Home > Ready For His Rule(6)

Ready For His Rule(6)
Author: Angel Payne

Bommer pocketed the phone, looking tempted to follow up by full-on hugging her. He held himself back after a quick glance from Sol, though his exuberance remained palpable as he scooped up her hand again. “Thank you, Madame Vice President. Thank you.”

Tracy returned the tight squeeze of his fingers. “Thank me by sending me a picture of your healthy new baby.”

“Roger that,” he replied with gusto, before centering himself with a long breath and continuing. “But first things first. I’m not leaving you and Sol in the dirt here.”

Of course he wasn’t. Which was why, as soon as the words left him, nervousness tapped a delicious dance up Tracy’s spine. This was it. Time to play the part of the land’s second-in-command, when all she wanted to do was twirl hair around her finger like the swooning teen inside—

Especially as Bommer motioned John the hulk to stand directly in front of her.

Manna of heaven. Up close, he was even more formidable. Had she expected anything less? Perhaps she had. A slight slump. A schism of ugliness in the crinkles at his eyes’ edges. A soft spot anywhere on his body. Instead, his fierce force engulfed her harder, matching the nickname Dan had referred to him by. Dragon. She half-expected mighty wings to unfold from his back.

“I’m honored—and damn lucky—to be presenting Captain Keoni John Franzen,” Shay declared. “Captain Franzen, the Vice President.”

“Mrs. Rhodes. It’s my pl—”

The baritone cut short as soon as their hands clasped—and their gazes locked. As much as Tracy reveled in his voice, she secretly celebrated his hesitance. Thank God she wasn’t alone in the feeling. No. Feelings, plural. So many, colliding all at once. Feathers of fire through her hand. Radiant heat up her arm. The awareness, now coursing through her whole body, of his form. Of even more than that. For a moment, just one blissful moment, the rest of the room disappeared. The noise of the world stopped. All was a haze of golden energy…the same shade she could now glimpse, in tiny perfect flecks, at the very edges of his dark brown irises.

What would those rings of light look like from inches away? What would everything look like, smell like, feel like with the man pressed close instead of at arm’s length? And why was she tempted to use some of Dan’s four-letter words when realizing none of those fantasies were relevant, much less possible?

And why did she want to tell Shay Bommer to shut the hell up when he spoke again, shattering the gold haze?

“Franz is the gold standard, Madame Vice President. You’re actually getting an upgrade, but I won’t say that too loudly in front of him.” He chuffed, pointing to Franzen’s severe haircut. “His dome gets too big, we worry about the doorframes becoming sawdust.”

“Yeah? And if yours gets too big, they turn into forests.”

Tracy giggled before she could help it. She attempted an apologetic look at Shay. “You do have a lot of hair, bucko.” It cascaded around his face in artful negligence like a young Jared Leto or an old John Lennon, usually inspiring appreciative female glances—though not hers. The etched elegance of Franzen’s look, though? Her fingers itched from the thought of those black spikes jabbing into them.

Who was she kidding? Her fingertips only carried the start of the itch.

Behave.

Focus.

“Bucko.” Franz snort-laughed it, exposing the hint of a smile. Holy hell, the man had dazzling teeth. “Dude. You’re a bucko.”

“Yeah, well, you’re a—” Shay interrupted himself, seeming to remember they stood in suits in a convention center, not BDUs in a jungle. “You’re a good friend, man. That’s what you are.”

“Ohhh, boy.” Tracy mock-groused it. “There’s the pregnancy hormones talking now.” She cocked her head, encouraged by Franzen’s smirk. “Save the boo-hoo for the delivery room, Bommer—and just tell me what I need to know about this one. ‘Dragon’, was it? Do I dare ask where that came from?”

Like a kid waiting at Dairy Queen, she couldn’t wait for the man’s bigger smile. Instead, he started resembling The Hulk, eyes stormy and lips tense, before muttering, “It’s just a name. Doesn’t mean anything.”

There was more to that. A lot more. Tracy read that much in the ensuing expression across Bommer’s face, debating a reaction somewhere between a fuck you and a full throat punch. He eschewed both to state, “As soon as I called with the SOS, John graciously hopped his backside onto a plane from Seattle. He’s been based there for the last eleven years—at least the few times he’s been stateside—out of Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Headed the Spec Ops team my brother was on, or at least that’s what it says on paper. What it doesn’t say is—”

Franzen chopped him short with a grunt. “Don’t start.”

Tracy tapped a toe. “Oh, come on. Humor me. What doesn’t it say?”

Shay smiled.

Captain Franzen looked ready to bust out of his clothes and turn green.

A dozen earpiece radios squawked.

The intrusion made Tracy start. Rarely could she actually hear her security team’s comm links since they were hooked into tiny ear pieces for each member, but the blare quashed the silence after her dare, all but ensuring she’d never be answered.

“Roger that,” Sol said into the mic beneath his shirt cuff, before circling toward Tracy. “Main hall’s been checked and secured, ma’am. They’re ready to run your sound check.”

“Of course they are.” As soon as the grumble spilled, she mentally smacked herself for it, despite feeling like she’d earned it. That just once, she could take a break and indulge some harmless interest in a hotter-than-hell man…

No. She was more than interested. She was drawn. Like some damn molecule depicted in one of Luke’s Chem lessons, she was helpless about it too.

And she had no idea why.

And there was the crux of this frustration.

Keoni John Franzen. There was something about him. Something deeper than the muscles and the confidence and the powerful grace. Something beneath all the one-liners and the smack talk with his buddies. A darkness…but not one cowering in shadows and shame. He liked his darkness. Took refuge in it. Was more than happy in it.

Alone.

So why was she so hot to climb his tree?

And she was hot. More than she wanted to admit, even as the light caught the gold rings in his eyes again. As he rolled his head, cracking his neck. As he readjusted his stance, looming and large, before moving into place near the dressing room’s door.

Hot butter on a damn biscuit.

Her heartbeat doubled. Her libido flared. Everything between her thighs thumped in time to her escalated pulse rate.

She wanted him to stride back over to her.

As she lay on a massive bed, waiting for him.

Her body totally naked.

Her legs completely spread.

“Tigress is en route to the stage. I repeat, Tigress is en route to the stage.”

Nothing like Sol barking her code name into the comm link at his wrist, along with a mention of the damn stage, to land her pussy back on ice. Even if it was a kick-ass code name.

Shay eased the sting a little, letting her pull him into a maternal hug on her way to the door. “Off with you, Daddy Bommer,” she ordered. “And no fainting in the delivery room either.”

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