Guess what came out yesterday? The third book in my Southern Nights series, TAKE ME. I can’t tell you how excited I am to see this book get into readers’ hands. It ended up being a whopping 100,000 words, but when you have two alpha heroes that don’t want to give up center stage, well, that takes some time to tell. 😉
I’ve got an exclusive excerpt for you tonight, but first, be sure and grab your copy of TAKE ME this week before the introductory price of $1.99 ends Friday. TAKE ME is available at all major retailers:
One more thing! I’m running a contest this week to celebrate TAKE ME’s release. One lucky reader will win a $20 Amazon gift card and a complete print set of the Southern Nights trilogy. Wow! Be sure to hop over to the contest and enter to win. I can’t wait to hand this great prize over to one lucky reader!
And now, for your exclusive excerpt from TAKE ME. Enjoy!
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The creak of the stairs echoed his uneasiness as he climbed to the second floor. As open as the first, it would easily transform into a secondary dining room or banquet area. At the moment, however, it was serving as storage. He could hear Peyton rummaging through something around the corner from a huge cabinet that blocked his view. Stealing himself against the chaos racing through his brain, he stepped into the room.
And stood there, dumbfounded all over again, barely resisting the urge to glare down at his crotch with a what the fuck are you thinking? It seemed nothing had changed—if he was in Peyton’s presence, he was hard and hurting; that’s all there was to it.
“You look just the way I remember you,” he finally said.
Peyton muttered something that sounded like “At least you remember,” but he couldn’t be sure. When the silence threatened to crack his teeth, he was gritting them so hard, he tried again. “Looks like the place needs work. When you planning to open?”
Stiff spine, no more muttering, but the box she was kneeling beside was getting a cavity search like nobody’s business. Gabe switched to his don’t-fuck-with-me cop tone. “What are you doing here, Peyton?”
Peyton didn’t even flinch. This was definitely not the girl he’d known in Memphis. “That much should be obvious,” she said. Metal clinked a sharp accompaniment to her words.
“In Claywater?” He stepped forward carefully, fighting the instinct to pick her up and shake her. She always had ripped his control to tiny fucking shreds. “Why here? Why now? You’re a long way from Memphis, baby.”
Now that got a reaction. Peyton shot up and around, her expression and her tone both dripping venom. “Don’t you ever call me that again.” She sucked in a deep breath, and he could almost hear the rattle of emotion in her chest. What was it? Anger, certainly, but then what—pain, like him? Disgust? At him or herself? Because unless he missed his guess, there was hunger in the mix, a hunger that matched his own.
“I don’t have to explain anything to you, Gabe. You lost that right a long time ago, if you ever had it to begin with, so don’t bother questioning me. I have as much right to be here as anyone else.”
“Stalking me, baby?” This time he used the word deliberately. The need in his gut felt like a bomb just waiting for the fuse to burn down. He had to find out why she was here and then get out before it was too late.
The raspberry Peyton blew filled the air between them with her scorn. “Sure, I’m following you. Right. Like I knew where you lived after you walked out on me without so much as a good-bye note.” Her body tightened, her face going blank of all emotion, all reaction, and her control—such a sharp contrast to the way he felt right now—shook him to the core. She jerked her head in a terse negative. “No, Gabe. This is my place. It’s time for you to leave.” A tiny smile curled the corner of her mouth. “Again.”
Too late had been reached. His body responded to her challenge without thought, without restraint. He stalked her, silent and deadly, his muscles readying for battle—and looking forward to every minute of it, if his erection was any indication. Each step had Peyton backing away in equal measure, although she didn’t give him the satisfaction of fear. Or words. Only the movement of her body spoke.
He refused to listen. He needed her more than his next breath. Before he knew it, she was against the brick wall with his chest brushing the tight tips of her breasts. The feel of her shot a staggering strike of hunger through his every nerve ending.
Her eyes met his. Defiance stared back at him, a promise of retribution, but she didn’t move away. Didn’t say no. Her body was rigid; her pupils were dilated. Anger and lust. Hurt and hunger. They both knew how good it would feel, and God knew they both needed the release. When the scent of her warm arousal hit his nose, the lure broke through what little discipline he had left.
He crowded closer, pressing her full curves into the brick, imprinting the feel of her body on his. With a rough hand digging into her hair, he held her still for his possession. Her lips parted, a cry escaping—of passion or denial, he wasn’t sure which—and then his tongue was in her mouth and he was swallowing any sounds she dared to make.
He tilted his head, moved in deep. He didn’t look at her eyes again, couldn’t, didn’t want to know if she needed this as much as he did. He wouldn’t let anything come between her and his need to taste, even her lack of consent. He wanted her in his mouth, the taste of woman in his throat, and by God, he would have her one way or another. A moan broke through the constriction in his chest, passing into her. He was tasting heaven, a heaven he hadn’t known for so many years he’d thought he was finally dead inside, but with one kiss Peyton had woken him again. That was what he felt: alive. When his steely erection found the soft mound between her legs, he knew it was true. He was alive.
Peyton’s hands hit the hollows beneath his collarbone at the same time her knee found the inside of his thigh. The shock of the blows knocked him back more than the force, but the hard slap she followed up with rocked him back on his heels.
His face was on fire. He wanted to bend over, check to make sure his balls were intact—at least until they turned blue, since it was obvious neither one of them was getting what they wanted—but he didn’t dare, not with the vicious she-cat unleashing her claws. Ignoring the brutal pounding of his cock and his jaw, he turned to face her.
Peyton was between him and the stairs. Smart woman.
“How dare you?”
“How dare I what, Pey? Kiss you? I’ve done a lot more than that, so don’t go all ‘violated maiden’ on me. We both know exactly how long ago that boat sailed.”
Peyton jerked, the blood draining from her face so fast she went white as her shirt. An apology rushed to the tip of his tongue—
Peyton got there first. “I hate you.”
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