Title: Loving the Wounded Warrior
Series: Love at Last #2
Author: Adriana Anders
Genre: Contemporary Romance Novella
Release Date: June 14, 2018
One tent. One Night. Once last chance.
She was my best friend’s little sister—and the woman who ruined my life.
O’Neal Jones was the last person I expected to run into on this mountain in the middle of nowhere.
I wanted her, even if it was a bad idea.
But this thing between us was dangerous. It tore through flesh and bone to sear my soul.
Then, in the course of one night, she worked her way into my tent and my sleeping bag…
The question was, could I heal my wounds enough to let her into my heart?
Loving the Wounded Warrior is a sexy standalone novella, in the Love at Last series.
Originally published in the Rogue Affair anthology, this edition has been expanded with new material.
PRAISE FOR LOVING THE WOUNDED WARRIOR
“Adriana Anders dishes up another sexy commanding virgin hero that left me hot, bothered, and wanting more! I’ll take another, please!” – Alexis Anne, author of Tease
“Straight to the gut.” – The Book Hammock
“Beautiful and poignant.” – Sunny, Scandalicious Book Reviews
“An emotional read that I just loved.” – Gladys, Goodreads
“Totally enthralled until the very end!” – Pat, Goodreads
“A moving and poignant story of a broken individual looking for redemption and healing.” – T Rosado, Goodreads
“Unique and refreshing.” – Michelle, Goodreads
“Sweet love story, with a generous amount of angst.” – Katherine, Goodreads
“Stop,” I gasped out, before our mouths connected. To his credit, the man didn’t hesitate at all. He was out of my space before the letter p quit resonating.
“Yeah, I just…” I grimaced, waiting for the thrumming in my chest to subside.
“We don’t have to do anything. You know that.” He made as if to slide out of his bag, the words rushed, his voice a little too loud. “You take the tent. I’ll go outside, give you some space.”
It would have been easy to feed him some BS about a headache, but that wasn’t my way. “Wait.” I set a hand on his arm. “I’m not used to this.”
“Kissing strangers in tents?” He huffed out an impatient sound. “Or not kissing them, I guess.”
“No. No, that’s not it.”
“So, you are used to kissing strangers in tents?” There was a smile in his voice.
A nervous giggle escaped me and I sat up, my head almost brushing the ceiling of this tiny space. He was so big and this tent was too small, too tight, too…something. The smells, the sounds, so subtle, but more than any half-drunken, fully-clothed door bang. “Maybe it’s cause I knew you as a kid, but I…I don’t think so. I think it’s…” Jesus. I swallowed and worked hard to catch my breath. “I don’t feel sorry for you, okay? Just so that’s clear. But there’s this…sadness to you that’s got its claws in me. I want to fix it. God, I know that sounds fucked up. And it’s not like me at all. But I want to take it, maybe? Make it better. Smooth it out or swallow some of it?”
He cleared his throat as if he’d say something, but nothing came out and, since I was afraid to look at him, I plowed right through. “You’re not my type, Kurt. My usual M.O.’s more confident asshole than broken soldier, I guess.”
“Broken Marine,” he corrected.
“Marine. Right. I didn’t mean to insinuate that there’s anything wrong with— Oh, fuck it, come here.”
“You still smell good.” I instantly hardened at those words and just stopped myself from reaching down to press on my cock.
“You’re killing me, O’Neal.”
“We don’t have to do anything, is what I’m trying to tell you. But we can. I’m a direct son of a bitch, I know.”
That made me laugh; a weird, barked sound that almost hurt on the way out.
“Or, you know, if you need me to…hold you or something, I could just keep you warm.”
“You said you were lonely.”
My eyes popped open, and I turned to her. “You feel sorry for me?”
“No, dumbass. I’m into you.”
“This how you are with guys? Offering hugs and stuff?”
“I usually demand a quick, hard fuck. But with you I figured I’d take it slow.”
Everything in my body stood up at those words. Goosebumps in a sleeping bag when it was just barely freezing outside. And my cock, Christ, it was rock solid now. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d had a hard-on like this. And I’d had a lot of offers for fucks over the years.
“Jesus, lady.” I managed to squeeze the words out through my throat, got my eyes to focus on her instead of the ceiling.
“We just met!”
“Kurt Anderson, I’ve known you since third grade.”
She didn’t look like she was joking. And she didn’t have the vibe of someone negotiating the terms of a pity fuck. But I wasn’t entirely sure what I’d do if we did get naked, much less get busy. It had been so long since I’d gotten close to a woman. And as for fucking… I swallowed hard. What was I doing?
Her mouth, though. My eyes snagged on that pouty lip—just inches away, right here in my tent. Unless this whole thing was a hallucination. And, Jesus, if it was, let it never, ever end.
“How about a kiss?” My attention was so focused on her mouth, I forgot to take in her eyes when I let those words slide out. As if I said shit like that every day.
Her eyes were wide, by the time my gaze made its way up there—like she was taking it all in with as much as excitement as I was, and she didn’t want to miss a thing.
“That’s what you want?” she asked. “A kiss?”
“Yeah.” I was breathing hard already, like a teenager, which seemed pretty damned suited to the situation.
“Come here, then, and kiss me.”
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Adriana Anders is the award-winning author of the Blank Canvas series. Under Her Skin, a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2017, has been featured in Bustle, USA Today Happy Ever After, and Book Riot. Today, she resides with her tall French husband and two small children in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, where she writes the gritty, emotional love stories of her heart.
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