Conquered in Cancun, a novella will be out within the next few weeks, thanks to my Love, Lust and Laptops co-bloggers Emilia Mancini and Vanessa North.
In Christmas in Cancun, I hinted at a possible relationship between “Cool Hand” Luke Thorstad, the sexy helicopter pilot, and Lilly Girard. Sorry, but that never took off. Lilly’s exciting story will be released later this year, when she meets a real Madman.
After a deployment romance ends disastrously, Lieutenant Commander Caroline Hodges vows never to trust another man. Joining her roommates for some fun in the Cancun sun, she runs into Luke Thorstad, the lover who dumped her in Navy flight school. Could her luck get any worse? But the more time she spends with Luke the more old feelings resurface. A fling could be just what she needs to ease her heartache.
Luke Thorstad had been thrown into the limelight, and the arms of dozens of willing women, in flight school when he’d become an unintentional hero. His biggest regret, ever, was leaving Caroline Hodges in the shadows. Finding her in a Cancun night club was his chance at redemption, and maybe the future they’d been denied years ago. But he’ll have to break down the walls she’s built around her heart
Excerpt – NOTE: The following excerpt is rated ADULT.
Lieutenant Junior Grade Caroline Hodges sat alone at the shiny ebony table sipping a frozen margarita she really didn’t want. Watching her three best friends practically dry hump the handsome men they danced with at the Mayan Nites Club was not her idea of a good time.
Once again, she was living up to her call sign, Mouse. She’d sat quietly, never making eye contact, when the prowling pack had approached their table with the confident swagger American military men perfect. After a lifetime of dodging men like them, she wasn’t surprised when they’d asked her friends to dance, and then the rest moved on to the table of sorority girls.
It was going to be a long week.
Caroline and her fellow Navy pilots—roommates for the past nine months aboard the USS Carl Vinson—had been granted fourteen days Post Operational Movement leave. The other three women had convinced her to join them in Cancun for some fun in the sun and warm water. It hadn’t taken much arm twisting. She’d have gone anywhere to get away from San Diego…and Robert.
She needed every hour of those two weeks to think. And wallow in self-pity. She had literally fucked up her career and now had to decide what she was going to do about it.
The deep, sexy voice jolted Caroline out of her depressing thoughts. Her gaze started at the deck shoes and traveled up tanned runner’s calves to muscular thighs covered in khaki shorts riding low on lean hips. The light blue golf shirt bore the logo of a black helicopter and the word Jurikan.
What the hell is that?
The attire was far too casual for the chic Cancun club, but his stance was somewhere between doesn’t-give-a-shit and doesn’t-matter. She reached his clean-shaven chin, full lips…lips that had kissed every inch of her body.
A shiver ran through her. The thought of all the orgasms she’d had with this man made every nerve ending leap to life and begin to tingle.
Her heart skipped a beat. The tingles increased to tangles of tension that shot south at Mach 1 and pooled between her legs.
She wanted to look away. Hell, she wanted to run away. But a lifetime of enforced manners as an Army officer’s daughter pushed her gaze to meet blue eyes the same shade as his shirt. They were the color of the sky at thirty thousand feet, far above the clouds, a color she looked at every time she flew the F/A-18E Super Hornet fighter jet assigned to her.
He stole her breath, just as he’d done the first time they’d met six years ago in flight school.
“Hello, ‘Cool Hand’ Luke.” Caroline hoped her smile didn’t show the pain she hid deep inside. He was another reminder of her bad choices in men and a reinforcement that she needed the next two weeks to reevaluate her life.
“Hey, where’d you go, Mouse?” Luke’s breath was warm on her ear, and she instinctively jerked away.
Her gaze flew to his.
“Jumpy. You okay?” His tone was one of concern.
“I’m fine,” she snapped.
His stare seemed to delve into her soul, probing all those dark places she often hid. Six years ago, when they’d been friends, she had started to let him into her head. Then he’d crawled into her bed…and her heart. That last part wasn’t supposed to happen since they’d agreed the sex was only a de-stressor. He had been her first mistake in Navy life, but not the last. Robert had more than filled that space.
Bastards! All men are fucking bastards—emphasis on fucking.
She blinked and turned her attention to Sarah, who was regaling the table with one of her many stories.
“No one had briefed us on the proper dress for Dubai, so before I made it to the end of the gangway in my shorts and flip flops…”
“Caroline.” Demand radiated from Luke’s voice.
All her attention rocketed to him. “What?”
“Do you want to get out of here?” He gave her that small smile that made most women drop their panties and beg for his continued attention.
What the hell? After less than a hundred words exchanged, he expects me to take him to our condo and fuck his lights out? Why? For old times’ sake? Not only no, but hell no.
“To talk.” Luke must have read her mind. He’d been able to do that once upon a time. “Just to talk. It’s noisy in here.”
Could she believe him? She certainly didn’t trust him. With the ease of practice, she pasted on what she hoped was a convincing smile. “I’m here with my friends, and we’re all having fun.”
He studied her face as if her internal thoughts were written in the makeup she’d carefully applied.
She held the trained smile, clenching her teeth. The racing thoughts wouldn’t slow long enough for her to decide what she wanted.
Sex. Yes, sex had always been good with Luke. Would she go there now?
No! He’d left her without a word.
Damn, he looked so good. She liked the longer hair. It looked soft. She wanted to run her fingers through it from his scalp to where it ended just above his broad shoulders. Had they been that big before? She pictured Luke’s naked shoulders holding his body above her as he slid into her to the hilt. She’d loved that feeling.
Luke grinned and grabbed her hand. “Let’s dance.” He pulled her out of her thoughts and to her feet. Running blocker to the center of the crammed floor, Luke pulled Caroline behind him. He flicked a glance to the DJ, and the music changed to a slow song.
Well, damn. He must come here often. Everyone seems to know him.
Luke pulled Caroline into his arms and pressed their bodies together. They were chest to chest, hips to hips. He moved a leg between hers, forcing her knees apart. Without thinking about it, she dropped her head onto his shoulder. The fit was still perfect. They had danced like this when they’d first met, and dozens of times in the months that followed.
But Luke was in her arms now. The rightness, which no other man had ever made her feel, took over her body. She melded to his rock-hard chest and nestled her head deeper into the curve of his shoulder.
His breath ruffled the hair at her temple as he sighed. He feels it too.
Luke rubbed up and down her naked back, spreading heat and warmth through her whole body.
During vacation clothes shopping—and in a rare moment of reclaiming her life—she’d bought the backless bit of sparkling cloth. She’d liked the way the halter dress exposed her back to the waist and was short enough to show off her long legs. It had looked amazing when she’d tried it on in the upscale boutique, but wearing it here made her feel like meat on sale.
Luke ran fingertips down her spine. Her whole body shivered, and her breath caught.
It means nothing, she scolded herself. It was ridiculous to think he had any residual feelings for her, probably not even friendship any more. But she couldn’t ignore the way he felt this close, nearly heart to heart.
Heat pooled between her legs, brushed by his teasing thigh that touched her there in time with the music as he moved them both in slow circles. She was wet…for him. Her body longed for the way he’d touched her all those years ago. The way he’d made her feel…special.
No. No. No. She’d just left one bad situation and didn’t need the complication of another man.
Luke’s hand went to the back of her neck, and then he splayed his fingers into her hair. She automatically looked up at him. His normally light blue eyes were the color of sapphires, dark and deep.
It’s only the dim light in the room, she lied to herself.
“I’m sorry, but I can’t help it.” His gaze fell to her lips.
His kiss was her answer.
He held her head in place with long fingers woven into her hair. Not that she tried to pull away. From the moment his lips touched hers, she was lost in sensation. Passion coursed through her veins, pumped by her speeding heartbeat. It was as if she’d been denied chocolate ice cream for years then allowed only a tiny sample. It wasn’t enough. She wanted more.
His tongue ran along the seam of her lips, and she opened for him. He speared in and gathered hers in a favorite dance she’d long forgotten. Savoring the experience, she got lost in possibilities of reuniting with him…temporarily.
Her hips automatically pressed into his erection, seeking, wanting, needing. He was hard and ready. Oh, how it would feel to have him again. He’d slowly caress every curve of her body with his long fingers following them with kisses before he found her center and flicked her clit until her whole body couldn’t stand the anticipation a second longer. She was breathing hard at the fantasy. Or was it a memory?
Luke’s big hand filled the small of her back and then dropped lower, covering her butt. He nipped his way from one side of her mouth to the other.
“Let’s get out of here.” He pressed her body into his erection.
The reality portion of her brain smashed through. He’s on the hunt tonight for a piece of ass, just like his buddies. They probably do this every night.
She immediately stepped back. “I don’t think that’s a good idea, Luke. It didn’t work out so well for me the last time.”
Caroline dodged hot, sweaty bodies on her way to the table, hoping her margarita was still frosty. She needed to cool down, from the inside out.
Luke stood on the dance floor and watched Caroline’s short, black hair blend into the crowd. The white dress clung to her feminine curves and made him want to kiss every inch of her light brown skin as he peeled it off her. It wouldn’t take long either. There wasn’t much to the sparkling sheath. Her stiffly straight back was naked except for a small piece at the neck and another around her slight waist. Then there was that barely covered, oh-so-fine ass of hers.
Six years ago she’d never have worn such a revealing dress. Tonight, she rocked it.
And his world.