by Kiersten Hallie Krum
Hope all you readers have been enjoying Wild Week here at Lady Smut. Whether it’s Alexa Day’s Praise of the Wild Man or Elizabeth Shore hunting for ethical porn, it’s a wild time day by day to celebrate of the nomination of my novel, Wild on the Rocks, for InD’Tale’s Magazine‘s prestigious RONE award in the Suspense/Thriller: Short category. Voting goes all week, and I’d love it if you’d head on over and show some support for Wild on the Rocks, which is now on sale for $.99 exclusively from Amazon!
Wanna know what you’re getting into? Keep reading to see how, a year after their divorce, Jasper and Quinn find each other again in the most unlikely of places. Of all the joints in the world…
Enjoy this excerpt from Wild on the Rocks!
Casa Blanca, Barefoot Bay, Florida.
“Toldja. Beaches, babes, and booze. The unholy trifecta. Praise sweet baby Jesus.”
Twist’s voice sounded through Jasper’s ear pierce as he scanned the patio area where the rehearsal dinner
cocktail hour was under full swing.
He had to admit that, for once, Twist had got it right.
The Thornquist wedding—or the Thorny Wedding as the security team had taken to calling it—was as
opulent as advertised. Jasper stopped trying to count the number of recognizable faces from notable Washington
families after the first hour. Not that he knew a lot of them on sight. Twist had a better take on the Who’s Who,
given he came from some seriously old money, a secret he kept close and actively hid from their team.
“There’s definitely enough booze,” Jasper agreed. “We’ll be fishing women in formal wear out of the
pool before the bride gets down the aisle.”
“Ah, the wet gown contests. Nothin’ like a dirty debutante.” He sighed with such exaggeration, Jasper
fancied he felt an actual breeze. “Sometimes, at night, I can still hear the screams…of pleasure.”
He absolutely would not smile at Twist’s ridiculousness. “We’ve been here twenty-four hours and your
degenerate side is already at full throttle.”
“Brother, it’s my best side.”
“How ’bout we try to be professionals for a while. Did you tag the congressman’s daughter?”
“Your four o’clock. She’s on her third drink and laughing with the bartender.”
“Spectacular. That’s what we need: a horny bartender.”
“The bartender is a woman, and if she’s horny for the congressman’s daughter, then I’m moving in for a
ringside seat. Shee-it, she is hawt.”
At the mention of a female bartender, Jasper’s head instantly filled with the image of Quinn, her whole
body shaking with laughter at something stupid he’d said before she leaned her elbows on the bar to get closer to
him as if even the air between them was too much distance to bear.
Until she’d run out on him six months later while he was OUTCONUS and put all the distance of the
world between them for good.
Annoyed, he shook off the memory like he longed to shake off the woman. That’s why he was here, right?
To exorcise the taste and feel and haunting memories of his wife on a willing woman.
A short-term, holiday affair was the perfect way to end the self-enforced abstinence he’d endured since
his divorce. Jasper was normally careful who he fucked, his career and his family history enough that he didn’t
treat sex as casual even when having casual sex. The one time he’d taken a chance on a wild lover, she’d
quickly become his wife and soon after broken his heart but good.
This temporary fantasy away from his shattered life was the perfect place to learn from his mistakes. And
make a few new, short-term ones.
“Was it ‘hot’ or ‘horny’ where we lost you, Queen?”
Twist’s voice held more than a thread of humor in it. If he made one comment over coms about Jasper
being hard up, best friend or not, he was going to kill him.
“Sit rep,” he snapped.
“You’re not CO on this op,” Twist reminded him with no small amount of glee. “Man, you should see this
Jasper rolled his eyes behind his aviator shades. “We’re on a job, Twist. Not on vacation or the prowl.”
“We’re on a job on vacation, Queen. And I take my wingman duties seriously for both. Relax. You can
count on me to Set. You. Up.”
“I’ll relax when you stop yapping in my ear while I’m getting paid to look after people who could buy or
sell small countries with their pocket change.”
“You better have more than change in your pocket, brother. Not kidding, Queen. You need to come over
here and check her out. She is smokin’ hot.”
“Happy as I am to hear you appreciate the staff, maybe you could spare the rest of us the play by play,
Luke McBain’s terse voice made Jasper grimace. Thanks to Twist, he was getting chastised over coms.
Soon as they were off duty, he was gonna kick Twist’s ass.
“I could do for a little play by play,” one of the other guards admitted. “These political fuckers are boring
“These political fuckers are our well-paying clients,” McBain reminded everyone. “Try not to disrespect
them to their faces.” A series of “yes, sirs” flooded the com line. “Rehearsal’s over. We’re headed back to the
Along with five of his guys, McBain was down on the beach guarding the principals—bride, groom,
attendants, and parents—while the rest of them babysat everyone not in the wedding party. That McBain’s wife
and her wedding planning partners were on the beach probably had a lot to do with his hands on approach at that
vector. “Queen, report.”
“Guests are bugging out from the patio, moving into the dining room. Got ten lingering.”
“Hustle them along. I want everyone under roof in five. Rocco, Johnny, and Marlowe, you three are in
Junonia’s main room covering the dinner. It’s a sit down, so stay out of the way, but remain visible. The rest of
you patrol the perimeter. Sisti, meet up with Queen on the patio. The two of you take position inside the
restaurant at the bar.”
“Sure you want Twist close to the hot bartender?” Jasper asked.
“I’ve seen the woman. If he hits on her, I’ll want a ringside seat. I could use a good laugh today.”
Jasper wasn’t the only man chuckling over the channel at that one.
He moved from his position at the back corner of the patio from which he could see all the way down to
the beach. Table by table, he gently urged people into the restaurant proper, waiting as the women gathered the
whatnot women everywhere seemed to cart around with them no matter the occasion. His go bag had less to it
than some of these women’s purses.
He felt Twist at his six as he helped an octogenarian to her feet and transferred her surprisingly strong
grip to the arm of a waiter. The old dame patted his ass before shuffling off.
“Please tell me you’re not that hard up,” Twist begged, and Jasper heard him in stereo; at his back and
again through the coms.
“Fuck off,” he muttered.
“Oh ho!” Twist chortled with an elbow to Jasper’s gut. “Queen’s losing his cool! Is the world ending?!”
“Keep it up and yours can be.”
Twist snorted, and Jasper would’ve been happier to see his friend up to his old tricks if only he wasn’t
“I can do you better than a biddy,” Twist promised.
“For the love of my sanity, don’t help me.”
“Gotta look out for my boy.”
“Try doing that by not discussing my sex life on open coms.”
“What sex life? You haven’t gotten laid in months.”
“You know wingman and stalker mean two different things, right?”
“Rumor has it, you’ve got the bluest balls on the team for a man without a pregnant wife or girlfriend. The
boys have bets on how long it’ll take you to nail someone this weekend.”
“I’ll take that action,” Ryan, on the perimeter, piped in.
“Me too,” added Rocco from inside the restaurant.
“Done,” Twist confirmed. “We’ll settle up after the dinner.”
“I’m not hitting on the bartender,” Jasper vowed. “Leave me out of this little clique.”
Twist slapped a consoling hand on Jasper’s shoulder. “Ladies like it when you know how to find that
Laughter rang on the coms again while Jasper shook his head. “I can’t believe this shit,” he muttered.
“Believe it. Consider Operation King Me underway.”
Jasper’s gaze hit on McBain, who waited for them at the patio door to the restaurant. “Shut it,” he ordered
even though he knew McBain already heard Twist’s nonsense in his ear.
“When Nick gave me your names, I had no idea we’d be getting security and a show,” McBain gibed.
Jasper bit back a grimace. McBain eyed Twist with a peculiar gleam that made Jasper uneasy. “You know, don’t
That nagging sense of trouble that had been prodding the base of Jasper’s skull all day finally burst.
“What did you do?”
But Twist looked equally confused. “Swear Roy, I have no idea what he’s on about.”
Boss or not, Jasper raised a brow at McBain in silent demand. He jerked his head in a “follow me”
motion and led the way from the patio into the restaurant’s bar.
“I thought it was coincidence or a joke. But my guys only finalized her background check this morning.”
Her? Alarm snaked up Jasper’s spine. Oh, hell no.
“They gave me the final report this morning,” McBain continued. “Not hard to see you share the same last
name.” He gestured toward the bar where a woman worked to fill cocktail orders. “Don’t suppose she’s your
Jasper watched her move, the dance of her motions unchanged from a year before, a sinuous weave that
only hinted at the flexibility she’d brought to their bed. He’d told her once he’d never seen anyone make pouring
a glass of wine look so sexy.
This was still true.
Her dark-brown hair hung past her shoulders now to the middle of her back, long layers that fell forward
to brush her sharp cheekbone when she bent over the bar to serve a drink. He knew how those strands felt when
gripped in his hands, or scraping down his belly as her wide, lush mouth mapped its way down his body to her
She wore the standard server’s uniform of white top and black bottoms, but her collared, tuxedo shirt was
fitted to her impressive rack, emphasized by the two buttons she left undone to show the tempting gulley in her
cleavage. The shirt nipped in at her waist and what little of her black trousers he could see clung to her hips. A
long pearl necklace was twisted into a knot to dangle down her front and Jasper knew, he knew, she’d be
wearing her motorcycle boots, even to this kind of wedding. When she stretched for a bottle off the top shelf, the
banner of skin left bare at her midriff came into view and Jasper proceeded to completely lose his shit.
“You already know she’s not my cousin,” he snarled while rage flooded his body and instant arousal made
him hard as a spike. “She’s my wife.”
* * *
Nettie’s tray clattered onto the bar. “Holy shit,” she gasped, eyes fixed on the restaurant’s entrance. “Is it
Quinn glanced over her shoulder as a trio of men crossed the threshold. The last rays of sun shined
through the door behind them, blinding her and making the men little more than shadows. Large shadows with
She shielded her eyes and turned back to the blender. “We should send God a fruit basket.”
“Full of gold.” Nettie nodded toward the man on the end. “That’s Luke McBain. He does the resort’s
security. Very married to one of the wedding planners.”
“So looky, but no touchy.”
Nettie grinned. “Exactly.”
Quinn checked the men out again from the corner of her eye. All three wore black collared shirts tucked
into belted black trousers and topped with aviator glasses they removed almost simultaneously as they came
fully into the bar and approached the women. As classic a uniform for their job as her black and white get-up
was for hers. Standing nearly at the same six-foot plus heights—though the one on the opposite end from McBain
was an inch or two shorter—they were all armed, two with weapons in hip holsters while the guy in the center
sported a shoulder rig.
To Quinn’s mind, shoulder rigs were the sexy, Mad Men version of gun holsters. In a good way. Intensely
masculine but minus the infuriating sexism. So her eyes lingered on that man, skimming over his wide, muscular
chest framed within the holster’s leather strips while she absently noted he alone of the three had his sleeves
rolled up to the elbow. His thick throat rippled as she watched and sharp hunger spiked deep in Quinn’s belly,
the likes of which she hadn’t felt in more than a year. What looked like two days’ worth of scruff covered his
scarred chin, surrounding lips she’d bet were full and a shy short of too fleshy when not drawn into their current
tight line. Coasting past raised cheek bones, the hair on the back of Quinn’s neck lifted and her nipples
contracted into painful points as her avaricious gaze met eyes she already knew were a stunning golden hazel
when not darkened with swelling rage that made his pupil expand until the color was a mere glowing rim.
“Can you imagine having that in your bed every night?” Nettie said.
“I can, actually.” Quinn replied on little more than an exhale. The bottle of wine in her hands trembled.
She set it down on the bar with extreme care and deliberately laid her hands on either side of it before looking
up into the breathtaking, hard-set face of her husband.
“Fuck, Roy, but you can pick ’em,” the third man said as he settled onto a stool, seemingly oblivious to the
Quinn ignored him. She knew better than to look away from the seething powder keg that was Jasper.
“You look like a recruitment poster for Badasses ’R Us.”
He stepped toward the bar as though seconds from yanking her over it. “You look like you’re on your way
to try out for the Coyote Ugly sequel.”
His friend split a grin between them. “Okay, now I believe she’s your wife.”
“Ex-wife,” Quinn and Jasper snapped simultaneously, which made the man crack up.
“Cut it out, Twist,” Jasper growled.
This was Twist? She risked taking her eyes off Jasper, fascinated to finally meet his closest friend, though
it escaped her why it could possibly mattered after all this time.
Twist’s grin didn’t falter, but it didn’t reach his eyes, either, and the frank animosity there scorched her
Okay by her. Not like she was trying to make friends.
“Luke McBain.” The other man introduced himself with a warm smile. She tore her eyes from Twist and
reflexively accepted his proffered hand.
“Quinn McQueen,” she replied without thinking and immediately regretted it when Jasper’s entire torso
The tailored shirt rippled over his muscled chest, mesmerizing Quinn so that Jasper startled her when he
leaned those bare, cut forearms on the bar and got right back in her space.
Holy crap, arm porn. She was in no way prepared for her ex-husband’s delectable arm porn.
He glared at her hand still caught in McBain’s until she tugged it free. “Come again?” The sibilant
whisper coasted over her skin. Quinn caught her breath.
Even though his arrival right now, right here, and all that might mean scared the holy shit outta her, even
after all the bone-crushing, lonely days and weeks she’d spent without him, even now, that deep rumble of his
voice raised goose bumps on her arms.
“Jasp,” she whispered with absolutely no idea what to say beyond that or how to justify being Quinn
McQueen again without telling him that simply having his name was a comfort when she felt more lost than ever
before in her life.
His eyes flared with heat. They were close enough now for Quinn to see that ribbon of green gold around
his pupil glow bright. She locked her knees and clutched her hands together beneath the edge of the bar to keep
from grabbing him.
“You’re using my name again? Since when?”
“About a week ago,” she admitted, her voice small.
“For hell’s sake, why?”
Because I’m on the run from the Russian mob and the only place I’ve ever felt safe was with you.
Yeah, like either of them was prepared to detonate that cans of worms.
She forced herself to shrug. “I like the cadence.”
His hands spread wide on the wood. She half expected him to vault right over the bar. “You like the
cadence?” he hollered back, practically in her face.
She huffed out a breath. “It’s not like I expected you to find out about it! What are you doing here
He tossed an incredulous glance at McBain as though the answer were obvious. And to be fair, it kinda
was. “Searching for buried treasure.”
Despite his dry tone, Quinn’s eyes went wide at the thought of such an adventure. “Really?” she breathed.
“Jesus, no. I’m working security for the wedding.” He shook his head with familiar exasperation. “Christ,
you look ready to abandon everything to go buy shovels and rent a trawler.”
“Ah, is this gonna be a problem?” McBain asked.
Slowly, Jasper eased back from the bar. “That remains to be seen.” Quinn could see he was already
locking himself down, pulling those pesky emotions back under his control. He’d always been able to get over
her so easily when she’d barely been able to let him walk out of a room without her.
Guess nothing had changed on that front.
“What are you doing here, Quinn?”
Irritation quickly replaced her shock, and Quinn reclaimed her attitude along with it. “Uh, working.
“And I’ve no doubt my wife would appreciate it if your impending domestic didn’t upset her high-society
wedding,” McBain warned without heat.
Quinn zoned back in on the unfinished tab before her. “Shit. Nettie, I’m sorry. Let me get you sorted.”
The waitress eyed her with rampant speculation. Quinn expected she and Jasper would be tasty fresh meat
for the locals when this got out. Say in five minutes. Or however long it took Nettie to speed dial the whole
world as she knew it.
Charity would have a cow not to have had first dibs.
“Don’t worry about it, hon,” Nettie reassured her, but Quinn was already dumping the trio of cocktails.
“These margaritas have settled. Take the wine out while I whip up a fresh batch.” Running the blender
would hold off Jasper’s impending interrogation, too, maybe long enough for her to come up with an explanation
that didn’t involve the words “Russian mob” and “murder.”
Because there was no way he was letting it go that easily. Jasper McQueen did not quit until he got what
he wanted, be it answers or his ring on her finger or her ass in his San Diego condo.
“Queen, you and Twist stay here for the duration of the dinner. Rotate out with one of the boys in the
dining room on the hour,” McBain ordered. “Time for me to walk the perimeter.”
She threw a look at him over her shoulder in time to see him give Jasper a shoulder clasp of male
Great. He had reinforcements.
“More bartenders are coming tomorrow with the catering staff for the wedding,” she explained needlessly
after McBain exited and Nettie toddled off. “But I’m it for tonight’s dinner, so I don’t have time for a chat.”
“I’ll wait,” Jasper promised.
Of course he would. “Ho-kay then.”
Since she couldn’t budge him and had zero hope of ignoring him, Quinn focused on the work. She finished
the margaritas as Nettie returned with a new order, all the while feeling Jasper’s accusing gaze locked on her,
his eyes tracking her every move as though she’d disappear if he blinked.
God, he looked good enough to eat.
Down girl. He wasn’t hers anymore, and while she might still look, not being able to touch would
probably kill her before the Russian mob did.
* * *
“So!” Twist broke into the charged silence with his usual delicacy. “How’d you crazy kids meet?”
“Vegas,” Jasper growled. “The last time you forced me on vacation. And no, it did not ‘stay there’.”
Twist’s disbelieving gaze switched back and forth between Jasper and Quinn. “That was only a long
weekend. You’re telling me you met and got married in four days?!”
Said like that, it sounded as nutso as it was. But Jasper had taken one look at Quinn in the bar of the
Bellagio that first night and knew there was no one else for him.
Shockingly, she’d felt the same.
For a little while.
Betrayal battled with rage for dominance and beat down the fuckin’ thrill that’d ripped through his chest
when he’d first realized Quinn was within reach again. He barely stifled the urge to drag her over the bar and
handcuff them together before she could leave him again.
He reached for his frayed control and found it in tatters. That had been the case with Quinn from the start.
The moment he laid eyes on all that was her—tits and ass and so much infectious attitude, she nearly vibrated
with it—he’d been wild for her.
Christ, two minutes around her and already she was driving him mad.
And he didn’t need an audience for that madness.
“You’re not being paid to guard that bar stool,” Jasper pointedly reminded his friend.
“Jeez, bring a guy to paradise for a vacation, and all he wants to do is work.”
“Vacation starts after we’re done with this job. A job that has to pay for that vacation given we’re on
enforced leave without pay.”
“You’re on what?!” Quinn said, pausing in her drink mixing to gape at him and Twist.
Jasper stifled a wince. Quinn had a rabid curiosity streak and tended to dig in exactly where he didn’t
want her. “Leave it.”
“Whoops,” Twist taunted. “Cat’s outta the bag.”
“You can cut that shit out at any time.”
“It’s hardly top secret intel. Unlike your marriage, apparently.”
Quinn grabbed a bottle of triple sec and shot him a look. “I know, right?!”
Jasper’s head tipped back so he investigated the ceiling. “And now you’re bonding. Spectacular.”
“Hey, pal, you’re the one who went to Vegas, married a superhot chick, and hid it from everyone you
know, including me. Inquiring minds wanna know.”
“I wanna know.” Jasper heard the anonymous mutter in his ear piece and realized with embarrassed shock
that he and Twist were still on coms. Christ, they were all a bunch of gossiping women.
He ripped the mechanism out of his ear and threw it across the room where it shattered a vase so
violently, Twist jumped. “Maybe you could do me a solid and hold off until after I find out how the wife I
haven’t seen or heard from since she ran out on me a year ago winds up in Barefuck Bay the exact day we do!”
That brought Quinn’s chin up. “Ex-wife,” she reminded him, unruffled by his uncharacteristic display of
temper. “And you left me first.”
Jasper’s hands curled into fists. The gall of the woman! “I was on a mission,” he gritted out between
clenched teeth, blood on a fast boil. “For my country.”
“Yeah, well, next time have the courtesy to let your wife know you’re leaving before you disappear for six
He set his feet and crossed his arms and practically read her mind when she swept him up in a glance and
smirked. The Patented Jasper McQueen Stubborn Stance. “Terrorists aren’t known for giving advanced notice,
babe. We go where we’re commanded to go, and when the intel comes in or the embassy is attacked or the
hostages are taken, we go fast. And it was eight weeks, which you would know if you had bothered to stick
Her eyes narrowed. “Maybe I would have, sweetheart, if I hadn’t found out from some reluctant secretary
at the yard when I called trying to find you that you didn’t even bother to tell the Navy you got married!”
Jasper’s retort was stymied by the beep of his watch alarm marking the hour. He hit the off button and
ordered Twist, “Go relieve Rocco.”
“We don’t switch out for another thirty.”
“Find something to do,” Jasper snarled. “Somewhere else.”
Twist made a show of getting up. “Sure I shouldn’t stick around in case you suddenly need an alibi?”
“Don’t need an alibi, ’cause when I kill you, it’ll be justified.”
“You love me. You know it.” He winked at Quinn, and then scuttled back as Jasper took two menacing
steps in Twist’s direction. “Calm down, Queen, I’m going. Gotta line up a bridesmaid anyway now the hot
bartender is off the market.”
“You should go with him,” Quinn advised after Twist had cleared the doorway, shutting the wooden
panels behind him to close them off from the party.
But Jasper had just realized this was the perfect chance for him to find out what the fuck went so wrong in
their marriage that she scuttled away like a fugitive without so much as talking to him. Had he pushed too fast for
too much? Had he frightened her? Or was it merely that he’d been her next wild ride and she’d never loved him
in the first place? It’d torn him up for months, wondering what he had done that was so wrong he chased away
the love of his life.
But now she was here. Now, he would know.
He planted his feet again, hands on hips. “Not going anywhere till I get some answers.”
It helped that the rehearsal schedule worked in his favor. The rehearsal guests had finally tucked into their
entrees making a break from cocktail orders. The wait staff made similar use of the lull and efficiently prepped
tables for the next course in the other room, which meant he and Quinn would be effectively alone in the bar
until the dinner ended.
He saw the moment Quinn realized he had her trapped.
She took a step back, grabbed the ledge behind her, and leaned back against her hands. The position thrust
her chest forward and lifted the edge of her blouse even further away from her low-slung trousers.
Rock, meet hard place.
Jasper knew she was too pissed at him to be deliberately trying to arouse him, but that didn’t reduce the
size of his reaction.
“Oh yeah?” she replied and fuck him, her sneer was such priceless Quinn attitude that, in spite of himself,
he had to fight off a grin and get a tighter rein on his hard on. “Like what?”
“Like why you’re using my name again when you told me—through the lawyers, because God forbid you
should talk to me—how eager you were to shed every trapping of being married, including my name.”
She shrugged. “I changed my mind.”
That ratcheted up his simmering rage so fast, he almost put his fist into the bar.
His narrowed gaze swept her from top to bottom. Her cheeks were flushed, enough that he could see the
heated flesh even in the dim light of the bar. She dodged his eyes too, which was a very un-Quinn thing to do…
unless she was trying to hide something from him. “Cut the crap, Quinn. You in trouble?”
His jaw clenched when her face went blank. That quick, she’d shut him out. If not for her body’s reactions
—reactions he suspected she had no clue she was giving him—he’d have thought her unmoved by his return.
“It’s really none of your business.”
That cracked her mask. Irritated, her shoulders squared off. “Where the hell do you get off?”
“Where do I get off? Are you fucking kidding me?”
“No, Jasper, I am not fucking kidding you,” she said with an exaggerated patience that ramped him up
even more. “We are divorced. Dee-vorced. Who and what I am is no longer your concern.”
That did it. Jasper could practically hear the tether of his control snap as he vaulted over the bar, locked
his hands on her hips, and yanked her against him.
Her hands flew up on a gasp, but he was too fast for her to push him away, and they got caught instead
against his chest. Jasper took advantage of her open mouth and swooped in.
Her taste was narcotic. His mind fogged over and the burn in his chest exploded as he drank deep.
Somewhere along the way that day, she’d indulged in a shot of rum. He licked the spicy flavor from her lips and
Caught by surprise, Quinn had no time to put up her shields, shields she’d held fast even when he’d been
deep inside her, so he owned her mouth from the start and rubbed his tongue against hers in a slow rhythm that
belied his raging lust. She always wanted to rush to the finish and never more than when they were having sex,
laser focused on her orgasm and ready to get on with it. So he would bridle that instinct and instead prime her
with slow teases of what she’d get when he had her naked and spread for him. Blissful torture that only his
brutal training to become a SEAL had allowed him to endure, but she’d always, always, made it more than
This time, slow was going to have to wait for round two.
He lifted his mouth to give them half a second to catch a breath, nipping once at her bottom lip because he
couldn’t stand to lose her taste even for that long. She exhaled loudly through her nose and then took the
offensive, and it was her tongue in his mouth staking claim and filling Jasper with exultant satisfaction.
My wild lady.
One of her hands slid under his pit to grab his lat while the other plunged up into his hair to hold him to
her. The movement put them chest to chest and Jasper groaned as the hard points of her nipples poked him
through their shirts. She lifted her lips, tilted her head, and kissed him again, the new angle deeper and
astoundingly more intimate.
Crushed between them, her necklace rattled against his chest until it gave up the battle and split apart,
crashing pearls to the ground like scattered hail. He felt her back-of-the-throat whimper in his dick and squeezed
the bounty of her hips. She followed his silent direction by boosting her ass up onto the ledge so he could bump
her knees wide and finally, finally, shove his hard cock into the cradle of her covered pussy after being denied it
His arms crisscrossed the small of her back, brushing the edge of those low-slung pants so that his thumbs
skirted the top of her ass. He held her tight enough to make breathing a chore, and he didn’t care, he didn’t care
one damn bit, they could suffocate from kissing and that’d be fine by him, because he knew the second he set her
free, she’d be gone.
And he would not lose her again.
And then, as suddenly as it began, the kiss was over. They stood there, clutching each other, mouths as
close as possible without connecting, breathing heavily in shared astonishment, each unwilling to be the first to
shatter the moment and bring hard reality back to crash around them.
I missed you. The words ripped through Jasper’s soul. He’d missed her mouth, her tits, her pussy, her
deep brown eyes, the scar on her chin, her sharp tongue, and her ridiculous sense of humor. He missed how she
held him and how she took him and how she got him better than anyone, even Twist. He’d hear a pun and think to
text it to her knowing she’d never met one she didn’t like, only to painfully remember he’d blocked her number.
He’d go to a bar and expect to see Quinn behind it, so he stopped going out except when called to untangled a
teammate, and that immediately put Maverick back in his mind, and fucking hell, he did not need that right now.
She’d turned his world effervescent so that it fizzed with joy and laughter, like one of her drinks,
showered him with wild beauty and then wrenched it all away to leave him feeling utterly abandoned, something
he hadn’t experienced since his adoptive parents returned him to foster care only to keep his two younger
brothers as their own.
I missed you.
But Jasper knew better than to say that to Quinn. And that hole she’d left behind that had ached in his chest
for twelve long months rang hollow with renewed loss.
“You still kiss like a wet dream,” he muttered instead.
It was a mistake. Quinn immediately went stiff with insult and tried to yank free of him, but she’d never
been a match for his strength—though always more than a match with her tongue—and he braced to get the edge
of it and not in the way he wanted.
Instead, when his arms locked her in place, a deeply wounded look seeped into her dark brown eyes, eyes
that yet shimmered from their kiss. It pierced past betrayal and abandonment to stab Jasper right in his aching
heart. “You’re a son of a bitch, you know,” she whispered.
That was truer than she could realize. His hands cupped her jaw. I missed you. “What trouble are you in,
Quinn?” he asked again. His thumbs brushed her racing pulse, coaxing her to capitulation.
Not that it made a dent in his determined wife. She blinked, erasing any hint of that rare vulnerability, and
said, “Honestly, it’s none of your business,” and Jasper was done.
Enough fucking around. His fingers dug a bit deeper into her skin, enough that her mouth popped open
with an invitation he’d bet she didn’t realize was on offer. “Everything about you is my business, and you’re
gonna stay my business until one of us stops breathing no matter what goddamn name you’re wearing when we