Combine the action of a special ops team, a sexy commander, and the woman who comes into their lives and becomes caught in a deadly revenge plot, and anything can happen...
Simply The Best
Kaylee Masterson is working on site for a client when he offers her the use of his beach house for the summer. In her spare time, Kaylee decides to write an erotic novel, and soon finds the perfect model for her hero—Max Richmonte, owner of an old-fashioned saloon that looks like it was displaced in time. But, Max is definitely in the here and now, and Kaylee soon discovers that nothing she's written could ever have prepared her for the thrill of being on the receiving end of Max's passionate kisses. But, Max has a dark side to his life, and when that secret world clashes, violently, with the happiness he's found, the handsome commander is forced to face not only his past—but also the future he wants with Kaylee. A future filled with love, smoldering passion, and endless nights of hot, mind-blowing sex...
In spite of the growing need to see Max Richmonte, Kaylee stayed away from the Silver Dollar, for a number of weeks. She worked, dreamed of him far too often, and fumed to herself over every possible stupidity she could assign to her behavior the last night she’d seen him. It wasn’t hard, she had a fertile imagination when it came to her own short-comings. Her one consolation was her work, and she threw herself into it with a vengeance. And succeeded in completing her latest project weeks ahead of schedule, which would delight the client she was working for.
As a reward to herself, she decided to relax for the night. Soft music flooded her rented beach house, there was a low fire crackling in the fireplace, and the place was lit with candles and incense. She wanted nothing more than to simply relax and recharge.
After a long, luxuriating bath, she slid a sheer, pure silk gown over her head and returned to the soothing atmosphere of the living room. She hadn’t had time to sit when there was a knock at her door. Frowning, she resisted a string of profanities and went to answer the persistent tapping. She opened the door a moment later and her heart missed a beat. Looking up into Max Richmonte’s dark gaze was the last thing she needed in her quest for comfort.
“What are you doing here?” She winced as soon as the shaken words escaped her lips. “I’m sorry, Mr. Richmonte,” she apologized softly. “I wasn’t expecting you.”
His gaze traveled over her, discreetly, but missing nothing.
“Am I interrupting something, Ms. Masterson?” he wondered, his look darting into the softly lit room behind her.
“No,” she replied honestly, the response automatic. Her wrap hadn’t been belted, and she’d forgotten for a moment that her nightgown as almost transparent in texture. She took a moment to tie the belt, then looked up at him again. “Would you like to come in?” She held the door and he walked past her. She stared for a moment, then slammed the door and followed him into the room. She turned on the overheard lights as she entered the area, and the illusion of seductive intimacy vanished.
“This is a lovely place,” he noted.
“I was in charge of the renovations,” she explained, “then Roger Gilmore, the owner, had to go to Europe as they were being finished, and told me to stay here for the summer if I wanted to enjoy the place.”
“You’re an architect?”
“Sometimes,” she smiled. “Most of what I tend to do is a combination of architectural design and interior design. What do you think?” she asked, sincerely interested in his answer.
The beach house looked more like a log cabin now than it did a modern beach house, and most of the rooms opened into the spacious living room. There were almost no walls to speak of anymore, simply decorative brass railings to separate the rooms into distinct areas apart from the central room. The lighting was recessed and when it wasn’t in use, the fixtures retracted into the ceiling. Light maple and pine tones were the dominant theme in all the areas, making the overall appearance one of rich, warm wooden splendor.
Max loved the look and feel of the place.
“It’s great,” he stated with real appreciation. “Makes me wonder what your home looks like,” he noted with a grin.
“Similar to this,” she confessed around a low laugh. “I have a two-story house, designed somewhat like this. The top level extends halfway over the main one, and the floor is mirrored from the ground level, and see-through in the upper bedroom. As long as you don’t suffer from vertigo or acrophobia, it’s a really neat concept.”
Max’s eyebrow rose and he laughed with her.
“What are you here for, Mr...” she hesitated when he tossed her a pointed look, then she relented. “Why are you here, Max? I doubt it was to discuss architecture or house design.”
He wasn’t totally certain himself why he’d sought her company. He’d told himself numerous times that it was sexual curiosity, that he wanted to sleep with her, nothing more. But Max wasn’t a man to lie, especially to himself, and he knew there was something about Kaylee Masterson that had gotten under his skin. He wanted her, yes, but it was more than that. He simply hadn’t discovered yet what it was he hoped to find in her. When he’d decided, on impulse, to come over to her house, he sure as hell hadn’t expected to find her draped in gauzy silk and standing in surroundings that made him think even more seriously about seducing her.
“I was going to ask if you’d like to give me a hand with my book-keeping,” he said, grabbing at the first remotely plausible thing that came into his mind.
She peered intently at him, measuring the truth in his words and finding none. Her nerves were screaming at her to get him out of the house before he really knew how deeply attracted to him she was. He suspected, she could feel that much, but he had no way of knowing how much of her time was preoccupied with every aspect of him. She didn’t want him to know.
“How did you find me, Mr. Richmonte?”
There it was again, Max thought, that smooth shift back to formality any time he made the slightest gesture of interest.
“Tommy remembered seeing your address in the notebook,” he offered, dodging the question without thinking. It was possible enough to be the truth, though, and she accepted it as such.
What else had Tommy seen in the book? She wondered, agitation becoming a tangible kind of panicked pain within her.
“I’m not really an accountant,” she offered with a weak smile. “Maybe you’d better consult someone who does know what they’re doing.”
He nodded, his gaze still wandering over the house, and the woman who occupied it.
“I don’t mean to be rude, Mr. Richmonte,” she began quietly. “But, if that’s all you wanted, I would like to be alone tonight.”
“Would you have dinner with me tomorrow night?” he asked, curious about her reaction more than her response. There it was, the near terror in her pale eyes as she considered his invitation, and her desire to accept it. The light grey of her gaze clouded, then the set of her jaw gave him his answer a moment before she politely declined, for the second time.
“What are you afraid of, Kaylee?” he questioned, refusing to be put off this time.
“Nothing,” she returned firmly. “I simply don’t want to see you socially, Max.”
“Because you’re afraid you might actually like me?” He grinned, and one eyebrow rose. “Or is it something a little more basic that’s scaring you?”
“There’s that word again,” she stated, voice little more than a whisper between them. “I am not afraid of you, Max Richmonte,” she asserted. “If you require some kind of proof, feel free to stay for awhile.”
“Thanks,” he grinned. “I’d like to.”
She groaned inwardly, but pasted a smile on her face and showed him fully into the living room. He dropped his tall, lean frame into a comfortable chair and looked up at her, that devastating smile coming into full play over his stunning features.
“How about a movie?”
She shook her head. “Do you like old radio shows?”
Max’s surprise brought a rush of sweet, feminine giggles from her and he watched her cross the room and switch the sound system over to tapes. She popped in a cassette, handed him a huge bowl of popcorn, and poured two glasses of red wine. She handed one to him, then dimmed the lighting again before settling on the couch adjacent to his seat in the armchair.
Max gave the old audio program half his attention, the other half was focused on the woman sitting a couple of feet away. She’d set aside the wine glass and was listening, her eyes closed. Her wrap had fallen open and he was drinking in the view of her breasts encased in the filmy silk and lace bodice of her gown. Her nipples were a dark shadow, and he watched them harden as he stared at her, as though her body was in perfect synch with his desire to touch her.
He left his chair, silent and graceful, and reseated himself next to her on the sofa. Her eyes opened and she looked at him, her breath a soft rush of air between them. Max leaned into her, his lips finding hers as he pulled her close to him. His tongue slipped into the wine-tainted warmth of her mouth, drawing her into the kiss, deepening it to something exquisitely erotic as he tasted and teased her