I was probably going to get the shit kicked out of me…again, but I wasn’t going down without a fight. So far I was holding my own. He sent a combination of strikes my way followed by a spinning kick, but I parried them all adding a strike of my own. I was working up a good sweat. Apparently, he was too because he pulled his shirt off. Distracted by all those toned muscles and that sexy six pack, I caught the next kick directly in the gut. This, not only knocked the wind out of me but, sent me flying into the hard wall. I slumped to the floor, gaping like a fish trying to catch my breath.
“Lela!” yelled Shane, my sparring partner, flying across the room and landing on his knees at my side. “Lela, are you ok?”
I couldn’t speak. I could feel my eyes bulging and my head reeling as my inability to obtain oxygen made me light headed. Then, as though my muscles had unclenched, I took in a deep, gasping breath and then another.
“That’s it. Deep breaths,” Shane encouraged, running his hands along my ribcage checking for damage. I winced and he pulled his hand back sharply. “I am so sorry, sweetheart. I thought you were going to block. Why did you just stand there?”
“I was distracted,” I wheezed out, breathing a little better now.
“Distracted?” he looked perplexed. “Distracted by what? There’s no one in here but you and I, and nothing in here is distracting.”
“You took off your damn shirt,” I grumbled.
His gaze lifted from where he was lightly probing my stomach to my face, and a hint of amusement lit under the concern in his eyes.
“So, you got distracted by me taking off my shirt?”
“Have you seen your chest? It’s darn distracting,” I said truthfully. I thought he’d probably done it on purpose. However, his perplexed expression had me rethinking this assumption. He sat back on his heels and looked at me speculatively, a slight grin on his face.
“So, is that what I have to do to get your attention? Take off my shirt?” he asked, his face taking on a heated and flirty expression as he ran a finger along my cheek. “If I’d known that, I’d have done it a long time ago.”
I struggled up to a full seated position. He wrapped his arm around my back to support me.
“Are you sure you aren’t hurt? Can you stand?” he asked, the slight amusement fading. Concern reclaimed control of his features as he watched me struggle up on one knee trying to stand.
“I’m fine,” I said, patting him on the check and then pushed myself wobbly to a standing position. He kept his arm around my waist and helped me stand.
“See, I’m fine,” I said, looking into his face now with what I hoped was a reassuring smile. The concern was still there, but there was something else too. He still had an arm around me and I was practically flush against his beautifully sculpted, rock hard, bare chest. He was looking at me now with deep speculation. My voice sounded a little breathless when I next spoke and it had nothing to do with the kick to the gut I’d received. “What?”
“So, you were saying something about my bared chest distracting you?” His voice had taken on a husky, teasing tone. I flushed but said nothing. He brushed my hair out of my face with the other hand that wasn’t still wrapped around my waist. “I’ve been wanting to get your attention for a while.”
Caught off guard and rendered speechless by mixed emotions, I could do nothing but stare back into his dark, heated eyes. I couldn’t deny I was attracted to him. Heck, I’d wanted to get his attention too, but flashes of Jordan always stopped me from acting on it. Wasn’t this what I wanted though? A regular relationship with a regular guy? Hadn’t I held my attraction and feelings for Jordan in check and distanced myself to give myself a chance at a normal relationship? I did not belong in Jordan’s world. I wasn’t a member of his superhuman squad. I was just a regular, plain old, human. And, this was a regular, plain old, gorgeous, sweet, charming, human guy. He was stroking my hair now and looking at me with a knowing look.
“The way you’re looking at me, I’m getting the impression that I’ve had your attention and didn’t know it. I’ve wanted to do this for a while,” he said closing his hand around my disheveled ponytail and tugging. My head came up as his mouth came down gently and sweetly on mine, and I melted involuntarily into him.
His lips were feather soft at first causing my muscles to relax and little flutters in my tummy. Well, one thing was certain, Shane was no slouch in the kissing department. It was a light, playful kiss. One meant to test my response. He nipped my bottom lip playfully. When I nipped back he pulled me harder against him and deepened the kiss. He teased the corners of my mouth until I sighed with pleasure. He took advantage of my parted lips by slipping his tongue inside and stroking my tongue with his. This kiss was slow, hot and wet and I could do nothing but hold on and enjoy the ride.
“Am I interrupting,” came a very deceptively calm voice from the doorway. I jerked in Shane’s arms as my body seemed to recognize the voice even before my mind did. The voice was so deceivingly calm and genial that the hint of a threat was all the louder. Shane and I both turned towards the door to see Jordan standing there with an unreadable expression on his face. His face might be unreadable but his eyes were glittering.
Excerpted from "Into Thin Air: An Alexander Ranch Matter # 2" by Marla Josephs. Copyright © 2014 by Marla Josephs. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.