I'll Never Let You Go (Morgans of Nashville), page 33
A shiver ran through her as she thought about the pure evil that had blackened Philip’s and Tyler’s hearts.
The sound of Charlie barking had her turning to see Alex and the forty-pound black dog approaching. Dark sunglasses concealed his eyes and his expression was stoic.
Alex wore jeans and a button-down. He’d rolled up the sleeves, revealing muscled forearms with thick, coarse hair. A thick, black watch wrapped around his wrist. He walked up to her. “Good job, Dr. Carson.”
His sunglasses tossed back her reflection, but just knowing he was looking at her made her stomach flutter. “Not the most memorable finish.”
“I’ll never forget it.” He leaned in to kiss her.
“I don’t care.” He kissed her on the mouth, cupping her face in his hand. “Salty. And sweet.”
Charlie barked and jumped, pulling Leah’s attention to the dog. She knelt and rubbed her between her ears. “She wasn’t too much trouble?”
“She’s fine. And pretty smart.”
Alex had once told her he wasn’t a dog person, but he’d proven very patient and good with Charlie. “So what do you say we get out of here?”
She rose and kissed him on the lips. “Sounds like a great plan.”
Please turn the page for an exciting sneak peek of Mary Burton’s newest romantic-suspense thriller,
coming soon from Kensington Publishing!
Friday, September 29, 6:50 P.M.
Elisa pressed up against a tree, her round curves scraping against the bark. Her eyes warmed with heat and longing, as if she couldn’t believe anyone wanted her with such intensity.
“I can’t believe I’m blowing off study group to do this,” she breathed. “You make agreeing so easy.”
It was easy to trace a calculated hand up Elisa’s arm and over breasts that weren’t very remarkable. “You’re so hot.”
As dark sexual sensations sent tension shuddering over Elisa’s plain square face, faint thoughts of reason chased after it, tugging her lips into a frown. “I must be insane to follow a stranger into the woods. A few conversations in the coffee shop don’t make us friends.”
“Are you really looking for a friend or do you want something hot and dangerous?” A slow, practiced, sexy smile always made them forget their worries.
“Hot and dangerous,” Elisa breathed.
“You’re so beautiful. You have an energy that’s so hard to resist.”
There were so many Elisas in the world. They were desperate for touch. Desperate for a life with a thrilling excitement that reached beyond work and weighty goals. Desperate to be seen.
Their desperation made them so ripe for the picking. So easy to pluck out of their everyday, safe lives. So easy to convince that a walk on the wild side was their chance to create a new incarnation. To believe this was her chance to prove she was cool. Reckless. Could take chances. Be spontaneous.
A kiss at the hollow of Elisa’s neck had her moaning and closing her eyes. She was drunk with desire. Her head tipped back against the tree, and the brush of a hand over her breasts hardened her nipples into jutting peaks.
“Do you want me to squeeze them?” The warm whisper brushed Elisa’s ear. “Do you want me to suck them?”
“Yes.” The word exploded free, as if she now had no control of her own mind.
“Show me. Show me.”
With trembling hands, Elisa reached for the buttons of her shirt and frantically unbuttoned them. In her haste, one button popped and skittered to the ground. She peeled back the cotton folds of her very sensible cotton shirt and revealed a pink lacy bra cupping unremarkable C-cup breasts. A large pink bow frantically clung to the stretch of lace banding under Elisa’s cleavage, looking as awkward as she did at her little table in the coffee shop.
“Very nice.” Forceful hands pinched a nipple hard enough to make Elisa wince.
Elisa’s eyes opened, the pain slicing at the edges of the mindless desire clouding reason. A whimper tumbled over her lips, but she didn’t complain. Her kind never complained or made waves when anyone paid the slightest attention for fear harsh words would chase away what little attention they received.
A gentle kiss on the stinging, reddened nipple nudged away the clouds of worry. “Nice. So hot.”
“Really? I’m hot?” A pathetic hope clung to the words as her voice rasped over lips painted a cherry red that made her pale skin look pasty white.
Tears moistened muddy-brown eyes. “No one has ever said that to me before.”
Ah, there it was, the sign that this girl would do whatever was asked of her in this moment because she was so grateful. Long, strong fingers rested at the hollow of Elisa’s neck as her pulse thrummed a crazed beat.
“Yes.” So blinded with wanting, her voice sounded as if it had been shredded by a knife. Scents of a spicy perfume mingled with the musk of the desire dampening her lace panties.
“You don’t have to be nervous.”
Elisa lifted her breast, silently begging for more touch. “I can’t help it. God, I want this.”
Soft, seductive laughter rumbled. “I can smell your fear. Your sex.”
She moistened her lips, tasting the cherry flavor of her lip gloss. “You can smell it?”
Even white teeth nipped her earlobe and sent a visible shudder through Elisa. “You’re wet.”
Self-consciousness sent a rush of heat up her face. “I can’t help it.”
“It’s good to want this.” Energy pulsed. Hummed. The press of fingers to her moist center had Elisa hissing in a breath. Slow circular motions sent the young woman’s eyes rolling back in her head as the desire rushed and threatened to knock her over.
The fingers stopped moving in the practiced caress and rose to Elisa’s lips, teasing them open until she sucked. “That’s my girl.”
“Please don’t stop.”
“I’m not even close to stopping.” Strong hands cupped Elisa’s throat and squeezed gently at first.
“Is it going to hurt?” The blurted words stumbled past Elisa’s lips before they could be censored.
“Do you doubt me?”
“No. No. I just thought . . .”
A soft chuckle rumbled. “It’s okay that this is your first time. You don’t need to pretend with me. I like knowing I’m the first.”
Elisa searched with moist green eyes and, finding no hint of judgment or censor, eased back against the tree.
“I’m going to make you so hot, I’ll slide right into you and you’ll want all of it.”
“I want to feel hot. Sexy. Like the other girls in college.”
“You’re so much better than those girls. Most of them come from money and have had it all handed to them. You’re smart. Different.”
“I want to be transformed.” Elisa’s words rushed past her lips, as if she sent a request to the heavens.
“You will be.” Again, silken words brushed over Elisa like a caress as the sun hung lower on the horizon, pulling with it the remnants of the day’s light. Shadows bathed the woods around them, creeping closer with each second. “It’ll be like nothing you’ve ever experienced before.”
Strong fingers gripped tighter around Elisa’s neck, sending tingles through both the seducer and the seduced. Skin tingled. Thrills shot as the pressure increased. So dangerous. So fun to enjoy such utter control.
Elisa closed her eyes, releasing the reins held most days in a white-knuckled grip. She wanted to be dominated. She wanted to be owned. Mind. Body. And spirit.
When the pressure constricted her airway ever so slightly, the first flickers of doubt sparked. Ah, there it was—the fear, which was far more intoxicating than sex.
“Feels good, doesn’t it, baby?” Grinning, the seducer squeezed harder, cutting off all air. The white-hot desire blurring in Elisa’s
“Stop,” she croaked.
Pain and fear collided in Elisa, driving more energy and determination into her hold.
“Stop.” The word strained to be heard as she dug nails painted a bright purple into ribbons of muscles streaming up powerful forearms.
In these moments, with their bodies joined in such an intimate embrace, their thoughts connected. Elisa, who had so desperately wanted a challenge more physically thrilling than math problems or debate team practice, wanted now nothing more than to break free and scurry back to the safety of her little house. She wanted to breathe. To live.
Malice dimmed all traces of humanity and opened the abyss now hungry for fear, pain, and panic. “Fear is part of the fun, baby. Fear shows us we’re alive.”
When Elisa’s breath caught in her throat and couldn’t pass to her lungs, she struggled with a renewed energy and then drew up her knee and drove it, with a desperate force, into bone and sinew.
Anger rocketed, stole breath and strength, and the deepening hold slackened. “Fucking bitch!”
Oxygen rushing into her lungs, Elisa gobbled it up as she raised trembling fingers and shoved back hard. Her fingers pressed to her bruised neck, she pushed away from the tree and stumbled forward, her shoe catching and slipping off her foot, before righting herself and sprinting toward the narrow path that cut through the thicket of woods.
“You can’t leave yet, Elisa!”
Screaming, she tripped over a root, bit her lip hard, and nearly tumbled before she caught herself. Lungs filling and refilling with a wheeze, she hurried faster and faster down the path toward Warner Park’s main road.
“You won’t get away from me, Elisa. I know the woods too well.” Jogging now under the light of the full moon, it was easy to follow Elisa’s panicked footsteps thundering down the path.
“Wondering where the road is, Elisa?”
Branches cracked and snapped, fusing with her cries and prayers. “I know you’re wondering where we are in the park. Let’s see, we drove up that main road just a half hour ago and parked in the lot before I kissed you on those lush lips and led you to the entrance of the woods. Thirty minutes ago, excitement and anticipation tingled your skin as you gave me just a peek at those panties and bra you bought just for me.”
“Leave me alone! I don’t want to do this anymore.” She sobbed, sucking in her breath as she raced faster.
“You aren’t scared, are you? You know I would never hurt you. This is supposed to be fun for both of us. I want you so bad, baby.”
As night squeezed the last of twilight from the trail, tree branches and briars reached out like specters. Their thoughts rejoined this time as hunter and prey. The roar of a truck engine told them both the road was close. A yelp escaped Elisa’s lips as she ran faster. She was calculating the distance to the road. Could she catch the attention of a driver? Would she be saved from the nightmare that had ensnared her?
Elisa could flag down a car and then, in a blink, she would escape. And the plans would be ruined. That wouldn’t work at all.
“Elisa!” Her name sounded twisted as the dark bent branches. “Elisa! Don’t be afraid of me. I don’t want to hurt you! I want you, baby.”
The woods grew silent, swallowing up the little fawn, who was, no doubt, clenching her mouth shut and swallowing her cries.
Ahead, a fallen log lay across the path, and to the right its large rotted stump was circled by a pile of thick branches. Had she burrowed those purple nails into the dirt, clawing and scraping and hoping the earth would swallow her up?
In the center of the path lay a shoe. It belonged to Elisa. She was close, hiding in the thicket. “Elisa, come out, come out, wherever you are. I won’t hurt you, baby. You can run, but you can’t hide forever.”
A twig broke. Leaves rustled. Another car raced down the road, chased out of the park by the darkness. Time stilled, sharpening all the senses. The hunter noticed the cracked branches beside the path and the freshly trampled path. And then Elisa’s soft, soft whimpers echoed in the darkness. The sound led down the path to a pale foot peeking out from under a log.
Five fast footsteps and the hunter grabbed her ankle as Elisa dug her fingers into the dirt, fighting to stay burrowed in her hiding spot. The will to live gave her strength.
“I don’t want to do this anymore. I want to go home,” she screamed.
Fingers bit into her skin, tearing the flesh, yanking her free of her sanctuary. “Got to finish what you started, baby. Got to finish it.”
She drew in a breath, but fisted fingers smashed against her jaw. She crumpled to the dirt, stunned.
Hoisting her wasn’t so difficult, nor was it hard to carry her back through the woods to the entrance of a small cave, which had been their ultimate destination since the first day they met.
Elisa fell to the cave’s floor with a hard thud. “Please, just let me go. I won’t tell.”
“I know you won’t tell.”
ZEBRA BOOKS are published by
Kensington Publishing Corp.
119 West 40th Street
New York, NY 10018
Copyright © 2015 by Mary Burton
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means without the prior written consent of the Publisher, excepting brief quotes used in reviews.
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Mary Burton, I'll Never Let You Go (Morgans of Nashville)
Other author's books:
- Vulnerable (Morgans of Nashville)You're Not SafeThe Colorado BrideBefore She DiesThe Unexpected Wife (Harlequin Historical)Cut and RunIn Dark WatersThe Tracker
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