Title: Beneath Broken
Series: Imperfect Heroes #2
Author: C.J. Pinard
Release Date: July 5, 2016
He’s a clean-cut cop who loves a good challenge.
She’s a smart executive with no interest in falling in love.
It won’t take long for the flames of desire to scorch them both, forcing them to either douse the blaze, or succumb to the fire.
I don’t give up easily. My personality and training taught me that failure is not an option, and getting the attention of the beautiful executive president Harper Mathis is going to be my biggest challenge yet. But first I’ve got to find out why she’s so withdrawn. A woman that stunning must have secrets and I’m going to find out what’s hiding behind those baby blue eyes of hers. She’ll quickly see how much I love a good game of chase.
I’ve gone through hell and am not ashamed to admit that I’m broken. Damaged goods. Used up and empty. I want nothing to do with men or love, especially not a cop and a veteran – one who puts his life in danger every day. I’ve been there, done that, and my heart has no interest in someone like Detective Mason Oliver. Even if he's the hottest thing I’ve laid eyes on in a very long time. I get the feeling Mason always gets what he wants, though. Well, he hasn’t seen my stubborn side.
Well, damn. What in the fuck was this woman doing to me? Here she was, all sorts of closed off and shy during dinner. Being the gentleman I was, I walked her to her car. I was going to make sure she got in it okay, then leave. And yes, if the opportunity presented itself, I was going to kiss her, or at least touch her in some way. It was like she was unknowingly begging me to put my hands on some part of her. She probably didn’t even know she was putting out that type of vibe. Even though the professional side of me knew I shouldn’t be anywhere near her in a social setting, being that she was involved in one of our active open cases.
Then we had this awkward moment at her car. I couldn’t believe she reached up and touched my face. I wish I’d shaved today, but I hadn’t… and she didn’t seem to mind, so I just rolled with it.
It was hot outside as usual, the humidity was stifling, but nothing I wasn’t used to. I really wanted to get into the Mustang and crank the A/C, but when I looked down into swimming blue eyes, I forgot all about the Florida heat and zeroed in on the icy depths of her eyes that were in complete contrast to the heat radiating from them.
During dinner, my eyes had trailed down several times to her mouth. She had the most beautiful pouty mouth, nice teeth, and very smooth skin. I had noticed this the first time I’d seen her when Jenkins and I responded to the robbery, and had pushed it out of my mind. As a cop, it’s pretty much “frowned upon” to date suspects, witnesses, victims, or anyone else we meet while working. I say “frowned upon” because the Tampa Police Department knows damned good and well they can’t stop us from dating whoever the hell we want.
I was still reeling from her soft hand on my face. I realized she was using her finger to trace the stubble on my left cheek, which I’d been told on more than one occasion was sexy to quite a few girls, and just let her do it. I felt my mouth water when she closed the distance between us, her body giving off more heat than the hot day.
“What happened to your face?” she asked, not looking into my eyes but at the bruise Hunter had put on my jaw.
I ignored the question because I really didn’t hear it. Her touch had literally left me no choice. I wrapped my hand around her waist and pulled her to me. Her body felt so good against mine, and as I reached up to grab the hand that was tracing my face, I felt her melt into me. I moved her hand down and threaded it with mine, using my other one to caress her cheek. With her now pushed up against her car, I leaned down and sealed my mouth over hers. She immediately accepted the kiss and then used her free hand to rake her fingernails through my hair. I groaned in the back of my throat at the sensation. It had been way too long since I’d felt a woman do that. It had been way too long since I’d felt a woman against me… period.
She continued to kiss me, her tongue mingling with mine. I almost felt like I couldn’t breathe; she was so hot and I couldn’t believe how much I was attracted to her. I wanted to rip her clothes off and put myself inside of her right there in the parking lot. I had no doubt she could feel my arousal against her, because she was pushing herself – no, she was grinding herself – into me. The chemistry was electric and I had to keep myself from groaning again at the feel of her sensuous and silky tongue in my mouth.
I slowly eased away from her and looked down into her eyes again. “Would you like me to drive you home?” I was slightly panting and out of breath now.
Her blue eyes got big, and she wiped her bottom lip with her thumb. Looking into my eyes, she shook her head no, untangled herself from my embrace, and got into her car without another word. She started it up, and I heard a click as she put the car in gear. She didn’t even look at me through the closed driver’s side window.
I had to step away from the Honda so I didn’t get my foot run over.
I stood in the parking lot in stunned silence as she drove off.
I Knew You That Way – Luke Bryan
Fall Into Me – Brantley Gilbert
All of Me – John Legend
Body Electric – Lana Del Rey
Tryin’ To Love Me – Jason Aldean
Crazy Girl – Eli Young Band
A Little Bit Stronger – Sara Evans
Words – Skylar Grey
Learning To Live Again – Garth Brooks
Start of Something Good – Daughtry
Just A Dream – Carrie Underwood
Take Me There – Rascal Flatts
Hello – Adele
Probably Wouldn’t Be This Way – LeAnn Rhimes
Habits (Stay High) – Tove Lo
When Doves Cry – (the late, great) Prince
Goodbye – Secondhand Serenade
Dirt – Florida Georgia Line
Cut – Plumb
Love The Way You Lie – Skylar Grey
Better Than Me – Hinder
Saving Amy – Brantley Gilbert
Faded – Alan Walker
Heart of Stone – Iko
Love Your Memory – Miranda Lambert
Where Are U Now? – Justin Bieber
Can’t Help Falling In Love – Haley Reinhart
Broken – Seether
Take Your Time – Sam Hunt
Lost In Paradise – Evanescence
I Know You – Skylar Grey
Open Up Your Eyes – Daughtry
Call Me – Shinedown
Break On Me – Keith Urban
Ready To Love Again – Lady Antebellum
I'm a California girl living in land-locked Colorado. Lover of red wine, wearer of fabulous shoes, and a die-hard Niner fan, I'm also an editor at heart. I've written over a dozen books and short stories that contain both contemporary/new adult and paranormal romance that are a little bit badass, a little heart-wrenching, and sorta funny (to me, anyway). Almost all my books usually contain law enforcement or military undertones, since strong, brave, alpha men and women are my weaknesses. When I'm not writing, I can be found working at a very strange day job, which may or may not have some mild influences on my gripping stories - so strange, in fact, I think I'll write a book about it one day.
I'm also a proud member of the Romance Writers of America (RWA).