[BookStrand Western Romance, HEA]
Shane Cordell, raised by the Cheyenne, is savagely handsome. Women are drawn to him like a moth to a flame, and he’s every bit as dangerous. His heart never gets involved…until now.
Ashley Clayton is beautiful and independent, She was raised without a mother’s touch, having only her father and ranch hands to ease her into womanhood. She is naïve in the ways of etiquette but not in the ways of the flesh, horseflesh mostly. Upon her first encounter with Shane, she feels a strong attraction immediately, but there is a lie…a lie she is sworn to keep. A lie that seems so innocent now bodes heartache for their future.
Shane must face his past in a courtroom where he is charged with rape and murder. Just as he’s found not guilty, Ashley’s innocent lie sends him running again, this time into a prostitute’s arms.
A BookStrand Mainstream Romance
As she started to relax and give in to that appealing voice, she finally managed to open her eyes only to find herself staring into the face of a stranger, a very large and very male stranger, and she was aghast to realize that every stitch of her clothing had been removed and replaced only by a threadbare blanket! She tried to stand, but her legs would not cooperate, completely buckling underneath her. She would have fallen face first onto the floor had the stranger not caught her against him, causing her to desperately clutch the blanket to keep from losing it altogether.
Finding herself in unfamiliar quarters with a strange man should probably have terrified her, but for some unknown reason she didn’t feel afraid at all. She was…intrigued instead. Being so close to him, she couldn’t help but notice how tall he was as he towered over her, with a woodsy, clean pine scent that emanated from his thick dark hair. She looked up to find him studying her with the most amazing bluish gray eyes. They were fascinating, almost hypnotic. Ashley gathered her wits about her, as well as the blanket, and assured the man that she could stand on her own. It dawned on her what a precarious situation she found herself in, and decided that the best way to handle it would be from a position of strength. Appearing fragile and helpless would never do, she would not be easy pickings for some ruffian! She looked him straight in the eye, raised her chin defiantly, took a deep breath and informed him that she did not intend to be raped or murdered without taking a good bit of his hide in the bargain.
When he spoke, his voice was deep and smooth, but somewhat impudent.
“Ah-ha, a position of power, not wanting to appear weak and helpless. Good thinking, lass! However, strategy wise, you might want to consider another point of view perhaps, a man’s point of view. You see, miss, for some men, that just might come across as a challenge, after all, what man can resist a challenge?” He cocked his head. “Especially from someone as beautiful and desirable as yourself!” He looked sympathetic. “And as maddening as you may find it or as much as you might want to deny it, the male of the species will always be stronger. Sorry, no brag, just fact. Simply a fact of life, nothing more. So you see, in some situations, that tactic might not be the best way to go.” He shrugged. “Just something to think about.” At the real look of concern that crossed her face he added, “Oh, not for me, of course. No need for you to be worried. While I do admit to loving a challenge, as far as…uh…relations with your fair sex is concerned, you don’t have to fret, I’m not the kind to exert any force. Never had to.” He grinned. “Again, no brag, just fact. I much prefer my women willing and eager.”
She blushed crimson as she tried to dismiss the sensual feelings that his ruggedly handsome appearance, along with his crude words, were stirring in her. “Sir, really, I must protest. This conversation is quite improper!” The conversation was quite improper, but what she should be protesting was what those words were doing to her in response. If he knew how he affected her, she would be mortified!
He looked at her patiently as if she were a child, crossed his well-muscled arms across his chest and chuckled. “I’m sorry, ma’am. You’re right. I apologize and humbly beg your forgiveness for my deplorable behavior. The absence of feminine company for such a long stretch has made me forget my manners.”
He seemed anything but apologetic, and humble would be the very last word she would ever think of to describe this man. Instead of calming, his cocky attitude just succeeded in irritating her.
However, when he spoke again, it was if he were gentling a wild mustang. “As far as rape and murder are concerned, miss, you can trust me when I tell you, you are completely safe in my hands.”
Safe? As he looked at her, he could well visualize quite a few things he would love to be doing right at that moment with his hands, most of which she would not consider safe.
“And as for any improper activities, well I’m not planning any, leastwise not at the moment.” He added with a smirk, “I’m a bit tired for such goings on, for this morning at least. I had somewhat of a busy night last night.” His gray eyes were brimming with mischief.
Ashley looked at him with shock registering on her face, shock at more than the direction this unsavory conversation was headed. “Morning! How long have I been here, and where exactly is here?”
“This is a cabin I sometimes use for hunting. I found you yesterday evening. So you see, miss, we’ve been together for quite a while and I’ve somehow managed to rein in my murderous as well as lusty tendencies…up until now, that is.” He smiled a most engaging smile. “Let me assure you that I would never conceive of causing you any discomfort.”