An all-new, sexy story in Shayla Black’s Reed Family Reckoning series is out this week and I have an excerpt for you.
Having anyone know our location isn’t optimal, but they have a crib and I don’t have a damn vehicle big enough to cart it. “Thanks. And thank Masey for giving us a safe place to crash. It’s above and beyond.”
He sends me a sly grin as he lifts another box. “I’ll make sure she doesn’t regret staying with me.”
Masey follows him out the door when a roadside assistance truck arrives to change a flat tire on Trace’s truck. His baby boy, Ranger, seems to have drifted off. Still not a peep from Oliver in the master closet.
But where the hell is Amanda? I tear through the house. She’s not in the master or the office beside it. She’s not in the living room, the expansive kitchen, or either of the spare bedrooms on the far side of the house. Alarm sets in after I scan the laundry room. She’s not in the garage, either.
My alarm turns to panic when I realize I’ve searched the entire house. It’s empty. Amanda is gone.
I stick my head out the front door. Trace, Masey, and a roadside assistance guy are all hovered around his truck as a flat comes off and the spare fits on. No Amanda there. I scan the house again, running from room to room—kitchen, laundry room, living room, office—shouting her name. At this point, I don’t give a shit if the little ones wake up. I need to find her.
My heart revs. Terrible possibilities start pelting my brain. Did someone follow us? Wait for the first moment I was distracted to seize her and drag her away against her will? Is she, even now, fighting off the asshole with the knife, struggling for her life?
Panic burns through my veins as I again see a still-sleeping Ranger in the office and Oliver undisturbed in the master closet. I try to remind myself that Amanda has fended off this guy before. She may be small, but she’s strong-willed. She’ll fight for herself. She’ll fight for her son.
But with me here, she shouldn’t have to, much less alone.
“Amanda!” I tear out of the master again and charge toward the hall. “Amanda!”
“What?” I hear her just before I round the corner. I find her standing in the middle of the hall, staring at me like she has no idea why I’m overreacting.
Multiple reactions hit me at once. Relief. Of course I’m thanking God she’s okay, but I’m still confused. Anger hits next, and I march straight for her. I’m damn near seething when I shove her against the nearest wall and pin her to it, planting my palm over her head. “Where the fuck did you go?”
“Out back. To see the beach.”
Is she kidding me? “Alone? Without telling me where you were off to?”
“I-I…” She doesn’t finish her sentence, but I see understanding cross her face.
“I’m not used to answering to anyone.”
“Get used to it.”
“Look, I hired you to keep me safe, not to be my—” She bites her lip like she knows better than to finish that sentence.
“Daddy?” I lean closer. Our eyes lock. “Is that what you were going to say?”
The air between us turns thick. I see her breasts rising and falling inches from my chest. Her rough breaths are audible. Her eyes dilate.
Do I scare her? Or is she aware that I’m not just a bodyguard, but a man?
Amanda raises her chin. “You’re not.”
It takes all my willpower not to touch her. “If you’re going to wander off alone when someone is out to kill you, I have no problem being yours.”
Footsteps stomp through the front door moments before Trace and Masey round the corner and spot us. I jerk back. Amanda looks away in embarrassment.
Trace clears his throat. “We just…um, need to grab Ranger and his gear from the office.”
“Sure.” I gesture him to the room at the end of the hall. I’m trying my damnedest not to look guilty, but I feel the thick sludge rolling through me, pushing the flash of anger from my veins.
Amanda didn’t need me to yell at her. We haven’t had time to cover ground rules and best practices. That didn’t stop me from jumping down her throat.
Maybe Ellie wasn’t all wrong about you being overprotective and possessive.