When it comes to passion this hot, it’s all or nothing.
Olivia Townsend’s wealthy cousin Marissa had everything a girl could ask for—a great job, a privileged life, and all the friends she wanted. Or, at least, all the friends money could buy. But one case of mistaken identity has turned her privileged world upside down.
An abduction gone wrong lands her right in the lap of the sexiest, most dangerous man she’s ever met. To Marissa, he’s an enigma, but one to whom she’s irresistibly, inexplicably drawn.
With him comes a new world of freedom and passion, of dark shadows and dangerous secrets, a world where nothing is what it seems—except for the blind passion that Marissa can’t escape—or maybe even survive.
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New York Times and USA Today bestselling author M. Leighton is a native of Ohio. She relocated to the warmer climates of the South, where she can be near the water all summer and miss the snow all winter. Possessed of an overactive imagination from early in her childhood, Michelle finally found an acceptable outlet for her fantastical visions: literary fiction. Having written over a dozen novels, these days Michelle enjoys letting her mind wander to more romantic settings with sexy Southern guys, much like the one she married and the ones you'll find in her latest books. When her thoughts aren't roaming in that direction, she'll be riding wild horses, skiing the slopes of Aspen or scuba diving with a hot rock star, all without leaving the cozy comfort of her office.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
It’s always the same. The dream starts out with the feeling of a weight being lifted from my arms. That’s how I know what’s coming, that I’ll look down at my feet and see my hands pulling away from the box of supplies I was carrying, the box that now rests on the faded planks of the dock.
I straighten and take my cell phone from my pocket, flicking my thumb over the button that brings the screen to glowing life. I hit the camera app and raise the phone until I see the girl framed perfectly inside the lighted square.
She’s lying on the top deck of a yacht across the way. It’s swaying gently against the dock at the marina. It’s a great boat, but it’s not the boat that I’m interested in. Not at all. I’m interested in the girl. She’s young, she’s blond, and she’s topless.
Her skin is shiny with tanning oil and the sun glints off the firm, round globes of her tits. They’re the perfect handful, the kind that begs to be squeezed until she moans. The breeze picks up and, although it’s warm, her nipples pucker against it. They’re pouty and pink and they make my dick throb.
Damn, I love the marina!
Someone bumps my shoulder and I lose the girl in my viewfinder. I turn and glare at the old man who’s ambling off down the pier. I bite back the snide comment that’s hanging on the tip of my tongue. Cash wouldn’t bother. He doesn’t hold his tongue for anybody. But I’m not Cash.
Ignoring the old man, I turn back toward the yacht, back toward the topless girl with the great rack. But before I can find her again, something else catches my attention.
There’s a man standing at the end of the walkway, at the edge of the shore. He’s lounging against the back wall of the little shack that sells basic grocery items and gas for the various watercraft that use the marina. He looks casual enough, but there’s something about the way he’s dressed that seems . . . off. He’s wearing slacks. Like, dress slacks. And he’s pulling a thin rectangle out of his pocket. For the most part it looks like a cell phone. Only it’s not. With the magnification of my camera, I can see that it’s just a plain black box with a little red button on top.
I see his thumb slide easily over the button just before something slams into me so hard it knocks me off my feet and into the water behind me.
Then there’s nothing.
I don’t know how many minutes, or hours, or even days have passed when I wake up in the water. I’m floating face up as my head bumps repeatedly against the nubby, barnacle-covered pier.
Achy, I urge my muscles into motion and roll onto my stomach. Stiffly, I ease into a slow swim toward one of the several ladders that dot the length of the dock. I climb, dripping wet, out of the water and look around for whatever caused the loud explosion I heard just before I was thrown into the water.
When I turn toward where my family’s schooner was tethered, I see a cluster of people gathered there. It takes a full thirty seconds for my mind to interpret what I’m seeing—an empty boat slip, pieces of flaming wood peppering the dock, bits of splintered furniture scattered throughout the water. And smoke. Lots of smoke. And whispers, too. And, in the distance, growing closer, sirens.
I come awake from the nightmare with a start, just like I always do. I’m sweating and breathing hard, just like I always am. My face is wet with tears, just like it always is. It’s been so long since I’ve had the dream, I forget how devastated and empty and . . . angry it leaves me feeling.
But now I remember. I remember with perfect clarity. And today, it’s like pouring gasoline onto a raging fire.
I sit up in the bed to catch my breath. My side twinges in pain, reminding me of what happened last night. All of it comes rushing back, further fueling my fury.
Until a small, cool hand touches my shoulder.
I turn to see Marissa sitting up behind me, leaning on her elbow, looking at me through sleepy, sexy blue eyes. Before I can even think about what I’m doing, all the bitterness, all the anger, all the pent-up aggression gets channeled into pure lust. The need to devour something, to lose myself in something overwhelms everything else and I dive in. To her.
Spinning, I roll onto Marissa, pressing her warm body into the mattress. I hear her soft gasp as I crush her lips beneath mine. I swallow it—the sound, the fear, the hesitant desire—taking it in and letting it feed the animal inside me.
My tongue slips easily into her mouth. She tastes sweet, like honey. I push my knee between her thighs and they part, allowing me to settle my hips against hers.
It’s not until I push my hand under the edge of her shirt that I realize she’s stiff. I lift my head to look down at her. She’s staring at me with wide, surprised, slightly terrified eyes.
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