HANDCUFFS AND LIES
Sometimes promises to friends are the hardest to keep. Undercover police officer, Michael Tanner promised his dying partner that he’d take care of the man’s little sister. Trouble is, after her brother’s death, Doctor Tori Spinelli wants nothing to do with Michael—or any other cop for that matter.
Tori has always fought against overprotective men and deception. Forced into protective custody with Michael, she’s now faced with both in the same package. Despite their differences, Tori falls in love with him, but how can she trust a man who lies for a living.
“You sure this is where you want to go?” the cab driver asked.
Michael’s motorcycle was parked in front of the house. “Yeah.”
The guy eyed her in the rearview mirror as he stopped in the middle of the street. “If you say so.”
She passed the fare over the seat. “Are you going to be in this area for a bit?”
“In this neighborhood? Hell, no.” He paused and scrawled something on a piece of paper. “Here’s my number. Call me if you need a ride.”
“Thanks.” Tori shoved the scrap of paper in her wallet and slid out of the car.
“Be careful out there,” the driver cautioned.
She smiled at him and hoped she wasn’t about to do something irreparably stupid.
Hands clammy, she wiped them on her jeans and walked up the rickety front steps to knock on the door. Her knuckled rasped against the peeling paint on the warped screen door. Nerves strung tightly, she jammed her hands in her pockets and waited for someone to answer.
The heavy front door swung open with a whoosh and she came face to face with the man she’d studiously avoided for three years. His rich brown hair hung loosely to his shoulders and he looked like hadn’t shaved for days. Brilliant hazel eyes stared at her registering surprise quickly followed by anger.
“I—I need to talk to you,” she stammered.
The sculpted shape of his lips thinned as they pulled into a tight line. Over his shoulder, she caught sight of three men coming toward the door. Instinctively, she retreated, but Michael’s arm snaked out and he tugged her against the hard planes of his body. Her traitorous nipples responded immediately. Despite the fact she could barely recall their one drunken encounter, her body certainly remembered, and it wanted more.
His eyes, intense and unwavering, bored into hers, and he lowered his head. Her heart sank as she realized he was going to kiss her and she couldn’t convince herself to move away. His mouth brushed against hers. The barest contact held her breath captive in her throat. It was all she could do to hold herself still and not shove her tongue in his mouth. With his chest skimming her breasts, his lips traced the line of her jaw, up to her ear.
“Act like you want me, or we’re both dead,” he growled softly.
With shaking hands, she reached out and grabbed his hips, pulling him flush against her. Michael fisted his hand in her hair and cupped the back of her head. Streaks of pleasure shot along her spine as his fingernails scraped across her scalp.
His lips descended on hers and his tongue slipped past her shocked defenses. A whimper escaped her as she released her pent up breath into his mouth. With a quiet groan, he pressed his lips to hers as he turned her and immobilized her against the door. Wrapping her leg around his, she kissed him back, her tongue darting into his mouth. He tasted like coffee, dark and rich, and something else that was entirely masculine and Michael. In spite of her misgivings, desire curled through her body, dampening her panties and pebbling her nipples where they pressed into his chest.
“Hey Mikey, we gonna finish our business, or what? ‘Less of course you’re sharing.”
The audible leer in the other man’s voice sent a shiver down her spine.
“Not a word,” Michael whispered against her lips. Turning his head toward the other men, he chuckled. It sounded cold. Deadly. “Sorry boys, this one’s mine.”
“You gonna fuck her, or are we gonna finish this?”
Michael looked at her, his eyes glowing with anger. “Oh yeah—I’m definitely gonna fuck her. Just as soon as we’re done here.”
Tori’s stomach dropped like an out-of-control freight elevator as she stared into his glittering hazel eyes. She should have waited for him to call back. She was so over her head.
Michael slid his hand possessively up her ribcage, stopping only when it rested under the swell of her breast. He held her gaze, as if daring her to object.
The three men drew closer. The man who’d spoken to Michael earlier reached out and tugged at one of her short curls. His eyes were small and cruel looking as he appraised her body with a hard stare. “C’mon darlin’, lemme show you what a real man is like.” He jerked his thumb toward a tall, lanky guy with watery blue eyes. “Me an’ my boy here can show you a real good time.”
Forcing a smile, Tori hooked her fingers in the front of Michael’s waistband. The backs of her fingers brushed across his tightly muscled stomach and his body heat soaked into her skin. She looked up at him through her lashes. “Sorry guys, Michael promised me the ride of my life.”
His fingers convulsed on her ribcage at her husky words. She knew, even if the others were clueless, that he was ready to throttle her.
Michael chuckled again, that same cold, dead sound. “Let’s get this over with,” he said to the others. With ice in his eyes, he turned back to Tori and pulled her closer, close enough to feel the raging erection pushing against his fly. “Seems I’ve got things to do.”
The sensation of his hard cock pressed against her had stolen any words she might have thought to say, and her mouth was so dry she could barely swallow. Try as she might, she couldn’t tear herself from his furious gaze. Anger had brightened the color of his eyes. The dark green ring lining the light brown irises seemed to grow darker while the gold flecks circling the pupils seemed sharper in the low light. He was beyond pissed.
Forcing herself to move, she pushed from his embrace and dropped onto the ugly orange couch, setting her purse on the cushion beside her. The piece of furniture looked like something even Goodwill would turn down. “I’ll just wait here ‘til you guys are done.”
A scruffy looking blond guy looked pointedly at her before turning his attention to Michael. “Why don’t you take care of your girlfriend while I finish up out here.”
Her stomach leapt wildly at the barely veiled threat in his tone. Michael nodded once, grabbed her by the wrist, and pulled her into a room that opened off the main area. With a careless shove, he slammed the door behind them and locked it.