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by Evelyn Starr
Category: Erotica/Classic Erotica/Romance
Description: An old mystery. With a new answer. Things aren't always as they seem. Lina Christopher has lived her life by that motto. When Lina unearths a cache of incredibly rare antiques in a tumbledown shed on her great-great-grandfather's property, it proves itself all too painfully true, but she has no idea the excitement it will ignite. Or the passion. Because someone else claims ownership of those antiques. A man she knows very, very well. And he'll do anything to get them back. Van Rodgers, the richest man in town, the man she's loved since the day he staged an auto accident just so he could meet her, has been withholding something from her. He's been keeping secrets that make her discovery that much more valuable, that much more dangerous, and apt to drive them apart forever. Because Van Rodgers is not what he appears.
eBook Publisher: eXtasy eBooks, 2009 eXtasy Books
eBookwise Release Date: November 2009
3 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [331 KB]
Reading time: 204-286 min.
Groaning, Van pushed himself up on an elbow and leaned over her. Perhaps he loomed over her.
A long strand of hair, more reddish than gold, lay across her cheek. Curling down toward her neck and then back up, teasingly, it flirted with the corner of her lips. It flirted, breathtakingly, with their full and all-too-kissable roundness.
Van brushed it away. Skimming with a single fingertip, he stroked deliberately, purposefully across every rose-hued contour. "You little vixen. Do you have any idea what you do to me?"
"The same thing I've done without ever trying since the night you plowed your over-priced sports car into the back of my dad's Subaru?" she guessed.
Van wanted to laugh. Even if it wasn't a laughing matter. Not even now. Not considering all the trouble that little act of desperation ... a quite deliberate one, even if he hadn't meant to hit the old man's ancient sedan quite so hard ... had gotten him into. And then he couldn't help himself.
He laughed. "Be fair, Lina. I didn't plow into anything."
"My dad didn't think so."
"I bumped. Tapped. Lightly. It was minor damage. My car..."
"My dad did not think so."
"...was not an over-priced behemoth. It was a beat-up old Camaro I bought third-hand."
"It didn't look beat up."
"Damn it, woman."
It wasn't as if his mother ... either of his martinet, bone-stingy parents ... had ever given him a car. Or anything else.
Alicia and Randolph Rodgers had considered ... in her case still considered ... any gift or act of kindness a ruination of character. It didn't matter how small or how large. How sentimental or insignificant.
His parents had never given a genuine gift. Not even in the days when they'd had money in bales and bundles. They'd never given anything without some kind of string attached ... some kind of expectation, usually unrealistic and unattainable, for him to live up to.
Over and over and over again.
It was a sore spot with him. One he'd tried to hide for as long as he'd had an idea what was going on. One he wasn't ready to reveal yet. Maybe ever. "Lina..." He tried to keep exasperation from sounding in his voice. "Why the hell are we talking about this now?"
She opened her mouth to answer. But he was quicker.
He kissed her. Touched his mouth to hers just as her lips parted. Just in the moment when she became deliciously receptive. Because she'd set herself up to be deliciously off guard.
In that instant of first contact, he opened his lips as well. He slipped his tongue into the heart of Lina's summer-wine-ripe richness, prepared to be overwhelmed by her wild and uninhibited, searing touch. He found everything he'd wanted and longed for in her, as unerringly as any heat-seeking missile ever created. Locking onto hers, his tongue commingled with hers and took full possession of hers. Though that kind of commingling was loaded with pitfalls.
That kind of commingling...
"That's part of the problem with us," he backed away from her and her kiss so suddenly that he surprised even himself.
"What?" Licking her lips, Lina looked confused. Bereft.
Damn. He wanted to kiss her again. He wanted to keep on kissing her. But she'd taken him back. To that instant. That one supremely special, incredibly superb instant when she'd thrown herself out of her old man's car and launched herself straight at the hood of his shiny but barely-running Camaro. That in too many ways mirrored perfectly his secretly shabby life.
With tears in her eyes, with fury in her heart and a pithy word or two about the quality of his parentage sizzling across her tongue, she'd started her association with him in that one fevered instant. And the fever had never ceased since. It had never abated ... never let either of them go since she'd stopped her tirade as unexpectedly as she'd begun, and they'd found themselves clinging together wordless and breathless, even with her father looking on, over the crumpled fenders of the Camaro.
"We just keep doing it," he said.
And they had.
Lina had been eighteen. He'd been twenty-three. And they'd done nothing but it ever since. Over, and over, and over again. So many times he couldn't count. So many times he didn't want to count, because the number of times didn't matter a lick anyway, when it was all he wanted to begin with.
"I know we do." She said it, but she looked at him like she thought he'd gone crazy.
And maybe he had.
"Don't you ever get tired?" he asked.
Blinking, mouth open a little, she looked confused. Devastated, too, and hurt. In a way that just about shattered Van's heart. Because damn it, that wasn't what he'd meant to say.
"You're saying you're tired of me?"
"No. I mean ... I'm not tired of you, Lina. God, no! That's the last thing I'd ever ... it's just ... something you said. Something that made me realize that we just keep doing the same old thing. The same old way. Over and over again."
Christ, he didn't know.
Not a thing, except that the thought of those ten years, the thought of how much time they'd wasted, playing around with each other and with their passion without ever carrying it to a higher, more satisfying level...
He'd been a damned fool.
Damned, damned, damned fool.
Hungry for something new, something never known before or even suspected before, he caught her wrists and pulled them together. Lifting them high, high, high above her head and pinning them to the floor.
That had to end. The part about being a damned fool and wasting precious time had to end. If he could just figure out how to make it end. Without hurting her again. Without hurting her more than he already had.
Pressing his mouth determinedly to hers, into hers, he sought that something inside her. That thing he'd never found before.
Or maybe he had found it once, a long time ago, and had grown so used to the status quo with her that he'd simply forgotten.
For a moment, Lina resisted. For a slightly longer moment, it looked like she would really resist. So strenuously that his own sense of honor would work against him. So that he'd end up releasing her. Releasing his new dream of finding something better with her. But then she stretched. Catlike, she extended her body sensuously. Hungrily.
In response, his cock hardened. So fast, and with such unprecedented fury that in less than an instant simple hardness became a complete inaccuracy.