PASSIONS ARE READY TO POP IN THIS STEAMY NEW ROMANTIC THRILLER FROM AWARD WINNING BESTSELLING AUTHOR LORI FOSTER
From New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Lori Foster comes UNDER PRESSURE, the first book in her brand-new Body Armor series, featuring her trademark alpha-male heroes and strong-willed heroines, who risk everything to save one another from the deadly forces that seek to destroy them.
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UNDER PRESSURE Synopsis:
He can protect anything except his heart
Leese Phelps’s road hasn’t been an easy one, but it’s brought him to the perfect job—working for the elite Body Armor security agency. And what his newest assignment lacks in size, she makes up for in fire and backbone. But being drawn to Catalina Nicholson is a dangerous complication, especially since it could be the very man who hired Leese who’s threatening her.
What Catalina knows could get her killed. But who’d believe the sordid truth about her powerful stepfather? Beyond Leese’s ripped body and brooding gaze is a man of impeccable honor. He’s the last person she expects to trust—and the first who’s ever made her feel safe. And he’s the only one who can help her expose a deadly secret, if they can just stay alive long enough…
On the couch, arms stacked behind his head, Leese listened to the quiet.
Or more appropriately, to Cat tossing and turning.
He could picture her right now, how she’d look, that particular curious scowl she wore as if she couldn’t decide whether to be pissed, scared, defiant…or turned on.
What a provoking case she’d already turned into, in more ways than one.
Cat might not realize it, but on many levels she appealed to him. Pretty, hell yes. Nice figure, definitely. But it was more her courage, her defiance and spirit that drew him.
Not that he could be drawn. Not during a case.
It didn’t help that she made her own interest so apparent.
The shower had slightly revived him, helping to cool his lustful thoughts while also making him think about everything he didn’t yet know. She had to have a valid reason for leaving everything familiar, avoiding her family and dodging their efforts to help. And then there was the fact that he was hired to protect her.
Her fear was real but elusive, there one moment, buried beneath pride the next, sometimes taking center stage and sometimes losing priority as other needs—like a nap and food—took precedence.
Tomorrow, as soon as they left the hotel, he’d take the opportunity to question her on the drive. She’d no longer be exhausted, no longer half-starved…
The amount of food she’d eaten still made him grin. The girl knew how to put it away. Her lack of reserve on that front had also been appealing. She showed no artifice, not about her hunger—or her sexual interest.
Nothing about her demeanor resonated with the idea of a rich pampered girl. She had daring, and she had guts.
When the bedroom door opened, every thought fractured beneath the weight of hot awareness. Saying nothing, he waited.
If she tried to sneak out, then what? He’d have to find a way to wake Justice and—
“Leese?” she whispered.
Her voice, rough and low, stroked over him. He watched the shadow of her slim form move closer. “Something wrong, Cat?”
Losing the hesitant edge, she said, “Sort of,” and…sat beside him on the rollaway bed.
Yeah, not comfortable. For one, she was a near stranger, but more than that, she’d already proven herself to be very unpredictable.
With his arms behind his head, he felt…vulnerable.
So he quickly adjusted, coming up to a forearm and half turning toward her. “What is it?”
A slow, audible breath preceded the touch of her hand on his shoulder. “I should be sleeping.”
Definitely. They both should. Had they been awake for the same reason? “But?”
“I can’t quiet my thoughts.”
Maybe they’d have their talk sooner rather than later. He started to sit up, but she said, “Wait.”
For two seconds Leese considered things, then relented, resting back to his arm again.
“This is awkward,” she said. “Bear with me while I sort it out, okay?”
Her nearness no longer worried him, at least not as any sort of threat from a stranger.
No, it had morphed into physical awareness real quick. “Sort out what?”
The silence grew strained, but she didn’t move away.
Leese shifted. “Cat?”
“Could I talk to you without you making assumptions?”
Since he’d already made a dozen or more, probably not. “I’ll do my best.”
“I don’t know what it is about you, but it’s making me nuts. You’re like this assault on my system.”
That didn’t sound good. “An assault?” With every fiber of his being, he was attuned to her cool fingers lightly touching his now-fevered skin.
Rushing her words together, she stretched out next to him. “Could I sleep with you? Sleep, I mean? That nap with you today was the best rest I’ve had in a very long time but I’m still so tired. I just want to sleep, but I don’t dare.” She squeezed him, her small body pressed to his, her face against his throat. Her warm breath teased his skin with her agonized explanation. “I know I shouldn’t trust you, but I keep wanting to anyway.”
Leese tried to relax. “You can trust me.”
As if he hadn’t said that, she continued, “It’s nuts to stay with you, I know that. You’re so far out of your realm it only puts you at risk. I don’t want that on my conscience, so I tried to convince myself to run—”
“Don’t run.” Cautiously, he put his arms around her. Out of his realm? She didn’t have much faith in him.
“Every time I tried to make plans I ended up thinking instead about you being right here. So close and so… Jesus, I hate to say it, but you feel safe.” She tipped her face up to his. “I need you to be safe.”
“I am,” he assured her, tucking her closer, folding his arms protectively around her. He gave her a gentle squeeze.
She snuggled in. “I need to make some big decisions, but tonight it just feels too difficult. I think if I slept well, that’d help.”
“Sleep always helps.” And now, with her body so soft and lax against his, he didn’t want to let her go. Stretching out one long arm he rearranged his blanket to cover her too. “Let your thoughts rest, Cat, and tomorrow we’ll work it out.”
She gave a soft laugh. “Sure. Teamwork, right?”
Clearly she didn’t believe him. “We can talk tonight if you’d rather.”
“No.” Shaking her head, she squeezed him again. “I still haven’t decided how much to tell you—or how much you might already know.”
He didn’t know jack shit, and it frustrated him a lot. “Tomorrow, then.”
She tipped up her face. In the darkness, she studied him. “You don’t mind?”
Every nerve ending in his body sizzled, but… “No.” She smelled sweet and felt soft, and if he let himself, he’d be hard in a heartbeat. But he’d once risked a woman through poor judgment.
He’d never make that mistake again.
“Where is your gun?” she asked.
Where she wouldn’t get to it. “Don’t worry about it,” he said, then promised, “I won’t accidentally shoot you.”
“I figured.” Sighing long and loud, she got comfortable again. “I didn’t want to bump into it.”
“You won’t.” He didn’t mean to, but he kissed the top of her head. “Now sleep. We both need it.”
She said nothing else, and within five minutes her breaths had turned slow, deep and even. Apparently her mind had finally quieted.
Unfortunately, his did just the opposite and he ended up spending most of the night thinking very inappropriate, erotic, explicit things that had no place between a bodyguard and the woman he was assigned to protect.
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