ARC-a-thon day 2, Deadlock excerpt
I love getting to show off shiny new things. And it’s even cooler that this is from a simply awesome series- if you haven’t experienced the Southern Arcana world yet, you need get going! Here’s a taste…
Abandoned by her wolf shifter father and raised by her human psychic mother, Carmen Mendoza can’t deny she’s different. She craves things most women shy away from–and she has a trail of shapeshifting ex-boyfriends to prove it.
Working at a clinic for supernatural creatures, she’s escaped the notice of her father’s legacy-obsessed family. Until they need a pawn in their bid for power. Snared by a vicious spell designed to wake her inner wolf, Carmen’s only hope is to trust the one man strong enough to soothe her darkest instincts.
Alec Jacobson was once the heir apparent to the wolves’ ruling elite, until he walked away to marry the woman he loved. She paid with her life. He lives as a rebel, a black-sheep alpha who protects the supernatural residents of New Orleans from the wolves’ barbaric class system. Too bad he can’t protect himself from his need for Carmen.
Yet staking his claim on his enemy’s niece will turn his city into a battleground. Unless he can find a way to stop breaking the rules–and start making them.
Warning: This book contains a renegade alpha wolf, a smart empathic doctor, very dirty sex with psychic safe-words, the occasional dominance game in and out of the bedroom, and a group of supernatural citizens ready to take on the corrupt leaders of their world.
Carmen slowed and spun, walking backwards. “How long have you lived here?”
“This house?” He slowed too, to a casual amble. “Bought it…oh, nine or ten years back.”
“And do you do this often?”
“Run? Or chase women through the woods?”
“That’s chivalrous of you, to keep pretending you’re the one doing the chasing here.”
One eyebrow quirked up. “You’re right. If I were really chasing you, you’d be under me already.”
“Now there’s a thought.” She had to get used to the blatant, idle flirtation. She couldn’t get aroused every time he said something like that, or she’d be perpetually horny—and frustrated. “I meant your obvious role as protector and mentor. Do you have a lot of new wolves beating down your door?”
“A few,” he acknowledged with that infuriating little smile. “Someone has to take care of them, and I’m good at it.”
And he needed it. She might never hear the admission from his lips, but she felt it plainly. “Thank you.”
“You’re welcome. You’re going to trip and break your neck if you keep walking backwards on this path.”
She stopped. “I was trying not to be rude.”
He jerked his chin toward the path. “Quarter mile, maybe a little more. There’s a nice clearing. I’ll give you a ten-second head start.”
The predatory glint in his eyes stole her breath and kicked her heart rate into high gear. “Head start for what?”
“Before I chase you. For real.”
She had to be crazy to consider it, even if the thought made her body buzz. “And then what? More dirty talk because you can’t sleep with me, but you can sure the hell torture me with your eyes and muscles and ridiculously hot voice?”
He actually laughed. “Can’t do much to fix any of that. I could back off, I guess, but you’re not going to like that much better.”
“No, I suppose I wouldn’t.” She didn’t feel like a crazed animal, but she’d never been quite so moved by feral instinct, either. “Go easy on me, would you?”
Pacing herself wasn’t a problem, not if it was only a quarter of a mile, so Carmen ran hard, pushing herself almost at a sprint. Soon, the near-echo of trampled brush drifted from behind her, and she smiled through her panting.
He let her get three long strides into the clearing before he tackled her, somehow twisting their bodies as they fell so she sprawled across his chest. His low, delighted laughter curled around her, warm as the arms that circled her waist. “Easy as I get.”
Too easy. Too intimate. She wiggled out of his arms and landed on the ground beside him. “You smile like you’re not used to it, did you know that?”
Laughter died, and he twisted his head to stare at her. “It’s been a while. Only other person willing to poke at me until I laugh is Kat. I always figured she did it because she knows I’m not going to kill her, even if I’m glaring like I want to. An empathy thing.”
“Maybe.” She wanted to reassure him with her touch, but she thrummed with a sexual awareness he could surely sense. “Is everyone else so careful with you because they’re scared?”
“Some of them are.” He slid his fingers over hers, his hand a heavy weight. “What do you feel? Beneath the sex, what does my power feel like?”
Dominant. Implacable. “You’re strong, and you’re intense.” All things so wound up in her attraction to him that there could be no separation.
“And I’m a little crazy. Or I act that way enough that everyone thinks it’s true. Better if most of the scary people in town are wary of pissing me off.”
“Makes sense.” His hand was huge, warm and a bit rough. She wanted to feel it on her body, sliding down her back and curling around her hip to hold her still for a hard, demanding thrust.
The mental image formed so quickly that all she could do was bite her lip as she blinked and willed it away.
His fingers tightened around hers. “I hate not knowing what to do. If I’ll hurt you more leaving you alone, or by giving you what you crave. I don’t want to hurt you at all. Do you have any fucking idea how long it’s been since I didn’t know what to do?”
“You’re too hard on yourself,” she admonished. “It isn’t your job to keep me from hurting, and no one knows everything all the time.”
“It’s my job to keep from hurting you.” He lifted his hand and hers with it, sliding it up until they pressed into the grass over her head. Then he released her and rolled to his side, propped up on his elbow so the bulk of his body loomed above her. “It’s all a damn excuse. It’s my job, and I’d be doing it anyway…but that’s not why I’m doing it now.”
It was the most nonsensical thing she’d heard in a while. “Are you saying you want to protect me?”
“I’m saying I want to protect you.” His free hand landed on her stomach, skimming up to skip over her breasts and land on her collarbone. “You’re not scared of me. Even when I’m acting crazy.”
“Because you’re not crazy.” She caught his hand and held it still. “Don’t do this just because you think I need it. It’s not worth it.”
His eyes looked so dark they might as well have been black. “Honey, I thought you were an empath.”
“You know what I mean. If you still think I’m not in my right mind, the guilt would kill you, and I only want you to feel good about this.”
He considered that for a moment, then guided her other hand up above her head. “I’m going to kiss you. Deep. Hard. You okay with that?”
He’d urged her into a position of submission—both hands over her head, her body stretched out beneath his—and it made her shake with anticipation. “More than okay.”
“You want me to stop, you say stop.” One hand curled around both of her wrists, gentle but unyielding. “You want more, ask for it. Okay?”
Carmen pulled against his grasp, not to free herself but to test his strength. He held tight, her eyes fluttered shut under a wave of need. “Yes.”
His free hand settled at her hip in a possessive grip. Power built in the space between them, a slow, steady rise that mirrored the dark heat in his eyes as he lowered his mouth, lips barely touching hers. “Let me in.”
The command released something inside her, a tension she hadn’t noticed before he eased it, and she closed her eyes again. Honesty was one thing, even a kiss…
Don’t think, Carmen. Feel.
She obeyed, loosening her tight hold on control, gasping when the first waves of empathic feedback echoed off him to heat her own body.
His beard scraped her chin as he closed the distance between them with a shuddering groan. He kissed the way she’d seen him live, reckless arrogance and power and an intensity that bordered on intimidating. Lips and teeth and his tongue stroking her mouth until she parted her lips, then surging forward to taste and take, his hunger and satisfaction twisting between them on the threads of her empathy.
She wasn’t prepared for the depth of her reaction to his satisfaction. Beyond the undeniable physical pleasure of the kiss was a whole world of intimacy, a power she’d flirted with but never really embraced.
She could give him everything.
More, he’d take it. There could be no doubt of that, not with his desires laid bare before her, the hot need for her pleasure dwarfed by the steely craving to be the only one who provided it. Nothing tentative there. Nothing tentative about the way he teased his tongue against hers, his pleasure spiking every time she moaned and arched closer.
It had to stop, even if depriving herself of his touch drove her mad. Carmen turned her head to break the kiss. “Oh God.”
Wasn’t that good? :D Take a look around the blog, write yourself a note to come back tomorrow, and then pop over to Moira Roger’s blog for a chance to win an ARC of my November 30th release, Falling, Freestyle.
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