HIS ONLY DESIRE is a romantic suspense and is part of the Charity Bundle HOMETOWN HEROES. It is a fan favorite and a personal favorite book of mine that I’ve updated and will be releasing singly in January. But you can buy it now with 15 other books for only $1.99 in the Hotter Ever After HOMETOWN HEROES. All proceeds for the bundle go to Pets for Vets. You can read the blurbs for those books in my previous post.
But an excerpt from HIS ONLY DESIRE.
He liked small, dark places. Liked the way the tightness sheathed him–the way he wanted her body to sheath him. He sank onto his haunches, invincible in this space that smelled of her. Of his Dare. Of that mind-teasing scent she was making famous, the one in those pretty bottles on her bathroom counter, the one that lingered on her creamy skin. On her clothes. And in his mind. Forever.
He nuzzled his nose against the hem of her dresses, drawing the fragrance into him as he wanted to draw her into him.
Soon now, he would.
A smile crooked his mouth at both corners and his insides heated with anticipation. She’d looked perfect this morning in that TV commercial, the one for this very perfume, a haunting fragrance that called to him. Her cascading blonde hair had waved around her perfect oval face, her wide blue eyes beckoning him. A siren call of promises.
Dare Hamilton. His Dare. Straight off a ranch somewhere in Texas. As wholesome as an angel. Innocent and pure. But quick success was fraught with pitfalls. Even now, fame threatened her virtue with its evil temptations. Resolve swept through him. He would save her. His love would save her.
Thank God, she was finally willing to accept their destiny.
His smile widened as he recalled her looking directly at him, her lush lips speaking to him alone, delivering her private message through the TV commercial. “I’m ready for you. I want you. Today. Come to my home. To my bedroom. Wait in my closet.”
And so he waited.
* * *
Dare Hamilton chewed her bottom lip and glanced out the rear window of the taxi. The ad campaign and rapidly growing popularity of Dare to Love perfume had made hers a recognizable face. At first she’d thought it was fun. But lately, she’d had the feeling she was being followed. Watched.
Not by that paparazzi-wannabe she’d dubbed Eager Eddie, who had actually aided her career. But by someone she’d never seen, just sensed—like one senses something foreboding on the horizon. The sensation had her nerves frayed, and the two huge glasses of wine she’d just downed at lunch hadn’t helped.
As the taxi pulled to her destination, she felt frantic, half-expecting to spot him lurking behind one of the old palms that lined the busy avenue of this once prosperous area in the shadow of the Hollywood Hills. But she saw nothing to account for the edginess in her belly. Even her aging Volkswagen sat undisturbed at the curb where she’d left it.
She paid the driver and turned to face The Pacific Palms. Home sweet home no longer. She was leaving for Las Vegas. Getting married today.
Dare hurried to the bungalow apartment she’d called home for the past three years, shoved the key into the lock and was greeted by the usual musty stench of the place, a combination of mildew and dust. She shut the door and tossed her keys onto the desk. They landed near a photograph of her and her twin sister, Desire. She stared at it and scowled. They’d been estranged for the past five years since Dare’s first marriage. Dare hadn’t been able to forgive Desire. Maybe after she returned from her honeymoon, she’d attempt a reconciliation. She did miss Desire, wanted to share her newfound happiness with her twin, the one person who’d known her best her whole life.
She moved to the small closet in the living room corner, tugged open the cloth that served as a door and extracted her carry-on bag. She had only a few things to collect. She wished the unease that kept climbing her throat would go away. Nothing bad was going to happen. She was on the verge of real happiness. Deserved happiness.
Feeling an inexplicable need to hurry, she carted the carry-on into the bathroom, scooped her cosmetics into it, gathered toothbrush and paste, then realized she didn’t have her hair brush. Where was it? She scanned the counter. Hadn’t she left it there earlier today? She checked the drawer. Not there either.
Giving up, she went into the bedroom and opened the dresser. Only one thing she wanted here. A gentle breeze grazed her face as she gathered up the brand new French bra and panty set she’d purchased for the honeymoon, and nestled them into the carry-on. She zipped the bag, then debated on whether or not to relent and take her favorite comfortable old jeans. Why not? New jeans were nice, but took a while to break in.
She crossed to the closet.
Something crunched beneath her feet, staying her hand halfway to the knob of the louvered door. She glanced down. Glass littered the rug. Fear crashed through her. Dear God, the breeze she’d felt. Her gaze flew to the window. The pane had been shattered. The frame shoved wide open. She gasped. Was someone here?
The closet door started to open.
With a yelp, she snatched the carry-on, tore through the apartment and outside. She ran to her VW, clambered inside, shaking so hard it took three tries to get the key in the ignition. She locked the doors, punched her fiancé’s phone number into the cell phone and hit dial. As he answered, she peeled into traffic, the phone pressed to her ear.
* * *
He banged the closet doors open and scrambled up out of the tight space. Raced after her, into the living room. The door slammed in his face, bringing him up short. He stared at it, stunned, shaken. She’d been about to open the closet and welcome him into her life. Acknowledge their relationship. Instead, she’d run away. His heart shrank at her betrayal. Fury tighten his grip on the handle of her plastic hair brush.
He pulled back the curtain. She was in her car, driving away. Away from him. Away from them. Her tiny car was moving too fast, weaving badly, as though she were drunk. As he watched in horror, it veered into the path of a semi truck. “No!”
The collision sounded like a bomb going off. The VW buckled, then burst into flame.
“No!” he screamed, snapping the hair brush in two. His cries turned to whimpers, then he fell silent. The quiet resonated through the apartment echoing the loss deep inside his brain. His knees wobbled. He grabbed for support, clutching the desk, knocking over a gilt-frame. He reached to right it and froze. Two women were caught for posterity with their arms around one another, their smiling faces peered up at him. They were identical. Yet, somehow different.
Dare and . . . He noticed the plaque on the bottom edge. It read Dare and Desire.
Desire seemed to be smiling at him, offering him comfort and love with that smile. Understanding. Empathy. They had both lost Dare, were both grieving that loss. They should grieve together. Hold each other. Love each other.
As sirens filled the street outside, he broke the glass covering the picture and ran his fingertip down her cheek.
Yes. His Desire.
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