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

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Next: Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Eighteen


Anna was so furious and virtually in tears at how the night had degenerated beyond her control. She was almost tripping over her extremely high heels as she stepped out on the sidewalk into the cool night air. Just remembering how Hawk had shocked her by bending Steve’s hand back was enough to make her swear out loud. Especially when she looked back suddenly and saw he’d followed her out of the club.

Spinning on her heels, she quickly started to walk off in a huff, intent on taking a cab since she’d come in Bertha’s ride. But obviously Hawk had other ideas. It took no time at all for him to catch up and then overtake her, making her almost collide into him as he stood in front of her, blocking her way.

“Anna, look – I’m sorry, okay?” he said, taking hold of her shoulders gently as she would have side-stepped him with irritation.

“Is that what you came after me to do? Apologize?” she sneered, about to add that she didn’t need his damned apology. But then she was cut short by the hands pulling her overpoweringly up against him.

There was a dangerous smile on his face. “No, sweetheart. I came to do this...”

As usual, the swift, precise way he moved jolted her. His fingers clamped around her upper arm and before she could protest, he was dragging her along briskly. Anna was forced to meet up with his long strides as he weaved them through the lit-up streets until he was pulling her down a secluded alleyway shadowed by two high rise buildings.

“What are you, crazy?” she exclaimed, yanking her arm from his grip as she fought to catch her breath. Despite herself, Anna felt aroused by the situation. A pulse was beating right within her pussy and she felt her nipples tighten to hard knots beneath the furious hunger she saw on Hawk’s face.

“Yes, Anna. You drive me crazy,” Hawk gritted out. “Do you know what I wanted to do to that fool for the way he was touching you?”

“ flash? You don’t own me, Hawkins Malone,” was her disdainful reply. “So if I choose to let some guy touch me – or even take me home with him – that should be none of your business, don’t you think?”

Anna knew it was dangerous messing with Hawk; she saw it in the way his fists clenched and his jaw took on a granite edge. She knew he’d never hit her, of course. But she was asking for trouble by pushing him this way.

“Damn, it’s like you’re hot-wired to my brain,” Hawk suddenly snarled, shoving his fists against the sides of his head. “When I was out there on the every free thought – during those times I could think – was focused on you. All I wanted – the one thing I could hardly wait to do, was come back as soon as I could and find you. Claim you as mine.”

Anna’s lips curled in a slow, taunting smile. “Ah yes; that’s your caveman side at work again I believe. The same part of you that drove you to almost cripple and strangle an innocent guy back there at the bar that was just being...well, a guy.”

“Fuck that,” Hawk growled furiously. “There’s nothing innocent about that dumbass. And about him just being a guy – not all guys are like him.”

“Oh, and I take it you’re any better?” she probed, moving closer to where he stood and taking hold of the lapels of his leather jacket. She saw the way his eyes gleamed in surprise and the next words he was about to say died off in his mouth as she pushed him up against the wall. He allowed her back him up, staring down into her face with a dark, narrowed gaze.

“As I recall, you wasted no time whisking me off home for a long night of hot sex just hours after meeting me,” Anna reminded him, her voice soft and sultry. She was edging her body closer, bringing her soft, firm breasts flush against his chest. He rasped in a breath.

“Now, maybe I should be thanking you for heroically trying to defend my honor...However, let’s face it; you might be a hero, Hawkins Malone...but you’re certainly no saint,” she continued in that seductive tone while her fingers trailed down the length of his manly torso. “You and I know you were pissed at Steve for doing exactly what you wished to be doing.”

Anna felt Hawk stiffen as she pressed one kiss, and then another on his jaw. Her mouth slid closer to his, and when she covered his mouth in a kiss, he let out a guttural groan. His strong arms wrapped around her as he ravenously deepened the kiss. Anna drowned in his hot, powerful passion before drawing back firmly, shaking her head reproachfully at him.

“Now now, soldier. You’re not going to be allowed to have it all your way – not this time.”

It was like every time Anna was around Hawk, she switched into another mode. Half the time, he drove her crazy with his dominating antics, and the other half, he made her so hot she could see herself wanting to simply ravish him.

“I think I know just what you need,” Anna murmured, and then leaned forward to press her lips to his throat, just underneath the line of his jaw. His breath snagged.

‘What do you think you’re doing?” Hawk demanded, the croak in his voice making her smile secretly with pleasure.

“This is what you really want. What we both want. It’s all there is. Why deny it?” Her hands were pushing his tight shirt up over his chest, till she could lean down and lay her open mouth on his skin, tasting his fresh mix of salt and warmth. And a lot of spice was all natural and all him. She heard him choke out a groan as her tongue flashed out to trace the circumference of one nipple. She caught the tiny nub in her teeth and then tugged with gentle force.

Suddenly, an almost animal sound of pleasure growled from his throat, and she felt his fingers in her hair, getting a good grip which tightened the hairs on her scalp, making her moan at the resultant tingling.

“Tell me what you like,” Anna whispered, looking up into his handsome face with its expression of half-agony, half-arousal. “Tell me what I need to do to drive you crazy.”

“Babe...,” was all that came rasping out of Hawk’s tight-sounding throat. And then he was grabbing her shoulders and pulling her up to seize her lips in a lip-smashing kiss. Damn she loved it when he forced his hot, searing will upon her.

Kissed her so hard their teeth clanged against each other.

“You’re right, Anna, this is what I want,” Hawk finally growled as he tore his lips from hers minutes later. “But it’s not all I need from you. How can I make you see that?”

Anna was shaking her head against the torment in his voice. Please, she wanted to beg. Don’t give me hope.

He was sounding like he wanted so much more and she was too afraid to even wish it.

Because she’d already convinced herself that so long as all she wanted from Hawk was sex, he couldn’t hurt her. If she could keep telling herself that all they could ever have was the passion and the heat, it wouldn’t hurt so badly when he finally walked away.

Ever since the moment Anna set eyes on him, she’d forgotten everything else existed. Her pain from her heartbreak had dissolved to ashes from the moment he’d first kissed her. That had showed the kind of power he could have over her if she let him. He’d be her whole world.

Her main fear was-would he allow her to be his?

“Hawk, you don’t have to...”

“Yes, I do,” he said deeply, grasping her face. “It was never a game for me Anna, and it’s certainly not that now. In my past, I’ve used my life as a Marine as an excuse to avoid real companionship. But for the first time, I’m not interested in excuses. I’m interested in trying.”

“I don’t see the point in...”

“Let me finish,” he said with a gentle laugh, his thumb smudging her bottom lip tenderly. “I know you’ve been hurt. And that ex of yours was a blind fool for letting you go. But I’m glad because now I have this opportunity to make it work with you. Just think, Anna; we could have run into each other sooner or later even if Bertha didn’t inadvertently set us up. And I know I’d have fallen for you the minute I saw you. You’ve got everything I like in a woman, babe. And you’ve got everything I want. Right here.”

Anna drew in a breath as his hand lifted to her body, thinking he was about to cup her breast. But no; he placed his hand upon her chest where her heart was pounding like a bass drum. A shuddery, emotional sigh escaped her lips.


“One chance, Anna. That’s all I need,” he said softly against her lips. His tongue lapped at her lower lip and made her moan when he nipped it with his teeth. “Even if it means keeping my hands off you the whole time while we try to make it work. I want to show you we can have more than hot, spicy sex between us.”

Anna shivered, her body melting into his as she finally let her heart begin to beat with expectation. Dared she hope? Hawk had shown her so much since they’d met. Proved to her how strongly she could be desired by a man who knew her worth. And though she’d tried to deny to herself that it was more than just the physical, right now she was beginning to see that if she only rose to the challenge, she might reap the benefits thereof.

And yet her smile was teasing and she gazed up at him. “Oh I don’t know...I kind of liked the hot, spicy sex.”

“Me too,” Hawk growled, his fingers sliding down her shoulders to her hips which he jerked hard against his swollen crotch. “But we can slow down, babe. We can take this step by step. I want to woo you...take you on romantic dates. Know all your dreams and what makes you tick. And I’m willing to let you into my world, too. We’ve got a connection, Anna. I felt it the second we met. And my gut instincts are never wrong.”

“Neither are mine,” Anna said soberly. Her whole heart told her to believe him. Her very soul reminded her that he was the first man who’d made her truly let go. She’d never been like this with Aaron and who knew; maybe he had sensed for both of them that it would be better if they tried to find their true match. And heaven help her; Hawkins Malone, sexy Marine with the sure, warm touch and passionate heart, matched her needs admirably well.

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Next: Chapter Nineteen