In one of the most searingly erotic Westerns ever penned, Charlene Teglia breaches uncharted territory. But reader beware: this tale is hotter than hell. The faint of heart should turn back now…
Three city girls from Seattle are enjoying a night out at a chic coffee house in downtown Missoula, Montana, the heart of the old West. When a gang of cowboys mosey in looking for trouble, they find trouble of the best kind… and these boys are primed and ready to ride. There’s Gabe, a hard-bodied rancher who’s discovered some imaginative new uses for rope. Chet, a rodeo cowboy who’s charmed the pants off more than a few country girls and vows to remain a bachelor for life. And Reuben, a former Army ranger with a taste for edgy sexual games. As the couples embark on a scorching night of passion and play, they experience the most exquisite pleasure—and discover kinky new thrills they never dared to imagine. Because when it comes to knocking boots, cowboys do it best…
- Romance Junkies 5 Blue Ribbons Award
- Dear Author August Recommended Read
“Teglia pits city women against western guys for an enjoyable and definitely hot trio of reads. Readers will be hankering for these cowboys to leave their boots anywhere in the bedroom they want.” Romantic Times
“Charlene Teglia’s WILD WILD WEST is one scorchingly hot book that is sure to leave readers panting for more. With lovable characters, emotional situations, unforgettable sex scenes, and dialogue that is sure to curl your toes you definitely need to pick up a copy of this book.” Romance Junkies
“If I were to be asked what I thought erotic romance was, I would hand the questioner your book because this is what I want in the subgenre.” Dear Author
“Don’t miss WILD WILD WEST.” Romance Reviews Today Erotic
“Wild, Wild, West has it all; hot cowboys, spicy sex and tender romance.” Joyfully Reviewed
“I absolutely loved Wild Wild West! The stories blend seamlessly, making for a magnetic and thoroughly erotic read. Print fans will discover what e-Book readers have long known: Charlene Teglia is one scintillating author.” Fallen Angel Reviews
By reading any further, you are stating that you are at least 18 years of age. If you are under the age of 18, it is necessary to exit this page.
Copyright 2007 Charlene Teglia
St. Martin’s Press, Aug. 7 2007
All rights reserved
Crazy from the heat, thought Willow.
Lemon Espresso wasn’t air conditioned and the ceiling fans only did so much. She’d left her bra off and worn her loosest, coolest shirt for tonight’s reading and she still felt sweat trickling between her breasts. But the summer heat didn’t explain why she’d taken one look at a tall, quiet cowboy with hazel eyes and sandy hair and felt her body go hot and tight.
She wasn’t the only one, either. Jolie had gone off with the blonde, blue-eyed cowboy, wearing his hat. She hadn’t wasted any time making good on her vow to go wild before summer ended and she had to sit for the bar exam, cover up her tattoo with suits and bury her high spirits in legal briefs. By now his boots were probably under her bed.
Unless they hadn’t made it further than his pickup truck. Willow imagined the two of them entwined, half-naked, not even taking the time to finish undressing before satisfying that hot aching need, and felt her sex clench with want.
Even Laura, Lemon Espresso’s hard-working owner who never flirted with customers, had let that third cowboy with eyes and hair so dark they were nearly the color of espresso lift a bag of coffee beans down for her and practically rub his cock into her ass in the process. She’d relaxed back against him like she wanted him to.
All three of them were suffering from the heat and an unwanted stretch of celibacy and it was turning their brains, because for some reason the only men around who even looked like the right gender were those three Montana natives who’d come into the espresso house tonight looking like raw, hard sex in well-worn leather boots and sweat stained cowboy hats.
The two cowboys who seemed to have laid claim to Jolie and Laura had been in several times before, but the one Willow had locked eyes with was new.
She could have sworn her cowboy wouldn’t get up and read when she’d asked, but she hadn’t been able to stop herself from asking. And then he’d surprised her completely. He didn’t look like the type of man who read poetry, let alone went around with whole verses memorized. But he obviously was.
He’d recited every line of a classic poem straight at her. Then he’d touched the brim of his hat, nodded, and left.
Leaving her irritable, overheated, and envious.
Jolie was off making up for the long grind of law school that left no time for fun, let alone relationships. Laura was starting to do the tasks that led up to closing her business for the night with a very good reason to close early watching her work. She was making a success of the venture but she worked long hours. It looked like the man waiting for her to finish up planned to help her unwind.
Dammit. She didn’t begrudge her friends their good fortune, but they were getting lucky while her cowboy had left without a word and she was going home alone to a cold shower or a long masturbation session. Or both.
What she wouldn’t give to be going home to a man who would whisper in her ear all the naughty, forbidden things he was going to do to her. And then do them. One by one. All night long.
She bit her lip to keep from groaning out loud.
It was too hot inside. She couldn’t wait to be outside the confines of the building, feeling the cooling night air on her skin. Time to take her bad mood and her unfulfilled desires and go home.
“Good night, Laura,” she said as she stood up to gather her purse and keys.
“You’re leaving?” Laura brushed back the curtain of straight brown hair that had fallen into her eyes.
“Yes, it’s getting late. We had a good turn-out, though.”
As usual. From the time she first opened the doors, Laura had planned a series of events that included readings from famous authors in the area on vacation, local authors, a broad range of talents and genres and literary affiliations.
She also alternated with other types of events like tarot card readers and displayed artwork by local painters and photographers, rotating to feature a new artist each month as an added attraction to the coffee shop. The result was a brisk business.
Willow had been scheduled for several readings over the course of the summer. She’d come to look forward to them. Whenever she had an appearance at Lemon Espresso, it was well organized, well attended, and Laura made her feel comfortable and at home.
She’d gotten to know the owner and her assistant, Jolie, as the weeks and the heat of summer wore on. Usually the three of them had a good round of girl talk at the end of the night. But tonight, the last thing Laura needed was her loitering when there was a man she clearly wanted to be alone with.
And the last thing Willow needed was to be around other people right now. She wasn’t fit company for anybody.
It wasn’t just the heat, or the lack of male companionship, although she was ridiculously disappointed that the one man who’d captured her interest in longer than she cared to think about had left without another word.
Her residency was coming to an end. So was the leave of absence she’d taken from her job. A job she wanted less, in a place she had less desire to ever go back to, with each day she spent in Missoula. But quitting meant taking an enormous risk. Keeping her job was safer. Smarter. Willow was so tired of doing the safe, smart thing.
She was leaving Montana in two weeks and going back home, though. She’d already started packing. Tonight had been her last reading for the poet in residence program and soon her Missoula experience would be over completely.
Outside the coffee shop, she took a deep breath of night air and felt instantly better. The wide open sky glittered with stars, more than she could see in a big city even on the darkest nights.
What she didn’t expect to find outside, leaning against the building smoking a cigarette, was the man who’d recited Byron to her. She thought her heart actually skipped a beat at the sight of him. He wasn’t gone, after all.
“Where you waiting for me?” Willow asked. Then wished she could take the words back. Dumb question, he was probably waiting for his friend.
“Yes.” He put out his cigarette, field-stripped it and tucked the butt into his pocket. No littering, no risk of fire. The movements were the clear result of long-standing habit from a man who spent a lot of time outdoors and took care to leave nature as he found it.
For some reason, that careful habit struck her as significant.
“I’m Willow,” she said. He already knew that, but she didn’t know what else to say.
“I heard. I’m Gabe Wilson.” He walked towards her and stopped inches away, close enough for her to imagine that the heat from his body was warming her skin. “That was some poem you read tonight.”
Oh. Yes. She swallowed, thinking of what she’d written and how it might sound. Somehow it seemed a lot more suggestive with him around than it had before. Graphic, even. An outright erotic invitation. Maybe he wanted to take her up on it.
She should be so lucky.
“I’m glad you liked it,” she said, figuring a neutral answer was probably best.
“It made me want to ask you a question,” he said.
Oh, Lord, Willow prayed, don’t let this man ask me if I believe free verse is real poetry, or how it can be a poem if it doesn’t rhyme.
“Go ahead,” she said.
“Do you just want words, or do you want a man who can back them up?”
Her prayer was answered. Along with her every erotic dream, maybe. Willow felt her pulse kick up and felt a low throb between her legs at the possibility. She had to lick suddenly dry lips before she could answer him. “I want a man who can back them up.”
In a burst of uncharacteristic daring, she lifted her hand and placed her palm against his chest, feeling the heat of his body through the thin fabric of his shirt and the work-hardened muscles underneath and went on, “Can you?”
He could. She was certain of that. The real question was, did he want to?
The words shouldn’t have sounded erotic. It should have sounded like he was talking to somebody’s grandmother. It didn’t. It sounded like a sexual promise made by a man who knew exactly how to deliver and was confident in his abilities.
It would be reckless to go off with a stranger for a night of hot sex. Getting to know him first or saying no would be the mature, responsible thing to do. Willow thought of the mature, responsible, safe choices that seemed to be strangling her life and her increasing desire to rebel against them, do something else, welled up.
Start with a small rebellion here? Say yes to this man who commanded her attention with his mere presence. Say yes to her own wants and desires and too-long unfulfilled needs.
She didn’t have time to get to know him, anyway.
“I’m leaving in two weeks,” Willow said, wanting to make sure he didn’t misunderstand what she wanted. They didn’t have a future but that didn’t mean they couldn’t have tonight.
“Then we’d better not waste time.” Gabe lifted a hand to cover hers, keeping it against his chest, and continued, “I believe the next question is, your place or mine?”
Willow thought about it. Where did she want to go? Her place? His?
She was curious about where he lived, what it would tell her about who he was. She might not get another chance to find out. He wasn’t promising her forever or even a string of dates. Even if he had been, there wasn’t time.
He was promising to fulfill her sexual desires. And there was a certain appeal to the idea of being in unfamiliar masculine surroundings while he told her what he was going to do to every inch of her body and then did it.
“Your place,” she said.
His hand was warm, strong. His heartbeat under her hand was steady and solid. She swayed a little closer to him.
“I’d better warn you,” Gabe told her, “I intend to take my time and be thorough.”
That throbbing sensation between her legs wasn’t alleviated by this warning in the least. She could feel herself growing damp and slick in anticipation of his touch. His hands. His mouth. All of him.
“I’ll consider myself warned,” Willow answered.
A group of people coming down the sidewalk made her realize they weren’t alone yet. Gabe put his free hand on her waist and guided her to the side, letting the group pass. His hand felt so good there, and at the same time she felt impatient for it to slide up her ribcage to cup one full, aching breast. Or to slide down her hip to cup her sex in the palm of his hand.
“You want me to drive?” Gabe asked.
He was making sure she considered her choices, Willow realized. Letting her choose where they’d go. How they’d get there. If she wanted to drive her car, he’d agree. He was being careful not to rush her or put her in a position that made her uncomfortable.
That made her feel confident in letting him do the driving. In more ways than one. He was letting her establish the boundaries, set the limits. That told her that she could put herself in his hands safely.
“Yes,” Willow said. “I want you to drive.”
Gabe turned her in the right direction, guiding her with light pressure on her waist. He released her hand and walked beside her, keeping his arm around her and his hand against her waist. He was as relaxed and natural as if he’d known her for years and it was the way they always walked.
She, on the other hand, was very aware that a stranger was touching her and leading her away. It didn’t alarm her. It excited her. Every step made her thighs brush together, making her very aware of the throbbing ache between them. That light pressure combined with anticipation made the simple act of walking with him arousing.
He stopped her beside a recent model Ford pickup. It had an extended cab, she noted. Four doors. Two seats. Big enough to accommodate anything that might come up. The long truck bed was empty and she wondered what it would be like to fill it with blankets and lay under the starry night back there with him.
Gabe opened the passenger door for her and helped her in. His hands supported her waist as she climbed up to the unaccustomed height, slid down her hips to guide her in, and then withdrew as he closed the door.
Willow wanted to tell him to keep touching her, but she’d been warned. He was going to take his time.
She sat back on the seat, drew the seatbelt over her shoulder, and buckled it out of habit. Although if they had an accident before she got to experience Gabe taking his time, the universe was a crueler place than she could imagine.
Welcome to The Capture Agency, a fantasy dating service for dominant men who know what they like and how they like it, and women who can handle limitless pleasure. After being matched with a partner, the male will capture his date and make her a slave to passion. This exclusive service is for couples who aren’t afraid to push the limits, let go of their inhibitions and lose themselves in the fantasy.
Clients include Chase Hunter, the agency’s owner, who decides to break his cardinal rule against dating clients and capture a woman for the first time. Kane Woods, a man of superior size and strength who’s always had to reign in his desires–until now. And Gage Michael, who learns that his ex is using the service…and decides to capture her. Will these couples enjoy a hot romp between the sheets, or will they capture each other’s hearts?
Now available from St. Martin’s Press (Trade paperback original)
- Romance Junkies 5 Blue Ribbon Award
- Fallen Angel Reviews Recommended Read
“Charlene Teglia brings our fantasies of capture and bondage to the forefront with her latest release SATISFACTION GUARANTEED. These three interconnecting stories are told with heart, heat and a whole lot of hope…Ms. Teglia is a talented author who writes in a variety of romance genres and never leaves her readers wanting – expect maybe for her next book. SATISFACTION GUARANTEED is a prime example of what makes her one of my favorites – storylines that seduce both the mind and spirit.” – Romance Junkies
“Hot, hot, hot! There is no other way to describe Satisfaction Guaranteed. Each of these stories has gorgeous, sexy men and women who aren’t afraid to ask for what they want…Charlene Teglia is a fresh voice in the erotica genre, and it will be a pleasure to read subsequent works by this author.” – Fallen Angel Reviews
“Satisfaction Guaranteed is not to be missed!” – Joyfully Reviewed
By reading any further, you are stating that you are at least 18 years of age. If you are under the age of 18, it is necessary to exit this page.
Copyright 2007 Charlene Teglia
St. Martin’s Press, Feb. 19, 2008
All rights reserved
“I want to see you naked,” Chase said as he set her on her feet, her legs backed up against the four-poster bed. “I want to see all of that creamy skin bare for me and then I’m going to paint designs on your body with that whipped cream, every place I want to lick it off.”
“Works for me,” Rachel said, a smile spreading over her face.
“And while I’m doing that, pretty Rachel, I’m going to have you handcuffed to this bed.”
“Wow.” She gulped as she imagined herself on the bed, naked, helpless, wearing nothing but dots of whipped cream that Chase would swirl his tongue around and lap away until he tasted nothing but her. Her inner muscles tightened and she felt her sex swelling, a hot rush spreading through her as her body readied itself for him.
She wanted his mouth on her, his tongue teasing her nipples, her clit, plunging inside her…A shudder ran through her and Chase gave a low laugh at her telltale reaction.
“Like that idea, don’t you?”
“Uh-huh.” She licked her lips, her mouth feeling dry, heart racing as adrenaline shot through her.
He slapped her ass, the sharp sting taking her by surprise. It wasn’t unpleasant, just a faint sting followed by a rush of blood that puffed her vulva further. Now that was unexpected. Who knew a light spank could actually feel good and make her sex swell? “Get your pants off. The next time I spank you, I want to see a little rosy flush on your bare ass.”
Unbelievably, his words made her react with a liquid rush, her natural lubrication coating her and making her slick for him.
He slid a hand under her thin navy silk sweater, stroking her bare waist beneath it. “I gave you an order, Rachel. Pants off. Or do you need help undressing?”
“Wow.” She bunched her hands into his shirt and took a deep breath. “Give me a minute. I’m standing here with a hot man who has handcuffs and knows how to use them, telling me to get naked. The last time I got naked for anybody, I was having a physical.”
“Been a while?” Chase kissed the corner of her mouth, light, soft, then nipped at her lower lip with the edge of his teeth. The contrast made her shudder with want.
“It’s been so long,” she answered. “And it’s never been like this. I feel—” she broke off, searching for words.
“What do you feel, Rachel? Tell me.” Chase hooked his thumbs into the waistband of her pants and slid them back and forth, caressing the soft skin of her belly.
“Everything. I want to rip my clothes off and rub myself against you. I want anything and everything with you. I feel crazy and needy.”
Rachel fumbled at her button and zipper, opening her pants and sliding them down her hips. The fabric pooled at her feet and she stepped out, kicking herself free. She grasped the bottom of her sweater and yanked it up over her head, pulling her arms out and tossing that, aside, too. Her satin panties clung damply between her legs and her bra felt too constricting. Her breasts felt swollen and achy and she was pretty sure nothing would give her relief but having his hands and his mouth on them.
“Very nice.” He looked down at her new bra, approval plain on his face. “Sexy and classy. Just like you.”
Rachel felt a blush burn her cheeks. “Not very classy. I went to an exclusive dating agency looking for kinky sex.”
“No.” Chase traced the outline of her bra, running his fingers over the curves of her breasts as they rose above the edge of the fabric cups. “You wanted something and you went looking for it. You had needs and you wanted them filled. That doesn’t lessen who you are, Rachel. You’re a beautiful, desirable, accomplished woman and you have every right to want a lover to give you pleasure.”
She shivered as his fingers sang to her nerve endings, making her feel very aware of her skin as a sensory organ. She wanted to feel his touch everywhere.
“I’m going to give you pleasure, Rachel. And you’re going to have to accept it, take it, enjoy it. You don’t have a choice. You’re my captive and you have to give in to me.”
The Perfect Stranger
Sabrina giggled and gripped his biceps with both hands. “Look at the muscles on you. What do you do for a living?”
“Can’t tell you. I’d have to kill you.” Kane’s face gave nothing away, his voice equally bland.
“Huh. Back to Bluebeard’s closet, are we?” Sabrina gave him a measuring look. “I can eliminate things I know you don’t do. You’re not in the military with that hair. You also don’t work in corporate America.”
“Why so curious?” He ran his hands up her back in a slow, massaging stroke that made her go limp. Sabrina collapsed on him again, enjoying the firm pressure along either side of her spinal column.
“I’m a woman. I’m curious.”
“I thought you wanted anonymous sex with a perfect stranger. No last names, no real information about each other, except for what we wanted in bed.” Kane worked his way up and down her back and Sabrina found it very difficult to focus on the conversation. Lassitude spread through her and her body felt heavy after the intensity of her physical response.
“Yes, but that doesn’t mean I’m not curious about you.” Sabrina nuzzled his chest and planted a random pattern of soft kisses on his bare skin. “Aren’t you curious about me? What I do for a living?”
“You’re a mafia hit woman on vacation. You’ve just finished a job over the border in Canada and you wanted some satisfaction after the action. Killing makes you want to commit a life-affirming act. Sex with a stranger means you don’t risk any complications, anybody getting too close or finding out too much about you. You used the agency as the most efficient means of locating a suitable partner for your exotic tastes.”
His voice was low and lazy as he rubbed her back. Sabrina shook with helpless giggles. When she could finally speak, she said, “Mafia hit woman? Killing makes me want to commit a life-affirming act? Why don’t you sound more concerned about being in bed with a dangerous woman?”
“Well, you’re only dangerous for a fee,” Kane explained. “Nobody’s hired you to hit me, and as long as I satisfy your base urges, I’m in no danger. You’re always law abiding when you’re not on the job. It’s one of the reasons you have no record and you’ve never been caught. You’re smart.”
“I like this explanation.” Sabrina nipped at his pectoral muscle with the sharp edge of her teeth. “I’m dangerous. Don’t mess with me. I know forty ways to kill a man, and a hundred ways to hide the body.”
“I’m bigger than you,” Kane pointed out. “And you’re not done using me to get your kinky thrills, so I’ve got no worries.”
“I like this fictional identity.” She kissed her way up to his throat and scooted higher on his body to kiss his chin. “Makes me feel sexy. You’re pretty good at this game. Maybe you should write a book.”
“I’ll keep that in mind.” Kane rolled over with her, placing her underneath him again. His chest pressed against her nipples, making them harden in response. “Meanwhile, there’s another game I’m interested in.”
Ex Marks the Spot
Emma let the driver help her out of the limo that had been sent to bring her to the hotel where her captor waited. Everything had been planned by her mystery date, from the location of their rendezvous to how she would arrive and what she should wear. The clothes had been delivered the day before. When Emma had tried them on she’d been sure they wouldn’t fit or would look ridiculous.
Everything had fit. And she didn’t look laughable. She’d stared at herself in the mirror, wondering who this stranger was staring back at her.
A white silk corset that laced tightly in the back and pushed her breasts up, emphasizing her cleavage, was the first item she’d put on. Next came a wisp of a thong in matching white silk, and then sheer thigh high stockings designed to stay up without garters. White shoes with high heels that made her legs look longer and more elegant than she would have thought possible. And over it, a faux fur coat in dark mink that made her pale skin look luminescent and contrasted boldly with her strawberry blond hair.
She looked exotic. She looked, Emma realized, like a very expensive plaything bought for an evening of pleasure. Her round ass was bare against the coat’s silk lining, and the lingerie felt like very fragile protection. The generous curves of her breast, hips and bottom were not so much covered by the garments as put on display. The corset showed much more than cleavage, it left her dark rose aureoles exposed and her nipples barely concealed. And her sex was clearly visible through the thin fabric of the thong.
The man who had chosen this outfit for her to wear wanted to see her body gift-wrapped in a way that was more enticing than full nudity. The thong would provide no protection at all. He could stroke her covered sex with as little impediment as if she was bare to his touch, and it would be easy for him to press a silk-covered finger into her if he chose. He could touch the upper curves of her breasts, lift them free of the corset to see her nipples if he wanted to. He could have her walk around in the privacy of their hotel suite, swaying on high heels, while he watched her bare backside bounce and shimmy.
Given the amount of thought he’d put into the details she knew about, Emma could only wonder what else he had planned for her. That had kept her awake the night before, and inspired more than a few fantasies. Now she was about to find out. The final item she’d been instructed to wear was to be put on after she’d come to the reserved suite. She’d been given a silk blindfold and she was to tie it over her eyes before knocking.
A tremor ran through her at the thought of being seen in her barely dressed state by a man she couldn’t see at all. Although in a way, it was a relief. It made what she was doing less real, made him less real. A fantasy figure.
Emma checked in at the front desk, conscious all the while of her state of undress and certain that somebody suspected. Her nipples made stiff little points against the tight silk of her corset. She was so aware of her body and her almost-nudity that it seemed impossible that everybody around her wasn’t aware of it, too.
She felt herself blushing as she took the card key that would open the room where a man waited for her and walked as fast as she dared in her high heels to the elevator. She breathed a sigh of relief when the doors slid closed, encapsulating her in privacy and solitude, safe from curious or lascivious stares.
When the doors opened on the penthouse floor, Emma tightened her grip on the card, walked to the door and slid the card into the reader slot. The door unlocked with an audible click. She glanced around to make sure she wouldn’t be seen, and tied the blindfold over her eyes. Then she knocked on the door before pushing it open.
Silence greeted her. Emma took a few steps in, feeling her way, then stopped. She’d come in far enough for the door to shut behind her and the sound it made when it closed almost made her jump. She hesitated, not sure if she should wait or come in, half afraid of tripping over something in the unfamiliar setting and in the unaccustomed height of her heels.
She felt a finger brush her cheek and drew in a sharp breath. Her heartbeat sped up and fine tremors ran through her. She felt hands move to the front of her coat and slowly undo the buttons that held it closed, one by one, all the way down. Then she heard the man move behind her. He gripped the coat and slid it off her shoulders, down her arms, then used it to trap her lower arms in the sleeves as he pulled her back against him.
A whisper breathed near her ear. “How lovely.”
A hand came to rest just below her throat, then slid lower to rest on the bare upper curves of her breasts. It was a possessive touch, one full of intent, and Emma swallowed hard as she realized that he could touch or take anything he wanted. And he would.
His hand moved, fingertips gliding along the outline of her corset, almost touching her nipples, then sliding lower to touch her through the silk.
“So hard,” he whispered as he rubbed his palm over one tight bud. Her breasts felt swollen inside the tight silk, and it seemed to enhance the sensation of his hand moving over her breast, stroking lightly over her nipples by turns. Then his hand moved slowly down to cup her belly and Emma almost shuddered. It felt so good to be held, to be touched. And at the same time, it was almost more than she could bear. Her body knew the touch of one man’s hands. Sex and Gage were inextricably entwined in her mind. Would she even know how to respond to another man?
“Wait,” Emma said through stiff lips.
The hand on her belly pressed in, gentle, steady pressure exerted until her body was nestled into his. “Second thoughts?” The low whisper was punctuated by a soft kiss in the hollow below her ear.
Second, third, fourth, fifth, they collided in her brain until she was almost dizzy. Or maybe that was from his breath tickling the nape of her neck, his hand rubbing slow circles over her belly, massaging her into relaxing in his hold. “I don’t know if I can do this,” Emma admitted. “I’ve never…that is, I’ve only…” her voice trailed off into uncertainty.
“You’ve never done anything like this.” A soft whisper, a kiss on the curve of her shoulder that slid over her skin like silk. “I won’t hurt you.”
“I might not be any good,” Emma said baldly. “I might disappoint you.”
“Let me worry about that.” His lips feathered along the line of her neck. “Tonight, you are my captive. I arranged for you to be delivered to me, blindfolded and gift-wrapped. And I have plans for you, lovely Emma. Plans for your pleasure and mine.”
Chandra Walker has a secret hidden in her genes―she’s a rare female werewolf. Now that her all-male pack has located her, it’s her destiny to sample each man’s pleasures and choose a mate from among them―a mate who will become pack leader. Soon the strongest alphas are competing to bring Chandra the most ecstasy, but only one man will claim her. Find out who in Animal Attraction…
Place awards here.
Animal Attraction is a sizzling hot erotic paranormal romance form Charlene Teglia. Last year I reviewed her paranormal Wicked Hot which I characterized as – “… a scorcher so put on your asbestos gloves before reading.” Animal Attraction is even better – sexier and smarter.
Fans will relish this fine version of sexual Survivor as time is running out on Chandra and her retinue.
By reading any further, you are stating that you are at least 18 years of age. If you are under the age of 18, it is necessary to exit this page.
Copyright 2008 Charlene Teglia St. Martin’s Press, coming 2009 All rights reserved
It’s amazing how much can change in the space of a heartbeat.
One minute, I was alone in the Tysons Corner leather store organizing stock. Rehanging jackets that had been tried on and decided against, or more likely tried on for no better reason than to get me to turn around and reach up to unhook them. It had been that kind of afternoon.
And then the hairs on the back of my neck stood up. My first thought was, oh shit, I’m going to be robbed. In which case I would calmly and quietly open up the register and let the crackheads clean it out. There are some things worth fighting for, but a minimum wage job in a mall store isn’t one of them.
“I want…that,” a voice said far too close to my ear. The voice was deep, masculine, and sort of growly. The owner of the voice exhaled and warm breath moved over the exposed skin at the nape of my neck. I wished I hadn’t cut my hair so short. A strange man’s breath on my skin made me feel far too vulnerable.
I turned, putting a little space and the brown leather bomber jacket I was holding between us in the process. Now I could see who I was dealing with. His eyes were dark brown lit with amber. His hair matched his eye color and fell just to the tops of his shoulders although the natural curl made it look shorter. He had an uncompromising expression on features that looked vaguely Slavic, and while he wasn’t much over six feet he managed to give the impression that every inch was formidable. He wore blue jeans and cowboy boots and a white long-sleeved tee shirt with a Harley Davidson logo that couldn’t possibly be warm enough in the dead of winter, even in Virginia.
Maybe he really had just come in for a jacket. The hackles he’d raised coming in didn’t lay down, though, so I remained on guard. I have pretty good instincts for trouble, and they’ve saved me too often for me to ignore them.
“I don’t think it’s your size,” I said, continuing to hold the distressed leather between us. Not that it made much of a barrier, but it was something. “There are more over there.” I tilted my head to indicate the rack. My hands stayed right where they were, at about middle height where they could block low or high without having to travel the full distance either way.
He gave me a measuring look, and then obligingly moved to the display of bomber jackets. I breathed a little easier when he put a couple of feet between us.
“Chandra,” he said, drawing the word out. He lifted a sleeve for closer inspection as he said it. “That’s your name?”
“Says so on my name tag,” I said. I smiled, but my lips were tight over my teeth. I didn’t want to encourage any familiarity. He’d come into my store while I was alone, he’d stood too close, he’d breathed on me, and now he was using my name. That was a good tactic for getting somebody to relax and trust you; use their name. It had the opposite effect on me, coming from him.
“Did you know it means ‘the moon shining’?”
“No,” I lied. I knew what the books said, but I was pretty sure it really meant my birth parents were liberal arts students with more romantic ideas than money or sense. They’d put me up for adoption and stuck me with the name as part of the adoption requirement. Although part of me had always wondered if that was so I could be tracked down eventually. There aren’t a lot of redheaded American women in their early twenties with Sanskrit names.
“Do you dream of us?” He raised his head as he asked the question, his eyes intent on mine.
“I have lots of dreams. Everybody does.” I shifted my feet, preparing to fight or run if I needed to. I didn’t like anything about this encounter. “One of my dreams involves making sales and staying employed. Do you want to buy that?”
“I haven’t tried it on yet.” His lips curved in a smile I didn’t like, even though I had to admit it looked good on him. He looked like he was laughing at me. Toying with me.
“I’m not sure it fits.” He took it off the hanger and put it on. It seemed to me that he drew the motions out deliberately, like he was putting on a show for me.
I watched the way he moved, but not because I was taken in by a nice body. I noted the harnessed power in his movements and mentally upgraded his strength significantly over my initial estimate. If it came to fight or flight, I’d run. I was too likely to lose a physical confrontation, no matter how many dirty tricks I knew. He was solid and graceful and he knew how to use his body to advantage.
“I’m Zach,” he said, smoothing the front of the jacket. My eyes followed his hands. The jacket looked good on him. I suspected pretty much anything would.
“Nice to meet you.” My tone was flat and unfriendly. The gleam in his eyes told me he wasn’t discouraged.
“Now we’re on a first-name basis.” Zach the stranger took a step forward, and I stepped back to maintain our distance. He quirked a brow at me. “Running away?”
I ignored the question. “Bombers are on sale this week. Twenty per cent off. Would you like to wear that out?”
“Yes.” He grinned at me. “I suppose you’d like me to buy it and leave now.”
“You might also want something to protect the leather.” I waved at the counter by the cash register. “You should treat it before it’s exposed to rain.”
“The cow this came from stood outside and got wet,” Zach pointed out, his lips twitching with what looked like a barely-contained urge to laugh.
“The cow wasn’t a fashion garment.” I walked around and behind the register, managing not to turn my back to him in the process.
“Already you’re changing how I dress, and we haven’t even had our first date.” Zach the outrageous flirt took the jacket back off and handed it to me so I could remove the security tag and scan the price. His flirting didn’t reassure me at all. Everything about him screamed stranger danger, no matter how hot he looked in tight jeans and boots and a leather bomber.
“Then you’re getting off lucky, since we aren’t going to have a date.” I charged him for the leather protector and told him the total. Zach gave me a gold card that didn’t improve my opinion of him in the least. So he had money. That didn’t make him safe. It might conceivably make him an even greater threat.
I gave him the jacket to wear out of the store and bagged the bottle I didn’t think he’d ever use. Which made me even happier about selling it to him.
“You don’t trust me.” Zach’s smile vanished as he donned the garment.
“Mom warned me about guys like you.”
“Then you should have expected me.” He looked so intent and determined as he said it that I had to fight the urge to take a step back. “I’ll be seeing you, Chandra.”
After he left I stayed still, focusing on breathing until my heart rate settled down. What was that crack about my mom? I’d meant my adoptive parent, but was he in some way connected with my mysterious all-records-sealed birth mother?
I finally went back to organizing the stock, but I couldn’t shake the feeling of being watched. When two other store employees came on and my shift ended, I was glad to leave. I wandered through the large shopping center on a random route just in case I wasn’t simply jumpy and paranoid after meeting Zach-I’ll-Be-Seeing-You.
Most guys didn’t rattle me, not even bullies. Zach had not been most guys. But I didn’t see anybody who matched his height and shape, didn’t glimpse a brown bomber or curling hair when I paused and turned to look around me from time to time under the guise of browsing. So I made my way to the entrance nearest my car and headed towards my parking spot. I walked quickly but steadily, head up, eyes forward, the keys ready in my hand.
A trio got out of a car near mine, two men and a woman. I didn’t make eye contact, just noted their position and adjusted my angle so that our paths wouldn’t intersect.
Except they did, because they moved towards me and spread out making a sort of loose net. They were too close for me to safely get my door unlocked and inside, so I turned to put the side of my car at my back and drew my feet into the cat stance. It looked like a neutral pose to the average person. If any of these three had enough training to recognize it as a fighting stance, well, it’s not like they weren’t already aggressive.
The back of my neck was prickling again and goose bumps marched up and down my skin. I ignored the distraction and kept the three of them in my field of vision.
Which is why I saw Zach before they did. He appeared behind them, seemingly out of nowhere, and maneuvered himself in front of me so fast I blinked.
“Rhonda. Wilson. Miguel.” Zach nodded at the each of them in turn. “Did you want something?”
“Is she your bitch?”
The woman who I guessed must be Rhonda asked the question. I had a sudden vision of Zach and myself in orange prison garb and swallowed a laugh. His bitch? Was she kidding?
“She’s my business and none of yours.” Zach’s answer was flat.
“She’s on our territory.” This from the big, bald black guy. I wasn’t sure if he was Miguel or Wilson. Neither of the men looked Hispanic to me.
“She has a job in the mall.”
“She should find another one. It’d be better for her health.”
Oh, hell. I went cold. Had I stumbled into some sort of gang-related turf struggle? Thanks, Zach.
“I take her health very seriously.” Zach’s tone intensified with threat.
“As seriously as we take the insult of your presence here?” That came from Rhonda, followed by a round-house kick that proved she wasn’t just a pretty face.
After that, things happened fast and I missed most of it because Zach was hard to see around. But when it ended, the three of them were down. Zach grabbed my wrist, plucked the keys from my hand, and unlocked my car, pushing me inside and following me in one uninterrupted move.
I scooted over the gearshift and into the passenger seat, my back to the door, my fingers reaching for the handle to open it and jump out the other side. Zach caught the arm closest to him in a grip that was hard enough to hurt.
I froze. Then I saw blood on his Harley shirt that hadn’t been there before. The shirt had a new rip in it. “You didn’t zip the jacket,” I said, staring. That was dumb. Leather might have protected him. “Which one of them had a knife?”
“And she called me a bitch.” I shook my head and reached out a tentative hand, lifting the shirt to see how badly he was hurt. “Do you need a doctor?”
“No. It wasn’t silver.”
I frowned, unable to process why the metal the blade was made out of would make any difference to the severity of his wound. My frown deepened when I couldn’t find the cut on his perfect six-pack that should have been there to go with the damaged shirt and the blood.
“I’m fine, but feel free to inspect.” I looked up and found Zach’s eyes on me, full of humor and a heat I didn’t think the situation warranted.
I planted my hand on his bare skin and ran it slowly over every inch that wasn’t covered by his jeans. Belly, ribs, chest, all of it strong and beautiful and warm to the touch, and none of it marked by any sign of injury.
“I can unzip if you want to keep going.” Zach indicated his lap. I took my hand away, let his tee shirt fall back into place, and sat back.
“No, thanks.” I didn’t know what to think. I still didn’t trust him, but he’d defended me, fought for me. Taken a wound for me. And now it had somehow vanished? “Who the hell are you?”
“Zach.” He lifted the hand he hadn’t released and drew it to his lips. He pressed a warm kiss to the back of my hand. Heat shivered over me. “We have a date.”
“No, we don’t.” The denial was automatic.
“The moon is waxing.” Zach leaned towards me and brought his other hand up to cup my cheek. I didn’t pull away. “It’ll be full in three more nights. If you don’t come to us by then, we’ll come for you. It’s time.”
“What, are you in some sort of gang or cult?” I blurted out the question. “I don’t want any trouble.”
“Trouble wants you.” Zach caressed my cheek, trailed his fingers along my jaw and touched the racing pulse at my throat. “You’d better find another job. We’ve been looking out for you, but nobody likes you coming onto panther turf six days a week. Next time there might be more of them, or they might be quicker.”
Zach had been unbelievably fast, and he’d still been cut. They could be quicker than that? I mentally kissed my job good-bye and wondered how fast I could find another one. Or maybe I should simply move on. Zach’s implication that others were watching me, following me, and planning to move in on me three days from now made greener pastures pretty attractive.
“Don’t try to run.” Zach frowned at me as if he’d read my mind. “It’s dangerous for you to live apart from us, especially now. You need to come home.”
“I have a home. You don’t belong in it.” Not that he’d be unpleasant to wake up to, but he did seem to be up to his neck in complications. Anybody sleeping next to him might be sleeping in a danger zone. “Maybe you belong in mine.” Zach’s lips curved, and then his head dipped towards mine. It was more the promise of a kiss than the real thing, a brush of lips, a breath of heat. It was enough to send my heart stumbling and make my blood rush. “Come to us, Chandra. You’ll find us at the place you see in your dreams.” Before I could think of a come-back, Zach was gone and I was left wondering if I’d imagined the whole thing. Just in case I hadn’t and there were more people waiting to spring out at me, I climbed back into the driver’s seat and headed for my nice safe, sane apartment where I hoped there wouldn’t be any surprises waiting.
They guard humanity against supernatural threats from the five gateways into the world. The Shadow Guardians: a vampire, a werewolf, a demon, a dragon and a fae are united in brotherhood— and war.
Shadow Guardian Kenrick is an alpha werewolf forever in his prime. When Sybil, a beautiful apprentice witch, unknowingly opens a realm to the Otherworld, there is a sudden influx of demons—and it’s up to Kenrick to help her stop them. Soon their passion flares and Kenrick desires Sybil as his mate. But to form their union, Sybil faces the ultimate test: She must bind herself to the Shadow Guardians by sharing herself with all five warriors.
- 2009 Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award Nominee, Best Paranormal/Fantasy/SF Erotic Romance
- Night Owl Romance 5 of 5 Reviewer Top Pick
- 4.5 Stars Romantic Times BOOKReviews
“This is one of the hottest books I’ve read this year!” – Night Owl Romance 5 of 5 Reviewer Top Pick
“The plot has some innovative twists and the sex is hot, varied, frequent and fun.” – 4.5 Stars Romantic Times BOOKReviews
“Teglia’s prose is snappy; Sybil is a determined, witty heroine; the men are likable and distinct; and their erotic misadventures are a feast for the senses.” – Publisher’s Weekly
“Is it getting dark?” Sybil finally asked when she couldn’t stand the silence any longer. It should be if they were still on the same side of the planet; she’d stopped at the estate sale on her way home from work, and while events had moved at a breakneck pace since, it still had to be late evening. The thought that so little real time had elapsed was a little disorienting.
“Are we spending the night here?”
“Should we be walking, then?”
Well, okay. Sybil tipped her head back to watch as the
first pale stars appeared. It comforted her that some things remained constant. The sun still set in the west, stars still shone, the world continued to spin on its axis. It made her feel hopeful.
Ghost flames danced across her vision, then winked out. She frowned. “Tell me about the book.”
“It’s the work of chaos demons.”
“How could it write itself onto me? Into me?”
“The book was merely a container for the spells to
inhabit. The spells are the magic.”
Sybil turned to look at Kenric, careful to keep her eyes on his and not on anything more distracting. “How can magic just be made of words?”
“Words are power. I know you’re untrained, but surely you know that much.”
“Well, yeah. But they’re not alive.”
“Aren’t they?” His expression seemed serious. Sybil felt her throat constrict.
“No,” she said firmly.
“As you say.”
She scuffed the toe of her shoe against the ground. “Okay, fine, words are alive and these particular words came from chaos demons. Why did the book get written in the first place?”
Kenric’s face hardened. “Witches made a bargain. Long ago. The word of unmaking would have been spoken and chaos would have been let loose.”
“Would have been.” She pounced on that point. “Let’s come back to that, but first, what is the word of unmaking?”
“The lost word.” He gave her the sort of look a teacher might direct at a problem student. “Creation came into being with a word. The lost word unmakes.”
“Genesis and its opposite. Huh. Okay.” This conversation was making her head throb. The idea that a single word could undo everything, and that it was currently inside her, was enough to bring on a killer migraine. “So way back in history, some witches made a deal to get the lost word and turn everything into chaos. Their plans went wrong, and ever since
it’s just been hiding out in a book until I found it and bled on it?”
“It hid in many places and forms over the centuries, but yes.”
“Peachy.” Her sour tone said volumes. No wonder nobody
would train her. She could destroy the world by going shopping.