After bailing out of his fighter jet, Mack Bradley wakes up in a luxury hotel with a bunch of guests who, like him, have no memory of how they arrived. He’s drawn to one of them, Lily Wardman. But can he trust her or anyone else in this strange environment where hidden dangers lurk? And what happens when Mack’s brother, Grant, mounts a desperate search to find him?
(Mack and Lily left the hotel grounds and went into the woods–where the world turned crazy. Pursued by fantasy creatures, they barely made it out again.)
With every ounce of strength Mack had left, he heaved himself up and staggered toward the door.
“Come back,” Lily gasped.
“Gotta close it.”
He slammed the wooden barrier closed, before staggering away from the wall again and sinking to the lawn beside Lily. She rolled toward him and gave a dry sob.
“It’s okay. Everything’s okay,” he whispered, reaching for her and pulling her into his arms, clinging and rocking, so thankful that they had both escaped.
She clung to him, shaking.
“What happened to us in there?” she gasped. “I mean, everything turned crazy.”
“Yeah, but we got out.”
“Where did that loony stuff come from?”
“Loony.” He laughed, then shook his head. “Yeah, Looney Tunes.”
He had no real answers for her as he stroked his hands over her back, tangled them in her hair. He only knew that they were lucky to have escaped alive.
But they were safe now, and she was in his arms. He’d wanted to hold her like this, touch her like this. It had seemed wrong before. Now it was the only thing that felt right, as he focused on Lily instead of the terror in the forest.
What had happened in the forest didn’t make sense. But they had escaped, and they could celebrate that.
They were both alive, and he needed to prove it.
The desperate look in her eyes undid him.
“That was impossible,” she whispered. “It can’t be real.”
“Maybe not, but this is real.”
He cupped the back of her head and brought her mouth to his. Perhaps in some part of his mind, he had intended it to be a reassuring kiss, but the moment his lips touched hers, he knew he wanted more.
Lily trembled in his arms, running her hands over his back, his shoulders, gathering him closer, melting against him.
He barely knew her. Or was that even true? He wanted to ask what they had been to each other. But he wanted to kiss her more.
She made a small, needy sound that sent sparks to every nerve ending in his body. He angled his head, first one way and then the other, greedy to give and take.
He lay back on the grass, pulling her on top of himself so that her body sprawled along the length of his.
With no conscious thought on his part, one of his hands slid down to her hips, pulling her lower body against his erection, knowing that would only make his craving for her worse.
But he was beyond rational decisions. Way beyond. He was all raw nerves and desperate feelings that the crazy trip through the woods had unleashed.
In this out-of-kilter environment, he’d been hanging on to the shreds of civilization as he knew it. He’d lost that veneer in the forest when they’d been running for their lives.
Needing more of the woman in his arms, he clasped her more tightly, pressing her breasts against his chest.
They had just escaped from dangers beyond his wildest imagining. Now he needed to affirm their escape—in this place where he couldn’t trust his own observations or his senses—and where everything might change in an instant.
As they clung to each other, it was only a small leap to the next step. The need to claim her for his own, the need to be deep, deep inside her, erasing everything from existence except the two of them and what they could give each other.
He had forgotten where they were. Forgotten everything but the woman in his arms.
His hands stroked over her back, then down to her hips while he feasted on her, with an abandon that might have shocked him if he’d been capable of rational thought.
He worked his hand between them and cupped her breast, then glided his thumb across the beaded nipple.
Lord she felt so good, and the small sounds she made only fueled his passion.
He was about to pull up her shirt to give himself better access to her breasts when a bark of a laugh made them both go rigid.
“Is this what you consider exploring the hotel?” a voice said. “Looks like a more personal exploration to me.”
Rebecca has authored or co-authored over 65 romantic thrillers, many for Harlequin Intrigue’s very popular 43 Light Street series, set in Baltimore, and many with paranormal elements.
Her many awards include two Rita finalist books. She has two Career Achievement awards from Romantic Times: for Series Romantic Suspense and for Series Romantic Mystery. And her Peregrine Connection series won a Lifetime Achievement Award for Romantic Suspense Series.