Once Jazz had fulfilled her obligations to Star Magazine
and banked their check, she tidied the odds and ends of her life. Finally, three days before Christmas, she loaded her life into her five-year-old car. Her last night in the apartment passed in a blur, and three hours before dawn, she set out to build a new future in the small North Carolina coastal town of Westhorpe Ridge.
“New start. New life. New ambitions,” she told herself as she drove away from her dream of being a teacher.
By the time the winter sun crept over the horizon, she’d passed the halfway point between Washington and Westhorpe Ridge. She made good time, but fifteen minutes from her destination, the car handling changed. Praying nothing expensive had happened to her trusty vehicle, she pulled over to take a look. She got out the car, walked around to the rear passenger side, and sighed when she realized the tire had blown out. Damn, my spare’s in the trunk, beneath my suitcases and bedding.
Shaking her head, she heaved her first suitcase onto the grass verge. It hadn’t felt so heavy when she’d packed it.
A police car pulled up. “Sheriff Mathews, ma’am. Can I be of assistance?”
His voice flowed over her like molasses, rich, thick, and so sweet she wanted to taste its owner. Instead, she panted slightly but kept moving. “I’ve had a blowout, but my spare tire’s under all my stuff. Don’t worry. I can manage, thank you.”
When she turned back to the car, Jazz’s eyes widened. The man in the uniform looked enormous, blond, and way too familiar. Handsome
didn’t come close. In his long-sleeved fawn shirt and standard-issue brown trousers, he looked like a sex god come to earth. And are those handcuffs dangling from his belt? I can find a way to put them to good use.
Given their history, drooling over him felt wrong. Despite what the doctors had told her, traces of the spies’ lust drug must still linger in her system. Her heart beat faster and her pussy grew damp. Even breathing seemed hard around him. “Ethan Mathews? I thought you were a scientist involved in some hush-hush stuff, not a sheriff. Why are you in Westhorpe Ridge? I thought you were some high-flying scientist. And isn’t impersonating a police officer a criminal offense? Shit, you’re driving a real police car. Are you really a sheriff?”
He did a double take, glowered right back at her. “Jazz Stewart? What the hell are you doing here? Have you jumped bail? Keep your hands where I can see them while I radio in and run a check on you.”
Jazz shivered despite the winter sunshine. Everyone except the CIA had made her out to be the bad guy, her former employer included. The damn sheriff was treating her like a criminal, but he’d been at that damn party too. Judging by the way he’d climbing on his high horse, he probably believed everything he’d read about her in the papers. Out of everyone she knew, she’d wanted the man she’d been dreaming about since the soiree to be on her side. He’s even sexier than I remembered, but what’s with this running a check on me? Surely he knows the truth by now.
She hated the way he smirked at her, but she couldn’t resist taunting him. “So, Sheriff, spanked any other females lately?”
SEAN MATHEWS STARED at the woman he’d been fantasizing over since he’d arrived home in Westhorpe Ridge. In her worn jeans and figure-hugging T-shirt, she tempted him like a modern-day Mata Hari. After the dreadful soiree, he’d never expected to see her again.
It had taken a long, unpleasant interview with the CIA to convince them he’d only been hungry when he posed as his brother, Ethan. It hadn’t helped that the CIA kept tabs on his brother because he headed up a top-secret research team. Once Sean convinced them he hadn’t had an ulterior motive for turning up at the soiree, they’d warned him not to impersonate his brother again and let him go.
Coming home had never felt so good, except every time he closed his eyes, memories of Jazz’s honey-hued hair and aquamarine eyes invaded his dreams. He’d do anything to get Jazz Stewart out of his head, but he wished he’d stripped her slowly and seduced her. Spanking her had been as necessary as breathing. So had screwing her afterward, but later he’d learned about the spies using the soiree to collect state secrets. Last time they’d met, he’d brought her to orgasm. Now she stood beside her blown-out tire and taunted him.
His radio crackled, and his deputy told him Jazz Stewart was clean. There were no warrants out for her arrest, and she’d never so much as had a parking fine. He felt like an idiot for second-guessing the CIA, but she was the last woman he’d expected to see in North Carolina. And why was she heading toward his hometown of Westhorpe Ridge? His heart had leaped when he saw her, but his gut told him not to trust her.
Back at the soiree, the way she’d gathered up her clothes and run had left him eager to see her again. Women usually clung on until he called a halt to any relationship between them. If he could go back and change the way things had ended, he would, but he’d still have talked to Jazz at the soiree.
In hindsight, he should stay away from her, but she’d drawn him like a magnet, or maybe a Venus flytrap. His common sense told him to keep his distance, but he’d always been a sucker for forbidden fruit. When she’d stormed off to find her roommate, she’d certainly brought him back to earth with a bang. If he’d really been Ethan, he’d have let her seduce him and loved every minute of it. His brother had trouble getting dates, what with his top-secret schedule and the way his mind worked ten times faster than everyone else’s.
Sean hated the way Jazz had feigned unease as a ruse to pull him into her web. As a former SEAL, he should have seen through her act, but he’d fallen under the spell of a woman who he still suspected had plotted against his country. At least he hadn’t known anything classified to tell her.
Getting back into his sheriff’s uniform had grounded him and helped him suppress his longings for a woman he thought he never wanted to see again—except in his fantasies, of course.
He pictured her, hands on the car roof, legs spread. His hand trembled as he ran it over his mouth. In his imagination, he lifted her skirt, spread her legs wider, and fingered her clit, or better yet, ran his tongue across. He hoped she tasted as sweet as she looked. Once she’d come, he’d thumb her nipples and kiss the back of her neck until she begged him to fuck her. Damn, he needed to stop thinking about her like that and concentrate on the here and now.
So much for my unflappable professional persona.
He hated the way she made his cock stand to attention. He wanted nothing to do with a traitor like her, but giving her ass another spanking sounded better by the minute.
He fell back and heaved a second suitcase from the trunk. Handcuffing her and doing a body search tempted him so much his balls ached. While he’d never abuse his authority that way, he would stay cold and impersonal if it killed him. “All clear, ma’am. Do you need any help with the tire, ma’am?”
She gave him a look guaranteed to freeze his blood and sat on the banking beside her cases, doing her best impression of a pampered southern belle. Fanning herself with a piece of paper, she sighed. “All that effort and stress has left me quite weak. I’ll sit here and recover while my hero changes my tire.”