Congratulations on your new release, Tina!!
Their desire wasn’t supposed to be real…
With millions willed to her in an incentive trust, Lissa can get the dough to start her own country music label when she meets one of the no-contest clauses. Namely, reach middle age in twenty years, work in the hated family business for a decade, or marry someone not in the music biz.
Marriage it is, at least for a year to satisfy her greedy brother who wants the inheritance.
Enter Cass, a hot Texas rancher who dampens Lissa’s panties. With a pile of medical bills from his brother’s accident, Cass agrees to wed Lissa. She’s sweet to look at, surprisingly pleasant for an Atlanta debutante, and makes his jeans feel tight as hell despite their no-sex contract.
Uh-huh. The devil’s in the details. Longing gazes turn to tender intimacy and wild nights with pretend feeling all too real.
Damn shame it may be too late with her brother gunning for them both.
“Neck hurt?” he asked.
She stopped kneading her aching muscles, but couldn’t lie. “A little.”
He put down his drink without tasting it. “Lie down. I’ll massage it.” He went to the bed and pulled away the down comforter.
She regarded the white satin sheets. “Wonder where they get linens to fit that thing.”
Cass smiled. “Beats me. I’d say the bed’s more for contortionists than regular people.”
Lissa snickered, grateful they’d broken the tension. “No kidding.” She padded to the bed. “Should I lie on my belly?”
“Depends where you hurt.” He eased his hand between her hair and the robe, gently touching her neck with his fingertips. “Here?”
Her legs went watery at the gently pressure of his hand. “Uh-uh.”
Damn. Her shoulder shot up with the pain.
“On your belly,” he said.
Lissa knelt on the bed and fell forward.
“Jesus Christ,” he blurted. “Didn’t that hurt?”
“It’s worse if I bend anything.”
“Does that mean you’re going to have trouble getting back up?”
Lissa wasn’t certain how to answer that so she hedged. “Why?”
“You might have to take off your robe so I can find your neck.”
Groaning, she rolled over, undid the tie, then rolled back onto her belly. “Can you just pull it off me?”
Cass did, his touch extra gentle, his breathing barely controlled. “Ready?” he rasped.
For just about everything, even as desire and fear continued to war within her. She touched the back of her neck. “Here’s where it hurts worse.”
The mattress jiggled with Cass’ weight, but his touch was exquisitely light as he brushed her hair to the side, then kneaded her muscles.
A sigh spilled past her lips as he eased away the pain, little by little. Minutes later, Lissa was finally relaxed. She stretched her arms over her head, parted her legs widely, and moaned in pleasure.
“Better?” he murmured.
“Good.” He ran his hands over her shoulders and down her arms until he touched her fingers.
Without thinking, Lissa laced them through his, holding him.
Neither of them moved. Lissa was pretty damn certain they’d both stopped breathing too.
A sound of raw male need finally poured from Cass. He lowered his mouth to her neck, his breath skipping across it, his achingly soft lips pressed to her.
Her toes curled at the hot, wet sweep of his tongue on her skin. She lost what little resistance she’d had, his kiss warming her inside and out.
After easing his hands from hers, he turned Lissa over and covered her body with his, capturing her mouth, filling her with his tongue. When he slipped the strap past her shoulder and down her arm, wanting tore through Lissa, crashing in waves so fierce, she pushed her fingers through his silky hair and arched her back, giving herself to him. Her areola puckered in the room’s coolish air, the tip hardening even more at the brush of his calloused palm, his fingers squeezing her breast.
A rush of moisture dampened Lissa’s soft folds. Cass’ shaft grew harder against her, his kiss fiercer. With one hand beneath her head, he held her still so he could own her mouth. Then he lifted the edge of her gown, easing it up until he’d exposed her legs and pussy.
Lissa’s thoughts spun out of control at his hand sliding up the inside of her thigh to her delicate curls. He tugged at them playfully, then sought her damp entrance, finding her clit.
She gasped at the stunning sensations pulsing through her. Her body surrendered to pleasure even as her mind began to rebel, desire warring with fear, good sense battling with need.
Cass teased her nub, generating indescribable sensations as he deepened their kiss. With his knees, he pushed her legs wider. Her body responded wantonly, wanting more even as a wish repeated itself in her heart like a well-loved melody.
If only he loved her.
He didn’t. This was a deal born of desperate financial need for him and a soul-deep longing within her—the chance to create something beautiful in a world that had always seemed so heartless and cold.
Remembering that, Lissa pressed her hands to his chest and pulled her mouth from his. “Cass, no,” she panted.
He suckled her neck.
Breathing hard, he finally lifted his head, his gaze unfocused, thick with lust.
The same that Lissa felt but had to fight, protecting her heart. “No.”
He blinked as if coming out of a trance, then pulled his hand from between her thighs, his fingers slick with her moisture, proof of her desire. He couldn’t have looked more confused.
Lissa didn’t know what to say. Now wasn’t the time to tell him she didn’t believe in casual sex, not even with her own husband. Laughter bubbled in her throat while tears stung her eyes.
He stared. “Lissa, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to do anything. I thought…” Not finishing, he rolled off her and left the bed. He was at the wet bar, downing a shot of whiskey when she moved past.
“Whoa.” He cuffed her wrist and frowned at the pillow wedged under her arm. “What do you think you’re doing?”
“Sleeping in the tub. You didn’t do anything wrong,” she added quickly. “You thought exactly what you should have. This isn’t fair to you.”
Cass shook his head. More of his dark locks spilled loose, grazing his eyebrows, making her weak with wanting. “You’re not spending the night in the tub.”
“I have to. You won’t fit in it.”
He laughed. “You’re right, I won’t.” Sobering quickly, he took a deep breath and spoke on a sigh, “We have a year of this to face, so we sure as hell better start getting used to it tonight. We’ll both use the bed.” He grabbed the bottle of vodka and slapped it into her hand. “If I try anything in my sleep, just hit me over the head with that.”
She threw it to the side. “I’m sorry for what happened. Not because it happened but because of the circumstances surrounding it. You deserve better.”
He made a face. “And you don’t?”
“I can handle it.”
He glared. “I can’t?”
“That’s not what I meant. I—”
“It’s okay.” Breathing hard, he cradled the side of her face in his hand. “Just go to bed. I’ll be there directly.”
She glanced at the wet bar.
“Don’t worry. I’m not going to get drunk.”
“I know. I was thinking about doing that myself.”
He laughed. “God, woman, you’re a handful.”
Her cheeks warmed at his teasing. She murmured, “You’re an honorable man, Cass.”
He dropped his hand. “Go to bed, please.”
Lissa didn’t move. “Which side of the mattress do you prefer?”
She laughed. “I’ll take the right if that’s okay.”
“Fine. Whatever you want.”
“No, I want you to be comfortable too. If you prefer something else, let me know. Do you have a double bed on the ranch? Do you sleep in the middle of it?”
He rubbed the back of his neck, his biceps bulging with that small move, the dark hair in his pit peeking out, making Lissa nuts.
She swallowed. “Come on, tell me. How do you usually sleep?”
“In the nude.”
I’m an award-winning, bestselling novelist in erotic, paranormal, contemporary and historical romance for Kensington, Samhain Publishing, Ellora’s Cave, Siren Publishing, Booktrope, Luminosity, and indie. Yay! Booklist, Publisher’s Weekly, Romantic Times and numerous online sites have praised my work, and trust me, I’m forever grateful for that. I’ve had my books reach finals in the EPIC competition, one title was named Book of the Year at a review site, and others have won awards in RWA-sponsored contests. I’m actually featured in the 2012 Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market. Talk about feeling like a freaking star. Before my writing career, I was the editor of an award–winning Midwestern newspaper and worked in Story Direction for a Hollywood production company. Outside of being an admitted and unrepentant chocoholic, I’ve flown a single-engine plane (scary stuff), rewired an old house using an electricity for dummies book, and have been known to moan like Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally whenever I’m eating anything Mexican or Italian. Yeah, I like to eat (burp).
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