His to Keep (Beauty and the Brit)(142)

By: Terri Austin


That move earned her a scowl, causing the lines bracketing his mouth to deepen. Nope, he didn’t like that at all. Too damn bad, hotshot.

To add to her rebellion, Jess lifted her chin and angled her head just a fraction. You’re not going to intimidate me, tough guy. I’m a grown-ass independent woman.

His eyes widened in surprise, then his brows slammed together in irritation. How dare you not cower before me?

She smiled at his reaction. Oh, she was starting to like this brave new side of herself. It was fun. And reckless. In a sea of men, she found herself in a pissing contest with the biggest shark. What the hell had gotten into her?

Then the perv on her left shuffled a few inches closer, brushing his arm against the side of her breast, bringing Jess back to reality with a thud.

* * *

For the last ten minutes, Aidan O’Shea had been watching the beauty across the room. She was out of place among these shitfaced savages and far too posh for this event. That lovely face was so terribly expressive. Every time Byron had taken a hit in the ring—and since he wasn’t an experienced fighter, he took quite a few—she cringed. When he finally went down, she couldn’t bear to watch. Obviously, she wasn’t used to violence. So all this begged the question: What the feck was she doing here in the first place?

Without shifting his gaze away from her, Aidan reached out and grabbed his brother around the back of the neck, pulling him close. “Who is she?” he yelled in Liam’s ear.

“Who’s who?”

Aidan gripped Liam’s neck a little tighter. “Across the room. Dark hair, blue eyes.” Bleeding gorgeous.

Liam scanned the crowd, then found her. “Don’t know, but she’s well fit, isn’t she?”

Aidan growled and shoved Liam away. “You’ll steer clear of her.” Even as he gave the warning, he still couldn’t take his eyes off her. She moved with an innate grace, right down to her delicate pale pink fingertips. There was something innocent about this woman. Sheltered, maybe. Refined—definitely.

Her presence here drew too much attention. Aidan could feel it in the air, a restless mood that rippled through the crowd. He could see it stirring in the eyes of the other men who also watched her, and it brought forth something he hadn’t felt in a very long time—a protective instinct. Which was rubbish, of course. If she should be protected from anyone, it was Aidan himself. He’d shag her in a heartbeat, given half a chance.

“What about her friend?” Liam asked. “Can I have a go at her?”

“Don’t care.” Aidan had barely noticed the friend. But the brunette…now she was captivating. Her large, blue eyes were made brighter by her pale skin and long, dark hair. She probably smelled like heaven—rich and expensive. She’s out of your league, ya mucker. That she was. It didn’t stop him from looking his fill, though.

She began scanning the crowd, her restless glance not lingering on anyone or anything for very long. Then out of nowhere, she flashed those blue eyes on him, and Aidan found himself completely ensnared. They locked gazes for a long moment, before hers flickered over him. She didn’t look impressed by what she saw. In fact, she quirked her brow in a move that said what the feck are you looking at?

It was one thing for Aidan to admit she was above him in every way. Another thing altogether when she acknowledged it.

When she inclined her pretty little chin, looking down her nose at him, it raised Aidan’s hackles. Who did she think she was, coming into his house and acting all superior? She didn’t belong here in the bleeding first place.

And he was more than happy to show her.





Acknowledgments


There are so many people that help a book get from my computer to your hot little hands. First of all, the Sourcebooks team. You guys are amazing. Cat, Rachel, Dawn, Becca, Morgan, Amelia—you ladies are lovely and wonderful to work with. A big special ginger hug to Mary Altman, my editor. I can’t even tell you how much I love working with you. You are a joy and a delight. Thank you!

My sweet husband, who grocery shops and cooks without complaint. Thank you!

Sherry, Kathy, Larissa, Sara—thanks so much! You are always there. I love you guys!

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