“The kind of intrigue I enjoy, much like Tom Clancy, Vince Flynn, David Baldacci, and Steig Larsson. In my opinion, they have nothing on her.” —Lt. Col. John Lund, U.S. Air Force, ret.
“...captivating, entertaining and full of action. I read and purchased the entire series in a matter of days. I can’t wait for her next release. In my opinion the story line is very realistic and represents the men who serve to defend our country in a positive yet true manner.” —Limelolly Charly
“Look out Marliss Melton Fans”! A word of warning to all readers, before you open The Guardian, make sure The Hub, The Wife, Kids, Pets anyone else in your households are fed, watered, walked,diapered, bathed, yadda, yadda, yadda, because once you start, you will not want to put it down until The End!!! Marliss Melton Rocks!!! —Marilyn Harper
“Marliss always delivers...You can count on an excellent read with any of her books.” —S. McCullough
Whirling at the door, Lena pushed it open with her hip as she tipped the liquid she craved to her lips. The last thing she expected was for the door to give way suddenly causing her to stumble into an unyielding, sun-warmed body.
Gatorade showered her blouse. “Hey!” she cried, her protest trailing off with a gasp as she found herself face-to-face with the subject of her voyeuristic impulse.
Oh, my God. He was even more striking up-close. Staring aghast into his gray-green gaze, she found she couldn’t breathe. “Sorry,” she muttered, trying to squeeze past him. But he stepped into her path again, and her wet bosom bounced off his rock-hard chest like rubber balls bouncing off of concrete. A whiff of sweat, soap, and man made her head spin.
“Excuse me!” She managed to sound indignant when, in fact, she was hoping the sidewalk would just swallow her.
“Personal or public?” he inquired, coiling a large, surprisingly gentle hand around her elbow and drawing her farther outside. The door bumped shut behind them.
“I’m sorry?” She could hardly hear him for the blood rushing past her eardrums. An ex-con was holding onto her!
“Your reason for taking pictures.” His deep voice held a cadence that brought to mind steel drums and fruity rum beverages, suggesting some Caribbean heritage.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” She tried diving past him a third time, but his grip, however gentle, proved unbreakable.
“You don’t have my consent to publish those photos,” he stated. Both his warning and his educated-sounding speech astonished her. As Lena gaped at him, his gaze dipped appraisingly toward her soaked blouse. Her nipples responded to his gaze as if he’d stroked them, springing to attention like diligent soldier.
“What photos?” Ignoring her body’s response, she sent him a blank look. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Her denial wrested his gaze upward. His thick lashes came together as he narrowed his eyes, stepped closer, and enfolded her in his cool shadow. “I know what I saw,” he insisted, his breath warm across her cheek. “Come. We’re going to go delete them.” His grip on her elbow tightened as he drew her in the direction of her vehicle.
Digging her heels into the sidewalk, Lena resisted. The realization that he could easily overpower her both frightened and enthralled her. If any man was going to have his way with her, she’d want it to be him, but the issue with the pictures was unsettling.
Suddenly, the door behind her opened. Mocha Man glanced over her shoulder and reluctantly released her.
“Everything okay here?” Bill asked, dividing an anxious look between them.
“Fine,” Lena assured him with a bright smile. Taking advantage of the ex-con’s slackened grasp, she broke free. Without a backward glance, she fled for her Jeep, slamming the door shut and locking it. Then she peeled out of the gas station, racing a yellow light at the intersection to distance herself from the man’s blistering regard.
A glance into her rearview mirror showed him standing at the corner of the building with his arms crossed, his eyes potent and intense, transmuting his will.
Cristemou! Lena kept a lead foot on the accelerator until Highway 235 curved, blocking the convenience store and Mocha Man from view.