Intensity cottonwood fal.., p.1
Intensity (Cottonwood Falls Book 6), page 1
Copyright © 2015 Aliyah Burke
Cover illustration copyright © Covers by K Designs
Sensual Romance Publishing Logo © MMJ Designs
Editor: Jessica Bimberg
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This book is a work of fiction. All characters, places and events are from the author’s imagination and should not be confused with fact. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, events or places is coincidental. All trademarks, service marks, registered trademarks, and registered service marks are the property of their respective owners and are used herein for identification purposes only.
Published by: Sensual Romance Publishing
Thanks to DH for your unending support. To my readers both new and old, y’all mean the world to me. Last and never least, to the men and women who serve their country.
Table of Contents
About The Author
Additional Books By Aliyah Burke
“Well, well, well. If it isn’t little Sarah Mallery.”
At the voice, the one that wove easily through the cacophony of the crowd to her ears and down to parts better left alone, she flexed her fingers around the cool bottle of beer she held in her hand.
Lord, why are you testing me this way? I’m not looking to go to jail tonight.
One more sip before she turned around. Some sort of fortification, perhaps, to make this go any smoother. A mistake, for now, he not only filled her head with his voice but also with the panty-soaking visual.
Tall. Dark-haired. Able-bodied. Without an inch of spare flesh on his powerful frame. Aquamarine eyes. All in all, magnificent. She trailed her gaze over him slowly. It was only fair; he was doing the same to her, as were the men with him.
Perfectly fit jeans cupped his lower half, a green jacket with double white stripes on the sleeves covered his upper body. A dark blue skullcap was on his head.
“I see the jackass has arrived. Did you get lost or were you following a carrot some big-breasted whore dangled in front of you?”
He tsked. “No need to be jealous, Sarah. You know where you stand with me.”
The men on either side of him lifted their brows. The one on his left stuck out his hand. “Name’s Jamieson.”
“Sarah.” She shook his hand and took in his stats. Not as tall as Grey but heavier. Smooth olive skin and jet-black hair with a moustache, which worked on him.
“Charlie, darlin’,” the other man said, taking her hand and bending over it.
“Name’s Sarah, Charlie darlin’.”
His lips twitched, and he winked at her. “I like her.”
She put her attention on the man across from her. “Something you needed, Sorenson, or are you just trying to ruin my night?”
His smirk was part smugness, part sex, and all arrogance. “You know if your night was with me, it wouldn’t be ruined.”
Her nipples beaded behind the satin of her bra, and her pussy clenched. Damn him!
With a calm she didn’t feel, she returned his smirk. “Sorry, I stopped playing with boys a long time ago. I prefer men. Or, rather, Marines.” She slid off the stool and walked by to the tall Marine who stood off to the side. Together, they walked to the back part of the bar by the pool tables where other Marines were playing a game.
“Who was that, Bug?”
She looked at the man who’d come to get her. He had lost the innocence in his baby blues but had the largest heart of anyone she’d ever known. “That, Dogman, was an asshole from the Navy.”
“You hanging with squids?”
She drank more beer and gazed around at the ones gathered. “Not unless y’all have gone and switched sides. Looks to me like I’m hanging with Marines.”
“Hell, yeah,” Dogman whooped.
They clinked bottles and got back to the important part of the night. Pool. A while later, she went up to the bar to grab some more brews. “Ain’t Goin’ Down” by Garth Brooks played throughout the bar, and she tapped her fingers along the railing as she waited for her order.
She tilted her head to see the man next to her. “Nope.”
He lifted his eyebrows. “What did you say?”
“Nope. Just nope. Don’t try anything.”
“Damn, bitch, just trying to be friendly.” He scowled at her.
“Be friendly somewhere else, ‘cause I ain’t interested.”
“Here you go,” the bartender said, placing the six bottles on the bar.
“Thanks.” She reached for them, and the man gripped her arm, digging his fingers into her flesh.
She cocked a brow. “I wouldn’t advise you keep holding me like that.”
“You know you should be a little more pleasant when people talk to you. Things happen to women in bars.” He stepped closer, his putrid breath flowing past her.
She didn’t back away; in fact, she narrowed the gap farther. “Things happen to men, as well.” She kneed him in the balls and steadied him as he was about to fall to the floor. “You should remember that.” She picked up her beers and turned around. Across the room, Grey was watching her.
She read him like a book—his entire body was ready for action. Coiled. Tense. His gaze warmed her in ways she didn’t need to think about. She blew him a kiss then walked off to meet the rest of her crew.
Grey still remained when they were heading out. She felt him approaching before he even reached her.
“Can I have a word, Sarah?”
Her group sent her a look, and she nodded. They continued on, and she pivoted to face the man who was the subject of her dreams. And fantasies.
His jaw was taut, and she knew he was not in a good mood. Not that she cared.
“Are you okay?”
“Why wouldn’t I be?” She didn’t understand why he asked.
“I saw what happened with the guy at the bar.”
She bristled. “And what? The big bad Navy SEAL thought I would be crying in my beer because a guy was an ass?” She leveled a look at him that would have gelded a lesser man. “I’ve got plenty of experience in dealing with those.”
“That mouth, Sarah.”
She licked her lips and blew him another kiss. “Is just fine. I don’t need you to save me.”
He grabbed her arm, and, unlike when the other man had touched her, this time, it was a lustful reaction. This man did it to her on all the levels she desperately tried to forget.
“Sarah.” The way her name rolled off his tongue wasn’t fair, either.
Damn it, I can’t keep allowing him to do this to me. “You can remove your hand from me,” she bit off.
He pulled her flush to his hard body. “How about I put them on you more? Both of them and remind you how it is between us?”
Her traitorous body clamored for that. She barely retained the whimper from escaping her mouth as she worked to keep her cool. Never easy when Grey was involved.
“It was a long time ago. I barely think about it. Like it was quick.”
He lowered his head until his mouth was by her ear. “It was an entire week. That, babe, is a hell of a lot more than one time. In fact, I lost count how many. We went through a hell of a lot of condoms, though. I know you remember. And it was the first time.”
Like she didn’t know that. Hell, she spent enough time trying to forget that very thing. Inhaling deeply, she was swarmed by his masculine scent. “It doesn’t matter.”
“You really think I’m going to let you run forever, Sarah?”
“I have things to do tonight. People to meet.”
His rumbled growl hit her clit same as if he were flicking it with his finger. Or tongue. “I’m in town for the night.”
Sweet holy hell, that was on heck of an invitation. There was no doubt what would happen if she took him up on him. Mind-numbing pleasure. Orgasms. The chance to have his thickness filling her beyond anything she could ever imagine.
“Well,” she said, coldly. “I’m sure there are a lot of SEAL bunnies around here who would love to be added to the many notches on your bedpost, Commander. Perhaps you will be able to find someone.” She twisted free and slipped away through the crowd before she did something stupid, like take him up on his offer.
Grey swore and punched the wall, accepting the bite of pain radiating up his hand and arm. Damn Sarah.
He trailed her outside and watched her slide inside a black Lincoln Navigator before it drove off.
“You have a history with her, Grey?”
He crossed his arms and frowned at Jamieson. “Why?”
“Because of your actions. I’ve seen you around a lot of women, but this one gets under your skin. Who is she?”
He bit his tongue on his first response and shoved his hands in his pockets. “That is a woman from my hometown. Captain Sarah Mallery, USMC.”
He snorted as they headed back inside. “Not even close. She barely spoke to me in school, but hey, it was high school. I didn’t exactly say much to her either. Not that her bodyguard would have let me if I’d wanted to.”
“She had a bodyguard? Christ, what do you have in that small town, royalty?”
He chuckled and walked to their table. “No. She hung out with a guy who took keeping her safe as his lifelong priority.”
“Were they a couple?”
“No. Chase was—is, rather—like her older brother. He went and joined the Army. Chase Ellery.”
“Shit, I know that name. I’ve heard of some of the things he’s done.” Jamieson reached for his beer. “So, from this town in Georgia, you have an Army legend, a Navy SEAL commander and a Marine captain? What else are you hiding from there? Got a PJ for the Air Force that we haven’t known about, yet?”
“Can’t give away all our secrets, can we?”
“Still doesn’t explain what all that was. Look, I know it’s your business, but I watched you as you watched her. And it was since we walked in; you’ve been focused on her.”
Grey signaled for a beer and thumped his thumb on the table as he waited, mulling over the thoughts streaking through his mind. “We all have that one that gets under our skin. I’m unlucky enough that she’s mine.”
“Fighting an uphill battle here; she despises me.”
“She didn’t seem exactly pleased to see you.” Grey snorted. “So, basically that little thing there is your kryptonite.”
Yeah, that was it exactly. He flipped his teammate off. “Fuck off, Jay.”
“Time and place.”
Grey accepted the beer and took a healthy drink. “Sure your boyfriend would be okay with that?”
Jay never missed a beat. “Probably want to join in.”
He rolled his eyes. “I’m good, thanks.”
Jay leaned forward. “You heard about the reworking of the Teams, right?”
Grey nodded. “Not sure if I should believe it or not.”
“Has to do with women being allowed in.”
Grey thought about Sarah. Would she have gone for the training were it allowed when she enlisted?
Sarah Mallery was a feisty woman. Always had been. Wanting to keep up with her brother, even when he had begun hanging with less savory characters. Grey pushed to his feet. “I’m out.”
Jay grunted and toasted him with his beer. Grey strolled out to the warm California night. San Diego was a favorite place of his. The rumble of a motorcycle had him looking up, even though he had no doubt it wasn’t who he sought.
Damn it. Everywhere he looked he was reminded of her. He needed to move on. Needed to. Wouldn’t, however. She’d long since burrowed under his skin.
I could kidnap her and force a confrontation. He shook his head, accepting that would be a fool’s mission.
Some fucking SEAL I am. I’m ready to drink until I’m drunk enough to call her and beg to see her.
The wind blew over him, reminiscent of her fingertips trailing over his skin, exploring and teasing. Then, they would turn demanding as they bit into his flesh. The breeze from the water did very little in cooling down his heat.
He was in for a life of hellish torment for want of this woman. In the parking lot before him, a woman strode to a motorcycle and straddled it. The sight was sexy, but she wasn’t the one he wanted. No, it was Sarah. Always, Sarah. Hell, the first time he’d seen her after leaving Cottonwood Falls, she’d been on a bike.
Parris Island was muggy. Typical southern summer weather. He strode along the walkway toward his destination. The chants of Marines as their formations moved by him got drowned out by the roar of a Harley. He paused to stare at the parking lot before the gym.
A woman rode it—that was easy to ascertain by the form-fitting, steel-gray leather jacket. She was clad in medium indigo jeans and heavy black boots. Her full helmet was black with a silver design on the side. She parked and shut off the engine then took off her headgear.
Black wavy hair tumbled free, partway down her back. His feet wouldn’t move. He groaned when she swung a long leg over, unzipping then removing her jacket. Her tank top, a pale green, left nothing to his imagination.
Sweat began trickling down his spine, and he gulped. Lust hit him with the force of a pound of C-4 going off beside him, rocking him on his feet, making a roar in his ears, almost taking him to the ground.
“Mallery!” a woman yelled and hurried over to her.
She waved and met the blonde after swiping a small bag off the back of her bike. Together, they crossed to the building and vanished inside. He was partway across the street before he realized what he was doing. He had to know who she was, so he continued on his way inside. A husky chuckle reached him, and with the shivers skating along his skin, he smiled. He’d found her.
She leaned against the desk, talking to the one man. The blonde woman stood there, as well, a smile on her face, too. They progressed to the women’s room. Grey took a seat on one of the benches along the wall, allowing himself to see them when they left.
“Fuck,” he grunted when she strode back out. They had changed into small shorts and white t-shirts. His cock punched the material of his pants, demanding freedom. A purely visceral reaction he wasn’t about to ignore it. He’d not felt anything like this in years. In fact, not ever as far as he could recall.
They pushed int
Once it was finished, he beat feet back to the parking lot, ensured her bike was still there then waited. Fifteen minutes later, she emerged from the building, once again dressed in jeans and the tank top, her jacket slung over one shoulder with the bag and helmet in hand.
He pushed to his feet and waited by her bike. After saying her farewell to the woman who’d met her there, she strode toward him. The mirrored shades hid her gaze, but he knew she watched him.
“Hey,” he said as she stopped by the other side of her bike. “Nice ride.”
“Thanks,” she replied, securing her bag. “Something I can do for you?”
Something rang familiar about her. “Have we met before?”
She flashed a smile that made his knees knock, especially combined with the soft, husky laughter. “Really? That’s what you’re coming with?”
“No,” he said with a shake of his head. “I feel like I should know you from somewhere. Are you sure?”
“I don’t even know your name.”
It was his turn to smile. “Grey Sorenson.”
She tipped her head forward and stared at him over the rectangular rim of her glasses. “Really?”
“Why is that a surprise?”
“I grew up with a Grey. Small town in Georgia.”
“Cottonwood Falls is where I’m from.”
“Hell, I owe you an apology. We do know one another. Not well, but I’m Sarah Mallery.”
Little Sarah Mallery had gone and grown up nicely. “Good to see you, again,” he said, holding out his hand.
She took it, and he was hard pressed not to follow it up with a kiss.
“It is. I’m sorry, I thought you were in the Navy.”
He grinned. “I am. Lieutenant Sorenson.” Her posture straightened a bit more, and he waved off the “sir” he knew was coming. “Have you eaten, yet? I’d love to catch up.”
by Aliyah Burke / Romance / Mystery have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes