Rocky Mountain Haven by Vivian Arend
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Contemporary Western Romance
Beth Danube has escaped to a small Alberta town to make a new start for herself and her three little boys. Her emotionally abusive husband may be dead and buried, but so is her heart. What she doesn’t want is another man in her life—not now, maybe not ever. Yet when her libido reawakens after ten years of unsatisfactory sex in the missionary position, is any woman strong enough to turn down sex-in-boots, Daniel Coleman?
The middle child of the rowdy Coleman boys, Daniel’s the quiet one who has always subdued his desires and acted as peacemaker. His powerful attraction to the young widow takes him by storm, and he’s willing to pursue her until they both find satisfaction—in and out of the bedroom.
Only Beth isn’t sure she’s ready to cross the line. Becoming friends with blazing hot benefits means she’s still the one in control. Letting her heart trust again? She isn’t that brave—or foolish. Daniel is going to have to be mighty convincing to help her overcome the past.
The porch boards squeaked softly and he looked up from where he’d settled on the porch swing. “You’ve got awesome kids. I’m sorry again about the swimming hole thing. It really never crossed my mind you didn’t know.”
She waved it away. “I’m embarrassed I didn’t figure out where they were disappearing to. I should have kept much better tabs on them. I’m so grateful you had an eye on them.”
He stood and peeked in the window. “Will you need to go and get them into bed?”
She nodded. “They’ll start on their own, but they’ll get distracted soon.”
Daniel smiled. “I think my Mama used to say it was like trying to herd cats to get us all in bed on time. I won’t keep you long, but…” He reached for her hand, linking his fingers in hers. She swallowed hard. Oh lord, it felt so good and scared her mindless. She stood, as still as a statue in spite of her pounding heart.
“I’d like to see you, Beth.”
She bit her lip. “I don’t think that’s a good idea.”
He turned over her fingers, his thumb brushing the groove on her ring finger that was slowly disappearing. After ten years of wearing her wedding band, the sign was still there, even though the ring was not. “You’re not married.”
She shook her head. “He’s gone.” He raised a brow and she had to say it, knowing the confusion not speaking plainly would cause. “He’s dead. He died in the accident that injured my leg.” Her throat went tight. Images flashed through her mind, the icy road, the glaring lights. The pain.
His fingers stilled. “I’m sorry.”
He pulled away, and she caught at his hand. Damn her indecision.
“It’s…okay. We were having troubles when he died, and I’m not grieving for him. Not really. I just don’t think it’s a good idea for you and me…” She couldn’t speak anymore. What she wanted and what she should do–why was it so damn hard to know which was which?
He squeezed her hand softly then let go and paced away. “There’s a whole lot I think you’re not saying right now. That’s fine. I’m still the man you met one night while you were in a drunken state and you don’t really know me.”
“I wasn’t drunk.”
He chuckled and she felt her face heat. “We call that liquid courage around here, darling, and you had some. I just want you to know I was serious back then when I said I was interested in you. I’m even more interested now, knowing you’re not a city girl living in some high-rise apartment hours away from me.”
“Maybe I’m not staying.”
“And maybe I’ll have time over the next months to convince you staying is what you need. I’m a good man, Beth. I’m not talking about taking over your life. I’m saying you intrigue me and you make my body ache. I think our attraction is something worthwhile exploring together.”
He moved closer. Her pulse pounded and she tilted her head up involuntarily to keep their eyes in contact.
“I want to kiss you,” he growled. Their bodies were close enough their heat meshed and a little gasp of need escaped her throat. “Do you want to kiss me?”
Oh god. “I shouldn’t.”
“But do you want to?”
Desire and being responsible warred within her. Accepting his touch tonight would make it all that much harder to turn him down the next time.
He pressed still closer and their torsos connected, his erection rubbing her belly. Her back hit the wall as he caged her without using his hands. Their lips brushed together and she sucked in his air, the full body of his flavour rolling over her tongue like a fine wine. He kissed her tenderly, not the white-hot passion she’d replayed over and over in her mind from the bar scene, but a worshipful caress that started and finished with their lips.
When he pulled away his pupils were huge, his smile even wider.
And he walked away, down the path that led into the trees.
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Vivian Arend Website
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