Those who follow me on Facebook will know that we lost my husband's mother not so long ago. Her passing wasn't completely unexpected. She had been in hospital not so long ago, and was home on Oxygen and requiring constant care, but when he got the call, it still shook hubby up a lot.
We weren't in close contact, for reasons I can't share. Suffice to say it was always a source of regret for hubby, and of course her passing has intensified that feeling.
We will be attending her funeral this morning, so can I ask you to spare a thought to Pamela. She was a gentle soul, and she will be missed, especially by hubby.
I have fond memories of her holding our oldest daughter when she was a newborn, and that's the way I'll always remember her.
As you can imagine it's a day of mixed emotions today, but it is Release Day!
I’m the beast, haven’t you heard...
Christmas is supposed to be a time for miracles and one will surely be needed when Emilia Duncan finds herself sold to the beast to save her father’s company. Having lusted after the much older, enigmatic man for as long as she can remember, spending the Christmas weekend as his submissive will satisfy her raging libido, but can she protect her heart?
Bear Shifter Hunter Monahan cannot stand idly by when Emilia is thrown to the wolves. There is only one shifter who will get his claws into her and that’s him. The contract ensures her submission for the weekend. Too bad his bear wants much more than that.
Hunter is used to hiding behind his gruesome scars, but in the bid for Emilia’s heart, that is not an option this time. Isolated in his cabin, it’s not just the snow that melts.
Be Warned: BDSM, sex toys, anal sex
You can read the official HOT excerpt at Evernight Publishing but I thought I would share a scene from the beginning of the book with you today, where it dawns on Emilia what is going on...
“Go and answer it. He’s here for you anyway. Time to earn your keep, girl.”
Again that shiver of dread threatened to steal her breath, but she had learnt long ago to never show any weakness in front of her father. He didn’t appreciate it, and the cruel streak Mama had tempered when she was alive had only become stronger at her passing. With as much grace as she could muster Emilia walked across the foyer and swallowed nervously at the imposing shadow she could see through the frosted glass.
The man stood on the other side of the door was huge, and when she opened it her greeting stuck in her throat.
She would recognize those broad shoulders and wide back anywhere. Even covered by the expensive tailor-made woolen coat he wore against the chill of this December afternoon, his muscled physique made her feel small and oh so feminine.
Hunter Monahan inhaled sharply and then turned around slowly. Emilia took an involuntary step back when the harsh porch lighting illuminated the scars on his face briefly. His features tightened when he witnessed her reaction, and he turned slightly until only his good side was presented. His mouth kicked up in a grim smile, and his deep voice washed over her.
“I wasn’t expecting to see you so soon, Emilia. When did you come home?” he asked.
“Erm, yesterday, Sir.” She whispered the answer, feeling ridiculously tongue-tied like she always did around him, but frightening scars notwithstanding, there was something so earthy and virile about Hunter. Dangerous even, and as if to prove it, his amber eyes flared to yellow as he bent down and inhaled next to her ear.
“I do like it when you call me that, kitten.” His hot breath skimmed across the sensitive skin under her ear, and Emilia bit her lip to stop herself from reacting to his presence. This close to him his intoxicating scent wrapped itself around her like a warm cocoon, and she had to fight the urge to lean in closer.
The Beast, as he was known, would not appreciate the contact she was sure, so instead, she stepped back to allow him to pass, and took his coat when he shrugged out of it.
He frowned at her, and she offered him a tentative smile, and after a moment’s hesitation he handed it to her. Their hands touched briefly, and Emilia almost dropped the garment. Her fingertips tingled from the contact, and she hastily yanked the coat up higher to hide her nipples. Like wanton beacons of her sex-starved self, they firmed and pushed against her silk blouse. Emilia wanted the ground to swallow her up when Hunter’s gaze rested on her boobs for several heart-stopping moments.
He couldn’t have noticed, could he? It was bad enough that Emilia turned into a simpering wreck whenever her father’s former friend was around. It was altogether far too mortifying that he would actually notice her lusting after him.
Quite apart from the fact that Hunter was only seven years younger than her father, the man was way out of her league. Reserved to the point of rudeness, Hunter carried himself with an air of leashed power and aggression that separated him from his peers.
As a child, Emilia had spun fairy stories about him as the scarred warrior, or the gentle beast, who needed the love of a good woman to break the witch’s curse. As a teenager those dreams had taken on a rather erotic turn. Moving away to go to university had done nothing to lessen her attraction to the man, quite the opposite.
Not for lack of trying on her part, but none of her so-called boyfriends had ever made her skin tingle with just one look, and besides they only wanted her for her father’s money. When they found out that Leo was Papa’s only heir, they always scarpered, which was fine by Emilia.
She didn’t need any boys in her life, and she might never get rich working as a midwife, but she loved her job, and how many people could say that?
“You should smile more, kitten.”
Hunter’s cool words shook her out of her internal musings, and her heart missed a few beats under his intense scrutiny. Standing sideways, so that his scars weren’t visible, Hunter watched her from under hooded lids with a curious tilt to his full lips. They were surrounded by several days’ worth of scruff that extended along his square jaw and disappeared into the neckline of his shirt—a pink one, much to Emilia’s amusement. His very presence pulled her under his spell. So much so that she must have missed something, if the way both her father and brother scowled at her was anything to go by.
“Have you lost your brain completely?” Leo said, and grabbed the wall for support. “Go get some coffee, thunder thighs. I need some, and no doubt our beast here will want some, too.”
Emilia winced at the look of utter disgust and hatred both her father and brother threw toward Hunter, and he seemed to grow taller in front of her eyes. Hands balled into fists by his side, jaws clenched, a rumble emanated from Hunter’s broad chest, and Leo blanched and put his hand up in an act of surrender. Emilia was half expecting her lily-faced brother to lose control of his bodily functions, and Papa, too, looked pale under his tan. Pale and very old, as he glanced at her and jerked his head to the kitchen in a clear demand.
“You heard your brother. Coffee.”
“Please don’t trouble yourself on my account, Emilia.” Hunter gave her a grim smile, and the almost growl in his voice had every feminine cell in her body sigh in submission. She could listen to him talk all day.
“And you, pup, don’t talk to her like that in front of me. Not if you’re fond of your own teeth, that is.” Hunter took a step toward Leo, and Emilia knew her mouth had fallen open in astonishment at hearing Hunter come to her rescue.
“I talk about her any which way I fucking want, beast. She ain’t yours yet. Fail to see why you’d want her anyway.”
“Leo, enough. Let me handle this.” Papa’s stern words brought Leo’s head up, and he stuck his bottom lip out in a sulk so reminiscent of the brother she used to adore as a child that emotion clogged up Emilia’s throat. She swallowed past the lump and focused on what her brother had actually said.
“What do you mean, I’m not his yet?” The earlier snatched bits of conversation she’d heard came back to haunt her, and she looked among the three men in dawning terror.
“What did you do, Leo?” she asked.
Her brother stuck his hands in his pockets, and that sulk grew. Right now he looked like a petulant child who hadn’t gotten the toy he wanted for Christmas.
“He cheated, I’m sure.”
Again that menacing growl rumbled from Hunter, and Emilia clenched her thighs together, as he stepped close enough to her that his scent drew her in again. Waves of heat seemed to come off him, and chased away the goosebumps that had broken out on her own flesh at the underlying tension in the room.
“Watch who you’re calling a cheat, pup. I’m not the one who cannot hold his drink and threw his own sister to the wolves.”
Leo gave a humorless laugh and shrugged his shoulders.
“Says the guy who can’t get a woman to fuck unless he buys her. Have you looked in the mirror lately, beast? You … umph.”
Hunter moved so fast that Leo couldn’t even raise his fists. One well aimed punch to his solar plexus had her brother doubled over and gasping for breath, and then Hunter pinned him against the wall. Hand around Leo’s throat, he had the younger man dangling several feet off the floor, and Emilia dropped the coat she was still clutching and pulled at Hunter’s arm to get him off her brother.
“Let go, please. You’re going to kill him.”
Hunter paid her no heed. Over the rushing of blood in her ears, and the outraged shouts of her father, Leo turned blue. His legs made futile attempts at kicking Hunter, and with both hands on a death grip on Hunter’s wrist, Emilia still couldn’t shake the much taller man off. In a last act of desperation, Emilia ducked under Hunter’s arm, earning herself a painful kick in the ribs from her brother in the process, and reaching up framed Hunter’s face in her hands.
Her breath stalled at the different textures under her fingertips. One side had smooth even skin, covered by his stubble; the other was a mass of corded, scarred, raised flesh, which felt rough and tight under her hand.
A shudder went through Hunter at her touch, and he turned his head to look at her. Emilia gasped at the inhuman eyes staring back at her until he blinked, and they were once again the deep chestnut brown she was used to.
“Please, let him go. He’s my brother, please.”
Hunter shook his head and then let go of Leo. Her brother fell to the floor, and Emilia let go of Hunter and scrambled to Leo’s side to help him up. Dazed as he was, he still pushed her help away and let their father pull him up instead. The rejection stung, and Emilia was dimly aware of Hunter’s deep sigh behind her. He bent to pick up his abandoned coat, brushed the dust off it, and stepping closer to her, nudged her chin up with his knuckles.
“They don’t deserve your concern, kitten.” The ghost of a smile kicked up his mouth, and then he stepped away from her and looked the men in her family up and down.
“I’ll be outside. Let me know what your decision will be, and I’ll have my lawyers draw up the contract one way or the other, though I fear I know what it will be. Know this, however. I need to hear it from her, or the deal is off.”
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Add it on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23609529-bought-for-christmas
To celebrate the release of Bought for Christmas I'm giving away a $10 GC (Evernight, ARe, Bookstrand or Amazon - winner's choice)
To be in the draw, leave me a comment and share a Christmas memory you cherish.
Stay naughty, folks.