Historical Book Excerpts by Kathleen Lawless

Excerpt From Callie's Honor by Kathleen Lawless

     Rafe angled her chair around till they faced each other and he had one knee on either side of her. "You don't trust me, Callie. Now just why exactly is that'?"

    Callie averted her gaze.

     His free hand snaked between them. Thumb and fore-finger pinched her chin, turning her face back around to his. "1 expect an honest answer now."

     Eyes steely, chin thrust forward, Callie met his gaze.

Her skin burned every place Rafe held her; "1 don't trust
any man."She expected him to release her like a hot rock. Instead, he took his time about it. Slowly his fingers uncurled from around her wrist. Slower yet the fingers imprisoning her face gentled, till their touch

bordered on a caress. "Why's that'?"

     Feeling her hands tremble slightly, she reknotted them
in her lap, away from his gaze. "Never met a man yet who
gave me any reason to trust him. Including my pa and my
older brother."

     "I see." Rafe sat back in his chair and crossed his arms
over his chest. "In that case, apology accepted." He
extended his right hand toward her, leaving Callie little
choice but to slide her hand inside his. She was conscious
of the warmth of his skin, the callused, leathery feel of his
palm and fingertips. The sensations chased clear up her
arm in the most unsettling of ways.

      He didn't let her go right away. Instead, he raised her
hand to his lips and pressed a kiss on the spot where he'd
removed the sliver. Then he did something that caught
Callie totally off guard. He guided her wounded thumb
slowly to outline the contour of his lips, bottom and top.

    Callie felt as if melted wax spilled through her limbs in
a heated rush. His lips were indescribably soft, contrasted

with the bristles of his mustache. Opening his lips he pulled

her thumb just inside the hot moist cavity of his mouth and

gave a slow gentle suck that she felt clear down to her toes.

Then, ever so slowly, he returned her hand to its mate in her lap.

"I see you had a bath."

     Callie bit back a self-conscious smile. "You too."
      "I like your hair that way."

      Callie felt her blush deepen. She didn't want him to
think she'd taken special pains solely for his benefit. "If
you want, I could give you a shave before you go."

      Rafe fingered the dark growth stubbIing his jaw. "I'm
getting kind of used to it. You don't like it?"

     Callie tried for a careless shrug. "It doesn't matter to
me one way or the other."

     His eyes held undisguised laughter as they met hers,
silently challenging her words. Callie's gaze slid from his,
lighting with sudden fascination on the pie safe.

     "You smell real good."

      Her blush intensified. The cabin felt stifling. She
jumped to her feet and fumbled in her skirt pocket. "Since
you're leaving early, I wanted to pay you." She placed a
handful of coins on the table before him. "Is that a fair
amount for your labors?"

     Rafe nodded, but didn't take the money, which lay
between them, winking in the candlelight. Callie all but
held her breath as he lazily made his way to his feet. Once
again she was aware of the way he dwarfed the small
cabin. Not just his physical size and strength, but some-
thing harder to define. Something linked to the air of
power and control he managed to exude. He was a man in
charge of every situation. Capable of meeting and mastering

whatever life flung at him.It was that same sense of control

that Callie felt keenly lacking in her life. Something she needed

to reclaim for herself, especially with Rafe Millar catching her

off guard ever since he'd shown up at her doorstep.

      Even now, days later, her scalp tingled at the memory

of him braiding her hair. Her limbs went weak when she
recalled the way he'd stripped off her stockings and bandaged

her sprained ankle. In a few short days he'd made a
tremendous impact on her life. Come tomorrow she'd be
glad to see the back of him. More than glad.

      As if reading her mind he took a step toward her.

Followed by a second. Callie's heart rate increased as they
stood chest to chest, belly to belly, with scarcely an inch
between them.

      "Since you don't trust me, anyway," Rafe said, his
breath touching her forehead like steam rising from hot
water. "I guess it won't make much difference if I kiss

      "Don't." The word barely escaped from the tightened
muscles of her throat.

       With one finger beneath her chin he tilted her face up
toward his. "Any woman smells this good, she needs kissing
if only as a thank you from the lucky man close
enough to notice. "

      Callie trembled clear down inside her boots as he lowered
his head to hers.


Excerpt From Grace's Folly by Kathleen Lawless

      Grace’s breath caught in her throat. Was it

possible Dex really, truly understood? “Are you

saying we’re not so different, you and I?”

     “On the contrary,” Dex said, his voice a sexy

rumble in his throat. She glanced up, recoiling at the

smoldering look in his eyes as his gaze traveled her

length.  “You’re afraid to get close to me, afraid to touch

me. I, on the other hand, can’t seem to fight this

compulsion I have to touch you.”

     As he spoke he pushed her blouse off one

shoulder. Grace trembled at the featherlight

sensation of his fingertips grazing her skin.

     “Not so bad, is it?”  He caught her hand in his

and placed it on his chest. She could feel the steady beat

of his heart, not nearly so erratic as her own.

His skin was warm and smooth, textured by

the thicket of hair which spread across his pectorals,

angled into a thin line, and disappeared into his trousers.

      She moistened her suddenly dry tongue, and the

movement seemed to catch and hold Dex’s

fascination. Her knees started to tremble as he stared

hungrily at her mouth, then pushed her blouse off

the shoulder and down her arms. Wet cloth clung

stubbornly to her skin. As he peeled the

uncooperative fabric away from her, she could feel

the faintly abrasive rasp as he worked to separate

her from the garment.

     At last he managed to free Grace from her

blouse. He dropped the sodden garment, and it

landed on the wood floor with an ungracious flop.

He trailed his hands lightly up her bare arms.

“There. Isn’t that better?”

    His touch, rather than chasing away the

goosebumps, seemed to enhance the pebbled texture

of her skin and heighten the shivers which coursed

through her.

     Heat from his body radiated outward in

undulating waves. She was afraid of melting

beneath his touch, of going up in flames. She was

afraid of far more than that.

     “Put your arms around my neck.”

     When she didn’t comply, he took the initiative

and did it for her, looping her arms across his

shoulders and pulling her close. “I faked being a

doctor today, with your help. It’s your turn now.

Your turn to fake being a wife.”

     With a sudden aggressive move Grace tightened

her hold on him, ran her fingers through his hair,

and pressed her breasts against his unclothed chest.

She was gratified to see the flash of reaction in his

eyes at this unexpected turn of events.

     She pulled his mouth down to hers, but instead

of kissing him, she caught his lower lip between both

of hers and sucked. He responded by sucking her

upper lip. Tingles reverberated through her.

     Fed by a heady sense of power as he stirred

against her, she altered her stance slightly, rubbing

her breasts against him from one side to the other.

The aching, chafing motion made her wish nothing,

no damp lawn chemise, separated her skin from his.

     She heard him groan deep in the back of his throat

and her hips responded with a side-to-side sway. His

groan deepened. She made soft murmurs of

encouragement as he grabbed hold of her chemise. 

With one wrenching tear the fabric parted.

     “My word.” Grace was breathing as heavily as Dex,

and as if by mutual agreement they drew a half breath

apart. Each gulped in a huge lungful of air and came

back together with a forceful vigor. Dex’s hand cupped

her bottom, tipping her pelvis into his.

He had just lowered his head and begun lapping at her

breasts when the door flew open.

Excerpt from Anora's Pride by Kathleen Lawless

     “You best sit down.” Anora picked up the sheet, bit it between her teeth, then tore a two-inch strip from end to end. “I don’t want you passing out on me.”

     “Don’t tell me you think I’m a weakling?”

     “No. I think you lost more blood than either of us realized at the time. Hold your hand out straight.”

     He flopped down onto the cot and set the lantern on the floor next to him. As he held his injured hand toward her, palm up, she couldn’t help

but be aware of the way his long legs splayed forward, one on either side of her.

     Her mouth went dry. Her hands shook slightly as she wound the white cotton strip around and around his palm,

split the end with her teeth, and  knotted it tight.

“There. That ought to hold. You should get the doc to dress it properly tomorrow.”

     “It’s fine the way you did it.”

     She shot him a wary glance. His words sounded a trifle slurred.

Impossible to tell in the lamp light if his color was off. “You feeling okay?”

     “Never better.”  Inch by inch his legs slowly closed together,

trapping her between his thighs. Anora’s balance faltered

and she planted her hands on his shoulders to steady herself.

      He turned his head and placed a searing kiss on the inside of her bare forearm. The heat from his lips ricocheted through her like a shooting star.

      Slowly she sank down in front of him, aware of every sinew of strength where his powerful legs gripped her tight.  She swayed toward him, fingers plowing through his hair where it brushed the back of his collar. She wet her lips, parted them slightly. The wait seemed forever before he captured her mouth beneath his.

     As their lips touched, they groaned in unison. The kiss deepened.

This time Anora knew to part her lips. To expect the delicious sensation of Jesse’s tongue wrapping itself around hers. Sweeping the inside of her mouth in a way that turned her bones to liquid.

     Jesse’s arms closed around her and crushed her against him.

She could feel her nipples tingle as they met the hard wall of his chest.

His hands roamed possessively across her back from the base of her spine to just above her shoulders, then back again, lower this time. He cupped her bottom in a shockingly delightful way, urging her hips closer against the juncture of his legs.

     Anora felt the manly stirring of him; evidence of his arousal that swept her away on a dangerous, uncharted current of excitement. She murmured in disappointment as his lips left hers, then sighed in pleasure as his plundering mouth found the sensitive hollow between her shoulder and neck. She arched her spine, her head lolling back as his lips wrought their magic on the sensitized skin of her neck.

     She stiffened slightly as she felt his fingers wriggle down inside the neckline of her gown beneath her underpinnings, but when he brushed the nipple of one breast, a sensation so exquisite shot through her, she jerked taut in his arms.

Her mouth formed a round O of surprise, before he once again claimed it for his own. Jockeying himself into a reclining position, he tugged her prone atop him.

     Sprawled across Jesse, Anora was frustrated anew by the layers of clothing between them. She managed to unfasten the buttons fronting his shirt and allow herself the pleasure of touching his chest.

     How his flat, masculine nipples hardened when she grazed them with her thumbnail. His breath caught as she ran her palms lingeringly through the crisp black V of hair peppering his breastbone. Daringly she edged her fingers down near his navel, dangerously close to the fastening of his pants. All the while his mouth and tongue were teaching her new and wonderful ways a man and woman kissed.

     She felt the insistent pressure as he ground his hips against hers, and she accommodatingly rolled her hips in return, a move that elicited a groan of pure masculine pleasure. He grabbed a handful of her skirt and pushed it up out of the way. His fingers snaked their way past her stocking tops, branding the bare skin at the top of her thigh.

 Excerpt From Taboo by Kathleen Lawless

“I do believe I challenge you,” Bridge said.
“Painting you shall be quite enough of a challenge, thank you.”
“Painting me is a safe challenge. The other—--“
”There is no other,” she broke in.
“That’s where you’re mistaken. The other challenge is the real one. The unsafe one. And the one with the greater reward.” He cocked a look. “You’ve hardly touched your meal.”
“I’m not hungry. The hour grows late and you speak gibberish. I want to get an early start in the morning.”
“Perhaps you’re too excited to eat,” he suggested. “Anticipating the unfolding of the next six days?”
       She rose. “Don’t drink all that wine. I want you clear-headed and well-rested in the morning.”
       He rose as well. “You shall have me anyway you want me.”
       She crossed the room, aware of his eyes following her, riveted on the sway of her hips and the rounded curve of her bottom beneath her skirt. She paused, one hand on the studio door, and turned. “I want always honestly between us. What you said earlier was true. All of it. I need to know the man inside, to probe below the surface of outer trappings in order to do you full justice.”
       Three long strides brought him to her side. “I am an onion. To be peeled back, layer after layer. I only appear transparent. I shan’t make it easy. But I never lie.”
      His closeness should have felt stifling. Instead she found herself stimulated anew, fascinated, half-afraid seven days in his company was far too long, yet would ultimately prove far too brief. Facing him, she felt alive in a way she’d never before known. Alive in far more than just the physical sense.
     “No. Somehow I didn’t expect you would lie.”
     “Am I confined to quarters?”
     “What do you mean?”
     “Times when you don’t require my services. Am I free to move about the gardens? I promise not to bolt.”
     “Feel free to enjoy the gardens at your leisure, Mr. Bridgeman. They’re rather exceptional, if I do say so myself.”
     “Thank you. And Mr. Bridgeman was my father. I do require you to call me Bridge as we get to know each other.”
     Fallon nodded. “The settee is remarkably comfortable. I’ll have pillows and bedding sent over for you.”
     His gaze stopped her from leaving, almost as if he detained her physically. “Where will you sleep?”
     “In my room, as I always do.”
     “Next to your husband?”
      She paused for a moment, and twisted her wedding ring. “There is no longer a husband. He drowned. Is there anything further you require?”
     “Only this.”

      Bridge spun her fully around so her spine pressed flush against the door, his length meeting hers at every juncture, his sheer strength anchoring her in place. “I require this.”
      He tilted her head back, ripped the pins from her hair, plunged his hands through the fallen strands, fingertips urgent against her scalp as he licked her lips, readied them to receive his kiss.
      “You can’t possibly paint me if you don’t know me. In all the way a woman knows a man.”    

       His kiss was as strong and masterful as he was, possessing her, filling her completely.
Hot and hungry she felt herself being as helplessly devoured as the quail he’d picked clean earlier. Consumed. Emptied and refilled. A mastery in the way he sucked the breath from her lips, then breathed for her when she forgot how.
      He captured her hands, linked his fingers with hers and pinioned her arms out straight. One knee nudged her legs apart, made contact with that burning, weeping inner core, the pressure serving to further inflame her senses.
      He pressed his pelvis against hers. She went up on tip-toe in an attempt to even out their heights, to feel the length of his erection where she needed it most. She rolled her hips from side to side, freed her hands and clawed his half-open shirt out of the way in order to touch his skin. To define each individually-honed muscle. To commit him to memory. To paint him blind-folded if needs be.
      As her gropings grew more frantic his touch gentled along with his kiss. Fallon melted. She trembled, weak and boneless and reliant upon him to support her, to hold her, to somehow extinguish the bonfire alight from within.
      He seemed to know her better than she knew herself. Where she liked to be kissed, how she liked to be stroked. Nibbling, teasing, coaxing kisses turning needful as she kissed him back. Emptied her heart and her soul in order to make room to receive him. All of him.
      “What do you want?”
She hesitated.
     “What do you want?” It was a question requiring an answer, and all the honesty she had demanded from him.
      “You know. What you did before.”
      “Made you come? I watched you come. A woman transformed. A woman in rapture. You want that again?”
       “There are dozens of way to make a woman come. Hundreds perhaps.”
       “I want to experience them all.”
       He smiled a satisfied smile, a cat with tail feathers in its mouth and cream smeared across its whiskers. “I will do my best to see that you do.”
      “I need to paint you as well.”

An Excerpt From Kathleen Lawless Book " Unmasked "

       Aurora looked around, wondering if she was alone in the summerhouse. The building’s corners were deeply shadowed, dark enough to keep secret the presence of another. A faint summer’s eve breeze rustled the hulking broadleaf shrubs that stood sentry at the building’s entrance. Her heartbeat sounded crashingly loud beneath her ribs as she swung her legs over the side of the settee and stroked the black velvet mask.

      Would all the guests be wearing these? Somehow she suspected that they would. And no one would know who anyone else was. Such an intriguing thought,--- total freedom to be whoever, whatever she wanted. A queen. A pharaoh. A courtesan. A powerful woman capable of driving a man to distraction. She fondled the plush texture, rasped her nail across the eye cut-outs, twined the satin ties around her forefinger. Finally she gave in to temptation. She stood and positioned the mask across her features before securing the ties behind her head.
      “Allow me.”
       Aurora gasped as strong, capable hands took over for hers, adjusting the mask’s fastenings. Where had he come from? Had a stranger lingered in the shadows, watching her sleep? Influencing her dreams. For she’d woken with a heavy throbbing need between her legs. Her skin prickled all over with super-sensitivity, nerve endings tingling with exposure to something new and exciting in the air.
       Like the man who stood behind her. His warm breath stirred her hair and pin-pricks of awareness licked across her scalp, heightened by the brush of his fingers. He pushed her hair aside and touched his lips to the sensitive nape. Aurora trembled in reaction. “Grayson?”
      “No names,” he said, his voice as muffled and indistinguishable as the dusk. Silently he moved to stand before her, a dark phantom in matching mask and cloak. His voice was gravely low.

       “Why the disguise?” she asked when she finally rediscovered hers.
       “Club tradition.”
       “The world’s a stage, and we the players?”
       “That seems the way of things. Come, I’ll escort you safely back to the house.”
       “I can make my own way, thank you.”
       “Ssshhhh.” His fingers on her lips rendered her silent as he tugged her into the concealing shadows of the room’s deepest corner. So intent was she on savoring the feel of him next to her, she barely heard the soft feminine gurgle of a woman’s laughter. The sound was echoed by the low, throaty rumble of a man’s voice, the words lost to them as the couple scampered up the steps. Once inside, faint moonlight backlit the way two bodies merged into one, drew apart briefly, then reunited.
      Aurora tensed as the breeze played with the unmistakable moan of a woman aroused, then the harsher indrawn breath of the male preparing to mate.
      She couldn’t possibly remain here.
      Couldn’t intrude on something so intimate.
      Yet when she tried to move, she found herself imprisoned against the hard masculine form of her companion. And lost all desire to move.

      She was aware of hardened muscles, coiled strength, every lean and hard male inch of him. Could he perhaps be naked beneath the concealing cloak?
      Instantly she felt stifling hot beneath the folds of her own enveloping cloak. Her skin prickled and beaded with moisture in the most personal of places. The tops of her thighs the backs of her knees, the valley between her breasts. She shifted as a new, more fiery restlessness shot through her.
      And when her companion clasped her closer still, settled her against him and into him, her blood sang with the rightness of the way she nested with him. How well they fit together, Aurora thought as she lifted her face toward his. She already knew their lips fit together as well as their bodies.
      Across the room, the settee upon which she had so recently reclined became the destination of the two clandestine lovers. Cloaks rustled and afforded the occasional glimpse of bare skin, alabaster white limbs against midnight velvet.
      Moans mingled with throaty murmurs as the lovers twined and coupled. Mouth to mouth, breast to chest, then mouth to breast. Aurora buried her face against the broad, capable chest of her companion. His arms enfolded her, promised to shield her.
      From what? Aurora wondered. From herself?
      For her breath quickened in tandem with that of the trysting couple, who gyrated together in nature’s most primal dance.

     He had to know how she felt, for his own response met and matched hers with sublime subtlety. His breathing deepened. His hands sifted through her hair as if unable to still themselves. She felt his muscles tense as he pressed her closer; felt his cock thicken and lengthen against her. She nearly gasped aloud at the power of her response, but his lips captured hers, silenced her. Consumed her.
      His hands shifted from her hair to chart the length of her spine, finding and shaping her feminine curves the way his lips learned the secrets of her mouth. Her breasts tingled, nipples budded then pouted with neglect when he failed to pay them the much-needed attention. She felt his heat beneath the cloak and pushed the garment aside to unfasten his shirt, touching his bare chest as she herself longed to be touched.
     The railing of the building was behind her, supporting her weight as he leaned into her, every inch of him flush with every inch of her, the sensation through their cloaks every bit as powerful as if they wore nothing at all.

     The writhing couple across the room ceased to exist as her partner’s pelvis locked with hers, rocked in the most intimate promise of all. As his clever fingers plucked her nipples through the fine silk of her favorite blouse, she bit her lower lip to prevent her cry of pleasure and swallowed a further cry of frustration at her growing need for release.
Intuitively he seemed to sense her every need. Silently, he shifted her till she balanced upon the railing, her legs straddled his midsection, hugging his waist. Smoothly he pushed her skirt aside.
      She felt the cool night air whisper through the delicate lawn of her panalettes. Seconds later, his knowing fingers found the damp heat of her slit. Deftly he teased the secret, burning woman part of her.
     A rush of female pleasure spilled from her, dampening her underthings along with his fingers. He gave a low, approving murmur only she could hear as he located the throbbing nub that craved his touch more than life itself. As he continued to tease and torture. Aurora rocked against him, lower lip caught in her teeth as the sensations built in intensity and release continued to elude her.
      Vaguely she grew aware of a flurry of movement from nearby. Footfalls on the steps signaled they were now alone. She heard frantic, desperate panting and traced the source to herself. “I want---” Aurora stopped, having no idea what it was she burned for.
     “Whatever you want.” His growled words sounded as if they were ripped from his throat.

     “I want you.” The audacity of her words might have shocked her in another time or place, but not now. Nor did they stop her from rubbing against him in a far more intimate fashion than anything she had ever done during her marriage.
      His response was a repeat of that wolfish, satisfied, very male grin. “Patience, my lovely.”
      Without unseating her, he slipped her panties from her waist and down one leg at a time. Then he knelt before her, her legs resting on his shoulders, securing her balance.
     Moist, hot, hungry kisses branded her inner thighs and marked her as his. Aurora gasped aloud and tightened her grip on the railing beneath her. His chin was peppered with the faint stubble of the days’s growth of whiskers, rubbing suggestively against the softness of her softest skin. A deliciously arousing sensation continued to build as he ran his tongue from her stocking top to the triangular juncture of her womanhood.
      “You like that, mmmmm?” he murmured against her.
       Aurora released a long, pent-up sigh of agreement. The sigh turned into a gasp when his lips touched her most intimate inner sanctum, dampening already moist recesses with new desire. Aurora gasped again as he traced her feminine shape with his tongue, discovering all her secrets.
      “Your clit is so hard. Begging for my kiss.”

As he put words to action and lapped at the pearl of her womanhood, Aurora’s world exploded into a white hot chasm of light. Barely had one tremor started to subside when it was heightened by another, followed by a third. His tongue gentled, soothing rather than torturing, clearly enjoying the way the rippling aftershocks slowly eased to a gentle, internal pulsing.
       “You taste delicious. The unmistakable flavor of a woman well and truly sated.” His voice rang with satisfaction as he steadied her and rose to his feet.
       “I still want you.” Aurora didn’t even recognize the seductive, husky tone of her own voice.
       “In you?”
       “You were right,” Aurora whispered against his neck. I’ve been too long without a man.”
       He captured her lips with his own and sipped the words as she spoke, savored them and went back for more.
       She reached between them to find and stroke the hot, turgid length of his cock through his trousers. He was so big. So hard. Never had she known such need, such greed, such craving for another.

       He freed his cock then brought the tip of his shaft to her entrance way, teasing the ginger-colored curls. Gently he probed for admittance, slid easily inside her slickness, then withdrew before sliding in further.
      Aurora moaned aloud at the exquisite sensation of him filling her. She had been empty for so long. Forever. And now, finally, she understood how it felt to be well and truly mated to someone.
      His breathing grew harsh as he increased the pace of his actions. Aurora could see the pale glimmer of his shaft as he pulled nearly all the way out, then buried himself deep inside of her. More heat, more bright light, more moisture prefaced a new, intense pressure from somewhere deep within.
     Her inner muscles clenched then released, then clenched again, allowing her to tease him the way he had teased her earlier. He groaned aloud. Held his breath. Only to release it in a rush. His movements quickened in tandem with hers. The pressure built to an unbearable pitch. Her orgasm burst together with his. She screamed aloud. Trembled with the rippling, aftermath as the pleasure flowed through her to him and back into her.

     Excerpt from Maddie's Fugitive by Kathleen Lawless

     "Maddy?  Are you all right?"

     "No," she said, a breathless catch in her voice.

     "What's the matter?  Did I hurt you?"

     "No," she said even more breathlessly.  And placing her hand firmly on the back of his head, she pulled his lips down to meet hers.      

     What on earth was she doing?

     Who cared? 

     Jud's hot mouth on hers moved with a consuming urgency which felt marvelous - much too marvelous to pull away.  Somewhere in the back of her mind she heard a whisper trying to make itself heard. 

     Was this the way to elicit Jud's trust? 

     But the message was lost, drowned out by the thrilling, almost frightening rush of excitement which flooded her insides and saturated her limbs. 

     She scarcely noticed the hard tile floor beneath her, insignificant in comparison to the myriad of other sensations.  The delightful weight of Jud stretched atop her.  The way his breath mingled with hers.  The eroticism of a day's growth of whiskers brushing her skin.  She was on fire - awash with feelings, hurtling out of control toward a breath-stealing, forbidden precipice.   

     Jud's tongue mated with hers with all the easy familiarity of an old friend, encouraging her timid exploration of the inside of his mouth.  She felt him groan deep in his throat and thread his fingers through her hair, a response which galvanized her to heightened boldness as she met and matched the pressure of his kiss.  Her back arched to maximize the tingling sensation as the tips of her nipples brushed his chest. 

     He was wearing far too many clothes.  They both were.  And when they drew apart, gasping for air, he inserted one leg between hers -  exquisite torture.  It was her turn to groan aloud, to ride a fresh outpour of simmering heat that turned her limbs to jelly.

     "Easy."  Jud pushed her hair back from her face with unsteady hands.  "It's better when you go slow."

     "Show me," she said, biting her lip against the frustration as he levered himself off of her. He unfastened his shirt.  Catching her hands in his, he guided them to his exposed chest. 

      Her fingers curled, then slowly unfurled against this new tactile sensation, hardened muscle beneath a smattering of impossibly soft body hair.

Her mouth formed a round “O” of delight as she continued to explore him.  When she heard his breath catch, her movements grew bolder and swept across his chest to his shoulders.  The light glinted on the gold band adorning her fourth finger, triggering a wild streak of possessiveness.

     Her husband. 

     Her man. 

     With an age-old instinct her pelvis rocked forward until it collided with his.  She could feel the turgid length of him, hard and hot.  She heard the way he sucked in his breath when she moved invitingly against him, sharing a need, a hunger she'd never known before. 

     His hand shook as he slid two fingers beneath the neckline of her gown to find the soft swell of her breasts and tease the taut straining buds of her nipples.  She felt a stab of fiery excitement ripple through her womb to the juncture of her thighs.   

     He freed her breasts from the confines of her bodice and lightly, reverently lapped at the nipples, a soft suckling that made her aware of a warm wetness between her legs.  When she braced herself against him, intending to ask him to stop, his greedy lips devoured hers and she was lost. 

     She didn't want him to stop. 

     Not ever.