Sunday Snippet: Dare to Hold by Carly Phillips

Carly Phillips writes some of the best freaking cops EVER and Scott Dare is at the top of my list of favorite cop heroes not just by Carly, but in romance land. Yes he’s that good. And we have a snippet to share with you.

DareToHoldSome women always get it right. Kindergarten teacher, Meg Thompson, on the other hand, consistently makes the wrong decisions — and she is currently single, pregnant and alone. Meg is determined to make changes in her life, to be a better mother than her own had been. No revolving door of men. No man, period. Just a single-minded focus on her baby. Her resolution would be easier to keep if not for hot cop, Scott Dare. He insinuates himself in her life, making Meg want to believe in happily ever after, even if history has taught her to know better.

When Scott Dare hears Meg’s friends are determined she have a night of hot sex, before her life changes forever, he decides that man must be him. Their one night is mind blowing and life altering. And Scott, a man already burned by his ex-wife, finds himself all in anyway. While protecting Meg from her violent ex and becoming part of her increasingly complicated life, he’s falling hard and he can’t seem to find distance. Not when their bodies respond to each other with such heated intensity and he’s drawn to her unique combination of strength and vulnerability.

But Meg’s future is one Scott has accepted he’ll never have, even if his growing feelings say otherwise.

Sunday Snippet

After his sister had ripped into him, Scott had actually felt bad, wondering if he’d pushed Meg into something she wasn’t ready for. He decided to call her … but his car just happened to pull off her exit. Yeah. He’d keep telling himself that.

He rang her doorbell, not even knowing if she was home. The door swung open wide, and he found himself facing a pale, wide-eyed Meg.

His protective instincts swung into high gear. “What’s wrong?” He stepped inside and shut the door behind him.

“I… My ex was here,” she said, her big brown eyes damp.

Rage at the thought of anyone scaring her, hurting her, filled him. “Here? As in inside?”

She shook her head. “No. I didn’t open the door.”

He breathed out a relieved breath. “Good girl.”

“But he kept banging and yelling, cursing, saying we needed to talk.”

“Not happening,” Scott said through clenched teeth.

“Not if I have anything to say about it,” she agreed. “I didn’t answer him. But he’s not going to just go away. Restraining order or not.”

Her hands shook, and he clasped both his palms around her cold extremities and held on. Despite the serious situation, he couldn’t help but notice how soft her skin was, how delicate she felt beneath his fingers.

“I don’t understand. I don’t want anything from him. Not a dime, even though his family can more than afford it. I just want him to sign away his parental rights. Why won’t he just do that?” she asked, her voice trembling.

Scott filed the information about his family’s money away for later. “People have strange reasons for doing things.” He’d have to figure out Mike’s. But right now, Meg was his only concern, and she needed to calm down.

He led her to the couch, where she’d obviously been sitting with her open laptop and notepad. He sat down, pulled her onto his lap, and she immediately curled into him, seeking comfort he was only too happy to give.

“It’ll be fine,” he assured her, wrapping his arms around her smaller frame. She felt so delicate, so perfect in his arms.

“I hope so.” She curled her fingers into his shirt and rested her head against his chest with a small quivering sigh.

“I won’t let him hurt you.” He stroked the back of her hair, inhaling the fragrant scent of her shampoo. Memories of sliding into her wet heat hit him without warning, and his body responded.

He swallowed a curse, reminding himself she sought reassurance, not sex, but his stiff cock wasn’t listening. It didn’t help when she wriggled deeper into him, her face tucked against his neck, her breath hot on his skin.

He needed to think with his head. The one with common sense that knew she was frightened. “Hey.” He brushed her hair out of her face. “You’re safe now.”

“I know. I just feel so stupid, thinking a piece of paper would keep him away. And I don’t know what to do now.”

“Well, first thing, let’s get this visit documented by the police. You want everything on record.” In case something else happened, which Scott wouldn’t say to her out loud. For one thing, he didn’t want to frighten her further. And for another, he wouldn’t let that bastard near her.

She eased back to meet his gaze. “I can’t prove Mike was here.”

“I’ll talk to your neighbors. See if anyone heard him yelling or recognized his voice. Okay?”

She remained silent, not looking at him. Clearly he wasn’t helping. “What’s wrong?”

“Everything.” She pushed off him, sliding into her own space on the sofa.

He immediately missed the warmth and heat of her body, but she obviously needed distance. “Tell me.”

She blinked her thick lashes. “I promised myself I’d stand on my own, and at the first sign of a crisis, I curled up in your lap and let you take over. How’s that for falling back into old patterns?” she said, frustration and annoyance in her tone.

“Listen to me.” Needing to touch her, to maintain the contact they’d been sharing, he placed a hand beneath her chin and tilted her head.

She met his gaze with wide brown eyes, and he was struck with a connection, a sense of knowing he’d felt from the first time they’d met. This woman tied him up in knots, made him want to fix things so he could see her smile and light up just for him.

Shit. He shook his head, not understanding how the hell he’d gone from never again to invested so quickly.

“What is it?” she asked, breaking into his too-serious thoughts.

He swallowed hard. Forced himself to concentrate on the thread of their conversation and not his emotions. “There is a huge difference between accepting help from a friend who is experienced in these things and falling back into bad patterns,” he explained.

“Do you trust me?” he asked.

She nodded slowly. “I realize I barely know you, my judgment sucks, but that said, yes, I do.”

The notion was humbling. “Good. So go make yourself a cup of tea or get some water. I’ll talk to the neighbors and be right back.”

“I wish I could do something useful,” she muttered, but she rose and walked into the kitchen.

He couldn’t tear his gaze from the sexy sway of her hips or the way her hair swung against her back. He bit the inside of his cheek and spent the next few minutes getting his dick to calm down so he could to talk to her neighbors.

His canvass of the two next-door apartments yielded only one result, but at least it was a good one. A middle-aged woman had heard the whole thing. And, she informed Scott, she was the same person who’d found Meg’s phone and called her friend after Meg had ended up in the hospital because of her ex the last time. Scott told her the police would be by to interview her and returned to Meg’s to find her sitting at the kitchen table with a glass of juice in her hand.

“Good news. Mrs. Booth heard Mike, and she recognized his voice. I put a call into the station and asked them to send someone to take her statement. And yours.”

She blew out a long breath and stared at her glass. “Thank you.”

He didn’t like seeing her so down. He eased into the chair beside her and tucked a strand of hair behind her ear, just so he could touch her again.

Her cheeks flushed, and a flicker of awareness lit her gaze. There she was. The passionate woman he knew had returned. “So what were you doing before Mike showed up?” he asked, changing the subject while they waited for the cops.

“Online shopping. Browsing, really. Making lists of what I need for the baby, comparing costs on the big items. Things like that.”

“Sounds fun.”

A smile lifted her lips, and damned if his gaze didn’t zero in on that sweet mouth. The desire to kiss her sucker-punched him, but he remained in his chair, one hand clenched in frustration.

“It is. I don’t know the baby’s sex, but it’s been fun to look at all the cute little baby clothes and think about how I want to decorate for him. Or her.”

“Is this a two-bedroom?” he asked, before he said screw it, threw her over his shoulder, and hauled her back to bed, to hell with any damned statements.

All he wanted to do was bury himself inside her while making her come hard and often. Then spend the rest of the night curled around her, keeping her safe and protected.

“No, just one bedroom,” she said, oblivious to his sexual frustration and X-rated thoughts.

How the hell he maintained a thread of normal conversation was beyond him.

“I’ll put the crib in my room for now. The bedroom is big enough.”

He thought about his large house, the one he’d bought as a surprise for his soon-to-be growing family before he’d discovered his wife had had an abortion without asking him. But he’d loved the house, and moved in anyway. Four bedrooms, three and a half baths, plenty big for… Shit.

He was not going there.

“And since my room décor is neutral, I can do whatever I want in the baby area…” Meg trailed off, realizing she was rambling, and a hot flush rushed to her cheeks. “I’m really sorry. You can’t possibly be interested in decorating talk.” She could barely meet his gaze.

“Meg?”

“Yes?” She glanced up at the sound of her name, a rumbling caress coming from his sexy mouth.

His navy eyes were focused on her, and she felt his gaze as if he were physically stroking her skin. Goose bumps lifted on her bare arms.

“Take my word for it. If you’re speaking, I’m interested.”

And that interest showed in his intent stare and focus. Not to mention, she’d felt his erection pressing against her when she’d sat on his lap earlier. She’d done her best not to squirm in her seat.

“Look, I’m sure this can’t be easy for you, but life has a way of throwing you curveballs. The important thing is how you roll with them. Have you eaten?” he asked, surprising her with the subject change.

“I was going to make myself a sandwich when I got hungry.”

Her stomach chose that moment to grumble, loudly. God, could things get any more embarrassing? She had a hot guy she wanted to jump in her living room, and she was going on about baby furniture while her stomach made unattractive noises.

She’d just have to roll with it, as he’d said. “If you’re hungry, I could make you one too? Unless you didn’t plan on staying…”

“What’s wrong?”

“I just realized… Why are you here? Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad you showed up when you did, but … why?” She’d been so thrown by Mike, so relieved to see Scott on the other side of the door, she hadn’t thought to ask.

“I came to see how you were doing. And—”

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