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By Beth Williamson
Samhain Publishing, Ltd.Copyright © 2006 Beth Williamson
All right reserved.
Chapter OneIt was almost pitch black in the room. A remote shadowy world of sound and touch.
"I was about to kick his sorry ass, but I see you took care of that already, my wolf," came Malcolm's voice.
Leigh slammed the kitchen door closed behind her, shutting out Damasco and the rest of the world.
"If you Zarza men don't leave me alone soon, I swear I'll-"
He hissed in the darkness. "Do not call me a Zarza."
She turned away from him and started to leave the kitchen. Enough was enough. His warm hand touched her arm.
"I'm sorry, Leigh. I don't mean to snap at you."
"I know you don't, but you don't trust me either. And I can't trust anyone."
He sighed as his thumb caressed her inner wrist. The roughness of his calluses gently scraped the tender skin. The friction sent skitters of something racing up her arm straight to her chest. She felt her nipples harden and pucker, pushing against her undershirt. Now that was startling.
She wanted to pull her wrist out of his grasp, but was immobile. The sensations caused by that one touch were so foreign, so unsettling that she had no clue what to do.
"I want to trust you. And I want you to trust me."
His deep voice in the darkness was rough and scratchy. He was upset.
His hold tightened briefly on her arm. "He touched you."
"It's okay. I don't think he'll do it again." Amazingly, she felt herself grin. Oh yeah. Damasco would be cursing her name all the way home. Bouncing up and down. On that hard saddle.
"If he touches you again, I may have to kill him."
His voice was cold and hard. She had no doubt he meant every word.
"Because he touched what does not belong to him."
"Belong?" She wasn't following his thoughts. "My ass doesn't belong to anyone but me."
Before she could even take a breath to answer, she was in his arms and his lips slammed down on hers.
He was hard. So hard. From top to bottom. Especially that part of his anatomy that was initially soft. It was hard now and knocking on her belly.
And his lips. Rough and demanding, they ruthlessly plundered her own. She felt like she was in the middle of a twister. Whirling head, lurching stomach, pulsing between her legs. His whiskers scraped her chin, her cheeks. It was exhilarating; it was exciting. It was terrifying.
She grabbed onto his shoulders to ground herself. She was getting dizzy. Probably because she wasn't breathing. As quickly as it began, it ended. With a last gentle kiss, he pulled away.
She took a shuddering breath and clasped her hand to her stomach.
"What the hell just happened?"
Was that her voice? She nearly turned to look behind her to find the woman who'd spoken with that sexy, sultry voice.
"I just proved you wrong." His voice was deeper, if that were even possible.
"Wrong? About what?" Her mind damn well refused to focus.
"About your ass."
She felt him smile in the semi-darkness. "I'm going to check to make sure we're not in a canyon, because there is an echo in here."
She shook her head to try to clear it. Stepping away from him, she felt the loss of heat as keenly as if he were a bonfire. Okay, just forget the kissing! Ha!
"Look, Malcolm. This isn't going any further until you tell me the truth. All of it. You have one day. By tomorrow night you're spilling the beans or you're packing your shit."
She was walking, or at least pretending to walk since she was shaking so much she couldn't feel her feet, out of the kitchen.
She stopped. That was the second time he'd called her sweetheart.
"What?" she snapped.
"Trust is a valuable thing, no? Once I give it to you, you cannot give it back."
Excerpted from The Reward by Beth Williamson Copyright © 2006 by Beth Williamson. Excerpted by permission.
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