It’s that time of year again. Everyone is going back to school and so is Katie Porter’s Leah and Mike from Hold Em.
Daughter of a world-famous motocross champion, and head-on competitor with three brothers, Captain Leah “Princess” Girardi was born with a need for speed. No one tells her what to do, especially not men with chauvinistic “girls can’t be fighter pilots” attitudes.
That’s what ended her brief relationship with Captain Mike “Strap Happy” Templeton. Now, six years later, he’s been assigned to her squadron, and whoa damn, he’s filled out nicely. Plus he’s cultivated a Zen-like chill factor that pulls at her hormones.
Even after four tours, Mike’s the new kid in the 64th Aggressor Squadron. That’s not the only thing new. Since he last saw Leah, he’s learned a few things about himself. A female who outranks him still makes his teeth grind, but in the bedroom he craves the rush of pain inflicted by an adoring, powerful woman.
Their reunion is an explosive revelation. Leah is the beautiful mistress he’s been searching for, and she takes to her new role like a natural. But Leah’s aware one thing hasn’t changed. Loving him is still an all-or-nothing proposition. She’s not sure her reckless streak is wide enough to risk her career—and her heart.
Leah and Mike
Shuffling a lame salad around a plastic plate, Major Leah “Princess” Girardi glared at him. She loved her guy. She really did. But sometimes Mike Templeton was full of crap.
“You did not. You hated studying, not school. I bet your waking hours were spent peeling chicks off your chest.”
He licked his thumb and wiggled his eyebrows. “And other body parts.”
“If we weren’t in a food court…”
“Bring it, Princess. You know I can take it. In fact, you love that I can take it” Leaning back on the plastic chair, he appeared as nonchalant and unruffled as ever. “Besides, I like when you get pissed at me. It brings out the sparkle and liveliness in your eyes.”
Leah balled up a napkin and tossed it across the little round table. She hit him square on the nose. “You are so damn cocky.”
“That’s got a good root word. It weaves through my life, so to speak. The cockpit of my jet. The cock you love to…”
“Shut up,” she hissed, glancing around the busy food court. “Did I or did I not just make major? Captain Templeton, I outrank you by, like, a billion degrees of coolness.”
“You live for pulling rank, don’t you?”
“I’d be a fool if I didn’t.”
His wide, sunshine grin made her want to kiss him or deck him. The two were usually intertwined. “Besides, all cockiness aside, I did just make use of the phrase ‘root word,’ which means I at least paid attention in English class.”
“The kind they teach third graders.”
“But I also got to say ‘root.’ That can sound really dirty if you think about it the right way.”
“Or the wrong way, perv.”
Mike was laying the playfulness on thick. She liked it. They’d been on various assignments around the country for three weeks. An innocent lunch in the busy food court on base was the first time they’d been able to sit down together, laugh, breathe. Sharing the same house, same flight squadron—she’d have thought it impossible to lose track of him for so long. Her bones were crawling out of her skin, needing to touch him.
No, be honest. I want a helluva lot more than touching. Now.
Now wasn’t an option. They had another six hours of debriefings, safety meetings and classroom time. The complaints about time spent on refresher courses—especially after having just spent twenty-two days apart, flying F-16s with as much skill as any pilots in the world—had brought up the topic of school.
“So what about you?” Mike leaned forward, his powerful shoulders curling in as he propped his arms on the table. God, he looked good enough to devour. Blond hair, handsome features that were always so amiable, and the brightest blue eyes ever. “Straight A student and a list of extracurriculars as long as your arm?”
“Of course,” she said with a shrug. “I wanted to be the best. Always have. That meant a great college, and that meant acing the hell out of flight school. You met me around then. You know how ambitious I was.”
“As in ‘scared the crap out of me’ ambitious? Yeah.”
“Just because you had the drive of a broken-down Volvo. Not my fault.”
“No.” The bright blue of his eyes became illuminated with the flare of passion she’d come to expect when their teasing turned hot and greedy. “Not your fault. But I’ll give you all the credit in the world for kicking my ass into shape when I first got here. I can’t think of too many people who’d have been patient enough.”
“Patient? Sure! That’s describes me perfectly!” She toyed with the straw of her Sprite. “I was a two-tequila-minimum girl back then. The ass kicking was mutual.”
“So… We wouldn’t have been compatible in high school. We definitely weren’t compatible a few years ago when I was a chauvinist pig and you were Miss Wonder Stuff, all prissy in your first flight suit.”
“Prissy? You’re going to pay for that one, Michael.”
His grin widened, challenging her, daring her to not think what he was obviously thinking. Impossible. She wanted them home and she wanted him stretched out on their bed—all for her pleasure. That he loved it too was such a miracle.
“There it is again,” he said, affecting a wistful tone. “The sparkling liveliness of your eyes. You want me.”
“Careful. You’ll be back in third grade. That sounded a half step away from nenner nenner.”
“Nenner, nenner. You can’t have me until…”
He checked his watch. Golden-brown hairs dusted the back of his hand. If he presented her with his wrists, Leah would get to see the tattoo they’d chosen together. That day, that black ink, everything it represented—the topic of school shorted out in her brain. She could only think of Michael.
“Until six thirty-seven,” he finished.
“The aeronautics refresher with all the newbies adjourns at six fifteen. Perfectly reasonable to think we’d be home and naked twenty-two minutes after that.” He made a mock-surprised look. “Ooh! And there’s my wicked math skills.”
“I hate you.”
He took both hands in his and kissed her knuckles. “I think you have that backwards, ma’am. Try again.”
Leah shivered and shut her eyes. She was a damn lucky woman. So damn lucky. She opened them, and he was smiling in his indulgent, patient Zenned-out way.
“I love you and you know it, Michael,” she said on a sigh. “You cocky bastard.”
“And I love a woman obsessed with my favorite root word…”
Meet Katie Porter!
Both are multi-published in several romance genres. Carrie has an MA in history, while Lorelie is a US Army veteran. Generally a high-strung masochist, Carrie loves weight training but she has no fear of gross things like dissecting formaldehyde sharks. Her two girls are not appreciative. Lorelie, a laid-back sadist, would rather grin maniacally when Carrie works out. Her three boys love how she screams like a little girl around spiders.
Want to purchase Katie Porter’s novels?
Vegas Top Guns
- Double Down at Amazon
- Inside Bet at Amazon
- Hold ‘Em at Amazon
- Hard Way (April 9, 2013)
- Bare Knuckle (October 2013)
Please help spread the word: Tweet: Go back to school with 30 authors while #giveaways ensue during #SchoolsIn (Sept 1-30) http://tinyurl.com/LESchoolsIn – #paranormal #contests #UF
Thank you Katie for taking part in Literary Escapism’s School’s in!
Katie is giving away a copy of Double Down, Inside Bet or Hold Em – winners choice!. To enter, all you have to do is answer this one question: Would you have been compatible with your significant other had you met him or her in high school? Remember, you must answer the question in order to be entered.
Even though I’m not giving the additional entries any more, you can still help support the author by sharing their article, and this contest, on your blog, Twitter, Facebook, or anywhere you can. After all, the more people who are aware of this fabulous author ensures we get more fabulous stories.
The winner must post a review of the novel someplace. Whether it is on their own blog, Amazon, GoodReads, LibraryThing or wherever, it doesn’t matter. Just help get the word out.
All School’s In contests will remain open until October 7th at which time I’ll determine the winner with help from the snazzy new plug-in I have. Have you checked out the other School’s In contests yet? Check out the Master List to see all the School’s In giveaways
I have not been contacting winners, so you will need to check back to see if you’ve won.