He'll let her have control...until he's ready to make his move.
The only things Lily Harris inherits after her father's untimely death are debt, scandal and loneliness. She doesn't protest when her father's business partner, Jake Tolliver, steps up to help with the mess she finds herself in--until Jake reveals the last promise he made to her father.
Jake may be as compelling to look at as a marble statue--and stir a frighteningly powerful desire within her--but no way will Lily agree to be his socially acceptable bride while he continues to bed his string of beautiful women--not without getting him to agree to a deal of her own first.
With a well-earned reputation as a feral hunter who goes after what he wants, Jake has his sights set on Lily, and her lack of options puts her right where he's wanted her from the first moment he laid eyes on her.
Jake's not above making Lily think she's having it her way if that's what it'll take to have his way in the end. But once he grows tired of playing beast to her beauty, he's not above changing the rules of the game until they're both playing for the same prize.
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March 09, 2010
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Excerpt from Pride and Passion by Jenna Bayley-Burke
He made his way through the dark house without turning on any lights. The full moon provided just enough illumination to keep from bumping into things on his way to the kitchen. He pushed open the door and reached for the light switch, flicking it on.
Lily stood in front of the refrigerator, a carton of milk in her hand, at least until she spied him and dropped it with a gasp. His eyes widened at the sight of Lily in a pale pink nightie, her golden hair loose about her shoulders. The light material dipped low between her full breasts, delicately revealed the curve of her hips, and gave an alluring view of her bare thighs.
She wasn't so mesmerized. She cursed, then reached for a towel on the counter and bent low to clean up the spill. Jake pulled his libido back in check and moved to help her. He took the towel from her and she stood. He had to bite back a groan at how the hem of her nightie came right into his line of sight.
"I'm sorry," Lily said, walking around him and returning with another towel. "I didn't expect anyone."
"Obviously." He finished the task and stood, enjoying the way her chest hitched with each breath as he looked down at her. "What are you doing down here?"
"Having a glass of milk, or trying to anyway. That's what I do when I can't sleep." She kept her gaze locked on his, except for fleeting moments when it dropped to his bare chest.
He grinned, glad he wasn't the only one hyper-aware after midnight. "That's because you sleep alone."
Her cheeks pinked, but she recovered quickly, narrowing her eyes. "You know, I think you may be right. It's time I find someone willing to marry the penniless virgin and cure her insomnia."
She tried to walk past him, but he caught her arm, turned her around and pulled her flush against him. "Try it, and you'll find my patience exhausted quickly."
"While you expect me to live a life in perpetual understanding of your need to go through mistresses faster than socks." She tried to shake off his hold, but he pulled her closer.
"I've never claimed to be a saint. But I'm not going to spend my life feeding into your insecurity. I want you, only you, and have from the moment I saw you.
"I watched you, this golden angel gliding across a room, and I wanted you to be looking for me, not one of those worthless idiots you dated. We hadn't even met, and I couldn't get you out of my mind. Maybe I did use your father to get closer to you. It seemed kismet that we were in the same industry. Will became my friend, but he became my partner because of you. I had no other choice. I had to protect you somehow, and you never would have looked twice at me had I not thrown myself in your way at every opportunity."
"You've been watching me?" Her haughty tone cut him to the quick. He was never going to be enough for her, never going to measure up to the vapid boys always trailing after her simply because he hadn't lived their life.
"And you've been watching me, wondering what it would be like if you were only brave enough to step outside your perfect world for a minute and indulge in all I can offer you." He took a step forward, moving them both until she was backed up against the kitchen table.
"What do you think you're doing?" Her eyes flashed with an emotion he hadn't seen in her yet. True fear, or excitement?
"What you've wanted me to do since you first started watching me. You think there's something beneath what the world sees. Maybe it's time I show you what that is."