He kissed her with the skill that had slayed her resistance from the start.
Xavier’s tongue traced the seam of Megan’s lips. Teasing her. Tempting her. Coaxing a response from her that she didn’t want to give.
She opened her mouth and let him in. His familiar taste overwhelmed her, and she couldn’t resist moving closer for one final delicious press of his body against hers.
His arms surrounded her, banding her against his muscled length, and his heat seeped into her, melting her resistance, warming her for the first time since she’d left him. She clutched his waist, caressed his strong back. Being with him like this felt so good, so right.
Saying goodbye shouldn’t be this hard.
I believe there is at least a trace of competitor in each of us. But most of us aren’t willing to sacrifice our creature comforts in pursuit of our passions. We’ll coast along hoping that one of these days we’ll get a chance to pursue our dreams.
I enjoyed writing Megan Sutherland’s story. She was so deeply entrenched in the path to her goal that it was fun to watch her get jolted off of it by an unexpected pregnancy that jeopardized everything she held dear.
The same can be said for Xavier Alexandre. He knew what he wanted and exactly what he had to do to get it. What he didn’t count on was his temporary mistress surprising him with permanent news that would risk not only his goals but his honor.
I must be slightly twisted because I loved my ringside seat as these two tussled to see who would end up the eventual winner since their dreams, they believed, were mutually exclusive. I hope you enjoy their slow realization that love is the only way to achieve everything they had hoped for and more.
About the Author
Bestselling Desire™ author and RITA® Award finalist EMILIE ROSE lives in her native North Carolina with her four sons and two adopted mutts. Writing is her third (and hopefully her last) career. She’s managed a medical office and run a home day-care, neither of which offers half as much satisfaction as plotting happy endings. Her hobbies include gardening and cooking (especially cheesecake). She’s a rabid country music fan because she can find an entire book in almost any song. She is currently working her way through her own “bucket list,” which includes learning to ride a Harley. Visit her website at www.emilierose.com or e-mail [email protected] com. Letters can be mailed to PO Box 20145, Raleigh, NC 27619, USA.
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To my mom who battled back from the brink of death
this year for me and my boys.
I don’t know what we’d do without her.
Love you, Mom.
And to the man upstairs for giving me more
time with my mom.
“The tabloids are at it again.” Megan Sutherland dropped the newspaper on the kitchen table in front of Xavier, and then because she couldn’t resist, she bent and hugged him from behind, reveling in the warmth of his neck against her lips, his subtle custom-blended cologne, the firm pecs beneath her fingertips and the thick dark hair tickling her cheek.
As always, his nearness sent a shimmer of happiness through her. Love swelled in her chest and hunger settled heavily in her womb. One of these days the words she fought so hard to contain were going to burst free, but today she bit her tongue because he wasn’t ready to hear them. Nor was he ready to hear her news.
A sobering thought. She forced herself to back away and head for the coffeepot to get a jump start on the chaotic day she had scheduled.
“Give a guy a few million bucks and a perfume empire and the tabloid reporters get creative. Funny, isn’t it?” she called over her shoulder and waited for the sexy chuckle that never failed to make her knees weak. But the kitchen remained silent as she filled her cup. Eerily silent.
Surprised, she turned. “Did you hear what I said?”
“I heard.” His tight voice and the intent look on his face as he stared at the folded page made her pulse flutter. Then his gaze met hers. The resolve in his green eyes filled her stomach with lead.
“They’re lying. Aren’t they, Xavier?” Her last words, forced through a tightening throat, sounded a bit strident.
Dizziness swamped her. Her fingers stung. She looked down to see hot coffee sloshing over the rim of the delicate china and dripping to the floor. She set the cup on the counter, grabbed a towel and bent to mop up the mess, taking a moment to gather her composure. She probably shouldn’t be drinking coffee anyway, but until the doctor confirmed—
No. She knew without a doubt that she carried Xavier’s baby.
She slowly rose on rubbery legs. “But the article says the blonde is your fiancée, that you’re marrying her one year from today.”
“That is correct.”
Megan’s body went numb, paralyzed with shock. It took several seconds before she could wheeze air into her lungs. “What about us?”
“This has nothing to do with our relationship, Megan. My pending marriage has been arranged for years.”
Feeling slowly returned to her limbs as though icicles were splintering through her veins in painful shards. “Years?” she squeaked. “You’ve been engaged for years? And you didn’t tell me?”
“It was irrelevant. Our affair was never intended to be anything other than casual. You knew that.”
Casual. Being crushed beneath a falling horse would hurt less. “I know in the beginning we agreed no strings. But …”
Sometime over the past six months she’d fallen in love with Xavier Alexandre, with his old-fashioned manners, his worldly sophistication and his second-to-none bedroom skills. And now she wanted more than just an affair to remember. She wanted forever. With him. She’d believed he felt the same since he spent every free moment with her.
“There is no ‘but.’ It is my duty to marry Cecille.”
Cecille. Hearing her name from his lips was like the crack of a bullwhip.
“Do you love her?” Don’t ask if you don’t want to know. Dread over his response tensed her abdominal muscles.
“My feelings are