WHEN LUST RULES by Virginia Cavanaugh
So when he shows up out of the blue at her job, she really wants to push him away. But there’s something primal and erotic about this man that calls to her.
Luken is reluctant to get involved with a human female, but for some reason he can’t get her out of his head. He has enough on his plate with running his new pack, but the little blonde seductress presents a temptation he can’t resist.
But when Julie’s past catches up to her, Luken is prepared to offer his protection, along with his bite, making her one of his own.
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An Excerpt From: WHEN LUST RULES
Copyright © VIRGINIA CAVANAUGH, 2013
All Rights Reserved, Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Inc.
Julie Drake ground her teeth as she tried to block the annoying man calling her. The crowd seemed extra rowdy tonight at Harry’s Bar, and Replacement Waitress Number Three didn’t seem to provide much help. Why in the hell did Tyra have to quit?
A deep breath entered her lungs as she loaded her tray with the drinks from the bar. Little skeleton straws poked out from some of them. Only another hour of this mess until last call. A pang of guilt speared her chest. She knew better than to hold a grudge against Tyra for quitting. People moved on. Some to greater things and others… Well, she just had to look for the silver lining.
“Hey, Jules? You all right?”
Julie looked at the burly bartender, Mark Hinley, who stood in front of a large Happy Halloween sign. Concern flashed in his green eyes as he wiped his meaty fists on a white towel. “Yeah. I’m good. Just hoping the next hour passes quick.”
He gave a curt nod and she picked up her tray, turning from the bar and heading through the pool of bodies. Mark could be a real sweetheart and had even asked her out once. Julie wished she could have said yes, but truth be told there wasn’t any spark when she looked at him. Maybe it would’ve been different if she hadn’t been haunted by fantasy-filled dreams of a man with long dark hair and olive skin. Luken.
All she had was a first a name—no way to even look him up in the telephone book. As if she would. She didn’t want to come across as a desperate woman who couldn’t wait for him to call. But damn, it had been four months since he’d come into the bar and asked for her number. She’d been sure he’d call her. Now with Tyra gone, she didn’t have a way to ask what happened. Hell, she was even curious about what happened between Tyra and the hottie who had been sitting with Luken. But no one had heard from her since she’d quit.
That had been a strange night. The bar had been hopping and Tyra had come in with a glum look on her face, but as the night had progressed she’d started to smile. And not just the I-need-to-make-tips-so-smiles-make-more-than-frowns kind of smile. It had been genuine. But then a really good-looking blond guy had come up to her and it had looked as if her whole world came crumbling down. She’d raced from the bar with him and had never come back.
Julie gasped, seeing the disaster coming, but unable to avoid it. Glass crashed and shattered as various glasses filled with alcohol sloshed and spilled. First one tray hit the floor and then a second. Laughter and applause filled the room at a deafening roar as Julie tried to count to ten, booze dripping from her face and soaking into her clothes. Replacement Number Three apologized profusely as she pulled sopping wet napkins from her own pocket, offering to help clean up the mess. Neither of them had managed to avoid being splattered.
Julie wasn’t mad at her directly. The girl couldn’t help that she was a klutz, but the rude patrons who seemed to get a kick out of her soaked state had pushed her limits of control.
Without a word she shoved past the people who had gathered around to witness her humiliation, and she bolted toward the back door. She just needed a minute—a breath of fresh air. A year’s time had done nothing in making this new lifestyle any easier. Country music blared in the background as she forced yet another person aside who sought a chuckle at her expense. Drunks could be such assholes. Her hands met the door and she plowed through it, seeking refuge.
Cool air danced over her wet skin and she shivered as her arms came up to hug her middle. The metal door swung shut behind her with a thud. Her gaze panned the back lot, not looking for anything particular as she tried to rein in her emotions. The trees swayed lightly in the breeze, dumping more of their golden and red leaves onto the ground.
“The money and ease of my old life isn’t worth it,” she whispered into the night as she squeezed her eyes shut, willing back the tears that made them burn. She knew this would be a better life deep down, but some nights were harder than others in believing that fact. Being the wife of a drug lord had many perks, but it was the other end of the spectrum that turned her stomach.
Her ex-husband Ivan Volkov sat in prison where he belonged. There would be no more deaths in the living room at three in the morning. No more beatings. No more bodies jerking and gasping as they died from too many drugs. And for that peace she could suffer through waiting on drunks. She just wanted to move on.
“Looks like you’re having a bad night.”
Julie whipped her head to the side at the sound of the deep rumbling voice, searching for his frame in the darkened area near the trash Dumpster. She knew that voice. Had she imagined it? Booted feet thumped the pavement a second before he stepped into view. Luken.
His long hair swayed against his broad shoulders. A few dark strands gripped the material of his jacket, freezing in place as the rest of the silken length continued its gentle movement. Kissable lips quirked up in a half smile, pulling the skin of his face just slightly tighter over his high cheek bones. The yellow glow of the security light masked the golden-olive skin she knew covered his body. Native American blood ran thick through his veins. All around, he was such a contrast in looks when compared to Ivan. Whereas Ivan was light and fair, Luken was dark and sensual. Luken stood tall and lean, his muscles toned, but not overly large. He had a very athletic build, and even though she couldn’t see through the V-neck T-shirt he wore, she figured his abs would look like a washboard. Her heart rate quickened as she stared across the space separating them. Desire began to bloom inside her, mixed with excitement. Then irritation took its place. He hadn’t bothered to call her and now he wanted to show up when she looked like a mop? “As if it matters.”
A full smile spread across his mouth as he continued to approach. “Of course it matters.”
She huffed a breath of air and turned, reaching for the handle of the back door. “I’ve got to get back inside.” It was just too much. A suck-ass cherry on her suck-ass night of a sundae. God, why did he have to show up now?
A warm hand clasped her arm before she could grip the door handle. She looked down. Strong fingers encircled her wrist. Warmth radiated into her skin from the contact and her heart rate increased. She turned and looked him in the eye.
“Don’t go yet.”
She sighed, wishing she could ignore the tingling awareness his touch brought. It radiated up her arm and settled in her chest. She recognized the fusion of hope and anticipation. Such a dangerous mix. “I’m working.”
“I meant to call you.”
She gave a halfhearted laugh. “Meant to? But didn’t. I really need to get back inside.”
“I’ve thought about you a lot.”
“Why are you saying these things now? I mean, you could’ve just called.” Damn if she didn’t hate how wounded her words sounded to her own ears. He would probably think her pathetic. She sure as hell thought of herself that way right now.
His lips scrunched into a slight grimace. “Things have been busy.”
“Well, now’s not a good time for me.” She shivered as another gust of air whirled past. According to the weather report a cold front was supposed to be moving in. Her gaze followed his to the front of her soaked T-shirt. Her nipples drew into pebbled peaks, now visible beneath the material. She pulled from his grasp and crossed her arms in front of her chest, glad the ugly yellow lighting wouldn’t show the blush rising in her cheeks.
Luken’s gaze snapped back to her face as he shrugged out of his jacket and swung it around her shoulders. He gripped the lapel and pulled it closed around her. His body heat seeped into her skin as the intoxicating scent of him entered her nose. Cologne like none she’d ever smelled before. Warm summer nights mixed with a hint of spice. Her lower tummy tingled, spreading to that spot between her legs that had her clenching her thighs together.
“I’m sorry I didn’t call.”
She met his gaze. Dark-brown eyes stared down at her. It had been awhile since she’d felt the quickening of desire that now began a slow roll through her. “Why didn’t you?”
She pulled back, trying to remove the jacket, but he wouldn’t release his hold on the front. “Where I come from, the translation is you have a wife.” Too good to be true as usual.
He gave a tug on the jacket, pulling her closer to his chest. “No. I don’t have a wife. Things have just been…complicated.”
Complicated was definitely something she didn’t need to add to her life right now, even if it came in such a yummy package. “Listen. Why don’t you come find me again when things aren’t so complicated?”
“And what if I want to just keep you where you are right now, complications and all?”
His whispered words fanned hot, sweet breath over her face. She felt herself leaning toward him even though the warning signals in her brain were firing off like mad. “I don’t know if that’s a good idea.”
His head leaned in until his lips hovered above her own. She took in a staggering breath as she wondered if he would kiss her.
“Right now it seems like an excellent idea. I want to taste you.”
She licked her lips, ready for him to close the gap. She had a feeling this would be one hell of a kiss.
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