The Last Thing She Wanted… From the moment Sass Stone overheard her social worker call her “broken,” she’s been hell-bent on proving her wrong. A broken woman doesn’t have a posse of kickass friends, a foodie lover’s dream job and a string of pretty boys she enjoys playing with. Sure, she has scars, but they’re buried so far down no one even knows they’re there. Certainly her former foster brother, Rudolfo Panuzzi doesn’t know about them. The man she’d dubbed “Rude” could sniff around all he wanted, but it wasn’t going to get him anywhere. He’d never get inside—her pants, or her heart.…Was The One Thing She Needed
A dozen years and several combat tours in the Marines has a way of maturing a man, and Rude is no exception. His last mission killed his closest friends and almost killed him, leaving him with wounds on both body and soul. When he looks in the mirror, the haunted eyes staring back remind him far too much of his sexy little foster sister, Sass. That’s when he knows there’s more to her than he ever imagined… and he’s imagined one hell of a lot.
When Want And Need Collide
One by one, Rude destroys the defenses that have kept Sass locked inside herself. But even as she reluctantly allows him to coax her out of her shell, a dark cloud casts its shadow on their world. Is it something from his past… or hers?***This is the fourth book in the House Of Payne series, but each book can be read as a standalone. Not intended for readers under the age of 18 due to adult language and sexual content***
The upside for Sass in throwing down the gauntlet was watching the surprise bloom in Rude’s eyes.
The downside was watching him pick it up.
“About time you gave me some kind of response.” The satisfaction in his tone unnerved her far more than any hostility ever could. “I was beginning to think you were slow on the uptake.”
“So you admit it. You admit to fucking with me. Good for you.” She nodded, a mocking tilt of her head designed to piss off a saint. “At least you’ve got the balls to own up to it. The question is why.”
He slow-blinked. “Why am I fucking with you?”
“Oh shit, my bad. You are slow on the uptake.” With a sigh that held a world of patience, Rude pushed to his feet. “Okay, fair enough. I guess I’ll have to show you. Get up for a second.”
Confused all over again and not sure what he could possibly show her to make his motives clear, she did as he asked, setting aside her napkin and rising from her chair just as he came around to her side of the table. Before she was prepared for it, his arms closed around her and his lips descended to cover hers.
That was the last conscious thought she had before the world as she knew it went up in flames.
His arms were like a cage around her, holding her as if he expected her to make a break for it. The logical side of her brain insisted that was exactly what she should do, but Rude’s lips on hers negated all logic.
It negated it because he felt so unbelievably good.
The best part about his kiss was that he wasn’t at all shy about it. His mouth boldly took possession of hers as if he’d waited his whole life to do it. No, the best part about his kiss was the way he slanted his mouth against hers in search of the perfect fit.
Then his lips opened hers, and she decided then that the caress of his tongue was the absolute best part. He was openly seductive in how he invaded her mouth, as if he wanted to woo and dazzle her with every stroke. It had to be working, because she was pushing feverishly against him without conscious thought. But she couldn’t help herself. If he’d wanted to woo and dazzle her, he had succeeded beyond his wildest dreams.
A big hand slid under her hair to cradle the back of her head. He held her in place as he deepened the pressure, and the barely contained passion in his intensity became the best part. She stood on her tiptoes in response, a mindless move to lose herself in the heat of him while her fingers dug into the fabric covering his back.
If he’d been naked, her fingernails would have left marks.