Excerpt: Pride

Excerpt: Pride

Book 1: In Wilde Country

He held out the notepad.

She took it from him.

Their fingers brushed and sexual awareness became almost a palpable presence. He knew that she’d felt it, knew it by the way her eyes widened, by the way she caught her breath.

His heart thudded.

Hers had to be thudding, too. He could see the sudden leap of her pulse in the hollow of her throat.

Their eyes met. Held. Then she took another breath and looked at the seven figures he’d scribbled.

“I’ve done a little Googling,” she said. “This is probably accurate.”

“Yes. It probably is.” Her hand was still holding one edge of the notebook. His hand held the other. Once again, the tips of their fingers brushed. This time, he could damn near feel the sizzle. “Cheyenne.” She looked up. Her eyes were more than blue. They were almost midnight black. “This is not about facts or figures or numbers,” he said, in a voice so raw and low he barely recognized it as his own.

The notebook tumbled to the floor.

Luca caught her hand, brought it to his mouth. His lips closed on her fingers; he sucked them into the heat of his mouth and she made a sound that brought him fully, almost painfully erect. Then he let go of her hand and reached for the handle of his door.

“What are you doing?”

“I’m going to drive,” he said. “There’s got to be an inn or a motel nearby.”

“There’s a motel a couple of miles ahead, just before the next town.” Cheyenne reached for the ignition key. “We can be there in five minutes.” The tip of her tongue swept over her bottom lip. “Two minutes. I’ll drive fast,” she said, and laughed.

“No,” Luca said. “I’ll drive.”

She ignored him. Instead, she checked the mirror, then pulled back onto the road.


Why did he care which of them drove?

It didn’t matter.

The hell it didn’t.

It mattered, just as it mattered when they pulled into the motel parking lot and she walked ahead of him toward the door marked Office.

“Wait a minute,” Luca growled. She kept moving. He caught up to her, grabbed her wrist and spun her toward him. “I’ll get us a room.”


She said it in a way that made him feel as if he’d just suggested something stupid and she’d been generous enough to acquiesce.

It infuriated him—but not enough to keep him from dragging her into his arms, right there in a very public place, and claiming her mouth with his.

It was a kiss made up of heat and passion, teeth and tongues. He was on fire when it started and by the time it ended, he was blazing like the prior night’s Fourth of July fireworks.

He let go of her, taking some small satisfaction in the way she looked, her face all flushed, her eyes bright and glittery, her lips parted and trembling. He leaned in, kissed her again, nipped her bottom lip. Then he strode to the office.

He was back a minute later, a key in his hand.

He took her elbow, led her to an outside staircase, down a corridor and to a door. The room was clean, but that was all you could say for it. There was no charm to it, nothing attractive or handsome.

It almost stopped him.

He had not taken a woman to a place like this since he was eighteen.

But when he turned to face Cheyenne, he saw that she had already shut the door.

Toed off her boots.

Pulled her T-shirt over her head.

She was wearing a bra, but it was sheer. Her breasts, her nipples, were clearly visible.

She reached for the clasp on her jeans. He caught her hands and stilled them.

“I just realized… I don’t have a condom.”

“I’m on the pill.”

She undid her jeans. Shimmied them down her legs. He wanted to tell her to slow down, that he would undress her, that he would set the pace, but seconds later she was naked.

And he was burning to possess her.