Book: Tough and Tender (Bad Boy Romance Box Set)

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Next: Chapter Twelve

Chapter Eleven

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Hawkins Malone couldn’t exactly call himself an ‘eligible’ bachelor. Because he fully intended to never get married. He certainly had no wish to fall in love.

Years growing up as a kid in a dysfunctional home had put him off the idea of a wife and kids. His unhappy childhood with a mother who finally ran out on him and his deadbeat father when Hawk was fifteen years old had something to do with that. Three years later, barely eighteen, Hawk decided to join the Marines and it turned out to be the best decision he’d ever made.

The discipline, the physically grueling training regime as well as the support group provided, gave Hawk the grounding his family never could. A lot of things about him changed when he became a Marine. He’d always been the type to pick a fight whenever the chance presented itself. When he was younger he’d had a self-destructive phase where he was just a bullet away from being dropped after a bar fight or a punch out. He’d never cared about surviving; he’d taken each day as it came with no worries about the future. But he was a different person by the time the Marines were through with him.

The one thing that didn’t change though was his aversion for commitment.

He was a member of one of the most elite and dangerous demolition teams in the force, and he was known to take the most risks on the field. That meant that his team members saw him as the kind of Marine you’d want near you while crawling around surrounded by the enemy in some hostile country with either the jungle or the desert around you. Hawk liked to be the man you could trust in the toughest mission.

But when it came to love affairs, he couldn’t count on his steadfastness.

It wasn’t that he set out to be a cad. It was just that being a Marine already made it difficult to keep up any serious relationship. Hawk had never been really keen on putting one woman through the strain that would come with being with him. No denying there were tons of girls always lining up to get bedded by a military man. And for some reason, they seemed to dig his bad boy status, just happy to have his attention for a few steamy nights and never really dreaming they’d get the chance to stick around.

Which was just fine with Hawk.

He’d told Anna about the killing and the deaths and how it had gotten to him, especially in the past few months during his last assignment. Hawk’s training had shown him how to easily liquidate any opposition and never look back. But there were the lingering ghosts...the memory of the danger and how easy it had been to not make it back alive – and the comrades that hadn’t. His soul would probably always be more than a little damaged, but for some reason, meeting Anna had given him a reason to believe again.

He remembered walking in and seeing her glance his way. Her smile of appreciation and wonder...as if she’d gladly lick cream off his face – had made his chest pound surprisingly. He didn’t even think twice about going over. Her welcoming attitude and her shy yet sexy comebacks had warned him that this was one ‘mission’ he’d enjoy much too much.

All it should have taken was one dance. Some heavy-load flirting to get her smiling and blushing. Hawk wouldn’t deny that he knew just how to make a girl feel like she was sitting on a cloud. But with Anna, he never got the chance to act out his elaborate plot of smitten admirer.

Because in the end, he didn’t even have to act.

He’d never seen a woman with such a hot mix of tigress and kitten. On the one hand he wanted to protect her from all the bad things in the world. And on the other hand, he wanted to stretch that warm, sweet little pussy of hers with his cock until he was imprinted in every corner of her satiny walls.

When he’d asked her to go home with him, he’d been so sure she’d refuse. Hell, that had even been the plan. None of them had ever believed she’d give him the time of day, Marine or not. But not only had she done that, she’d danced with him – and then spent the night – all night with him.

Hawk hadn’t been acting cocky when he’d told Marcus that Anna undoubtedly wanted to see him again. Sure, she’d left without a word but the sight of her “forgotten” panties, for one, told him a different story.

Or perhaps she’d merely wanted to leave him something to remember her by? Hawk was suddenly feeling confused. What if he was wrong after all? What if Anna had given herself simply out of the urge to enjoy no-strings sex on the rebound?

Normally such a notion would not worry him in the least. After all, he was all for the one-night stand opportunity. He’d certainly had enough of them. A few days or weeks resting while they reported back to base – and then leaving on that next secret mission. Such a lifestyle was well suited to the “just sex, no stress” relations he was used to.

So why did Anna feel different?

Why did one night with her feel like it was capable of doing serious damage to his perpetually single status? And even after he knew she was just out of a long-term relationship that ended badly, why did he want to see her again?

Because everyone said he shouldn’t – and couldn’t.

And that was one way to get Hawk to do the exact opposite. Hawk was not a man who liked to be denied – in anything.

What had started as a playful favor for a friend was turning into a challenge. And the fact that Hawk had so little time in which to achieve his aim, made it all the more exciting to undertake.

Previous: Chapter Ten
Next: Chapter Twelve
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