Secret Service - Tal Bauer

Chapter One



Brennan Walker had my heart in his hands from the moment I first walked into his Oval Office. There is a key to a part of my soul I never knew existed, and he holds that key inside himself.

Didn’t matter that I’d never been with a man. Didn’t matter that I had never craved a man. Had never once thought about muscles moving beneath sweat-slick skin, about the scrape of stubble against my inner thigh, about the taste of a furred chest against my lips.

A lit match scorched each of my nerve endings when I shook hands with President Walker a year ago. His acetylene-blue eyes locked onto mine, and I was undone.

What I remember most from the day we met is the buzz in my brain, like neon lights short-circuiting when you step into a dive bar. The way time stood still, like film catching and quivering on the reel, unable to move forward. How something ripped open inside me.

There are people who should not come together in this world. Reality quakes too strongly beneath the force of their love.

I am no one. I am no titan, no giant walking this planet, but if my love for this man was ever tested—if ever the world tried to take him from me—I would rip the sky from the edges of this earth.

This love I feel terrifies me, and it’s terrified me from the moment our gazes first locked, when the distance between our souls seemed like an impossible, unknowable divide. Human beings are not meant to carry nuclear reactors within their hearts.

We didn’t meet that day so much as collide. Crashed. Set our futures and our presents and every muscle fiber of our hearts on fire.

Here we are, colliding again.

He backs me down the hallway from the Oval to his private study. We’re kissing like nothing in the world can stop us. My ass hits the desk edge, and he swipes the surface clean of his folders and binders. Policy briefs and the Top Secret pouch tumble to the floor. He guides me down, moaning into my mouth as my hands sink into his hair, our lips locked.

Only our clothes separate us, and if I could, I’d rip them away. Feel his chest against mine, bare skin to bare skin.

He’s the first man who ever kissed me. The first who buried his face in the back of my neck and sighed my name like a prayer.

He’s the first man who dropped to his knees in front of me.

Brennan cups my face as our kiss deepens. My hands dig into the solidity of his shoulders, hard enough to bruise. I’ve clung to them, sunk my teeth into them, buried my shouts in their broad expanse. The weight of the world rests on those shoulders, yet he’s made room for me, too.

My thighs grip his hips, dragging him to me, until we’re pressed so close it’s nearly painful. His hands sweep down my sides, but he runs into my holster. His touch skirts my pistol and lands at my waist, and if we had ten more seconds, we’d be undoing each other’s belts.

But we don’t have ten seconds. What we both want, we can’t have—not now.

That weapon and everything it represents is in the way.

My internal clock fires, a talent I’ve cultivated through years of standing watches in this White House. “Four minutes are up,” I breathe. “Time to go, mon cher.”

Brennan rests his forehead against mine, our lips still touching. This is a caress now instead of a kiss, a connection we need like we need to breathe. He steps back, but I blink up at the overhead lights as I count down my pulse.

We need these seconds to pack this away, come back to our cold, hard reality.

We should never have met, because there’s nothing I won’t do for Brennan, and that kind of love—burn the world down, fly the black flag, you are my forever for always—is too dangerous.

We are dangerous together.

If I stop to really think about what I’m doing, my carefully constructed justifications and excuses and rationalizations will collapse. I’ve bargained and compromised and made deals with the devil, all so I can taste this man’s kiss and feel his skin against my own.

Our stolen minutes are up.

On the ground, thrown down when we couldn’t keep our hands off each other, is the classified pouch, the Top-Secret, Presidential-Eyes-Only one. It’s the reason we’re here, burning these four minutes as my most trusted team of agents puts the