Taylor Moore is an artist. With the bold colors of her palette, she gives life to her passionate memories of Jake Farrell. It's been ten long years since the dark-haired, green-eyed football player left town. In that decade, Taylor has been married to and divorced from the bitter man who always stood between them.
After all this time, she still aches with hunger for that ruggedly beautiful boy from her past, unable to love another. But when Jake suddenly comes home, all grown up and claiming to have returned for her, Taylor's not buying it. She's more than ready to trust the gorgeous man with her body, allowing his dominant sexuality full control; she just refuses to trust him with her heart.
But Jake's been waiting a lifetime for this woman, and he's not about to accept half-measures. He wants her full surrender, and Taylor must finally find the courage to stop waiting for it--and start living for love.
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Ellora's Cave Publishing, Incorporated
November 13, 2009
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Excerpt from Waiting for It by Rhyannon Byrd
Oh no. Suddenly Taylor realized just what she was doing. Here she was, standing in front of Mason's Groceries--staring at Jake Farrell's crotch! And God help her, she didn't know how long her eyes had been glued to that particular part of his anatomy, but it was growing bigger by the second.
Her heartbeat, which was already doing double-time, nearly flew right out of her chest. No, no, no! This was so incredibly embarrassing. Damn the blasted man and this sex-crazed feeling he'd always made her feel, even when he could've been halfway around the world for all she knew.
It was obvious she needed to say something, and she really needed to pull her fascinated stare away from his fly before she started to drool, but her treacherous body parts just weren't listening to reason.
Jake finally helped by tipping her face up with the side of his fist, forcing her to meet his glittering green gaze. Oh, he knew exactly what she'd been thinking about, she realized with a horrified groan. Taylor knew he could read it written all over her flushed face, as easy as a book.
"You okay, Taylor?"
He wasn't exactly smiling, but she could hear a hint of humor behind the deep, rough edge of his voice. Not to mention arousal and concern. His calloused thumb stroked lazily against her chin, caressing her flesh, the gentle touch unbearably arousing.
What on earth was going on? Jake Farrell back in town, acting like he actually wanted her? Nothing so strange or bizarre or unbelievably wonderful had ever happened in her entire life.
"Uh, yes, thank you. I mean I'm, um, fine."
And an idiot. I'm a complete, ridiculous, sex-starved idiot!
He nodded, his penetrating gaze seeing straight into her, as if he could find out all her secrets with just a look. "I'm sorry if I got carried away back there, but I couldn't resist. Is she always like that?"
Taylor knew exactly what he meant, and she couldn't help but wonder what he thought of Wanda's "Bitch of the Year" attitude. It would absolutely kill her to have Jake Farrell pity her.
Pride made her try a small laugh that fell as flat as her chest. "Wanda? Don't worry about her. This was actually a good day between us. Quite civil really."
The sensual line of his lips hardened into a grim line, betraying his anger. "You mean it gets worse than that? Why in the hell don't you deck her and get away from this hole-in-the-wall town?"
Because I might never have seen you again, she thought with a violent rush of longing--and in that moment, she knew it was true. That was why she'd stayed all these years. Why she'd faced down all the loneliness and humiliation and painful memories. She'd been waiting for Jake to come home--to come back to her--afraid that if she left, their paths might never cross again.
Well, once a fool, always a fool, she figured, knowing how this man had always felt about her. Nothing. That was what he'd always felt. Not a single thing.
But he wasn't looking like he felt nothing at the moment. No, he looked like he wanted to lay her out on the hood of her car and taste her from head to toe, lingering on all the good parts in between. She couldn't believe this was Jake. Couldn't believe he was actually standing before her--the real flesh and blood man--and not some heartbreaking figment of her imagination.
"Well, um, thanks for what you did and all. It was, uh, really nice of you to stick up for me in there."
He moved closer, just a hairsbreadth away from actually touching her trembling body with his own. "Is that what I was? Nice?"
One corner of his mouth lifted in a gorgeous little crooked grin, like he was almost embarrassed, and the memory of it nearly floored her. It was the same expression she'd seen him wear back when people would stop him in town and go on and on about his latest success on the high school football field. Mitch had eaten it up, but Jake had always seemed uncomfortable with the outlandish praise, which had endeared him to her even more.
And, oh man, was he tall. She felt so small next to him--so deliciously feminine. "Well, I, uh, mean it was nice to act like you, um, like you--"
Ugh! She knew she was rambling like a half-wit here, but she couldn't get the words out.
He moved closer, and this time his crotch nudged into her belly. Wow, she nearly swallowed her tongue. Then his hands went back into her hair, the same way they had inside the store, and her heart nearly stopped at the thought that now he might kiss her.
Yes! Right here! Right now! This very instant, please!
"I wasn't trying to be nice. I was trying to put that jealous--"
"Jealous? Wanda Merton's never been jealous a day in her life!"
His fingers tightened, thumbs moving at her temples in a slow, seductive touch that he probably thought would relax her, but had the complete opposite effect, making her want to just crawl all over him like a wild woman. Her hands fisted at her sides to keep from grabbing anything she wasn't supposed to touch. And damn it--that was probably all of him.
His face lowered, their noses nearly brushing, and from this close Taylor could see all the brilliant streaks of light green star-bursting through the darker jade of his eyes. They were so incredibly beautiful. When she got home, she was going to paint them so she wouldn't forget a single enthralling detail.
"She's always been jealous of you, Taylor. Just like all the other two-faced women in this town who hated you for being beautiful and smart and talented. Who hated the way every guy watched your little fuck-me body every time you walked by. Haven't you figured it out yet, after all this time? They're all spitting with jealousy. All but green with it, honey."
Jake watched her beautiful eyes go wide with shock at his words, her expression completely disbelieving.
"Jake, what are you talking about?" she laughed, the sound shaky and strained. "Just look at me. It really was sweet of you to pretend for Wanda's benefit, but you're the one who used to tell everybody I looked like a scrawny runt. Mitch said you didn't know how he could stomach being seen with me when we'd go out together."
Jake laughed too, but it was a dark, rough sound that touched a place deep inside of her--someplace that had never been touched before. "He said all that, did he?"
She nodded, at least as much as she could with his hands holding her head, his thumbs still circling her temples.
"And what if I told you everything he said was a lie, Taylor? Would you believe me? He used to give me piles of bullshit about you too. About how you thought I was stuck on myself and dumber than shit. But I'm not buying it anymore, sweetheart. What if I told you everything I said to Wanda was the truth, and that I've spent the last ten years of my life wanting it--craving it?"
His voice lowered, his forehead dropping forward to rest against her own. "What if I told you I've wanted to get inside your pants and fuck you from the second I set eyes on you in school? Hell, you were barely sixteen when I first saw you, and I still wanted to take you home with me and lay you out on my bed and shove my face between your legs, just eating you out for hours on end. I never even thought about doing that to a girl until I met you, Taylor."
She tried to say something, but all that came out was some sort of hoarse, choked whimper. A small, needy sound of hunger and disbelief. But she wanted to believe. Oh, man, did she ever.
Then he pressed his mouth against her own. Hot and sweet and electric, a sensual assault of textures and tastes, and she knew she was going to die. Right there in the middle of Lincoln Street, in front of Mason's Groceries, Taylor Moore was going to die from the rapturous ecstasy of being kissed by Jake Farrell. The heart stopping moment was going to happen any second now.