Kimberly has run from Jared for a year now, sensing the weakness he could be to her future. But she never expected the sacrifice he would make for her. One that will rock her soul, and destroy the very foundations of all her beliefs.
Her sexuality, her heart, and all she's fought for in the last six years will be tested when an assignment takes her to Jared's farm, and into his bed. There she will learn the true meaning of hunger, of love...as well as the deception and the lies that have governed her life for so long.
Anything worth having is worth sacrificing for. Kimberly is about to find out if she can pay the price, and risk not only the inheritance that should be hers, but also her heart to the one man who can still the fires that rage in her soul.
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November 13, 2009
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Excerpt from Sacrifice by Lora Leigh
Jared wasn't untutored in either the ways of lust, or of women. He had known since their first meeting a year before that Kimber was different, special. At least to him. She had drawn him as no other woman had, despite her shield of aloof disinterest; he had known something was there. He was certain of it now.
"You needed my interference downstairs," he pointed out as he pushed his hands into his pants' pockets.
His palms were itching with the need to touch her, to pull her against him and taste the silky texture of her skin. The desire was raging through his blood, tensing his body and reminding him just how long it had been since he had taken any other woman. The need for this one had surpassed even the interest in taking another.
"You surprised me." She shrugged in an attempt to hide her earlier reaction. "It turned me on. We are after all, family."
She cast him a wicked, mocking look tinged with a bitterness that ate at his soul. He wanted to wrap her in his arms. Wanted to shield her from the pain he could see in her eyes. The sudden urge to protect her, rather than fuck her, was overwhelming.
Jared snorted. "Be damned glad we're not family, Kimber," he warned her. "Because if we were, I'd be breaking more than one damned rule before this night's over."
Something flashed in her eyes then. Regret? Pain? It was so fleeting he couldn't quite pinpoint the cause of it.
"You won't be breaking any rules, Jared." Her voice firmed, the edge of steel that always dared him to see how far he could make her bend, echoing in her voice. "Whatever thrill you got downstairs will be all you get from me."
There was the pain. It was almost hidden, nearly overshadowed by the cold edge of purpose. She wasn't willing to give an inch. Jared smiled with slow, easy confidence. That was okay though, because he had a hell of a lot more than an inch to give to her.
"Oh, I don't think so, Kimber." He advanced on her then, narrowing his eyes as she swallowed tightly and began to back away. "You see, baby, I've waited almost twelve full months to figure out exactly where your weaknesses were and how to use them to my own advantage. I found them tonight, and I'll be damned if I'll let you run from me now."
"Stop, Jared." Something in her voice had him doing just that. He stopped no more than a foot from her, staring down at her silently. Waiting.
"This can't happen," she told him then, trying to cover the regret in her voice with steely demand. "You have to understand that. What you saw downstairs, that's all I want. All I need. Whatever you're offering, I can't accept, I won't accept. You don't have a choice but to let it go. Now."
Jared shook his head as his lips tipped mockingly. He stepped to her, backing her into the wall she had retreated against as his hands framed her face. It amazed him, how small and delicate her cat-like face was beneath his hands. His fingers slid into the sides of her hair as he held her still before him, the tips relishing the cool, silken texture.
"There are choices, Kimber," he told her. "And then, there is determination. You may as well stop fighting, because I won't let you go now. My name was on your lips when your body bucked in release. I saw the hunger in your eyes and felt it in the shudders that racked your body. You can't hide from it anymore than I can."
"No." Her hands gripped his wrists as she stared up at him, her eyes no longer filled with anger, pain or regret, only weariness, and the weariness pierced his heart. "I can't, Jared. Even if I wanted to, even if what you say is true, I can't accept it. Because if I do, I lose everything. There is nothing or no one worth the risk I would be taking."
Her father. Jared wanted to curse the man for his unjust treatment of his daughter, for the pain, the anger and that damned weariness. But she was going to have to learn that there was more to dreams, more to needs, than the empty satisfaction she was allowing herself.
"I won't let you go," he told her again.
Before she could respond, he lowered his head, taking her open lips in a kiss that surprised them both. Flames shot through his body at the speed of light, making his muscles draw tight in hunger as his erection threatened to burst the zipper that held it at bay.
And Kimberly wasn't unaffected. After her first surprised gasp, her nails bit into his wrists, but her tongue met his with a speed and hunger that had him throttling a savage growl. His fingers threaded into the long curls of her hair, feeling them twine around his hands as he tipped her head back further and began to drink from the passion erupting through her body.
It was like a narcotic, ambrosia, it was the most sensual, most erotic dance of lips and tongues that he had ever known. They ate each other, both ill-prepared for the sudden fires erupting through the other.
She could spout her denials until hell froze over, but here, she couldn't hide. Beneath his lips she couldn't lie, couldn't refuse the pleasure that burst through their bodies like a firestorm of the senses. And he wouldn't let her if she tried.
Jared forced one hand free of her hair, lowering it to her back and lifting her against him as he pressed her into the wall. Instantly, her knees clasped his hips, a startled cry erupting from her throat as he pressed his cock against the hot, wet pad of her pussy.
"Feel that," he snarled against her lips, staring down at her fiercely. "You're so damned wet you're soaking my slacks. So hot you burn me alive. And you expect me to take no for an answer?"
Shocked, drugged with passion, her eyes widened as he ground his erection against her.
"No." She swallowed tightly, shaking her head in denial despite the flow of heated liquid that damped his pants. "I can't, Jared..."
"Oh, but you will," he assured her darkly. "I'm warning you now, baby. The next dick that slips up that tight little ass will be mine. The next man to touch you, taste you, hold you, will be me. Only me, Kimber. Until you admit to the fever burning us both alive, no other man will touch you."
Her fierce shove against his chest had him stepping back. Reluctantly, he released her, seeing the simmering fury pulsing in her gaze as she faced him now.
"You do not own me." She was fighting to even her breathing, to still the desire pulsing hard and hot inside her, as it was him. "I won't let you dictate to me this way."
"Oh won't you?" he asked her, almost wincing at the dark, rough tone of his voice. "Too late, sweetheart. I know your weakness, and I know your hunger. And Kimber..." he watched her closely now. "I know your secrets. Don't think for a minute I won't use every weapon I can find to have you. That would be a mistake you don't want to make."
She drew in a deep, hard breath, the flush of arousal receding as she realized that now, he most likely knew far more than she had ever wanted him to.
"I'm still a virgin." She drew herself stiffly erect as a little painted smile of mocking triumph curved her lips. But her eyes were dark with pain. "And unless you're into rape, you won't win, Jared. You or father."
The bitterness in her tone tugged at his heart. He could see the suspicions in her eyes, the fear that he was somehow working to aid her father's triumph. Nothing could be further from the truth.
"Your father can go straight to hell. And no, Kimber, I'm not into rape," he finally said gently. "But I will be into you. Sooner or later, one way or another, that I can promise you. You can keep your virginity, but I'll be damned if you'll continue to run. Not anymore."