Fatal Promise (MF)
[Siren Classic: Erotic Contemporary Romance, light consensual BDSM, spanking, HEA]
When Rainey Ann McKenna's dying husband asked her always to be there for his brother, Tex McCoy, she had no idea that five years later her promise would bring a murderer into her home. According to the conditions of his release, for the next three months Tex will be on house arrest. Obligated by a promise, Rainey Ann takes the gorgeous but dangerous felon in.
Tex McCoy may have gone to jail for murder, but after a decade of being incarcerated, he too is dead inside. Resurrecting any of Tex's feelings—including the ones he once had for Rainey Ann McKenna—could be fatal. In jail, he fantasized about Rainey Ann. Behind steel bars it was acceptable to think of her in such a way, but in the real world, it's dangerous.
Yet as desire awakens, Rainey Ann’s threat heightens. After years of being locked up, Tex is ready to reclaim some control, and his fantasy woman is only a touch away.
A Siren Erotic Romance
4 STARS: "Is there such a thing as rehabilitation? Can past mistakes be forgotten? Can two emotionally scarred and hardened individuals find a way into each other's hearts? These questions and more are explored in FATAL PROMISE. It was a total shock to everyone when the good and considerate McCoy twin, Tex, went to prison for murder. Now Tex is being paroled and the only person who is willing to take him in is his twin's widow, Rainey. If it were up to her, Rainey would have nothing to do with Tex, but she promised his brother, her husband, on his death bed that she would always be there for Tex. While Rainey and Tex started out as friends things changed when Rainey became more involved with and attracted to Tex's twin, Austin. Now that Austin is gone and Tex is moving in with Rainey, she is not sure if he can be trusted, but she always keep her promises. As Tex and Rainey get reacquainted with one another, neither of them can hide their attraction for one another; but they both question the motives of the attraction. Long held family secrets are revealed, only complicating the relationship between Tex and Rainey, and Rainey's son, Cody. My favorite part of this book was that it continuously caught me off guard. There were some plot points that were pretty standard and followed the expected path, but there were twists and turns along the way that kept me fully engaged. Tex and Rainey were compelling and entertaining characters to read about. These two strong-willed, stubborn, and confused individuals can't figure out where their attraction to one another is coming from or how to react to said attraction. One thing is certain--the attraction is strong. However, Rainey doesn't want to get hurt by another man and Tex doesn't feel he deserves to be loved after what he did. To add to their strained relationship, family skeletons start creeping out of the closet, and the author revealed these secrets in unique and unapparent ways. Now Tex and Rainey have to decide if the truth will set them free or if the damage and scars it has left are permanent. The emotional roller coaster ride this book took me on was great!" -- Lynn, The Romance Reviews
But being left alone with Tex McCoy, the murderer, she found it difficult to summon her characteristic stubbornness. She glanced up at him and saw him gazing out the window. With him filling it, her normally decent-sized kitchen suddenly appeared small. It seemed to shrink even more when his eyes slithered from the window to her—so much so that it seemed to become devoid of oxygen, and her breath caught in her throat. He took a step toward her. At that point, her breathing seized altogether. His hand came out, nearing her face. Or was he going for her throat? She panicked and gasped for air as if his hands were already around her neck and squeezing. Was he going to…strangle her? She slapped his hand away. “Don’t you dare touch me!”
He shoved his hand into the pocket of his jeans. His eyes, if at all possible, became darker, almost black, but his expression remained impassive. “You have dirt on your face,” he said flatly and remotely, as if he’d expected her impulsive reaction.
“Oh.” Her hand went to her cheek, the one he had planned to innocently wipe off for her. She rubbed it, wondering if she’d overacted. What was she going to do when he freely walked around her house, took a shower in her bathroom, or slept in the bedroom below hers? Was she going to jump with every step he took? Was she going to lay awake all night? And the shower—her shower. Rainey decided thinking about Tex McCoy naked in the shower wasn’t a good idea. He was a killer. But he already served his time, right? Was he…reformed? Wait, was she really trying to rationalize here? It was manslaughter, not murder, right? And he did claim self-defense. Right. Then why’d he brutally stab Curtis Watson multiple times?
The questions swarming through Rainey’s head were undoubtedly the same questions the jury had asked. Their answer to that question had earned Tex the maximum sentence of fifteen years. The unanswered question that remained was why Tex McCoy and Curtis Watson, a hired hand who’d worked at the McCoy ranch three years prior to the murder, had gotten into a brawl outside of the bar in the first place, the scuffle that eventually led to Curtis’s death.
For the sake of her son, Rainey had to believe Tex was reformed. She had to trust he had no other choice and that he had a damn good reason for killing Curtis Watson.
“Uh, I’ll show you to your room,” she said, diverting her eyes from his so she could start down the hallway. She couldn’t hear him behind her. She glanced over her shoulder. He was right there, near and looming, with all the prowess and silent pursuit of some sly, predatory panther. Her heart slammed into her chest wall. She straightened her back, valiantly suffering through another panic attack. When she reached the spare bedroom, she opened the door and walked in. “This used to be my grandmother’s room. Nobody’s stayed in here since she died, but it has a queen-sized bed, an empty dresser…” She stopped and turned, practically bumping into him. Swallowing her insistent fear, she took a step back. “You do have clothes, don’t you? I, um…well, I don’t see any luggage or a duffle bag.”
“Yeah, I have clothes,” he said and moved forward, recapturing the distance she’d intentionally placed between them. “My things will be dropped off later.”
“Oh,” she breathed, backpedaling until she hit the wall. “Good.” Her body went still. He was standing just inches from her. He wasn’t touching her, but she felt pinned against the wall just the same.
He lifted his hands and placed them alongside her head, resting them on the wall. Now, she was literally pinned. His eyes drifted to her mouth, and every nerve trembled from the inside out. She wanted to run. Her breathing seized, and her heart had stopped midbeat. Fear was winning.
He leaned forward, and his dark lashes lifted until his eyes met hers. “You look scared,” he said, in a voice so low, ominous, and deep that it shook her insides.
She stood there, speechless.
Ever so slightly, like his menacing approach, his lip curled up. “That’s good,” he said, swaying dangerously closer. “You should be, Rainey Ann.” His eyes ran over her face. “In fact, you’d better take that fear and hold it real close.”
His hand came from the wall, dark lashes lowering once more. He gazed at her lips. They were quivering, but at that moment, Rainey couldn’t have cared less if he saw it. She was terrified. Warm fingers scraped her shoulder, slithered up her nape, and gripped around her neck. His fingers indented her skin, and being strangled came back to mind.
“Or,” he said, tilting in toward her ear, their bodies bordering lethal contact, “you could give in to that fear right now and scream.”
“Why spank me?” she interrogated, demanding an explanation.
“First. It’s a fitting punishment. Second, while you’re naked, tempting me with all your sweetness, you need to accept that I am the boss. Third,” he shrugged, “you’ll like it.”
“Sure.” She snorted in the most unladylike manner to all three explanations.
“Have you ever been put over a man’s knee and spanked? I mean…for pleasure?”
“No!” Shit! Why the hell, when he talks like that, do I get so damn wet!
The sneaky smile finally made it to his eyes. “Then you don’t know if you’d like it, do you?”
She chewed her lower lip. Contemplating? “What if I don’t take my punishment?”
“Simple. Then I won’t touch you again.”
“Right. You’ve broken the rules twice. I don’t believe in three strikes. You know that, Rainey Ann.”
“Will it hurt?” The question fell from her mouth before she had a chance to stop it.
“Yes, but only in a good way.”
Gnawing her bottom lip, she wondered if she was actually considering it. Could it, or, moreover, would it, feel good to have his big, strong hand smacking me on the ass? Wetness spilled to her nether regions again at the thought. Hold up! He is planning to use his hand, right? Her eyes scampered around the room, stopping at the door. A belt hung from a hook. Perhaps I should ask him to clarify. She shot him a wary look.
He was intently watching her. “No.” He shook his head. “Not your first time.”
My first time? How about never? She gulped with the mental declaration.
“The pain I’ll give you will be a good one, a pleasurable one. It will not hurt,” he stressed.
“And that’s a promise?”
He offered a slow, reassuring nod. “You know the rules. You can stop me at any time. You control me, Rainey Ann. You determine how far I go.”
Another snort tickled her nose. I control him? Now that’s an absurd but tantalizing notion.
“You control what I can and can’t do to your body,” he clarified. He made it sound as though she wielded all of the power.
“But how can a punishment give me pleasure?”
“When you come over here and lie across my lap with your bare ass in the air and ask me to spank you—”
“Ask? You want me to ask you to…uh…to…” she stammered.
“Yes.” He leaned toward her. “You’ll ask me,” he said, emphasizing the condition. “You may control me, but at the same time, you will give me what I want most.”
“And that is?”
“Why, your sweet surrender, Rainey Ann. I want to take you beyond a place your fear.” He sank back into the footboard. “Now, enough talk. Make a decision. Either you walk out the door, fully aware of the penalty if you decide not to take the punishment, or you come over here and resume the position to accept it.”
Her bottom lip was sore and swollen, and she licked it. Damn it! I need him. She just wasn’t sure if the need extended to her ass. He’d mentioned that she held the power, though, and she decided to test it by issuing an order of her own. “Take your shirt off,” she said.
In spite of his promises that she’d have control, Tex obviously didn’t like her calling the shots. His scarred cheek twitched, but he reached for the bottom of his shirt, and his eyes never left hers as he pulled the fabric from his body and tossed it on the floor.
He was magnificent. Rainey had to wonder how, during all those years of growing up together, she’d managed to miss the supremacy of his potent sexuality. Tex McCoy was majestic, mystifying, and commanding. His mere presence beckoned a woman’s inner desires, and she was defenseless against him. Had he been hiding from me? Is that why I never noticed before?
“Come here,” he said in a strict but coaxing tone.
She obeyed, allowing her feet to carry her to him. With his eyes, he gestured for her to get into position, and once more, she obeyed. Her belly was the first part of her to collide with his strong thighs, and then her breasts were crushed beneath her weight.
“Move forward,” he instructed.
She abided, until her breasts spilled freely over the side of his thighs.
“Good.” He stroked her back. “Point your toes into the floor and push your ass up.”
She did as instructed.
His hand slithered around her back to her stomach as he secured her in what she felt was an awkward position, leaving her body vulnerable, her ass in particular. His other hand feathered lightly over her bottom, stirring awake a wetness between her thighs. “Place your palms on my thighs and look at me.”
When her hands hit solid muscle, she felt a little more grounded. She turned her head and was met with Tex’s sinfully dark eyes.
“What do you think is a fair number of swats for your misbehavior, young lady?”
“Uh…” Did he really just ask me that?
When she didn’t answer, he decided for her. “Five, then…and you will ask me for each and every one of them. I want you to keep your eyes on mine. Don’t look away unless I tell you to. Understand?”
She nodded her head. Oh shit! This is really happening.
“You have permission to talk, Rainey Ann. That rule has been broken already anyway. Besides, I want to hear you when you scream out in pleasure.” His grip tightened around her waist, his eyes darkened, and in a low, deep voice he said, “Ask me.”