From the author whose every novel is the perfect marriage of romance and steam, her stories simply crackling with sexual chemistry, comes the second standalone instalment in the Larson Brothers series—an emotionally intense love story between a heartbroken widow and the frontman for one of the most popular rock bands in the world—and I have a sneak peek for you. Raw Need releases on 27 Jun 2017.
It was the fantasy. It was everything a girl with posters of her favorite rock star on the walls of her bedroom could ever want, a girl who let his voice lull her into dreams every night, who imagined meeting him someday and finding he was everything she’d hoped.
But Rowan was a grown woman, an expectant mother. She’d left childhood fantasies in the dust long ago. “I need to . . . stop this,” she said, pushing steel into her voice as best she could. It came out weak and pathetic.
“Don’t run away.” But Zane sounded strong and knowing and steady. “I’ll back off if you ask me to. But don’t run.”
The only thing that made her feel more desolate inside was the thought of him doing that. Lately, he had been the only thing she had to run to. Today, he had been the first person she wanted to talk to after everything went to shit. What would she do if he were no longer there?
“It’s such a confusing time for me,” she explained. “I don’t want you to back off. But I can’t promise . . . anything right now.”
“I’m not asking for any promises. None at all.” He sighed, and she watched through her phone’s screen as he leaned back in his chair and glanced around before running his hands back through his hair. It was something she might like to do herself.
“What are you asking for?” she asked when he didn’t say anything for a moment.
“All I’m asking for right now is for you to let me take you away from all this for a while.” His lips curled, wicked sensuality that made her tremble inwardly. “Using every method in my arsenal.”
She could only imagine those methods. Deep in her belly, the baby fluttered, probably wondering why the hell her mom’s heart was doing flip-flops. It was a stark reminder of why she couldn’t forget her current reality to chase fleeting fantasies that would disappear like mist in the morning once they’d been fulfilled. What then?
“I’m really, really scared to let you do that,” she told him. “Because all my problems will still be waiting for me here afterward.”
“Exactly. But life is short. I don’t think I have to explain that to you.”
Rowan cast her eyes at the ceiling, but there was nothing beyond it willing to come to her aid. When she lowered her head again, hunger burned in Zane’s eyes. He’d been staring at her throat as if he’d like to sink his teeth into it. “I want to see all of you,” he said, low and husky, a voice he might use when he was inside her.
All of her? Her puffy, swollen, achy body? The sudden thought of him seeing her naked was horrifying. He, who by his own admission, had fucked anything that could be fucked. How many models? How many starlets or porn stars, with their fake boobs and flat bellies and tight asses? “You do realize I’m pregnant, right? I’m big and getting bigger by the day. I gained like five pounds this week alone. My doctor actually wagged her finger at me. How sexy is that?”
“If you were here I would show you just how sexy I think it is.”
He said that now. She could understand a father loving the mother of his child’s pregnant body, finding it attractive for the life growing inside . . . but Zane had no attachments to this child. What if she repulsed him?
What if this was still all about pity? “You feel sorry for me, don’t you?”
“Are you fucking serious? Rowan. I’m not that altruistic. I’ll do nice things for people, sure. But if I pitied you, I wouldn’t be pursuing you. And I don’t think you can deny I’m pursuing you. So stop trying to make every excuse you can think of as to why this isn’t real for me. Because it is.”
“Okay,” she said quickly. “I guess that’s exactly what I’ve been doing. I don’t understand.”
“There’s nothing to try to understand, honey,” he said gently.
“I can’t come today,” she said at last, after a few moments of staring at his precious face, thinking that much was a certainty right now. “I’m sorry.”
Sighing, he wiped a hand down his mouth, his beard, and she thought about all the opportunities to feel both of them against her skin. All the opportunities she was refusing, and for what, really?
He might be pursuing her now, but she knew someone like him wouldn’t remain on that particular hunt for long. He had too many other options. Already, the thought of those other options stung her, stressed her out. She would always worry about his fidelity, wouldn’t she?
But the man had kicked drugs and alcohol. He obviously had an iron will.
“I wish you’d reconsider,” he said finally, “but I know you won’t. You might be the only person I’ve ever met who’s as hardheaded as I am, my skittish little dove.”
That made her laugh, and he smiled to see it. “Do you have another song for me?” she asked, lying back down on her bed and rolling onto her side, carrying her phone with her. Her back had begun to ache. He watched her every move, still with that ravenous heat in his eyes, his jaw set hard as granite.
“I’m afraid I brought out the big guns on the last one, to no avail. Try ‘Briar Path’ by ERAAS. That’s with two As.”
“‘Briar Path’? Are you saying I’m prickly?”
“No. Simply trying to convey the physical pain I’m in at the moment. Wrapped in briars over you, but I’ll happily bleed.”
“Are you writing lyrics right now?”
“Why, is that good? I might use it. You know, you’re not doing me any favors, letting me see you like this.”
Lying on her bed? She hadn’t been thinking. “Should I get up?”
“No. Rest if you need to. I’ll talk to you soon. Even though I really wish I would be seeing you in a few hours. Seeing this for real.”
“This is the only real I have to offer right now, Zane.”
He stared at her for a long moment, drinking her in. “Then I’ll take it. Good night.”