First Kiss Excerpt
“Why did you run from me?”
She jerked her wrist, attempting to pull away, but he wouldn’t release her, instead stepping closer. Her heart thumped against her rib cage, threatening to bust out and desert ship. It wouldn’t surprise her if he could feel her pulse pounding away at her wrist. She retreated further, but he followed, backing her into the wall.
“It is a simple question.”
Erin’s breath stalled, the hard stone wall at her back, an equally daunting wall of muscle in front of her. A big, dark chevalier, he loomed over her. Her legs trembled, the consistency of putty rather than flesh and bone.
“Last night, you seemed angry that I had the amulet. And then you came at me so fast… Look, I’m… I’m… I don’t follow the old religions. I’m not a witch.” Her bottom lip trembled despite her efforts to control it. “Let’s clear that up now. I found the amulet. It’s not mine. I don’t know who it belongs to.”
Liar, liar, pants on fire.
It belonged to him. It had to.
“And this?” He tugged at her left wrist, her watch a glaring presence not so easily dismissed.
“Jewelry.” She gave a small shrug of her shoulders. “It’s the new fashion.”
He smiled, but didn’t loosen his grip, nor did he back away. He leaned toward her, his mouth bare inches from hers, dark eyes staring deep into hers, strange shadows flitting behind the irises. She couldn’t look away. Any fear of him had fled, replaced by something far more dangerous. It had her quivering inside her skin, superseding everything. It terrified her beyond imagining she’d not only be unable to resist him, but she wouldn’t want to.
“Never run from me,” he said, his breath warm across her lips and they parted in expectation, traitors to her mind’s will. “I will always catch you.”
In one swift move, he captured her other wrist and pinned her against the wall with his body. Her mind screamed a protest. Her body rejoiced. His knee nudged her legs apart, slipping between them, pressing his muscular thigh against the very center of her. And damn if she didn’t let him.
Where had her moral outrage gone, her hard-earned determination to never put herself in the arms of such a man? They’d deserted her—overpowered by a rapacious libido she never knew she possessed. It threw common sense to the wind and laughed in the face of her resolution to remain unaffected. Her body burned for him and happily broadcast that fact loud and clear. It couldn’t have been more obvious if she’d a neon sign flashing ‘all systems are go’.
With a lick of his lips, he captured her mouth. No soft kiss, no gentle seduction. She’d run. He’d caught her. To the victor went the spoils. He was taking what he wanted.
Dredging up some belated form of courage, she tore her mouth from his, refusing to give him what he demanded—an all-access pass to her mouth, her body. Not so easily dissuaded, he leaned into her neck, the tickle of his beard and his lips whisper soft on the sensitive skin of her throat and inhaled deeply.
Her whole body vibrated in response, rolling out the welcome mat. Shifting her wrists into one large hand, he ran the other down her cheek to her chin. A gentle press of his fingers and she was facing him, eye to eye, breath to breath.
“You desire this as much as I,” he murmured.
She gave a strained shake of her head, denying his words, but when he rubbed his thumb across her bottom lip, she couldn’t keep up the pretense. Her eyelids fluttered closed, her lips parted on a sigh, her body providing him all the permission he needed. He recaptured her mouth in his, slipping his tongue between her lips. With delicious hot thrusts, he demanded she respond in kind.
Erin’s resistance melted faster than summer hail after a storm. Her body softening against his, she responded with a fierce need of her own.
Meet Cute Excerpt
Her heart pounded and her throat tightened, but she pulled herself together.
There’s nothing there.
No apparition of a long dead chevalier, no ghostly wolf, nothing. Tomorrow she’d feel like a complete idiot and have a laugh at her own expense, especially if Connor and Greg got wind of this.
A muttered oath burst out from the darkness. Her body stiffened.
Oh God, there is someone there. Calm down, Erin. Take a breath.
She sucked in air. A security guard? She released her breath on a sigh. Yes, security doing the rounds, checking the site because the lights went out.
Without a torch?
Or more delinquent teenagers intent on mischief, taking advantage of the blackout.
“I know you’re there,” she called out, hands on her hips. Only kids. She could handle a bunch of kids. Maybe. “Show yourself.” She resisted the urge to stamp her foot.
A large shape coalesced, moving toward her. Erin held her ground. As the figure approached, the clouds covering the moon shifted and the darkness ebbed away. Her mouth dropped open. What the hell?
A man. A naked man.
Her gaze snapped to his face. Her breath whooshed from her lungs.
No, no, no, no.
Her blood turned to icy sludge, and her brain struggled to comprehend what her eyes were seeing. It couldn’t be. Ghosts weren’t real. No matter how many paranormal shows tried to convince you of their existence, ghosts weren’t real. They were a trick of the light, a product of an overactive imagination and a spooky atmosphere. A logical explanation could always be found.
Not this time. Nothing else could explain how he stood before her. In the flesh. Lots and lots of flesh!
“Gaharet d’Louncrais.” The air all but sucked out of her lungs. How was this possible? Her drawing was merely a romantic imagining from the most minimal descriptions they had, and yet… Those eyes, the patrician nose…
Erin shook her head. A wave of dizziness swamped her, and she groaned, holding her hand to her forehead. She winced at the tenderness beneath her palm. Erin squeezed her eyes shut, took deep breaths and concentrated on reinstating calm, rational thoughts. The sudden darkness, the disturbing nature of the cell and her fascination with the long dead chevalier had her seeing things that simply weren’t there. Ghosts did not exist, and they sure as hell did not show up naked.
You’ve got Gaharet d’Louncrais on the brain, Erin. That’s all.
She’d had a long day. Fatigue had to be playing a role. Add to that, an unexpected head injury, and she’d conjured him straight off the page and into…whatever this was. She would open her eyes and all she’d see would be the dark silhouette of the keep ruins. Nothing more. Trepidation almost choking her, she slowly prized her lids open.
He’s still there! And. Still. Naked!
Erin had worked on medieval grave sites, exhumed bones and worked well into the night many times before. Not once had she ever encountered an apparition. Could this be her first supernatural experience?
A ghost? In the buff?
They squared off, neither making a move toward the other, nor saying a word, and Erin’s curiosity spiked, battling it out with her fear for supremacy. Maybe she’d knocked herself out, lay unconscious on the ground and this was all a bad dream. Nope. The pain in her head was real. She narrowed her eyes at the figure before her. Who’d ever heard of a naked ghost?
Erin tried hard, really hard, to contain her gaze to his face, but her eyes refused to take orders from her bruised frontal lobe. The pleasure center of her brain, the part she held responsible for that ridiculous drawing, had control and it steered her gaze lower. Down over his muscular chest, taking in the flash of gold chain and jeweled pendant nestled in dark hair, before moving to his ripped abs. God, those abs—sculpted to perfection, except for a raised, jagged scar slicing across them. She itched to run her fingers over that scar.
Her fists clenched to her sides, she continued her exploration downward…for science, for history. She was a professional trained in research and practiced in observation. She licked her lips. She’d study every detail. To document her findings, of course.
Her gaze trailed a path down from those impeccable abs, following twin ropes of muscle leading to… Her mouth went dry, and her gaze did a nervous skip to his muscular thighs with their faint dusting of dark hair, but only for an instant before jerking back up to… Oh, my.