Author Joya Ryan - Excerpt from Capture Me Slowly

Posted on Friday, January 31, 2014 8:54 AM

“What’s going on, Emma?” His tone was a little softer and he took a step toward me.
Something in my eyes kind of hurt and felt a bit more moister than usual. Shit, all these feelings and lack of sleep probably made me look like a sad sack.
Something Rhys was obviously picking up on, because he softened even more and asked, “Are you in some kind of trouble?”
My automatic self-defense mode kicked in and I found my voice. “What? Why would you think that?”
“Because I caught you. Trying to break in. To my hotel room.”
The way he stated the obvious—something I had yet to acknowledge myself—for the second time in two minutes made me realize that I must really be sounding crazy. But I couldn’t tell him the truth. That I was desperate for a night to hide away, to explore that charm and intensity I had gotten a glimpse of all those weeks ago.
That wasn’t really an option at the moment. Yes, I came here to see him, but I couldn’t really admit that now. And I definitely couldn’t tell him the whole truth, not without putting him in danger too.
“Did you come here to see me—”
“You wish,” I said, cutting him off, feeling like my pride was suddenly in jeopardy.
“I was going to say, did you come here to see me so I could help you with something? But now that you mention it,” he stepped closer, “yes, I do wish. Every damn day since you stood me up.”
The way his rough voice rolled over every vowel with the slightest east coast drawl made me want to catch every word with my teeth and swallow them down . . . preferably while his lips were against mine.
Casual, Wade. Keep it casual.
“I had stuff to do,” I offered before I lost the ability to speak. Rhys was the only man who’d ever made me feel so . . . uneasy. Scratch that. He was the only man who made me feel uneasy without inspiring fear. He was hard, strong; just the size of him could be off-putting, but instead of being nervous, I was anxious. Anxious to know what it felt like to have that kind of strength, that ability to be effortlessly intimidating.
Only problem was, I wasn’t intimidated. I was turned on. Like I always was the moment he stepped into my space.

Mentally slapping myself, I chalked up my overly revved hormones to the fact that I had been “on the run” and permanently stressed out for the past several months.
“Stuff to do, huh?” He laughed. “Attempted theft can be taxing.”
“Why do you assume I was going to break in to rob you?”
He smiled. Yeah, I’d just admitted it, but I was caught long before so it didn’t really matter.
“So you weren’t breaking in to rob me. Then maybe to surprise me? Because you enjoyed my company so much the last time we met?” The obvious mockery in his voice said he was playing along for my sake.
Did I have it bad for Rhys? Did I wish I had spent the last several weeks with him instead of alone in a small apartment, coming out of hiding just to go to work at a job that didn’t end up paying me? Yes and yes. But knowledge was power and admitting to Rhys that I wanted him was not smart. I had bigger things to worry about. Time to take the power back and check his ego.
“Did you enjoy my company the last time we met?”
His gaze was hot as it skated down the length of my body. Very different than how any other man had ever looked at me. Like I was exotic. Sexy. Worthwhile.
“I did. Of course, you were either devouring my mouth or smarting off with yours, so it was hard not to enjoy it.”
“You kissed me,” I said, correcting him. 
“And you liked it.” All that male confidence and swagger was hypnotic. He merely stated facts. And yes, I did like it. And that was a fact.
“Let’s not argue semantics. You shot me down, I shot you down. We’re even now.”
His blond brows sliced down. “I shot you down? How did you come up with that notion?”
“Because I was there. I offered to take you and that kiss home for the night and—”
“I offered you dinner first. That’s not shooting you down.”
It was to me. Dinner meant a date and dating was something I didn’t do. Mostly because a couple meals and weeks into “seeing” a guy, he turns out to be a total tool or still lives in his mother’s basement. And the kind of men that held any ounce of self-respect or ambition were from a different world than me. They were the kind that came with a promise of picket fences and two point four kids. Which was an even scarier concept.
Not that Rhys put that out there, but based on the limited details I had learned about him over our few run-ins, he and I weren’t long-term compatible. Judging by his football scholarship, small-town upbringing and insistence on buying a woman a meal before seeing her naked, I already knew he was in a different league. And if I were honest, it was a better league.
“Sex is simple,” I said honestly. “I wasn’t interested in more than that.”
“And you think dinner is—”
“More. Than. That,” I said. Now was not the time to explain why I felt lacking. I stuck with, “So like I said, we’re even.”
 “Then why do I feel like I’m the one who lost?” The way his eyes bore down on me, like he was seeing my very soul, made a violent shiver race up my spine and every nerve ending turned on as if he had verbally flicked a switch in me. “And you said wasn’t.”
“What?” I eyed him and he merely grinned.
“You said you weren’t interested in more than sex, then. Does that mean you’ve changed your mind now?”
“Maybe . . .” My eyes shot wide because I had just admitted that out loud and hadn’t meant to.
Rhys stood there, looking like he’d just won some kind of victory.
Taking a deep breath, I forced myself to get a grip. This man was disarming me in a single conversation and I couldn’t allow that. I was at my most vulnerable when my guard was down. And after the last few weeks my guard was obliterated. Not a good place to be, when Rhys Striker affected me. Deeply. 



Loren Mathis

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