The second Matt was certain Maggie’s feet were firmly planted on the ground he took hold of her shoulders and forced her backwards until she was against the stone wall. He ignored her startled gasp. 

He ignored the way her soft flesh felt beneath his hands, and the teasing allure of her perfume. He ignored his body’s rapid response to her closeness. He easily overpowered her initial struggles,
madder than a hornet that she’d tried to escape. 

The alley was dark except for one dim light at the end, close to the street, yet he was able to focus on a pair of frightened, glittering eyes.

“Oh! You scared me half to death!” she cried, her hand flying up to cover her pounding heart.

Matt wished she hadn’t done that. The action drew his attention to her creamy breasts, which were all but spilling out of her top. “Give me one good reason I shouldn’t let Bob run you in,” he growled in a furious undertone. He’d long ago learned how the criminal mind worked. He was glad he decided to follow up on his hunch.

“I’m not a prostitute,” she said simply.

“I don’t believe you.” But he wanted to. 

Matt didn’t like thinking he was attracted to a woman who made a living by selling her body. Of course, the woman he’d wanted that morning didn’t look anything like the little tramp in front of him now. The only thing that hadn’t changed was her soft, full mouth and those unforgettable eyes. If he wasn’t careful he could easily drown in those beguiling green depths; cat eyes that mesmerized its prey before pouncing in for the kill.

“But…I can explain everything.”

Her soft laugh steeled Matt’s heart and made up his mind for him. He wasn’t in the mood to hear her lies, or put up with her misplaced humor. “Save it. You’re going to jail, honey.” He took her by the arm and began dragging her behind him. He should let Bob handle it and still might. On his way out of the bar he’d told his ex-partner to wait for him in the front.

“But I thought you weren’t a cop.”

“Not here.” In a few days he would be starting a new job back
home as the local small-town sheriff. He was looking forward to
the change to both his professional and personal life.

“Than you can’t arrest me,” she said in a satisfied tone. She tried to pull away from him. “Maybe I’ll have you arrested for assault, or something.”

Matt didn’t bother to correct her assumption. Mainly because it meant he could get rid of her sooner. And the itch in his loins that had never really diminished since that morning. He tried like hell not to remember how quick his body had reacted to her. “I’ll turn you over to my ex-partner.” He continued pulling her easily along, heading for the end of the alley that opened up onto the street.

“But I can explain the whole thing. It’s really kind of funny. You see…ouch!”

Matt swiveled on his feet in time to catch Maggie from falling to the ground. He dragged her up against him. “Another trick, sweetheart?” They were suddenly standing nose to nose.

“No, I swear! I stepped on something.” They were more than nose-to-nose; they were also mouth-to-mouth.

Matt’s eyes glared into hers, every breath he sucked in filled his lungs with her sweet fragrance. In spite of his instincts for self preservation he continued to hold her against him. His hands were
wrapped around the fleshy part of her upper arms and his fingers
rested against the exposed sides of her warm, lush breasts. He could feel them crushed against him, feel her nipples harden and poke into him with every breath she took.

Damn! He felt his cock swelling. This wasn’t good. Mistake number one was getting involved with her at all. Mistake number two had been in touching her, for any reason. It was ironic that he’d wanted her that morning but couldn’t afford to get involved. Now for a price, he could get involved for a couple of hours and not even look back. He couldn’t accept the fact he wanted her no matter what she was. It had been a damn long time since he’d felt any life below the belt, and now twice in one day he’d had the urge to get laid.

They were too damn close and it was hot in the alley.

He was hot.

Pressing his lips together with grim determination he lowered Maggie to her feet and started to pull her after him once more. The
second her feet hit the pavement she let out a holler and pulled
back. Matt released a reconciled sigh, coming to the conclusion that she wasn’t faking it.

“I’m barefoot,” she explained. Matt glanced down and swore. “My shoes are back there.”

There being back in the alley beneath the window where she’d
made her escape. 

“Which foot?”

“My right one.”

“Let me see it.”

She didn’t move.


With a slight shrug she stepped back and slowly lifted a long, graceful leg toward him. Matt felt the blood race up his neck but couldn’t force himself to look away. He’d always been a sucker for long, beautiful legs, and Maggie’s were certainly all that. He steeled himself from responding, reminding himself what she was. He reached for her injured foot and examined it blindly in the darkness. 

“I don’t feel any blood or protruding objects. Maybe you just stepped on a stone and bruised it.” He intended to drop her foot but his hand encircled her ankle instead. He could feel the ankle bracelet she was wearing beneath her black silk stockings. Hooker stockings. He clenched his teeth in irritation.

“You’re probably right,” she agreed.

Matt noticed the slight tremor in her voice. As she slowly lowered
her leg his hand followed along the curve of her smooth calf, behind her knee until it disappeared beneath her short skirt. He heard Maggie’s soft gasp when his fingers caressed her silken thigh above the garter holding her stocking on. He felt her quiver, the action triggering a sharp need of desire in Matt’s blood. Then realizing
what he was doing, he jerked his hand away.

About that time the door to the bar opened and Bob walked out, pausing long enough to light a cigar. Their eyes fell on him at the same time and suddenly Maggie’s hand was on his arm. He glanced down into her pleading eyes, drowning in their seductive, deceiving depths.

“Matt, I swear what I said is the truth. I’m not a prostitute. I’m only dressed like this because my mother…”

He raised a brow. “Your mother? This is getting better by the minute, honey.”

“I’m doing research for her,” she said hurriedly. “You see, she’s a writer and…”

“You expect me to believe your own mother asked you to dress up as a hooker for research?” His brows drew together in a frown of total disbelief. Matt couldn’t fathom any mother putting her daughter into such a dangerous situation.


Book due out August 2012 at Whiskey Creek Press Torrid.

Tory Richards

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