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Escapades: Trident Ink Book 1

Preview

Chapter 1

Beautiful didn’t come close to capturing the woman waiting for him at a cozy two-person table in the most romantic restaurant in town.

Stunning. Alluring. Captivating. Breathtaking. Sexy as fuck. And the adjectives just grew more X-rated from there.

Really, she was just gorgeous, plain and simple, with her hypnotic blue eyes and golden blond hair flowing down her back in stylish waves. Damn, he was a sucker for blondes. Always had been. And the longer the hair, the better.

There wasn’t much that topped wrapping long silky strands of feminine hair around his fist and tipping his woman’s head back, exposing her delicate neck as he plunged in and out of her tight body. Perfect opportunity to feast on the exposed skin of her throat. She would moan and arch into him—

Shit.

Derek’s cock began to fill despite the face he was standing outside a restaurant in the chilly November evening.

Well, really, what did it matter if he was aroused beyond reason?

This entire date was a prelude to sex. First order of business was to walk in and make nice. Flash charming smiles. Be charismatic and witty during the meal. Then leave together and find a secluded place to fuck each other’s brains out.

So, what did it matter if he was hard now? His date knew the drill. Hell, this entire charade was her idea to begin with.

He blew out a harsh breath, fogging the restaurant’s front window with the warmth of his exhalation. Time to go in. He’d stalled long enough. For some reason, a brick of nervousness had settled in his stomach the moment he spotted the expensive Georgetown restaurant.

The promise of sex wasn’t what made him nervous. In fact, the opposite was true. Sex was something he was pretty damned certain he excelled at. Excelled at and loved.

So, why the unease? Christ, he’d faced down terrorists for years as a SEAL. He’d spent years in life-threatening situations without so much as blinking. And now he was afraid?

Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that for the past two years—shit, he still couldn’t wrap his mind around that insane span of time—the only thing to come into contact with his dick was the palm and five fingers of his right hand. And maybe the left a time or two.

To think of all he’d taken for granted. The months he’d lost due to…what? How he’d allowed this to happen was still a giant mystery. One he needed to spend some serious time and brain power solving. It was the only way to fix it. To ensure it never happened again. No matter what life threw at him. No matter how deep the pain cut, how suffocating the grief became, he could not neglect this part of his life again. Could not neglect her again.

Next to him, a loud throat cleared, causing him to flinch. “Excuse me, sir?” The maître d’ stood just three feet away, bouncing on the balls of his feet, no doubt to keep warm blood pulsing through his veins.

“Yes?”

“That lovely young woman in there you seem to be staring at through the window claims you may be here to join her.” A cloud of steam drifted from his mouth as he spoke. His smile was questioning, like he was dying to ask why the hell Derek was standing outside freezing his ass off while a smoking hot woman waited for him inside.

How long had he been staring at the breath-fogged pane without actually seeing anything? He wiped a gloved hand through the cloudy condensation. Sure enough, clear blue eyes with a hint of mischief met his. She offered a half smile as one light eyebrow rose in question as if to ask, “You coming any time soon?”

Sooner than she knew if she kept looking at him like she was starving, and he was the only thing that could satisfy her hunger. It had been a long time since she’d looked at him like that.

“Yes. I’m here for her.” The words were gruffer than he’d meant them to be but the idea of another man, any man, admiring his date was unacceptable. He’d always been a bit of a possessive beast. Not in a controlling and creepy way, but he sure as hell didn’t share.

“Excellent, sir.” The maître d’ held the door and permitted Derek to pass into the restaurant. “Allow me to escort you to your table.”

“Thank you,” Derek said, his gaze riveted on his date. He was so captivated by her he nearly missed the ambiance of the restaurant. Low lighting and flickering candles gave the upscale steakhouse a romantic vibe. The place wasn’t exactly his style. He’d always been more of a beer and wings kinda guy, but he could play the part of a classy gentleman for a few hours. Especially if the gig bought him a non-self-induced orgasm.

Garlic, peppered beef, and the aroma of expensive wine blended together, making his mouth water for more than just a taste of the woman waiting for him.

“Here we are, sir.” The maître d’ pulled out a sturdy wooden chair with one hand and extended a menu with the other.

“Thank you,” Derek said. It was as much a dismissal as an expression of gratitude. He wanted, needed, a few minutes alone with his date before being interrupted by restaurant staff.

“Hi,” she said. Her eyes glowed with genuine pleasure and a radiant smile spread across her face. He missed that smile. Missed it like he’d miss oxygen. “Glad you finally decided to join me.”

“Hello, Kristin,” he said, not missing the twitch of her lips when he said the name.

“Jake,” she replied with a sassy smile.

He answered her mirth with a chuckle of his own. But he’d agreed to play the game from the get-go. No real names. Pure fantasy for one night. A chance for them to lose themselves in a sexual escapade devoid of past pain, baggage, and heartache.

“Not joining you was never an option, gorgeous. I just saw you through the window and couldn’t tear myself away from the view.”

“You’re sweet.” She flushed as though unaccustomed to compliments. Damn shame. A woman like her deserved to hear it daily. The man in her life must be such a fool—guilt churned in his stomach at the thought that he was that fool.

He shook it off. “What are you drinking?”

She lifted the wineglass to her glossy coral lips and took a delicate sip. “It’s a Spanish Rioja. Delicious.” A tiny purple drop remained on her plump lower lip.

Derek couldn’t help it. As though on autopilot, he reached across the small table and captured the bead with his thumb. With his eyes on hers, he brought his finger to his mouth and licked. “You’re right. Delicious.”

Her throat worked as she swallowed, and a pink flush that had nothing to do with the warmth radiating from a nearby fireplace coated her skin. It was desire, hot, passionate, and more intoxicating than the wine.

There was no way in hell his body wasn’t going to respond in kind. Blood rushed to his cock so fast the immediate stiffening was almost painful.

The air between them and surrounding their table popped and crackled with electricity. If it was up to him, they’d skip the meal entirely and find a quiet place where he could peel her out of that slinky black dress hugging her body in the most sinful way. But, this was her show, so he’d stick it out through the first act, but not much more than that.

“So,” he said, settling into his seat, resigned to the fact that the meal would be spent with an iron rod between his legs. “Tell me about your week.” As he spoke, he rolled the sleeves of his royal blue dress shirt to just below his elbows. Their proximity to the fireplace had him a bit overheated.

Or maybe it was just the proximity to his date.

Her gaze was fixed on his forearms and her eyes flared as each colorful inch of inked skin was revealed. “Well,” she said her voice husky, “I’ve been out of work for a while due to…difficult circumstances and I just recently went back.”

The breath seized in his lungs and he stalled his movement. How did he not know she’d just gone back to work? Was his head really that far up his own ass?

Difficult circumstances.

He almost snorted out loud. That was quite a benign way to describe what she’d been through over the past couple years. What they’d both been through. But tonight wasn’t about wallowing in the agony of the past. It was about forging forward, connecting, pleasing one another.

“How did it go? Your first day.” His voice was hardly above a whisper. Deep emotions pummeled him from all directions as he looked straight into her slightly sad eyes. Emotions seeking to destroy the thick wall he’d erected over the past two years. Emotions he hadn’t allowed himself to feel and still didn’t want to deal with because they were guaranteed to bring an off-the-charts level of pain.

Her entire face lit up. “It was wonderful. Scary, exciting, fulfilling…really, really good.”

Her enthusiasm was contagious, and Derek found himself shedding the dark mood from seconds before. Later that night, when he was alone, he’d allow himself to finally feel. To face the demons chasing him. For the moment, and for the rest of his date, he’d focus solely on the amazing woman dining with him.

She was what was important. Too bad it had taken him so long to remember that.