Knight in Tarnished Armor by Ann Major

Cynical, silver-screen superhero, Christopher Stone isn’t looking for love when he goes to Texas to reclaim his long-lost daughter.

Gentle, scholarly Dallas Kirkland is not the kind of woman he usually romances, especially when she stubbornly refuses to surrender her six-year-old ward, his daughter, to him no matter how much he offers her.

Even though she can’t be bought or bullied into giving him the daughter they both love, he’s thrown off balance when her beauty and tenderness ignite in him a searing passion that threatens to consume him.

“Such a wonderful roller coaster ride. This book will keep you turning those pages till the end. Sometimes I was on Christopher’s side and then Dallas’ side. Ultimately I was on both, I wanted it to work out so much. Loved the kids, they brought so much to the story.” Amazon Reviewer

Read an Excerpt:

The shower was icy, but it felt good against Christopher’s hot skin as it blasted away salt and grit. Because of the running water, he didn't hear the melodious lilt of a woman's voice calling down to him. He dried off and then wrapped the damp towel around his waist and strode into the main cabin only to stop abruptly when he found her there.

She was framed in the hatchway, a vision of soft, female loveliness with the red fire of the setting sun backlighted in her golden hair.

She was peering into the darkness of the cabin. He was a shadowy presence she probably couldn't see all that well.

He recognized her instantly.

The highbrow who had his daughter. Stephie's legal guardian.

Only she didn't look like a highbrow. Her thickly lashed blue eyes were luminous. There seemed to be tiny flecks of gold in them. Her fragile face was as perfectly sculpted as a porcelain figurine's.

Although he was used to beautiful actresses, she took his breath away.

“Hello there,” he whispered.

She was lovely, but not in the way he was used to. Her education—which was mainly from books—had not touched her in the way that his real-life experiences had hardened him.

“Surprise, darling,” she said softly, welcoming him with a sweet warmth he’d longed for all his life.

Gordon Powers was a lucky bastard.

Christopher's heart pounded. The teak flooring seemed to rock gently beneath his bare feet.

“I cooked you some shrimp—your favorite.”

Then it came to him. She couldn't see him in the darkness. She assumed he was Gordon because he was in Gordon's slip.

Christopher knew he should tell her who he was at once, but he didn't want her to go. Not yet.

She’s the enemy.

The unusual gold flecks in her irises caught the light of the sun and sparkled.

But a beautiful enemy.

He’d always had a weakness for beauty.

“Shrimp. How nice of you,” he murmured.

“Sorry I was late,” she said. “I wanted to cook the kids a balanced meal and get them settled for the night so that we…” Her voice died on a suggestive note.

“That sounds too good to be true,” he whispered hoarsely.

“I've been neglecting you,” came that velvet, heart-stirring voice.

“Is that a fact?” he asked enthusiastically.

“But all that's going to change—tonight.”

“I can't wait.”

She began descending the stairs. His hungry male gaze followed her elegant, bare feet and ankles, her long golden legs, the swell of creamy thighs. She was wearing skin-tight white shorts and a thin T-shirt that molded her breasts. His throat felt hot, dry.

He couldn’t believe this goddess was the witch who had his child.

Patrick was right. She had the face of an angel.

And the body of a seductress.

Which was a lethal combination for a man like him.

Slim, she moved with astonishing grace. Sunlight splashed over the vee of her neckline, and his gaze followed its path. Christopher grew so warm, he was burning.

He moved toward her and joined her in the dazzling fire of the sunlight. His hair fell across his brow, and he shook it out of his eyes.

She stepped back and shrieked. “You’re not Gordon!”

“No.” Christopher smiled. “You're not what I expected, either.”

“You should have told me who you were at once,” she said.

“You surprised me. I was too stunned to speak.” He smiled. “You’re gorgeous, and you were so warm and welcoming. What sane man would tell such a woman to go?” His gaze lingered over her breasts, her narrow waist, her flaring hips. His ravenous gaze finally settled on the shrimp. “And those home-cooked…crustaceans look way too delicious to resist.”

She blushed charmingly, and he moved closer to pluck a shrimp from her trembling hands.

Their fingers touched, and a swift hot current raced through them both.

They jumped back from one another, startled.

He told himself it was just his sunburn that made his skin tingle. He seized a shrimp from the platter. It was still sizzling, and it burned his fingers. He popped it into his mouth. His white teeth crunched into it. Then he swallowed it. His hot gaze roamed her lush soft curves. “Delicious.” He grinned broadly.

“Who are you?” she demanded.

“Your marina guest,” he murmured. He bit into his second shrimp. There was something very sensual about eating shrimp while watching her. He licked his lips. “I didn't realize I was so…hungry.”

Her frightened eyes met his, and it was as if she touched him. He saw the wildly fluttering pulse at the base of her throat, and he felt an answering excitement of his own.

He was used to women wanting him—because of who he was. But this was different. She was the enemy.

He liked her anyway.

“Don't be afraid,” he said. “Not of me.”

“I'm not.”

He heard the husky quiver in her voice. “Right,” he said.

Shakily she moved a tendril of golden hair out of her eyes.

He kept staring. She was more beautiful in person than she’d been in the pictures his private detective had furnished. He was used to photogenic women with air-brushed portfolios, to being disappointed when he actually met famous film beauties.

She clutched the railing by the stairs.

Vaguely, he remembered his glasses—who he was, who he was supposed to be—and the danger to his plan if she recognized him too soon. Fumbling, he grabbed his glasses from a shelf and put them on.

“I wish I was wearing mine,” she said, making the kind of inane conversation strangers make to avoid an awkward silence.

“What?”

“Gordon prefers me in contacts. He’s my boyfriend. I thought this was his boat.”

“Oh, yeah. Powers. We met. I sort of accidentally took his slip.”

“Your boat is a lot like his. I'm sorry to have bothered…”

Christopher moved nearer. “No problem. Sooner or later we were bound to meet.”