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In light of my week-long cold and the general laziness stemming from said illness, I didn’t climb out from under my pounding headache to do a regular Monday spotlight.  But this might be good news for you, beloved reader, as I’ve decided to share an exclusive excerpt from RUN TO YOU.  As we pick up moments after he stops by the beach house with nasty cuts and an unlikely excuse, it seems the good Sheriff Wyatt Reed has some secrets of his own.

A light knock on the door startled her from her reverie. Her heart seized in her chest.

Hutch wouldn’t bother to knock. It had to be Wyatt.

Mattie opened the door and stared at him. He met her eyes with yet another unreadable expression, this one just as hot as the last had been cold. Seconds lingered, lost in the space between them.

She stepped back to let him into the room, but he didn’t move. He just stood there looking wild and a little dangerous. And wounded.

Her frustration faded. Some of his cuts were pretty bad. Mattie was no expert, but the long, clean slices on his forearm didn’t look like they could have come from storm debris. “Are you okay?”

“I will be,” he said, his voice as soft as she remembered his kiss to be, an odd contrast to the battered man who stood before her. “Look, I’m sorry about earlier. I’ve spent the whole day trying to forget about you so I could focus on this case, and it’s not working.” He gave her a half grin. “Frankly, it’s pissing me off. And I give up.”

She had to fight a tide of rising emotion—one that had nothing to do with loyalty to Hutch and everything to do with Wyatt’s raw masculinity. Ragged and torn, he both scared and excited her in ways she’d never felt before. But, no matter how much he swept her away with his tanned, salty sex appeal and unconventional words of affection, something else had to come first.

“Hutch had nothing to do with what happened out there, Wyatt. I know him. There’s no way.”

Wyatt came just far enough in the room to shut the door. The soft click was deafening, even over the pounding of her heart.

His gray eyes looked her over with surprising tenderness. “If I had reason to think he did, I wouldn’t leave you here alone with him for a second,” he replied, the rasp of his voice coaxing shivers to her flesh.

“Are you?” Her voice came out in a hoarse whisper that matched his rugged tone. She took a step backward and he mirrored her movement, staying close. A little rush of adrenaline shot through her, her body reacting with a delicious thrill to his predatory stance.

“Am I what?”

He bent his head close and tipped his face toward hers as he spoke. His breath came in soft puffs against her skin, carrying the light scent of spearmint and the heady suggestion of . . . suggestive things. Mattie’s heart raced past the point of logic, something purely primal guiding her toward the heat of Wyatt’s dirty, sweat-streaked body.

“Are you leaving me?” She half hoped he’d say no, even if it meant he didn’t trust Hutch.

“I’m coming back tonight if you’ll have me.” Sparks of heat lit his eyes, the bare traces of a smile pulling at the corners of his mouth.

Mattie swayed toward him, helpless against his gravitational pull. They were so close now, she could feel the heat of his skin, smell the sweat lingering with the scent of the ocean. “Oh, I’ll have you, Wyatt Reed. You can count on that.”

He chuckled, and the sound eased through her, warm and smooth. “It’s a date, then.” He lowered his mouth the last inch, and she met him with parted lips.

He pulled away far too soon.

“I don’t want to start something I can’t stop,” he said, answering the question she’d yet to ask. “And Mattie, I need you to understand something.” He straightened, the teasing tone gone from his voice. “The only way I can prove Hutch had nothing to do with the murder is to do my job, and that means asking questions. It has nothing to do with us, okay?”

Mattie nodded, suddenly not the least bit concerned with Hutch. Not with Wyatt standing in front of her like some kind of savage. Not with her imagination leading her down all sorts of wicked paths, none of which would have ever converged in her white collar, blue blooded, so-called real world.

He leaned over and swept one more kiss across her lips. “Seven?”

“I’d say I’d leave the door open for you, but . . . .” She trailed off, grinning.

“Don’t you dare. I’ll see you soon.” He let himself out onto the deck and stood there until she locked the door. When it clicked in place, he shot her an unfairly sexy grin and trotted off down the deck stairs, leaving Mattie alone with a storm that had nothing to do with the wind howling outside and everything to do with the way a small-town sheriff ravaged her heart.

* * *

Once he’d put some distance between himself and Mattie, Wyatt finally let agony contort his face. Funny how he’d almost forgotten the searing pain while he was with her, but there was no forgetting it now. He figured he needed stitches, but that would mean explaining what happened, and he wasn’t about to do that.

Not when it meant the truth would come out. He wondered if Mattie and Hutch bought the story about storm debris causing the wounds. You might as well kill me yourself, you bastard. The recollection of Angela’s words—along with unwelcome memories of a moment he’d be happy to forget—sent pain rocketing through his forearms. He hadn’t bothered to tell her it would be his pleasure.

Wyatt jumped in the truck like he always did, just in case Mattie still watched him. Tucking his head to hide the grimace on his face, he went to push down his hat out of habit and realized he’d forgotten to grab the one he left in Mattie’s bathroom. Not that it mattered. The wind would have blown it right off his head, which is why he didn’t have one on to begin with. With a defeated sigh, he reached to thump the truck into gear and winced as the muscles in his forearm flexed and reopened one of the wounds.

Swearing under his breath, he made an awkward grab for a napkin out of the glove box to catch the drips. Damn Angela all to hell—that knife had gone muscle deep. One way or another, she was going to pay for what she’d done.

He wiped the last of the blood from his arm and caught the steering wheel just before the SUV took out a mailbox. Once he was safely back in his lane, Wyatt allowed a small smile to play on his lips.

Angela would pay, all right. In fact, some might say she already had.

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