This is my favorite scene from Alethea’s Redemption because it’s where Marc Stone saw past Alethea’s bravado and began to understand her. It was where he changed, for me, from a hot hero to a man I fell in love with as I wrote him. In this scene I realized why Marc and Alethea were meant for each other: more than anyone else ever has or probably ever will, he understands her. She’s flawed, as is he, but he wants he wants.
On his terms.
Having her so close and not being able to touch her was torture, sweet torture. Thank God I didn’t promise not to look. Watching her beautifully toned arms slice through the water, and the glimpse of her breasts just beneath the water, had him painfully aroused. He gave up trying to pretend, swam to the edge, and propped himself up with an arm on either side to savor the view.
If mermaids look anything like her, no wonder sailors dive to their doom.
Her delightful bare ass arched above the waterline each time she reached the end of the fake river and dove to turn. As she swam by him, he saw what looked like a half smile on her face and chuckled. She knows exactly what she’s doing to me and she’s waiting for me to give in and chase her. That’s what she’s used to.
The man chases.
She gives only what she wants to.
I could let her win, agree to her terms, and the reward would be a night between those sweet thighs. One night of sex would be no different than any hookup I’ve ever had.
And that’s the problem. I don’t want just one night. I want to know what scares a woman the FBI considers more of a liability than an asset. Someone to hire when they need her, but not someone they want on their payroll.
Someone so good at what she does that, like NASCAR, people watch in fascination, waiting to see her crash, even as they cheer her on. Like Dominic, she made more enemies than she did friends.
He had to admit that he’d spent more than a few evenings imagining how good it would feel to humble her a bit. Her bold, take-no-prisoners and win-at-all-costs attitude elicited a strong emotion in many people.
And I’m only human.
The more time he spent with her, however, the more he saw that she didn’t want to win—she needed to. She wasn’t driven by fame; in fact, even in the midst of intense public scrutiny of those near her, she’d managed to stay under the radar. Keenly intelligent with the ability to read most people, she was a master manipulator.
But to what end?
Money didn’t impress her.
She could have parlayed her connections into a position of power, but she hadn’t.
Every once in a while, if he looked closely enough, he glimpsed, what he’d bet his life on, was fear. Not the I’ve-had-my-heart-broken surface shit, but the wake-up-terrified-and-sweaty kind of mental scar that comes from being brutally thrown into hell and then deposited back on earth. A scar you hide, even from those you love, because some things are too ugly to share.
He understood scars, internal as well as external.
Watching Alethea tirelessly swim back and forth before him gave him time to come to a decision. Sometimes you have to tear something down before you can build it up stronger.
She shot him another look as she swam by. Their eyes met and fire sprang between them.
When Hunter Brannigan loses his father and is sent a map, he doesn’t know what to think. Is it a joke? Was the old man going senile at the end? The attorney sending the map assures him the piece of paper was definitely from his father and he must follow the clues to find himself.
Hunter has been running from anything even remotely resembling responsibility for a very long time. He’s a world renowned Photo Journalist, traveling the seven continents in pursuit of the next great shot. He’s been in the heart of the trauma during war time, natural disasters, and life-altering moments, always on the other side of the lens, never getting emotionally involved. His father’s last wish for him is to put himself within the pictures he’s famous for.
Deciding to humor his father’s last request, he stumbles upon Rebekah Kingsley III, an uptight History Professor who desperately needs to let her hair down. Though he has his doubts she can get dirty long enough to help him, something about her won’t let him walk so easily this time. Will she be enough to make him settle down, or will he leave her with nothing but a picture of what could have been.
Seven weeks, seven authors, means seven weeks of great prizes! We are in week three, and there are fantastic prizes ahead. Each week we’ll be announcing a new prize, and at the end of the giveaway one person will win their very own iPad Mini!
Meet the Brannigan brothers—seven sexy brothers who bring the heart and the heat! From bestselling authors Barbara Freethy, Ruth Cardello, Melody Anne, Christie Ridgway, Lynn Raye Harris, Roxanne St. Claire and JoAnn Ross comes a brand new contemporary romance family series: 7 Brides for 7 Brothers. You won’t want to miss a single one!
Gabe Brannigan is a Californian real estate mogul who is used to seeing property in terms of dollar signs. When his father dies unexpectedly and leaves him the family ranch, he’s annoyed rather than grateful. The conditions of his inheritance include living on the ranch before being able to sell it.
He’s ready to walk away from the deal until he meets the sexy, motorcycle-riding ranch caretaker. She’s brash and outspoken, rough around the edges. Definitely not his style, but that doesn’t stop him from wanting her.
Throwing all caution aside and deciding to have her.
Josephine Ashby has found the perfect place to hide until Mr. Sexy Eyes shows up and announces he is moving in.
A man who doesn’t believe in anything, finds himself believing in her.
At the sound she spun around with a wrench held high in one hand. Her gaze raked over him, narrowing with displeasure. It was a response he wasn’t used to in a woman. “This is private property,” she said in a firm voice, still holding the wrench as if she might crack him in the head with it if he stepped closer.
“Is it?” All better retorts were lost as he took in her full, glistening beauty. She looked like she was in her mid-twenties. Long brown hair was swept up in a loose ponytail, allowing dark tendrils to fall and frame her face. One of her arms was tattooed with the face of a dragon, which normally would have been a turnoff, but he was intrigued by it. Dark brown eyes glared at him, while her chest heaved up and down beneath a thin, white tank top and bra that did nothing to conceal her response to his perusal. A half smile curled his lips. He was old enough to know that sexual chemistry didn’t require context nor did it always respect personal preferences. Sometimes it was simply there and this time it was—stronger than he remembered feeling with anyone for a very long time. The five-hour drive might not have been a waste of time after all.
“Yes, so you can’t be here. Leave your name, though, and I’ll tell the owners you came by.”
Who the hell is this beauty? “I’d rather have your name.”
Her raised arm shook. “Mine?”
Her stall increased his curiosity, and he stepped closer. He lowered his voice. “Yes, yours.”
She glanced quickly to the left then the right and swore. “Listen, I don’t want to hurt you, but you need to leave.”
“I’m not going anywhere.” He inched closer, and his breathing deepened like a hunter sensing his prey was about to bolt. He was mid-step when she struck, and with a swift move he recognized from his kick-boxing days, she hooked his ankle with hers and pulled his foot out from beneath him. He fell forward, but righted himself before he hit the ground.
She used the advantage of surprise to race out of his reach. He turned in time to see her retrieve a 9mm Beretta from her toolbox. In a stance proving she was no novice, she pointed the gun directly at him. “Yes, you are. I don’t want to shoot you, but I will if I have to.” She clicked the safety off.
Her eyes glittered, her dark hair blew in the wind behind her, and she went from a ten on his hotness scale to an unbelievable fifteen. Damn. He’d never been into bondage or thought giving control over to a woman could be sexy, but he was willing to experiment with it for a taste of her. He kept that thought to himself because she didn’t look like she was thinking the same. He referenced his suit and Stefano Bemer loafers. “Easy, tiger. Do I look like someone you need to run off with a gun?”
She assessed him over from head to toe again. “Yes.”
It was so easy to give in to her hunger and kiss him back with equal passion. She told herself that everything wrong with her life would be waiting for her, but it didn’t need to deprive her of this moment. No one gets hurt as long as I don’t let it go too far. His hands dug into her hair, cradling her as he deepened the kiss. She slid her hands up his bare chest, knowing she should push him away, but unable to force herself to. His skin was warm and smooth. His muscles flexed beneath her touch. She fisted her hands against his chest. Desire and duty. Guilt and loneliness. Kissing him felt incredible and gut-wrenchingly painful at the same time.
Nothing about her was easy, and that was part of what he found exciting. “I won’t have to restrain you.” He let her go. “You’ll stay on your own volition.”
She took a step back, looking like she was gauging if she could make it inside the house before him. “And why would I do that?”
He confidently pocketed his hands. Unlike her, he had nothing to lose. “Run and I’ll tell the police everything. There’ll be nowhere you can hide after that.”
She searched his face. “But you won’t tell them if I stay?” A blush spread up her neck and across her cheeks. “If you think I’ll sleep with you in exchange for your silence—”
“Whether or not you’d sleep with me has already been answered, but that’s not what I’m offering you.” Yes, not calling the police allowed for the possibility that he’d end up locked in the trunk of his car wondering why the hell he’d let his dick take the lead in this decision. His gut told him it was worth the risk, and he was rarely wrong. Except the time he broke his arm. Hunter had convinced him that being deposited on top of a mountain and having to ski back to civilization was better than staying at a resort. And when Hunter had talked him into going shark fishing. So, my instincts are fine; it’s Hunter’s that will get me killed. “You want someone to believe you’re innocent? Convince me.”
This week I released TAKING CHARGE, the final, climactic book in the Lone Star Burn Series. I have loved and laughed my way through writing this series, and I hope you have loved the journey as much as I have. Thank you again for all your amazing support, and even though this series is coming to a close, I have many, many more stories for you.
TAKING CHARGE is also available in audio! If you already bought the book (I love you), you can also get the additional audio version for a big discounted price! Just log into your account on Amazon and look up the title of the book.
This week, the supremely talented bestselling author, Barbara Freethy, released the first book in the series, LUKE. You’ll meet the Brannigan brothers—seven sexy brothers who bring the heart and the heat!