Shivaree by Cara McKenna
Buy link: http://www.jasminejade.com/ps-8200-50-shivaree.aspx (Available March 12, 2010)
My site: http://www.caramckenna.com
Hot on the heels of a nasty break-up, Natalie’s truck dies and strands her deep in Louisiana’s sweltering backwoods. A glow beyond the trees and a haunting melody lead her to what she hopes is salvation.
The Shivaree is more than a bar. It’s a mysterious oasis where people go to escape into a cold drink and lose themselves against a warm body on the dance floor. Gabriel is its resident musician, gifted with unnerving talent and intoxicating sexual charisma. The only thing standing between Natalie and the perfect rebound is Gabriel’s possessive and domineering lover, and Natalie’s not afraid of a bully. Certainly not one built like Shane Broussard. She’s ready to discover the perfect remedy for heartache—two hot male bodies, one long, sultry, southern night.
All at once, being near this stranger was too much. From a distance, he was a sip of liquor. This near, for this long, he was alcohol poisoning. Natalie felt woozy. His long body felt close, closer than the inch or two separating their chests. The heat coming off him put the southern summer to shame, and sweat trickled down her spine beneath her tank top.
She glanced around the club, over Gabriel’s shoulder. It was an odd place. More Christmas lights hung from the ceiling, a canopy of candy-colored stars. Strings of random pendants and window crystals and glass beads were strung there as well, and all the tall windows were draped with long white curtains. The fabric was strange and spangled, textured with tiny pearls and lace and sequins. The breeze from outside made them dance along with the music.
“You looking at the drapes?” Gabriel asked, amused.
“Made from weddin’ dresses.”
“Everyone from around here calls this place The Chapel.”
She nodded. She kept her eyes trained beyond the intoxicating man in front of her, mustering sobriety. Despite the chaos and noise, it was a peaceful, ethereal, sensual place. She took in the patrons, a mix as colorful as the decor. Everyone looked content, dancing, chatting around tables, seated at the bar.
With one exception. A large man in jeans and a tee shirt leaned against the wall near the front door. He was tall and dangerous-looking, and he was staring straight at Natalie.
“You’re distracted,” Gabriel murmured. His voice dripped honey down her neck, warm and sweet and sticky.
“It’s that man.” She pointed with her eyes to where he stood, nursing a whiskey and some invisible grudge.
Gabriel craned his neck and smiled.
“That’s Shane Broussard.”
“Is he your enemy or something? He’s giving us the evil-eye.”
Gabriel laughed, low and seductive. He moved her in lazy circles over the scuffed wood, commanding with his hands, teasing with his breath and smile and the grazing of his chest against hers. Natalie felt lucidity fall away again.
“He’s my lover,” he murmured.
She tightened in his arms. “Your lover?”
He ran his palms over her bare shoulders, over the goose bumps that had risen there. He nodded.
Natalie glanced to the side, taking in Shane Broussard—well-built frame, nearly shaved head, boxer’s arms. He had the air of a soldier, dishonorably discharged.
“He looks…cruel,” she whispered.
Gabriel laughed again. He drew his head back to study her anxious face. The edges of his eyes crinkled with mischief and satisfaction. “He’s a beast.”
Against anybody’s better judgment, she ran her fingers over his neck and through his unruly black hair. “Maybe we should stop dancing. I don’t want to upset him.” She’d inspired more than her fill of masculine displeasure in recent months. Make that years.
Gabriel pulled her closer. “He don’ own me.”
Natalie sucked in a breath. She could feel him, stiff behind his fly, his erection pressing against her hipbone as their bodies swayed. She hesitated, torn between fear and pleasure. The chill he’d given her moments before gave way to a flush. The humid, hot air enveloped them and its magnolia scent was eclipsed by Gabriel—by the smell of his sweat and skin and by his mere presence. She wanted him. She craved him as palpably as a castaway might crave water. That his possessive lover was watching them with unveiled hatred only deepened the ache. Gabriel moaned softly as her nails raked his neck beneath his collar.
Natalie was used to going after what she wanted and usually getting it…though recent history had taught her she didn’t always like her prize once she claimed it. Still…
“Does he let you take other lovers?” she whispered, reckless.
“And you do as he says?”
Gabriel ran his lips up her jaw to her ear, warming her with a deep exhalation. “I do.”
“Why? What’s in it for you?”
“I have my reasons.”
I’m telling y’all now, I can’t wait to read this one!