limestone

Dakota Sunrise

(Dakota Heat 6)

Contemporary Menage a Trois Cowboys Romance, MFM, minor spanking, HEA

A victim of abuse at the hands of her husband, Deanna Olson suddenly had a way out.

Once at the ranch in North Dakota, she learned that her uncle had not only sold the ranch to them, but had also given them control of the money he’d left her.

She hated being dependent on them and learning that her ex-husband headed toward them, she planned her escape.

Sam Taylor and Carson Wells had no intention of letting her leave.

They’d heard her uncle’s suspicions about her abuse, but seeing it enraged them and they vowed to not only protect her, but keep her and her daughter at the ranch where they belonged.

Falling in love with her was easy, but teaching her to trust in that love proved difficult, especially when she’d known only the pain from a man who still posed a threat.

A threat Sam and Carson wanted very much to meet head-on.

Excerpt

She played the names over and over in her mind, suddenly remembering. “Yes. My uncle told me about both of you.”

You can trust Sam and Carson, Deanna.

Okay, Uncle Don.

I mean it.

I know that, but when would I ever see them? When would I need to trust them?

Who knows? But I want you to promise me that when the time comes, you’ll trust them. Both of them. They’ll do the right thing by you.

I don’t understand. Trust them with what?

Everything, and you’ll understand when the time comes. Promise me, Deanna.

I promise.

“Good. Are you ready?”

Deanna blinked. “Ready for what?”

“To leave Mississippi. Your home’s in North Dakota now.”

Glancing down at Casey and unsurprised at how intently her daughter watched Sam and Carson, Deanna sighed. “I don’t know what you’re doing here. I was going to take a bus to the ranch. I missed his funeral. I’m sorry. I didn’t find out until this morning.”

Sam glanced at Carson. “We figured that. When I called to tell you about your uncle, he answered and wouldn’t put you on the phone.”

Carson spoke for the first time. “So we came to get you.”

“How did you know where to find me?”

His eyes narrowed as if daring her to argue about it. “Stopped by the house.” He glanced at Casey. “Lots of flashing lights. Apparently the police you talked to here went out there. Once we explained things, one of them told us where to find you.”

He took a step closer and crouched in front of Casey. “Hey, Lil’ bit. You ready to go for a ride?”

Casey backed up, pressing against Deanna’s legs. “No. I stay wif Mommy.”

Carson’s tender smile transformed his features from hard and cold to breathtaking affection. “I would never take a little girl away from her mommy. Your mommy’s coming with us.”

Casey hugged her bear tighter and straightened. “Where we goin’?”

Surprised that Casey spoke to him and had actually moved closer, Deanna slid a hand over her daughter’s hair. “We’re going to a ranch, sweet pea.”

“What’s a ranch?”

Carson gave Casey another smile that made Deanna’s pulse trip. “It’s a big place with lots of land and horses. It’s getting ready to snow there, so we’d better get moving.”

“Snow?” Casey turned to look up with wide eyes at Deanna, inadvertently gripping her hand below the cast. “Mommy! I wanna see snow!”

Unable to hold back a gasp, Deanna gently worked her daughter’s fingers from hers. “We will, sweetie.”

Sam stepped forward abruptly, holding her forearm over her sling, his eyes dark with concern. “You okay?”

“I’m fine.”

Carson got to his feet, giving another smile to Casey, his own gaze concerned. “We have to be careful with Mommy.”

Nodding, Casey gently touched Deanna’s cast. “Mommy has a boo-boo. The doctor took a picture and then put a bandage on it. The nurse gave me a wowipop.”

Carson chuckled. “A grape one.”

Casey’s eyes went wide again. “How did you know? Are you magic?”

“I have my moments.” Carson turned to Deanna. “You look like you’re in pain. Didn’t they give you any painkillers?”

Deanna forced a smile, exhaustion making her legs shake. “The doctor gave me a prescription, but I didn’t want to take anything.”

Sam scowled, his expression making him appear even more intimidating. “Why the h—” He glanced at Casey. “Why not?”

“Because I’d planned to spend the night in a bus station and then on a bus filled with strangers. I have a four-year-old to look after, and I’d rather stay alert.”

Sam inclined his head. “Understandable, but that issue no longer applies. Where’s your prescription? In here?”

Deanna nodded, frowning when he took the plastic bag containing her hospital paperwork and a copy of the police report she’d made. “Yes. I’ll—”

Carson shook his head as Sam rummaged through the small bag and turned away. “You and Lil’ bit can come with me. We’ll get you settled in the truck while Sam gets your prescription.”

Remembering her uncle’s words and trusting her own instincts, Deanna nodded again and reached for Casey’s hand. “Thank you, but I don’t understand why you’re here.”

Carson shot her an angry look as he crouched in front of Casey. “We came for you. After Sam called, we waited for you to call or show up. When you didn’t, we got worried and decided to come get you ourselves.”

Almost on eye level with Casey, Carson gave her another affectionate smile. “Would it be all right if I carry you?”

Prepared for her daughter’s rejection and fear, Deanna placed a hand on Casey’s shoulder. “I don’t think—”

To Deanna stunned amazement, Casey nodded and stepped toward him. “Pookey Bear, too?”

Carson’s smile widened. “Pookey Bear, too.”

Casey lifted one arm, holding on to her stuffed bear with the other. “You won’t drop me?”

Carson picked her up, holding her securely with one arm while placing the other against Deanna’s back, silently urging her forward. “Not a chance. You’re safe with me.”

As they walked out and crossed the parking lot, Deanna leaned closer, keeping her voice low. “You handled her perfectly. If you’d reached out to pick her up, you would have scared her. How did you know not to do that?”

Carson scanned the parking lot as they crossed it. “I know skittish when I see it. You’re both skittish, but after what I’ve seen and heard, I understand why.”

Remembering suddenly, Deanna paused. “Everything’s in Jimmy’s car.”

“Where is it?”

By the time they got their things from Jimmy’s car, along with Casey’s car seat, Sam had rejoined them.

Once they’d settled in the truck, Sam turned from the driver’s seat. “Before you take a pain pill, they want you to eat something. Where’s a good place to eat around here?”

Satin and Steel

(Erotically Yours 3)

Contemporary Consensual BDSM, bondage, paddling, sex toys, HEA

The peace Beth Matthews had finally found was shattered by her new next-door neighbor.

She’d been alone since her divorce and had found a strength within herself that she’d never suspected.

Searching for peace, Joe Steel wanted to move from the city to the quiet town of Lakeside.

He hadn’t expected to meet the woman of his dreams living right next door.

Beth was everything he’d spent his life searching for and he was determined to make her his submissive.

Joe’s lovemaking made her feel like a woman in ways she hadn’t in a very long time and she couldn’t resist his proposal or the chance to feel like a woman again.

They’d barely begun when her car crash changed everything.

Her paralysis—however temporary—terrified her.

Joe understood Beth’s reasons for trying to push him away, but he loved her and had no intention of going anywhere.

Excerpt

Beth finished her grapefruit and coffee and washed her dishes before going to take a shower.

She knew she would get sweaty while she cleaned, but her eyes felt gritty from lack of sleep, and she hoped a hot shower would put her in a better mood.

Dressed in denim shorts and a bright pink T-shirt, and with her wet hair piled up in with a clip, Beth stripped the bed and started the laundry, drinking another cup of coffee before she started to clean.

Making sure she couldn’t be seen, she peered out the window, surprised to see that not only had all worked stopped but the men had all gone.

The number of trucks remaining and the sight of the two saws still standing in the yard told her that they would be back, but in the meantime, she planned to enjoy the silence.

She started on the bathrooms, cleaning them until they sparkled, planning to wait until they started making noise again before using the vacuum.

She’d just started on the kitchen when a knock sounded at the door.

Irritated at the interruption, especially when she suspected that she’d open the door to find Phil standing on her doorstep, she clenched her jaw, cursing under her breath.

“There’s no way to get any peace around here!” Dropping the bucket and cleanser she’d been using on the kitchen floor, she headed for the front door. “Phil, I told you that I’m not interested—”

She yanked the door open, snapping her mouth closed when she saw that the man standing on her doorstep wasn’t Phil.

It was him.

Sucking in a breath, she froze and stared at him, her mind going blank.

The sexuality he exuded made it difficult to breathe, and she found herself pressing a hand against her fluttering stomach, taking a deep breath.

He even smelled expensive.

Holding on to the door for support, she stared into brown eyes that glimmered with flecks of green and gold.

Dark brown hair, just long enough to brush the collar of his T-shirt framed a face too masculine to be handsome, but somehow was, the streaks of gray at his temple only adding to his appeal.

He had high cheekbones and a strong jaw, and lips that promised incredible pleasure, his bottom lip fuller than the top, and she found her own lips tingling with the anticipation of feeling them against hers.

His eyes glittered with interest and a confidence that unnerved her.

He smiled slowly, another of those knowing smiles that told her that he knew exactly what his presence did to her, a smile that instantly reignited her anger. “Good morning.”

Stiffening, she clenched her jaw, reining in her temper and giving him the cool tone she’d perfected a long time ago. “Good morning? I wouldn’t exactly call it that. A good morning would have been if I could sleep in on the first day of spring vacation.”

He had the grace to grimace, but it only drew her attention to his lips. “I’m sorry about that. I understand it’s been going on for some time.”

His deep voice had a seductive quality that wrapped her in a gossamer web of warmth and desire that had her fighting for calm.

Aware that her nipples had beaded, she stiffened and crossed her arms over her chest. “Yes, it has. Even on weekends, which is especially delightful. Saturdays and Sundays.”

His eyes flickered briefly with anger. “I know. I’m sorry. I just found out this morning. It won’t happen again. I brought—” He lifted a box she hadn’t noticed before, a box from the local donut shop.

“No. Thank you. Please tell those assholes to keep it quiet. Good-bye.”

Shaking by her own response to his presence, she slammed the door, leaning back against it and struggling to catch her breath.

It had been years since she’d felt anything even resembling desire, and it had never even been close to the bubbling heat now flowing through her veins.

Slowly sinking to the floor, she wrapped her arms around her knees and took several steadying breaths, which did very little to steady her.

Listening for any sound, she sat that way for several minutes, stiffening when she heard his car start from her driveway.

Jumping to her feet, she rushed toward the kitchen window, peering out from the side so he couldn’t see her.

Keeping a hand pressed to her belly, she watched him through his windshield. After sitting motionlessly for several heart-stopping seconds, he unexpectedly lifted his gaze to zero in on hers through the window.

With a gasp, she hurriedly stepped away, tripping over the bucket of cleaning supplies and landing hard on her bottom.

“Damn it!”

Bringing her knees up, she wrapped her arms around them again and listened for his car to drive away, her heart pounding.

Even after she heard his car pull out and she got to her feet to watch it disappear down the street, it was several minutes before she drew a steady breath.

“Get a grip, Beth. It’s only a man. Hell, you don’t even know his name.”

Realizing that she’d made a fool of herself in front of him, she inwardly cursed, promising herself that she’d be better prepared if she ever encountered him again.

Burning Desire

(Desire, Oklahoma: The Founding Fathers 4)

Cowboys Historical Romantic Suspense Romance, with BDSM elements, light spanking, HEA

With her home burned to the ground and her family dead, Esmerelda Johnson headed to the Circle T ranch to find safety.

After riding all day and through the night, she found herself caught in a thunderstorm, which spooked her horse into throwing her and dragging her with him across the rough ground.

The men she’d seen in the distance appeared, one of them jumping from his own saddle and using nothing but brute force, forced Lucky to a halt.

Duke Faulkner held her close and rode back to the ranch to tend her injuries.

Finding it impossible to let anyone else care for her, he claimed her as his own.

Fighting his guilt for not being able to save his first wife, he found Esmerelda’s strength and bravery irresistible.

Shaken by the threat to her from the man who’d killed her family, Duke vowed to protect her—no matter the cost.

Excerpt

Esmerelda jolted upright and hurriedly covered her ankle with the hem of her muddy skirt. “It’ll be fine. I just need to rest it a bit.”

Duke wrapped a hand around her calf, trying to ignore its softness. “Let’s see if she can move it.”

“I don’t want to move it.” Esmerelda tried to pull away, but Duke held firm. “Let go.”

Dread at the pain he would be causing her filled him with a sense of helplessness that ignited his temper. “Look, Red. Either you can move it or I will. If you can move it, we know it’s a sprain and can wrap it. If you can’t, it’s broken, and Will is gonna have to set it. We gotta know one way or the other.”

Esmerelda lifted her chin, trying not to cry at the thought of them setting her ankle. “My name is Esmerelda.”

Only the tenderness in his eyes and the memory of the gentle way he’d held her gave her the courage to defy him.

Seeing him in the light, without his jacket and hat, she found herself scared to death of him.

The first thing she’d noticed about him had been his strength. He’d single-handedly caught a galloping horse and brought him to a stop using nothing more than brute strength.

Even while watching it, she hadn’t believed what she saw with her own eyes and had braced herself to be trampled by him or have him fall on her.

He’d done neither—holding on to Lucky’s bridle with a fierce determination that he would win or die trying.

The scar that ran down the side of his face should have detracted from his compelling handsome features but, instead, added a sense of danger and raw masculinity made even starker by his shaved head.

His lips thinned, and he adjusted his hold on her ankle, the little sparks of awareness travelling up her leg unnerving her. “I know what your name is. Now, are you gonna try to move your foot, or am I?”

Panicked to recognize the same determination to get his way, Esmerelda whipped out a hand. “Don’t touch it! I’ll do it.”

He nodded once, appearing relieved. “Then do it.”

The man at her side smiled encouragingly. “Real easy. No sense in making it worse. Duke and I just need to be sure.”

Duke. It suited him.

He smiled again. “By the way, my name’s Will, and that pretty lady holding on to you is Sarah.”

Duke made a noise in his throat that sent a chill down her spine. “We can make introductions later, Will. You ready, Red?”

Will sighed and smiled at Esmerelda, shaking his head. “Duke’s bedside manner stinks, but he’s a great cook, so nobody says anything.”

Duke’s gaze narrowed as he shot the other man an icy look. “We’re supposed to be helping her—not courting her.” He turned his gaze back to hers again, the anger in it confusing. “Go on, Red.”

Sucking in a breath, and aware of the tense silence and rapt attention of everyone gathered, she turned to smile her thanks at Sarah, who reached out to take her hand, before turning back to look at her swollen ankle.

Squeezing the other woman’s hand, she sucked in another breath and shifted her gaze to focus on the way Duke’s large, darker hand contrasted with her pale leg and slowly moved her ankle.

Flexing her foot proved more difficult than she would have thought, probably due to the swelling, but she did it.

Swallowing a moan of pain, she gently lowered it again, lifting her gaze again to meet Duke’s, smiling through the pain at the relief in his eyes. “I did it.”

Several shouts of excitement came from all around her, and she looked over to see a sea of grinning faces.

Duke squeezed her calf and gently lowered her foot again. “So you did.”

Will’s smile was followed by a sigh. “I can wrap that up, but we need to know where else you’re hurt.”

Not about to tell them about the raw flesh on her inner thighs and the cuts and bruises she felt on her bottom, Esmerelda shook her head, her gaze going to Sarah’s. “I’m fine. Please. Just sore.”

Sarah nodded and smiled before lifting her gaze to the tall Indian beside her. “Blade, we need to take her to our house. I can help her take a bath, and she can wear one of my dresses.” She turned to Duke. “I can check out her injuries. Please. This is the most crowded place on the ranch. Men are coming and going all day. You can’t embarrass her that way. Once she has her bath, you can give her some laudanum.”

Esmerelda stared in fascination at the sight of the hard features of the tall Indian softening at the pleading look in Sarah’s. “Please. I promise I won’t lift her or hurt myself.”

Duke straightened. “No. I’ll carry her.” He stared at Blade as if daring him to refuse.

Esmerelda reached out to Duke, pleased when he immediately turned to her. “Thank you.”

She turned to Sarah. “And thank you. Being stripped out of my clothes in a room full of men is more than I can take.”

Duke smiled and glanced at Will. “I guess that’s settled. Stay here while we get your bath ready, and I’ll come get you.”

Law of Desire

(Desire, Oklahoma 13)

Contemporary Menage a Trois Romantic Suspense Romance, M/F/M, spanking, sex toys, HEA

Krystal Kane lived with memories of the men she loved and been forced by family obligations to push away.

Her fantasies kept her going, but she knew that the two men who wanted to share her couldn’t want any more than an affair.

When her mother died, she wanted nothing more than to get away, not wanting to hear from them the words that would end the fantasy.

Needing them more than ever, she fought the overwhelming desire to call them, only to look up, and find them standing there.

Rafe Delgatto and Linc Barrett had waited for Krystal for years, unable to forget the woman who’d stolen their hearts.

They rushed to her side as soon as they learned she needed them, and quickly whisked her to the home they’d made for her.

She could heal in Desire, Oklahoma, while they proved to her that their love was real—and protect her from a threat they hadn’t anticipated.

Excerpt

Determined to put Rafe and Linc out of her mind, she focused on her mother and the memories of the past and happier times.

During the next hour, her mother’s breathing slowed even more.

Krystal focused on each breath, each time wondering if it would be her mother’s last one, sucking in another breath each time her mother did.

It hurt, but she didn’t cry.

She didn’t even know if she could anymore.

She’d known this time would come, but now that it was close, she felt so distant from it all, as if she dreamed it.

She pinched her own hand several times over the next few hours, half believing that she was dreaming and would wake up to see that her mother had woken from her nap.

She ached for Rafe and Linc, but she vowed to herself that she wouldn’t call them until she’d settled somewhere.

The doctor appeared again, using his stethoscope to listen to her mother’s heart. “Are you all right?”

Nodding, Krystal ran her thumb over the top of her mother’s hand. “I’m fine.”

“I’m sorry. You’ve been so strong.”

She felt like a fraud. She wasn’t strong at all. Lifting her gaze to his, she shook her head and forced a polite smile. “I wish I was.”

Dr. Smith smiled and lightly patted her hand. “You are. Most people wouldn’t do what you’ve done.”

“She’s my mother.”

He gestured toward her mother’s tray. “It looks like Maggie brought you some soup.”

Krystal barely glanced at it. “That was nice of her.” Turning back to her mother, she eyed Dr. Smith. “Is there any chance?”

Straightening, he tucked his stethoscope into his pocket, his sympathetic smile bringing a lump to Krystal’s throat. “I’m sorry.”

Forcing another smile, Krystal nodded. “Thank you for all you’ve done. You’ve been very kind.”

Minutes after the doctor left, Krystal’s mother drew her last breath.

Krystal waited, expecting her mother to take another as she had for the last several hours, but it didn’t come.

Her mother had passed away.

Still holding her hand, Krystal sat there, wondering why she didn’t cry.

Time stood still for her, her mind blank.

She stared at her mother’s hand in hers, suddenly feeling completely alone.

When thoughts of Rafe and Linc started to creep in, she ruthlessly pushed them back, her throat clogged with the tears she couldn’t shed.

She needed Rafe and Linc more than she’d ever needed anything in her life, but she wouldn’t call them.

Calling them would be the most selfish thing she could have done, and she wouldn’t burden them any more than she already had.

They would come if she called. All she had to do was pick up the phone and they would be on their way.

Knowing that made it even more difficult to resist calling them.

The feeling of having her entire life ahead of her hit her hard, the enormity of it overwhelming.

She couldn’t let herself think of anything except the next step.

She had to finish taking care of her mother.

She’d already pre-paid for her mother’s funeral and had only to make the arrangements.

Her mother had lost contact with all of her friends when Krystal’s father had been sick, and she didn’t really expect anyone to come.

She would get a taxi and go to the funeral home. She didn’t relish the thought of lugging her three suitcases along with her purse, but she would just have to figure out a way to do it.

She kissed her mother’s cold hand and tucked it under the covers, just as Maggie appeared on the other side of her mother’s bed. “She’s gone.”

“Yes.” Maggie tucked her mother’s other hand under the covers. “She’s at peace now.”

“I hope so. She’s earned it.”

Her mother would finally be with her father again, the man she considered her soul mate.

Krystal had never believed in such a thing, but after experiencing the kind of happiness she hadn’t known existed with Rafe and Linc, and the empty loneliness since she pushed them away, she wondered if it could be possible to have two soul mates.

“So have you.” Maggie smiled and wiped away a tear that Krystal couldn’t shed. “I hope you find the happiness and peace that you deserve.”

“Thank you.” Krystal glanced at Maggie and started to stand, surprised that her legs wouldn’t support her. “I have to go to the funeral home and make final arrangements.”

Maggie frowned and shook her head. “I wish you would call those men of yours.”

Krystal shook her head, glancing at the three suitcases that stood in the corner, dreading the thought of trying to carry them. “They’re not mine anymore.”

“We beg to differ.”

With a gasp, Krystal spun, her knees giving out at the sight of Rafe and Linc striding into the room toward her.

Night Shadows

(Night 3)

Erotic Contemporary Paranormal Menage a Trois Romance, M/FM, HEA

Serena Abbott’s relationship with Ian and Alastair Wyndham was anything but normal. Her psychic abilities presented a challenge that neither man could ignore. Her abilities grew with her confidence, and the very real threat that she could one day read their minds stood between them. Because of it, she kept a distance between them that frustrated both of them.

While their love and passion for each other continued to grow, her growing and changing abilities had begun to terrify them. Serena had begun to get into the minds of people being murdered and, to Alastair’s and Ian’s horror, when the victims died, Serena started to go with them.

They could protect her from a physical threat, but was afraid that they couldn’t protect her from the visions that threatened to take her from them.

Fearing that she could one day read their minds and change everything, she fought letting them in—something neither one of them could allow.

Excerpt

Leaning against Ian, and with Alastair rubbing her feet that he’d pulled onto his lap, Serena stared at the fire. “You two don’t have to stay up with me.”

Ian pressed his lips to her hair. “There’s no place I’d rather be.”

Lifting her head, she turned to look up at him. “Are you still mad at me?”

Gripping her chin, he ran his thumb over her bottom lip. “I was never mad at you. At times I get frustrated at the situation. But the thought of you married to someone else infuriates me.”

Cupping the back of her head, he urged her to lay her head on his chest again. “We’ll figure it out. You and I need to do some practicing, though.”

Drowsy, but afraid of falling asleep, Serena sat up again. “Aren’t you afraid that I’ll get into that hard head of yours?”

Alastair handed her the glass of brandy he’d poured for her and swirled his own. “I’m sure Ian’s head is filled with the same lecherous thoughts I have of you.”

Ian’s lips twitched. “True. That could make for some very interesting conversations.”

A sudden thought occurred to her. “When he shot me, I heard someone call my name and the barrier slammed down. Which one of you did that?”

Ian slid a fingertip down her body where her robe had slipped, lightly caressing the curve of her breast. “We both did it together. You were crying out and thrashing on the bed. Scared the fuck out of me. Both Alastair and I grabbed you, but you fought us as if it was part of your dream. I turned on the light, and we both kept calling your name, but you didn’t seem to hear either one of us.”

Alastair leaned closer to her, his fingers dancing over her hair. “We couldn’t get to you, and we both panicked.”

Laying a hand on her knee, Ian lightly caressed her. “Since we couldn’t pull you out, we slammed the door.”

Serena smiled. “And shut everything else out for me. I’m impressed. I’m just glad you waited until the end. It gave me the chance to see everything.”

Ian’s lips thinned. “If I’d known what you were dreaming, I would have slammed the fucking thing down sooner.”

Amused at his outrage, Serena laid her hand over his. “No. I need to see.”

Turning his hand, he took hers in his. “You don’t need to see that kind of ugliness. You’ve seen enough of it in your life.”

Touched, she smiled. “I appreciate your concern, but—”

“Fuck that!” Ian took her brandy from her and handed it to Alastair before pulling her back down to recline against him. “It’s more than fucking concern, and I’m not going to let you go through shit like this again.”

With a sigh, Alastair rose. “Here we go again.”

Serena scrambled from Ian’s lap, whirling around to face him. “You’re not going to let me?”

Ian raised a brow and got to his feet, his hands on his hips as he towered over her. “That’s right. I’m not going to let you put yourself through that again.”

“I need to see, damn it! There’s a reason I have this ability—”

Ian raised a brow. “I see you’re no longer calling it a gift.”

Hating the disadvantage of arguing with someone a foot taller, Serena jumped up to stand on the sofa. “I have this gift for a reason, Ian. I see what I’m supposed to see. What I need to see.”

Closing his hands on her waist, Ian steadied her. “You don’t need to see things like that. Christ, it’s worse than watching a horror movie, and you wouldn’t be caught dead watching one of them. Hell, you cry when they show the commercials about abused animals!”

“What kind of person abuses animals?”

Ian smiled. “People who don’t deserve to live. The point is, baby, you have a soft heart, and you don’t need to have the kind of dreams that scare you so much that you don’t want to go back to sleep. You’ve had enough ugliness in your life.”

Serena stomped her foot on the cushion and would have lost her balance if Ian hadn’t tightened his hands on her waist. “I need to see whatever I’m supposed to see. Maybe it would be better if I move out.”

Ian’s eyes narrowed. “I dare you to try.”

“Damn it, Ian!”

Ian gathered her close, turning and lowering them both to the sofa again, settling her on his lap. “I can’t stand to see you this way.”

“You piss me off.”

“Back atcha, baby. Don’t threaten to leave again.”

“It wasn’t a threat.”

Pulling her down to recline against him, Ian tugged her braid. “Careful.”

Alastair handed Serena her brandy and sat at her feet again, pulling them onto his lap. “Serena, neither Ian nor I can allow you to move out. We’d worry about you constantly. We can protect you here, and you know damned well you need us.”

“I’m sick and tired of needing you.” She took a large sip of brandy, coughing at the burn.

Alastair covered her with the soft throw she kept on their designer sofa, lifting a brow as he took her glass. “We need you, too.”

“I still think it might be better if I can get my own place. Maybe an apartment in the city.”

Ian pulled the throw higher and put his arms around her, lacing his fingers together and settling back. “Tying you to the bed is starting to sound better and better.”

Desire, OK Founding Fathers Trilogy

Dakota Heat Anthology 2

Collection contains:

Dakota Heat Anthology 1

Collection contains:

Dakota Heat Anthology

Dark Desire: Earning Hope’s Submission

(More Desire, Oklahoma 5)

Erotic Contemporary Consensual BDSM, M/F, HEA

Hope Tyler had married the man of her dreams–the stern-faced sheriff of Desire, Oklahoma. She loved him, and his dark desires, but feared that surrendering herself completely to him would lead to him becoming bored with her, so she challenged him at every opportunity.

Ace Tyler understood his wife’s fears, probably better than she did. He’d discovered her need to submit completely, but understood her reluctance to do so, but knew, deep down, that neither one of them would be completely happy until they each gave in to their own needs.

Her demands, and an ultimatum that sent him reeling, handed him the perfect opportunity to set his plans to earn a deeper submission from her in motion.

Dominant in ways he never had with her before, he led her deeper into the world of erotic pleasure, and to a closeness that each of them desperately needed.

Excerpt

Hope stiffened and pushed away from him, getting up from his lap and putting several feet of distance between them. “You’re rich, Ace. You own Tyler Oil with your brothers. You could work with them.”

Raising a brow at the whine in her tone, he rose and started out of the room. “If I had to work there, I’d go out of my mind.”

Following him down the hall to the kitchen, she tugged at his forearm. “Then don’t work at all! You don’t need to.”

Keeping a tight rein on his temper, he shrugged her off and reached into the refrigerator for the pitcher of sweet tea. “Not working at all would make me even crazier.”

“I can’t stand it anymore, Ace! I want you to quit.”

After filling her glass and his, he set the pitcher on the table and slowly turned to her, raising a brow. “Excuse me? Quit what, exactly?”

Hope swallowed heavily and set the plate of fried chicken on the table, taking a deep breath before lifting her chin. “I want you to quit your job as sheriff.”

“No.” He went to the refrigerator, retrieved the coleslaw, and took it to the table before looking at her again.

Hope spun, slamming the bowl of mashed potatoes on the table. “No? Just like that?”

Ace inclined his head, keeping his tone calm and controlled. “No. Just like that.”

“You won’t even discuss it?”

“We just did. You knew what I did when you married me, Hope.”

“You never got shot at before!”

He waited until she dropped into her seat before lowering himself to his. “You’re so naïve, baby. Of course I’ve been shot at before. I’ve even been shot before. It’s part of the job.”

Hope’s eyes went wide. “Well, I never knew about it, and I’m not naïve. I thought the most dangerous thing you ever did was breaking up bar fights. You handle the Dominants from the club, give out tickets, and help round up horses that have escaped.”

After setting a piece of chicken on her plate, he set one on his. “Did you ever ask about my job?”

Lowering her gaze, she shifted restless in her seat, her face flushing. “Well, no.”

“Of course not. You were more interested in making sure that I accepted you as a submissive than learning more about me. I knew you were too young, but your innocence intrigued me, and I found you too irresistible.”

Raising a brow when she gasped, he let his gaze linger on her flushed cheeks before continuing. “You were raised by a mother and three very overprotective fathers who tried to shield you and your sister from the ugly side of life.”

“Like you do?”

Ace shrugged. “It’s only natural for a man to try to protect his woman, but I’ve never lied to you. I knew who you were when I married you. I knew that you were exactly what I wanted. I love you, but I won’t quit my job, not even for you.”

Jumping to her feet, Hope stamped her foot. “Damn it, Ace!”

Ace had had enough. Pausing in the process of scooping mashed potatoes onto his plate, he clenched his jaw. “Stamp your foot at me again, and I’ll put you across my knee.”

Her eyes flared with desire, the passions inside her too strong to contain. “That’s your answer? Sex?”

Confident in his ability to handle his wife’s passions—including her temper—Ace raised a brow. “Who said anything about sex? You’re acting like a brat and obviously need to be spanked.”

Hope gasped, her eyes going wide. “A brat?”

Ace reached for the coleslaw. “A brat. You’re demanding that I quit a job I’ve had most of my adult life—a job that I love. A job that I had when you married me.”

Hope sighed. “I worry.”

Ace inclined his head. “I know that, and I do everything I can to make things easier for you.”

“Sometimes it’s not enough.”

Knowing this was an issue that couldn’t be resolved, Ace dug into his dinner. “People die in car accidents every day. Do you want me to stop driving, too? You drive like a maniac just to get my attention—an unnecessary danger that scares me but that you do on a whim.”

Hope’s face flushed again. “I won’t do it again.”

Ace nodded once, pleased that he’d made his point. “Good.”

She dropped into her seat again with a sigh. “I don’t know if I can live this way anymore.”

Fear turned his stomach to ice, and setting his silverware aside, he kept his tone low and cold. “Is that an ultimatum?”

Losing her wasn’t an option, but he couldn’t allow his wife to deliver ultimatums and expect to get away with it.

Lifting her chin, she met his gaze squarely, her bottom lip trembling. “What if it is?”

“You know that I don’t respond well to ultimatums.”

With her chin still lifted, Hope wrapped her arms around herself, the combination of defiance and defensiveness a testament to the contrary woman herself. “What if I said that I would leave you if you don’t quit?”

Sitting back, he smiled coldly. “Then I would give you the spanking you so richly deserve and tell you that you’re not going anywhere. Are you sure this is the tack you wanna take?”