Mouse over the cover to see
the hero, Coleton Lonetree
Cajun Hot Press
[formerly published as: SIM #1080, May 2001]
#16 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
Winner of the 2002 Dorothy Parker Award
#6 on WaldenBooks Bestseller List
He’s a stranger living in two worlds…
In the space of twenty-four incredible hours, Katarina ‘Rini’ Herelius finds herself hopelessly in love with an exotic mystery-man with no name or face, and pregnant with his child. More than anything she wants to keep him and her baby, but life has a way of playing the cruelest tricks…
She’s the bridge that makes him whole…
The last thing in the world Coleton Lonetree expects to find at the Cardinal Ranch Powwow is the love of his life. But when he takes the guilelessly sensual tourist woman into his arms and kisses her, he knows she is exactly what has been missing from his empty existence. He is determined to make her his for all time, and stakes his claim in the most elemental of ways.
“You’ve got these fasteners wrong.”
She frowned and took the pad from him. “Let me see.” She compared the drawing to the tepee’s door and saw he was right. She pushed a damp lock off her forehead. Mercy, it was getting awfully warm in there.
He strolled to the door, pulled the flaps together and began lacing two long leather strips around the bone fasteners sewn along the edges. He shot her a sultry glance. “The view might be better when the door’s properly closed.”
Her heart skipped a beat.
In a few seconds it was laced up tight as a sneaker before a marathon. “See how it works? Now it’s impossible to get in from the outside.”
He sat on his haunches and slowly looped the ends of the ties through two holes in the door sill, and pulled them tight. He regarded her from behind his painted mask.
“Anything you’d like a closer look at?”
“I, uh…” Oh, lord. Her pulse whipped into double-time.
His brow lifted.
“I, um…” Her gaze slid involuntarily from his sensual lips to his neck, and along the narrow band of naked, bronze flesh running down the entire side of his body to his moccasins. Trying in vain to ignore the thundering of her heart, she bit her lip.
In a fluid movement he rose.
She was painting herself into a corner, and she knew it. But for the life of her, she suddenly couldn’t think of a single reason why she should deflect what was happening between them. She was still raw from David’s rejection. It felt good to flirt with this man, to reconfirm that she was pretty and desirable. And if it went a little further than flirting, well, she was a big girl.
She knew how to say no if she had to.
It was her choice.
He moved behind her and, circling his arms around her, grasped the pad of paper in one hand and with the other guided the pencil in her shaking fingers to correct her mistake. “You just tell me what you’d like a closer look at, and I’ll see what I can do.”
Her head spun and her bones turned to liquid in her body. “I’ve-” She cleared her throat again. “I’ve never done anything like this before,” she murmured, half believing he was still talking about drawing tepees. Her sleeve slipped off her shoulder and she reached to pull it up. “I think I-”
“Don’t think, Fire Eyes.” He caught her hand and brought it down to her side, leaving the sleeve where it was. “Just feel. If it stops feeling good, tell me no.”
She swallowed, forgetting all about tepees, lodges, and everything else except the provocative man who was making her come dangerously unglued. She could feel the erotic hardness of his body press closer into her. His quill chest plate played against her spine, his solid thighs caressed her bottom. His growing arousal nestled provocatively at the small of her back. She closed her eyes. It felt good. Lord above, it felt good all over.
“All right,” she whispered, knowing she shouldn’t.
He slipped the paper and pencil from her fingers, and softly kissed her temple. “Are we done drawing pictures?”