Stark Security, a high-end, high-tech, no-holds barred security firm founded by billionaire Damien Stark and security specialist Ryan Hunter has one mission—do whatever it takes to protect the innocent. Only the best in the business are good enough for Stark Security. Men with dangerous skills. Men with something to prove. Brilliant, charismatic, sexy as hell, they have no time for softness—they work hard and they play harder. They’ll take any risk to get the job done. But what they won’t do is lose their hearts. Or will they? Enjoy a sneak peek from the latest story in J. Kenner’s Stark Security series, out this week.
She’d been wearing sandals, and now her feet were bare in his lap. They each had a glass of bourbon, and there was a full bottle on the coffee table.
And Renly was very, very aware of the pressure of her heels on his thighs. He lifted his glass and took a sip, enjoying the burn as he swallowed. He felt the fire spread through him, and he tried to blame it all on the drink.
It wasn’t just the drink.
It was seeing her again. The eagerness with which she’d flown into his arms.
It was teasing her, the water fight at the car wash, and the way his cock had stiffened when that wet tee had strained against her breasts.
It was the smell of her on the shirt he was wearing, and the pressure of her feet on his thighs. The heat seeping through the cotton PJ bottoms, then sliding into his veins, coursing through him and reminding him of those last few months before he’d left Castaic. The months when all he’d been able to think about was Abby, even though he’d never worked up the nerve to tell her. How could he? They’d been friends. Friends. And no way was he going to screw that up by telling her he’d been jerking off every night to the fantasy that she’d sneak over and into his room the way they’d used to in sixth grade.
He hadn’t told her then, and he wasn’t going to tell her now, even though he longed to pull her down on the couch, then silence her gasp of surprise with a hard, punishing kiss, wild and deep enough to erase his fantasies. Or fulfill them.
Because why the hell would he need them if he had reality?
He shook himself, turning to her and praying he hadn’t said any of that aloud. “Sorry? What?”
“I said that tickles.”
He realized he’d been stroking the ball of her foot with the pad of his thumb. “Oh. Sorry.”
“No, it’s okay. It felt nice. At least until it started to tickle.” She cleared her throat, and her cheeks turned a little pink, and he had the feeling that she was bullshitting. That it didn’t tickle at all, and she just wanted him to stop stroking her skin.
And that was a damn shame.
He cleared his throat and shifted on the sofa, using the movement as an excuse to pull his hands away. “So tell me about these calls,” he said because that seemed like the safest possible topic.
“It’s probably just paranoia,” she said. “I told you on the street. Heavy breathing. Hangups. A real pain.”
She shook her head.
“Yes, but just silence. The breathing’s only when I answer, but I don’t answer my cell. Just the office phone. It doesn’t have caller ID. And during business hours, Marge takes the calls at the front desk.”
“Any bad dates recently?”
She made a snorting noise. “Nothing but bad dates,” she said. “But not very many of them. And I don’t think any of the guys seem like the type.”
“You never know. Tell me about them. Names, where you met them, all the details. I’ll check them out.”
“Yeah, well.” She drew in a breath. “God, this is embarrassing.”
“Dating?” He nodded sagely. “Yeah. Pathetic.”
“You’re so not funny. No, the details. It was, you know, one of those apps. A friend of mine designed it, so I’m in the beta program, and—”
“Your friend’s name?”
“What? No, it’s not him.”
He stared her down until she conceded, and he wrote Cedric’s name and details in his phone to follow up on tomorrow. “And the actual dates? Or were they just hookups?”
“No. No, no.” She shook her head. “I’ll forward all the information I have later,” she promised. “It’s not like you’re going to track them down tonight. But they were not hookups.”
“Right,” he said, a bit alarmed by her tone. “Sorry for misunderstanding.”
“Oh, hell,” she said, then shifted on the sofa and pulled her knees up, which had the unfortunate side-effect of removing her feet from his lap.
He turned so he was looking at her more directly. “Abby, what’s going on?”
“I don’t do hookups,” she said. “I mean, I know that makes me some sort of prehistoric weirdo, but it’s not my thing. I’m not interested in hookups or friends-with-benefits or any of that. I want—” She shook her head. “Never mind. Getting off topic.” She drew in a breath. “The point of the app is to let folks have it both ways. Tribe Find. You can search for romance or hookups or just friends.”
“And you were looking for friends?”