Heart of the Hunter

Heart of the Hunter by Bj James

Book: Heart of the Hunter by Bj James Read Free Book Online
Authors: Bj James
hiss. “This time as if you mean it.”
    â€œJeb.” Nicole put a staying hand on his chest, needing room to think. To breathe.
    â€œNow!” His fingers curled around her shoulders, driving into them, lifting her to him. “Like this,” he muttered, and something ignited the cold ashes of his gaze as his mouth closed over hers.
    His kiss was harsh, the fierceness of his grip an omen of bruises tomorrow. Ten of them, one for each punishing fingertip. Their ache was a memory unrelieved even as his hands slipped to her hair, cupping her head in his palms, drawing her closer still. The thrust of his body against hers was hard, as fierce as his touch.
    His hands tugged back her head, his mouth scorched the flesh of her throat as it ranged over it. A sound, a sigh or cry, shuddered through him and he drew her closer, closer, his body a brand.
    â€œLike this,” he breathed against her skin as he felt her yield. His kiss was punishment, his mouth still harsh, demanding she yield more and yet more.
    Nicole’s head was spinning, her heart racing. No man had held her as Jeb was holding her. None had provoked her or angered her as he, demanding what could very nearly destroy her. Allowing no refusal.
    Then there would be none.
    â€œNo.” She muttered her anger against his lips. Her fingers tangled in his hair, her nails furrowing his scalp. “Like this.”
    Her mouth opened beneath his, her teeth catching the tender curve of his bottom lip. Jeb groaned, but not in pain, and his tongue teased over hers. Anger vanished in the avalanche of more primal needs and Nicole was spinning, falling into a world she’d never known. He tasted of brandy and desperation, and she never wanted it to stop. Never wanted to let him go.
    Yet even as she clung to him, he was stepping back, catching her wrists in a gentler grasp, dragging them down his body. She could feel the force of his heartbeat, and the ragged rise of his chest as he struggled for calm.
    â€œYes,” he said softly. “Like that.” Drawing her to his side, he draped an arm about her shoulders. “Put your arms around my waist. Now, lean your head on my shoulders. We’re going to walk very carefully into the darkness. Two desperate lovers seeking a secret place to make the love they feel.”
    Nicole tensed and would have pulled away, but he kept her close. “Easy. You’ve played your part, don’t lose it now.” In a whispery singsong, he encouraged her, praised her, until the darkness of a gigantic magnolia swallowed them. “Great. You’re doing great.”
    Releasing her he stripped off the jacket he’d worn to satisfy whatever dress codes the Saracen might impose. Spreading it on the ground, he took her hand and drew her down with him.
    Nicole had gone beyond objection, a part of her knew dimly he wouldn’t listen. When he kissed her again, she responded. Playing her role, she insisted, even as he leant her back, pillowing her head on his jacket.
    Rising over her, Jeb brushed a leaf from her hair with a tenderness belying the violence of his kiss. “Will you be afraid?”
    She moistened her dry lips with her tongue and found she tasted of brandy. Jeb wouldn’t let any harm come to her. “Not as long as you’re near.”
    He smiled and touched the bridge of her nose. He couldn’t see the scar, but he knew it was there. He knew how she’d gotten it. She hadn’t been afraid then, when he was with her. She was a brave lady, braver than she knew. Kissing her forehead, he whispered, “Hold that thought, sweetheart, and I’ll be back before you know it.”
    Then he was gone, fading into a wall of black.
    Sweat beading her face, Nicole lay frozen, daring to make no sound. She knew where he was going and why. And she was afraid, but for Jeb, not herself. Beneath the canyon like darkness of the magnolia, silences were deeper, magnifying tiny sounds

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