There’s nothing like a take charge type of man. Especially when you’re tired, fed up, and every example of masculinity that’s crossed your path in recent memory has been less than inspiring.
Our little Charlie has found her match in hero Hugh. After he saves her from the neighborhood roughnecks, he makes his way into her apartment to access her injuries – and of course to find out more about her.
I love heroes like Hugh, alphas to their back teeth. Not only is he a man’s man, capable, strong and instinctively protective, he’s got her scent in his nose. No smart lip from a little blonde-haired sprite is gonna scare him away. *sighs romantically*.
Enjoy this unedited snippet from my latest WIP.
“What name do you show under?”
His eyes narrowed. “You told me your name was Charlie.”
“It is. My first name is Charlotte. Everybody calls me Charlie.” Except her parents. They’d always called her Lucky. Because she was always narrowly escaping some trouble, or a whooping, and they’d always claimed they were lucky to have her.
She wanted him to go. Not because she felt threatened, which she probably should. It was just, there was a stranger in her home. No man had set foot in the place in months, and that one had only come to fix the bathroom sink.
This man was dangerous. Devil in a Sunday hat kinda trouble. Any woman with half a brain could see that. It oozed from his pores like the pheromones that had her silly female body tingling in his presence.
She felt like she’d touched a socket with static cling, and that was all the more reason why he should leave. She hadn’t felt like that in years, and she didn’t want to feel like that ever again. He was too handsome, too confident. She made it her business to stay away from men like him. From all men, period.
“Those men bother you a lot?”
“Is that a yes?”
She stared at him.
He sighed. “Okay, I get it. You’re a tough, independent woman who can handle her own problems, right?”
Lucy burst out laughing and snatched her hat off her head. “What the hell are you talking about, man?”
She wished immediately she hadn’t done it. He seemed transfixed by the sight of her tumbled hair. She’d lost her ponytail holder in the scuffle, and it was all over her head without her cap to contain it.
“Good grief,” he whispered. “No wonder they were after you. It’s not safe for you to live here. Can’t you afford to move?”
Typical, she thought. Like problems were that fucking easy to solve. She snorted rudely. For him they probably were. Even a fool could see this man had money. “Mind your own business,” she shot back.
It was none of his concern, but she was saving too move. Places with this much space for her work were hard to come by though, and when they did come up they cost the earth. She had a line on a building, but she was still nearly $175,000 short for the down payment.
She’d just started selling about a year ago, and she’d managed to put away more money than she’d ever thought to see in her life, but Charlie was cautious. She still lived quite frugally as insurance against poverty.
She tried to tell herself she was being ridiculous, watching every dime so closely. Demand for her work was holding – actually it was increasing – but she’d had a lot to do to get stable before she could even start saving. Before last year her finances were on life support. Staying here was annoying as all hell, but it was the quickest way to save and have enough space to keep working without having to rent a shared space.
“Who looks after you?”
“What?” she asked incredulously.
“How old are you?” he insisted. “You live here alone?”
“Are you asking me how old I am?”
She just stared at him like he was crazy.
“18? 19? Older?”
She just shook her head. He was crazy.
“Tell me,” he ordered.
“I’m 26, and it’s time for you to go. Thank you very much for your help earlier. I appreciate it, but I gotta get back to work.”
“Painting,” she agreed, moving gingerly toward the door. Her arm was hurting. Thank goodness it was her left one.
Observant little cuss wasn’t he?
“Let me see.”
“Dude, no,” she said exasperated. “Just go, okay?”
“No.” He strode forward and before she could stop him he lifted her shirt and pulled her sore arm from its sleeve. She cried out at the pain, and he whistled sympathetically, blocking her when she tried to swat his hands away. He held her when she tried to move away next.
“Take your fuckin’ hands off me,” she said, trying to talk tough, but her voice was full of tears. Why the fuck was she crying? It didn’t hurt that bad, and she was wearing a tank underneath her shirt. He wasn’t likely to be overcome with lust by the sight of her skinny arms and barely there breasts. But his actions had her heart was racing and her belly in knots; he’d gotten her clothes off so fast she’d barely had a chance to say a word.
“You’re alright,” he told her, and damn if she wasn’t soothed by his deep, no nonsense voice. He picked her up and carried her to the bathroom. “Sit,” he ordered, pointing to the toilet.