Baby Take Me Home: Sneak Peek 2

“Mr… uh, TJ, isn’t it?” He hadn’t fallen for that the last time, and of course I knew the man’s name, now his full name, Thomas James Russo. I’d been investigating him for days.

Judging by the look on his face, he knew all about it.

“Ashlee.” My name in his smooth voice slid over me and sent a whole new—and this time enjoyable—set of chills down my spine. He wore light gray dress slacks and a button-down white shirt with the top two buttons open. Business casual but sexy as hell.

I ignored those top two buttons and took charge of the exchange. “Did we have an appointment?”

“You should invite me in,” he responded. It wasn’t a request, it was a command.

I remembered that about our last exchange. There was nothing polite or cajoling about him. He demanded, and judging from his sense of entitlement as he did so, I could only assume people obeyed. Which made me want to disobey him so very, very badly. And yet, I found myself backing up into my foyer, opening the door wider, silently allowing him entrance to my home, my sacrosanct space.

He closed the door quietly behind him, blocking out the late afternoon sun and leaving me momentarily blinded by the lost light. His warm skin and his fresh, earthy scent told me he was close to me. Indecently close.

When my sight adjusted to the dim light, I realized we were just inches apart. I was in bare feet and he stood at 6’3”, which I knew from my research on him, making him a full half a foot taller than I. I had to tilt my head up to meet his gaze.

“You’ve been a bad, bad girl,” he whispered.

That sent a jolt of attraction through my veins. I’d never before been turned on by a man just talking to me, so that couldn’t be what was happening. But the longer I stood rooted to the spot, barely able to breathe, willing him to speak again, the more I doubted my own assessment.

I fixated on the pulse in his throat beating firmly and steadily. Not racing like mine. I wanted to even the score, send a shockwave through his veins, pull him into my wild imagination where we were tearing off each other’s clothes.

I leaned closer to him and whispered, “Are you here to punish me?”

His pulse kicked up. He drew in a long breath, and his pulse returned almost to normal. It wasn’t that he was unaffected by me, it was that he was controlling it. Being the boss of it. Dominating it.

My little game had worked to draw a response from him but the heat of embarrassment crept up to my cheeks. I cleared my throat and took an awkward step backward.

“Tell me about these FOIA requests,” he said quietly.

I looked away from him and struggled to keep the shock off my face. I’d just applied for more details about his military service and the government support work he’d done for the past five years through the reporter’s best friend, the Freedom of Information Act. I’d done that less than two hours ago. How the hell did he know about that?

I took a steadying breath and stared into his big, brown, lying eyes. “I want to know what you’re hiding.”

“In my military records?” He shifted, and suddenly my back was against the wall and he was propped with his arms on either side of me, leaning close but not touching my skin. God help me, I wanted him to run his strong hands down over my body.

“Lots of black ink,” he whispered.

I was so caught up in the heat and scent of him, I nearly had to ask what he meant. My brain fog cleared momentarily and I pieced it together. “Classified operations.” Of course. He’d been in military ops after all. “But I’m sure there’s something of interest in your file that I could learn.”

“Doubtful.” His full, sensuous mouth curved into a grin. “But you’ll have to take my word for it, seeing as how your requests have gotten lost.”

I’d been staring at his mouth, so it took a few beats for his words to register. “Lost? As in, gone? What have you done? And how—”

He pressed his finger to my lips. “Government bureaucracy is a nightmare. So if there’s anything you want to know, you’ll have to ask me.”

“You’re a liar. And an ass. And bossy as hell.”

“Maybe. But I’m the bossy, lying ass who’s going to save you from yourself.”

I pressed my hands against his chest to push him away, but lingered with my palms flat and warm against him instead. “I don’t need saving, so you can drop your protector act.” I had to admit, the words might have packed more of a punch if I hadn’t been effectively feeling him up when I said them.

“It’s not an act,” he whispered in my ear. “But maybe you should tell me what you do need.”