As a thank you, I've decided to give you three long excerpts between now and release day, September 24th.
This is the first. I hope you enjoy it! As always, this may be altered or deleted prior to publication and is intended for adult readers.
“I don’t know about this,” I mutter and watch as Caleb pushes a clip into his handgun with a loud snick.
“You need to learn,” he reminds me for the thousandth time since we left the post office and he told me we were coming to the shooting range.
“Why? I don’t like the idea of having a gun in the house with the girls.”
“The girls won’t be shooting it.” He passes me a pair of clear shooting glasses and a set of earmuffs.
“Caleb, accidents happen.”
“Number one,” he begins, his voice hard, jaw locked and eyes cold. He’s in military mode.
It’s fucking scary.
“Any weapon in your house will either be on our person or locked away. The girls will never have an opportunity to have an accident.” He cocks an eyebrow at me, waiting for me to respond.
I’ll be damned if I will say yes, sir.
“Okay,” I respond and lift my chin.
His lips twitch before he continues.
“Number two, you need to learn this so you can protect yourself. The people who may or may not be looking for you are dangerous, and they will have firearms. Your screwdriver can’t compete with that.”
“Hey,” I begin, but he cuts me off.
“And number three,” he leans in to whisper in my ear. “Don’t be a pussy.”
That does it. Just like that, I’m fucking pissed as hell.
Pussy? I’m no damn pussy.
I narrow my eyes at him and push my face up to his. “Bring it on, sailor.”
“Good girl,” he mutters and grins down at me proudly. “Have you ever held a handgun before?”
“Okay.” He holds it up for me to inspect. “This is the safety. It’s off because we’re about to shoot it.” He grins at me and I can tell he loves this. “This clip has ten rounds in it. I have four more with me.”
“Got it,” I nod, staring at the black weapon in his hands.
“Do you want me to go first?” he asks.
He nods, pushes his own glasses onto his face and sets his target. I glance around the range and take in the smell of gunpowder and male sweat. It’s deserted right now, in the middle of a weekday. We are at the farthest window down, and are completely alone.
And Caleb is completely in his element.
“Stand back just a bit. I don’t want one of these hot shells to hit you when it comes out of the pistol.”
“Got it.” I take my place, and when he’s satisfied that I’m safe from getting hit, he turns to the target, raises the gun in both hands, his arms extended and muscles completely flexed and takes his first shot.
And I’m immediately wet and panting.
For the love of all that’s holy this man is pure, unadulterated sex on a fucking stick.
He squeezes the trigger slowly for a couple of shots, and then empties the clip quickly, not taking his eyes off the target.
When he looks back at me, he smiles smugly and pulls his target to him.
“You okay?” He asks.
“Fine.” I clear my throat and feel my eyes widen when his target approaches. There is a huge hole where the chest was and another in the top of the head. “Nice shot.”
He shrugs and replaces the target with a fresh one and sends it out. “Your turn.”
“Maybe you should take another turn,” I mention, trying to keep my voice light. I’m suddenly nervous as hell.
“Pussy,” he whispers and laughs when I glare at him. He pulls out the empty clip and hands me a new, loaded one and the gun. “Load your clip.”
I do, clumsily.
“Relax, baby, you’ll get the hang of it. You just need practice.”
My heart stutters at baby.
“Now, face the target. Feel the weapon in your hands, Bryn. It’s heavy. When it fires, it’s going to have a bit of a recoil.”
“Oh, goody,” I murmur.
“You’ll be fine.”
I face the target and stare down at the weapon in my hand. How did I get here? How did my life come to this?
“Raise the gun.”
I follow his order and stare hard at the target roughly twenty yards from me.
I squeeze the trigger and the first shot recoils harder than I expected, making me jump.
“Easy,” Caleb murmurs behind me.
“I’m fine.” Maybe if I keep saying it I’ll start to believe it myself.
He moves up behind me and nudges my legs apart. “Widen your stance for balance.”
I fire again, and my blood thickens as adrenaline pumps hard and fast through me.
It doesn’t take a Navy SEAL to figure out how to line up the sights, and I squeeze the trigger, again and again, my body taught with aggression that I didn’t even know I’d been holding.
Shooting is great therapy.
When my clip is empty, Caleb wordlessly shows me how to switch it out, and I continue to throw the bullets down the range, clip after clip, until all four are spent.
I set the heavy gun on the shelf, pull my goggles and earmuffs off and step back. I have to lock my knees because my legs feel like Jell-O and I’m afraid I’ll fall. My arms are humming, I’m panting, and I swear to God, I could run a marathon.
Suddenly, Caleb steps up behind me and presses the button to bring the target back to us.
“Take a deep breath,” he whispers against my ear and I instinctively respond, pulling in a long, deep breath. He presses his chest against my back, his thighs against the back of my own, and pulls in a long breath of his own. “You smell so fucking good.”
His cock stirs against my backside, through his jeans. He pulls his hands up my arms and down my sides to my hips, where he rests them as he runs his nose up the side of my neck.
With the noise and feel of the gun still in my head, my heart still pounding like crazy, I want him.
“You have no idea how fucking good you feel pressed up against me like this,” he whispers, his voice rough and strained.
“I think I have an idea,” I respond, surprised to hear the raw need in my own voice. Closing my eyes, I lean my head back on his shoulder and relish in the feel of his hands kneading my hips and his face pressed into my neck. My nipples are puckered and straining against my bra, and goosebumps have broken out up and down the length of my body.
I want him unlike anything or anyone I’ve ever wanted before.
“Caleb.” His name is a whisper, a prayer.
“Smell so damn good.”
“Touch me,” I demand softly. His hands still. He kisses my neck softly, takes a long, deep breath, and then backs away.
I turn around in surprise and in full-blown anger.
“What kind of game are you playing?” I demand.
“I’m not playing a game.” He crosses his arms over his chest.
“Caleb.” I just stare at him for a long moment. Thirty seconds ago his hands were on me and he was whispering the sweetest things in my ear.
Now he’s turned back into the drill sergeant.
And men say women are confusing.
Finally, he turns and pulls the target down.
“I’ll be damned,” he whispers.
“Let me see.”
There are a few stray bullet holes around the white part of the target, but in the center of the chest and the top of the head are two good-sized holes where my bullets pierced the paper.
“You’re a natural.”
I shrug like it’s no big thing, but inside I’m doing the mega happy-dance.
“Not so much a pussy, I guess.”
Caleb laughs, long and loud and scoops me up into a long hug.
“Definitely not a pussy,” he agrees as he pulls away from me.
“Caleb?” My heart is beating hard, and I’m still pissed at him. He’s smiling down at my target, but when his eyes meet mine, he sobers.
“Don’t fucking touch me like that again unless you plan to finish what you start.”
His eyes go hard and his jaw tightens. Before I can turn and walk away, he grabs my wrist and pulls me against him, pinning my arms between our bodies.
“Let’s get this straight, Brynna. I want you so fucking bad my teeth ache. I’ve wanted you for months. But you’re part of my family, and I’m supposed to be protecting you. Dropping my guard and fucking you into the mattress is not the way to keep any of you whole.”
I gasp as his words sink in and I want to beg him to take me home do exactly that; fuck me into the mattress, but before I can speak, he lowers his forehead to mine and clenches his eyes closed as if in pain.
“I’m not going to fuck up our friendship, or make things weird for you with my family, just because I can’t keep my damn hands off you. You mean too much for that.”
I lean into him, wanting to comfort him, but he sighs, lifts his head and plants his lips on my forehead for a long few seconds and then backs away, turns his back on me, and loads the weapon and clips back into his locking gun box.
“I apologize. I won’t touch you again.”
Before I can argue, ask him to talk with me about this, he stalks off ahead of me.
Copyright Kristen Proby 2013. All rights reserved.