When young, naïve reporter Jessica Brady is kidnapped and held for ransom by the head of an illegal dog fighting organization, undercover police officer Ian Cole realizes he's got his hands full. He's on the verge of busting the ring when he's assigned to babysit her, which isn't an easy feat. She's neurotic, feisty, and also happens to be scared to death of dogs. Now he has to figure out a way to get them both out alive.
Jessica has no idea the thug she's becoming attracted to is actually a cop, but it's clear he's not like the rest of the men in the organization. Particularly Albert Mancini, the disturbed only son of the ring boss, who has an appetite for alcohol and women. Especially Jessica.
When Ian's cover is blown, he's forced to bust the ring early. Weeks later, Jessica can't stop thinking about the experience that has changed her forever. She wonders about the tall, sexy detective who saved her life. And the mobster's prize-winning pit bull, Bruta.
An idea for a story is born. What if these dogs were given a second chance at life?
As Jessica digs deeper into their troubled world, she ends up falling for the police officer who rescued them. And discovers layers of her heart she never knew existed.
But when Albert escapes from jail, her happiness turns to terror. He hasn't forgotten about the detective who put him behind bars. Or the beautiful young woman whose every move has become his obsession.
Content Warning: Contains sensual sex and explicit language
**NOTE: 40% of the publisher's proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to The Pixie Project, a non-profit organization that provides adoption services for animals.
Peeling off her clothes, Jessica stepped into the warm torrents of water and tilted her head back until her hair was soaked. She closed her eyes and leaned against the tiled wall, forgetting for a moment where she was and letting the shower lull her into a kind of stupor. Slowly, the tension in her exhausted muscles began to ease. The water ran from her shoulders, over her breasts, and down her belly in hot little streams, whose miniature currents twisted and turned from the texture of her skin.
She must have fallen asleep, at least for a minute, because when the bathroom door opened, she didn't hear it.
She jumped and nearly hit her head on the showerhead. Fitz stood outside the frosted door, holding a towel and averting his gaze.
"Oh my God," she panted, trying to cover her chest and other unmentionables.
"I knocked. You didn't answer," he said matter-of-factly. "Here's your towel." Setting it down on the counter, he didn't make any move to leave. Instead, he stood there, head down, large shoulders hunched, his hand resting on the white terry cloth fabric.
She stayed absolutely still, the water pouring over her body and pooling at her feet before disappearing down the drain. Her heart quickened as she took him in. But not for all the logical reasons it should have. She should have been panicking. After all, she was completely naked. Completely exposed. And he was a deviant. A low life. He kept company with thugs. But it was as if something in her brain had clicked off. All she could wrap her thoughts around at that very moment was how he had looked standing over Albert. And how he'd felt when she'd curled into him afterward.
"Do you think you can hold on for just a few more hours?" he said, his voice so low she could barely hear it. "I'm going to get you out of here. But you have to trust me."
She stared at the side of his face, unable to make out his exact expression, but sure it was serious. Hard.
Trust him. Two little words, but how complicated they were. How intricate.
She didn't know how, or why, or even when she'd started to change over the last twenty-four hours, but of one thing she was certain—she already did trust him. Completely. God help her.
She opened her mouth to answer, the water streaming down her face, her saturated hair just barely touching her shoulders.
He turned to her, his movements deliberate and measured. Her pulse thumped in her neck, her body heating in areas it shouldn't have. The tops of her breasts swelled over her arm which attempted to cover them, and she was aware of every single inch of exposed skin that he'd be able to see, even through the cloudy glass of the shower door. Still, she didn't move, the words that she wanted to say thick and catching in her throat.
Condensation dripped down the glass, creating jagged lines of clarity where there weren't any before. She could tell his eyes were moving over her. He didn't bother hiding it. They took her in, from her ankles, up the curve of her legs, over her hips, and toward her dripping chest. The knowledge sent a thrill through her. She was painfully self-conscious by nature; never in her life had she stood naked in front of a man. And certainly not one like this, a brooding, dangerous stranger. Yet she could feel the incredibly erotic, feminine power she had over him, simply by standing in one spot and staring right back. It was enough to make her body tremble in places she didn't even know she had.
Just when she couldn't stand the tension one second longer, just when she thought she might actually open the shower door and pull him in with her, he turned away.
"I'll take that as a yes," he said, and walked out the door.