“I can be quite persuasive when I choose,” Emma said.
“So can I.”
Without hesitation, Rye pulled her close and kissed her.
Emma found her head swimming as Rye kissed her. She clutched his shoulders to keep from swooning.
And gave in to the kiss.
Her heart drummed wildly as his hands cupped her face before sliding down her neck to her shoulders. She’d never been kissed like this. But what Rye Callahan was doing to her was delicious.
His lips brushed slowly against hers, lingering, playfully nipping along her bottom lip. A tingling traveled through her like lightning as his tongue eased open her mouth and sought refuge inside hers. He stroked her tongue with his in a dance that showed no hesitation. She quickly learned its moves and answered his call with one of her own. He responded, pulling her close, so close she felt the hammering of his heart.
The kiss deepened, quickly sparking like dry embers, exploding into heat and fire and need. Emma clung to Rye as if she were a ship tossed about in a perfect storm on a wild ride at sea. Instead of fighting against it, she went with the flow, ripples of desire coursing through her. She felt protected and yet challenged, giving and receiving, caught up in a maelstrom of need and want.
Then the beating waves stopped abruptly when he tore his mouth from hers.
She stared into golden eyes that simmered with a passion which stirred a deep longing within her.
“My utmost apologies, Miss Bradford.” He released her and took a step back.
“Why did you kiss me if you were only going to apologize?” she asked, seeing his eyes darken. “Or do you operate under the lesson a spoiled child learns, that it’s better to act first and seek forgiveness afterward?”
Emma watched the blush rise on the chiseled planes of his cheeks and stifled a laugh. She was recovering from the unexpected experience rapidly—and trying to provoke him into kissing her again.
*Excerpt coming soon!
*Excerpt coming soon!
“You used me!”
Jenny stood in the doorway, her eyes full of fire. She stalked over and slapped Noah hard.
“How dare you pretend to be some consumptive cowpoke that happened to be headed this way!”
Noah had known this moment would come, had played it out in his mind a thousand times.
“You took advantage of me! You are a disgusting, low-down, sorry excuse for a man.”
“No. Don’t. Nothing you can ever say to me will change anything between us. Do you understand? I don’t have to listen to you. You don’t own me.”
But Jenny did own him, heart and soul. Noah’s insides cracked with every word she hurled at him. He’d never hurt so much in his entire life. He wanted to cry out that he loved her, that what had passed between them meant more to him than she’d ever know. That it didn’t matter about Sam or Pete.
She was right. He was despicable. Bad to the bone. He didn’t deserve her. So he held his tongue.
Noah let her rage on for a few minutes. She was all red in the face as she spewed her venom. He knew it would soon be over and she’d be spent. He wanted to walk away but he savored the last looks he had of her. It would carry him through the rough times that lay ahead.
Finally, he couldn’t help it. Her words wounded him more than he thought possible. He wanted to strike out at her, hurt her as she did him.
“You know,” he drawled, “Sam’s biggest crime wasn’t stealing all that money. His biggest crime was abandoning you.”
Noah knew he’d cut her to the quick. Her face crumpled. Her shoulders sagged. Hot tears poured from her eyes and ran down her cheeks, dropping onto her bodice.
“I can’t wait to get back east. Where people treat each other with decency and respect.”
“Then go, why don’t you?”
“I’ll be happy to, Mr. Webster.” She hollered one last remark at him. “Just go to Hell, Noah Webster. Straight to the Devil, why don’t you?”
“I’m already there.”