Fifth in the Awakening Desires series.
The last thing Jackson Connors wants is a housekeeper. He likes his life just as it is--solitary and uncomplicated.
Emerald Jewel is a New York designer with a stalker on her trail. She needs a place to hide out and Jackson's farm is the perfect solution to her problem. The last thing she wants is to be attracted to her sexy new boss.
Neither of them is prepared for the explosion of passion that flares between them. They try to resist, but the desire will not be denied. Jackson knows Emerald's life is in New York and his is on the farm. He'll eventually have to let her go, but he's not about to let her face this threat on her own.
But the stalker is getting closer to finding Emerald and will stop at nothing to possess her. As the threat around her escalates, she must face leaving Jackson to draw the danger away from the man she's coming to love.
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November 13, 2009
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Excerpt from Jackson's Jewel by N.J. Walters
Emerald pulled the car to a stop and turned off the ignition. Since there was no one around, she took a deep breath. She could do this. Her stomach was doing flip-flops and had been all morning. She'd stayed at a quaint B&B last night and had shelled out sixty dollars to pay for it this morning. Her cash was quickly dwindling.
She hated the fact that she'd lied to the woman she'd talked to on the phone about her name. She'd started to give her real name, but at the last second had given the false surname, Jones. They probably wouldn't recognize her name, but she hadn't wanted to take any chances. Still, it left her feeling like a complete fraud.
"What's done is done," she muttered as she clicked off her seat belt, opened the door and slid out of her compact car, smoothing down her skirt. It was early morning, not yet seven o'clock, but it was already heating up outside. It was going to be another scorcher of a day. She looked around at the place that was to be her home for the foreseeable future. She'd been honest with Erin Garrett about not wanting a long-term job. But the other woman had assured her that the position of housekeeper and cook was only a temporary one, eight weeks tops.
The back door popped open and a tall redheaded woman stepped out onto the porch. "You must be Emerald." She held out her hand as she strode forward. Emerald liked her on sight.
"I am. And you must be Mrs. Garrett."
"Please call me Erin." She turned to the massive man who was close on her heels. "And this is my husband, Abel."
The guy was huge and very intimidating with his dark hair and piercing green eyes. Still, Emerald met his gaze squarely. "Pleasure to meet you."
Abel nodded and said hello, but before he could say any more than that, the back door slammed open, drawing all their attention. Emerald froze on the spot. The world around her receded, narrowing to the man striding determinedly toward her. And what a man he was.
He looked to be at least a half a foot taller than her, if not a bit more, and she was five foot eight. It was hard to tell exactly how tall he was because he had a very muscular build. His gait was fluid as his long legs ate up the distance between them. The denim of his jeans outlined his thick thighs and she watched, fascinated by the play of muscles as he moved. The tight, faded material also cupped his male attributes. Emerald's mouth went dry as her body began to tingle.
His wide shoulders were encased in a faded blue T-shirt that brought out the color of his incredible blue eyes. They were almost the same color as the summer sky and right now they were focused on her. She tried to swallow, but it was impossible. Her breasts felt heavy and, the closer he got to her, the more she could feel her nipples tightening. A low ache began between her thighs and she had to force herself not to fidget.
His face was too rugged to be called good-looking, but it had something even more important--character. His brown hair had reddish highlights that glinted under the morning sun. It was cut short in the back and brushed away from his forehead in the front, framing his face. His eyebrows were severe slashes that were the same color as his hair. Thin lines radiated from the corners of his eyes. Emerald imagined that they were a result of working outside in all weather his entire life. His skin was burnished a light gold from the sun and it emphasized the blue of his eyes. His eyelashes looked almost too long and thick for a man's, but it was the only softness on his face. His cheekbones were high, his chin firm and stubborn and his nose hawkish.
At the moment, his full lips were pursed in a severe line. They looked soft though. Emerald wondered what they would feel like against her mouth. Or maybe lower as he nibbled on her breasts, teasing the tips. She barely swallowed back a groan. She had to get a grip on her wayward libido. Ignoring the fact that her panties were now damp, she plastered a smile on her face.
Uh-oh, Mr. Hottie wasn't pleased about her being here. Emerald wondered who he was even as she turned back to Erin. The other woman was smiling at the man. Emerald got a sinking feeling in her stomach.
"Emerald, I'd like you to meet my brother, Jackson Connors. It's him you'll be working for."
She'd just known that this wouldn't be easy. Still, she needed this job worse than she'd ever needed anything in her life. She could bury her burgeoning desire for her new boss. Besides which, she wouldn't be here long enough to really get involved with the man. His life was here and hers was back in New York. She was just tired, and like any woman, she could appreciate a fine male specimen. It didn't mean anything.
"Pleased to meet you, Mr. Connors." She held out her hand and his large, tanned one quickly swallowed it up.
"Might as well call me Jackson since you're going to be living with me." His voice was low and raspy, sending shivers running down all her nerve endings. His hand was strong, but he held hers gently. This was a man who knew his own strength and controlled it. Would he show that same control when he took a woman to bed? She suspected so. And she had to get her mind back on the business at hand. She had no time to indulge in sexual fantasies, no matter how much fun they might be.
"Jackson, then," she agreed and tugged her hand away from his, needing to break the contact which felt very intimate in spite of the two other people standing next to them. She turned back to Erin. It was easier to talk to the other woman. "I assumed I would be working for you."
Erin shot Jackson a mischievous grin. "I don't need a keeper."