Let me show you the cover.
“You’re right.” He gave her a sensual look. “I feel very blessed right now.” They rode deeper into Falconhead land where the trees were thicker – ancient live oaks and massive pecans whose branches hung low enough to be used as benches or places where small children could climb up and lay down for a nap, warmed by the dappled sunshine. “Look.”
Ryder let her gaze follow his pointing hand and what she saw made her gasp with wonder. Ahead lay a small clearing lit by thousands of tiny white lights that had been strung in the trees. A table and chairs sat in the middle adorned with flowers, a white table cloth and candles. “How beautiful,” Ryder breathed. The closer they came, the more she could see, the table was set with china and dishes covered with silver domes awaited them. All of it looked like a fantasy scene that had jumped right off the pages of a magazine…especially the dark, handsome man who stood there waiting for them.
“Yes, Gideon is waiting for us.”
Everything Ryder thought she knew and understood about what was going on between her and Samson flew out the window. Wasn’t this a date? What was his brother doing here?
“I…don’t understand,” Ryder muttered as Gideon stepped forward to meet them, coming to Ryder with a smile on his face. His dark hair tousled in an I don’t give a shit fashion that he wore so well.
“Hello, Ryder. It’s so good to see you. I’m glad you could join us.”
Ryder looked at Gideon, then back at Samson. “Hello.” Her mind and heart were in turmoil. She shivered with excitement, but that excitement was accompanied by a sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach. Truth slipped from her lips before she could call it back. “I wasn’t expecting to see you here.”
Instead of seeming disturbed, Gideon gave her a heated look, reaching up to lift her from the mare’s back. “You didn’t tell her I’d be joining you, Samson?”
Ryder allowed his hands on her body. Truth be told, she enjoyed his touch. Confused, she looked from one brother to the other. “What’s going on?” She couldn’t fathom their motives. Was this some kind of joke? Were they having fun at her expense? Despite the holdings and wealth her family had accumulated, she wasn’t sophisticated – she was just Ryder. “Are you two making fun of me?”
Samson dismounted and came to stand near to Ryder. She was surrounded by two men who overwhelmed her senses. Each in their own way – one light, one dark – each possessed enough raw male beauty to take her breath away.
His smile had faded and his expression was completely sincere. “We would never make fun of you. You, Ryder McCoy, have captured our complete attention in no way any other woman has in a long, long time.”
“He’s right,” Gideon whispered. “You’ve taken over our dreams, overwhelmed our senses. I’ve been able to think of nothing else.”
“I don’t understand.” Ryder shivered as she felt Samson run his hand beneath her hair, caressing her neck. He wasn’t the only one touching her, however. His brother ran a finger down her arm from elbow to wrist, causing frisson of excitement to rise along the path. “I thought Samson and I were here on a date. And now…” She closed her eyes and swallowed nervously. “Am I supposed to choose?”
Samson chuckled. “No, sweetheart. This isn’t some kind of weird competition between us.”
“No, Ryder, no competition.” Gideon took the same finger he used to caress her arm and lifted her chin so he could look into her eyes. “We share.”
Ryder heard his voice, but she couldn’t process the meaning of his words. “Share?”
“Surrender to us, Ryder,” Samson whispered, his lips branding the sensitive skin of her neck. “We’ll give you more pleasure than you ever knew possible.”
“Just a chance, Ryder,” Gideon murmured as he kissed her palm. “You’ll be the center of our attention, the focus of our passion. There’s nothing we wouldn’t do for you.”
In a haze of confused excitement, Ryder trembled at their touch. “Both of you want me?”
“More than you’ll ever know,” Gideon pressed her small hand between both of his, engulfing it in secure warmth.
Fantasies warred with expectations. Ryder’s heart raced as a wild, raging desire rose within her, trying to override all she believed, all she’d ever held to be true. “I can’t.”
“Oh, yes, you can.” Samson moved in front of her, taking her face in his hands, capturing her mouth with his. Giving her one long kiss after another, only pausing so they could take a breath.
“Don’t kiss me, please.” Her voice didn’t sound convincing as she blindly sought Samson’s mouth again with her own.
“We have to,” Gideon teased in her ear, “look at all the mistletoe.”
“What mistletoe? It isn’t Christmas,” she whimpered, her body on fire, her nipples as hard as river washed pebbles.
“Look up, beautiful, it’s all around us.” Samson pressed his lips to the upper swell of her breast.
In an erotic daze, Ryder lifted her head and saw the hundreds of green clumps hanging from the branches of the oaks like lush decoration. Her action exposed the creamy expanse of her neck and Gideon took advantage, blanketing her from behind. As she gave herself over to Samson Duke’s hunger, his brother’s lips blazed a hot trail across the tender flesh of her shoulder. “You won’t be sorry. We’ll worship your body, fulfil your every fantasy.”
As surely as she could feel their excitement, their hard aroused bodies pressing against her front and back, Ryder could feel her resolve slipping. She wasn’t afraid of these two men, they’d never hurt her, they’d proven that. She was afraid of herself, afraid of what she wanted – of what she couldn’t have.
“No!” Pulling away, she broke apart from them. They didn’t try to stop her, they only stood watching as she backed away, an unspeakable sadness on their faces. “I have to go. I shouldn’t be here. This is wrong. I’m not the type of woman you need.”
“You’re all we need,” Samson beseeched her, holding out his hand. “Let us show you how good it can be.”
“Give us a chance, Ryder.” Gideon stared at her with a hooded intense gaze.
“I wish I…” With a choked sob, Ryder turned and ran from the grove of oak trees, catching the horse’s bridle. Through a haze of tears, she mounted and rode back to the Highlands as if the devil himself were on her heels.
She saw nothing she passed – not Jaxson leading a breed bull by a bridle, not Tennessee driving a huge tractor from the hayfield – Ryder was intent only on reaching the house and the sanctuary of her room.
Entering the barn, she gave an apologetic glance at one of the ranch hands. “Would you make sure this horse is tended and returned to Falconhead, Hanse. I don’t feel well.”
“Of course, Miss Ryder.”
Without looking back, Ryder ran across the yard, barely glancing at the rose garden she and her sister lovingly tended in their mother’s memory. She only hoped Pepper wasn’t home. At the moment what she needed most was to be alone with her thoughts.
Flinging open the door to her suite, she flung herself on the bed and let the tide of despair wash over her.
Ryder felt like her heart was being torn in two. How could they do this to her? She didn’t know what to think. “I can’t choose. Don’t make me choose.”
The tormented whisper echoed in the empty room, and even as she said the words, she didn’t really know what they meant.
Was she talking about choosing between Samson and Gideon?
Her feelings for both men were so far beyond anything she’d ever felt or imagined feeling for a man that denying them was impossible.
Or was she talking about choosing between what she wanted more than air…and her family?
There was no question…a decision like she was tempted beyond measure to make would crumble the very foundation of the McCoy clan. Her brothers would never understand and the impact on her father could be deadly.
“I don’t know what to do.” Ryder sobbed into her pillow, realizing her happiness might come with a price tag higher than she was willing to pay.
And remember – this one is up on preorder now!
Oak Hill Plantation - 1816
“I don’t understand.” Jolie held her bare arm next to Charlotte’s. They lay on the floor of the attic basking in a bright beam of sunlight. “My skin isn’t any darker than yours.”
They compared their little arms. They did look the same, small, still baby round. The only difference they could see was that Charlotte had a smattering of reddish freckles where Jolie had only one or two darker freckles. “Mama called them beauty spots, Grandmere called them moles.” She wrinkled her nose and let her finger trace over her skin. “I’m not sure why, moles are those blind little creatures that live in the dirt.
“Yea, I don’t understand either. You look okay to me. I’m not sure why mother says you’re different but you are, I guess.” She raised up on her elbows. “Do you feel different?”
Jolie rolled to her back. “No, I feel like me. Abraham was darker, his skin looked like the fine obsidian stone that Grandmere used to wear for protection. She said it came from a volcano that stood right behind her home on Martinique. But when we would catch our skin on bramble bushes, the color of our blood was exactly the same.” She rolled over to gaze at Charlotte. “What does that mean? How can we be different if we’re all the same on the inside?”
Charlotte sighed. “I don’t know, Jolie. I don’t understand a lot of things. Like ciphering. I hate numbers. And I don’t want to learn how to speak French.” A sudden smile lit up her face. “Was your grandmother a witch?”
“No!” Jolie made a face. “She had a broom, but she didn’t ride it. She just swept with it and would wallop me on the behind with it when I acted ugly.”
Charlotte giggled. “I wish you could come to Sophia’s birthday party with me.” She captured her cousin’s hand in her own.
“Me too.” Jolie stared at the ceiling. “Grandmother Dora says I’m a shame and a disgrace. I’ve tried to be better. I stand up straight and I don’t talk back. I haven’t played in the dirt all week.”
Charlotte sat up, placing her hands on her knees. “When we grow up, Jolie. We’ll go to parties all the time. We’ll have them right here at Oak Hill.” She spread her arms wide. “Grand parties and we’ll wear beautiful clothes and fine gentleman will come to call on us.”
Jolie giggled. “Do you think we’ll ever get married?”
“Oh, yes.” Charlotte put her hand under her chin and batted her eyes.
“My mama and papa weren’t married. He loved her, though.” Jolie was certain of this. Although, the thought did bother her.
“Charlotte! Charlotte! Come downstairs this instant. It’s time for you to get dressed!”
Charlotte and Jolie stood, dusting off their dresses. They could hear Lisette ascending the narrow staircase. “Jolie, are you up here?”
“I want you to get downstairs and stay in the kitchen. Help Cook get ready for dinner and don’t come into the parlor under any circumstance. Do you hear me?” By the time she finished her speech, Lisette was standing on the top step looking Jolie hard in the eye. “Charlotte, did you finish your lessons?”
“Yes, ma’am. Mr. Cryer said I did a fine job. Why doesn’t Jolie have to take lessons?”
“Jolie doesn’t get to take lessons. Why would we waste the money?”
Jolie bowed her head. She didn’t like to be the topic of conversation. “I don’t mind. I’ve already completed the level that Charlotte is working on.”
This bit of information didn’t seem to make Lisette happy. “You have no need for an education!”
Jolie didn’t argue, she didn’t know if she did or not. All she knew was that she missed her family. Her real family. The relatives she lived with now didn’t make her feel welcome. As she made her way slowly down the stairs, keeping out of Aunt Lisette’s way, Jolie wondered if she’d ever feel like she belonged anywhere again.
The buy link for the preorder is: myBook.to/Godsend
As you can see, I have a lot to do! Have a good week.