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Cassie Montgomery was in no mood for messing around—until she got an eyeful of the sizzling-hot miscreant breaking into her half-brother Dan’s Hawaii home. Turns out he’s not a criminal, but a friend who’s just as suspicious of Dan’s “accidental” death as she is. Cassie’s beyond tired of bashing heads with thick-skulled local law enforcement, so there’s only one thing for it: team up with Caleb Wilson, and try to keep her secrets—and hands—to herself…
Having a gun trained on him is nothing new for Cal. But when said gun is brandished by a goddess sporting short-shorts, a bad attitude, and a hidden agenda? A man should consider his choices very carefully. Option one: Seduce first, ask questions later. Option two: Find out why she’s in his Air Force buddy’s torn-up house, then seduce her. Option three: Let the islands do their work and let the woman behind the weapon seduce him…
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“Move one inch in any direction and you’ll be sipping your food through a straw.”
Caleb Wilson jerked back at the sound of the outraged feminine voice and smacked his head on the frame of the jimmied window. He cut loose a stream of profanity inventive enough to make even his old Air Force buddies proud.
He had come to an empty house in the middle of nowhere Kauai, Hawaii, just after midnight, looking for information about a missing friend he now feared dead. Instead of explanations, Cal got a welcoming committee of the angry female variety. His least favorite type of woman.
As plans went, so far this one sucked.
Since the element of surprise no longer rested on his side, Cal decided to try a new tact. Until he figured out who the unidentified woman with the big mouth was and what she was doing in this small house, he would stay right where he was.
He cleared his throat in an attempt to sound as reasonable as a guy curled in a ball on a windowsill could sound. “Maybe I could—”
So much for the reasonable route.
He twisted his six-foot frame around in the small opening. Finding a tolerable position grew more impossible by the second. His muscles hardened and his patience started a countdown to zero.
“Ma’am, I’m stuck.” He attempted to laugh, but being doubled over the sound came out more like a wheeze.
“What you are is trespassing.”
Okay, that too. “You have me at a disadvantage here.”
He moved to his next plan. Charm.
“I’m sitting in a window,” he explained, throwing in an endearing chuckle to see if that could win over the woman with the voice so throaty it should be illegal.
“I didn’t put you there.”
Also immune to charm. Check.
But she did have a point. “Admittedly I got into this position without your help, but if you could—”
Then he heard it. An unmistakable metal clicking sound. The noise chased away all thoughts about the long legs that might complete the matching set to that husky voice.
The woman held a gun. He survived for thirty-six years on the planet without having a female threaten to shoot him. Looked like he could consider that streak broken.
With the door locked, slipping through the window seemed like a good idea a few minutes earlier. Now he was sorry he skipped his initial plan to pick the lock and use the door like a normal person.
“I’m not a thief.” He played many roles in his life. Not that one.
“Then why are you breaking in?”
Tough talk, but he heard it. A subtle and unmistakable hitch in her voice. One that meant she was not as in control or calm as her words suggested. One that made that gun of hers even more dangerous.
Cal went with an abbreviated version of the truth. “This house belongs to an old friend of mine. He invited me. Now I’m here.”
A beat of silence filled the room as his arm fell asleep. The whole idea of Hawaii being the perfect beachside paradise was lost on him at the moment. So far, it had been an obstacle course. No sign of Dan. A round of apologetic glances and mumbled comments about being “sorry” when Cal asked after Dan at the private hangar where Dan kept his helicopter.
Top all that with a near-black night and a tire-rutted dirt road leading to a cabin in a wooded area in the middle of Kokee State Park. The same cabin not being anywhere near the beach.
Yeah, not exactly what Cal expected to find when he got on the plane that morning. Neither was the non-welcome from a female with questionable emotional stability.
Cal toyed with the idea of launching the still-awake parts of his body at his perfumed attacker. Without seeing her, he guessed he outweighed her by at least fifty pounds. That made the chance of knocking her down pretty damn good.
But the gun posed a problem. A big one. If the lady with the deadly weapon and deep voice was a novice, he might leave Kauai in a zipper bag. An amateur would shoot first. Probably fire straight into his forehead. On the other hand, a skilled markswoman definitely would hit him in the forehead. Fifty-fifty and both options ended with his death. Not the best odds.
Then there was the problem with the tremor moving through her voice. Now that he was listening for it he didn’t hear anything else. She was afraid. Probably smart under the circumstances. Still, there was another emotion mixed in with the fear. He was just clueless enough about the inner workings of the female mind to not be able to define it.
He inhaled, drawing in the strong floral scent on the warm Hawaii night air. “I’m here to see Dan Rutledge.”
The stumble in her voice was more obvious that time. It gave her away. Stern words wrapped around a mushy inside.
Now Cal was getting somewhere in analyzing his opponent. He decided to test her. “What part of the comment didn’t you understand?”
“How do you know Dan?”
The woman’s tone softened. Cal guessed she was one in a long line of his friend’s spirited bedroom conquests. Being a commercial pilot in an island paradise apparently had not cut into Dan’s ability to score with the ladies.
Cal just hoped this woman didn’t fall into the ex-girlfriend-of- Dan category. Calming scorned women was not one of Cal’s skills. Especially another guy’s scorned women. He had enough trouble keeping his own sex life straight without taking on someone else’s.
“Look, can I step down or not? I’m losing feeling in my legs and my neck is getting stiff.” Not to mention the spasm in his back and the fact his defenseless position made him wary.
She—whoever she was—treated him to a sigh. “Fine. Go ahead and stand up.”
“You’re too kind,” Cal said in his most sarcastic tone.
“I can still change my mind, you know.”
“Well, I do now.”
Thanks to years of military training, his body functioned at high level. He could outrun and outshoot men much younger. But the combination of the long plane ride from Florida, the break-in and trying to decipher both Dan’s cryptic message, and the odd reaction to his name by everyone on the island took a toll. Cal feared the worst and so far he had not been wrong in his low expectations.
“My initial threat still stands,” she said in what Cal took to be her shoot-first-say-hello-later hint.