There are always those scenes that get deleted from the final draft for one reason or the other–usually because they aren’t moving the story forward or giving the reader needed information. This is one of those scenes that I hated to say good-bye to. It takes place after Brianne Cates has a run-in with the bad guy and she discovers Dusty has stayed at the henhouse to protect her. Aww, I just love my sweet sheriff. I hope you enjoy!
“Bri stepped into the library and discovered the source of light was a crackling fire in the fireplace. Her gaze had just taken in the rumpled blankets and pillows on the couch, when Dusty’s deep voice had her turning to a bare chest and biceps that belonged on the cover of Fitness Magazine.
It was the second time he’d used her name, and she liked the way it sounded coming from his lips—liked it a little too much. “What the hell are you doing out of bed?” His words were harsh, but his hand gentle as he tipped up her chin and studied the bandage on her forehead. “Sunshine said you didn’t need stitches, but I’m wondering if we should take you to the emergency room. Or, at least, call your brothers.”
Her eyes lowered to his mouth as desire mixed with adrenaline and pooled in her loins like the hot gooey center of a lava cake. In an attempt to control the emotions that seemed to be swelling out of control, she took a deep, quivery breath. A quivery breath that Dusty completely misinterpreted.
Pulling her into his arms, he held her against the hard muscles of his chest. “It’s okay.” One hand stroked her hair while the other softly caressed her spine, sending tingly sparks to every erogenous zone in Bri’s body. “It always takes awhile for the reality of a trauma to sink in. But you don’t have to worry, baby. I’m staying right here until we catch the bastard.”
Baby? She’d always hated the word. More than likely because her brothers had used it as an insult. But the way Dusty said it completely changed her perspective. In fact, she wanted to hear it over and over again. And it wasn’t just the word that had her tummy feeling all light and airy. It was the fact that Dusty had been worried about her. So worried that he was willing to sleep on a couch just to protect her.
Unable to stop herself, Bri slid her hands up his toasty, warm sides. His hand halted on her spine and his breathing stopped as she pressed her lips to the sprinkle of hair that grew between his defined pectoral muscles.
His breath rushed back out. “Brianne, you don’t know what you’re doing. You’re still in shock.”
She lifted her gaze. “Then make me forget what happened.” Sliding her hands up his arms, she tested the pumped flex of each bicep before caressing her way over his shoulders, along his neck, and into his hair. “Make me think of only you.” She pulled his head down and kissed him, opened mouth and lush tongue. When she drew back, he was breathing as hard as she was.
“I don’t want to hurt you,” he whispered in a groan. She didn’t know if he was talking physically or emotionally, and she didn’t care. She wanted this man. Wanted him more than she had ever wanted anyone—or anything.
“I’m tougher than I look.” She hooked a leg around his waist, rubbing her tingling center on the hard ridge beneath his boxers.
“Shit,” he hissed before his mouth came down on hers.
Dusty took her at her word. He held nothing back. His lips and tongue met hers in a tangle of heat and unleashed lust as his hips pinned her against the wall in one hard thrust. This was what she loved about Dusty. He didn’t treat her like a porcelain doll that needed to be pampered. He treated her like a woman.
Unfortunately, just when he reached for the hem of her nightie, a loud creak pulled his attention to the open door. In an instant, he released her and had his gun in hand.
“Stay here,” he ordered before he slipped out of the library.
It took a moment for Bri to regain her wits. Although they left again when she stepped into the lit foyer and saw Dusty checking out each room. There was something about a half-naked man with a gun that was the definition of hot. Even when wearing pink boxer briefs.
“Nice underwear,” she said when he walked back in from the kitchen.
“You don’t listen very well, do you?” He went to the front door and checked the locks.
“What do you mean? I listened last night. You said go back to the car and I went back to the car.”
He turned, his expression changing from tense to guilt-ridden. “I’m sorry, Brianne. I should’ve gotten you out of there and called for back up, instead of acting like some hot-shot rookie cowboy.”
She shrugged. “I survived. Besides, it was rather exciting.”
“No.” He strode over and took her by the arms. “It was not exciting. It was dangerous. Dangerous and stupid.” His gaze lowered to her mouth. “As stupid as that kiss. It only happened because you’re emotional and I’m sleep-deprived.”
At his words, her desire fizzled out like an Air Bourne tablet in water. Now she was just angry. Angry that he would think that something so wonderful was stupid.
“Funny,” she glanced down at the bulge in his boxers, “but you don’t look sleep-deprived to me.””