Rachel Sutherland loves control--her job, her life and the men who pass fleetingly through. Yet she aches for someone who doesn't care about who she is, who would take her for his pleasure and hers. Shame that man is only a fantasy.
Jareth is a fae, bound to the mortal realm by a curse, and he needs Rachel. His curse has always meant a woman's pleasure must come before his own, but to break his curse he must force a woman to submit to his needs. Rachel is that special woman, one found after centuries of searching.
Now Jareth forces her to find pleasure in ways Rachel never thought she could. A pleasure that could prove more dangerous than she ever believed possible.
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November 13, 2009
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Excerpt from Ruthless Beauty by Kim Knox
An Excerpt From: RUTHLESS BEAUTY
Copyright (c) KIM KNOX, 2009
All Rights Reserved, Ellora's Cave Publishing, Inc.
A light wind whistled down the chimney and Rachel closed her eyes. The only peace she'd found in the entire weekend had been on the vast open beach at the end of the holiday cottage's steep-sloped garden. She could still feel the cold March air tightening her skin, whipping her hair around her face. The open emptiness of the long stretch of wet sand, the endless wash of the waves to the shore surged through her and for a single moment, the strength of nature, its overwhelming power, brought her a freedom she'd never had before...
Damn, she could have jumped someone in that wild moment. Jumped them and let them take her hard and fast against the nearest rock. She shifted in the water and cool air blew over her tightened nipples. A smile curved her mouth. Yes, that would've surprised her friends. Staid, sensible, controlling Rachel Sutherland letting a stranger push her down and fuck her. Take her for his pleasure...and hers.
She pulled in a tight breath, heat flushing her cheeks and a sweet ache filling her belly. Shit, she could almost feel his hard hands on her hips as he yanked down her trousers, underwear, exposing her to the harsh bite of the sea winds. Strong fingers would push hard at her pussy so that she cried out at the sudden invasion. But God, he would find her wet--wet and ready.
A few strokes of his fingers and the burn of her release, the need for him to take her, fuck her, would have her bucking at every hard thrust of his fingers. Sense would flit through her thoughts, of how wrong it was, how she couldn't, didn't want him, but with a low growl he would--
Something thudded outside the bathroom and Rachel's eyes shot open. The wild heat of her unexpected fantasy mixed with a rush of adrenaline. She surged up from the water and grabbed at a towel. That hadn't been her imagination. Wrapping the warm towel tight over her breasts, she picked up a poker from the small fireplace and, with her heart pounding, pulled open the bathroom door.
Her bag, propped up against the wall, now lay on its side.
"Thank you," she muttered to the bag. "Go ahead and ruin the best sex I've had in months." She snorted. Fantasy was her only resort, had been since a messy affair with a contractor in her department. She'd last had sex--she winced--almost a year ago. No, not dwelling on that. She closed the door again, replaced the poker, shook free her towel and sank back into the hot water of the bath... But she was too jittery to relax.
Rachel sighed and attacked her skin with soap. So much for a long soak taking the ache from her muscles. She wet her hair and lathered in shampoo. What she needed was her phantom stranger. Her fingers worked her scalp and a grin pulled at her mouth. Tall, lean, dark, so beautiful he would catch her breath, and with glittering eyes that promised hours of blissful wickedness. He wouldn't care that she earned more money than him as she fast-tracked her way up through the Civil Service, or whine about how their relationship would affect his job prospects. He'd look at her with lust, pin her against the nearest wall and fuck her, uncaring of who saw or her desperate complaints.
Her fingers caught in the wet tendrils of her hair, fresh heat forcing an ache through her nipples right down to her pussy. "Yes, he'd do very nicely," she murmured, feeling the tight ache of her throat, the need lying thick there. "But...he's a fantasy."
She climbed out and found her damp towel. She ached, but it wasn't tiredness that sat heavy on her muscles. Her need for hard, satisfying sex had her stroking over her skin with the towel. Her eyes crushed tight. Too soft. Rachel wanted strong hands, the lick and bite of a hot mouth and a man who held her down and fucked her. Hard.
She cursed, pulled her dressing gown from the hook on the back of the door and stepped out onto the landing. Bright, familiar and holding no sudden darkness or noise, the lack of anything strange slowed her heart...but not her need for sex. She stalked to her bedroom. Her own fingers would only take the edge off this sudden, burning need that she didn't understand. She wanted unfamiliar hands stroking, exploring her, not her own soft, slender fingers.
She pressed her palms to the damp tangles of her hair. Perhaps she shouldn't have left it so long...but the brief fling with--shit, she'd forgotten his name--with him had made her reluctant to go out with anyone else from her office. Her friends offered her the numbers of single men they knew, but they all left her with a feeling of...monotony. Same old, same old. Career-minded, soft-handed fops.
"Not thinking about men, not thinking about sex," she muttered aloud, wanting to break her thoughts. She switched on the light and found the sanctuary of her bedroom. She pulled in the calming scent of lavender and it eased some of the stress from her overwrought body. Her wide bed, piled with pillows and smooth, expensive sheets looked all too welcoming. She turned on a bedside lamp and its soft, golden glow washed over her pillows. Her strange...reactions...meant she wanted to sleep with the safety of some light.
She threw her dressing gown over a nearby chair and climbed into bed. The cotton felt cool against her still-damp skin and she stared around her room. The lamp cast heavy shadows. But none of them moved and the house, with the exception of the odd, familiar creak, was silent.
Rachel settled into the softness of the pillows, ignoring the rub of the cotton as it teased the sensitivity of her skin. Her eyes grew heavy. All of her insanity came from the fact that she was too damn tired. She needed a long, dead-to-the-world sleep. That was all. A smile tugged at her mouth and she snuggled into the warming sheets. In the morning, she would be sane.
The room grew hazy and she let out a slow, tired breath. Sleep would make everything better. With her eyes half-lidded, the glow of the lamp seemed to flicker and for a long, long second, the shadow of a tall, lean man burned against her bedroom door.
His silver eyes glittered.
Rachel shrieked and scrambled up her bed. But even as she hit her spine hard against the wooden frame of the headboard, the shadow vanished and she began to doubt it had ever been there at all.
She wiped her hand over her sweating face. Her breath came out in short, ragged gasps and her heart drummed. Damn it, that had not been a trick of the light! Someone had stood there, by her door, and stared at her.
But now there was no one. Simply a paneled, white-painted door and the steady light of the lamp casting solid shadows. Rachel dug the heels of her palms into her eye sockets and groaned. "Crazy, mad woman," she muttered. "I need to adopt seventeen cats just to complete my insanity."
She slid back into the warm sheets, her gaze fixed on the unexceptional door, and she willed her heart to slow. Her fingers gripped the sheets until her knuckles ached...but nothing reappeared. And hell, he'd been the image of her phantom stranger, even down to the glittering eyes.
"Sleep, I need to sleep." Her own voice, real, normal, soothed her and she pulled the heavy weight of the sheets and blankets over her shoulder. Rachel focused on her breath, drawing it in and pushing it out of her body, her gaze fixed on the door. Nothing. There was nothing. Only the easing thud of her heart in her ears and the soft glow of light shining against the glossy wood filled her thoughts.
Her eyelids grew heavy again. Sleep, she needed to sleep and the pull of it dragged her down.
Warm breath brushed against her breast. She twisted against the mattress, pushing down the weight of the sheets and blankets. Half-lidded and still groggy from sleep, her eyes focused on the hazy gold of the surrounding light and on the naked dark-haired man licking the underside of her breast.
He sucked her nipple into his hot mouth, his teeth grazing the hard nub, and it broke her words. Sensation rioted through her flesh. He looked up and his silver-cast eyes glittered. The hot curl of lust tightened in her belly as he tugged at her nipple with strong, white teeth and she couldn't help the escaping groan. Her stranger grinned, something wicked, and her heart thudded. He was beautiful, sculpted perfection and she knew him. He was the stranger from her fantasy.
She sucked in a quick breath. A dream, she was in a dream.
"Want me to fuck you, do you, Rachel Sutherland?" His strong hands gripped her hips as he knelt over her, his breath hot over her belly. She ached for him to sink lower, for his mouth, his tongue to find her pussy. "Want me to take you?"
"Yes..." The word escaped on a gasp.
His tongue teased over her mons and he held her down as her hips bucked. "My first taste will be kind." His breath brushed warmth over her sensitive skin and his silver eyes fixed on her. They glittered and fire rushed through her blood at the sinful promise shining from him. His words teased her. "A single memory to soften what is to come."