“Turbulent Passions” by Anne Rainey
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Genre: Contemporary Romance, Red Hots!
Publication Date: April 7, 2009
Cover art by Scott Carpenter
Love. Is it blind luck? Or just a lump on the head?
Sapphire Demas and her twin brother have a secret. Since the awful day their parents were killed, they’ve been in hiding, fearful the same fate will befall them. Now she’s grown tired of living a half-life, tired of lying. She wants something just for herself. When she stumbles across an unconscious man while hiking through the woods and brings him home to heal, she knows she’s found it. Even if he’s a dangerous outsider.
Investigative journalist Adam Richton trusts only one thing—his nose for news. He’s never failed to get a story and doesn’t intend to start now. Until a beautiful and mysterious woman rescues him. In an instant, he forgets all about his career. Now all he wants is Sapphire, any way he can get her.
Then he witnesses something extraordinary that puts his reporter instincts back on full alert. Something that exposes Sapphire’s secrets, challenges him to believe the unbelievable…and to trust in something way out of his comfort zone: love.
Warning: This title contains hot, steamy, explicit sex. Oral sex. Sex in public places. And sex using scarves and other naughty things.
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Do you own all this?”
He still had no idea who or where he was, but he was certain of one thing. He was loath to be rid of the hot brunette with the rhythmic accent, offering him chicken noodle soup and bread that smelled as if she’d baked it fresh.
“No, my brother and I own it together,” she said, setting a plate of sliced bread on the table. When she turned around to grab the iced tea she’d poured, he got a good view of her backside. The flirty sundress she wore couldn’t conceal curves as lush as hers. Sweet. As she moved toward the table with their drinks, her explanation continued. “After our parents died in a car accident five years ago, Aries found this two hundred acre plot for sale. He had the main house built, and we moved here shortly after. This smaller house wasn’t built until a little later, after I convinced Aries I needed my own space.”
You aren’t married?” He held his breath, unsure why it mattered. She was a stranger. Hell, for all he knew she was the reason he had an egg-sized lump on the back of his skull.
She stopped dishing up the soup and stared at him as if he’d gone mad.
“Did I say something wrong?” Jesus, she was probably a widow or something.
“No, of course not. It’s just… I’m not married.”
There was more to that story, he was certain of it. He’d eventually get it out of her, too. That’s what he did, expose the secrets behind the faces of the people he met. His body went still at the sudden knowledge. It was a clue. Already he was remembering things.
“Are you okay?” she asked.
“You went very pale. Is your injury bothering you?”
He shook himself back to reality. “Not really. A flash of a memory. Startled me some.”
She smiled and it lit up the room. Damn, she was a true beauty. Her dark brown hair hung low, swinging just above her ass in bouncy little ringlets. He’d been dying to touch it, to find out if it was as soft and silky as it looked. Her body had been like a breath of fresh air, all smooth curves, with just the right amount of creamy flesh to give a man something to play with and hang on to. He’d always hated women who were too thin. He liked something to unveil. Something to make his time worthwhile. And Sapphire was surely worthwhile. Her sweet body practically had him salivating. Her sexy, almond-shaped blue eyes had the power to mesmerize a man. A tempting siren, and he’d landed right in her lap.
But what the hell was she doing sequestered away like a friggin’ nun? The two-storey white house was large enough for a family, but still small enough to be cozy. He liked the way she’d decorated, too. A large rectangular table made of pine was the center point of the kitchen. There was a matching hutch, filled with what appeared to be very expensive china, along one wall, and not a lot else. She liked it uncluttered, it seemed. He wondered if the rest of the house held the same type of pine furniture. It had surprised him to note that the place was wired with one hell of a security system, too. Apparently, her brother was the protective sort.
She placed two steaming bowls on the table and said, “You’ll regain your memories soon. You have a strong mind.”
“And you know this how?”
His question appeared to take her by surprise, though she recovered quickly. “You just don’t seem the weak type, I guess.”
“Uh, thanks.” He wasn’t sure what to make of her, and his head hurt too damn bad to think it to death.
“You’re welcome.” She sat at the table and started eating her soup. His stomach growled, so he followed suit. They were both quiet while they ate.
After they’d devoured most of their soup and several slices of the bread, he sat back and watched her dab a pink napkin over her lips. Every movement she made was delicate and refined. When she finished, she stood and began clearing away their dirty dishes. He pushed his own chair back and came to his feet.
“You wash, I’ll dry.”
She looked at him from head to toe. “You should take a hot shower.”
“Later, after the kitchen’s cleaned up.”
Sapphire placed her hands on her hips. “No. I think you should shower and rest. You obviously shouldn’t sleep yet, but lying down couldn’t hurt. We still aren’t certain what happened to you. It could be that your body suffered quite a trauma. It’s already after six o’clock and, for all we know, you could’ve been lying on that ground all day.”
He wanted to laugh. It seemed downright ridiculous to have her standing up to him. She was maybe five-two, while he was six-foot and outweighed her by a hundred pounds, easy.
“You said yourself I could have a concussion. I should stay with you so you can keep an eye on me.”
She squinted at him, as if trying to see if he was playing her. Finally, she shrugged. “Fine, but if you pass out and hit your head again, I won’t be at fault.”
He chuckled at her disgruntled tone. “Duly noted, ma’am.”
“Sapphire, please.” She wrinkled her nose. “Ma’am sounds old.”
“And you sure as hell aren’t old,” he growled.
“No, I’m twenty-four.”
“If I knew my age I’d share, but…”
“Do you have a wallet or something that might help us find out who you are?”
He hadn’t even thought to check. He reached around to his back pocket, but nothing was there. He shook his head.
“Soon enough,” Sapphire reassured him.
He hoped. It was damned strange not knowing anything about his life, least of all his age. He held up his hands and saw no ring. Thank God for small favors.
As they worked on cleaning the dishes, he glanced at the clock on the microwave. Six-thirty in the evening. How long had he been in those woods? How had he even gotten there? More importantly, where the hell was he?
“You’re in Waverly, Ohio.”
A prickling sensation traveled the length of his spine. “I didn’t ask.”
The bowl she’d been washing slipped out of her grasp. It hit the edge of the counter, broke into several large, jagged pieces and landed at their feet. She gasped, and they both looked down. Blood oozed from a cut on the side of her left arch.
“Hold still, sweetheart,” he murmured, as he swung her into his arms. He strode across the kitchen and set her carefully in a chair. She was biting her lip and frowning at her foot. He hoped she wasn’t one of those women who passed out at the sight of blood.
“May I look at it?”
She nodded, and he gently pushed her long dress out of the way and held her supple calf in his palm, inspecting her injury. “Hmm, I think it might need to be amputated.”
Her eyes shot wide. He winked, and a sweet blush stole over her cheeks as she realized he was only teasing her.
“You must think I’m quite a baby, flinching at a minor scrape when you’re so battered.”
“Not a baby. Tender, gentle, yes.” He leaned forward and kissed the side of her foot, right over the cut. “Such soft skin.”
Her breathless, one word reply went straight to his groin. Damn, the woman had the power to drive grown men to their knees.
He rose, went to the sink and ripped a paper towel off its roll. After he wet it and squeezed out the excess water, he went back to her and dabbed at the cut. The bleeding had already stopped. When he had all the blood cleared away, he stood again.
“Sit still while I tidy up.” She started to protest, but he rode right over her. “You took me in and gave me the best meal I’ve had in…well, to be honest I can’t remember, but it was damned good. The least I can do is clean.”
Her expression changed and her gaze darted to the front window.
Her alarm was enough for him to wish he had a weapon of some kind. “What is it?”
That blue-eyed gaze shot to his face, and he could see real fear. “You can’t be here. My brother’s coming. You need to hide.”
“Hide? Are you serious?”
“You’re a man. He wouldn’t approve.”
Her attitude rubbed him wrong. Unsure if it was male pride or something more, he ground out, “You’re a grown woman. You don’t need his approval, Sapphire.”
“Please, he’ll make you leave, and I don’t wish that.”
Now they were getting somewhere.