It’s getting to be that time of year! You all know what we’re talking about … chilly weather, a great cup of hot chocolate (or coffee, or tea, or a hot toddy, maybe?), a warm blanket, and of course a good book! Since we can’t possibly wait any longer to snuggle up with the winter anthology BABY, IT’S COLD OUTSIDE by Jennifer Probst, Emma Chase, Kristen Proby, Melody Anne and Kate Meader, we’re offering all you XOXO’ers out there a chance to read excerpts from all five stories before the book is even on sale on October 28th! Read below for an excerpt from Safe in His Arms by Melody Anne. Be sure to check back every day this week for a new excerpt from these five lovely ladies!


Safe in His Arms by Melody Anne in BABY, IT’S COLD OUTSIDE

Way too much eggnog!

The party was over and her head was beyond fuzzy, but Natalie walked about the nearly empty firehouse with the other volunteers who’d offered to stay for cleanup. She wasn’t capable of doing much to help them, but she could at least say she was trying to help.

After a couple of dances with Hawk, the two of them had been separated, so here she was, trying to decide whether to go home alone or to wait him out. She knew she would rather wait, but on the other hand, she didn’t want to seem desperate. The alcohol was messing with her rational mind.

Music was playing softly over the speakers, smooth country tunes, mellow, relaxing. She felt her eyes grow heavy, and she spread herself out on the front of the nearest fire engine. The step was wide enough for her to get just a little rest.

No one would notice if she lay down for just a moment . . .

Before she knew it, she was asleep.


“See ya later, chief !”

Hawk watched as the last people trickled from the fire station. They’d done such a great job of cleaning, it didn’t even look like there’d been a party. Good. He liked it when things were all in order. He valued a job well done. Only one problem remained.

He’d been separated from Natalie too soon. He hadn’t been ready for their night to end, and he still wasn’t. And now as he turned out the lights and did his final walk-through of the station, he felt an odd emptiness settle inside him.

It was ludicrous. Hawk didn’t need to be around a woman to find fulfillment. He didn’t have to have companionship. But in the space of a couple of weeks, he’d found himself counting down the hours until he got to see Natalie again. The highlight of his day was when he walked into that gym and found her there, speaking with the children, smiling, gifting them with her laughter.

This was so far beyond anything he’d ever experienced before that he couldn’t even identify what exactly he was feeling. One thing he knew for sure, though—he wasn’t going to wait until Monday to see her again.

He couldn’t. He had to see her. Tonight.

Walking around the front of his line of fire engines, Hawk stopped in his tracks.

“What happened?” Natalie’s voice came out huskily as she began sitting up on the front bumper of the fire  engine before him.

So Hawk didn’t have to go anywhere to find Natalie. She was within grasping distance. At the sight of her sleepy eyes and tousled hair, he could think only of taking her, right now.

“Everyone’s gone,” he said, his voice a low growl.

Her eyes widened, and then, even under the dim lights, he could see the change in her expression. She knew what came next. They both did.

He stopped trying to fight himself. This was inevitable from the moment he’d caught her in his arms that first day on the cold front porch of his rental property. He stepped forward, grasped her hands, and pulled her to her feet before kissing her, knowing this time he wasn’t going to be interrupted.

Urgently, almost frantic, Hawk reached for the hem of her sweater and yanked it over her head. He had to see her body, had to feel her naked skin against his as soon as his own clothes came off.

Her moans of pent-up desire encouraged him, and he grabbed her wool slacks and slid the zipper down. Within minutes she was standing before him in nothing but a lacy bra and matching fire-engine-red panties. Whoever had invented women’s underclothing should be thanked profusely, he told himself.

He’d get on that. Well, maybe not right now. He’d get on her instead.

“Let’s go inside,” he said, feeling a sudden urge to take her in his favorite fire engine. Yes, he knew that some of his men, just for the thrill of it, brought women to the fire department for a night of sex, but Hawk hadn’t even thought once about doing such a fantastical thing.

He doubted it was a great idea now—he’d never walk through these doors again without thinking of her—but they were hurtling forward at breakneck speed, and there was no reverse for the ride they were on.

He opened the door to the fire truck, and Natalie wobbled in that direction. She reached the first step on the truck, leaving her bent over with half her body inside the truck while her luscious behind presented itself right in front of his face, hanging outside the door.

Gripping her hips to stop her from going any farther, he ran his fingers along the smooth skin of her thighs, delighting in the panties that barely hid anything from his view. Her pleased gasp encouraged him to continue.

Spreading her thighs, he moved his fingers along the seam of those delectable panties, touching her moist folds and reveling in the slow purr she gave in response.

“So ready,” he whispered, wondering how he’d managed to wait this long to make love to this woman. Passion like this didn’t burn out. No. The only way to extinguish the fire burning within them both was by coming together in a blaze unlike anything he’d ever battled before.

As Natalie arched her back, lifting her derriere higher into the air, her hands clutching at the diamond-patterned floorboard of his truck, Hawk leaned forward and caressed the smooth skin of her behind with his tongue. He took a slight nip at one perfectly round cheek, and she wiggled her hips in return, wanting more. So much more.

He was more than willing to give it to her. Running his tongue down and around toward what he wanted so badly, he pulled on her hips so he could get a taste of her sweet, boiling-hot core.

So wet.

So willing.