Dog Haven Sanctuary Romance Book 1
Marlo Croft, canine behaviorist at the Dog Haven Sanctuary in Halo Peak, Washington, has her life neatly organized. The trauma of her past is well buried, her emotions tamped down, and rehabilitating and rehoming damaged and unwanted dogs gives her the focused, contained life that makes her feel secure.
The arrival of a new rescue dog, Justice, also brings the unwelcome distraction of a handsome stranger who is to shadow Marlo and Justice through the dog’s rehabilitation.
Suffering guilt over the death of his wife, New Zealander Adam Guildford’s short contract in the US to research dog fighting is what he hopes will pull him out of the limbo he has floundered in for the past four years. He arrives prepared to tackle the emotional and behavioral needs of the rescued dogs, but completely unprepared for the way his presence unnerves Marlo and awakens his own dormant feelings.
As they start to gain Justice’s trust, Marlo loosens her grip on her inner fears and the simmering attraction between her and Adam heats up. Adam works carefully to dismantle the emotional barricades Marlo erected, until one day he unwittingly delivers the horror from Marlo’s past straight to her doorstep, an action that tears the three of them apart.
Pulling away from the kiss, pausing, forehead to forehead, grabbing for a better breath, Adam eased her grip from his shirt and set her hands at her sides against the wall.
“Don’t move,” he ordered. Taking two steps back, he studied her while he dragged together some self-control. No hurry. Slow it down. The light from the other room caused a low illumination that mingled with the moonlight and washed her skin with a blue-tinged hue. Oh, hell, her breasts. Her nipples were taut with expectation, and he sucked his tongue hard against the roof of his mouth as he recalled how they’d peak when he drew them in.
Marlo raised her hand, reaching to him.
“Don’t move,” he repeated. “I want to look at you and when I’ve finished, I’m going to give you something to blush about.”
The sight of her front on, leaning there against the wall with her chin lifted and defiant, imprinted in his memory so that if he closed his eyes she would appear. He ignored the intense discomfort and begging from his cock as he took his time studying her. When she began to fidget beneath his scrutiny his pleasure soared. Impatient little tiger.
“Adam?” her voice was a harsh whisper.
“Turn around and face the wall.” He watched the confusion ripple across her face. “I like looking at you and want to remember all of you, in this entranceway, standing in just your panties, waiting for me to take you.”
In the low light, he could imagine the soft pink flush heating her cheeks. A moment later, he reminded her that he was waiting.
Marlo turned slowly, with such grace, his breath snagged as he beat down a moan. Jesus, he had scarcely touched her.
He studied the gentle sweep of her back, the nip of her waist, the curve of her buttocks. Her hair fell past her shoulders in a tumble of messy bedtime curls and he watched the quickening rise of her ribs as her breathing became faster and shallower. He paused a little bit and savored the anticipation before stepping close to her, deliberately staying inches from touching. “You all right there?” he asked softly.
“Yeah.” She nodded.
“Control your breathing. Deep, slow.”
She nodded again, and he waited to be certain her breath changed. As it slowed, he reached for her hair and shifted it so it hung over the front of her right shoulder. Using one finger, he tracked the line from shoulder to shoulder, and she trembled. “God, you’re beautiful.” He exhaled, realizing his own breathing needed some control. Then he traced the same path with his tongue, blew along it and drew back to watch her shiver. “Still okay here?”
“Good girl.” He moved back, gathered her hair together and wound it into one tight coil around his fist before lifting it high to her head, exposing her neck. He placed his mouth on the nape of her neck and kept it there on her warm skin, tasting her, feeling her heat, staying on that spot until she shuddered. Using his lips, tongue, and teeth, he leisurely made his way down her spine, awakening every nerve on his journey. He released her hair and spanned her hips with both hands, thumbs pressing into those two indentations at the top of her buttocks as he kept her against the wall. She was squirming now beneath his mouth, and he pulled away. “Stay still, honey.”
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