Sunday, June 6, 2010

Excerpt: Bittersweet Surrender by Barbara Sheridan

Sunday already?  Where did the week go?  Vacation days go by way to fast.

I didn't manage to get the blog set like I was hoping.  But today's the day to go home, so there won't be any blog catch up today either.  I have soooo much to tell you!  Sooooo many cool new things coming up for the blog if I could just get the schedule in order.  My goodness.  What a whirlwind this week has been.

I did promise you an excerpt from Barbara Sheridan.  Turns out I lost it.  Again.  I'm getting pretty good at that. *laughs* I do try real hard, loosing things just isn't what I keep going for though.  Apparently it's one of my many gifts.  Yaaaaaaaaay me, I've recovered, and finally have it.

So, in honor of that awesome Christmas in May display awesomeness I have of all those great Barbara Sheridan goodies AND my awesome-est ever signed book too, I give you... Bittersweet Surrender.

heehee, thank you Barbara *smooch* again  again again.  Oh yeah...heehee...and again :))



(click the beautiful cover for more info)



Copyright © BARBARA SHERIDAN, 2005.

All Rights Reserved, Ellora's Cave Publishing, Inc.

"What are you sticking your nose into now, woman?"

Star spun around amidst a swirl and rustle of crimson satin to find Jason Hillhouse leaning against the frame of the opened back door, his arms folded arrogantly across his chest. He was dressed in a stylish black serge suit which brought out the glossiness of his hair and added depth to his dark eyes.

Unaccountably speechless, Star continued to stare, marveling at the sheer size and power of the man. Had last Sunday's dousing of water and lemonade caused some strange growth spurt? It had to for he seemed to fill the wide doorway as he stood there like a predatory beast, eyeing her as though she were some tasty morsel of prey ready to be taken at his leisure. She set her chin defiantly, determined to put a stop to this absurdity.

"What are you doing here?" she demanded to know in a harsh whisper, mindful of not disturbing her sister.

"Standing," Jason drawled before flashing her a smile.

Strangely, she fell silent again and Jason's facial muscles tensed ever so slightly as he fought to contain the rush of absolute lust Star was causing him to experience.

She had been living temptation a decade ago when he saw her in a ball gown for the first time, but the ensuing years and changing mode of fashion had turned her into the embodiment of pure desire, and try as he might, he couldn't stop staring at her.

His attention lingered for a time on her shining hair, the carefully arranged strands piled high and topped with a single, fluffy red plume, before moving down to her exquisitely formed ear lobes, decorated with pearl earrings.

Jason studied her graceful neck, and was immediately assailed by the memory of its feel beneath his lips, its taste on his tongue. Ambrosia was the only way to describe it. He licked his suddenly dry lips, allowing his eyes to explore what his mouth longed to sample.

The mounds of her ripe breasts were just visible at the neckline of her gown and the shimmer of colorless beads sewn around the neckline drew his gaze towards her trim torso encased in the boned satin then down to the swell of her hips. The crimson fabric clung there before dropping to the ground in gentle folds, concentrated at the back.

Jason amended his earlier assessment. She wasn't just the embodiment of desire, she was sex incarnate and it took a great deal of effort not to ravish her on the spot.

Both unnerved and attracted by Jason's optical seduction, Star felt the blood course through her veins like an awakened river whose current flowed straight to her center, collecting itself in a heated whirlpool. She folded her arms in front of herself in a symbolic gesture of defense. "What do you want?"

Although "you" leapt to mind, Jason managed to hold it back. "I came to see what was keeping Seth. I was waiting out by the road and when your parents left they said something about you scheming to play matchmaker."

Star frowned. She switched position when he did, planning to stop him if he tried to interrupt Seth and Lucy. Surprisingly, he took only two steps then stopped, shoving his hands into his trouser pockets. Not surprisingly, he grinned that grin of his.

"You see, I told you that for all your independent talk, what you women really care about is snaring a man, if not for yourself, then for others."

Star spun on her heel, the motion rustling her satin skirts then propelled herself through the swinging door. Her mood brightened and she forgot about Jason for the moment once she came close enough to parlor to hear Lucy and Seth deep in conversation about the goings on back east. Lucy was conversing in Choctaw.

Star smiled triumphantly, pleased to see that for all her outward insecurity, her little sister knew how to endear herself to Seth. Star's pleasure grew when she tiptoed to the doorway and they failed to notice her presence.

A short yelp from Star ended the conversation in mid-sentence.

Ignoring the puzzled looks, Star turned on Jason who'd come up behind her and laid his hands on her bare shoulders. She shot him a warning look then stepped into the parlor. "You'll have to ride with us, Lucy. Jason said that Daddy and Mother decided not to wait."

Lucy coughed nervously. "Do you mind?" she asked Seth. "If it's an inconvenience, I can stay here."

"Nonsense," Seth said as he gave her a brilliant smile. He took hold of her hand and stood, bringing her with him. "There's more than enough room."

"In that case, perhaps Jason would like to ride in your buggy, too," Lucy said coyly, totally unaffected by her big sister's silent pleading.

"I told you there was more than enough room," Seth called back over his shoulder during the ride into town.

Star found that claim very hard to believe as she scrunched herself more to the left in a vain attempt to get as far away from Jason as possible. There seemed to be a mile of space between Seth and Lucy on the seat ahead, so why did this rear seat of the hired buggy seem so cramped? Granted, she and Jason were larger physically than Lucy and Seth, but surely they hadn't become giants.

Jason shifted. The movement caused him to brush against Star and she tensed as a shock wave originated at the point of contact then rippled out to encompass her entire body. It ebbed, but continued to pulse with a low, persistent hum. She stole a glance at Jason only to regret it the next instant when he turned and caught her eye, sending another tingly ripple through her. She clamped her hands together on her lap, to keep them from reaching out as they wanted to do, and ordered herself to stare at the road .

Jason ran his index finger along the inside edge of his starched collar, wanting very much to be anywhere but here. He hadn't planned on being in Warburton today, but Governor Jones requested that he be on hand in a supervisory capacity should the Nationalist Buzzards try to ruin the celebration to further their political agenda.

He looked quickly from Star to Seth. Here were two of the district's prime political agitators, but Jason decided that they probably had no motives beyond verbally cajoling potential voters and having a general good time with the rest of the townsfolk. Of course, judging from Star's dour expression, the phrase "good time" was stretching things.

A lot.

Jason shifted again then glanced at his silver pocket watch. If Seth drove any slower, they wouldn't reach town before the end of next month. He should have ridden Shubuta and gone on ahead instead of tying the horse to the back of the buggy as Star's sister suggested. He should tell Seth to stop. He should get on his horse and off this hard buggy seat. He knew that he should and yet, he couldn't.

He fiddled with his collar and shifted his position just enough to be able to look at Star without it appearing obvious. Red suited her. It suited her very well indeed.

Jason forced himself to look away after his hand purposely touched the smooth material of her skirt that was close to him. He stifled a groan as he felt the surge of desire between his legs.

She's become a fire in your blood and you want her to feel the same.

No, Jason thought while trying to ignore the maddening tightness at the front of his trousers. He reminded himself that he had no use for a brash little vixen like Star McNamara.

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