A Desperate Longing
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by Brenda Williamson
Description: He could be everything she's hoped for. Or everything she fears. Two years after Kacy Carwell eluded kidnapping by a serial rapist, she still lives with nightmares and panic attacks on her painstakingly slow path to recovery. When a mysterious new neighbor moves in next door, her tenuous hold on her mental stability spirals out of control. She thinks she sees her attacker everywhere she goes, and no one believes her. Only the new neighbor, the patient, kind and handsome Gulliver Knight, prevents her from sliding into mental deterioration. He alone feeds her desperate longing to feel normal again. His gentle, attentive care calms her frazzled nerves, while his passionate lovemaking quickly sends her tumbling from attraction to deep love. His affections work like a balm to her wounded spirit. Then Kacy discovers that Gulliver is not all he appears to be. Her world crashes around her just as danger--this time real--threatens not only her sanity, but her life. Before she can untangle the web of deceit from her own broken emotions, someone will get hurt. And someone will die. Product Warnings Warning, this title contains explicit sex, graphic language, and violence.
eBook Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd., 2007
eBookwise Release Date: February 2011
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [281 KB]
Reading time: 179-251 min.
Kacy smiled and shook her head. The funny sensation of experiencing trust for even a minute amazed her. It had been a long time since she'd put her back to anyone, even a friend. She probably shouldn't have let Gulliver in the house, but her fears were gone, overridden by attraction.
"Really, if you're busy I can go." He jerked his thumb in the direction of the front door. "I don't want to interrupt anything."
"I wasn't busy." She lifted the coffeepot.
"Wow, this is nice and bright." He looked up at her kitchen skylight. "This would be great for seeing the stars at night, I bet."
"I like to pick out the things I know, like the Little Dipper. I have trouble with the bigger one."
"You like to look at the stars?" She couldn't contain the surprise in her voice.
"Sure, I love them. I could do with this over my bed." He leaned on the edge of the counter to look up.
His neck stretched, twisted and craned in every imaginable direction to study her window to the heavens. While he was occupied with the outside world, she subtly observed him.
"I thought the same thing and had one put in my bedroom ceiling for just that reason." She looked up at the blue sky with him.
"Well, maybe one night you'll let me in your bed." His gaze lowered to her.
She blushed, but not nearly as much as he did.
"You know," he stammered, "to test out the view before I go through the trouble of hiring a construction crew to tear out my roof."
Kacy turned away, allowing Gulliver to recover.
"Yes, that does sound like the best thing to do." She busied herself with pouring coffee.
She closed her eyes and tried to imagine him in her bed. He was handsome enough to stare at that she wouldn't need to look at the skylight at all. He charmed her with the adorable way he blushed.
"I understand it'll be clear tonight with lots of stars," she said, working her way into inviting him to see the skylight. "If you'd like to come then and look, you're welcome to."
"I'm not in a rush. Maybe another night, I've got a lot of unpacking to do."
"Would you like cream or sugar?"
His fingers brushed hers and removed the hot cup from her hand. The idea of him leaving pushed her to step toward him.
"No, black is fine," he answered
He sipped from the rim of the ceramic mug, looking at her through the steam. The expression on his face excited her and she had to work at controlling her breathing.
"It's early yet. You could unpack and then come over."
"I don't want to intrude if you're expecting company." He glanced at the package of steaks on the counter.
"I couldn't find a decent cut in the single packs," she explained. "I could make a late dinner. I've just had pizza and it's only four o'clock."
She heard the desperation in her voice. Did he? Her face heated and her skin tingled. She opened her mouth to add to the offer. Dessert, more coffee? They sounded lame, so she didn't say anything.
"How can I refuse? I'm a fast food guy so a home-cooked meal would be nice."
He combed back his wavy black hair with his fingers. It exposed more of the scar above his right eyebrow. The thin white line went into his hairline. She wouldn't ask about it, since she didn't like talking about her own scars.
"Is steak all right?" She picked up the package. "I could cook something else."
"I love steak. What time?" He walked to the sink and rinsed his coffee cup before setting it down.
Kacy didn't know what she was doing inviting Gulliver to her house at night, tempting him to her bed. As innocent as it seemed, or should have sounded, did she push too fast for him and too far for her?
"Then I'll see you later?" He began walking toward the front door.
She didn't want to think he was running from her. It would probably be a smart choice though, given her tendency to turn into an unrecognizable creature, even to herself, when she felt threatened.
Kacy followed him through the living room and hoped for the best. Her bare feet padded quietly over the carpet as she shadowed him like a stalker.
She ran her fingers through her shoulder-length blonde hair and took a deep breath. Gulliver's hand touched the doorknob. Only hours before, she had been terrified of him, now she didn't want him to go. In her mind, she devised interesting ways to keep him there--each one more extreme then the last. All were manipulative, devious and unnecessary. She had to learn to trust people and she'd passed one goal by feeling comfortable with him in the house. Why think he'd not come back?
He turned, but his hand remained on the knob. "Yes?"
Her gaze darted over his face and she really tried to think of something wonderfully witty to make him laugh. She wanted to take the sedate, pensive look from his mouth and make him smile. She liked his smile. Each time his lips curled up, peace filled her.
"I could come back at seven," he said, as if he could read her thoughts.
She nodded, glad to hear he wanted to return. Then his hand lifted, and the back of his knuckles hovered over her cheek. She leaned forward with anticipation, but the movement threw her off balance, and she dropped back on her heels. Clearly thinking she'd retreated, he gave her an understanding look.
Kacy wanted to let him know he'd misinterpreted her move. She actually desired physical contact with him and if she wasn't such a coward, she'd ask him to touch her.
"Seven would be better." She bowed her head, thinking of the Valium she had taken when she got home, and the possibility of its effects taking over too soon.
"How about six-thirty, just in case there's a show on at seven we could watch?"
With joy in her heart, Kacy shuffled forward and extended her fingers to within touching distance.
"I like that plan very much." She stroked his sleeved forearm.
Yearning to stay close to him, she quickly formed a plan. Wetting her dry lips with the tip of her tongue, she took another bold step toward him.