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Absolute Zero

Galaxy Book #4

Where all atomic and molecular motion stops


Sierra Hunt pried her eyes open and looked around. Where was she? Her hotel room? No, not hers, but one like it. Then whose?

She scrunched her forehead, trying to remember that and how she got here.

Her brother Jeremy’s attorney had told her their last appeal had been exhausted. The prosecutor had told her there was nothing else she could do because the case was closed. She had tried three other attorneys who’d all told her they saw nothing to indicate there were grounds for yet another appeal. And the governor’s office would not take her call.

She’d flown to New Orleans to meet with a high-profile attorney who she’d been told was a champion of difficult cases like this. She’d waited all day in his office, only to have him tell her she should accept the fact her brother was guilty and prepare herself for his execution. She’d left his office depressed and discouraged. She had one option left but she couldn’t exercise it until the morning, damn it.

Exhausted, she’d been paying no attention to anything as she made her way through the lobby. Hot tea, she told herself. That was what she needed to soothe her nerves. The drink wagon was still open in the lobby and the scent of the various brews tantalized her senses. Then, as she turned away to head toward the elevators, she bumped smack into a solid wall of masculinity, spilling her hot tea all over the shirt of the man standing in front of her.

“Oh, my god! I am so sorry.”

She grabbed napkins from the drink wagon and tried to blot his shirt dry, but he grabbed her hand.

“I’ll handle it. Don’t worry.” But he was pulling the damp material away from his chest and shaking it slightly.

His voice was rich and deep. Thick brown hair was distinguished by a shocking strip of white that ran from forehead to nape. His sharply defined jaw and high cheekbones were softened by chocolate eyes and thick lashes. His lips, curved into a hint of a smile, looked as they were usually set in a grim line. She wondered what created that.

“No, no, I am so sorry.”

Flustered, she made things worse because she was still holding the now half-empty cup of tea and more splashed out of it. When she turned to toss it into the trash, her hand bumped the metal edge of the counter. She dropped her purse, which fell open, scattering her things on the floor.

If she could have melted into the floor, she would have. She crouched down, doing her best to gather items and stuff them back into her purse. And of course the stranger insisted on helping her.

She grabbed her key card from her purse, and in the process scattered some of the contents again. God. If only the floor would open up and swallow her.

“You going to your room? Come on, I’ll make sure you get there.”

Let a strange man escort her up to her room? Was she crazy?

“No, thanks. I—”

“You’re bleeding.” The stranger took her hand and lifted it. “You must have hit it pretty hard on the counter.”

She glanced at it, shocked to see blood welling form a long cut and running down over her fingers. Holy god. What next?

The stranger grabbed more napkins and pressed them against the cut.

“You can’t let that go like that. I can get you to a walk in clinic—”

“No. Please.” That was all she needed. “I just want to get to my room.”

“Do you have bandages? Antiseptic? If not, you could be courting an infection. I can fix it, at least temporarily.”

She was so rattled that she didn’t even have the brains to refuse. Instead she let him lead her across the lobby to the elevators. Inside the car, he punched the button for the tenth floor.

“I’m on nine,” she protested.

“But first aid’s on the tenth, in my room.”

He was taking her to his room? What if he…?

“Don’t worry.” He grinned at her. “I’m not planning to attack. That is, unless you want me to. Ah, here we are.”

Still in a daze, she let him lead her down the hall and into his hotel room. She had to admit he was very efficient in cleaning and bandaging her cut.

“Are you a doctor?”

He shook his head. “Former SEAL. We learn how to field dress wounds. Okay, there you are.” He frowned. “You’re still trembling. What can I get for you?”

“Can you just hold me for a minute? I’ve had the day from hell and this hasn’t helped.”

For a moment he looked as if he were about to refuse. But then, just as she was on the point of getting, up, he put his arm around her and pulled her against him.

“We should at least introduce ourselves. I’m Vic Bodine but people call me Eagle. That was my call sign.”

She figured the streak in his hair had something to do with that.

When she didn’t respond, he shrugged. “Okay, No problem.”

And still he held her.

His touch was gentle for a man his size, and that was what probably broke the dam of her emotions. One minute she was sitting there and the next she was crying all over his shirt, tears she’d been holding back since this whole nightmare started.

Everything after that was a blur. From blubbering on his shoulder, she was hugging him.

“I’m going to kiss you,” he said slowly. “If you don’t want it, just say so. That’s okay. I’m not in the habit of forcing myself on women.”

But there was no force involved, except maybe for her clutching him so desperately and kissing him so hungrily, as if that could erase this whole nightmare.  It seemed her body’s needs had awakened after dozing for months. Awakened by a man who could best be described as sex on a stick. As their kisses grew hotter so did her body. And then it was as if someone had flipped a switch.

Their kisses were hot and demanding and involved a whole lot of tongue. Their clothes somehow disappeared. Hands coasted over naked skin, touching and squeezing and stroking. While he cupped her breasts in his palms, brushing the nipples with his thumbs, she reached between them to wrap her fingers around his hard, thick cock.

They tumbled onto the bed, barely taking time to strip back the covers.

Heat blazed in his eyes as he raked them over her naked body while he touched her everywhere. At each stroke of his hands another fire ignited, until she was squirming with need. She tried to reach between them to find his hard shaft again but he brushed her hand away.

“Too close,” he rasped.