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Carol A. Spradling
Military confidant Cole McKnight will do anything to reclaim his home, even run bounties for an unprincipled bondsman. When Isa Foster becomes his latest assignment, Cole jeopardizes more than his property to bring her in.
Isa Foster has a bounty on her head and a dead friend at her feet. Accused of the murder, she must rely on her espionage training and wits to clear her name. Cole McKnight is one distraction she can’t afford.
With George Washington's impending inauguration and the birth of a nation hanging in the balance, Isa and Cole must work together to uncover the truth behind the murder. While Cole fights for his family home, and Isa for her very survival, their biggest battle may be fighting their attraction for each other.
The door handle rattled and Cole shot a glance over his shoulder. Isa glared at him as he decided his next move. Bent to his work, and seemingly determined to remain a bachelor, he yanked her nightgown off her shoulders and buried his face in her cleavage. Pearl buttons popped to the sides, pinging as they struck the floor, and silk ribbons slipped free.
Gasping, she raked her hands through his hair and tried to pull him away. Her grunts only added to the illusion of a woman enjoying intimacies with her husband. Cole added to her mortification by bending her leg next to his side. Isa could only imagine how this looked from an outsider’s viewpoint, and she closed her eyes to keep from making eye contact with the gawking stares in the doorway. Becoming compliant in his hands, she ran her fingers through his hair and down his bare back. Apparently, the crowd of onlookers seemed confused by the display. They stood quiet, but staring. Cole jabbed his thumb in Isa’s ribs and she squealed. Hurried footsteps fled the room.
Now that the audience had fled, he pressed upward on his hands and raised his torso above Isa. Cool air rushed between them, but she made no move to gather the neckline of her nightgown. With no concern for her lack of modesty, she stared up at Cole, hoping to prolong the moment. He seemed to have a similar thought, for his eyes slowly scanned her exposed skin. She arched her back and instinctively trailed her fingers over the lines of carved definition from his elbow to shoulder to lips. His tongue flicked out and drew her finger into his mouth. Her breath caught and she glanced up at him. Hooking her digit over his teeth, she drew him down to her. He hesitated long enough to search her face. She closed her eyes in answer and wet her lips. His mouth covered hers, and she didn’t care if they were alone or not. Aunt Lenore may not have meant for them to carry the charade this far, but neither of them made any effort to stop their desires. Her nails dug into his taut flesh on its way to his lower back. Their teeth clicked against each other and Cole tensed.
Cold water poured from over his back onto Isa’s chest. They both gasped and looked up at an upended pail. Next to the dripping bucket, Aunt Lenore’s stern face was as harsh as worn leather.