Taking Chances Series - Book 2
Storm chaser Max Grady can already feel it: there’s a tornado coming to his hometown of Chance, Nebraska. Max is going after it, and the only person he wants by his side is police officer Bree McDermott, fellow adrenaline junkie, his best friend, and the woman Max has secretly been in love with for years. But when a close call with a tornado leaves them lip-locked, Max knows that the danger is only beginning.
Bree is always up for excitement. Her close and sexy encounter with Max is unlike anything she’s felt before, and she wants more. As they work together to help clean up Chance, the air between them crackles with sexual tension. But Bree has a tendency to look ahead to the next thrill, and Max knows it. Now they’re all tangled up as they chase the strongest force of nature on earth: love.
Book One, Twisted Up also available now!
© copyright Erin Nicholas, 2016
"Okay, close your eyes," he told her.
She did. He took an extra moment to study her face—the smooth skin and the two dozen or so freckles on her nose that she never covered with makeup, the long blonde lashes that never had mascara on them, the lipstick-commercial-perfect lips that never wore lipstick. Loving the outdoors the way she did, she was faithful with sunscreen and lip balm, but otherwise she never wore makeup, claiming she had no time for "that stuff."
He loved the natural look.
Being an outdoorsy, low-maintenance guy himself, he supposed that made sense, but truly, in his mind, it was a chicken-or-the-egg question. He'd loved Bree all his life—first in a little-sister way, then as a cool tomboy friend, then as a girl he wanted to kiss, and now as . . . a very weird and confusing combination of all those things. So he knew his attraction to the natural, girl-next-door type came from the fact that Bree had been the girl next door, literally, all his life.
"What am I doing now?" she asked, her eyes still shut, her face tipped up as if basking in the feel of the air.
He closed his eyes, too. "Just feel," he told her. "What's in the air?"
He heard her take a deep breath. "A lot of moisture."
"Right." It was definitely going to rain. That was a given. But Max could feel how much the clouds wanted to dump everything they had on them all at once. It was dumb, probably, to give the clouds and the air currents and the thunder human characteristics like desire and need and anger and relief, but that's how it worked out in his mind as a storm built, pounded the earth, then rolled out like a long, relieved breath.
"I can feel the air is a little cooler," Bree said.
Max nodded, even though she couldn't see him. "Right. Can you feel how it blows in and feels warm at first and then follows with the cold?"
"Yeah." She said it with a hint of excitement. "It is like that. I was trying to decide if it was just the breeze that was cool. It's like the warm air is sitting here against my skin and then the cool rolls in, bumping some of the warm out of the way." She paused, then laughed. "That sounds dumb, doesn't it?"
"Not even a little," Max said, unable to keep his eyes shut. He glanced at her. Hers were still closed. "That's just what's happening. The cold front is moving in, taking over. The fronts are going to bump up against each other in a bigger way, but you're feeling the hints."
She took a deep breath. "I wish I were wearing shorts, but I'm glad I took off my shirt. I love feeling the air on my skin."
Max squeezed his eyes shut on that. Why was he teaching Bree about weather again? It was no surprise that she was absorbing all of this and loving it. The rafting trip alone had proven to him that underneath the adrenaline junkie who needed to always go faster and harder, she also absorbed everything about the experience. She noticed the sounds, and the smells, even the feel of a place. She ran her hands and feet through the sand, dirt, gravel, snow, water—whatever was around them. And she wore as few clothes as possible.
It almost made their snowy ski vacation to Colorado his favorite of their trips because she'd been forced to be covered up.
Then again, it wasn't like he minded seeing as much of her skin as possible. It just made sitting comfortably a little more difficult.
"You don't know what might get to flying around out here," he said after clearing his throat. "It's better to be covered up."
Her eyes opened at that, and she looked over at him. "You think it's going to be a tornado?"
She had the typical look of anticipation in her eyes, but there was a bit of worry there, too. With reason. Chance had suffered through more than their share of trouble thanks to twisters. They didn't really need any more.
He sighed. "I do."
"Damn," she muttered. She turned her attention back to the sky above.
"Do you feel it?" he asked for some reason. "Do you feel the pressure? The energy? Like something's coming?"
Part of him really wanted her to. There was such a strong connection between them already in their shared need for adrenaline. But he wanted more. More of a connection, more of an understanding. He'd gotten turned on watching this woman fill her hands with mud from the bottom of the Colorado River and spread it up her arms, for God's sake, and it hadn't been about the sensual slide of her hands over her skin. It was the unadulterated pleasure on her face as she did it. The joy. The way she threw herself into everything.
He really wanted her to be able to feel the power of the storm that was coming.
While part of him really wanted her to look at him like he was nuts.
That would be so much easier.
Because if she could feel the weather like he did, he'd want her even more.
"I do feel it." She ran a hand up and down her arm. "It's like there's this . . . anticipation."
She looked over at him. "You know what it reminds me of? When you're coming up to your front door and for some reason you just know that everyone is hiding inside waiting to surprise you. Or when you're watching a horror movie and you know they shouldn't go down the basement stairs."
He laughed at that. "No one should ever go down the basement stairs in a horror movie at any time, for any reason."
She laughed, too, and in that moment he wished like hell that the horror flicks and roller coasters and other things that gave her the scared-but-thrilled rushes were enough. Roller coasters weren't hard on his knee, for one thing. And he'd love to cuddle up with her on the couch for a movie marathon.
Fuck, he sounded like an old man.
No. Old men didn't do roller coasters.
That was small consolation.
Keeping up with Bree was tough on him. He should be grateful it wasn't a 24/7 thing. She'd probably kill him.
For some stupid reason, he let his gaze drop to her mouth—something he really fought not to allow much when they were together—and all he could think was, But what a way to go.