I closed my eyes and prayed, for an anchor, for a distraction, for a way to make it through.
“Why don’t we start with the meeting without wasting more time? I bet you all have things you need to get done.”
My eyes flew open, forgetting everything, wanting nothing more than to look in the direction of his voice. He walked past me toward his chair at the head of the table.
I couldn’t look away, absorbing every detail.
A full head of luxurious brown hair, cut to finesse, swayed gently as he moved, highlighting the natural shades of his hair in the sunlight peeking through the blinds.
He was wearing a white shirt, covered by a dark charcoal suit that accentuated his broad muscular shoulders.
The jacket did nothing to hide the form of his well-sculpted body, making it more prominent, presenting a perfect tease to the spectator.
Recalcitrant eyes travelled lower, following his footsteps, wholly captured by his presence.
A taut derriere flaunted long, lean legs that carried him with utmost confidence and surety to his chair.
I was captivated.
Everything around me became slow, too heightened, and nothing but my heart and his presence, his evasive, invasive presence mattered in this moment.
I observed everything about him, forgetting my entire existence. Such was my obsession with a stranger I didn’t know. I wanted to know him like the emotion that lived within me, that withering throb of emptiness. I wanted him to be the oasis that washed over the Sahara of my battered heart. I wanted to be set free.
And even without reason, from within the deep recesses of my fragile, empty existence, a voice boomed with utmost surety, stating this known stranger to be my demise…and my rebirth.
My eyes locked onto his neck, reveling in his very life force, the beat of his pulse as he adjusted his collar. What I felt for him was so carnal…I craved him, as he reached out to grab the arm of the chair, wanting nothing more than to be ravished by his touch.
I wanted to be the object of his affection.
The Grown Ups’ Crusade
“My Ava,” Tiam says, dreamily. “Yes, you will be mine tomorrow in Merim.”
“You mean you hope I’ll accept you?”
Maybe part of being an Oath Forger is that I have to pick a husband from among The Five? Easy. I’ll pick whoever is willing to return me home.
I eye Tiam for potential. No harm in feeling him out just a little. “If I asked you a favor, to help me do something, would you?”
“I would give my life for you, my Ava,” he says without blinking.
He opens his mouth to say more, but suddenly the connection is severed, and I’m looking at a blank screen. I know I didn’t hang up on him, and I’m pretty sure he didn’t hang up on me.
The next second, Koah bursts through the door. His eyes are wild; he leaps for me and grabs me by the shoulders, searching my face. “What did he do? Are you all right?”
“Um, we talked?” I roll my eyes. “Chill.”
When I pull back, he lets me go with great reluctance. He asks through gritted teeth, “What did he tell you?”
“He wanted me to transport to his ship.”
Koah is nearly cross-eyed with outrage. He looks as if the top of his head is about to blow off.
“I said no.”
He is breathing heavily. “Thank you, Ava.” Then he calms, gathers himself, and his breathing evens. “What else did you tell him?”
“Not much. We only talked for five minutes.”
He looks as if he wants to grab me and wrap his arms around me, but he holds himself back. After another few seconds, seeing that I am all right, he calms down some more.
Is that a disappointed grunt?
I can’t stop myself from saying, “If you’d like, the next time he calls, I can chat with him while sitting in the middle of the bed, naked.”
Koah looks so poleaxed, I regret teasing him.
“Ava.” His voice is hoarse. “You would take your clothes off for Tiam, but not for me?” He sounds as if his heart is bleeding.
Don’t Look at Me
Meet the Author:
Callie Hutton, the USA Today bestselling author of The Elusive Wife writes both Regency and western historical romance, with “historic elements and sensory details” (The Romance Reviews). Callie lives in Oklahoma with several rescue dogs and her top cheerleader husband of many years. Her family also includes her daughter, son, and daughter-in-law. And twin grandsons “The Twinadoes.”
Callie loves to hear from readers. Contact her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or find her online at www.calliehutton.com. Sign up for her newsletter to receive information on new releases, appearances, contests and exclusive subscriber content.
About the Book:
From USA Today Bestselling Author Callie Hutton is a new captivating and suspenseful historical romance...
Recently widowed, Charlotte Pennyworth is relishing her independence and it rankles to have to rely on a man to help her with an increasingly sinister stalker. Former Yardman, Elliot Baker, is reluctant to take on Charlotte’s case but despite himself and his history with another woman, he is drawn to the bright, attractive widow.
Sparks smolder between the PI and his client but neither is looking to form an attachment. Elliot thinks Charlotte is hiding something. Charlotte has no desire to marry again, especially to a private investigator, no matter how handsome, brave and kind he is. The risk to his life and her heart is too great. But more dangerous than a menacing stalker is secrets and when Charlotte’s come to light, even the passion between them might not douse the flames of Elliot’s distrust.
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Meet the Author:
About the Book:
After the death of her beloved guardian, Miss Felicity Fields is left adrift, her future uncertain. Grief-stricken, she launches a plan to use the ancient art of alchemy to bring back to life the woman who was like a mother to her. The last thing this blunt bluestocking needs is the return of Nicholas Harding, the Duke of Wycliffe and rightful owner of her home on the wild coast of Cornwall. He stirs an unexpected passion within her, and Felicity has had enough change in her life.
When they were children, Nicholas never understood his aunt's brilliant but unemotional ward, or her many strange scientific studies. He ought to take her back to London, so she can make a proper society match--except he can't stop thinking about her. But with the line between life and death blurred by Felicity's experiments, can he convince her that she's no longer alone, and her proper place is by his side?
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Bad Boys of Sports, Book 2
M/F Contemporary Sports Romance
This player’s got a lot to learn if he wants to score . . . with the boss’s daughter.
Stone: Football is more than a game to me. It’s my calling. Becoming the Dallas Wranglers’ starting quarterback before I retire is a dream come true, but with a few wins under my belt, suddenly everyone wants a piece of me. And even though being in the spotlight has its perks—beautiful women, star treatment, more beautiful women— what really gets me sweating is the watchful gaze of my sexy-as-hell PR coach, Savannah Andrews. The catch? Her father is kind of my boss. . .
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On the Other Side of Lust
It seemed that after a while, it became as tired of me teasing it as I had become of it teasing me. I felt movement on Joseph’s side of the bed, and I turned my head to see an indentation in the mattress. That was a first: I had felt it before, but I didn’t see that kind of visual evidence of its existence until that moment. It made my arousal spike to new heights.
Next, my hand was pushed away from my private parts, and a heavy weight rested on top of me. My arms were lifted over my head and felt like they were being pinned down against the bed. My legs were pried open wider and I felt a sharp sensation against my breast that seemed like teeth. I gasped with delight, trying to breathe, but the heavy weight on top of me made it difficult. I just watched in amazement as I felt my nipples being licked and bitten by an imaginary force. It was so real, I saw droplets of liquid forming around my nipples, sparkling in the morning sun.
Then it really happened. I couldn’t make out what was going on, but I felt a large sensation plunging inside my vagina. I was startled at first, then filled with pleasure and desire. I assumed it was my hunky man’s penis because it felt too big to be fingers. But then again, it had been so long since I’d felt anything like that downstairs, it was hard to know for sure.
It started pumping in and out of me. First it was slow and sensual, then it got faster by the moment. The bed shook underneath me. My body shook underneath him. I started to writhe my hips in sync with the motions, but the weight on top of me was too heavy for me to move freely. I felt the palms of my hands slowly being opened and strong fingers interlacing lovingly with mine.
A hot breath warmed up my neck. My body felt like it would explode all over. And then it became more intimate with me.
“Do you like that, Coralee?” I heard it whisper in my ear. I looked around, a little bit alarmed because I never heard it speak before. It had a deep, manly voice that was demanding and yet tender. I wasn’t sure what to make of it. I wanted to believe it was real, but on the other hand, I started to go back to thinking this was all just the product of my overactive imagination.
It made sure I didn’t think that way. He made sure that I knew he was real. “You’re not imagining me, Coralee,” it whispered. “I’m real, and I desperately want to make love to you.”