For Her Protection(3)

By: Amber A Bardan

She jerked back and shot him another scowl. “Then you can fuck off as well.”

Meathead two twitched. Fuck, Alicia would be pissed if he ended up spattering blood all over her gym floor. But he would, if that’s what it took to protect this beautiful, hissing kitten.

She took a breath and opened her mouth, most likely to spew more venom. A fake tanned hand rose toward her. Shit, there was only one thing for it. Connor ducked and swiped an arm under her legs then flipped her over his shoulder.

Hell, if the girl was going to act like a shrew, he’d just have to handle her like one.

Chapter Two

Her chest hit a rock-hard shoulder and the breath emptied from her lungs. The booming laughs and cheers of the Twins filled the gym. She’d seen red but now the world turned black. Charlize screeched, beating her fists on the back of her assailant. He didn’t seem to notice, just carried her into the empty studio.

The doors swung closed and he dumped her onto a pile of blue exercise mats. She scrambled to her feet and spun to face him. For a moment she lost her words. Somewhere in the heat of losing her shit, she’d totally blocked out the intruder to her argument. Now face-to-face with him and totally winded, the sight of him smacked her upside her ovaries. His flinty dark-blue eyes watched her like a predator. His broad, athletic body poised, ready to spring if she so much as twitched.

She panted, struggling to wrestle her leaping estrogen under control. Too bad he’d turned out to be a complete goddamn caveman. Had he actually slung her over his shoulder and hauled her ass into his cave? What was that they said about men who looked too good to be true? Yeah well, this one had a flaw she wouldn’t ever overlook. No man treated her as if she were some prehistoric prize.

“What the hell do you think you were doing out there?”

Charlize’s mouth opened. What the hell did she do? After what he’d just done, he wanted an explanation from her?

Fat chance, caveman.

“It’s none of your goddamn business. Who do you think you are throwing women over your shoulder like some Neanderthal?”

One dark eyebrow jerked up and he scanned her from head to toe as if he had X-ray vision. She resisted the urge to cover herself against the sensation of being rendered naked by his gaze.

“Neanderthal? Perhaps I wouldn’t have acted like one if you weren’t screaming the place down like some crazy she-cat.”

Charlize gasped, the still unsatisfied rage in her chest spewing back out. “Now you’re calling me names, that’s slick, buster. Tell me, does this strategy work for you? Drag your knuckles and hurl some insults and the ladies fall to their knees?”

He stepped forward, his nostrils flaring. “You’ve a high opinion of yourself, kitten. I wasn’t trying to get you on your knees. Make no mistake—if I was, you’d know it explicitly.” He enunciated the last word slowly, drawing out each syllable so the word became truly explicit. His black sneakers stopped an inch from hers and he flashed a grin, a tight-like-a-wolf grin, all hungry white teeth. “And for the record I’ve never had to trick a woman to get her on her knees.”

Heat coursed through her system, centering somewhere in her panty region. She squeezed her thighs together and her tongue darted between her lips.

His gaze homed in on her mouth and his voice lowered. “If you’d stopped to listen instead of shooting off that sharp tongue, you’d have seen I was trying to help you before you got yourself into trouble.”

Helping her was he? Of course he’d think she was completely unable to stick up for herself. Charlize took a step out of the gravity surrounding him, hoping it’d free her from the pull. “I didn’t need help. I had it under control.”

“Is that right?” He smiled again and again his expression made her feel as if she were about to be dinner. “You handle yourself by insulting and provoking men twice your size? Very clever, kitten.”

If the condescending caveman called her a kitten one more time she’d show him some claw. “I could handle them—just like I can handle you. You only got me over your shoulder by catching me off guard.”

He laughed and leaned in again. She refused to back away this time.

“Is that so? Care to put your money where your mouth is?”

Charlize swallowed, a thrill trickling over her skin. She could think of a few places she could put her mouth. “What do you mean?”

“You say you can handle them? Handle me? I could have you facedown, ass-up on that mat by the time you count to three.”


Facedown, ass-up? What part of that visual did what it was supposed to do—repel her? The image was like a lick straight over her crotch, sending heat zapping down nerves she didn’t know she had. Not that she’d let him in on her reaction, cocky asshole.

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