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by Michelle Cary
Category: Erotica/Erotic Romance/Romance
Description: Genre: Erotic Contemporary
Previous Book: It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
As head of the Werner Dairy Farm empire, Teagan Werner has no time for nonsense in his life and even less time for love. When a sexy sable-haired vixen shows up demanding he sell some of his land to her non-profit organization, he's both incensed and intrigued by her display of strength and determination. Quickly it becomes apparent that ignoring his attraction to her won't work, but does he really know enough about the woman to trust her with his heart?
A former victim of domestic abuse, Kyrie Hart has seen her share of hardship and she's determined to give others the same opportunity for escape she had. Leery of men but stern in her convictions, she wants not only the property Teagan Werner owns, but the handsome millionaire too. When her resolve to help abused women collides with her need to follow her heart, Kyrie is forced to choose between her cause and her love. Her decision isn't easy and in the end might very well prove to be the biggest mistake of her life.
Publisher's Note: This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable: anal play/intercourse, menage (m/f/m), voyeurism.
eBook Publisher: Loose Id, LLC, 2011
eBookwise Release Date: August 2011
2 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [143 KB]
Reading time: 89-125 min.
Teagan Werner leaned back in his chair and pinched the bridge of his nose in an attempt to control his building headache. The recent days of stress and frustration seemed to pick today to culminate into one nasty migraine. If he thought about it, the past year had been a roller coaster filled with both highs and lows that had left him emotionally drained. Right now all he wanted was a few days' vacation. With his brother, Talon, now a full-time paid fireman and his new sister-in-law, Abby, running her own business in town, he was once again left to head the family farm. Taking time off was out of the question.
Not that he minded being in charge. He loved the farm and even before his parents' deaths had begun taking on the task of keeping it successful. What bothered him more than the endless schedules of breeding cows, calves being born, and equipment breakdowns was a newfound loneliness plaguing him.
Ever since Talon and Abby had married in August, the melancholy hung over him like a persistent rain cloud. For the moment, his brother and sister-in-law still lived in the sprawling mansion where he'd been raised. They'd decided to put off having children until Abby's new business venture took off, but that hadn't stopped them from toying with baby names or planning for their future.
It was only a matter of time before they bought their own place and moved out, leaving him to rattle around in the big ole house all alone. He didn't begrudge his brother the happiness he'd found with Abby. Even back in high school, he'd known Abby and Talon were made for one another, even if neither of them had a clue.
He simply wished he could find the kind of love they shared. That wasn't to say they left him out completely. He tipped his lips into a grin as he thought about the last time the three of them were tangled in the sheets together.
He reached down to adjust the growing bulge in his slacks as he remembered the way Abby had gone down on him. She'd placed a small ice cube in her mouth before she'd laved his dick with such fervor he nearly came within seconds. One thing was for sure: Talon was one lucky son of a bitch.
Though that had been back before the wedding. They'd assured him there would be more, but three months later, he was still waiting. There wasn't any use in fooling himself. He'd known the moment they'd said their "I do's" that their rendezvous would no doubt end.
Facts were facts. Abby might be adventurous, but she wouldn't want to play around when it came to the father of her child. He sighed as his cock deflated at the thought of losing what he'd come to accept as the norm.
He turned back to the papers spread out on his desk and struggled to focus on his work. Two of his tanker trucks had fallen victim to engine problems, causing a serious gap in transporting his product to the processor. A load of moldy hay came in the day before, and he needed to address the issue with the supplier. No way was he going to pay for tainted feed.
"Mr. Werner?" He glanced up to see the housekeeper, Millie, standing in the doorway, a look of remorse on her face. "I know you didn't want to be disturbed, but Mr. Fletcher is here with a guest."
Teagan barely refrained from rolling his eyes. What in the world does Earl want? "Fine, let him in." His Realtor, Earl Fletcher, was the last person Teagan wanted to deal with this morning.
An aging man close to sixty shuffled through the door, followed by a vixen with long black hair, wearing what would best be described as conservative sexy in her gray pencil skirt and white pleated blouse. Her high heels clicked across the hard wood as she entered the room and had Teagan taking pause at the shapely legs attached to those shoes. She stopped and cleared her throat. The sound caused Teagan to zip his attention back to her face.
Heat slowly crept into his face as he realized she'd caught him gawking. He smiled and, never breaking his gaze with her, asked, "Earl, who's your friend?"
Earl beamed as if he were introducing the queen herself. "Teagan, this is Ms. Kyrie Hart."
"Pleased to meet you." Teagan stood and extended a hand to shake.
"Likewise," she replied as she accepted his hand. The initial contact sent zings of electricity shooting up his arm, and Teagan would have sworn the floor moved beneath his feet.
Holy hell, what was that? He broke contact, pulled away, and motioned for them to sit. "What can I do for you, Mrs. Hart?"
She started to speak only to have Earl cut her off. "She's here looking for properties to purchase and is interested in the land you have on Amber Mill Road."
Really? Wouldn't it be a pleasure to have her as a new neighbor? Teagan pondered the idea of having this beautiful woman living so close by. "Really. Well, Mrs. Hart--"
"Ms. Hart," she corrected, and Teagan sent up a silent thank-you.
"Um...Ms. Hart. Even if the property was still for sale, which it isn't, you should know that the house burned down some time ago, so there is only land."
She nodded. "Mr. Fletcher told me about the house, but I'm really only interested in the property."
"Like I said, it's no longer for sale."
Her face contorted in confusion as she glanced from Teagan to Earl and back. "As of last month, it was still listed. Has it already been purchased?"
Teagan shook his head. He should have expected Earl's continued push to sell even after he'd removed the property from the market. "No, ma'am. I simply decided not to sell it after all."
"Well." She frowned. "I'm sure you had good reason to put the place on the market to start, and I am extremely interested in the land. Isn't there any way we can work out a deal?"
"I'm sorry, but the land is no longer available." Teagan shot Earl a disgruntled look. "Mr. Fletcher should have told you that instead of wasting all our time dragging you out here for no reason."
"Now, Teagan, I'm sure you can at least hear what Ms. Hart has to say."
"Fine." Teagan folded his arms over his chest and leaned back. There wasn't anything she could possibly say that would change his mind, but if hearing her out would make them both go away faster, he'd do it. "Why are you so interested in the land, Ms. Hart? What exactly do you plan to do with it?"
"I want to build a retreat and spa for battered women."
That certainly wasn't what he'd expected her to say. Confused, Teagan frowned. "I'm sorry. I don't quite follow you. Battered women aren't going to have the money to spend on a retreat and spa."
The indignant look she wore told Teagan he'd just dug his first hole with the beautiful lady. "Well of course not," she retorted. "The retreat will work much like a woman's shelter, only on an entirely different level. It would be for those women who are not only willing to leave their abusive relationships but who need to leave everything behind and start new elsewhere due to the level of violence."
"So it would kind of be a halfway house for women in need of a protection program of sorts. New look, new identity, new town."
The incredulous look she wore slipped into a grin. "That's a very good way to describe it, Mr. Werner."
"Please, call me Teagan."
"All right, Teagan. The idea is to bring women to the retreat to heal. While there, they'll be counseled, offered schooling or job training before being given a fresh start in another state."
He eased back until he sat on the edge of his desk and crossed his legs at the ankles. "That sounds awful ambitious for one person, Ms. Hart."
"I'm heading up the project and eventually will run the place once it's open, but I do have a team helping me get the proper funding in place."
"And how does this spa factor into all that?"
"The spa will pamper these women in a way they haven't been treated before. They'll receive a complete makeover, exercise classes, lessons on dealing with stress, and a place to just spend some downtime while they work through their issues. Essentially it will give women the chance to recuperate, rehabilitate, and prepare for their new identities and new lives. While I was in Colorado, I saw a similar spa in action, and they had a fantastic success rate."
"And you want to put all this on the property on Amber Mill Road?"
"That's the plan."
"And you'd be heading up the project and then staying on to run the facility?"
Her gaze narrowed. "That's what I said. Why? Do you have a problem with a woman running a construction project, Mr. Werner?"
Geez, she was a touchy one. He held his hands up in defense. "No, not at all. I was just making sure I understood everything. No disrespect intended."
"Disrespect taken," she snapped. "Now about this property."
"Not. For. Sale." He stood and returned to his chair behind the desk. "Not that I have to share my reasons for keeping the land, but I've had serious issues with my grain supplier lately and have decided to use the land to grow some of my own feed. Thus the reason for pulling it off the market."
Her eyes widened at his explanation, and she leaned forward, placing a hand on his desk. "You want to use the land to feed a bunch of cows? You can't be serious."
"I'm completely serious. Werner Farms is one of the major dairy producers east of the Mississippi, and I'm not going to risk our reputation by feeding my cattle tainted food."
"There must be more than one supplier for feed, Mr. Werner."
"Even if there are, I have the right to choose how I use my land, Ms. Hart. Besides, there are other pieces of property available for sale in the area."
"Yes, but I'm interested in your land. Now I'm sure for the right price you could be persuaded to change your mind?"
She was a persistent one. "What kind of price are we talking?"
A smug smile tipped her lips, and despite her combative nature, Teagan had the sudden urge to kiss it away. "Four thousand an acre."
The urge died with her offer as the businessman took over. "You have to be joking." He shook his head. "That land is worth a minimum of six, even with all the wooded acreage."
"Now who's joking?" she shot back. "Haven't you bothered to keep up on the news? The entire housing market is down. Nothing is selling for full value right now."
"All the more reason for me to keep the land and put it to use."
Obviously put out by his statement, she shot up from her chair. "You're being completely unreasonable, Mr. Werner. In these hard economic times, you'd be a fool to pass on such a lucrative offer."
"Then I guess I'm a fool because the answer is still no. As I said before, there are several other plots of land for sale in the area. Why don't you try one of them?"
Her look turned hard as stone for the briefest of moments before she schooled her features into a polite smile. "I'm so sorry to have wasted your time." She turned to Earl. "Since we're obviously done here, I'll be in the car."
With that, she turned and stomped out of the room.
"Teagan, be reasonable," Earl urged. "The woman is here on a mission of mercy. Besides, think about what it would do for the Werner name to be involved in such a charitable endeavor."
"Charity doesn't pay my bills," Teagan shot back.
Earl shook his head and turned to leave. "I think you're making a huge mistake, but it's your land. Do what you want with it."
No sooner had Earl left than Talon entered the room. He angled a thumb toward the door. "Hey, who's the sexy chick in the suit I saw storming out of here a minute ago?"
"That, my dear brother, would be Ms. Kyrie Hart."
Talon plopped down in the chair and arched a brow. "And just who is Ms. Kyrie Hart to you?"
"Apparently she is the latest thorn in my side." Teagan reclined in his chair and considered the sexy-as-hell sable-haired beauty with attitude to spare. He had a strange feeling he hadn't seen the last of her.