This is the first book in the Wanton series.
Dark, mysterious, sexy-as-sin...and possibly a murderer.
Now, Skylar Davenport must discover if this handsome stranger killed her neighbors. She knows she shouldn't trust him. She shouldn't feel anything for him. He could steal everything precious to her, including her life. But Wade Sinclair makes her feel alive. She craves his smile, his touch, and so much more.
Skylar isn't what Wade expected. Instead of hard and vengeful, as he'd been told, Skylar is soft and so gorgeous he aches to touch her. She has a temper, but is smart and determined. Unfortunately, he has a job to do. And though he wants her in his bed, he certainly isn't about to let his heart rule his head. Fate killed love for him once. He isn't looking for a second chance. He'll bed her if he can, but he'll also do what he was hired to do.
He'll take care of Skylar permanently, and move on with his life, alone...or so he thinks.
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Ellora's Cave Publishing, Incorporated
November 13, 2009
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
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Excerpt from Wanton Temptation by Ruth D. Kerce
His bare, sweat-dampened chest shone in the flickering lamplight. Her gaze moved over his mat of hair and lowered to the thin line that ran down his taut stomach and disappeared beneath half-open pants.
"Will you stop gawking at me and say something." His eyes narrowed, and he glanced down. "Oh, for--" He fastened his pants. "The show's over." He walked up to her, grabbed her arm, and escorted her to the door. "Now, if that's all..."
"It's not," she responded, her voice unsteady. She wanted him to leave with her. Not because she cared, of course, but because being here was irresponsible, unsavory, and lots of other things she couldn't put a name to right this second.
She met the intensity in his eyes, and her step faltered. She needed to compose herself. He was only a man, like any other. Well, maybe not like any other.
Frowning, Wade released her arm. "I have plans." He reached out and laced his fingers through her hair. "Unless, of course, you'd care to take Lanelle's place." He leaned forward and brushed her cheek with his. "Stay," he whispered against her ear. "Let me make love to you."
His touch caused her limbs to go weak, but the sound of Lanelle's name sobered her. She stepped back, shoving him away in the same motion. "Love is not what you're interested in."
Wade chuckled. "Well, perhaps."
"We need to leave here and discuss Cal. His actions are irresponsible," she replied, still shaking from his touch, from his words. She clutched her hands together.
He stepped over to the uncovered bed and sat down. "I'm not going anywhere. I've already paid for the room." He leaned back on the plump pillows propped against the carved headboard. "Don't worry so much. Knowing my brother, he probably hasn't even tried to kiss Beth yet. He's shy around girls."
"Oh, right. Just like you, I suppose." She fought the urge to test out the soft-looking bed herself. After years of sleeping on an old, moldy-smelling mattress, the lilac-scented bedding, which she could smell even from where she stood, called out to her. "I don't want her reputation ruined."
Wade grunted. "I'm surprised you haven't taken care of that yourself already."
"What does that mean?"
He simply frowned at her and shook his head.
"You have absolutely no understanding of this, do you?" She raised her hands to her hips. "You let Cal do anything he wants, regardless of the consequences. He needs guidance, to be taught right from wrong."
"He's not a babe." Wade chuckled.
"This isn't funny." Skylar's frustration grew as his grin widened. "You'd better take me seriously or...or--"
"Or what?" He laughed.
Fuming at his mirth, she felt her face grow hot. She was probably red as a beet, but didn't care. She stalked over to the bed. "Stop it! This is a serious problem, and not one bit funny!" She hated being laughed at like she was too stupid to run her own life. All right, maybe she'd been a bit irrational lately, but--
Without warning, Wade grabbed her around the waist and tossed her down on the bed. His smile faded, and a dangerous glint flickered in his eyes. "You're right. This is not funny."
Skylar gasped as she fell back against the mattress. "What are you doing?" she screeched. Wade straddled her, and she flailed her fists at him, striking his arms and chest.
"Quit walloping me." He grabbed her wrists. "Simmer down. I'm not going to hurt you." He pushed her arms above her head.
Like in the woods, she was at his mercy. But this time she felt much more vulnerable. "Get off me!"
He chuckled and tightened his grip. "Just relax. You're all right. And don't worry about my brother. It's more likely you'll ruin Beth's reputation than he will."
"What do you mean?" She quit struggling, and a sense of dread filled her. "Explain that."
"Don't be na?ve. You're smarter than that. You, Beth's sister, are in the whorehouse on a Saturday night, alone in one of the bedrooms with a man. Not a smart place to be." He clicked his tongue. "Doesn't look good. Especially on top of other things I've already heard about you."
"I know." Her voice hitched. She was well aware of what people thought of her. "But this is me, not Beth."
"Does that matter? Guilt by association is the way it works, Skylar."
"Nothing's going on in here. And Beth's never done anything that a young girl shouldn't--until tonight, anyhow."
"It doesn't make a difference, not if Lanelle is weaving an unsavory story to the patrons downstairs. Beth could get caught-up in the gossip. Gossip travels fast, especially in a small town. You know that."
With his muscular thighs pressed so intimately against hers, she had a hard time knowing anything. He grinned down at her, and that darn dimple she found so attractive graced his cheek. She determined not to let it affect her. "Let me up."
"I can't. I want something from you. I need it." Wade's eyes flashed dangerously, and he clamped both her wrists within one of his large hands. He held them against the headboard.
"What are you planning?" When his grin faded, Skylar's heart leapt. He leaned down and began to nuzzle the side of her neck. Hot desire shot through her. His breath against her skin pulled a gasp from her lips, and she tried half-heartedly to twist away. His lips traced a slow path up her neck to her ear. Wade sucked her earlobe into his mouth, and another rush of desire speared her. She'd never felt such wild sensations in her life. "Please."
With his tongue, he traced the inner rim of her ear. "Please, what?" he drawled. "Tell me, Skylar."
The deep timbre of his voice, when he said her name, caused her whole body to tremble. His masculine smell, the lilac-scented bedding, and the faint scent of rum in the room filled her senses. He feathered kisses down her neck and thoughts of escape fled. Wade's hand glided to the buttons of her shirt, and he began opening them one by one. She closed her eyes and moaned. "Wade."
"Shh," he murmured in her ear. "Isdz?nh?? ko'."
What? Was that Indian? Her curiosity fled when he pushed open her shirt and pressed his mouth against the rise of her breasts. "Mmm." The pull of her chemise ties, being unlaced by his strong hand, tugged at her emotions and churned her feelings into waves of chaos.
He pushed aside the front of her undergarment. "Skylar...your breasts are beautiful." He brushed his mouth across the exposed flesh.
She mewled and arched against his lips. She knew allowing him such an intimacy was wrong, but she couldn't muster a protest.