Erica Bain's one-pilot company recently celebrated its seventh anniversary flying Yukon's High North. Erica flies when no one else can, takes on clients no one else wants and lands her floatplane where no one else dares. But after she delivers wealthy hunters to their secluded lodge, an electrical fire forces her to make an emergency landing at a nearby weather station. Its lone occupant, a man notorious throughout the region for his "charming" personality, couldn't make her feel less welcome if he tried. Maybe crashing in the mountains wouldn't have been so bad after all.
Lothar's been around for six hundred and seventy years, ten months, twenty-five days and some change. But who's counting? His different careers have included prospector during the Gold Rush, reluctant medical aide to a charity group after his immigration to North America, courier during the Napoleonic War, popular man with the ladies of Vienna's aristocracy and brilliant physician. And before it all, back in his thirteenth century native Austria -- a time he won't let himself forget -- he used to be a sadistic monster.
He's never believed men like him should hope for a second chance. Until Erica lands on him -- literally.
Note: While this is a single title, we also recommend reading Wolfsbane.
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November 13, 2009
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Excerpt from Bain's Wolf by Nathalie Gray
"I'm starving," Erica said with a deep, unladylike sniff. She plopped down on the chair and waited until he'd sat as well.
After their simple meal of buttered pasta, toast and tea was finished, Lothar was in a sweat trying to keep his mind out of the gutter. Her lips glistened with the butter while tiny sounds from her mouth elicited the sharpest twinges of pleasure he'd felt since...
Think of something else.
He knew she felt something too for she'd stopped looking at him and fidgeted in her chair. In the course of his long years, he'd known enough women to recognize the precursors, even if modern females were much more unpredictable and determined, both of which he loved. If he hadn't been trailing a long chain of guilt behind him, he'd enjoy modern women every chance he got. They'd become so strong, independent and clear-minded. He'd love nothing better than to sample as many as he could. Except that since his "curse" shortly after he'd turned thirty-eight, he hadn't been able to fully savor a woman's embrace without the beast trying to claw out of his soul. A hell tailored just for him. If he'd been capable of believing in anything spiritual, Lothar could well imagine the devil slapping his thigh over that one. A punishment fitting the crime. Crimes, plural.
A sudden thunderclap made Erica start. A split second later, darkness fell around the house. With the thick cover of clouds, noon felt like evening. Comfortably dark, quiet and intimate.
He could power up the generator right then and stave off the vision-inducing darkness. Already, images of her naked form plagued him. But if the power stayed down for a long time, they'd need the fuel for later. He lit some candles on the counter and brought one to their table. The trembling glow cast copper shadows in her hair, which didn't help his resolve at all.
"That was quick," she laughed, looking at the ceiling. "It always does that?"
Lothar nodded, not trusting his voice. He couldn't yield to the temptation. But he knew he was slipping fast.
"You know," she said after a while. She was toying with the base of her glass, probably not having the faintest clue how erotic it was to him. "This reminds me of summer camp. Did you ever go to one?"
"We didn't have them where I'm from." Keep it platonic.
"I was thinking about that this morning. 'Lothar' isn't very common here. Well, you're the only one, I wager. Where is it from?"
"I'm originally from a small village in Austria, near Vienna. But I lost my German accent a long time ago when I immigrated to the States." Back in 1872.
"Austria? You're far from home." She shook her head. "I don't want to argue, but your accent is still there, especially when you pronounce your 'R's. They roll at the back of your throat." She stopped abruptly, scratched her neck and looked away. "So what brought you up here?"
She laughed. The most beautiful sound in the world. It cut right through his carapace. "There hasn't been gold up here in quite a while!"
How his mother tongue came back quickly in times of stress!
Dammit! He'd practically let it slip. His true age and why he appeared in his late thirties when he was over six hundred years old. After Sister Jane's death in 1899, more than a hundred years ago, he hadn't told anyone about his condition. Trust was required. And that virtue had long ago been twisted out of him.
"That's what they told me when I got here." Lothar forced a fake smile.
She studied him for a while, as if trying to decide if he were lying, playing with her or being acerbic again.
She shouldn't look at him for so long, not with those eyes like shards of ice, those adorable freckles that made it look as though someone had used a toothbrush and sprayed terra cotta paint on her nose and cheeks.
"Look, Miss Bain," he started, words floating out of his brain when she grinned widely at him. Such nice teeth. Would her mouth feel as soft as it looked? It did, since he'd already tasted it. He wanted so much more than a mere sip.
"Please, call me Erica. No, you look," she countered, getting to her feet. "You don't owe me a thing. I'm the one eating your food and taking all the hot water. If you want to keep some things to yourself, that's more than normal. I was just trying to make conversation."
With that she put her glass and utensils on her plate and went to the counter to wash them.
Lothar watched her fine figure from behind, the way her dark wavy hair brushed just past her shoulders, how the small of her back bent inward in a pronounced curve as she leaned against the counter. His most favorite part on the female anatomy, he could--and had done so--spend hours admiring a woman's back.
Whereas most men seemed to enjoy breasts most of all, Lothar took infinite pleasure gazing at the curve of a woman's lower back, the distinct, or not so, camber of her waist, those delectable dimples on either side of the spine. Some of the backs he'd embraced had been proud or nimble, delicate or broad. Back in his native medieval Austria, he'd loved quite a selection of backs. Strong ones, plump ones, delicate ones. And what he enjoyed most, what brought him to the edge in the blink of an eye was to watch the small of a woman's back arching with her rounded bottom up toward him in a voluptuous offering.
Lothar's gaze slid lower, at the way Erica's jeans enfolded her slim behind. He knew other men would find it too subtle, not curvy enough. Fools. All a man--or so inclined woman--had to do was encourage a slight curve to the spine, apply pressure at just the right point for any bottom to become a most splendid, curvaceous gift. Looking at her again, Lothar could tell exactly where that spot would be for her, about a hand's breadth below the waistline. Heat tingled his palms.
Fight it. Don't let it win.
He closed his eyes but couldn't sever the vision. His member stiffened until it hurt. He knew he'd lost the battle. The devil was rubbing his hands.