Title: Sit, Stay, Love
Author: Debbie Burns
Series: Rescue Me, #2
Pub Date: April 3, 2018
These dogs aren’t the only ones in need of rescue
For devoted no-kill shelter worker Kelsey Sutton, rehabbing a group of rescue dogs is a welcome challenge. Working with a sexy ex-military dog handler who needs some TLC himself? That’s a different story.
Kurt Crawford keeps his heart locked away from everyone. Well, everyone except the dogs who need his help…and always have his back. But as Kurt gets to know the compassionate, beautiful woman he’s been assigned to work with, he can’t help but feel a little puppy love…
By the time Kurt stepped back into the shop, Kelsey was picking up their coffees from the barista. A flash of lightning lit the western sky.
“Seems like we’re going to get hit with another round. Want to make a break for it? It’s about a half a mile from here, isn’t it?” he asked.
“Probably closer to three-quarters.” She was still working to ignore the impression that his arm had left against her body. “Let’s step outside and check it out. There are awning-covered shops for the next quarter mile. We could get closer at least.”
“I hate to break it to you, but I don’t think awnings offer much protection from lightning.”
They stepped out into the dark, quiet street. On the way to the restaurant, the area had been bustling with people. Now, everyone seemed to have taken heed and headed home.
“So, may I ask what I’m about to have the pleasure of drinking?”
“Sure. I couldn’t decide, so I asked the barista, and she thought it was best to go with a basic mocha with whipped cream. And honestly, I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t enjoy a mocha. However, if you want, we can switch. I chose the rosemary–brown sugar tonight.”
“Here I thought for sure you’d pick pumpkin spice for yourself. And this is good.”
They walked in silence at a clipped pace. Kelsey missed his arm around her, but with the coffees and the speed they were walking, it wasn’t warranted. They’d reached the end of the shop-lined street and were about to turn onto a residential one when a flash of lightning lit up the entire sky and thunder boomed all around. Before it quieted, large splashes of rain began to fall.
Kurt grabbed her hand and started to backtrack. “It’s too close. That covered bus stop a hundred feet back is the safest thing around.”
Kelsey nodded, needing no convincing after that flash. The individual splashes became a downpour twenty feet before they reached the bus stop. “Holy crap, this rain is so cold!”
She felt lost when they made it inside and he let go of her hand. The rain was coming in at an angle, so they huddled as close to the back wall as possible in the narrow space next to the bench.
Using his thumb, Kurt brushed a drop of water off her cheek. As much from his touch as from the run, Kelsey’s heart pounded louder than the rain.
“Are you cold?”
She shook her head. “No, not anymore.”
He was staring at her, not the rain. Thunderstorms are on the top of his list. He should be watching the storm, she thought.
How long had it been since he’d been with someone? she wondered. He might have been on active duty, but that didn’t mean he hadn’t had opportunities. But he didn’t seem like the type to get laid just to get laid.
Her mind was racing. She needed to focus, but he was staring at her as though he couldn’t see anything else. Say something, Kelsey. “Want to try mine? It’s not quite as sweet.” Seriously? That was the best you could do?
“Yes.” He sat his cup on the bench and reached for hers. Their fingers brushed, and a jolt of electricity raced up her arm.
She blinked in confusion as he set her cup next to his. When he turned toward her, his gaze was on her lips. He slipped one hand into her hair, gently cupping the back of her head above her neck. With his other hand, he traced her lips. She wanted to keep her eyes open, to know when the kiss was coming, but they closed involuntarily as his fingers moved lower, tracing her neck and sternum. Her lips must have parted because she felt his thumb return to her mouth, brushing over her lips and connecting with her teeth.
Then he shifted and his lips pressed against hers softly, as if seeking permission. She opened her mouth in reply, and the kiss intensified. It was like nothing she’d ever felt, the sweetness of his mouth against hers. His lips were firm, and he tasted so damn good. His hand left her neck and slipped underneath her sweater, caressing the skin at the small of her back.
Kelsey’s knees were turning to jelly. She draped her arms over his shoulders, lost her fingers in his hair. Please don’t ever let him stop. The kiss deepened, and his tongue met hers. Their bodies pulled together like magnets.
She was getting lost even further when he pulled away abruptly, stepping back just far enough to break the magnetic connection. “You’re wrong,” he said, his voice thick and husky. “It’s the sweetest thing I’ve ever tasted.”
Then he started kissing her again, and Kelsey was fairly certain nothing would ever be the same.
Debbie Burns lives in St. Louis with her family, two phenomenal rescue dogs, and a somewhat tetchy Maine coon cat who everyone loves anyway. Her hobbies include hiking, gardening, and daydreaming, which, of course, always leads to new story ideas.
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