Love is the last thing a lone woman in the West should believe in, but the heart doesn't always listen to good sense. With a spirit as wild as the West, Brianna Spencer faces a hard life in the small town of Silver Peak. Her father has not returned from spring hunting, but no way is she listening to anyone who says her father is dead. He's delayed.that's all. When Sloan McAlister finds Brianna walking the docks to pay down a bank note, she grabs his attention. The docks aren't meant for her caliber of woman. Yet the West is ruled by one thing, the need to survive. Sloan soon finds himself right in the middle of a claim-jumping family that considers Brianna easy prey while her father's out of the picture. His better judgment says to walk away. But after one stolen kiss, Sloan refuses to do anything of the sort. If she's going warm any man's bed, Brianna will marry him. However, Brianna wants more than his strong arm to back up her father's property. It's his love or nothing.
Let Me Love You
Extrait offert par Mary Wine :
He shouldn’t touch her.
That thought didn’t stick. Sloan wasn’t sure it even left a trail as it slipped right out of his brain to make room for the hunger that was doubling in size as he watch Brianna work the last of her coat buttons. A smile touched his lips at the innocent picture she made in the coatroom—she was still wearing her gloves and her fingers were clumsy on the buttons due to the fabric coating her fingers. A silvery giggle escaped her lips as she stopped and tugged her gloves off before stuffing them into a coat pocket. Music floated in on the wind as the light flickered over her smile. She was humming with the fiddle as she shrugged out of her jacket and turned around to place it on a hook.
Brianna had to rise up onto her toes to reach a free hook. The walls already strained under the number of coats and shawls hanging there. It didn’t bother her. In fact, it added to the festive atmosphere. A pair of male hands suddenly appeared over hers and plucked her coat from her. A little gasp escaped her lips as sensation rippled along her skin from the contact of bare fingers against bare fingers. It was such a silly thing to notice so intently, but little goose bumps spread along her arms.
Her coat landed on a hook that was sure a whole lot easier for Sloan McAlister to reach with his towering height. Brianna wasn’t even certain her head came to the man’s shoulders. She turned around and discovered it didn’t. Her breath got stuck in her throat as she tipped her chin up to look at his face. It was strange the way her body quivered. On some level, she actually recognized what his skin smelled like and something in her belly jumped at that scent. There was no room to retreat among the coats and wraps. Trapping her, once more close to his frame. The level of awareness she had developed for him was astounding. She felt drawn to him even as her common sense warned her to run.
“Thank you. Guess I should be on time if I want to hang up my coat.”
Brianna stared at the way he looked at her. It was an odd detail and her brain insisted on noticing his gaze on her mouth. A shiver raced up her arms, shaking her body hard enough for Sloan to see in the poor light. One corner of his mouth rose slightly as his hand brushed her cheek. The skin-to-skin contact felt so good it was almost exciting. Sloan stepped closer and her foot moved back. The coats wouldn’t let her retreat any farther though, forming a soft mountain of fabric that pressed her towards Sloan. His hand moved to her lips where he traced them with his thumb.
Brianna gasped as sensation surged through her. She had no idea her skin could be so aware of a single touch. Her heart raced beneath her corset and her increased respiration drew the warm scent of Sloan’s skin deep into her lungs. She’d never imagine that she might like the way any human smelled but tonight, she enjoyed the scent of warm male skin that came with Sloan.
“You’re standing under the mistletoe.”
She lifted her eyes to look for the little green plant and Sloan leaned down to kiss her. She gasped as he slipped an arm around her to hold her in place. Her hands landed on the wide chest that had tempted her since last night. Each fingertip was alive with awareness as he took command of her mouth.
Who could have explained to her that a man’s kiss might burn? Brianna twisted as Sloan’s mouth pressed her lips farther apart and the tip of his tongue gently moved over her lower lip. He didn’t rush the kiss. It was slow and firm, pressing her mouth open by small, steady degrees. She felt the brush of his fingers along the bare nape of her neck as he gently gripped the tender area, tipping her head back to offer her mouth more fully to his. Heat surged through her blood, igniting a need to get even closer to his body. Her fingertips lamented the fabric preventing her from touching him. A deep groan shook his chest before his tongue thrust into her mouth, breeding an answering whimper from her. His tongue stroked hers and pleasure swirled around her brain so thick, thinking was impossible. Brianna was more interested in lifting her tongue to join the dance and Sloan didn’t disappoint her. His tongue twisted with hers as he held her neck in place with that large hand.
A moment later she was free. Sloan stood looking at her with a dark hunger flickering in his eyes. Brianna stared at that emotion as she tried to force her mind to tell her what it was. Her body seemed to understand. Her belly was twisting and her blood racing, but she couldn’t quite form a word to describe the flood of sensations that look brought on. Only one thing she knew for certain: she wanted Sloan to kiss her some more.
And she wanted to kiss him back.
That truth frightened her. She knew so little about this man, yet her body was ready, even eager, to offer up her chastity to him. Brianna lifted a hand to cover her mouth as she stared at the hard desire displayed on his face. Sloan was watching, waiting to see what she did in response to his liberty-taking. A Christmas kiss beneath the mistletoe was a quick press of lips. Not the hungry, ravishing embrace he’d just stolen that burned through her senses. Her mouth tingled, sparking a hunger that she was quite at a loss as to how to deal with.
She should slap him or find some sharp, insulting comment to lay on his ears for his boldness. Berate him for acting like a cad. But the thing that kept her staring in stunned silence was the fact that she’d enjoyed it. Her body was saying yes and Brianna wasn’t a hypocrite, even if she was weak enough to like his kiss. Heat flowed through her like a river. Insane ideas danced across her imagination, tempting her to reach for him and press her own kiss against his mouth. Return his boldness, measure for measure. It wasn’t a ladylike notion at all.
Oh, her mother had certainly tried to teach her better, but the heat bleeding across every inch of her skin only proved Brianna was an extremely poor student.
“It’s November. Not Christmas.”
Sloan nodded as he gripped his belt. “So it is.”
He didn’t sound repentant, not one bit. Most men would at least offer an apology for stealing such a kiss right in the church entryway. “Told you not to trust any man. I wanted to kiss you, so I did it. The rules don’t really matter when I know how to get around them.”
“Kissing me was meant as some kind of warning?”
He jerked slightly, and gripped his belt tighter. His gaze moved for a brief moment as he checked either side of them for any approaching company. When his attention was once again centered on her, a warning flared in his dark eyes.
Let Me Love You
“Kissing you was enjoyable. I liked it so much, you’d better get inside before I forget you’re a virgin.”
The knuckles on his hands turned white and Brianna shivered. She could see a battle to let her go burning in his dark eyes, like he was arguing against some inner beast to do the right thing and treat her like a lady.
The horrible reality was a part of her didn’t want Sloan to win that fight. The light in the hall suddenly lost its beckoning appeal as Brianna fought the desire to let Sloan pull her away into some dark shadow where they could explore the heat their skin created when they were pressed together. Discover what it was like to be stroked along every part of her body that her dress covered. Her thoughts shocked her as much as they excited her. Forcing her mind to return to the sharper edges of reality, she recalled the face of the last female she’d seen leaving town as a fallen woman. There wouldn’t be any reprieve from the judgment of the community and Sloan McAlister didn’t strike her as the marrying sort.
“You can stop worrying about me, Mr. McAlister. I heard you just fine and I certainly don’t need a man kissing me because he feels sorry for my ignorance. I assure you I can get a kiss without making a man feel pity for me.”
It might not be the wisest thing that had ever rolled out of her mouth, but she wasn’t going to scurry into the church with her tail tucked between her legs. The man bred a need inside her to prove she was strong enough to handle anything. She didn’t want him to see her as weak.
His eyes flashed dark warning at her before she lifted her chin and turned her back on him. Her neck tightened as she moved through the entryway, unsure if her boots were going to remain on the floor. She’d tossed her words at him like a challenge. No way was she was going to whimper because he’d treated her like a woman.
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