She’d wanted him since she was eighteen. Four years away hasn’t cooled the heat Doyle arouses in her, which means it’s time for Thea to take the former Marine by the horns and open his eyes to everything he’s missing. What will it take to prove that she’s not some untouchable porcelain doll, but a red-blooded woman determined to finally get her man?
Honor forced Doyle to consider Thea off-limits. Keeping her that way was proving much more difficult. Every time he turns around she’s there, wreaking havoc on his senses, making him think about long, sweaty nights and how good she would feel wrapped up in his arms. How long could a man be expected to ignore the woman who calls to his every secret desire?
But Doyle has a secret that could jeopardize not only the first fragile bonds of love, but Thea’s very life. Will he be able to act before it’s too late for them both?
Ridiculous, really, since the man didn’t have a clue. He either treated her as a museum piece to be safely guarded and surrounded in bubble wrap whenever a tiny bump loomed on the road of life, or he treated her the same way her had when he’d first come to work for her father: like a big brother. A very domineering, overprotective big brother.
Thinking of Doyle in the big brother role had been all well and good when she was thirteen, but she’d grown up in the nine years since then. Too bad Doyle seemed to have missed that little fact. When she looked at him now, she didn’t see the guy who taught her to hold her breath so she could swim underwater for two whole minutes, or who had sat up with her all night while she cried her eyes out after her dog had dug under the fence and then been hit by a car.
No, when she looked at Brennan Doyle, she saw a tall, darkly tanned man whose military training showed in every disciplined line of his well-toned body, whose intelligence and wit shone from twinkling hazel eyes that could stop a girl dead with one look, whose very presence in a room could start her heart tripping in a triple-time beat no salsa could match. She’d racked up more sweaty dreams about the man than she cared to count, starting when she was sixteen and didn’t even understand what sweaty dreams were all about.
Doyle, her big brother? Not in a million years.
But knowing how she felt didn’t change a thing about how he felt. Or didn’t feel. That was the part that made her the craziest. She didn’t know if that spark of something she sometimes thought she saw in his gaze meant anything or if she was just pathetically projecting what she wanted to see into those beautiful, see-into-your-soul eyes.
Thea sighed, putting aside the sketch pad and turning on her laptop. It wouldn’t hurt to do an Internet search for interior design firms based in Denver, Pueblo, and maybe even Colorado Springs. At least it would help to keep her mind off of the what-ifs and maybes that surrounded her turbulent feelings regarding what to do about Doyle.
Attracting men was not something she’d ever really gotten the hang of. Rebuffing them, now that she had gotten down to a science by her second semester at college, right after the Dave Disaster. He had been her first, and only, lover and it had been, well, a disaster. She’d caught him cheating. He’d accused her of being frigid and needy, and she’d lost whatever small amount of self-confidence she’d started with. After that, it had been easier, and safer, just to avoid relationships altogether.
Attracting men was more Lillian’s tour de force. If only Thea could ask for Lil’s help. But that would mean admitting to her friend that she was still hung up on Doyle after four years of silent denial. Maybe she should write to Dr. Phil. Dear Dr. Phil; There’s a sexy ex-Marine living in the guest house on my parents’ estate, and I dream about him every night in enough detail to make Hugh Heffner blush, but I don’t know how to tell him I want to tear his clothes off and have wild monkey sex with him until neither of us can walk straight. What do I do?
A faint shudder ran through her. Okay, what she definitely shouldn’t do was think of Doyle and wild monkey sex in the same sentence. The same paragraph. The same time zone. With a groan, Thea saved her search results and shut down the computer. She needed help all right, and it was time to swallow her pride and ask for it. The hardest part was going to be finally confessing the truth to her friends.