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Stormy Challenge

Stormy Challenge

3.8 81
by Jayne Ann Krentz

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Leya Brandon didn't know what—if anything—she could believe of all Court Tremayne told her. He'd already lied about his name. And while she thought her heart wasn't at risk, she'd clearly underestimated his all-consuming desire to win her for his own.

Little did she know that Court had no intention of stopping. Not until he'd left her hungering


Leya Brandon didn't know what—if anything—she could believe of all Court Tremayne told her. He'd already lied about his name. And while she thought her heart wasn't at risk, she'd clearly underestimated his all-consuming desire to win her for his own.

Little did she know that Court had no intention of stopping. Not until he'd left her hungering for his lean strength, shivering at his gaze and aching for the fulfillment only he could give…

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LATER, SHE WOULD ASK HERSELF how she could possibly

have missed all the danger signals emanating from the man. With the inevitable wisdom of hindsight, she would feel the lazy menace in him as clearly as she now felt her own deeply intrigued response, and Leya Brandon would wonder bitterly why her normally astute mind and intuition had betrayed her.

It was to be only the second time in all her twenty-seven years that she had allowed herself to be misled by a man, but Leya would take little comfort from that fact. She rarely needed a second lesson in anything.

But for the moment, on the dance floor of the secluded inn on the wild Oregon coast, Leya wasn't thinking of the future. The man held her in such an intimate dancing embrace that she was obliged to rest both hands on his broad shoulders. The way he shaped the curve of her waist made it impossible to concentrate on anything but the present. Leya tipped back her neat head, the long, sable-dark braid falling dramatically over one shoulder and across her breast, and smiled up into Court Gannon's sensuously narrowed tortoiseshell eyes. The look she met in the gold-flecked gaze caused her fingertips to flex ever so slightly against the subtly rough texture of his jacket.

The inviting, waiting look in Court's eyes deepened as he felt the small movement on his shoulders.

"You feel like a kitten trying to decide whether or not to settle in for the night," he murmured in soft amusement, turning his head slightly to touch her wrist with his lips. It was the lightest, most teasing of caresses, yet Leya was aware of the small shiver which coursed through her.

"Not for the night," she made herself answer, with a smiling ease that took a surprising amount of effort. The realization that it was going to be difficult to refuse Court's imminent invitation to share his bed hit her with some force. My God, she thought wonderingly, I've only known him two days! "But a few more dances would be welcomed," she concluded softly.

"It will be my pleasure to provide the dances," he growled in his dark, heavily shaded voice. "But I warn you I intend to use the time to my own advantage." The large, strong hands at Leya's waist tightened meaningfully and the golden brown eyes gleamed.

Leya's full, generous mouth curved a fraction more as she regarded her partner from beneath thick eyelashes. "Coming from someone who doesn't believe in exerting himself unnecessarily, that sounds rather energetic," she observed teasingly.

"The operative word is unnecessarily," he drawled.

"And I'm coming to the conclusion that having you for an entire night is going to be very necessary, indeed!"

Leya felt the warmth flood her face even as she tried to retain her normally abundant common sense. "There's a certain lack of subtlety in your approach tonight," she accused chidingly as she sought for a light way of handling the increasing sensual tension between them.

"I've had the impression from the beginning that the usual games weren't going to be necessary between us, Leya," Court retorted almost gently, his eyes searching her features for the truth of her feelings toward him.

"It's not a question of playing games, Court," she replied, the smallest of frowns drawing her dark brows slightly toward each other. "It's a matter of being sure. Why does a man imply a woman is teasing or playing games when she is only trying to test the depths of her own reactions and those of the male involved?"

"Because he's horribly afraid that if he allows the woman to probe her feelings too deeply, she'll talk herself out of going to bed with him!" Court said and grinned candidly.

"So he deliberately tries to make her feel guilty by accusing her of being a tease?" Leya shot back, silver-green eyes deepening with a nonverbal rebuke.

"Exactly. Can you blame us?All's fair in love and war!"

"Situation ethics, Court? I'm surprised at you. I would have thought you were the type of man who lives by a definite set of principles," she mocked.

"And doesn't alter them to fit the situation? Well, in a sense, you're right." He smiled unabashedly. "It's just that the principles I choose to live by are my own."

"Developed by you and for you?"

"Ummm," he agreed, his fingers kneading the contour of her lower waist with blatant pleasure.

Leya felt the pleasure in his hands as it communicated itself to her and knew she was going to have difficulty when it came time to say goodnight. She refused to think of how difficult it would be when the moment for good-bye came, as it would in only a few short days.

But vacation romances, however pleasant, were doomed to appallingly short lives, she told herself firmly. They were meant to be enjoyed on a superficial level and then forgotten—light flirtations that could be ended without serious regret. For Leya, that meant not having to live with the knowledge that she had given herself casually to a man who wouldn't remember her name by the time his next vacation arrived.

But regardless of what happened between them, Leya knew she wouldn't forget Court Gannon's name for a long, long time. Nor would she forget anything else about the man with the tortoiseshell eyes and matching hair. Large and solidly built without being an ounce overweight, he topped six feet by about one inch, she estimated, and she found pleasure in the way his wide shoulders narrowed into a lean waist and strong thighs.

There was power in this man, and Leya was honest enough to admit it attracted her. Only later would she tell herself she should have been wary of that primitive attraction. But the mastery and strength were cloaked in what was, for Leya, an enormously appealing laziness and self-control.

The variegated deep gold and dark brown of his thick hair was cut short in an apparent effort to tame the broad wave that threatened to fall across his wide forehead. More than once, Leya had been forced to exercise a degree of control in order to restrain herself from reaching up to thrust curious, sensitive fingers through the curve of that hair. She knew her own weakness for tactile sensations and deliberately avoided the temptation.

Heavy brows and long lashes shielded the well-spaced and deep-set brown-and-gold eyes. A bold, no-nonsense hand had chiseled Court's face, leaving an aggressive nose and an unconsciously arrogant tilt to the strong chin. Broad, jagged planes that left no room for soft handsomeness marked the high cheekbones and tightly fleshed skin beneath. The column of his neck was strong and browned in the same sun-colored shade as his face and hands. The tan was an excellent foil for the crisp whiteness of his shirt collar and cuffs. Leya flexed her fingers once again, enjoying the texture of his richly woven wool jacket. He wore the close-fitting slacks and coat with an ease that suggested expensive if conservative tailoring.

Leya had no notion why she had looked up from the book in her lap yesterday morning to find Court Gannon watching her from across the heavily beamed and elegantly rustic lobby of the inn. She had responded automatically to the mildly prickling sensation of being observed and lifted her head to meet the unexpected impact of the gold-marked eyes. The moment she had acknowledged his presence, he had started forward with a deliberate, lazy stride that brought him inevitably to where she curled in the corner of the oldVictorian couch in front of the roaring fire. There had been a few other people seated nearby and she had told herself he was heading for one of them until it became apparent she was the focus of his attention.

A little uneasily she had listened to his brief, polite introduction as he seated himself beside her, stretching out long legs toward the huge stone fireplace which dominated that end of the room. The initial unease had been natural enough, given the fact that Leya had no illusions about being an eye-catching beauty.

The truth of the matter was that she thought of herself as rather average. An average five-and-a-half feet in height, an average, perhaps overly rounded figure that required an average amount of dieting and an average, attractive set of features. She knew full well she had above-average intelligence and sense of humor but she didn't really expect most men to notice or appreciate those two virtues. Especially not clear across the lobby!

In spite of her own dismissing assessment of her looks, more than one man in the past had been attracted by the very un-average and unusual combination of long, sable-brown hair with the strange silvery green of her eyes. The effect was a subtle one and not usually noticed consciously at first, but it was there. It allowed Leya to wear the strong, bold colors she favored. Her features were feminine but not soft. They betrayed the intelligence and self-awareness lying underneath, as well as the strength those two factors ensured. Her firm chin, straight nose and perceptive eyes were gentled a bit by long lashes and the ready curve of her mouth.

No, not a great beauty, Leya had told herself wryly, and dressed as she was yesterday in well-washed jeans and a brilliant burnt orange velour top, it was natural enough to wonder why a stranger had picked her out of the crowd. Of course, she had added in silent amusement, the crowd was very small. It was winter, the summer tourists were long gone, and not everyone favored the fiercely rugged southern Oregon coastline at this time of year. Only those with a penchant for the intriguing wildness of a storm over the sea or the mystery of a fog-shrouded stretch of beach came at this time of the year. They felt themselves amply rewarded.

"What are you thinking about?" Court broke into her thoughts to demand suddenly, the rather hard line of his mouth quirking at the corner as he studied the flicker of thought in her eyes.

"Yesterday," she admitted simply.

"What about yesterday?" he persisted softly, using his hands to press her more intimately against his hard leanness. He was using the dance as an excuse to make love to her, Leya realized with a small sense of shock. She felt her pulse quicken in response to the barely disguised arousal in him.

"The way you came toward me through the lobby as if you knew me." She smiled. "I was afraid you were someone I should know, whose name I couldn't remember!"

"You were right," he told her meaningfully. "I was someone you should know. The only reason you couldn't remember my name was because I hadn't given it to you yet."

"That opening conversational gambit of telling me the ending of the novel I was reading was clever, too." Leya grinned cheerfully. "It ruined my plans for the entire day, since I had intended to spend the whole of it reading that book!"

"I wanted you free to spend the time with me."

"So I gathered," she said dryly. "But it wouldn't have worked if you hadn't turned out to be every bit as lazy and uninterested in tennis as I am!"

"Oh, I knew we were two of a kind from the moment I spotted you across the lobby," he assured her humorously, the laughter reaching his eyes and warming them nicely. "Let's face it, only a certain type of person is going to come here at this time of the year."

"Someone who has no aspirations to be the next tennis star or golf hero?" she quipped, aware that the music was drawing to a close.

"Someone," he told her deeply as he took her arm and guided her back to the small table, "who understands that walking along a beach at dawn is life's only important sport!"

"I'm afraid my dedication to the ideal falls somewhat short," she murmured ruefully as she took the seat he held for her. "I have to admit to finding dancing a very interesting alternative. And for someone who claims to be too lazy to do anything except walk for exercise, you do a pretty good job on the dance floor!"

"But dancing with you isn't a form of exercise," he pointed out, lifting the glass snifter in front of him and taking a man-sized swallow of the potent cognac.

"No?" Leya inquired, arching one brow with a hint of warning.

"No," he confirmed, heedless of her faintly quelling expression. "It's a prelude to making love to you, and I would never," he added in a soft rasp, leaning forward to watch the color in her face, "make the mistake of classifying sex with you as a sport or a game!"

"Court!" Leya snapped, determined to let him know that he had stepped too far out of bounds. "That's enough on the subject. You wouldn't want me to think you have a one-track mind, would you?" She made an effort to inject a caustic note into the small setdown she had attempted to deliver. But it was difficult to maintain that faint air of outrage beneath the glittering light in his eyes. Her real reaction to his blatantly sexual talk was an unfamiliar weakness that left her feeling pursued. Leya Brandon was not accustomed to the role of hunted female. And, she promised herself silently, she did not intent to allow this man to treat her as prey. She was glad he found her attractive because the feeling was mutual, but she had very definite ideas on equality in a relationship. She also had very definite ideas on the depressing nature of relationships based purely on sex. The last thought firmed her mouth and Court was far too observant not to have seen the faint hardening in her silvery green eyes as well.

Meet the Author

Jayne Ann Krentz is a New York Times bestselling author of contemporary romantic-suspense novels. She also writes historical romance under the name Amanda Quick and paranormal romance under the name Jayne Castle. Jayne loves to hear from her readers and can be found at www.facebook.com/JayneAnnKrentz.

Brief Biography

Seattle, WA
Place of Birth:
San Diego, CA
BA in History, University of California at Santa Cruz, MA in Librarianship from San Jose State University (California)

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Stormy Challenge 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 81 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love Jayne Ann Krentz. I figured this book was older, and it is, but it was a bit of a disappointment. Very little plot, and the heroine certainly tolerated behavior that would have caused her more recent characters to storm out forever. I skimmed over pages at a time, to see if it ever got better, because i didn't not want to witness the agony of watching these two people interact. I recommend her Arcane series books, and especially love the dust bunnies. I want one! And I am not giving up on Jayne, but will stick to her newer works Loyal fan and fellow pacific north westerner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The main character was too weak and the guy was a borderline stalker, not one if my favorite books I spent most of it disgusted with her and her lack of intelligence and backbone.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Leya Brandon and her brother Keith jointly inherit Brandon Security Systems. Neither has experience managing this type of firm though Leya owns a bookstore and plans to open another store soon. Keith tries to make a go at running the firm and tentatively accepts a two-year contract from a high-powered consultant if Leya agrees. Leya, needing time to think whether they should agree to this venture, goes on vacation in Oregon to ponder this deal because the consideration demanded by the other party Mr. C. Tremayne leaves him with a major control of their company.--- In Oregon, Leya and Court Gannon meet and spend a few enjoyable days keeping each other company. As she is half in love and trusts him with her heart, she asks his advice on whether she should sign the contract, which he says she should for her sibling¿s sake. Leya reluctantly signs and mails the contract to Keith. However, she quickly learns that the man she entrusted her heart and contract to turns out to be Courtland Gannon Tremayne, who had arrived at the inn with the intention to obtain her signature regardless of the ethics. However, Court has changed his mind on what consideration he wants from the Brandons for now he decides he wants Leya for life, but she distrusts him as an amoral beast.--- This is an entertaining contemporary romance starring a likable female protagonist and a hunk who learns perhaps too late what really matters in life. Fans will appreciate the story line as Court tries to correct his error, but his intended¿s philosophy is once burned, never again. Though Court can become overbearing and macho, fans will enjoy Stephanie James¿ fine tale.--- Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love her stories. This one was intriguing up until he threatened to hit her. I kept trying but it did not get any better after that and I finally gave up.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What is with the stupid reviews before mine? Why do people review with words that do not make sense? Is it for attention? Maybe someone sometime will relate an answer. BTW...why do some people have to use filthy language in their reviews? Bad enough that its used by some authors. I applaud you Ms. Krentz for not using language that so degrades the user.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Pads in
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sure he ran off got two just in case and ran back to her with them. He dropped them i front of her. Here two just in case.
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