Men who risk their lives . . . and their hearts.
THE BAD GUY
Regina Foxworth has no clue why an unknown assailant is out to get a small-town reporter like her. Or why the police won't take her concerns seriously. So Regina gets a guard dog make that a four-pound "guard" Chihuahua! and signs up for self-defense classes. But defending herself is not on her mind when sexy instructor Riley Moore has her pinned to the mat.
THE GOOD GUY
With Regina vulnerable beneath him on his gym floor, Riley breaks out in a possessive sweat. He wants her, but first he has to protect her. She needs more than her "don't-muss-myhair" style of defense and that ridiculous so called dog. Riley is ex-SWAT and his new life as an evidence tech hasn't softened his lethal training one bit. But Regina isn't quite the princess she seems, and she's about to catch him off guard!
Known for her trademark sensuality and delightful storytelling, Lori Foster is one of Harlequin's most celebrated authors. She began writing for Temptation in 1996 and since then has completed many special projects, novellas and single titles. Her books have appeared on the USA TODAY and New York Times extended bestseller lists.
Lori and her family and their pet Chihuahua, Brock make their home in Ohio. Lori loves to hear from her readers.
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By Lori Foster
Harlequin Enterprises Ltd.Copyright © 2003 Harlequin Enterprises Ltd.
All right reserved.
Chapter One"Raise your knees."
Wide-eyed, breathless and straining, she said, "No," in such a scandalized voice that Riley Moore grinned. That was the thing about Red - she made him laugh, made him feel lighthearted when he hadn't thought such a thing would be possible ever again. Not a bad start.
But he had other things to accomplish here besides smiling.
"I'm not letting you up till you do." Hell, he'd be happy to stay put for hours. Not only did she amuse him, she also aroused him more than any woman he'd ever known. Her body was slight but very soft, a nice cushion under his larger, harder frame. And the warmth he felt in the cradle of her thighs could drive him over the edge.
Her big green eyes darted left and right. "Riley, people are watching."
"I know." He decided to taunt her. After all, this was important. She needed to learn how to handle him. No sense in wasting all his instruction. "They're waiting to see if you've learned anything through all these lessons. Most of them think not. Others are pretty damn doubtful."
New determination drew her slim auburn brows down into a frown and turned her green eyes stormy. Suddenly her knees were along his sides, catching him off guard with the carnality of it. While his mind wandered down a salacious path, she bucked, rolled - and onto his back he went.
Proud as a peahen, she bounced on his abdomen and cheered herself. Wrong move, sweetheart, he thought, and deftly flipped her straight back and into the same position that she'd just escaped, except that this time her legs were trapped around his waist. With the wind temporarily knocked out of her, she gasped.
Half frustrated, half amused, Riley straightened. Because he knew his own ability, even if most others didn't, he always utilized strict control and caution. Especially with women, and most especially with Red. He'd sooner break his own leg than ever bruise her.
He pulled her upright, forced her arms straight up high to help her breathe, and shook his head. "When you get the upper hand on an attacker, honey, you do not stop to congratulate yourself."
Seeing that the display was over, the crowd dispersed, going back to their own training. Riley stood and gently pulled Regina Foxworth to her feet. She wasn't necessarily a short woman, but next to his height, she seemed almost puny. The top of her head reached his shoulder. Her wrists were like chicken bones. Narrow shoulders, a delicate frame ... and yet, she wanted him to teach her self-defense.
Riley snorted. Hell, whenever he got this close to her he had things other than fighting on his mind. And the fact that, regardless of what he'd tried to teach her, she still ended up on her back with him in the mounted position put all kinds of considerations in his mind.
Like what it'd be like to have her situated that way, with no clothes between them and without her attempting to escape.
Soon, he promised himself. Very soon.
In a huff, Regina promptly jerked away and began straightening her glorious red hair. If the woman thought half as much about applying herself as she did about her appearance, they'd make more progress.
For her lessons today she'd restrained her hair in a braid as thick as his wrist that hung to the middle of her back. Already silky tendrils had worked loose, giving her a softened, just-laid look. Riley shook his head in awe. He worked with other women and they just got sweaty and rumpled. Not Regina. Somehow, no matter what, the woman always managed to look more appealing.
Watching her tidy her braid sent tension rippling through his muscles. A man could conjure quite a few fantasies over that hair, not to mention the delicate, ultrafeminine body that came with it. Hell, he even found the sprinkling of freckles over her nose adorable.
Riley snatched up a towel. "Quit pouting, Red."
"I'm not." But her bottom lip stuck out in a most becoming way. Normally a princess like her wouldn't have appealed to him. But Red had guts beneath the fussy exterior. And in the time he'd known her, he'd also realized she was gentle, compassionate, understanding, and damn it, he wanted her, had from the very start.
If that had been his only problem, he'd have coaxed her into bed by now. But it was more than that. He hadn't thought to ever want involvement with another woman, but he wanted it with Red.
Riley slung his arm around her shoulders and headed her toward the shower. Not that she needed to shower. The natural fragrance of her skin and hair was warm and womanly. His body tensed a bit more in masculine awareness, on the verge of cramping. "We're wasting our time with these lessons."
"I need to be able to defend myself."
True enough. Three weeks ago, Regina had been caught in a burning building while on assignment for the Chester Daily Press. As a reporter, she liked to stick her cute little freckled nose into places where it didn't belong, and that particular building had been in a disreputable part of town. That should have been her first clue not to be there. The fact that the fireworks dealer had already had trouble in the past should have been her second.
She'd forged on anyway and had come damn close to dying for her efforts. Most were inclined to call the fire an accident due to the shoddy management of the owner, who left opened pyrotechnics scattered around. But there was more to it. Long before Red got caught up in that fire, she'd been afraid. Riley first met her while she attempted to interview his friend, Ethan, for commendable work as a firefighter. Even then, she'd been as jumpy as a turkey on Thanksgiving morning. She'd seemed so strained, Riley had expected her to scream at any minute.
The day after the interview, she'd come into his gym and asked for lessons to protect herself. Unlike most of the women who approached him with the same request, Red had seemed more desperate, as if she needed the lessons for an imminent threat, not for general assurances.
Before the fire, he'd discarded her claims of endangerment, as had the county police where he worked as an evidence tech. They still didn't believe her, but at thirty-two, through life and some hard lessons, Riley had learned to read people, to sift real from feigned. Red was afraid, and he'd bet she had reason.
Someone was after her. She didn't know why. He didn't care why.
The day she'd almost died in that fire, he'd staked a claim. Little Red just hadn't figured that out yet. But no way in hell would he let anyone hurt her.
"Why don't you shower up and we'll talk about it?"
"Again?" She gave her long-suffering look. "There's nothing more to say. The police don't believe me, nothing else major has happened -"
Riley jumped on her choice of words. "What do you mean, nothing major? Has something minor happened?"
She shrugged, which did interesting things to her petite breasts. Dressed in snug biker shorts and a matching sports tank, there wasn't much of her body left to his imagination. But then, he'd wrestled with her enough and studied her in such detail that Riley already knew she had a discreet rack. Her breasts were small, firm and a definite draw to his eyes.
Excerpted from Riley by Lori Foster Copyright © 2003 by Harlequin Enterprises Ltd.
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Great book with believeable charactors!
Riley can come to my rescue any day! No one writes sexy romantic heroes like Lori Foster. Not only is Riley hot, but he is also a gentleman and the softness in him just makes him that much more intriguing. Who doesn't love a man that takes to a chihuahua his wanna be girl just bought. He brings out the best in Regina, who is beautiful but has very little self esteem. They are a match made in heaven. Just what you are looking for in a suspenseful romance book. Although a previously published book, these stories never go out of style. 4.5 stars!
I've the plot sweet love between Riley and his girl, not to sappy
I loved this book. I loved the parts were Riley thought of protecting Regina. I loved this book everyone must read!
Regina Foxworth is convinced that someone is out to get her. Since she can¿t get the local police to believe her, she sets out to learn to defend herself. Regina gets a ¿guard¿ dog, a 4 lb. Chihuahua named Butch. She also signs up for self-defense classes that are taught by super sexy Riley Moore. Riley really gets Regina¿s blood pumping. Riley knows from the moment he met ¿Red¿ that she was the only woman for him. Riley has his work cut out for him in teaching Regina self-defense and teaching her that his feelings for her are real. This story has all the bases covered for a great read. The suspense of who is trying to harm Regina will keep you guessing. The snappy dialogue and the hilarious antics of Butch will keep you laughing. What will really get you fanning yourself is the hot chemistry between Regina and Riley. You can really feel the sizzle. Looking forward to more stories of Riley¿s friends.
Three weeks ago while on an investigation Chester Daily Press reporter Regina Foxworth almost died in a burning building (see MEN OF COURAGE, ¿Trapped¿). Even before that incident, Regina seemed fearful for her life, but the Chester, Ohio police including evidence technician Riley Moore thought nothing of her concern. Riley has changed his mind because now knows Regina from his teaching her the art of self-defense and his love he hides from her at this time as he vows to keep his beloved ¿Red¿ safe. Riley stays close to Regina not just to protect her, but because he has too deep inside his heart. Regina surprises herself because she actually feels safe when she is with Riley, who she is falling in love with rather quickly. However, as dangerous incidents begin happening, Riley takes the threat more seriously even while Regina wants him to stay away so that the man she loves remains alive. RILEY, the sequel to ¿Trapped¿, is an exhilarating romantic suspense that stars two delightful lead protagonists who heat the sheets of the novel more than the inferno that almost killed Regina in the previous tale. Ethan and Rosie as well as other friends return, but though the audience will appreciate them and the first story, this book fully stands alone as recalls are smoothly used to bring in pertinent information. Fans will enjoy this thriller due to the taut suspense filled plot with endearing protagonists. Any one who has read Lori Foster will be unable to SAY NO TO JOE when he stars in Ms. Foster¿s next tale. Harriet Klausner