Excerpt: More Than Protect You - Vilma Iris | Lifestyle Blogger

Can I keep the gorgeous, gun-shy single mother safe—and prove I’m the man for her?

I’m Tanner Kirk—Certified firearms instructor and mixed martial arts enthusiast. When I filed for divorce at the end of an empty marriage, all I wanted was a vacation in paradise, not another woman in my life. But how can I possibly say no to Amanda Lund, a young single mom desperate to learn self-defense? Or refuse the banked desire on the guarded beauty’s face?

I can’t.

So I seduce Mandy until we’re burning up the sheets…and soon find my heart entangled with her bruised and battered one. But when a nemesis from her past tries to destroy our future by unearthing my secret, will she understand and forgive me—or give up on us forever?

Every 1001 Dark Nights novella is a standalone story. For new readers, it’s an introduction to an author’s world. And for fans, it’s a bonus book in the author’s series. We hope you’ll enjoy each one as much as we do.

Series:

More Than Words

Book Type:

Contemporary Romance

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Excerpt: More Than Protect You
By Shayla Black

Excerpt: More Than Protect You

From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Shayla Black comes a new story in her More Than Words series. MORE THAN PROTECT YOU is out tomorrow, but you can get an exclusive sneak peek below!

“Amanda?”

With a soft gasp, she whirls to me, seeming to search for words. “A-are you Tanner Kirk?”

I stare at her bare face and her pouty, parted lips. She’s beautiful and wary. And she looks so fucking young.

“Yeah.” I stick out my hand. “Hi.”

She folds her much-smaller palm against mine. At the contact, she stiffens. I do my best to ignore the lash of heat that singes my palm and snakes up my arm. Any chance she’s feeling this crazy reaction, too?

“Thank you for coming. Nice to meet you.”

I nod. “Likewise.”

To stop myself from gawking at her soft face and even softer blue eyes, I turn my attention to the boy. He has a sharp jaw that’s nothing like Amanda’s…and a headful of pale curls that are. He stands in the middle of a playpen with red cheeks, glowering green eyes, and little fists.

“That’s Oliver, my son.”

“You’re not happy, big guy?”

The boy rears back at me with an angry furrow between his brows. “No.”

Beside me, Amanda sighs. “It’s one of the two words he knows right now.”

“What’s the other?”

“Ma ma.” He holds out his arms to her.

“No.” She shakes her head softly. “Sleep.”

The boy gets angrier, stomping his foot and huffing.

“I don’t think he’s going to take no for an answer,” I remark.

“He’ll wear himself out eventually. I hate to leave him because I don’t want him to be afraid.”

“Do you think he understands what happened here earlier?”

“No, thank goodness.”

But she’s terrified. Oh, she’s trying to be brave. I can tell by the way she squares her shoulders and lifts her chin. If she wants comfort, it doesn’t show. I admire that, even as I want to put my arms around her and tell her I’ll take care of everything. I don’t for two reasons. First, Ellie resented my “macho BS.” And second, I just met Amanda. But after my reaction to her, if I’m going to protect her I have no business touching her.

“We can stay and talk here, if that makes you more comfortable. I’d just like to ask you some questions.”

She shakes her head. “If we stay, he’ll never sleep. Do you mind if we talk in the next room? I’ll be close enough to hear him, but…”

Far enough away that her son won’t be distracted. “No problem. Lead the way.”

“Come here, little man.” She bends to him again. When he lifts his arms to her, she folds him against her chest and holds him tight for a precious moment, kissing the top of his head before stepping away. “Now go to sleep. Or no trucks when you wake up.”

He stomps his foot again, but to her credit she ignores his tantrum and heads for the door, turning off the recessed lights overhead and ensuring his nightlight snaps on to illuminate the shadows.

“Ma ma!” Oliver sounds mad.

“Sleep tight,” she croons. “Mama loves you.”

When I file out, she breezes into the hall and guides me to the bedroom next door. Her bed looks barely slept in, and I wonder how exhausted she must be. Her suitcase sits in the corner on a luggage rack. Other than that, it appears as if she’s hardly stepped foot in here.

“Thank you for coming so quickly.” She sits on the edge of the bed, then gestures me to a plush chair nearby. “And thank you for your patience.”

She’s unfailingly polite. Have tonight’s events rattled her…or do I make her nervous? Either way, I need to set her at ease now or we’re going to have a long few days together. But that won’t be easy. Every time I look at Amanda, I think things I shouldn’t. There’s something about her I’ve never encountered. She’s so soft and female—seemingly vulnerable—but I’m seeing that when it counts, she’s strong.

And the way she’s looking at me, like I’m the answer to her problems, only makes the tug of attraction between us stronger. Or maybe that’s in my head?

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