Read Hot Mess Online

Authors: Lynn Raye Harris

Hot Mess

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ABOUT THIS BOOK

 

English professor Dr. Georgeanne Hayes has a problem. Her star pupil, an Army sergeant who works in a Top Secret government program, is missing—and someone tried to push her in front of a train last night.

 

Sam “Knight Rider” McKnight is used to looking out for Georgie. When they were kids, she was just his best friend’s baby sister. But Georgie’s not a baby anymore and Sam is getting some very male—and very dirty—thoughts about the girl he knows he can never have.

 

When someone threatens Georgie’s life again, Sam will do anything necessary to keep her safe. Even if it means spending the next few days locked up in a remote house on Maryland’s Eastern Shore with her.

 

Sam might be used to denying himself what he wants, but he’s about to find out that being cooped up with Georgie will push him to the limit. And maybe beyond.

 

A Hostile Operations Team novella, complete at 33,000 words. Spicy!

 

DEDICATION

 

To my readers! Y’all rock! Thanks for embracing the men of HOT and the women who tame them.

 

PROLOGUE

 

Hopeful, Texas

 

TEXAS SUMMERS MELTED ALL the good sense a man possessed. That was the only explanation for why Sam McKnight had taken Georgeanne Hayes and driven up toward Hopeful Lake. He hadn’t intended to do it at all, but since he’d gotten back home on leave from the Army three days ago, he’d noticed one thing in this town that had changed dramatically: Georgie Hayes.

“You home for long?” Georgie asked.

He turned the car—an old truck he’d borrowed from his mother—onto the dirt track that ran around the south side of the lake. It was nearly dark now, the sun a glimmer of a memory on the horizon.

“Just a few days.”

“I’ve missed you, Sam.”

He shot her a grin. “I missed you too. Your whole family,” he added. The Hayes family had always been more of a family to him than his own. Her brother was his best friend in the world—which meant he should
not
be thinking of Georgie as anything more than the annoying little kid she’d always been. She used to follow him around whenever he was at her house, her barely concealed crush almost embarrassing to witness. He’d ignored it, which hadn’t been difficult to do when she’d been twelve and he fifteen.

But now she was eighteen—and impossible to ignore.

He could feel her pouting in the silence that followed. God she’d changed. In ways he still couldn’t wrap his head around.

“I was hoping maybe you’d missed me the most,” she said softly.

“If I’d known you’d turn out like this, I might have.”
Shut up, Sam.

Because
he knew, as sure as he knew his own name, that he was
not
what Richard Hayes Sr. had in mind for his little princess. Georgie was going to the University of Texas, where she’d study something suitably refined—interior design, perhaps—and marry the star quarterback.

He was just a soldier home on leave—and he had nothing to offer besides a healthy libido and a few stolen nights of passion.

“It was inevitable. Mama was Miss Dallas, you know.”

Yeah, he knew. But that didn’t mean he’d ever thought of Georgie as anything more than Rick’s little sister. Yet here she was, with curves in all the right places, an impressive rack, and the most gorgeous chocolate-brown hair that tumbled in waves over her shoulders and fell all the way to her ass.

He found a place to park and turned off the engine. His heart pounded in his chest as he turned to look at her. What the hell was he doing again? He needed to drive straight back to town and forget every dirty thought he’d been thinking about her since she’d walked into the bowling alley an hour ago.

She gazed at him with eyes that he felt like he could drown in. Green eyes, like springtime in the country.

“I’m eighteen now.”

“I know.”

She slicked her tongue over pretty pink lips. “Then maybe you’ll finally kiss me.”

He could only stare at her for a long moment, his brain warring with his dick. She was still his best friend’s baby sister, and he had a duty to protect her just the same as Rick would if he were here. Sam had driven her out here, but only because she’d asked him to.

Dumbass. You know exactly why she asked, and you also know why you did it.

“I’m not sure it’s a good idea, Georgie.”

She unclipped her seatbelt and moved toward him. “I am. I want to kiss you, Sam. Hell, I want you. I’ve wanted you since I was thirteen.”

He swallowed hard. His voice, when he spoke, was hoarse. “You don’t mean that.”

She slid up close and put her arms around his neck. “Like hell I don’t. Oh, I didn’t know what I wanted at thirteen. But I do now. I want
you
, Sam. I want you to fuck me.”

“Christ, Georgie, don’t talk like that.” His hands spanned her ribcage. He intended to set her away from him, but somehow he wasn’t managing it.

And Georgie knew it.

“Why not? Does it turn you on?”

Did it turn him on? Shit, he was harder than an ice cube in Siberia. “I’m not here to stay. You know that, right? I gotta leave in two days and go back to the Army.”

“I know.”

“You asked me if I was home for long.”

She sighed. “Small talk, Sam. I know you aren’t staying. But I want you anyway.”

He shouldn’t do it. He knew he shouldn’t. He should start the truck and drive back toward town. But he wasn’t going to. He was weak and, from the moment she’d walked up to him looking like this, he was lost. With a groan, Sam lowered his mouth to hers and kissed her.

 

CHAPTER ONE

 

Twelve years later…

 

“I’M SORRY, DR. HAYES, but we can’t give out that kind of information.”

Georgeanne gritted her teeth in frustration. She’d been getting the same answer for two days now. Military bureaucracy at its finest. She gripped the phone and tried to keep her voice calm. “Sergeant Hamilton has not formally withdrawn, but he’s not been to class for the last three sessions. Surely you know if he’s been deployed.”

The woman on the other end didn’t miss a beat. “I’m not allowed to give out that information, Dr. Hayes. We don’t discuss our personnel with unauthorized persons.”

Georgeanne sighed and pressed her hand to her forehead. “Fine. Can someone just submit a withdrawal form on his behalf? It will save him getting an F, which will affect his GPA.”

And if she knew anything about Jake Hamilton, she knew for a fact he didn’t want that. He was dead-set on graduating with honors and applying for Officer Training School. If it came down to it, she’d submit the form herself. It was against policy, but she’d argue for an exception in this case.

“I’ll see what we can do.”

After the niceties were finished, Georgeanne hung up the phone and suppressed the urge to scream. If she were at home alone, in her little Alexandria townhouse, she might do just that. But she was currently sitting in a coffee shop in the Pentagon concourse, waiting for her class to start.

The military did a fine job of encouraging its members to go to school, gave them plenty of money for tuition, and provided space on military installations around the world for universities to teach classes and offer degree programs. The only issue for most of her students was time, since they also had very demanding jobs.

Which was where her concern for Sergeant Hamilton had come in. This was the third course he’d taken with her, and she’d never known him to miss a single session without first informing her of any temporary duty he might have. Not that he couldn’t have had an emergency, but when he missed the third class in a row, she’d begun to wonder. It just wasn’t like him to be irresponsible.

If he didn’t show up tonight, it would be the fourth time. Two weeks of class was a lot in an eight-week term. Not only that, but finals were next week, and if he didn’t come tonight, he’d never be prepared. She’d e-mailed him a couple of times now, and she’d even called the number he’d put on the information sheet she collected from every student at the beginning of the term.

There had been no reply to her calls or her e-mails, which seemed very odd.

Georgeanne frowned over her coffee. Jake had often come early to class and joined her here for something to drink. She had an open door policy for students and, while he hadn’t needed much help with assignments, he seemed to like to talk to her about the books they read. Since she enjoyed teaching literature, she welcomed the rare student who got really excited about the material.

The last time she’d seen Jake, he’d been sitting on a bench in the Pentagon Metro. She’d walked over to talk to him before the train arrived. He’d seemed a bit preoccupied, but she hadn’t thought too much about it since her students were adults with busy lives.

When the train came, he did not get on. He’d told her he was waiting for a friend so they could go out to a bar in Crystal City. The last Georgeanne had seen of him, he’d been talking to a dark-haired man with a manicured beard. Georgeanne had waved again as the train pulled out. The man standing with Jake turned, his hard gaze meeting hers. He’d looked angry, threatening in a way that shocked her. She’d snatched her hand into her lap and turned her head, breaking eye contact.

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