LETHAL EDGE by Kaylea Cross is available now! Don’t miss this new series and be sure to add the book to your TBR pile now and follow Kaylea for exclusive updates about the book and the Rifle Creek series.
A diehard romantic looking to start over in a small town.
Dr. Nina Benitez might be an astrophysicist and a scientist down to her bones, but she also believes in true love and happily ever after—and won’t settle for anything less. After a rocky end to her first semester teaching at the University of Montana, she’s looking forward to a new school year and a fresh start in the small town of Rifle Creek. When she meets her roommate’s work partner, a sexy, hard-edged detective, Nina is immediately intrigued. However, it’s soon clear they’re like oil and water. But when she’s confronted by the painful past event she wanted to forget, she faces an even greater danger. A predator is bent on silencing her forever, and Nina’s only hope of survival is the unattainable man who’s captured her heart.
A cynical cop determined to guard his heart.
Tate Baldwin has dedicated his life to serving and protecting, first in the military, and now as a detective in Rifle Creek. Badly burned by his last relationship, he isn’t looking to get involved with anyone, especially a brilliant college professor who seems to have her head in the clouds. Yet even Tate can’t deny the attraction between them that soon grows into something more. And when a secret from her past triggers a lethal threat, Tate will risk everything to stand between her and the monster who wants her dead.
She stopped where the sidewalk intersected with another path and turned Tate to face the building at the end of it.
“What is it?” he asked.
He looked down at her, laughter in his eyes. “You brought me here for our date? Seriously?”
“Yes. Now come on. You’ll love it, promise.”
Inside she got them tickets with her faculty pass and they went to the theater to watch a show about the wonders of the universe, followed by a presentation on star formation by a fellow faculty member. Seeing the film on the dome screen above still gave Nina a thrill.
The talk afterward was engaging and interesting, with good audience participation. She glanced at Tate a few times to gauge his reaction, and to her delight he seemed at least intrigued by it all.
Nina leaned closer to Tate as the speaker wrapped up, breathing in his scent as she whispered in his ear. She was looking forward to being alone with him after this. “You can wait and ask me questions later if you’re shy.”
He turned his head to look at her, only inches separating them. His gaze dropped to her lips before returning to her eyes. “I’m not shy when it comes to getting something I want.”
A shiver sped through her, heat igniting in her core. Damn, she was in her favorite building on campus while a colleague gave an incredibly interesting talk, and all she could think about was getting Tate alone so she could kiss him again. Savor the feel of all those hard muscles as she ran her hands over him, lose herself in the masterful way he’d held her and transported her to another place.
He returned his attention to the presenter before she could gather her thoughts enough to respond, his fingers still wrapped securely around hers. Teasing her with the promise of what would happen when they left and found somewhere more private.
“That was actually totally fascinating,” he said as they left the theater a few minutes later.
“You sound surprised.”
She laughed, energized by his interest and just being with him. “Isn’t it incredible? Just think.” She tipped her head back and looked up at the stars now appearing in the purple sky. “Everything we see, everything on earth, came from supernovas. So in actuality, we’re all made of stardust.”
“It’s amazing,” he agreed, then let go of her hand to wrap a steely arm around her shoulders instead, drawing her closer.
Nina leaned into him, savoring his warmth and strength. She felt petite next to him. Protected. And turned on.
“What’s your favorite planet?” he asked.
“Saturn, of course. It’s everyone’s favorite.”
His lips quirked. “Why is it your favorite?”
“Because it’s the coolest. Started out as a rocky planet and became a gas giant. Its rings are made up of rock and ice, and check this out—it even rains diamonds in its atmosphere.”
He glanced down at her. “Get out.”
“No, swear to God, it does. It happens on a few others planets in our solar system as well, but basically the atmospheric pressure is so great, it turns carbon in the atmosphere into freaking diamonds.”
“Hell, someone needs to figure out how to capture them and transport them back here.”
She playfully poked his shoulder. “Stop. So mercenary.”
He let out a low laugh and tugged her closer to press a kiss to the top of her head. Nina’s insides squeezed, her heart fluttering. “I don’t think I’ve been to a planetarium since I was in elementary school, and I don’t remember it being half that interesting,” he said. “I loved it, thank you.”
She smiled up at him, thrilled. “You’re welcome.”
Tate suddenly stopped and drew her off the path. He turned her to face him and settled his hands on her hips, his fingers squeezing gently, making her insides heat. The hunger on his face made the breath back up in her lungs.
He reached out to push a lock of hair away from her face, his fingers trailing ever so gently across her cheek and down the side of her neck. Raising goosebumps along her skin. “You are such a surprise.”
Her heart was beating so fast. “A good one?”
His mouth curved into a sexy grin. “I think so.”
Nina curled her hands around the tops of his shoulders, her fingers sinking into the hard ridges of muscle there. Oh God, she was going to melt.
Those gorgeous eyes dropped to her mouth again and he leaned in…
A ring tone went off.
Nina stopped, her eyes popping open. His phone. “Go ahead.”
“No,” he murmured, ignoring it as he cupped the side of her face in one big hand and covered her mouth with his.
Nina forgot how to think. Or breathe. All she could do was hold onto him, lean into that hard, lean body while his lips moved across hers.
This was so different from the last time. This time was deliberate, like he was savoring her. Teasing her. Seducing her with varying pressure of his lips, the subtle brush of his tongue across her lower lip.
She moaned and opened for him but he made a low sound and sucked on her lip instead, stroking it with his tongue before going back to caressing her lips with his.
At some point his phone must have stopped ringing because it started up again, the sound startling her. She groaned and lowered her heels back to the ground. “It sounds important.”
Tate kept hold of her with one hand while he took his phone from his pocket with the other. “I’d better answer, it’s Rylee.” He put it to his ear. “Hey, little girl. What’s up?”
Whatever his niece said must have been bad, because he went rigid and sucked in a breath. “What?” he said in a low, dangerous voice.
Nina’s insides tightened. Oh, no… What was wrong?
He grabbed Nina’s hand and immediately strode for the sidewalk. Nina hurried alongside him as he spoke to Rylee, her stomach tightening. Whatever had happened, it wasn’t good.
“Are you in a safe place right now? Is there someone with you?” He listened tensely. “Okay, stay there. I’m on campus right now and I’m coming to get you. I’ll be there in ten minutes. Rylee, do you understand? Don’t move.” Another pause. “Good girl. Just hang tight. I’ll be there soon.” He ended the call.
“What’s wrong?” Nina asked, worried.
“She was drugged at a club. Passed out, and when she woke up, her friend was gone.”
Nina’s insides congealed. Flashes of ugly memories bombarded her but she forced the fragmented, disjointed images aside. This was about Rylee, not her. And Rylee was safe. She was going to be fine. “Is she all right?”
“I’m going to get her right now.”
“I’ll come with you. If you want,” she added hastily, not wanting to overstep.
His eyes burned with banked rage as he glanced down at her, then they softened with gratitude. “I’d like that,” he said, and escorted her to his truck.
About the Author
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kaylea Cross writes edge-of-your-seat military romantic suspense. Her work has won many awards, including the Daphne du Maurier Award of Excellence. A Registered Massage Therapist by trade, Kaylea is also an avid gardener, artist, Civil War buff, Special Ops aficionado, belly dance enthusiast and former nationally-carded softball pitcher. She lives in Vancouver, BC with her husband and family.