A Night of Southern Comfort
a Boys Are Back In Town novel by Robin Covington
Detective Jackson Cantrell never imagined that one night with an irresistible stranger would turn his life upside down. He’s spent years living in the shadows, but Dr. Michaela Roarke awakened a passion inside him he’d buried years ago.
He never expected the woman would turn out to be the governor’s daughter…and his next assignment. The governor blackmails Jackson to secretly watch over Michaela and protect her from a stalker, or kiss his dream job at the FBI good-bye. Swearing to keep things strictly professional, Jackson moves in with Michaela. Too bad his heart can’t keep the same promise.
But when the stalker’s attacks quickly escalate beyond mere photographs to bodily harm, Jackson must race to save Michaela’s life. And he’ll have to figure out how to keep her once she discovers his lie.
Find all the books in The Boys are Back in Town series:
Title: A Night of Southern Comfort (Boys Are Back In Town, #1)
Author: Robin Covington
Genre: Category – Contemporary Romance
Length: 227 pages
Release Date: June 2012
Pricing varies by country and can change without notice. Please confirm pricing and availability with your retailer before downloading.
by Robin Covington
Copyright © 2012 by Robin Covington. All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce, distribute, or transmit in any form or by any means. For information regarding subsidiary rights, please contact the Publisher.
Her Junior League membership was toast.
They’d kick her out for what she planned on doing to that man tonight.
Dr. Michaela Roarke shifted on her barstool to get a better view of the tall, dark, and sinfully sexy man in a tuxedo, playing pool with his friends on the other side of the hotel bar. After leaving her final, boring, political fund-raising dinner, she’d strolled into the historic Jefferson Hotel to end her evening with a celebratory drink. Her new life, the one where she got to be more than the perfect daughter of former governor and current senatorial candidate Jefferson Eastland, started tonight.
The minute she’d taken one look at tuxedo guy’s ass, she’d decided that getting up early was no longer a priority. Checkout wasn’t until eleven o’clock and her night would be so much better with a little company. His company.
Oh baby, he’s gorgeous. Lifting her glass to her lips, she took a sip and watched the man who’d captured her attention the minute he’d walked through the door with his less captivating friends. He was tall and broad-shouldered, with muscles that flexed underneath his jacket in a way that made her want to strip it off him. With her teeth.
She tamped down the involuntary urge to look away when his gaze once again clashed with hers across the busy bar in open acknowledgment of the sexual attraction between them. She shifted slightly as desire curled in her belly and dampened her panties. Taking a fortifying sip of her drink, she sat back to see if he would accept her invitation.
Mr. Sex-on-a-Stick took his last shot and accepted the congratulatory thumps on the back from his friends. He didn’t smile in response, just quirked his full, sensual lips and turned to face her head-on with an expression full of hot promise. Catcalls and low whistles from his friends drifted across the crowded bar.
Come on, handsome. Don’t let me strike out at my first real bar pickup.
The breath she didn’t realize she was holding whooshed out as he separated himself from his friends and headed over to her. His movements were precise, controlled, and deliciously predatory. He possessed the confident demeanor of either military or law enforcement. He definitely wasn’t a paper-pushing warlord or a politico. Years of experience trained her to spot those guys a mile away. No, his mask of control was one born of the need for survival, much like hers.
Okay, big boy. You let me peek behind yours and I’ll let you peek behind mine.
He stopped in front of her, his thigh brushing her leg and setting off a series of sparks underneath her skin. His chocolate brown eyes met hers, filled with the assurance of decadent possibilities.
Michaela opened her mouth and shut it again. Now that he was here, she had no idea what to say. What would Angelina do? Channel your inner Jolie.
She cleared her throat. The result was a sultry, sexy voice she didn’t know she possessed. “May I buy you a drink?”
He glanced at the glass in her hand and nodded.
“A Southern Comfort.” She spoke in the general direction of the bartender, unable to tear herself away from her companion. “Neat.”
He slid onto the stool next her, his leg still against hers and her temperature hovering near the boiling point. He leaned on the bar, creating their own intimate circle as the noise of the busy bar faded into the background. His lips curved into a slight smile.
“Is there something funny?”
“No. Not at all.” His deep voice rumbled in her ear, his warm breath grazed her cheek. “I didn’t take you for the whiskey type.”
“And what type am I?”
He leaned back, examining her ice-blue satin, strapless cocktail dress and matching Manolo Blahnik pumps. She squirmed in her seat as her body responded to the desire pulsing between them.
“Honestly?” He cocked his head. “You strike me as the chardonnay type. A proper drink for a proper lady.”
She laughed. Any other night, his description would have been close to the mark. “Whiskey’s a drink of control and power.” She took another sip and caught his stare over the rim of her glass.
“I see.” He lifted his glass and downed the contents, then turned his full attention back to her. “So…why are you drinking alone?”
“I’m not drinking alone. Now.” Michaela gestured toward his drink and ordered him another when he nodded.
“Okay, so you’re here…?”
“Celebrating my new life.”
“Aahhh.” He lifted his glass to her in salute. “Let me be the first to say that your ex-husband is an idiot.”
Michaela laughed and, without thinking, ran her hand up his chest, tracing the line of studs until her fingertips made contact with the heat of his tanned skin. He stiffened at the touch and she froze. Too much? Too soon? Flustered, she began to withdraw her hand, but he reached up and held it there.
She swallowed hard. He smelled delicious. Woodsy, crisp, and all male. His hot fingers traced a lazy circle over her wrist with his thumb. Suddenly, she understood the meaning of “swoon.”
“Let me say it again. Your ex is an idiot.”
Mr. I-Am-a-Sex-God lowered her hand to his thigh, placing it against hard muscle before skimming his fingers under the hem of her dress. Heat traced along her spine and she shivered when his hand caressed the length of her thigh and then slid down to gently cradle her calf.
Michaela shifted forward, running her hand up his thigh, mirroring his exploration and enjoying the thrill of hearing his quickened breathing at her touch. This was crazy. This was wanton.
This was not what Michaela Eastland should be doing on a Saturday night.
But this was exactly what Michaela Roarke needed.
“No ex.” She licked her lips. “Just my new start. My new life.”
“I’m honored that you’ve included me in your celebration.”
“The celebration isn’t over yet.” Michaela’s voice had a husky edge that betrayed how turned on she was, but she didn’t care. She wanted this man, wanted freedom, control over her own decisions and their consequences. “Would you like to help me celebrate somewhere more…private?”
She studied his face. Dark hair, lush lashes, chiseled jaw dusted by a five o’clock shadow. Faint lines crinkled at the edges of his eyes, but not enough to indicate he smiled or laughed a lot. She shivered at the thought of all that intensity focused on her.
His continued silence made her nervous. She blurted out, “I’ve never done this before,” then immediately wanted to bite her tongue.
Abruptly, his hand curled around the nape of her neck and pulled her close.
It wasn’t a tentative kiss. This was a hot, open-mouthed, possessive kiss that demanded her response. Her blood turned to liquid fire as it flooded the folds of her sex. Every female part of her sought to answer the primal maleness of him. Michaela grasped the lapels of his tuxedo jacket while her tongue chased his in a blatant request for what she wanted. Dirty, sweaty, wall-banging sex.
And an orgasm.
Oh, yeah. Definitely an orgasm. From a man, not a battery-operated boyfriend.
He released her mouth, his features hard and lips wet. “I just want to be sure we’re on the same page.” The tendons in his throat flexed with a swallow. “I want you in my bed.”
His honesty, coupled with that blistering kiss, addled her brain. But she’d denied this part of herself for too long. Something about this stranger dared her to embrace it.
Hell, maybe she was just horny.
Either way, she was good with the “in his bed” part.
“I guess that settles the question of your place or mine?”
The side of his mouth quirked with amusement. “My name—”
Michaela shook her head. “No. No names.”
“I need to call you something.” He reached up to touch her hair at the nape of her neck. “You look like that actress married to the Coldplay front man.”
She’d heard that one before.
He nodded. Michaela fingered the red rosebud in his buttonhole. His demeanor was so focused. The intensity rippling through him made her tremble with need.
“You remind me of James Bond.”
He raised an eyebrow. “In a rented monkey-suit picked out by the groom?”
“So…Gwyneth and James, it is.”
“Well, let’s go, Gwyneth.”
Michaela stood as “James” waved off her credit card and threw a couple of bills on the bar. Her knees wobbled like Jell-O and she clutched the back of her barstool for balance.
James looped his arm around her waist. “You okay?”
Nervousness seized her throat and all she could do was nod. Could she go through with this?
He reached under her chin and lifted her face until she looked at him. “Look, we don’t have to do this.”
She shook her head and gripped his lapel. “I want to do this. I want you.” Her mouth was dry and her heart raced, but not from fear. It was excitement in its purest form.
James paused, then gave a quick nod and led her out of the bar and across the hushed lobby.
The elevator opened and they entered. As she turned to face the open doors, his large, calloused hand spanned her waist and pulled her back until his thick erection pressed against her ass. She bit back a moan when his mouth nuzzled the sensitive spot just below her ear.
The doors slid closed and the temperature in the elevator went from hot to molten. James turned her face to him and took her mouth in a searing kiss. Without preamble, his tongue plunged inside and possessed her, seeking out all of the places hardwired to make her crazy. She whimpered as he engulfed her breast in his large palm, her nipple hardening into a tight peak as he teased the sensitive flesh underneath the flimsy silk.
James released her mouth and she whimpered. “Don’t stop.”
He trailed his lips down the side of her neck to her exposed shoulder and murmured against her skin. “Don’t worry. I won’t stop until you beg me to.”
As she struggled to form a response, the elevator stopped and the doors opened to reveal a long, empty hallway. James groaned, lifted his mouth, and nudged her forward. Her blood pounded in her veins with every step closer to his room. If she didn’t get him naked soon, she was going to scream.
And Eastlands never screamed.
He fished out his keycard. “Are you sure?”
Michaela took the key from his hand. “You said you wouldn’t stop until I begged.” She slid the keycard into the lock and pushed the door open.
“I’m not begging.” She glanced over her shoulder as she entered his room. “Yet.”
Hot damn. This was going to be fun.
Jackson “Jack” Cantrell strode into his hotel room pursuing the woman he only knew as Gwyneth. It was damn near impossible to stop staring at her golden blond hair and her long, sexy legs. Yeah, he was a leg man. He studied the curve of her firm backside and his hands itched to delve under the hem of her slinky blue dress and explore. Okay, maybe he was an ass man. She turned around and he was drawn to the plump swell of her breasts.
Hell. He liked the whole damn package.
But he’d never gone for one in this particular type of wrapping.
Gwyneth. The name suited her. When he’d first seen her across the bar, he had been struck by her demeanor and expensive clothing. They screamed “don’t touch.” Hell, he couldn’t even afford to look. That had changed when she zeroed in on him and saw the man who was trained to fade into the shadows. Her appearance gave the impression of glacial cool but her body vibrated with a sexual tension that shot straight to his cock.
He’d bet the farm that Gwyneth was the real deal when she wasn’t walking on the wild side. One hundred percent pure Virginia Brahmin. Complete with a Country Club of Virginia membership and a pedigree that descended straight from the loins of Lee, Jackson, or Davis. It was the accent that confirmed his assessment. It was polished, Southern, and totally twang-free. And it turned him on like nobody’s business.
He was ravenous for her mouth. Striding forward, he drew her close, swallowing her moan with his kiss. She tasted of mint and whiskey and pure sin. Panting, he broke off the kiss and ran his mouth along her neck. Finally free to touch anywhere he pleased, he twined his fingers in her hair and tugged the clip out, causing her hair to cascade around her shoulders. He buried his face in the silky mass and inhaled the clean vanilla scent. Wanting to linger, but needing to discover more of her secrets, he unzipped the back of her dress, exposing an expanse of sexy, silky skin.
He knew it. She was an X-rated dream underneath the Ice Queen exterior.
“I want you.” Jack skimmed his hands down her back, cupping the firm globes of her ass. Gwyneth arched into his touch and he swore under his breath as his thread of control hit the breaking point way too soon. “I promise it’ll be slow next time.”
“I’ll hold you to that.”
Their mouths met in a clash of lips, tongue, and teeth as they took turns dominating the other. Jack liked his sex a little rough and Gwyneth responded to his forceful caresses with her own brand of possession. Tender wasn’t his thing. It gave women the wrong idea and he didn’t like complications in the bedroom. Complications ruined the mood.
Gwyneth burrowed under his jacket and pushed it off his shoulders. Her soft lips kissed and nipped the skin along his jaw and his neck, setting off sparks that coiled in his belly like a snake waiting to strike. Deft fingers worked the studs on his shirt, peeled it off, and threw it to the floor. He hissed in pleasure as she dragged her hands along his abdomen, fingernails raking against his nipples, and then drifted lower to stroke his aching cock through his pants.
Jack pushed her dress off. His breath hitched when the silk caught on the tips of her breasts for a split second before it fell like a waterfall and settled in a pool around her feet. “Gwyneth.” He licked his lips. “You’re beautiful.”
A crimson stain flooded her cheeks.
She was one long, flawless expanse of porcelain skin that gleamed in the soft light of the lamp on the side table. A pale blue strapless bra barely covered her pink-tipped nipples peeking through the lace trim. Matching garter belt. A tiny thong.
Hell. He loved lingerie.
Jack grasped Gwyneth’s waist and pushed her backward until her hips rested on the arm of the sofa. His mouth watered as he kissed his way down her neck and collarbone before stopping just shy of her breast. Her chest heaved and each ragged breath brought her pink, tight peaks within licking distance. The temptation was too much and he nudged aside the layer of lace and sucked her nipple into his mouth, feasting on the ripe, sweet flesh until it stood taut and glistening before he moved on to pay homage to its twin. She moaned, low and deep in her throat, and Jack lost the battle with his restraint. He loved the wanton, in-your-face need woven through that sound. With a delirious craving to hear more, he released the tempting morsel in his mouth and licked his way down her body to the thong that barely covered her sex.
He pulled aside the triangle, revealing her smooth mound and a thin strip of silky hair that directed him to her wet, swollen folds.
“I thought this was going to be fast.” Gwyneth’s voice was husky with desire. “This is quite a detour.”
He chuckled in response, then paused. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d laughed during sex. Hell, lately he hadn’t laughed much at all.
“A Brazilian wax job is like a neon sign screaming ‘put your mouth on me.’”
“Then just follow the sign.” She gasped as he slid his finger into her. Oh yes. Hot. Wet. His.
“Please,” she whimpered.
His lips quirked into a smile. “I made you beg.”
Her answering laugh dissolved into a groan as his tongue delved into her core, tasting her sweet fire. She collapsed against him when he inserted another finger into her slick heat and traced lazy circles around her clit. She bucked under him, her body reaching for his touch, demanding him to give her more pleasure. Every part of his body, from his hands pinning her to the couch to his dick straining against the confines of his tuxedo pants, screamed for him to respond to her siren song. The hot, wet clasp of her body was irresistible, so he lifted her up and carried her over to the bed.
“Bastard.” She rapped her hands against his chest.
He captured her hands and leaned down to possess her mouth in a bruising kiss.
“See how delicious you taste?” Jack groaned against her lips. “Just like honey.”
She freed her hands and unbuttoned his pants and removed his boxer briefs. At the touch of her soft hands on his erection, he gritted his teeth with the force it took to keep from pushing her down until he felt the heat of her mouth on his cock. This woman made him crazy but he wasn’t going to resort to desperate, Neanderthal pawing like some horny kid. Swearing softly, he bent to take her mouth again.
Her reminder forced him to let her go just long enough to root through his suitcase for the condoms he’d packed as an afterthought. Rummaging around, he shoved aside his gun and grabbed the string of six blue foil packets. He focused on the woman in his bed removing her bra and thong.
Yeah, six might be enough.
Jack ripped open a package and smoothed the rubber over his hard-on before striding back to the bed. Gwyneth curled a hand around his neck and pulled him back to her for a kiss, then shoved him down. He landed on his back and remained there when she straddled him, staring down at him under a veil of thick eyelashes. He shivered in anticipation. Her expression said she’d take what she wanted and demand the same of him until they both collapsed from exhaustion. Hell, yeah. He craved the oblivion of a night of being well-used by a beautiful woman.
She slid her hands up his chest, leaning over until her nipples brushed his skin. “This okay?”
He nodded and laced his hands behind his head. Normally he liked to be in control and dictate the evening’s events, but Gwyneth clearly enjoyed her power and he loved watching her. “It’s your night. The first time’s all yours.”
She smiled wickedly, leaned back and used her hand to guide his cock into her slick heat. White-hot pleasure rolled through him as he sank into her inch by inch. In an instant, his world narrowed down to the spot where their bodies were joined.
“God, James.” She huffed out a laugh, the smile on her lips tinged with surprise. “You feel so good.”
“It’s only going to get better.”
She laughed. “You’re a damn cocky bastard.”
“Only if I can’t live up to the hype.”
“All I hear is blah, blah, bla—”
His mouth on her breast shut her up. What he’d intended to be a lesson to his sexy, smart-mouthed bedmate turned into a reward of instant gratification that he didn’t deserve. He hadn’t been a good boy in a long time but her sweet taste burst on his tongue like the lollipops handed out by the family doctor.
Her silky hair cascaded down her back, tickling his thighs, the light caress a thrilling contrast to the tight, wet clasp of her core. She undulated her hips in a lazy rhythm calculated to make the bone-melting pleasure last forever—or drive him insane.
Gwyneth’s moans increased, vibrating through him in a pounding pulse he mimicked with the hard thrust of his hips. Greedy for all of her but unable to settle on one delicious inch, Jack traced the curve of a luscious breast, glided down the sleek skin of her belly, lower until his fingers found her swollen clit. At his touch, Gwyneth shuddered, losing her control over their sensual rhythm and giving him the best opportunity to take the reins.
Rising up, Jack shifted until she was underneath him, every inch of her luscious body soft and open for his invasion. He propped himself up on his forearms, burying himself inside her body, the urge to move overwhelming. He forced himself to remain still. He loved this part. It was like base-jumping—standing on the edge, toes curled, muscles taut, adrenaline intensifying every sound, taste, smell, and touch. The precipice was a rush but the free fall was so much better.
But he didn’t want to take this leap alone.
As if she could read his mind, Gwyneth’s eyes fluttered open and his breath caught at the naked desire in their depths. Working as a deep-cover cop, his survival depended on him being the invisible man, but she saw him—really saw him—and he understood the meaning of regret. His choices made it impossible for him to pursue a woman like Gwyneth.
Her voice was a ragged whisper. “Please.”
Compelled to take what he could from their one night, he yielded to the lust that raged through him. He rode her, plunging deeper, harder, worried he was hurting her but unable to stop. Gwyneth wrapped her legs around his waist, the dig of her heels in his lower back demanding he hold nothing back.
“Please. I can’t…I want… Make me come.”
Her breathy plea raised goose bumps on his skin He didn’t need an explanation to understand what she needed from him. The prize was hovering on the edge of his sanity and he didn’t care what lay beyond as long as he got there. Ignoring the scream of his body when he stopped moving, he grabbed one of her hands, lifted her arm over her head and braced her palm flat against the headboard. She stared at him, her expression wary.
“Hold on.” Jack ordered. “I’ll get you there.”
When she duplicated the action with the other hand, Jack took a deep breath and began the deliberate descent back into madness with a series of low thrusts. He drank in the sight of her body, stretched and vulnerable beneath him. The sight of his cock plunging in and out of her tight heat switched on his autopilot, electricity shooting down his spine and settling heavy in his balls. With shallow, fast strokes he pounded into her, now desperate to hang on until he could live up to his earlier bragging.
But damn if she didn’t test his endurance.
Braced against the headboard, Gwyneth met his every thrust with equal force. He gritted his teeth, but focused on her face. Damned if he’d miss how she looked when she came. Just when he feared he’d break first, her orgasm, swift and fierce, hit them both like a freight train and milked him until he had no choice but to follow her over the edge.
Gasping and covered in a sheen of sweat, they lay motionless in a tangle of arms and legs. Jack’s ears rang from the blood rushing through his body at a rate that might have killed a man with less motivation to live. But he faced the prospect of an entire night with this woman, and he’d be damned if he let something as trivial as dying make him miss a moment of it.
And one night was all it could ever be.
Gwyneth was real, determined, and his sexual match in every way. She was the kind of woman who could distract him from getting back to the job he needed and loved. A woman had taken his career from him once and he’d move heaven and hell before he let it happen again. In the maze of undercover assignments, he’d lost sight of himself and the last year had shown just how badly he needed the job. It was all he had.
Banishing those dark thoughts, Jack stirred and leaned over to dispose of the condom before pulling her back into his arms. With a contented sigh, Gwyneth rested her head on his chest, their legs intertwined.
She was the first to break the silence. “That was…”
He grinned. Gwyneth raised an eyebrow. “What are you smiling about?”
“I made you beg.”
“No, you didn’t.”
He leaned up on an elbow, prepared to argue. He’d made her beg. She’d said please. Several times.
“I didn’t beg you to stop.” Her grin lit up her whole face with wicked intent. “I begged you to keep going. That’s entirely different.”
He considered that. Her voice, pleading in passion, was the sexiest thing he’d ever heard. His cock stiffened and twitched against his leg at the thought that he could spend the rest of the night making her beg again.
She kissed him, scrambling his brain. Her tongue explored the inner recesses of his mouth. He groaned as she pulled away, scooting off the bed. Grabbing his hand, she tugged him from the bed and toward the bathroom.
“Come on. It’s my turn.”
He circled his arms around her waist, pulled her against his body, and pressed a kiss just below her ear. “Your turn for what?”
“To make you beg.”
Jack watched her saunter into the bathroom as images of what she promised formed in his mind. The sound of running water and her sultry “Are you coming?” broke him out of his stupor. He stumbled toward the adjoining room, fully prepared to beg and love every minute of it.
The next morning Jack woke to the sun shining through his windows. The scent of Gwyneth and sex surrounded him in the utter stillness of the room.
She was gone.
A glance at the empty space beside him and a note on the pillow confirmed his assessment.
The heaviness in his chest surprised him. What was he expecting? A quick roll in the hay before parting ways? Or was it the prospect of breakfast in bed, a few lingering moments with a fascinating woman? He’d gotten exactly what she promised, and a little more, if he was honest with himself. She’d said she was starting a new life and he’d been fortunate to catch a glimpse of the amazing woman Gwyneth would undoubtedly become in her new future. It gave him hope that his fucked-up life would somehow work itself out as well.
Reaching for the paper left on the bed, he laughed out loud as he read the neat, elegant script covering the hotel notepad:
You never made me beg.
No, he’d never made her beg. She’d demanded “harder, faster” and that he “do that again, please” until the wee hours of the morning, when they’d both fallen into a sated, boneless slumber. But she’d never asked him to stop.
She’d also never told him her name.