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A short standalone: When Detective Kit Wheeler was assigned to protect Daphne from a sinister stalker, he wasn’t anticipating having to make a death-defying midnight dash to an isolated safe house. Nor was he expecting the white-hot passion which quickly erupted between them, almost upon arrival. No, it’s safe to say that Kit hadn’t been anticipating anything about Daphne Jacobson, but he certainly wasn’t complaining.

——

‘Keep your head down,’ Kit muttered urgently, as he placed a large hand on Daphne Jacobson’s shoulders and encouraged her towards the ground. Glancing quickly around them to ascertain the current threat level, he crawled towards the exit, anticipating that she’d follow his lead.

‘Shit!’ she squeaked. ‘There’s somebody at the window.’

Instantly, Kit drew his weapon, placing himself between Daphne and the assailant.

‘Where’s your car?’ he asked urgently.

‘In the garage.’

Damn. That was no good. From his sweep of the area earlier, Kit knew the garage was detached from the property. Making it across the grounds to the building would be risky enough, but then they’d be sitting ducks as they attempted to unlock the doors and make their escape.

‘That’s too open,’ he replied. ‘We’ll have to head for my truck. It’s parked in the street behind your house.’

‘O…okay,’ stuttered Daphne. After all, what choice did she have? A trusted police officer sworn to protect her, versus some kind of stalking, possibly armed madman who was currently creeping around her garden and scaring the shit out of them.

‘Stay low and we’ll head for the back door. Try and grab some shoes en route,’ requested Kit. ‘Something you can run in.’

With his gun primed and ready, the couple took a swift, silent route through Daphne’s home. Thanks to her senses being on hyper-alert, she even managed to grab her handbag and a coat as they travelled. The back door was on the opposite side of the house to the assailant. With any luck, they’d manage to get to Kit’s truck before this madman noticed.

‘Take these,’ ordered Kit, handing over his car keys as they reached their point of exit.

‘Why?’ she asked, shaking her head with confusion.

‘Because I need you to be able to escape,’ Kit explained. ‘If I need to stand and fight against this guy, I will. But I need you to promise me that you’ll get away.’

‘But…’

‘Promise me,’ he demanded, sounding deadly serious. After being on the business end of a long, intense stare, Daphne finally submitted.

‘I promise.’

‘Good. It’s a beaten up, black Landrover in the middle of the street,’ added Kit, as he carefully opened the back door. ‘Now, get ready.’

Taking Daphne by the hand, he led her out into the cool night air. Instantly, their breath began condensing around them, the frigid temperature a shock to them both. Locking the door again, in an attempt to confuse their would-be attacker for as long as possible, they sprinted across the lawn to take cover in the shrubbery.

‘Well done, you’re doing great,’ murmured Kit, recognising this must be a terrifying situation for a woman who’d received a viable death threat. ‘Next, we need to make it to the boundary of your property. Got any tips?’

‘If we head straight through the trees, there’s a section of weaker fencing we’ll be able to clamber over,’ Daphne explained in a surprisingly calm and rational manner. Given the circumstances, he was beyond impressed.

‘Excellent,’ praised Kit. ‘Let’s go then.’

Swiftly, and with surprisingly little noise for two fully grown adults, they made their escape, dropping into the adjacent street. Daphne tried not to let her imagination race away with her. In the darkness, it was amazing how a stray leaf or the random shape of a gnarled tree branch could suddenly morph into the face of a would-be attacker. With their pulses hammering hard and heavy, the couple kept low, darting through the shadows of the moonlit lane until they reached Kit’s vehicle.

‘This is the one,’ he muttered, wrenching open the door to allow Daphne to jump safely inside. Securing the passenger door, Kit held his gun a little more firmly as he stalked cautiously around to the opposite side, breathing fast and shallow. He may well be trained for these kinds of scenarios, but they were still a serious adrenaline rush when they actually occurred. Having climbed into the vehicle, he closed the door as quietly as he could.

‘Seat belt on,’ he whispered, appreciating their escape wasn’t over yet. A fact which became horribly true, just after Kit had started up the engine and was driving them quickly away. As they were about to exit the street and move onto the open road, he saw a movement out of the corner of his eye.

‘Get down!’ he shouted, causing Daphne to throw herself down onto the empty seat between them. She too had noticed movement ahead; it looked suspiciously like a lone man holding a gun in their direction. With her head pressed up against Kit’s extremely well-muscled thigh, Daphne closed her eyes yalova escort and prayed to whoever might be listening.

Meanwhile, their direction of travel had been sharply altered. Kit was apparently aiming his car straight towards the shooter. Thanks to his quick and selfless thinking, their would-be attacker only managed to let off one round before being forced to dive for cover.

‘It’s okay. You can sit up again now.’ Cautiously Daphne did just that, realising that thanks to the insane speed Kit was now driving, they were already several streets away from her home. Fortunately, being the middle of the night, it was extremely quiet with no pedestrians around.

‘Holy fuck,’ she breathed, causing Kit to chuckle in surprise at her choice of language. Up until this point, she’d been incredibly well spoken. But her reaction could be forgiven; there was now a bullet hole visible in the door frame. But for the grace of God, and of course Kit Wheeler, she could well be dead right now.

‘You did great,’ Kit praised, grabbing his mobile phone from a Velcro pocket beneath his stab vest, and placing it into the cradle on the dashboard. ‘Better than great, in fact,’ he corrected. ‘You were amazing!’

‘T…thanks,’ she stuttered. Right now, Daphne certainly didn’t feel amazing. She was verging on terrified.

‘What’s it like being so popular?’ smirked Kit, trying to make light of the situation they unwillingly found themselves in.

‘It’s not me that’s popular, it’s my father,’ she admitted, a fact that Kit already knew given he’d thoroughly read Daphne’s file before taking the job. Her father was a crook, responsible for swindling a lot of families out of a lot of money they could ill afford. That kind of behaviour has a tendency to piss people off…big time.

‘It’s not me they want, not really. They want revenge on my father. And I can’t say I blame them…I’d feel the same way. Unfortunately, the fact I haven’t spoken to him for years hasn’t yet factored into their thinking, so I remain a target,’ sighed Daphne.

‘Well, as target’s go, you’re certainly the nicest one I’ve ever been asked to protect.’

Daphne hadn’t managed to construct a response in her racing mind before Kit spoke again.

‘Call Stan.’ His voice was a little less steady than normal, suggesting he might have been regretting such an honest, verging on flirty admission.

Daphne glanced towards him questioningly, before realising he was speaking to a voice-activated phone. Seconds later, a magnified ringing tone filled the space between them.

‘Hey man! How’s it going?’ a voice responded. Stan sounded very pleased to receive the call, making Daphne instantly assume they must be good friends.

‘Open line,’ replied Kit, before continuing. ‘Stan, we’re compromised. And on the run. The assailant fired one shot but we weren’t wounded.’

‘Shit!’ breathed Stan, momentarily forgetting his professional guise, thanks to receiving news of his mate escaping such danger. ‘You alright?’

‘We’re both doing surprisingly well,’ admitted Kit, flashing Daphne a smile which was duly returned.

Way down deep in her abdomen, Daphne felt a fluttering of desire. Fuck, the guy was so hot. And she was self-aware enough to acknowledge her response wasn’t down to the adrenaline-filled situation they’d just encountered. She’d felt exactly the same when he’d stepped foot inside her home earlier that day. And damn near taken her breath away.

Tall, powerful and rugged with a body to die for, he was physically sublime, but Kit was more than that. He had a cheeky air of self-confidence which made him look suspiciously like Daphne’s perfect guy. Very much on purpose, she clasped her hands together in her lap, simply to prevent herself from reaching out and touching him. Tuning back into the conversation which was taking place around her, she forced herself to concentrate on other more critical issues instead.

‘Expect a file upload within the next few minutes, after which we’ll move to blackout protocol until this bastard is caught,’ stated Kit, accelerating further as they hit a dual carriageway and he could really open the engine up.

‘Understood,’ replied Stan. ‘Good luck, buddy.’

‘Thanks, mate. Speak soon.’ And with that, Kit hung up. Suddenly, Daphne had more questions in her mind than she could possibly keep track of.

‘Blackout protocol?’ she repeated. Glancing across at the speedometer, she noted they were cruising at about a hundred miles an hour. She didn’t think she’d ever travelled so fast in a car before, not least because it was highly illegal. Although, Daphne supposed, when a policeman was doing that speed as part of his job, they could probably get away with it.

‘It means we go off the grid,’ Kit explained. Having heard a confirmatory beep that the file he’d sent through had been received, he removed his mobile phone from the cradle and passed it across to Daphne. ‘Speaking of which, can you power down both of our phones and remove the SIM cards, please? We need yalova escort bayan to be out of contact and untraceable for a little while.’

‘Er, okay,’ agreed Daphne, highly aware of their fingers accidentally brushing, as he passed his phone across to her. ‘You’re not a normal policeman,’ she observed.

‘No…I’m in diplomatic protection,’ confirmed Kit.

‘I’m not a diplomat though…’

‘Maybe not. But your father is linked to some VIP’s, so the powers that be have demanded you’re afforded similar protection, in the form of a bodyguard.’

‘Oh…right. So, what happens next?’

‘We drive. Somewhere nobody can find us. And then we go to ground while my team round this fucker up. Which they will,’ he added, with absolute certainty.

‘How can you be so sure? You make it sound so easy…’

‘It may well be,’ chuckled Kit, pulling into a slip road at blistering speed, before stopping on the forecourt of a petrol station. ‘I’ve just uploaded a file of the guy’s face to HQ. The muppet wasn’t wearing a mask when he shot at us, so his ugly mug, as well as his attempt to commit murder, has been recorded by my dash cam.’

‘Oh! That’s brilliant!’

‘I hope so. Now, I need to fill up with fuel. We’ve got a long drive ahead of us.’

Confident that they hadn’t been followed, Kit encouraged Daphne to join him in the upmarket shop attached to the filling station. There they selected all manner of edible delicacies. Back in the car, Kit drove a short distance before pulling over in a secluded location.

‘What’s going on?’ Daphne demanded. Leaving the engine running, Kit hopped out. Having scurried to both the back and front of the vehicle, he returned to the driver’s seat, depositing the front and back number plates onto the floor behind him.

‘You don’t do a job like mine and park your own private vehicle nearby, without first ensuring you’ve fixed false plates to the car,’ he shrugged, sending her a brief smile. Then, with his foot back down hard on the accelerator, they once again set off at speed.

‘You’re very impressive,’ confessed Daphne, the admiration in her voice evident.

‘So are you,’ he admitted. ‘And anyway, I’m…’

‘Please don’t say a man,’ she groaned. It would be bloody typical for this perfect guy to be a misogynist. Between her father and her ex-boyfriend, she’d had her fill of that kind of small-minded attitude.

‘Not that I was given a chance,’ laughed Kit, pointedly referring to her previous interruption. ‘But I was going to say I was trained for situations like that. I wouldn’t do you the disservice of suggesting you were somehow less capable because of your sex.’

The word sex echoed in the silence between them, further increasing the tension. Until either one of them spoke again, Daphne knew that all she’d be able to think about was sex…specifically, sex with this wonderous man. Eventually, the spell was broken. Thank goodness.

‘We’ve got a long journey ahead of us,’ explained Kit in his deep, soothing tones. With his eyes still fully focussed on the road ahead, he reached behind with one hand and pulled forward a blanket from the back, before handing it across to Daphne. ‘Why don’t you recline the seat and try to get some rest if you can. I promise to keep you safe.’

‘What about you?’ she asked, already adjusting herself into a more horizontal position. It was probably a crazy reaction given what she’d just lived through, but she did feel totally safe in Kit’s company. Plus it was the middle of the night and she was exhausted. A snooze would be most welcome.

‘I’m doing my job and protecting you,’ he explained gently. ‘I can’t relax until I’m one hundred percent sure we’re somewhere secure.’

‘Thank you.’ Daphne breathed out fully, for what felt like the first time since that bullet had whistled past her.

‘No, thank you. Get some rest, and with any luck, by the time you wake up, we’ll be surrounded by the beautiful Welsh mountains.

***

‘Daphne?’ A voice was breaking through the black pit of terror she was currently inhabiting, full of faceless men she couldn’t outrun and the anguish of fatal gunshot wounds. It was a man’s voice. A strong, trustworthy voice. ‘Hey, Daphne?’

Waking with a start, the first thing Daphne realised was that her hand was being held. She clutched the hand tightly in return, grateful for the way it had helped to drag her away from such terrifying visions. Opening her eyes, she remembered her situation, and the powerhouse of the man beside her. It was actually quite a surprise she’d fallen asleep at all, although emotional exhaustion could have that kind of impact. She must have been asleep for quite some time too, for outside the landscape had changed. Gone were the low-lying, occasionally hilly surroundings of her home, filled with street lights and activity. Here, the night sky was darker and the bright stars twinkled like never before. It was the kind of sky you simply never got to witness in a town or city. As Kit had promised, they were now escort yalova surrounded by the huge imposing mountains and sharp swooping drops of the Welsh valleys.

‘Relax, you’re safe,’ he said, gently squeezing her hand. ‘You were dreaming.’

‘I was nightmare-ing,’ she corrected. ‘A far more distressing experience.’

‘I’m not surprised,’ admitted Kit, continuing to hold her hand. It felt so damn natural and right that Daphne found herself increasing the pressure in return. Almost immediately, Kit’s platonic hand squeeze turned into a gentle stroke. Up and down, up and down. It was far less innocent now; much more demanding of her attention. Daphne failed to swallow a low groan which echoed through the air between them. She felt so damn aroused. It was probably due to the life or death situation she’d recently lived through, but that didn’t make it any less real. And still the stroking continued as Kit negotiated his way through the surrounding countryside with just a single hand on the wheel.

Did she dare act on what she was considering?

It only took Daphne a matter of seconds to decide that she absolutely did dare. Taking Kit’s large, powerful hand into both of hers, she placed his palm firmly down on her thigh. Momentarily, the man himself dragged his eyes away from the road to glance questioningly across at her. Their exchange was a silent one, but nevertheless, an understanding passed between them. A promise of more; a confirmation of their mutual desire. Returning his eyes to the road, his hand began to stroke up and down her thigh, causing Daphne to grunt wantonly.

‘You’ve been through quite a trauma tonight,’ he observed.

‘Yes, I have,’ she replied breathily.

‘And an experience like that can temporarily distort reality. It can make you act outside of your normal boundaries.’

‘And maybe that’s what I need,’ suggested Daphne, no longer attempting to pretend this was anything other than pure lust driving her on.

‘I find myself wishing to discover exactly what it is that you do need,’ admitted Kit, a small smile crossing his features as he noticeably reduced their speed.

Daphne chewed on her bottom lip, rolling it between her teeth, as an explosion of heat ricocheted around her abdomen. A tension had built up in the quiet atmosphere of the vehicle. A tension so brittle that it felt to Daphne as though she was standing on the surface of a frozen lake, able to hear the pinging sound of cracking ice beneath her feet. Alas, their conversation was cut short, just as things were about to get interesting.

‘We’re here,’ announced Kit, pulling up outside a small isolated cottage, surrounded by woodland.

***

It didn’t take long for the two of them to get settled in. The cottage was small, comfortable and intimate and within no time, Kit had a roaring fire blazing away. Add in some tinkling background music, soft lighting and a cup of steaming tea on the table, and the place was beginning to feel pretty cosy.

‘This is not what I imagined a safe house to be like, at all,’ admitted Daphne, relaxing back onto the comfortable sofa beside Kit and exhaling deeply.

‘Well, I guess this isn’t a standard safe house,’ chuckled Kit. ‘It’s my family’s holiday home. I wasn’t confident I could assure your safety anywhere else; this felt like the best place to come.’

‘Oh, right. Thank you,’ replied Daphne, the excitement rising back up through her veins. ‘So it really is just you and me then?’

‘Just you and me,’ confirmed Kit with a smile, before stretching back against the cushions and closing his eyes. Daphne didn’t doubt his actions were done very much on purpose. Kit was trying to demonstrate that he wasn’t any kind of threat, and she was grateful for his empathy. After all, he was little more than a stranger to her, albeit a stranger who had already saved her life at least once today. But as Daphne continued to watch Kit, a smile slid across his face.

‘What?’ she demanded, laughing. They were apparently equally as bad at hiding their lustful thoughts from each other.

‘Sorry…’ he replied, not opening his eyes to address her. ‘My brain is still wishing to know exactly what it is you need. Do feel free to furnish me with further details at your leisure.’

‘I’m sure I don’t know what you mean!’ she giggled, managing to sidestep his highly suggestive request. Opening his eyes, Kit twisted his hips slightly to face her and lay an arm along the back of the sofa, stopping just inches from her hair.

‘Fair enough. How about I suggest some words and then you can let me know if they’re relevant or not?’

‘Go on then,’ she grinned, instinctively knowing this was going to lead somewhere very naughty, very fast.

‘Afraid? Yes or No?’

‘No,’ Daphne immediately replied. In Kit’s company, she wasn’t sure she’d ever felt safer.

‘Good. How about excited?’

Daphne rolled her lower lip between her teeth, trying to suppress a smile. She was definitely excited about being here alone with Kit, but wasn’t willing to admit to that yet.

‘That’s a definite yes,’ he laughed, not waiting for Daphne to verbally respond. There wasn’t any need to; her body language said it all. ‘Let’s try a more interesting one, shall we? Horny?’

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