Karin Tabke | Author of Contemporary, Historical, and Paranormal Romance: Author of Sensual Romance
Karin Tabke | Author of Contemporary, Historical, and Paranormal Romance: Author of Sensual Romance

Bad to the Bone

Bad to the Bone
Digital – Erotic Contemporary

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Police officer Vaden Holbrook and widow Olivia Connor’s chemistry is off-the-charts hot, but incredible sex isn’t enough for Olivia. She wants it all. Will Vaden’s inability to commit push her into the arms of another man? Or can he overcome his past to become the man Olivia needs, the man he’d like to be?

 

Excerpt

Chapter One

Her mind wasn’t on the road, her driving, or her destination. It was miles away. In the clouds.
The last two months of the twenty-nine years she had spent on earth were the most intensely euphoric she’d ever experienced. A continual high. The ride so exhilarating, just the thought of getting off panicked her.

She was in a strange reckless mood as she flew through a red light. Consequences be damned. That had been her motto these last months. She didn’t care about after; she only cared about the thrill of now.

The fleeting thought of a cop hiding in the bushes, flashed through her mind. Like a spider patiently waiting for its unsuspecting prey to cross the point of no return.

It would be her luck, since the last man she’d tangled with had gotten so deep under her skin she couldn’t focus on much of anything these days. In fact, it was his damn fault she was out driving the unfamiliar Bay Area back roads this very night! But just in case there was a lurker, she gave her car some gas down the unfamiliar road. She should go home. Lock the door and put a Do Not Disturb sign on the knob. But she knew she wouldn’t. Couldn’t. Because the beckoning darkness drew her down the road, and God help her, what lay at the end was the only thing that made her feel alive.

Hers was the only car on the rutted road at the late hour. Her headlights blazed the way until she dunked into a pothole, the depth causing her to bounce and hit her head on the roof. As if to let the pothole know how she felt about that, she raised a fist and glanced angrily in her rearview mirror. Headlights rapidly approached.

Exhaling, she bit her bottom lip. Her nerves flared like Roman candles on Independence Day. Red and blue lights lit up behind her. “Oh, God,” she rasped the words lodging high in her throat. Tension ribboned through her.

The cop car pulled right up on her, lights blazing. He wasn’t passing. She knew what to do. Craning her neck she looked right, making sure the shoulder was wide enough and not littered with the gaping holes left by the recent rain. Slowing her car, she pulled over and came to a stop. As she put the car into Park, she let out a long breath she hadn’t realized she’d been holding.

Nervously she stared at her side mirror and watched the cop get out of his car. He said something into his mic before he started toward her window. She swallowed hard as his tall, broad form, silhouetted ominously against his headlights, moved toward her. As the strobes from the light bar flickered over him, she could tell by his long sure stride he was cocky. But then, most cops were. Anxiously, she sat back, folded her hands in her lap, and waited.

He stopped at the side of her car. All she could see was his duty belt, and his narrow waist that V’d into a wide chest. He tapped on the glass with the end of his flashlight.

Too nervous to move, she looked forward. Like a deer in the proverbial headlights.

He tapped the glass again and commanded, “Open the window, ma’am.”

Despite the nervous flutter in her belly, her primal reaction to his authority was to open the window wider, but her stubborn nature refused to lower the window more than a crack.

When he ducked down and they met face-to-face, she caught her breath and licked her suddenly dry lips. Her instinct was to shy away from the forest green eyes shining boldly at her. Instead, she swallowed hard as her gaze dropped to full sensual lips that could wreak some serious havoc on a woman, before bouncing back up to the blistering gaze.

He wasn’t classically handsome, but there was an arrogant sensuality about him that was impossible to ignore. He had one of those etched, character-filled faces. His angles were blunt. Except for an aquiline nose, there was nothing refined about him; his strong features complemented his olive coloring and prohibition cut, jet-black hair. There was nothing soft or apologetic about this man. It was his eyes and those bad boy lips that transformed him from average to sinful.

Her nipples beaded when his eyes dipped to her parted lips. Predatorily, his nostrils flared as if he caught her woman scent. Continuing to size her up, his gaze dropped lower. In answer, her chest rose and fell in shallow, uneven breaths. Her shirt was classic Anne Klein office wear. Although her sleeves were rolled up to her elbows and the buttons didn’t quite make it to her neck, the way she was sitting made the shirt gape open, exposing her warming cleavage.

Lazily his intense gaze dragged along her neck to her lips, then caught her wide eyes. Heat flickered behind his hooded lids. An insolent half smile quirked the right side of his mouth before he backed up. She huffed, sinking deeper into the leather seat. She bet half the women he pulled over took one look at him and did more than show a little skin. Could she blame them? He was all smoldering sexy.

Frustrated by his laconic inspection of her and the way it caused her body to spark, she stiffened, rolled her window down a bit more, and stuck her head out of the window. “Why did you stop me?” she demanded.

He cocked a dark brow at her tone. “You ran the light back there. License and registration, please.” He held out a big hand. Thick fingers with smooth blunted ends, neat square fingernails. A working man’s hand. No wedding ring. A single working man.

His other hand rested casually on the butt of his gun.

“What are you going to do? Shoot me if I don’t do what you say?”

His lips quirked. “I’ll use whatever force I deem necessary for compliance.”

Her jaw dropped at his implication. More heat seared its way to the sensitive place between her thighs. She wasn’t sure if she was afraid or intrigued. Either way, she didn’t resist. She took her driver’s license out of her wallet and slapped it into his waiting hand. His big fingers wrapped around hers before she could pull away. His skin was hot, the contact electrifying. A shock wave shot straight to her nipples and banked south to the juncture at her thighs. She tried hard to remain impassive. She tugged her hand out of his grasp, then quickly turned away to dig into the glove box for the registration. Once she’d retrieved it, she proceeded with more caution. Sitting back into the seat of her car, she inhaled deeply before exhaling and handed it to him, keeping all but her fingertips inside the car.

He took it with no further exchange and looked at her license. “I’ll be right back, Ms. Olivia Connor. Don’t go anywhere.” A hint of amusement laced his deep baritone.

Did he just laugh at her as he walked away? Olivia rolled her window down all the way and stuck her head out the window to tell him to go to hell, but he had already reached his cruiser. She sat back, her temper flashing. “Damn cops think they’re God’s gift.” She should know; she’d been married to one.

In her rearview mirror, she watched him watch her from the passenger door of his cruiser as he called in her info. The slow burn in her body spread. After what seemed interminably long, the flicker of the red and blue lights abruptly stopped. He strode back to her door. As he approached, the headlights illuminated his powerful stride. Olivia swallowed hard. He reached inside the car and released the door lock, quickly pulling the door open before she realized what he was doing.

“Step out of the car, ma’am.”

“Why? You can’t arrest me for running a red light!”

“Step out of the car, ma’am,” he repeated.

The temptation to say, no flirted with her obedient nature. What would he do? The wild side that had surfaced months ago wanted to find out. But it was the obedient woman who tempered the wild one.

Olivia stuck her left foot out of the car, her four-inch heel digging into the soil of the shoulder. When she stood, she nearly snapped her ankle. The infuriating cop reached out to steady her. His long fingers wrapped possessively around her bicep. Her skin sizzled beneath his chaste touch. When her second heel stuck in the ground, she jerked away from him and had he not grabbed her with both hands, she would have tumbled backward onto the damp ground. The inertia of his actions brought her chest-to-waist with him. Her chest to his waist.

Breathless, she stood rooted to the ground, the contact electrifying. His body practically smoldered. Geez, he was hot. And so was she! Olivia pushed back, alarmed by the fierce energy that sparked between them. The sucking sound of her shoe being devoured by the mud pulled her attention from the hard body pressed against her.

Keeping a steadying hand on her arm, the cop reached down, yanked the shoe out of the thick goop and handed it to her. His gaze burned with male arrogance.

“You’ll want to hold on to this, Cinderella,” he said mockingly.

Snatching it from him, she shook his hand from her arm, and, on one leg, she hopped and put it back on. When she’d composed herself and was free of the quagmire, she demanded, “Why did I have to get out of my car?”

“You have warrants. I’m taking you in.”

Warrants? Are you kidding me? I’ve never been arrested in my life!

Ignoring her outburst, he asked, “Do you have any needles, weapons, or drug paraphernalia on your person?”

She searched for any hint of a smile, because this had to be a joke. But his face offered no clues to his mood. It was implacably hard. Except his eyes. They glittered like dark green coals in the artificial glow of his headlights. She swallowed hard when they dipped to her lips before rising back to her anxious stare.

He was carnal personified, standing there so damn sure of himself in his uniform adorned with sergeant stripes and hash marks on his sleeve. His ID tag said Holbrook. He was no rookie. Judging by the hash marks he was in at least fifteen years and sergeant was nothing to sneeze at. His type never made it higher on the brass food chain. Their arrogance wasn’t conducive to promotions.

“Look, Sergeant, I told you, I have never been arrested in my life. I can’t have warrants! Call dispatch and have them run my license again. And while you’re at it, call your watch commander and tell him you have a situation here.”

He raised a brow. “What situation is that?”

“You harassing me.”

“I haven’t begun to harass you.”

Olivia choked at his audacity, but held her ground. She knew her rights. Crossing her arms over her chest she said, “I’m not going anywhere, until you do what I say.”

Those full lips tightened into a devilish smile that reached his brilliant green eyes. The gesture disarmed her. With his right hand he grabbed her left elbow and spun her around, pressing her none too gently against the side of her vehicle. He wrenched her arm behind her back and used it as leverage to keep her from fighting him. It didn’t hurt as long as she didn’t resist. His warm breath rushed against her cheek, his big body pressing slightly against the length of hers. Olivia swallowed hard when he adjusted his duty belt and she felt the thickness of his erection pressed into her lower back.

Keeping her immobile, he softly said, “I‘m going to ask you one more time, Ms. Connor, and be forewarned, if you don’t comply, I’ll be forced to search you for any weapons.”

Olivia tried to twist out of his hold, but it only caused her discomfort.

“I don’t want to hurt you, ma’am,” he rasped.

“You have no right to be doing this!” she cried.

“Do you have any needles, weapons, or drug paraphernalia on your person?” he asked again.

Taking a deep breath, Olivia stood up on her toes and pushed her head back against his chest. “Touch me and I’ll kill you.”

“Threatening a police officer carries its own separate set of punishments.”

His right hand settled on her right shoulder, lightly squeezing her, then, in a slow slide, his fingers pressed gently but firmly along her skin as he searched for weapons.

Olivia squeezed her eyes shut, fighting the warmth that followed in the wake of his fingertips. When he pressed his nose to the bend of her neck and inhaled her perfume, his fingers tightened on her wrist. She arched slightly, regretting it when her shoulder tweaked.

“ Stand still,” he commanded. “I don’t want to hurt you.” She moved her head back into the crook of his neck and looked up at him. His eyes blazed fire as he stared at her.

“I don’t want you to hurt me,” she said breathlessly.

A low growl emanated deep from within his chest. His dark woodsy scent toyed with her senses. The hard muscles of his arms, braced on either side of her, holding her captive, flexed. His dominant male brought out every bit of her submissive female, and with it, wild wanton thoughts of what this man might do to her taunted her imagination.

Olivia licked her dry lips. His body tightened as the tip of her tongue lingered on the dip of her top lip. His grip loosened, and his hand slid to the swell of her hip. The contact elicited an immediate reaction. She gasped at his boldness, and the core of her clenched. A hungry ache began to throb deep within her. Olivia fought the urge to close her eyes and lean completely back into this very strong, very capable man. He was everything she yearned for, since she’d lost her husband a year ago.

Inquisitively, Sergeant Steamy’s sly fingers bunched the smooth linen of her shirt up from her hip to her waist. Her breasts swelled as his fingertips lingered just below them. He pressed her back against him. As she moved into him, he cupped her right breast, his thumb brushing against the nipple.

Olivia made a sound somewhere between a gasp and a squeak, then bit her bottom lip to keep quiet. A feral sound snarled up from his chest. Slowly, he unbuttoned her shirt. Cool air wafted across her sweltering skin. Tracing a finger along the high swell of her breasts, Olivia sucked in a gulp of air, anticipation of more of his pat down driving her insane.


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