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4.3 30
by Jennifer Blake

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How far will a mother go to save her child? What will a man do to protect the woman he loves?

Janna Kerr's eight-year-old daughter is dangerously ill and she knows her last hope is an unscrupulous doctor who — for the right price — will help her child. Secluded in a small cabin in the Louisiana bayou, Janna and Lainey wait for the summons.


How far will a mother go to save her child? What will a man do to protect the woman he loves?

Janna Kerr's eight-year-old daughter is dangerously ill and she knows her last hope is an unscrupulous doctor who — for the right price — will help her child. Secluded in a small cabin in the Louisiana bayou, Janna and Lainey wait for the summons. But when Clay Benedict shows up, an already desperate woman is pushed to the edge.

Clay, whose powerful Louisiana family owns this land, was just checking on the place. He didn't expect to be drugged and held captive by a beautiful woman whose secret is revealed the moment he looks into her young daughter's eyes — Benedict eyes.

The last thing Janna needs is this powerful man affecting her in ways her heart cannot allow. Because nothing is more important than saving her daughter — and Clay is getting too close to understanding the terrible risk she's willing to take. But in Louisiana, a man fights for what he wants . . .

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Clay Benedict has no idea why a beautiful woman living in the bayou would drug him and then hold him prisoner. Yet when he looks into the eyes of her desperately ill young daughter and makes the connection, he knows he will do anything it takes to keep them both safe. A strong sense of family, sultry Southern charm, and an underlying sense of menace permeate this atmospheric story that is classic contemporary Blake and part of a five-book series that was first published by Mira in 2001.
The Benedict brothers and cousins have a lot in common: They're handsome, powerful, and wealthy, and they take things like family, loyalty, and responsibility very, very seriously. Janna Kerr may not have all the Benedict family's advantages, but she definitely shares their feelings about family and responsibility. Though her long-ago lover, Matt Benedict, died without ever knowing about the child they'd made together, Janna is prepared to do whatever is necessary to get the desperately ill little girl the kidney transplant she needs. That's why, when Matt's twin brother, Clay, makes an unexpected visit to the isolated fishing cabin where artist Janna and her daughter Lainey have been staying, in hiding while waiting for the illegal transplant that is their last hope, Janna panics and makes Clay her prisoner. Clay's Benedict charm quickly captivates his jailer and delights her daughter. But, even as Janna's designs on her captive's body take on new dimensions, her newly forged family becomes deeply entwined in a web of deadly danger.
Blake’s Louisiana Gentlemen contemporary romances will win over a new batch of fans with its strong sense of place, emotion-driven plotting, and compellingly crafted characters.
From the Publisher
"Clay will win over a new batch of fans with its strong sense of place, emotion-driven plotting , and compellingly crafted characters."
booklist on Clay

"A strong sense of family, sultry Southern charm, and an underlying sense of menace permeate this atmospheric story "
Library Journal on Clay

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Louisiana Gentlemen , #4
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Chapter One

Clay Benedict was out cold, his large framesprawled in boneless grace on the worn linoleum ofthe old camp's kitchen. Janna Kerr stared down athim with her hand pressed to her mouth while onepart of her brain exalted in her success and the otherstood appalled by it. She had him, had Clay Benedict,the one man in the whole world that was of any useto her. The thing was done. She had turned a possibledisaster into certain triumph.

    It seemed too easy. So few things in her life hadbeen easy in recent years that it made her extremelynervous.

    He appeared dead, but that wasn't possible. Surelyit wasn't? She'd had no time for careful measurements,however, little time for anything except findinga way to prevent him from leaving. The sedativehad taken forever to kick in, so long that she'd begunto think feverishly of more desperate measures. Therehad been no need, after all. One moment he'd beensitting at the cheap wooden table, toying with hisempty coffee cup, and the next he was toppling fromhis chair.

    His head had hit the floor as he fell. Janna hadn'tcounted on that. Moving with slow care, she knelt athis side and put out her hand as if to touch him. Thenshe drew it back again, closing her fist so tightly thather short, neat nails dug into her palm.

    What if he was playacting? What if his eyessnapped open and he grabbed her? She was strongfrom years of lifting and caring for her daughter Lainey,also from wringing out yards of water-soakeddye cloth and searching the woods and fields for dyeplant specimens. Still, she didn't much care for herchancesin a wrestling match with the man on thefloor.

    He was a superior specimen of the male animal ifshe'd ever seen one, with whipcord muscles and thedeeply tanned skin of an outdoorsman. His chest, underthe blue T-shirt that matched his faded jeans, wasbroad and deep before it tapered into a flat waist andlean hips. Power marked his chiseled features and thefirm line of his lips, though the impression was softenedby the length of his lashes and the smile linesthat fanned from the corners of his eyes. Even in astupor, he appeared self-contained, invincible in hisassurance of exactly who and what he was inside.

    He was a Benedict. A Benedict of Turn-Coupe,Louisiana, with all the assurance verging on arrogancethat went with the name.

    Annoyance at the idea steeled Janna's nerves, andshe reached out again to feel for the pulse in the sideof his neck. The warmth of his skin was startlingagainst her chilled fingers, and she could sense thefaint prickle of his dark beard underneath it. It hadbeen a long time since she'd actually touched a man.The act felt so intimate that it was a second beforeshe could concentrate on the vigorous and steady beatof his jugular. She counted it for a moment, then letout a sigh and sat back on her heels.

    She had Clay Benedict, all right. But what in thename of heaven was she going to do with him nowthat she had him?

    She wouldn't need to hold him long, a week, twoat the outside. She had done so much already, madeall the contacts, raised the money, moved Lainey andherself into this fishing camp in the back of the beyond.Getting hold of Clay Benedict had been a last,totally unexpected boon, the spun sugar icing on thecake. It was possible that it would make the wholething perfect.

    Absolutely everything was in place now. Soon itwould be over, all over.

    She'd had to improvise when Clay had arrived sounexpectedly at the camp an hour ago. Denise hadasked him to check on Janna and her daughter, he'dsaid. It made sense when she remembered how close-knitthe Benedict clan was, how they looked aftereach other and everything else in what they consideredtheir ordained corner of the world, the Benedictcommunity on Horseshoe Lake and its swamp. Thenhad come the bad moment when he'd shown toomuch interest in the photos of Lainey scattered overthe table where Janna had been putting them into analbum. She couldn't allow that, so had been forcedto act on her half-formed impulse. Now it was beginningto seem that it was meant to be.

    He lay so still. The rise and fall of his chest wasdeep, his breathing soundless. His cleanly molded lipswere parted a fraction, his hands, with their scatteringof nicks and pale scars, were open and the fingerslax. It gave her an odd feeling around her heart to seehim so defenseless.

    She could still back out; it wasn't too late. Someexcuse could be found for why Clay had passed outin her kitchen. She could let him sleep off the sedativethen send him on his way. Dr. Gower might notbe too happy with this substitution in the plan, afterall. With so much lead-time, Clay Benedict mightalso figure out what was going on. Suppose he gotaway and moved to stop her? Buying and selling ahuman organ was illegal, after all, and the penalty forit wasn't light. If she actually stole one, they'd probablyput her under the jailhouse instead of inside it.

    That Clay would turn the key himself if he wereable, Janna didn't doubt. She knew all about the strictethics of the Benedicts—she'd heard enough aboutthem nine years ago. They came down firmly on theside of law and order and strict moral conduct. TheBenedicts, male and female, would never allow someoneto be deliberately injured for their benefit, noteven if it meant losing the person they loved most inthe world.

    Janna wasn't made that way, at least not when herdaughter's life was at stake. She had Clay Benedictand she was going to keep him as long as he wasuseful to her.

    A low groan came from the man beside her knee.He might not be quite so far gone as she'd thought.She had to make a move, and fast, if she meant tohold him.

    The fishing camp had only three rooms, an L-shapedliving room, dining room and kitchen combination,and two bedrooms. Space for a bathroomhad been carved out of one of these, so that the other,the one facing the lake, was larger. Janna and Laineyslept in the big bedroom, since sharing a bed made iteasier for Janna to get up at night with her daughterand to check on the medical equipment. The otherbedroom had been turned into a workspace by pushingthe ancient iron bedstead into a corner. Her workroomwould be the best place, Janna thought. Anyway,it was closer. Dragging Clay Benedict that shortdistance should be possible if she used her leg muscles.The problem would be getting him onto the bed.She wasn't exactly petite, but heaving his hard-muscledmass around was beyond her.

    His airboat also had to be considered. It was sittingin plain sight at the camp's boat dock, next to the oldaluminum skiff that had come with the camp, Itwould be a dead giveaway if anyone came lookingfor its owner. What on earth was she going to do withit?


Excerpted from CLAY by JENNIFER BLAKE. Copyright © 2001 by Patricia Maxwell. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Meet the Author

Jennifer Blake was born near Goldonna, Louisiana, in her grandparents' 120-year-old hand-built cottage. She grew up on an eighty-acre farm in the rolling hills of northern Louisiana. While married and raising her children, she became a voracious reader. At last, she set out to write a book of her own. That first book was followed by more than forty others, and today they have reached more than nine million copies in print, making Jennifer Blake one of the best-selling romance authors of our time. Her most recent novel is Love's Wild Desire.
Jennifer and her husband live near Quitman, Louisiana, in a house styled after old Southern planters' cottages.

"From the Paperback edition."

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Clay (Louisiana Gentlemen Series #4) 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This fourth book of the Benedict Clan was very disappointing!(ROAN is such a good read!) The beginning was a real stretch - the 'kidnapping of Clay! The heroine's actions and reactions were very unbelievable. It was hard to have sympathy for the character where there should have been sympathy for her problems!
Guest More than 1 year ago
JENNIFER BLAKE writes the best romance book. I was a nora roberts fan but after reading "Clay", nora is HISTORY! Now I have to get all of Jennifer Blake's books.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I couldn't put this book down. I have already read Kane, Luke, and Roan, but you don't have to read these first. Jennifer Blake really captures southern gentlemen. I can't wait until Wade comes out next year!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was so hard to put down. There was suspence, romance, just a little bit of everything. It made me want to make a visit to Louisiana to see if there are such gentlemen!
harstan More than 1 year ago
Eight years old Lainey Kerr is dying unless a kidney transplant occurs quite soon. Her desperate mother Janna turns to black market Doctor Gower, a dealer in illegal organs. Janna moves into a remote Bayou cabin owned by a friend Denise who sends her cousin Clay Benedict to insure the safety of her guests.

Janna, fearing Clay will interfere when Gower summons her especially if he realizes who her daughter is, drugs his coffee. Clay awakens to find himself tied up with Lainey looking at him. He concludes he was drugged but not sure why and the little girl staring at him has to be the daughter of his deceased twin Matt. Clay soon realizes how far Janna will go to save Lainey and how much he wants to help her and his niece, but the murders of two boys for their organs make the price exorbitant and real to both adults.

Jennifer Blake asks how far will the reader go to save the life of a loved one. Will an individual willingly allow murder to reap body parts for a life saving transplant? Those ethic questions confront Janna, who wonders if she is Faust having sold her soul to the devil? The story line is thought provoking though the manner in which Lainey was hidden from her relatives (Matt dies while Janna is pregnant and his father dies after threatening her) seems unnecessary overkill, but does not take away from the tale. Readers will find CLAY filled with a complex moral dilemma that not only showcases Ms. Blake¿s talent, but also will send the audience seeking the first three novels of this series.

Harriet Klausner

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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
(Hawkstar, may i make a prophesy? IT SHALL BE FUN. >:3)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A prety white shecat wants too join. Dose hawkstar have a mate?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A dark ginger tom walks in. May i join.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I walk in. I am a black shecat with a white feather on my chest. "May i join?" I ask. "I havent been a warrior long so im still kinda young. Also i need a mate." I sit & wait for someone to reply.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hello to you, too! I know what it feels like to be a remnant. I'm an old member of Berryclan. Do you think I could be warrior here? *a velvet purplish-black she-cat with brown eyes*
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Padded to med den.