When Tasha Watson travels to Churchill, Manitoba, to get information from ex-lover Finn MacEwan, she doesn't plan to rekindle their affair. But the troubled, haunted man she finds is far different from the one who left her two years before, though the desire exploding between them is devastatingly familiar. Despite her deepening feelings, Tasha is determined to get to the bottom of Finn's mysterious problems.
Trapped by his honor and a shamanic appeal to the Great Nanuk, Finn has spent over a hundred winters forced to roam the ice of Hudson Bay in the form of a polar bear. Loneliness and despair have nearly taken their toll...until Tasha appears on his doorstep, bringing to life the very things he can't afford to feel--love and hope.
But neither hope nor earth-shattering passion, not even the love of a lifetime, can help fight destiny, and the decisions Tasha and Finn face could all lead to cold, Arctic heartbreak.
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Ellora's Cave Publishing, Incorporated
November 13, 2009
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Excerpt from Arctic Destiny by Anya Richards
This isn't why I came here.
Yet Tasha couldn't break from the embrace, no matter how her brain clamored for her to do so. Being in Finn's arms again was too sweet, too right, and it seemed to be what he needed.
The Finn she'd known before exuded an almost predatory power. His hair was the same, bone-white except for two wings of black above the ears, the entire straight mass pulled back and braided to fall in one thick plait down his back. On almost any other man without obvious First Nations heritage it would have looked like an affectation. But it suited his strong, weather-beaten face, with its rakish scar running through his right eyebrow and down to his cheek, and emphasized the sharp blue eyes.
But when he looked at her today those eyes were flat, opaque, as though the very vitality she'd found so attractive when they first met had been smashed away. She'd glimpsed a void at his center, an empty place teeming with soul-destroying anguish. She would do anything to erase the pain she'd seen there, pull him from the hell she'd sensed consuming him.
Tilting his head slightly, Finn deepened the kiss, cupping her face in his hands and angling her just right so as to plunder her mouth. There was a ferocious, frantic desperation to the way he held her, to the thrust and twist of his tongue, but she understood and welcomed it. Even now, as her body came alive at the sensation of his pressed so close, tears threatened and the impulse to escape the darkness, pull him with her, drove her equally frenzied response.
Finn shifted his leg and Tasha shuddered as it pressed between her thighs, the muscular length rising to rest hard against her pussy. The sweet shock of contact caused an instant rush of arousal and she rocked her hips, seeking surcease from the ache of need gathering deep inside. Finn moaned and nipped her lower lip. The sensation traveled through her blood, collided with the thrill of his erection pressing into her hip and ricocheted, vibrating out to every inch of her body.
He'd always known how to excite her, had spoiled her for every man she'd slept with after he left Toronto. Before him, she'd been a demanding lover, determined to find satisfaction and unafraid to tell the man she was with how to supply it. With him it was a different story. Everything he did felt right. There was no need to constantly think. All she had to do was sink into the experience, flow with the pleasure.
"Tasha." He lifted fever-bright eyes to meet her gaze, his hand going to the zipper at the front of her red fleece Roots hoodie and pulling it down until the two halves popped apart. "I've dreamed about you, like this."
The words both shocked and thrilled, and her heart stumbled before she could get her emotions back under control.
"I thought you would have forgotten me by now."
As light as she tried to make the words sound, it was impossible to completely mask her hurt. Finn bared his teeth, a low, rumbling sound his only reply. He glanced down. She followed his gaze, realized the buttons of her shirt were already undone and he was reaching for the front clasp of her bra.
The cups sprang apart, baring her breasts, and she sucked in a hot gulp of air as his fingers swept her skin, tracing two lines of fire around her already puckered nipples. As she watched, her areolas tightened further.
Then his hands went lower, yanking the snap of her jeans open, pushing at the zipper. Before she could even react he had her pants and panties down to just below her knees. Lifting her, he turned to put her on his workbench, and she gasped as the cold metal surface hit her ass, the shock of it bringing her momentarily back to her senses.
She should stop him.
On her way to Churchill she'd psyched herself up to be completely professional when they met. After he left Toronto she hadn't expected to see him again, had struggled to get through the hurt and pain of his departure from her life. Having sex--making love--with him now would just bring it all back.
"Finn." God, was that tremulous thread of sound her voice? "Finn, we shouldn't--"
Cupping her face, he stared at her, his breath rasping from between clenched teeth and rushing over her skin. His eyes gleamed with desire, but a shadow lingered in their depths. "Let me love you, Tasha. I need..."
He shook his head, swallowed as though whatever else he wanted to say was trapped in his throat. Grasping his wrists, absorbing the tender way he held her, the yearning tightening his face, Tasha couldn't stop herself from whispering, "What do you need?"
Something inside her cracked wide open and her hesitancy washed away. It must have shown on her face, because Finn made a sound of pleasure and took her mouth in another driving kiss.
As their lips parted, he freed himself from her grasp and, starting at her shoulders, trailed his hands down her arms. Using his proximity to tilt her backward, he swept her jacket, shirt and bra down to her wrists, leaving a wash of goose bumps in the wake of his palms. Resting back on her hands, Tasha was effectively manacled by the twists of clothing at her wrists and ankles. Despite having all her garments still on her body, she'd had never felt more naked or exposed. Finn loomed over her, hands on either side of her hips, a slight smile tugging at his rugged lips.
"You said you thought I'd forgotten what it's like when we're together. Have you?"
A shudder started in the pit of her belly and shot like sparks out to every extremity.
How could she forget this sensation of being at his mercy, under his control? Of not wanting to fight, but to cede, give in to his every whim and desire?
She was trapped and the burst of need it inspired made her moan. Finn lowered his mouth to her neck, sipped and nibbled downward until she trembled and strained to meet his lips. He remembered all the places that made her crazy--licking the hollow behind her ear, grazing the tendon along her throat with his teeth--the spots that made her writhe in impotent arousal and, finally, would have her begging for relief.
"God, you taste good." His voice was rough as he traced the line of her collarbone with his mouth, his words buzzing into her skin. His hips shifted, his erection rubbing against her knee, and he groaned, "I can't get enough."
A little whimper broke from her throat. "Neither can I."