Defending Serenity [MultiFormat]
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eBook by Loribelle Hunt
eBook Category: Erotica/Erotic Romance/Romance
eBook Description: Boyd Graham spent ten years in prison for defending the woman he didn't dare love. The town bad boy, he didn't need anything good in his life, especially when that good came in the form of a cop. Lynn Jameson spent the years atoning for sin. One night of passion and its consequence was enough to teach her to distrust sentiment. As the new police chief dealing with a smuggling ring on the Florida Gulf Coast, the last thing she needs is Boyd showing up. Can they find a way to come together or will they be forever at odds?
eBook Publisher: Atlantic Bridge/Liquid Silver Books, Published: 2009
Fictionwise Release Date: July 2009
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27 Reader Ratings:
Holman Correctional Facility, Atmore, Alabama
Sometime after noon, Boyd Graham stepped out of the gate and into the parking lot a free man. He figured he could spare a moment for the excitement surging through him. Grinning, he spread his arms wide and lifted his face to the weak December sun.
Lowering his hands to his hips, Boyd took a good look around the outside of the place where he'd spent the last ten years of his life. The prison was an hour north of the Gulf of Mexico, and there was no sign of the sea here. The place was surrounded on all sides by tall pines, and the rotten-egg smell of a paper plant drifted faintly on the wind. He couldn't wait to get home and back on the water.
A car turned down the row in front of him and screeched to a stop, the driver throwing it into park and jumping out. Walker, his younger brother jumped out and caught Boyd up in a bear hug. Boyd pounded his baby brother's back and laughed. The sound was rusty from disuse. He hadn't had reason to laugh in years.
They stepped back and sized each other up. Walker was the only person in the world who gave a rat's ass about him. The once scrawny kid had filled out over the years; his chest and back were now broad, his biceps bulging and covered in tattoos. He looked as tough as Boyd and had the same build. Somehow he'd managed to stay out of jail over the years, but he'd had a string of close calls.
Boyd grinned. "Been hittin' the iron, kid?"
Walker snorted. "Get in the damned car. I haven't been a kid since I was ten."
Boyd stopped and took his first good look at the vehicle. His car. The wreck he'd in won in a poker game twelve years ago had been completely restored.
"Looks good, doesn't she?" Walker asked with pride.
Afraid it might be a mirage and disappear on contact, Boyd reached out cautiously and skimmed his hand over the surface of the roof. His fingertips met midnight black metal and he swallowed the lump in his throat. It was just a damned car. Well, as much as a 1968 Camaro could be just a car.
He lifted the gleaming door handle to swing the heavy door open. Removing the pack from his back, he tossed it over the seat and slid in, pulling the door closed behind him. The reupholstered leather seats were soft and plush, and as they exited the parking lot he started to relax for the first time in ten long years.
It was a three hour drive home to Duluth. The small town on the Chattahoochee River in Alabama was only a stone's throw from both Georgia and Florida. It'd never seemed much like home until he couldn't go to it.
He took the time to study his little brother. The owner of the only garage in Duluth looked prosperous. When Walker had sent him word he was taking over a garage, Boyd hadn't asked too many questions. Where a petty criminal had come up with the kind of cash necessary to buy a business, he could only imagine. Walker had always been a talented mechanic, so the move made sense. Made him look legit. And the place would give Boyd gainful employment, too. A return to prison was not part of his plans.
Since he'd served every minute of his ten year sentence, he was a totally free man, not encumbered by any asinine rules of parole. He tried not to think too much about that. He should have been out of prison years ago, finishing his sentence on parole. Unfortunately, the warden at Holman was an old school buddy of Judge Jameson's, the man who'd presided over his trial and sentenced him to ten years. Even after the man's death, the warden made sure Boyd stayed in prison. Every time he came up for a parole board review some minor infraction against him was manufactured and presented. Every time he was turned down. Taking a deep breath, he suppressed his rising anger and concentrated on life as a free man.
He hadn't been in an all-fired rush to return to Duluth until he'd heard she was back. Closing his eyes, he called up her memory. Serenity Lynn Jameson. The woman responsible for his ten years of hell. The last time he'd seen her in the flesh she was sitting across a small table from him in the county jail's visitation room, close to tears and wringing her hands. If not for the guards, he might have reached to comfort her, and that had pissed him off. It still did.
Serenity had always been innocent and demure. He'd watched her grow from a skinny gangly teenager to a knockout twenty-two year-old. He knew better, but she was a woman he just had to sample. And sample he had. Once. Only, once wasn't nearly enough.
Serenity had been meeting him for the second go when the trouble had started. Billy Thompson had started hitting on her the minute she walked in the door. When she shrugged him off, the man had grown dangerous, aggressive. Boyd had defended her, why, he couldn't fathom, and Billy was killed, the simple bar fight ended by Billy's knife in Boyd's hand. The one righteous thing Boyd had ever done landed him in prison.
The last time he saw Serenity she'd asked him to forgive her and promised he'd be out soon. After all, her daddy was the judge. Why would he send away a man for defending his daughter's virtue?
Boyd snorted. Yeah, right. He'd seen the writing on the wall. He'd screwed Judge Jameson's daughter. One man was dead, and the other from the wrong side of the tracks was in handcuffs. He didn't have a chance in hell.
Serenity had gone back north to college before the trial started. For some reason he'd expected to see her there anyway. Her not showing up for it felt like rejection, something he wasn't accustomed to, a chink in his armor. He beat the emotion down, but not before vowing to make her pay. When he'd heard his sentence, ten years without parole, in his mind he'd doubled her sentence, too. She'd spent the ten years in her own kind of exile, on the other side of the state.
And now she was back as Duluth's new police chief.
"You're awfully quiet over there," Walker cut into his thoughts.
He smiled, the movement tightening muscles long unused to such action.
"Just contemplating revenge, brother."
Walker arched an eyebrow. "Lynn Jameson?"
"I call her Serenity." He breathed her name. Since her father, the judge, had died just weeks after sending him to prison, Serenity was the only one left to receive his wrath. The only one left to seek vengeance from.
Walker shook his head.
"Don't go there, Boyd. She's Duluth's Chief of Police now, and she's dating Tim Monroe."
Rage roiled through him. That was his cunt and he wasn't done with it yet. He'd spent years dreaming of his one taste of her and the things he'd do to her when he was free. Most of them were illegal in Alabama. He didn't care, and neither would she. He'd make her beg. It was a vision that had carried him through the years. The perfect Serenity Jameson, on her knees before him.
"Monroe can't have her," he bit out through clenched teeth. "Not until I'm done with her."
"Fuck," Walker muttered.
This time Boyd's smile was for real. "I intend to."
"No, man," Walker looked over at Boyd after he steered the car onto the highway heading home. "She's not the girl you remember."
Of course she wouldn't be. The woman he remembered was sweet and innocent, and he'd been unable to resist her. He'd held back, afraid he might hurt her, and he hoped life had hardened her as much as it had him. When he started fucking her this time, he wouldn't stop. She'd better be able to take it.
"She's a real ball-breaker now," Walker added.
Boyd smiled. Good. He'd break her of that. Would revel in doing so, actually. He was going to make her need him, crave him, the way he had her. And when he'd satisfied his longing for her, he'd move on. Then Monroe could have her.
Lost in his plans, the hours flew by and he was surprised when they pulled off the road into the garage's parking lot. They drove around back and he spotted the small white shotgun house, which looked exactly like it had in the pictures Walker had sent him. It appeared to be well cared for, with a narrow porch stretching across the front. He'd expected to see it, to live in it, although he wasn't sure if he'd ever consider it home.
To his surprise, a woman lounged on the porch waiting for them. Her booted feet were propped on the rail as she gently rocked in one of three rocking chairs near the door. Her long legs were encased in jeans, and she wore a tight T-shirt with a light jacket thrown over it. Her long auburn hair was caught up in a ponytail at the back of her head.
Boyd got out of the car and took his time approaching her, halting when he reached the bottom step. Her feet thudded to the floor as she stood up and looked him over from top to bottom, and then up again. She was thinner than he remembered, but nothing else about her was changed. Her eyes were still icy blue, her skin still smooth and lightly tanned, freckles dusting her nose. Tempting red lips curled up in a slight social smile.
"You look good, Boyd," she said, in the husky voice that haunted his dreams. His cock hardened in response.
"Serenity." His voice was edgy. "I didn't expect you to be part of my welcome home committee."
There was no change of expression on her face. No sign she thought of the past at all. Felt any remorse or guilt for her part in his incarceration. It fueled his anger. He wanted to shake her up, wanted to crack that serene composure to expose the passionate woman underneath. He walked up the few steps, didn't stop moving until he was close enough that she was forced to tilt her head back to look at him. Her eyes flashed, but she didn't back away. She thought she could handle him; he saw it on her face and almost smiled. She had no idea what he'd become, but she would.
She frowned. "Why would I be?"
"You're the reason I was there in the first place." He let some of the rage he worked so hard to control--at his imprisonment, at her abandonment--color his voice. And wrapped up in that rage was always, always, the lust. The craving for a girl, a body, he'd only had once. Her calm mask slipped. So many emotions crossed her face, but the only two he cared about were the guilt and the desire. She got control of herself quickly, hid herself back behind that infuriating calm mask, but this time it was okay. He knew what she hid, knew he could reach it.
She stepped back, as if she finally realized what kind of danger she was in, and looked around him to Walker.
"Can we go inside a minute?"
"Sure." He stepped to the door with a key. Serenity shook her head and arched an eyebrow, no doubt wondering why someone would need to lock their door in tiny Duluth. Well, let her wonder. Walker held out his arm, like he was the picture of gallantry. Boyd snorted.
Serenity stepped through the door and led the way down the hall to a small kitchen. Boyd hated the suspicion that snaked through him. How did she know his brother's house so well?
His curiosity must have shown on his face, because Walker laughed. "It's not what you're thinking, Boyd."
Walker reached into the refrigerator, pulled out three beers and passed them around. Serenity twisted off her cap and took a long swallow. He stared at the movement of her throat as she gulped down the cold brew, wondering what it would look like full of his cock. Tonight, he promised himself. He'd have her tonight.
Lynn felt Boyd's gaze on her, and remembered with a start what had drawn her to him all those years ago. He had a way of making a woman his complete focus, and the na´ve girl she'd been hadn't stood a chance in hell against him. Good thing she was all grown up now.
But she was dismayed to learn she wasn't immune to his intense masculinity. It took all she had not to cross her legs against the heat pooling in her pussy as his cool gray eyes speared her with a mixture of lust, anger, and hate. She felt it like a blow to her stomach. She hadn't realized he hated her. And he wanted her to know it. Almost as much as he wanted her to know he planned to fuck her again. That was a major problem. She wasn't sure if she could resist him if he touched her. Was pretty sure she wouldn't want to. Would melt at the first stroke.
Walker cleared his throat and she wrenched her gaze from Boyd to see him leaning tense and coiled against the counter. She almost laughed. Who did he expect trouble from? Anxiety stiffened her muscles. Maybe from where he stood, it was a toss up.
"I found your thief," she said in the hushed room. Then she took another drink of beer. She wasn't much of a drinker, but the situation and her nerves seemed to call for it. She could feel Boyd's focused gaze, could feel his intent, and struggled not to respond to it. It was a losing battle. She needed to fill Walker in and get the hell out while she still could. "You were right. Jimmy Richards."
"I thought so."
"You need to press charges, Walker." She held her hand up when he started to interrupt. "Not pressing charges is just going to lead to more trouble for this kid."
He shook his head. "Trust me on this, Lynn. He's not a bad kid. He just needs a firm hand. A little guidance."
From the corner of her eye she caught Boyd's incredulous look and snickered. She didn't know what his objection was, but hers was easy enough to figure out. Jimmy Richards was a juvenile delinquent who was fast on his way to becoming an adult delinquent. He didn't need a firm hand--he needed to spend a night in her jail. She had told Walker as much, but their conversation was frustrating and had gotten her nowhere. Finishing the beer, she put it down and walked to the kitchen door.
"Fine," she said, hand on the doorknob. "Do it your way. But the next person will press charges, Walker."
"There won't be a next time," he responded calmly. "I'll track Jimmy down tomorrow and put him to work. He can pay off what he took that way."
She rolled her eyes. She'd be amazed if that straightened the kid up. Of all the hard cases she'd known over the years, Jimmy was at the bottom of her list of likely reformers.
"You're dreaming, Walker. Let me know if you need me," she added, as she opened the door, careful not to look at Boyd. If she did, he'd know she wanted him so bad she was quivering inside. If she saw that craving reciprocated, she might throw caution to wind and beg him to come over later. She'd spent ten years building her defenses and one touch would shatter them. She refused to contemplate what a rejection would do to them. "See y'all later."
When she pulled the door shut behind her, she released a pent up sigh of ... what? Angst? Lust? She didn't stop examine it too closely. Couldn't. Whatever she felt for Boyd, whatever his hold over her was, any real chance at exploring it had ended years ago. She had to focus on the life she had now and quit yearning for something that never really was.
Their little cove off the river was visible down the slope of the backyard. Lit by the glow from the back porch and the dock Christmas lights, she ambled to it, meeting the parallel path and turning toward home. Forcing her mind away from Boyd, she spent the fifteen minute walk concentrating on work.
Something was very wrong in Duluth, but she didn't know what. Not yet, anyway. In the normal course of events there wasn't much activity in their little hamlet off the main flow of the Chattahoochee. But two days ago, someone had turned in ten thousand dollars found on the riverbank, and she had reports coming in every week of strange activity on the river. Boats running without lights, and lights where there shouldn't be any. Of course, by the time she arrived on the scene each time, there was no sign of anything. She regretted she hadn't taken the incidents more seriously--hadn't done until the money showed up. They didn't have much in way of crime in her town. The major stuff took place over in Dothan or down in Panama City.
Her back porch came into view and she quickened her pace. The house was a replica of Walker's, down to the peeling paint. She'd caught the look on Boyd's face when she'd entered the house and was familiar with the layout. For a minute, he had actually wondered if she had something going on with his brother.
Her smile was bitter. No way. Reformed or not, she'd learned her lesson about screwing the town bad boy. Walker seemed to have it in his head she was off limits, anyway. The two of them made for an odd friendship, but it was real. Boyd didn't have a friendly bone in his body.
So why had his presence turned her on so much? Even now her pussy was wet and throbbing. It was a sensation she wasn't used to. The few men she'd spent time with over the years never turned her on the way Boyd had when she was twenty-two. She'd started to think that maybe she was just a touch on the frigid side. She groaned. Apparently not. She obviously had a thing for men who redefined the term bad boy.
She paused at the bottom step and looked up at the stars. Why had he come back? And why did he have to be such a threat to her restraint? She'd spent ten years paying penance for what had happened between them. Ten years dating the right kind of men. Okay, maybe they were a little boring, but she was a cop and they weren't criminals. A definite plus. Shaking off the funk, she went up the steps and opened her back door.
She didn't bother with a light and stalked straight through the kitchen to her bedroom, tugging her shirt off over her head as she went. A bath was just the thing to ease the tension strumming through her, and maybe she'd use her new waterproof vibrator for good measure. She peeled off her jeans, stepped into the small bathroom, and flipped on the light before starting the water.
Doing a quick mental inventory of what she needed--a towel, a glass of wine, a book and the vibrator--she hurried back into the bedroom and came to a complete standstill. Boyd lay stretched out on her bed.
"What the hell are you doing here?"
"Enjoying the view."
He leered at her and she resisted the urge to try and cover herself. Instead, she gave him her coldest look.
"Leave," she bit out between clenched teeth. "Before I arrest you for breaking and entering."
He jumped up from the bed and loomed in front of her. She hated that she backed up, and what was worse, his display of aggression turned her on. Oh God, please don't let him touch me. There was no way she'd be able to resist him if he broke the inches separating them. His head dipped down and her breathing hitched. This was it. She was a goner. He would either kill her or fuck her and she didn't really care which. You're an idiot, Lynn.
"Waited ten years for this," he murmured before catching her lips with his.
His tongue was slow and gentle as it slid over her lower lip and pushed inside her mouth. Gliding over her teeth, thrusting in and out, it was a tease of a kiss. Frustrated with its taunting nature, she growled and leaned into him, pressing her breasts against his chest hoping to spur him on. He withdrew, panting from his effort to stay in control.
With one arm around her waist, he held her still as his other hand wiggled inside her panties and found her clit. Arching her back, she pressed her mound against his fingers. She was so close to coming. A little harder, a little faster. She wasn't sure if she panted the words out or he had an instinctive knowledge of her body. She was right on the edge, with little tremors beginning in her legs, when he stopped.
She almost howled with disappointment. Her eyes snapped open and she met his gaze, recoiling at the anger she saw there. If he was that angry with her, why was he here? His hand still cupped her and his finger flicked over her clit. She couldn't repress the shudder of response or the groan that escaped her lips.
"Have you let Tim Monroe touch you here?" he rasped, one long finger pushing into her pussy.
She gasped, riding the sensation, ignoring the question. A second finger joined the first and they slid leisurely in and out of her. After a moment he stopped, turning her so that her back was against the wall, and he bit her neck.
"Ow," she yelped, although she felt more liquid pool against his fingers at the singular assault.
He chuckled. "You liked that. I can feel it here." He wiggled his fingers deep inside her.
"I asked you a question, Serenity," he said, and though his tone was soft, she heard an underlying edge of menace.
"What was the question?"
"Tim Monroe," he reminded her.
"I don't see that it's any of your business," she responded, knowing her answer was ridiculous under the circumstances. Boyd was not a man to trifle with. He was capable of anything. She'd seen him kill a man.
His eyes narrowed on her face and she felt a spurt of fear. He lowered his head until they were nose to nose and the hand that only moments ago had cupped her waist now rested on her collarbone ... and twitched. Sliding it up, he lightly stroked the sides of her neck. The movement was both tender and threatening at the same time. She gulped.
"No," she whispered. "He hasn't touched me."
"Good," he said in a hard tone. "This is mine."
Removing his fingers from her pussy he pinched her clit hard enough to send sparks through her. She rode a wave of pleasure/pain and when he released his hold on her clitoris to rub against it, the orgasm broke over her. She cried out and trembled in his arms. * * * *
When her shudders slowed, Boyd picked her up and carried her to the bed. Dropping her in the center, he stood back and with a jerk, ripped his shirt over his head and yanked off his jeans and shoes. Condom in hand, he came down on top of her, crushing her into the mattress. She tasted sweeter than he remembered, and his control was a thin thread. He had to get inside her now. Lifting enough to rip open the packet and roll on the condom, he looked up to meet her gaze.
It was full of wary lust and although he'd wanted her afraid, had even been turned on by her fear, now her caution cut him and spurred his anger. If she didn't know him well enough to realize he'd never physically harm her, the hell with it. He didn't have time to soothe her now, and he didn't care what she thought anyway. Did he? His fingers sought out her pussy and he guided his cock to it, thrusting deep. Her eyes widened and her body clenched around him. Oh, fuck. He cared all right. He closed his eyes and fought down whatever emotion was swelling his throat.
Seated deep inside her, not daring yet to move, he realized Serenity's hair was still up and he tugged out the elastic holding it. He ran his fingers through her long auburn hair, fanning it out across the pillow. He'd dreamed about that hair, about feeling it slide over his bare skin. A simple enough fantasy to fulfill.
He rolled them over and brought her upright over him. And yes, the ends of her hair brushed his chest, just like he'd imagined. He gathered it in his hands and tugged at it until she was forced to lean over. She didn't exactly resist, but she hesitated enough to fire his temper again. He withdrew from her pussy and thrust back in, rocking her forward against his chest. She dropped her hands on his shoulders to brace herself, and looked at him in question when he didn't continue.
Now that his cock was nestled deep inside her, he had better control over the hunger eating at him. Enough to make her come again and again, desperate for him. He needed her desperate for him. And he needed the time to reacquaint himself with her body. It was going to be a long time before he was done with her. Tonight, and down the road.
He reached for her breasts, palming them, the hard tips of her nipples spearing his hands. They were smaller than he remembered, but she was thinner, sleeker with unfamiliar muscles. It was obvious she worked her body hard. He grinned. He had every intention of putting her through her paces. His fingers closed over the nubs and he twisted them, wringing a gasp from her.
Sliding one arm around her back, he pulled her closer and sucked one nipple into his mouth. She groaned and ground against his hips. There was no way she was coming again so soon, but sweet Jesus, damned if she didn't tighten around his cock and mewl like a kitten when he bit her nipple. Her fingers dug into his shoulders as she rode him, with fine tremors shaking her rigid body. He wasn't sure if he could take that again, the feeling of her clamping down on his dick without him coming. He wanted to have his own fun, too.
Rolling her back over, he slid his arms under her knees and lifted her legs over his shoulders. The position left her open and vulnerable, but the only thing he saw in her eyes was desire. Good. He didn't have time for fear. Not now.
He braced his arms next to her head, wrapped his hands in her hair and gripped her skull, kissing her hard, the way he had wanted to earlier. With no restraint, no control, no holds barred. Just the way he was going to fuck her. Withdrawing slowly inch by inch, until only the head of his cock remained inside her, he stopped the kiss and met her hot gaze.
"Ready?" he asked gruffly. "I'm gonna fuck you, Serenity. Hard."
Long seconds ticked by as she looked into his eyes. What did she see there? Did she see how he'd changed? Hardened? Did she see the fine rage that burned in him just under the surface, just out of reach? Whatever she saw, she must not have objected too much to it because finally she nodded. He wasn't sure why he'd waited, but once he had her approval he slammed home. Her eyes widened in surprise and her hands flew up to grip his shoulders. Her grasp bordered on pain, her nails digging into his flesh, and he caught her again in a bruising kiss as he pounded into her.
Her soft gasps and groans wrapped around him, driving him higher, and he regretted he didn't have it in him to reach between them and force another orgasm on her. He was so close and it had been so long, there was no way he was pausing now. He'd take care of her later. When he had more control. Right. That's what he would do.
He threw back his head with a roar, feeling the tightly corded muscles from his neck to his thighs clench, as he came. The orgasm seemed to go on forever, his body unwilling to give up the sanctuary of hers. When he was finally released from its grip, he lowered her legs and collapsed on top of her temporarily replete.
My Serenity, his mind whispered. And maybe she was the peace he'd been searching for.