Saturday, January 29, 2011
New Release: Half Hearts by Sherri Desbois
A promise broken
Losing her family at a young age, and then broken promises from the man she’d loved all her life, Charlie McCarty rarely allows anyone to get close to her. Resolved to live her life without love and determined to become a top-notch Veterinarian, she begins her residency in Redfield. Fate, however, has a way of stepping in to change even the most obstinate set plans and forces Charlie to face her past, push the boundaries of her control and her heart to the brink of destruction.
A passion fueled desire
It started out as a celebration, a chance for Charlie to let her hair down and just let go of her firm control for just one evening, but meeting a sexy as hell cowboy—and his familiar best friend—ambush everything. With relentless determination, both cowboys set out to show her that she is everything they want to complete their lives. Charlie begins to dream, once again, for the future she thought lost to her years ago.
A Journey of the Heart
When a terrifying figure from the past steps into their fragile romance, is their love enough to overcome the horror about to be unleashed or will it leave them with hearts broken in half?
Contains: Multiple partners (M/F/M), anal play, light bondage
Warning: Violence, some brutality and near rape at the hands of a madman.
Charlie looked up at the beautiful blue sky and scowled. It should be raining.
In the movies and on TV, it was always gloomy and raining at a funeral and the characters would cry. At the age of ten, when her parents died, it had been raining and she had been able to cry. Maybe that was why she couldn’t cry today, it wasn’t raining at Grams’ funeral.
Truth be told she hadn’t cried since walking into Grams room two days ago and found her in bed, not breathing, having passed away in the night. Charlie had walked quietly out of her room, into the kitchen, and called the number a hospice nurse had left to inform them that Grams had died. She’d then walked out onto the front porch, wrapped her arms around herself and sat to wait for the ambulance to arrive, unable to cry.
I’m a smart woman. I understand the “normal” grieving process.
First shock, then denial followed by sadness and anger before acceptance. Charlie bypassed the first, went straight to downright pissed off and fuck acceptance.
Looking around at the phony sniffling faces of the few townsfolk who had come to pay their last respects to Ms. Eudora McCarty had Charlie desperate to scream in rage.
Where the hell had these people been when Grams was alive? When first diagnosed with Metastatic Cancer a little over a year prior, not one of them had ever offered a single hand to help Grams.
Not that Charlie ever regretted having to care for Grams, it was the least she could do, since Gram had taken her in when her parents had died. Still, she thought at least one of these people could have offered to sit with Gram while she went to her senior prom, homecoming dance or hell, just one night to hang out at the local malt shop and just be a kid.
She had spent every day of her senior year with Grams and been home-schooled for the last semester of the year when Grams got too weak to get out of bed. Grams had urged her to go out and have fun, to be a kid, but Charlie just hadn’t felt right about leaving her alone.
Over the year, Charlie had learned to control her emotions. She could hide her disappointment, fears and anger. She learned to put on an airy, confident attitude around people and kept it in place right up until Grams died.
Today, however, she was just tired of staying in control. She wanted to scream, to hit something or someone. She refused to think about that someone.
Nope not today. This is about Grams not you!
Agony, as well as longing, bubbled at the surface, tried desperately to take a hold of her heart and shred it again. With a strength that only years of heartache had taught her, she forced it back down deep into the dark recesses of her brain so she could slam the door on and lock it tightly. Only in weak moments like today did it try to sneak past her carefully laid defenses.
She had turned eighteen nearly a year ago, and now she was officially and completely alone. Charlie brought the tissue to her mouth and muffled the sob that worked its way out up past her throat.
Though there were another one hundred thirty days of waiting, she was completely and utterly alone. She knew it in her heart, in her soul, even in her bones. He was to have come for her over two hundred thirty-four days ago, he hadn’t and he never would.
Best not to think about all that right now, Charlie!
The pain of that hurt even worse than the pain of watching Grams being slowly lowered into the cold ground. She hadn’t wanted to leave her, to take away her hugs, smiles and warmth. Grams had fought so hard to stay with her, tried to hide the pain in her eyes as the cancer ravaged her body. She would wrap her arms around Charlie, rock her slowly and comfort her with kisses to her head as she shushed her with soothing words. All the while, she fought for breath and against the pain. Grams had desperately battled to stay with her.
He had chosen to leave her, walked away with the promise to come back for her. He swore he would always be there for her no matter what and that she would never be alone. She didn’t need to sit and wait for the inevitable, to prove that he had lied to her. He had taken her heart then snuck away with it, never to return it.
It was gone, just as cold and dead as Grams was now. Charlie laid her head back against the folding chair, the sound of the coffin lowering still audible over the preacher’s last prayer for the dead. She opened her mouth in a silent scream and felt the first drops of cool rain land on the bridge of her nose.
Tears finally escaped from her eyes, down her face and mingled with the cold rain.
Yes, it rained at funerals.
Five years later
“I can’t believe I let you talk me into coming here.”
She was pouting, Charlie knew it, but didn’t really care at the moment. She hated honkytonks.
She looked around Jack’s Place. It was like all the other cowboy bars she had allowed Rae to force her to. The standard chicken-wire stretched across solid wood beam, closed off the small stage in an attempt to protect the local cover bands from rowdy patrons and wayward longnecks. Sawdust covered a wood plank dance floor that sported couples whirling and twirling in two-step fashion while twangy music blasted from a jukebox in the far corner. The decor did nothing to cover up nor distract from the thick, harsh aroma of stale beer and cigarette smoke, it still assaulted the nose and eyes just the same.
Rolling her eyes at Rae, Charlie continued to pout. “Dammit, Rae, this was supposed to be a celebration for my five years of hard work. Not just another excuse for you to hogtie some poor unsuspecting cowboy.” She stuck her tongue out at her best friend, perturbed.
“Ah c’mon, Charlie, this is about you. What better way to celebrate your success and burn off a little stress than surround yourself by cowboy’s tight asses. If I happen to get a chance to hogtie a sexy cowboy it’s just an added bonus. You know what you need?”
“Oh, do tell.”
“You, my friend, need to get laid.”
Charlie snorted a laugh, nearly choking on her beer. “Ha! If I needed to get laid, which I don’t, the last place on earth I’d look for a date would be one like this.”
Rae lifted an eyebrow at her. How the hell did she do that? Charlie had spent hours in the mirror trying to perfect that look and just couldn’t get it right. It was a look that made the recipients instantly start questioning themselves.
“See, that’s your problem right there. I never said you needed a date, just that you should get laid. What’s it been, like a year? Is that even possible? Honey, what you need is one of these big strong, hot and horny cowboys to work all that tension right out of your system.”
Actually, it had been one year, eleven months and four days--not that she was counting or anything. The image of rope-calloused hands as they stroked up and down her body made Charlie squirm in her chair. She would certainly never admit it to Rae, though.
The idea of having her wicked way with one of these cowboys made her fidget and her stomach tighten. The self-induced celibacy was sometimes even a bit much for her. She had her reasons and knew she had made the right choice not to get involved with anyone physically or otherwise. Dammit, some days were harder than others.
“Besides,” Rae continued. “It would do the locals good to see their new town doctor, her hair down and having some fun.”
“First of all, I’m just an overworked, underpaid resident. I won’t officially be able to call myself a doctor for another two years. Secondly, I don’t really think the “locals” will give a damn whether my hair is up or down when I have my arm shoved up their cow’s asses.”
“Eww,” Rae grimaced, “TMI Charlie, too much information!”
A roar of laughter escaped Rae and Charlie joined her. They laughed until tears rolled down their cheeks and Charlie’s sides ached. They wiped the tears from their eyes as their waitress approached, set down two longneck bottles of beer and two shot glasses that smelled strongly like tequila.
Charlie stared at the waitress through watery eyes. The woman was short, but what she lacked in height, she obviously tried to make up for with the size of her surgically enhanced breasts. They strained against a-size-too-small t-shirt that advertised she got “off” at Jack’s Place. Some might say the coverings she wore across her ass shorts but calling them that would be adding length to the barely there material.
Charlie couldn’t help but wonder how uncomfortable it must be to have to wear such an outfit at home let alone in public. Maybe that was why the woman had a look of disgust in her eyes and a snarl on her bright red lips, though she highly doubted it.
“Compliments of the cowboy at the end of the bar.” the waitress drawled, jerked her head in the direction the bar. She met Charlie’s eyes with a look of pure hatred before she turned and stalked off.
“Jesus, what the hell is her problem?”
“Who cares? Holy shit, Charlie! Turn around and look at the wet dream that just bought us drinks.” Rae murmured. “I think I just came in my panties.”
Charlie picked up her beer and turned toward the bar with every intention of saluting the cowboy with the beer in a gesture of thank you. When her eyes locked on the man standing at the bar, she was too stunned to move.
“Holy shit is right.” Charlie panted.
At the end of the bar stood a curly, dark-haired mountain of a man, a black Stetson pulled down low over his eyes. Olive skin accentuated a strong masculine face with full lips turned up into a sly smile above a strong, square jaw with just a hint of dark stubble.
The man was a God, pure and simple and the look on his face made Charlie realize he knew exactly what effect he had on the opposite sex. Hell, he was gorgeous enough that he probably had the same effect on most of the same sex as well.
Charlie let her eyes travel downward from his handsome face to broad shoulders and thick chest, which tapered beneath a tight white t-shirt to lean narrow hips. His jeans were loose, hung low on his hips and covered tree trunk sized thighs.
Charlie’s eyes took in the sight of him with a deep appreciation as she moved back up the man’s smoking hot body and locked on with those piercing eyes. Her quickened heart rate sped to hummingbird speed and her lungs forgot the need for oxygen as the sexy cowboy’s smile moved from sly to dazzling, then winked in her direction.
Heat rushed through her body like a freight train and heated up every cell of her body, only to merge into one lava hot charge between her thighs.
Turning back to face her friend, Charlie knew the awed, dazed look on Rae’s face was a mirror image of her own. She worked hard to slow down her breathing and squirmed in her seat in an attempt to relieve the ache in her sex.
“Rae?” she whispered.
“Earth to Rae.”
Rae continued to stare in the direction of the bar, never once blinking as if she was under some hypnotized trance until Charlie kicked her shin under the table. “Please tell me I’m not imagining that the sexiest man on the planet is standing against a bar behind me and just bought us a drink.”
Rae jumped with a start, nearly knocked her beer over, and they both burst out laughing at the flushed looks on their respective faces.
“So, what were you saying about not needing to get laid?”
“Well, I do believe that Mr. Yum-Yum might be able to convince me otherwise given the right motivation.”
“Uh huh, might? Riiiight! On that note, I think I’ll head to the little girls room to wring out my panties.”
Charlie watched Rae’s exaggerated hip swings as she swished and swayed her way across to the back of the bar and had to giggle. She had to admit that she was having a good time. Since meeting Rachel “Rae” Lang during her first semester in college, the woman always seemed to know exactly how Charlie was feeling and just what she needed.
Tonight, she so needed this. She just wanted to spend one evening without thinking about school or anything else that caused stress in her life. During the semester, she was able to immerse herself completely in her studies with little time to let the loneliness she felt take up residence in her thoughts.
In between semesters, void of the schedule and the endless hours of researching and studying, were the hardest times for her. Rae was the only person on the planet that seemed to give a damn if Charlie existed or not. At twenty-three years old, she had no family and only one friend. Just how pathetic was that? A twinge of pain hit Charlie as she wondered what the hell she was going to do when Rae finally found the cowboy of her dreams and settled down. What then?
You go back to being lonely and miserable like you have been for the last five years whenever Rae was with her family.
Not really a comforting thought. Charlie sighed, realized the truth of it as she took a sip of her beer.
Feeling a heavy hand land on her shoulder, she nearly jumped out of her skin when a deep, sultry voice whispered in her ear.
“Dance with me.” The soft command sent a hot thrill through her.
Charlie turned and looked up into the most captivating, chocolate brown eyes she had ever seen. Before her brain had a chance to react to the command, her body took over and followed him across the room to the dance floor.
Once engulfed in the sea of dancers, the cowboy pulled her against his rock hard body. His right hand cupped behind her neck and the other settled at the small of her back, his touch seared her skin.
Though the music that blared from the jukebox inspired a two-step hoedown, the mysterious man seemed oblivious to the upbeat tempo and pulled her against him, adjusted her slightly until his powerfully built thigh was nestled between her legs. His muscles flexed and rippled against her heated skin as he began to sway in a slow, sensual movement that had Charlie fighting to control her breathing.
The urge to pant was overwhelming. Rough fingertips stroked the exposed skin at the small of her back. The nerve endings seemed hardwired directly to her core. She shivered as she felt moist heat between her thighs.
Those wonderful fingers at her back began to slide back and forth under the waistband of her skirt, singed through her flesh and made it difficult to concentrate on anything but the sensual touch that kept rhythm with the sway of his hips against hers.
Charlie felt as if she was losing her ever-loving mind and fought to restrain herself from grinding against the thick thigh wedged between hers. The rock hard bulge pushed against her hip was doing little to help her with that battle.
A warm breath ghosted against the sensitive skin below her ear. “Tell me your name.”
He expected her to speak? She couldn’t think past the sensations consuming her body. How the hell was she supposed to form a coherent thought when his whisper turned into opened mouth kisses down her neck. She forgot all about words and questions, or hell, breathing for that matter. Instead, she did the only thing she could think of under the onslaught of that warm, wonderful tongue. She eased her head back, gave him plenty of room to work.
A low, deep chuckle rumbled next to her ear and again whispered, “Tell me.”
“It...it’s Charlie” she said breathlessly as his tongue continued to assault her skin and kept her off balance.
The hand at her back skimmed slowly up her spine and she felt the clip at the base of her neck pull away. Both hands moved to her neck to untangle the knot and smooth her waist-long hair down from the base of her neck to the top of her ass. His hands moved to the fleshy mounds and pulled her in closer.
Charlie could feel the power in the man’s body and responded to him as if her body was his to command. She couldn’t catch her breath and her pulse soared out of control. With the insistent pressure, her knees trembled and she was afraid to release the grip she had on his stone-like shoulders for fear her weak legs wouldn’t be unable to hold her up. She was at his mercy.
“I’m Trevor.” he whispered as his hands continued their exploration of her backside as he ducked his head back down to meet hers. His strong masculine scent enveloped her and a jolt of need traveled through her. Warm soft lips feathered against hers, his moist tongue lightly slid across her lower lip, encouraged her to respond.
“Let me in, Charlie.”
Charlie parted her lips in an unstoppable gasp and he dove in to devour her mouth. She responded to his persistent tongue without a conscious thought. It shocked her how quickly he had taken control of her body and long buried needs.
No one had been able to make her lose control like this since she was eighteen and it was unsettling. She’d had a few lovers during college, but none were able to make her truly respond. After a couple years, she finally gave up dating all together. It wasn’t fair to compare every man to the one who had captured her heart at thirteen and she grew tired of the guilt of seeing his face behind her closed lids every time another man touched her.
Yet this dark cowboy coaxed her body back to life in a hot rush that left her weak and breathless. The taste of his tongue was uniquely his and she relished it.
Charlie sighed. Finally, I can forget.
As the kiss deepened, her eyes closed and behind her lids was a familiar sexy face. The image of a light-haired, dimpled cowboy flashed through her mind, but to her relief was quickly replaced with the stranger holding her.
For the first time, she didn’t dwell on the blond cowboy’s beautiful sapphire eyes or his gorgeous smile. Through the haze of lust, she remained in the moment and the man in her arms. She reveled in the way his hands felt against her skin, instead of the ghost touches of a phantom lover who had never really been hers at all. He’d only been the ideas and dreams of fantasy that she had molded and shaped.
For the first time, she wanted exactly what was in front of her, a real thing she could lose herself in, but she remembered where she was and took notice of her surroundings.
Charlie reluctantly broke the kiss and pulled away a little. They both panted for breath. The cowboy rested his forehead against hers, stared at her with heated black eyes and whispered, “God, you’re beautiful.”
Charlie’s face flushed and her toes curled at the compliment from such a god-like creature, with no clue how to respond. Instead, she laid her cheek against his chest to hide her embarrassment. Trevor leaned over and snuggled her tighter against him, content to explore her body without words.
Through song after song, his slow, sensual sway never changed tempo. God knew Charlie was more than happy to let this man guide and caress her as if no one but the two of them existed.
“I don’t think I’ve ever wanted anyone like I want you.”
Charlie pulled back, startled, and looked up at his face. The black of his pupils had eaten up the white, leaving him looking feral and wild. Only one thing made a man look like that and the pure unbidden lust in his eyes made it difficult to tell if he were sincere or not.
“Does that line usually work?”
He had the good sense to look embarrassed as he shrugged. “Usually, but in this case I’m telling the truth.”
Charlie couldn’t stop the giggle that passed her lips. It wasn’t so much that she was laughing at him, but it was just ridiculous that a man like him would want someone like her after only a few dances.
He cocked his head to the side, kind of a like a puppy does when he doesn’t understand the English language. “You don’t believe me, do you?”
“I’d probably believe you more if you told me you sprouted fur with the full moon.”
He paused for just a heartbeat and then his lips turned up in a slight smile. “Can I ask you something, Charlie?”
“I was here waiting for a friend...”
Charlie blinked, her heart sinking. That he’d wanted her had been hard to believe. That he had someone lined up, ready and willing to fall all over him, she didn’t doubt in the slightest. She could just imagine the beautiful woman who would be meeting a man like this.
She tried to hide her disappointment. “Oh...sure I understand. I should be getting back to my friend as well.”
Strong fingers cupped her chin, forced her to meet his gaze. “I was saying I’m here to meet a friend and would love it if you would join us for a drink? He should be here soon.” He added with a wink.
Before thinking better of it, she blurted, “Well if he looks anything like you, I’m sure I could twist Rae’s arm to join us.” Charlie felt the flush creep up her neck in embarrassment. Damn, what was it about this man that made her feel like a stupid schoolgirl?
Studying her eyes, the cowboy gave her a devilish grin and ducked his head to nuzzle her neck. “No, I was hoping you would join us both.” He nipped her ear, caused sensations to tingle through her body.
“Mmm...Your body is saying yes,” he whispered.
Charlie’s breath caught, her body trembled uncontrollably at the thought of being sandwiched between the hard bodies of two hot cowboys. She had to stifle a groan as the wetness in her panties spread.
“I fucking love the way you tremble for me.” He grabbed the fleshy mounds of her ass in both of his hands and pulled her hard against his bulging erection.
Charlie’s head felt like it was spinning. His naughty, dominate words affected her body as nothing ever had. Oh God, he was taking control of her entire mind and body.
“I...I don’t think...”
He laid a finger across her lips to silence her and whispered into the crook of her neck. “Don’t think. Your body knows what it wants. Listen to it. Just feel, Charlie.”
With his face gently pressed to her neck, his voice vibrated against her throat. “Let us make you fly. Imagine us as we explore and stimulate every inch of this gorgeous body, our sole purpose to please you. My hard cock buried deep in you while...”
“Stop! God no more, you’re driving me crazy.” Charlie begged, and pulled herself away from the heat of his body, insistent lips and hands. She needed to breathe, to think.
Lord, how could she possibly want what he offered? The better question was how could she not?
She glanced over in the direction of her table and spied Rae snuggled up to the cowboy she had set her sights on earlier. Well there went that excuse. She ran through excuses in her head but couldn’t think of a good enough one not to join this sexy man and his mysterious friend. Did she even want to come up with an excuse?
Her body screamed at her to stop thinking and give into this erotic fantasy, yet her brain ordered her to walk away. This wasn’t who she was. She always had complete control over her emotions and body. The thought of this man taking all that away scared the hell out of her.
The confident and cocky look in his eyes made the decision for her. Her mind made up, she started to turn from him without a word, afraid to open her mouth. She only made it a couple of steps when he grabbed her wrist and pulled her back around to face him.
“Just join us for a drink, talk to us and then decide. Just one drink, Charlie, nothing more.” He kissed the tender flesh on the inside of her wrist, his intense gaze locked on hers. “Unless you decide otherwise.”
“Okay.” Charlie agreed, before she could stop herself.
“You’ll join us?”
Charlie nodded and he pulled her into another bruising kiss. When he pulled away, he placed one last kiss on the tip of her nose. “Go make your excuses and come meet me at the bar. From the looks of your friend, I don’t think she wants the three of us intruding.”
Charlie walked, dumbfounded that she was actually considering giving--not one but two men--control of her body, when a loud smack and heat radiated across her ass and made her yelp. “Ow!”
“Don’t keep me waiting long, Charlie.” Trevor’s animalistic growl rumbled from his chest. “Don’t make me come and get you.”
Charlie couldn’t control the shiver that raced through her.