Contemporary Erotic Romance/70,000 Words

Kings of Guardian (Book 3)

Dr. Adam Cassidy knew two things: life isn’t easy and fate’s a bitch.

Adam's last mission cost him an eye, his memory, and any chance of staying with his military brothers-in-arms on Guardian's Alpha Team.

After two years he'd scraped together the remnants of his life. He’d refined, rebuilt and pushed on alone. Yet at night, when sleep eluded him, the fleeting memory of a warm, welcome press of soft skin and the distant memory of a faceless, nameless woman haunted him.

Keelee Marshall knew all about loss. The man she loved beyond reason had disappeared on the battlefields of Afghanistan even though he now lived three buildings over...on the same ranch. She couldn't forget their brief nights of passion—but Adam had. Keelee would have to fight for Adam's love, because he was hell-bent on pushing her into the arms of a man she didn’t want and a future devoid of the one thing she needed most. Adam.

For Adam and Keelee a life together may never happen, unless love can trump the cards fate has dealt. She'd go all in, but only if the man holding the cards was her Guardian.


Other Books by Kris


Excerpt

Her dad turned toward the house and she fell in beside him.


“Well, I’ll be damned. They can work.” 


“Stop cussing. You sound like a ranch hand.”
“I am a ranch hand.”


“Don’t matter. You’re still my daughter.”
“Girls cuss.”


“Not in my house.”


“I’m not in the house.”


“Stop being a smart ass.”


“But I’m so good at it.”

The kid’s got walking pneumonia, but as long as he stays inside and rests for a couple days, he should be okay.”
Keelee smiled at Adam. “Thank you, Adam. I knew he had more than a just cold. When I checked on him last night he was coughing up a lung.”


Drake hooted. “Who the hell is Adam?” 


Dixon frowned at the medic. “Damn it, Doc, you actually got a name and you never shared that with us? Should we be offended? I think we should be offended. Hey! I’m offended, Drake. What’s this? Check it out! This morning we find out Doc has an actual name and last night we discovered the Skipper has sisters. Next thing you know Chief is actually going to tell us he has a name. Something like Harvey or Malcolm.” 


Drake chimed in, “No, Mortimer or Horatio—something long suffering and filled with angst.”


“Mortimer? Horatio? What the hell is angst? What kind of word is that? Dude, have you been reading a thesaurus again? What did I tell you about using words you can’t understand?”

Keelee lost herself in his blue eyes. She could get used to this guy being around. But that wasn’t in the cards and she wasn’t the one-night stand type. That’s what she’d been telling herself since she laid eyes on him. “Yeah and just how in the hell did you figure it out? How did you find what you were looking for?” 


He shrugged and seemed to focus back toward Jacob and Tori, who were laughing as they rode up the ridge and shrugged. “My answer showed up out of the dark one night.” He turned back and gazed intently at her. “I just knew.” 


Great. Yet another person who had their shit together and couldn’t or wouldn’t tell her how it was done. “With explanations like that, no wonder I’m still searching.” She turned in the saddle and mumbled. “I think we better go.” 


Doc chuckled and let her lead the way.

“What? Wait. You’re telling me you and your macho men don’t have a slew of women waiting in the wings?” 
Doc vaulted the low stable wall and walked up to her. He reached around her and grabbed his saddle and then lifted hers, pitching it over his shoulder. Inches separated them. Her warm breath caressed his neck. “I didn’t say that. I said there was no other girlfriend. I guess you could say we’re high maintenance. We demand certain things in a woman before she can ever be considered as something more than…hell, I don’t know. Stress relief maybe? The way I figure it, for someone to be considered a girlfriend she would have to have great internal strength. She’d have to be fun, smart, interesting and a solid person. Our lifestyle doesn’t need any more drama in it. A girlfriend would have to understand what we do and be okay with being alone for extended periods of time. Finding that rare combination is probably why she’s the only one.”

The food lasted literally minutes from the time it hit the table until it was gone. The men did everything but lick their plates. 

Damn if she wasn’t beautiful. Keelee leaned down to rummage through her pack and gave Doc an excellent view of her perfect ass. His erection made his jeans just a bit too tight. After pulling clean underwear out, she peeked back at him. “Turn around, please.” 
Doc shook his head, his eyes locked on her. No way in hell he was going to miss this show.


“Alright then, close your eyes.” 


Again Doc shook his head. His eyes swept her body with an appreciative glance.


Keelee took a deep breath that triggered a coughing fit. “Fine, be that way.” 


She turned away from him, took off her bra, and quickly put on a new one—blue this time. Damn, the expanse of naked skin almost had him coming in his pants.

Adam was asleep on the couch and the fire had died down to coals when the door to Keelee’s bedroom opened. The slight noise of the latch woke him immediately. He listened as she padded to the couch. She moved his bangs off his forehead and his eyes popped opened. She straightened, startled. 


“You okay?” He lifted to a sitting position. 


“I’m so damn cold. Would you please hold me again?”

“Judging from her symptoms and the sound of her lungs, she most likely has pneumonia… Needless to say, she and I will not be riding out of here today.” 


Tori nodded. “Jacob and I can move the herd down to the canyon by ourselves... 


Jacob indicated the woman on the couch. “Doc, you okay being up here alone?” 


“Hell no, Skipper, I’m afraid of the dark and I think I might just cry.”

“Adam, I think I need a bath.” 


He chuckled. “Indeed you do.” 


She laughed weekly. “You didn’t need to agree so readily.” 


“Really? Do you want me to start lying to you now?” 


Keelee ran her hand through her hair and grimaced. “No, please don’t.” 

Her hair fell to her waist. Her body… holy hell, did he just swallow his tongue? 

Chief’s words snapped him back. Defeat filled him and he hated he couldn’t express himself the way he wanted. I’m a doctor, don’t you think I know what the prognosis is? He wanted to scream it at the top of his lungs, but he couldn’t. Any strong emotion seemed to hinder his ability to speak. Instead of stumbling with words he lashed out in ASL. Yeah and they fucking said it may never come back! They also said my speech would improve. It hasn’t has it? What the fuck am I doing here? There is no way I can run a medical facility! 
Chief lifted one eyebrow as his gaze drifted from Doc’s hands to his eyes. Nothing in the man’s demeanor gave any indication of any emotion other than that lifted brow. “Stop with the pity party, Adam. Your speech has improved, just not as fast as you feel is appropriate. You have a job to do. Do it. You are here because you’re needed here. Suck it up.” The words were delivered as mildly as if the big man had just ordered a hamburger. No anger, no condemnation, no contempt. So typically Chief. 

“Doc, haven’t you learned not to think for women? It’s too fucking dangerous.” Jason shook his head before he continued. “Women don’t think like we do, man. Their wires have no schematics. There is no straight path from ‘a’ to ‘b’ for them. What possessed you?”

“I know you Guardian guys think you’re all Greek gods and such, but there is no way you’re going to be able to lift me and climb out of here.”


“Oh, really?” 


“R-really.” 


Her shiver didn’t escape his notice. He narrowed his eyes for a second and nodded. “Challenge accepted.”

What did he think he could do? Waltz back into her life and say, Hey Babe, I remember everything! I was an ass, but I’d like another chance. Yeah, right. In what deluded reality would that line ever work?

“Flattery will get you laid, Doctor Cassidy.”

The muscle on the side of Frank Marshall’s jaw clenched. Repeatedly. Frank gaped from his daughter to Adam. “Girl, get your ass into some clothes.” He cast Adam an icy glare that would freeze the burning minions of hell to the fire-stoked floors of Hades.