldn’t ignore the call to finish her debut novel, Beloved. Her alpha Navy SEALs are broken, beautiful, and will steal your heart.