Just One Embrace [The Tiburon Duet, Book 2]
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by Lara Santiago
Category: Erotica/Erotic Romance/Romance
Description: Crag of Tiburon exiles himself on Earth, guilt-ridden after losing his life partner in a tragic accident. One night, he steps in to aid a distressed Ellie Granger. ~ Daring to take a chance once in her life with a fascinating stranger, Ellie requests one night with Crag, resulting in an evening of incredible passion. They part reluctantly even as they both acknowledge the relationship can't be permanent. They keep their reason a secret from each other. [Erotic Sci-Fi: Contains graphic sexual content and adult language.]
eBook Publisher: Siren-BookStrand, Inc./Erotica Romance, 2006 2006
eBookwise Release Date: June 2006
293 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [224 KB]
Reading time: 145-203 min.
"5 Kisses: Lara Santiago once again mixes two erotic essentials ... a hot sexy man and the taste of chocolate. The depth of emotional pain individually experienced by both Crag and Ellie was tangible which only caused their union to be more beautiful and powerful in its ability to heal and give hope. Just One Embrace is an amazing love story coupled with action, adventure and a bit of intrigue. The love scenes epitomize the strong bond developed between these two incredible individuals and are hot enough keep you craving for more. It was also a lot of fun following the story of Gabrielle and Keller from Just a Kiss ... both of the stories in this series are exceptional and I highly recommend reading."--Kerin, Two Lips Reviews
"5 Cups: Ms. Lara Santiago has written a sexually charged story of inter-species attraction. Ellie demonstrates all of the qualities of an independent woman faced with unbelievable obstacles, while Crag displays all of the signs of a man in touch with his feelings. I enjoyed their wordplay, and their sexual encounters were out of this world. I found myself cheering for Ellie and felt all of the suspense and drama of the events that befell her in her quest for the man with the chocolate kisses."--Kathy, Coffee Time Romance
"5 Angels: Brace yourself, Ms. Santiago has written another wonderful story that's not to be missed. Just One Embrace has steamy erotic scenes and a touch of Sci-fi elements that keep you addicted until the very end. Crag and Ellie spend one passionate night together and now she must decide if she can handle life on Tiburon, or if she wants to be alone on Earth. A manipulative woman wants what Ellie has and would do anything to keep Ellie away from Crag. I enjoyed watching Crag and Ellie fall in love and work their lives out. Thank you, Ms. Santiago, for another super story; I can't wait to see more."--Becky, Fallen Angel Reviews
"4.5 Kisses: Lara Santiago penned wonderful characters with real emotional depth in this poignant, spicy read that tugs at the heartstrings. From the opening page, she gives the perfect amount of background information so you can't help becoming emotionally vested in her characters. Her world of Tiburon and the physiology of its inhabitants engulf the reader with each exquisite detail. Just One Embrace demands more than just one read! This dreamy book of pure romance and chocolate kisses has earned a definite place on my 'keeper' shelf."--Shawn, Romance Divas
"4.5 Stars: Just One Embrace tells the story of Crag of Tiburon who was introduced in Just a Kiss. A powerful man on his home world, Crag had to come to terms with a personal tragedy before he could find happiness, especially with a woman from Earth. Even after deciding that he was willing to risk his feelings, he and Ellie are confronted with a vindictive woman, out to steal Crag's power. I really liked these two, especially Ellie. Here was a woman who had all of the disadvantages of life, yet still made a lot of herself. I so enjoyed it when she finally stood up for herself with those around her who wanted to put her down and I fell in love with Crag myself when he helped her. This tale actually addressed several different ideas; the fear that Crag and Ellie felt in regard to falling in love, the struggle that Crag faced when deciding just what was important in his life, and the distinctions of different classes and how Crag and Ellie overcame the beliefs of others and finally learning about their different backgrounds and beliefs and how they came to terms with them. Lara Santiago's Tiburon tales are great stories that I highly recommend, especially for readers who enjoy a little fantasy, a little conflict, and a whole lot of love."--Trang, Ecataromance
"4 Stars: Santiago blends sci-fi and steamy erotica in this two-book collection [The Tiburon Duet]. The stories will captivate readers looking for something imaginative and different. Cleverly written dialogue brings the characters to life in this entertaining read, and the alpha aliens are out of this world."--Romantic Times Book Reviews
Ellie managed to knock on her hero's door before losing her nerve. She hugged closer to the doorframe to hide from other nosey tenants who might pop out and catch her. Her ankle was still tender, but she could walk on it without limping. She still trembled from the orgasm she'd experienced in the muscular arms of a total stranger.
He rescued her from humiliation, carried her home, kissed her until she came, and she let him walk out without a word. She hadn't found Gabrielle's new number, so she still didn't know his name. The man who gave her the most powerful orgasm in literally a year walked away after her petulance, and she'd let him go. She was probably a fool to be chasing him, but she couldn't stop herself.
After several minutes of severely berating herself, she'd gathered her courage and trailed him down to her friend's old apartment. A smart woman would have already tackled him at the front door, hauled his unconscious body into the apartment, and chained him to the nearest bed.
She raised her hand to knock again, but he opened the door abruptly. His eyes registered surprise. He motioned her inside while grunting brief responses into his cell phone.
Whoever he spoke with on the phone seemed to be doing all the talking. He closed the door behind her and leaned on it, effectively barring her escape should she change her mind.
Ellie pretended serenity and stepped further into his apartment, looking around the austere room. The furniture was sparse and obviously left from the former tenants. She recognized Gabrielle's old sofa. The rest of the space was neat if not full of worldly possessions. This man had 'temporary resident' practically stamped on his forehead. Ellie tried to back off on her judgment of him. She had no right to judge. He'd saved her from the humiliating result of her break up with Brandon, a pompous snob born with a silver spoon crammed in his mouth. The man who'd told her he loved her, and in the same breath, actually expected her to live as his mistress because he needed to marry someone more worthy of his social station.
Ellie glanced around her hero's space again and relaxed slightly. She was here to apologize, not rate him on the austere decorations of his apartment.
His seemingly temporary life only registered because, in some ways, she was reminded of the men who had shared her mother's life on a regular basis. Ellie never knew her real father, and her mother never talked about him.
Motorcycles, sparse furnishings, leather, and especially dangerous dark looks encompassed many of the traits her hero shared in common with the men frequenting her childhood in the form of 'Uncles.' If this stranger possessed a tattoo and planned on leaving in the near future, the picture would be identical.
Although she did notice his temperament was less abrasive than any of the men in her mother's past. And he was sexy as hell, too.
He completed his call and turned his ferocious gaze to her. His expectant look filled the space between them. She didn't know who looked more uncomfortable.
"I ... um ... wanted to say ... sorry..."
"Don't. You owe me no apologies. I'm sorry if I acted inappropriately."
"No, it was rude of me to chase you off. I don't even know your name." She felt a blush warm her cheeks and looked away.
"That's because when I watch your mouth, I forget what my name is," he said with self-deprecating humor.
Laughter bubbled through her.
"My name is Crag ... Tyler."
"Crag," she repeated his name. "That's unusual. Crag. I like it."
"Thanks." He was absolutely, hands down, the sexiest man she'd ever seen.
"I'm Ellie Granger," she replied, then resisted the urge to stick out her hand to him. If he took it, she didn't think she'd be able to stop herself from planting her needy lips on him.
Somewhere. Anywhere. Everywhere.
And that wasn't why she'd come here. Was it?
"Pleased to meet you, Ellie." He didn't extend his hand either. The thought of his hands on her, accompanied by a vivid sensual picture, slammed into her mind, and familiar heat rose in her face again.
"Is your ankle still sore?" His gaze ran down her body to her feet. Ellie remembered his warm hands stroking her calf directly before that amazing kiss. She felt the blush come into her cheeks again.
"No. It doesn't even hurt anymore."
This man was dangerous to all of her aroused senses. If she were smart, she'd run like the devil was after her and lock herself in her bedroom. But she'd established earlier, she wasn't smart. Otherwise, this intriguing man would already be chained to her bed. This vibrant thought made her suck in a breath at another very erotic picture now playing on the movie screen of her underfed libido. It was time to change the subject to something more mundane.
"So, I see you haven't redecorated since Gabrielle and Keller moved out."
"No, I'm only here temporarily."
Of course he was only here temporarily. That left only the tattoo question to be resolved.
"Are they friends of yours, Gabrielle and Keller, I mean?"
"Yes, Keller is my very best friend from childhood."
"Where are you from again?" He had a slight accent she didn't recognize. Not Irish, but something European maybe.
"Far, far away." He smiled as if it were a game not to let her know where he came from. It probably made it easier for him to make a clean getaway. Jeez. What was wrong with her? She'd come down to apologize for her rude behavior, not judge him for his apparent drifter lifestyle.
"Would you like something to drink?" he asked.
"Sure." What the heck? She followed him to the kitchen.
"Where do you work, Crag?"
"I teach a class at the college."
"You're a professor like Keller?" She knew her voice sounded incredulous. She never had a teacher in college who looked like Crag, or Keller for that matter. Wherever they came from, the folks must be Amazon-like in height. Both men were nearly six and a half feet tall.
"No, not exactly. I help teach a night class in self defense three times a week." He reached into the refrigerator and pulled out two bottles of Snapple strawberry lemonade.
"Is this acceptable?"
"Sure." Never in her wildest dreams would she expect Snapple from a man like this. She'd been prepared to gag down a sip or two of beer.
"So, if you work part time, what do you do full time? Do you go to school?"
"No, I'm on what you call ... a sabbatical from my regular life."
"Trying to find yourself?" His quizzical look told her he didn't understand. The acrimonious childhood she'd led with her mother caused her to equate the phrase finding oneself immediately to, I'm too lazy to get a full-time job.
She twisted the lid off her drink and took a sip. It was sweet and tart, like her attitude tonight.
"No, I recognize precisely where I am," he said as though he didn't like it here. She should quit judging him. She didn't know him.
A flash of their earlier kiss and her resulting physical response skated through her brain. Wouldn't you love to 'know' him though, in the biblical sense? asked a voice from her dark side. That same voice continued to throw vivid erotic pictures into her consciousness.
He wrenched the lid off his bottle and lifted the beverage to his mouth. Tilting his head back, he drank deeply. She watched, mesmerized by the movement of his muscles as he drank.
The kitchen light caught the glint of the blond in his hair, drawing her gaze to his head. What was the significance, she mused, of having the streak of blond in his dark hair? To make some sort of statement? Blatant rebellion? Because it was so sexy? Definitely, door number three.
He lowered the bottle and directed a rapacious gaze her way. She recognized that look. It was just like the one he'd given her earlier before kissing her breathless.
Ellie stepped closer to him as if magnetically drawn. What would he be like in bed? Based on her experience earlier, she suspected she'd need days to recover from a single night with him. She took a step closer to him, and the true reason she was here lodged in her brain.
She wanted ... no, needed to spend a night with a man like this. A man who could give her pleasure with no strings attached. She refused to be a mistress, but she was warming to the idea of a quick rebound relationship right about now. Then she could walk away without guilt.
She wasn't usually attracted to a man such as this, but she certainly could be. She never had the opportunity to meet knights in shining black leather in her daily life. She was the director of a prestigious and very exclusive art and antiquities gallery. She'd scraped herself up from nothing to acquire the life she enjoyed.
Rich influential people with surly attitudes surrounded her every day of her life. Why was she so attracted to this dark, dangerous looking man? Because he saved you after the humiliating break up with Brandon, and because his kisses make you climax, said the dark voice.
Why couldn't she allow herself this one night to experience a man simply because she wanted him? It wasn't like she had to marry him. It didn't make her a slut or a mistress ... or like her mother.
She missed the tender loving care of a man who knew what to do with a woman in bed. Had she ever felt that? Fleeting memories from too long ago faded in and right back out again. It was long past time for a new memory.
If Crag's kiss was any indication of his prowess in bed, well then, she wanted to be able to keep up and not disappoint him. She took a final, determined step, which placed her directly in his personal space. He didn't stop her, just watched her thoughtfully.
"What would you say if I told you I wanted to spend the night with you ... tonight," she whispered. Her face heated with her own audacity.
His brows drew together in consideration but not puzzlement. He understood.
"I need..." To ... what, feel better about herself? To spend time with a man she wouldn't have to see again? The inevitable hot monkey love, which would feel so incredible?
"What do you need, Ellie?"
"I need a man who..." she paused to find the right words, "...thinks I deserve to be treated like a queen. Can you understand?"
"Ellie." He said her name on a sigh as if there were some monumental problem with her request.
"Please, Crag. Don't make me beg you." She dropped her gaze to the floor so she wouldn't start pleading. She would simply die of embarrassment if he turned her down.
Then another more horrible thought occurred to her. What if he didn't find her desirable and he was only being a decent guy earlier in her apartment? She was the one who requested he carry her inside. She was the one who instigated the first kiss between them. She was the one who practically demanded he kiss her that second, amazing time.
He'd played the knight in shining armor for her all evening, but that didn't mean he wanted to sleep with her. Just because he seemed like the type of man who wouldn't turn down a sexual request didn't mean he was looking to go to bed with her. She was so foolish. Of course, he didn't want to sleep with her.
Pin pricks of sensation dotted the tops of her eyeballs, a precursor to the tears that would fall if she didn't get out of his apartment. Right now!
She turned towards the door and her imminent escape. How far to the door? Three seconds perhaps, and she should run for it.
As she prepared to escape the embarrassment she had caused herself, an unexpected thing happened. His arms locked around her, keeping her in place before him. He then hauled her up until her eyes, now stinging with hot tears, were even with his.
"You don't have to beg me, Ellie, but I don't wish to mislead you. I'll be going home soon. It's not likely I'll be back this way again. Do you understand?"
She paused only a fraction of a second before saying, "Yes, I understand." She was about to embark on a planned one-night stand. Her first. "I'm only asking for one night, I promise." His eyes darkened in response to her hopeful plea.
Still clenched in his powerful embrace, she watched as his head dipped to her throat. She leaned back, allowing him access to the spot just below her jaw line. His lips traced a path to the sensitive place below her ear. The sizzle of his warm tongue on the pressure point sent a shudder through her. He held her as if she weighed as little as a feather.
She wrapped her arms around his neck and tried to kiss his lips. He dodged her mouth, which then landed on his whiskered cheek. He drew back, locking his eyes to hers in a heat-filled gaze. His predatory smile said he had other wicked pleasures in mind before allowing her lips to caress his. Ellie hoped she hadn't just bitten off more than she could chew.
Crag carried her, still crushed to his massive chest, into his bedroom. The only piece of furniture was the bed, and it was huge. Her eyes widened in lustful reverie when she saw it. Visions of writhing naked bodies slammed into her mind, courtesy of her libido. Calm down, she wanted to say. I'm letting him seduce me as fast as I can.
"Don't be frightened," he whispered.
"I'm not." Although, wrapped in his arms she better not be scared. She couldn't move if she wanted to, and she didn't want to until he fulfilled every one of her most recent lusty fantasies.
"Will you tell me what you like? Or should I explore you with my hands and mouth to find out for myself?"
Another nervous laugh bubbled up. "Both."
He released his grip on her and she slid down his body until her feet touched the floor. The warmth of him enveloped her. She smelled her own arousal. He whispered something else she missed due to the staccato beat of her heart thumping wildly against her chest.
"What did you say?"
He bent closer placing his lips to her ear, "I said, let's make tonight last in our hearts forever."
She thought that was the sweetest thing she'd ever heard and responded with a breathless, "Okay."