Book 3 in the Men of August series Will she bring the gift of acceptance, or will she break the bonds that have been forged through the fires of hell? Heather's job was to guard Sam's body. As part of the team assigned to the protection of the August family, she had taken her job seriously. Until a madman learned she was Sam August's weakness. Until the past rose with deadly intent and surprising secrets. Will Sam be able to deny his passion for this woman, or will the dark nightmares and sensuous desires that rage through them both be the cause of his destruction, and the destruction of the woman he loves?
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1 . Excellent series
Posted May 30, 2010 by Terri , ColoradoI think this third book was my favorite in the series. A lot of emotional feelings and things to figure out amongst the couples this time and a well ending to the series but do not forget August Heat as the final short story.
January 29, 2005
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Excerpt from Heather's Gift by Lora Leigh
The night was soft. A gentle, early summer night, thick with the scent of honeysuckle and the rain that had passed hours before. The glow of the full moon shadowed the land, leaving secrets hidden, scars unseen and the gentle mystery of the land left to soothe the soul.
Sam slid through the shadows cast by the stables and the thick brush that led to a sheltered grove. He was adept at hiding in the darkness, at using the shadows to slip and hide and make his way to whatever destination he had chosen. He had been doing it since he was ten. Finding adventure, finding peace within the open land he called home. There had been times when it had saved his sanity, that peace, the wide-open freedom, the smell of juniper, honeysuckle and a cleansing rain.
He wasn't a kid now, or a tormented young man. He was an adult, and though he fought the shadows in his own mind, he knew the demons weren't far behind. He hid behind careless laughter, teased his brothers, played childish pranks. Even at the age of thirty, he made certain to find a way as often as possible to break the bleak sadness that filled Cade and Brock.
The sadness was lifting a bit now, and Sam found as their happiness began to bloom, the darkness within himself began to grow. Marly helped. Bright and filled with laughter and a compassion and acceptance he would never fully understand, she lightened the hell they all lived within.
He paused beneath the spreading limbs of a thickly leafed oak and glanced back at the house. She would be sleeping now, held close by Cade, and possibly even Brock, unless he had headed back to town and Sarah, while Sam was showering.
Marly wasn't the first they had shared, but she was the most important. She was Cade's soul. She was his and Brock's heart. They had helped raise her since she was twelve, had endured her teenage years as she flirted and rubbed against them like a frisky foal, and they now shared in the passionate, heated love she had for Cade.
"Bad Sam, sneaking out of the house like that." He jumped as the amused, feminine voice brought him out of his thoughts.
He turned quickly, watching as a dark form separated itself from a nearby tree. His lips quirked in humor. Heather March was going to break his heart. He couldn't help the thought as he watched the petite redhead stroll slowly toward him.
"You're following me again." He tried to sound disapproving, stern, but it was hard when she made him feel so damned light inside.
"It's my job, Sammy." He winced at the nickname she had stuck on him. Marly's mother used to call him Sammy. He didn't like it then, and he didn't like it now. "I'm supposed to follow your bad ass."
A soft ray of moonlight speared through the trees, glistening in her red hair, glowing against the soft creamy skin of her pretty face. Her green eyes reminded him of a cat, softly tilted, inquisitive. Her pert nose was just too cute for words, but her pouty little mouth was a work of art. The curves glistened with moisture and made his cock thicken and harden beneath his jeans with abrupt need.
As she came close he reached out, jerking her against his chest as she gasped in surprise. He held her close, letting her feel the erection straining beneath his jeans.
"Sam," he reminded her softly, inhaling the soft scent she wore. It was romantic and soft, and undeniably hot. "Not Sammy, Heather. I'm going to get you for that nickname you're trying to pin to my ass."
A grin stretched her lips as her body softened against his. "My sister catches you holding me captive like this and she'll kick your ass," she snickered. "Better let me go."
He turned until he could back her against the tree, holding her there with easy strength. "Your sister just likes to think she's all bad," he whispered, the fingers of one hand playing with the long braid that fell down her back. "I'm not scared of her."
Her hands smoothed up his chest and he fought himself, fighting for breath and for control. Damn, he shouldn't be this horny, this hot. Not after the hour he had spent with Marly, her lips wrapped first around his thick cock, then the tight, velvet heat of her ass gripping him. But Heather could make him hot when no one else could. She was soft and sweet, and so damned smart-mouthed she could make him crazier than hell.
"You better be scared of her. She's mean." Her hands paused at his heart, and he knew she could feel the hard throb of his excitement there as easily as she could feel his hard-on pressing against her abdomen.
Silence lengthened between them then as sexual tension thickened in the air.
"You were with Marly tonight," she finally whispered softly. "Tara cleared us away from the house. She always does."
He wanted to look away from her, but he could see the questions in her eyes. Why did he go to his brother's woman, when he could have her? And he could have her. He knew she got just as wet for him, as his cock got hard for her.
His finger ran over her cheek gently. "Would you want to watch?" The thought of it was almost enough to make him crazy with arousal.
"I don't think so, big boy," she sniped with a fierce frown. "You're a real interestin' man, Sammy. But watching you fuck another woman wouldn't be the highlight of my day." Jealousy shimmered in her voice along with a thread of anger.
He sighed deeply. "It's not like that, Heather." He moved away from her, shaking his head as he crossed the short distance back to the stables.
She was silent, but he was aware of her following him, keeping up with his longer stride until they entered the dimly lit haven of the building. The horses were all in the pastures, and the building smelled of sweetly scented hay and leather saddles.
"You shouldn't be sneaking out like this, Sam," she said as she closed the door behind her. "With the stalker's return, it's hard telling..."
"I wish he would come after me." He turned to her, rage surging through his body. "Son of a bitch thinks he can get away with attacking our women and trying to destroy our lives. He's a fucking coward, Heather, and one day, one of us will get our hands on him."
"If he doesn't kill you first," she snorted, watching him with that bright, sharp gaze that sometimes seemed to pierce his soul. "You need to be more careful. All of you do."
She leaned against one of the stalls, her arms crossing under her breasts as she watched him with that militant look in her eye.
"Keep looking at me like that, and one day I'll take you up on the fight you seem to be wanting," he told her softly, unable to keep from going to her again.
His hands settled on her hips, and he marveled at how small she was, how delicate her bones seemed. But she was tough as hell. He had watched her practice her martial arts moves with Tara, as well as Rick, and he knew she was a hell of a lot tougher than she looked.
"If you have the energy left, you mean?" She arched a fiery brow mockingly.
He sighed deeply. "Do you want to know, Heather, why I haven't taken you? Why I haven't come after you with every weapon I can think of to get you into my bed?"
"Because you know I can kick your ass?" Her hands ran up his arms until they lay against his shoulders. Soft, graceful fingers that he was dying to feel on his bare flesh.
He shook his head. She was good, damned good, but he wasn't the least bit intimidated by her. He could take her, eventually.
"Because I know that eventually, I would need to see you beneath my brothers as well," he told her softly, warningly. "We survived hell together, Heather. A hell unlike anything you could imagine if you hadn't lived through it. And I don't think you're ready to consider the thought of being part of that."
"And how does the sharing help you, Sam?" She tilted her head, frustration lighting her eyes. "How can sharing something that should belong solely to you heal any part of that?"
He shook his head, wondering how to explain. It was complicated, difficult. At times he couldn't make sense of it himself, so he struggled with how to make her understand.
"We gave our souls for each other in that hell hole." He fought the blinding pain that the thought of it, the shadowed memories of it, brought. "We were forced to betray each other, to brutalize each other, Heather. And we swore we wouldn't let it break us. It changed us though. It forged a bond that can never be broken, but it destroyed another part of us in the process. A part that kept us together as brothers, the love that was between us as brothers, he destroyed that. Destroyed it, Heather. It's gone. Now we fall back on the only thing we had before it happened. It's not just a desire, or a need. It's a bonding that reaffirms we didn't lose everything to that bastard's cruelty."
"Sam, it's unnatural." She shook her head, and though her voice was gentle, it lacked any understanding. "You love each other more than you love those women."
"That's not true." Shock filled his system, traveled through his body. "Heather, that's not the way it is, baby. It's not. It's because of our love for them, don't you see? The fear that one of us alone can't protect them, can't care for them. We know our limits; we know the horrors out there and the monsters who live to destroy. We know how easily one of us can be destroyed. It's our love for those women, our need to see them always protected, always cared for, always loved, Heather. It's to prove to each other that we trust the other to do this. And Heather, the heat..." He broke off, his cock throbbing, thinking of her sharing in that, screaming out in the pleasure. "The heat and pleasure is like nothing you've known. Marly connects us again, she reaffirms that we're alive and that we can still function and love. That we're not alone."
She stared up at him, a frown darkening her brow. "But Sam, you aren't alone," she stressed. "You shouldn't need to share your lovers to reaffirm this."
"No, we shouldn't." He sighed heavily, hearing his own doubts, his own guilt in her words. "But it's always been that way, Heather," he whispered, knowing it was true. "Cade glories in Marly's pleasure. You can see it in his eyes, in his love for her. Her pleasure and her happiness are everything to him. He gives her in return the only thing he knows how. More love. More pleasure. His brothers. And it will be the same for Brock and Sarah, if she agrees to come to the ranch. It's all their love, Heather. All our love."
He watched as she licked her lips nervously, nibbled on the lower one as she thought, then she sighed deeply, regretfully.
"And if the woman you eventually love can't accept it?" she asked him softly. "What if she can't bear your touching another woman, or one of your brothers touching her?"
He was quiet for long moments, sadness filling his soul, because he had a feeling he held the woman who would very well hold his heart. The woman who would refuse.
"Then she would hold only half a man," he whispered painfully. "I worry, Heather, and I agonize that we're hurting Marly, that we'll hurt Sarah. The guilt eats at me in ways you could never understand. But I also know if I didn't have it, or one day share in it, then a part of me would be lost forever. A very important, very vital part of me."
"Or," she whispered. "A part of you would be healed..."
* * * * *
It was a question Sam couldn't answer. As one week turned into two, and the attraction progressed, thickened, Sam couldn't reconcile his needs with those he felt were Heather's. A kiss progressed to two. He tasted her breasts, brought her to climax with his mouth and felt the overwhelming pleasure of her mouth enveloping his cock.
When he learned she was a virgin, he pulled back. What he needed from her a virgin could never accept, he told himself. But the attraction wouldn't die, the needs wouldn't extinguish. Then she left for a brief time, returning to her home. When she came back, he went to her. Went to her because he couldn't resist her laughter, her smart mouth or touch. And he began to hope. Began to believe that perhaps one day she would understand...
And then the stalker struck again. They found Heather bound, her slender legs spread, the soft mound of her cunt sliced by a madman's scalpel. Sam knew that, no matter how much he loved her, and he did love her, no matter his need for her. The past was rising, swift and sure, and it could very well destroy him as it hadn't during those bleak, dark days of captivity. So he fought...