Excerpt: Paws for a Kiss

Excerpt: Paws for a Kiss

Book 1: Canine Cupids

“You’re bleeding.” Mack was wearing another custom suit, giving him a look of detached nobility, but his forehead was wrinkled in what could be mistaken for genuine concern.

“I know that. Thanks.” She was vaguely aware of blood trickling down the back of her leg, vitally aware of Mack’s looming presence in the small room. “A dog bit me.”

“You need to get that cleaned up.”

“I’m trying.” The faint scent of his woodsy aftershave floated across the room, stirring up images of him standing in front of his bathroom mirror in his boxers, applying the cooling liquid to his strong jaw. His shoulders broad, his chest accented with just the right amount of dark hair, hair that would be so soft under her fingertips…

His eyebrow lifted. “Can’t reach it, huh?”

“Ah…” Reach what?

“I’ll help.” He shrugged off his jacket and set it on the metal examining table.

Bev blinked, shutting images of Mack’s naked chest out of her mind. Mack? Help with her leg? Not a chance she was going to let him inspect the back of her thigh. Thighs were for viewing only in private, specifically when it was too dark for the cellulite to be seen. “No, thanks.”

“Why not?” He opened cabinets until he found the first aid supplies. “It’ll get infected if you don’t clean it, and you can’t see it well enough to treat it.”

Bev thought of the model who’d been draped over Mack’s arm at his mother’s party. Those were the thighs he was used to seeing. Those were the thighs that turned him on. Thighs that were as small as her arm. As if he was going to get a chance to compare her tree trunks to that svelte, perfect body. No way. She tightened her grip on her overalls. “No.”

He pulled a tube of antiseptic cream out of the drawer and set it on the counter. “‘No’ isn’t a good enough reason to resist medical care.”

She was beginning to panic at the determined look on his face, and at the swirl of excitement that raced through her at the thought of his hands on her leg, tending to her wound. “I don’t even know you. I’m not going to drop my pants in front of you. You could be a pervert or something.”

The corner of his mouth twitched. “You think I’m a pervert?”

“Well, no, not really.” As if she could be so lucky. Wait, no, she didn’t him to be a pervert, even if he was the first hot guy who’d ever asked her to take her pants off.

Mack held up the sponge she’d used to scrub her wrist. “Is this clean?”

“Yes.” Her mouth was dry, her tongue barely able to form a word, her heart racing, all at the image of Mack tending to her, taking care of her… Holy cow. Was she losing her mind? He was only offering to take care of a bite wound. He wasn’t trying to seduce her. Not Bev Ryan, a lifetime misfit with no money, no fashion sense and certainly not a body that would ever fuel a man’s fantasies. No, Mack would never want her. Not in that way. So she needed to stop inhaling his wonderfully masculine scent, and think about her dogs instead. Or cleaning cages. Or sharp-toothed Cocker Spaniels. Anything but how insanely delicious he was.

There was no way could Bev compete with the kind of woman he’d had on his arm at the party. So she needed to stop thinking of him as a man who could surpass her most delightful fantasies. Instead, she needed to think of him as…as… Heaven help her. She couldn’t think of him any other way.

“Great.” He lathered up the sponge, shooting a glance at Bev. “Are you going to faint?”

“Maybe.” Not from her injury, though.

“If you’re feeling lightheaded, you should sit down.” His fingers slipped around her arm, his touch warm against her skin. Goosebumps popped up and her breath caught in her throat.

“Ah…” She twisted out of his grasp and stepped back, trying to ground herself, willing away the rush of blood in her ears.

“What’s wrong?”

“I’m not taking my pants off in front of you.” No, she most definitely wasn’t. As if she’d give him a chance to laugh at her, to compare her to the perfect legs all his dates certainly had.

Mack rubbed his chin, studying her for what seemed to be an eternity, as if he were trying to figure her out. Bev shifted under his scrutiny, her heart still racing at his nearness.

What was her problem? She’d met plenty of good-looking, sinfully rich men in her life, and none of them had made her feel like she’d been sucked into her most erotic fantasy. Most men of Mack’s ilk just disgusted her with their superficial ways and their shallow lives.

Was it because of Mack’s shaggy little dog? A mutt, no doubt. A mutt that he loved. Despite all his money, his sophistication, his incredible looks, he loved a mutt. The man had to be quality. And since he was quality, apparently, that was enough to send her hormones into a kabootzy of craziness.

Mack seemed oblivious to her rapid descent into lust-blinded-insanity, focusing on the more mundane. “I had a family member who was very sick for a long time. I’m used to doing stuff like this. It’s not a big deal to me. If you need my help, don’t be embarrassed. If you don’t need it, fine.”

He was talking about her injury. No fantasies dancing about in his head. At least not about her. And…she’d seen the shadows in his eyes when he’d mentioned his family member. Mack might live a glitzy life now, but he’d lived through real stuff, hard stuff, and he hadn’t forgotten it.

So…now she felt a little silly freaking about him seeing her legs. Maybe he didn’t care about things like that. Maybe he didn’t even like those models that wanted to date him. Maybe he was tired of the fact they wouldn’t actually eat in public. Maybe he was tired of the fact that they would never dare have a hair or a sleeve out of place. Maybe, he was burning for a real woman, a woman with scars, double-handfuls of booty, and a sense of humor that often refused to be contained, no matter what the circumstances. Right?

He held up the sponge.

Or…maybe he just wanted to fix her leg.

Fine. She could stop perseverating on his hotness, too. She could think about tooth marks in her skin, no problem. Seriously, she had just been bitten practically in the ass. That was hardly something a girl should forget, just because some hot guy showed up and suggested she drop her pants, right? She could still feel blood dripping down her thigh, and bite wound was burning. No doubt, the injury did need tending. And he was practically like a doctor. Seen it all. Skin was just skin to him. He wouldn’t even be looking at her thighs as a woman. Just a patient. “Swear?”

He held up his hand. “Scout’s honor. I’ll notice only the blood.”

She narrowed her eyes at him, but his gaze didn’t waver. He did appear trustworthy. And it wasn’t like she was trusting him with her heart. Just her leg. He couldn’t break that. “Fine.”

Bev took a deep breath, then dropped her pants.

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