Everything we had was destroyed.”

“Is that why you moved to Savannah?” she asked.


“What were you doing overseas?”

He shrugged, his shoulders tense. It was obvious he didn’t like talking about himself but she wasn’t going to let that stop her. “That last trip I was in Iraq.”

“In the Marines?”

He shook his head. “No, not that time, though I did spend a good bit of time there in the Marines.

I was in for eight years—Force Recon for most of those—but when I got out I did private security work for a couple years. Spent practically two solid years overseas. The pay was good and all the guys I worked with were former Special Forces too. The kind of guys you want to have your back in a firefight.”

It didn’t surprise her that Adam had been Special Forces. It did surprise her that he was talking so much and she wasn’t going to let this opportunity to learn more about him go to waste.

“Why did you get out of the military?”

“I loved everything about the Corps but I wasn’t a lifer. Some families make it but a lot don’t. I wanted…” he paused and she wasn’t sure he’d continue. Finally he did. “I wanted roots and a normal life and I knew I’d never get that if I stayed in.”

“Do you ever miss it?” His voice had been so full of pride and patriotism when he’d said the word Corps.

He shot her a quick glance, his gaze hooded and his words heated. “Sometimes I miss the adrenaline rush. I haven’t found anything that remotely compares to it until I met you.”

She swallowed at his words. Holy shit.  It was an odd compliment but probably the nicest thing any man had ever said to her. And she had no clue how to respond.

The water lapped against their bare feet as they walked along the shore. The salty air enveloped them in a light, refreshing wind, making her thankful she’d decided to come here. The sun danced off the glistening ocean, illuminating the scattered shells. In a couple months it would be too hot to truly enjoy the beach. And Adam wouldn’t be here anyway.

As she dug her feet into the cool sand, Adam took her hand in his. He’d never struck her as the hand-holding kind of guy, but a lot of things about him were starting to surprise her. She smiled at him and fought the crazed butterflies dancing in her stomach when he returned it. Well, his version of one anyway.

Eventually he tugged on her hand. “You ready to go back?”

She shook her head and took a couple steps into the water. Contrary to what he’d said earlier the water was incredibly warm. The sun was low in the sky, but it still hadn’t set, giving them enough warmth. By her guess, they had at least an hour and a half before dusk. Plenty of time to do what she planned. She glanced around. The stretch of beach was completely deserted. No homes, just palm trees, sand dunes and clear water. It was like their own private oasis. When her feet touched the warm water she inwardly smiled. Perfect.

He frowned. “What are you doing?”

In response, she lifted her dress by the hem and pulled it over her head before tossing it onto the sand.

“Shit, Izzy!” He glanced around.

“Come on. I do this all the time.” The water lapped against her calves as she took a couple steps back.

“You go skinny-dipping all the time?” His eyes narrowed on her body and she couldn’t help her response. She hadn’t worn a bra with the dress since it had one built in. Her nipples peaked painfully under his scrutiny.

A couple more steps back and she was up to her thighs. The warm water lapped around her skin. She shivered at the erotic sensation of being practically naked and in the ocean.

“Izzy, this is the last thing we should be doing right now.”

“Loosen up, Adam.” Now she was waist deep.

He muttered something too low for her to understand, but after one last glance around, he quickly stripped to his boxers. When he stalked toward her in the water, she felt like she was his prey. Not that she minded.

She wanted to be caught.

Just when he thought he had her figured out, Izzy surprised him again. A maniac was stalking her and she wanted to go skinny-dipping at the beach.

The water splashed as he pushed through the waves. When he was barely a foot from her, she turned and dove under.

She popped up a couple feet away, her curly hair slicked back.


She dove under again. Seconds later, he felt a sharp tug on his boxers. When she came up for air this time, he grabbed her by the hips and pulled her flush against his body. “You’re insane,” he rasped.

She shrugged, reached under the water and grasped his cock. “No one is going to see us. If someone walks by—which I doubt—we’re completely covered by the ocean. Besides, are you complaining?”

His stomach muscles clenched as she slowly stroked him. It seemed all she had to do was touch him and he was ready to combust. “Hell no.”

Wordlessly, she shifted her body against his, causing him to groan aloud. Still wearing her panties, she stroked the covered folds of her sex against his cock. When she started rubbing her breasts against his chest in an erotic motion, he nearly exploded right there.

The subtle stimulation was the perfect effect.

Stilling her movements, he grasped her hips before running his hands up her waist and ribcage until he cupped both her breasts. They were small but perfect. Perky pink nipples hardened and peaked under his touch. They fit perfectly into his hands.

As he tweaked and palmed her breasts, he shifted so that her back faced the shore. The area was deserted, and he’d be able to see for miles if anyone was coming, but he still wanted to keep an eye on their surroundings. Izzy didn’t seem to notice the slight move at all.

With a free hand, he pushed down the thin scrap of material separating them.

Teasing her mercilessly, he enjoyed the little whimpering sounds she made each time he flicked across her clit.

He continued to massage and stroke the sensitive nub before testing her slickness. When he inserted a finger she began grinding against it.

She didn’t hold back or deny what she wanted. He loved that about her. When it came to sex, she enjoyed everything about it.

“Please, more.” He barely heard her plea above the sound of blood rushing in his ears.

“What do you want?” he asked before sucking one of her earlobes between his teeth. He’d discovered how sensitive she was there.

She jerked once and her grip around his neck tightened. “I need more,” she whispered. The desperation in her voice matched the electric energy humming through her.

He crushed his mouth against hers, needing everything she had to offer. For a split second he contemplated being gentle, but the primal side won out. Raw need took over as he ate at her mouth. She was just as hungry as him.

Their lips meshed as he thrust inside her. Like a hot, silk glove, her inner walls tightened and molded around him with no mercy.

As he continued pushing deep inside her, something changed inside him. It was a subtle shift, but he felt it with his entire being. She was his now.

That thought scared the hell out of him.

They’d only been intimate for a couple days, and now he couldn’t imagine not waking up to her face. Didn’t want to imagine a life without Izzy.

She clawed at his back as they found their rhythm. Unintelligible whimpering sounds escaped her as he pounded into her. Her soft breasts rubbed against him. He savored the feel of her smooth skin and beaded nipples against his own rough chest.

He could feel her inner muscles contracting around him, milking him as she started climaxing.

Her dark eyes glazed over as she threw her head back.

For a moment all he could focus on was the soft curve of her neck. The way it arched delicately as she came.

“Adam,” she moaned.

For some reason the sound of his name on her lips made him lose it every time.

He came long and hard, emptying himself inside her.

Water rushed around them as they both came down from their high. Her exotic scent enveloped him as she feathered kisses against his neck.

When she sagged against his body, something foreign gripped his chest and squeezed tight. Izzy trusted him completely to keep her safe. Around him she was unconcerned about anything else and it was obvious that was because of trust.

Her breaths were still shallow and uneven as she lay wrapped around him. Instinctively he tightened his grip.

He kissed the top of her head and tried to push his feelings aside, but it was useless. He loved Izzy. Had realized it for longer than he’d admit.

She’d dug her way under all his defenses and now he was screwed. No matter what happened, he knew he’d lose her in the end. Even if they didn’t come from completely different worlds, he’d been lying to her from the moment they’d met. He knew her well enough to realize that it wasn’t something she’d forgive easily. She’d left Savannah to get away from her meddling father and they were blood.

Once she found out the truth about him, it wasn’t hard to see how things would play out.

Adam might be crazy for falling for her, but he wasn’t stupid. They had no future.

Chapter Seven

Jack Dennis clutched the stack of papers Isabelle Ballantine had given to him. He didn’t recognize the face she’d sketched. His gaze trailed to Megan. She sat behind the receptionist desk, frowning at the picture.

“You recognize this guy?”

She glanced up at him. “No, but if I see anyone that looks like him I’m running in the opposite direction.”

“Good idea,” he muttered before heading toward the back.

He’d grown up in Coconut Bay and nothing like this had ever hit the town. Once he was in the conference room, he tacked up the picture Isabelle had drawn underneath the pictures of the four women who had been assaulted. The first two and the woman they’d just found had been raped, but the third had only been assaulted.

Only.  He hated that word. As if that made the trauma she’d experienced any better.

Each woman fit the same description. All brunettes, exotic in appearance, all petite, weighing less than or close to one hundred ten pounds. None of them was able to identify her attacker, even though he’d kidnapped the first three without a mask. The fourth woman he’d blindfolded—something new—and he’d beaten her severely. She’d been able to talk to them for only a few minutes at the hospital before she’d passed out. And she’d been completely incoherent even when she’d been awake. Her tox screen had come back with fewer drugs in her system than the other women, but her brain had swelling. Jack had just gotten the call that her doctors had put her in a medically induced coma.