Happy Monday! Hope you’re all set for a good week. I know I am…my fourth Carina Press book released last Monday and it’s been fun getting feedback. So here, without further delay, is an excerpt from Forbidden Obsessions, which features Gabe McConnell, the owner of Bondage & Breakfast, and Olivia Watterson, the injured fire-fighter from Forbidden Desires. If you’d like to read the full first chapter, you can find it on my website here: http://jodiegriffin.com/category/books/
“Would you like to go for a walk?” he asked, holding out his hand.
She blinked. “Don’t you have work to do? And don’t you need to be here to oversee the construction?”
He laughed, an incredibly appealing sound that made her heart skip a beat. “It’s good to be in charge,” he said, winking. “The construction crew is small, just four local guys, and I trust them all. They’ve worked here before.”
She put her hand in his, allowing him to tug her up to standing. Her fingers tingled, and her body flooded with heat, which settled low in her stomach. Being around him was like touching a live wire. She dropped his hand but walked beside him on a narrow path, their arms occasionally brushing, keeping her on edge.
“It feels good to walk out here in the fresh air. There were days I thought I’d never…” Her voice drifted off. Bloody hell, had she really just said that? She never told anyone about that fear. No, it was more than fear. It was her worst nightmare, abject terror that kept her from sleeping, and those nights she had slept, she’d woken covered in sweat, her heart racing. She’d never spoken it aloud, afraid that voicing it might make it happen. Daft thought, but then panic never was rational. She slid a glance his way.
He looked at her and nodded once, not commenting.
Thank God he understood she didn’t want to talk about it.
The woods thickened as they traveled in silence, then the path and the tree line suddenly ended at a white wooden fence that encircled a lush green pasture dotted with sleek horses. There was another bench near the fence, but instead of sitting, she rested her arms on the top rail. “Oh! Are they yours?”
He leaned against the fence the same way. “Nope. Neighbor’s, but he doesn’t mind me letting my customers sit and watch his horses. I like to come out here, too, especially at night when the moon’s out.” He looked almost embarrassed by his words, but she was thoroughly charmed by them. And then he turned to her, his eyes intent. “You haven’t said much about my choice of inn. Most people are either appalled or intrigued, but I don’t get either vibe from you.”
Her heart stuttered, and she searched her mind for something to say. Nothing came, though. Nothing she was ready to share, anyway.
He looked back at the horses, breaking their eye contact, and sighed. “Sorry. That’s just me being nosy. It’s not really important to you staying here while I don’t have guests.” His phone chirped, and he looked at the display and swore. “I need to head back to the house. Do you want to stay and enjoy the view, or walk back with me?”
She figured now was as good a time as any to head back and get unpacked. “I’ll walk with you, thanks.” Before they left, she looked up at the metal pole standing between them. A twisted bit of rope hung from one of the hooks on either end of its crossbar. “Looks like you need a new flag.”
He shot her a puzzled frown, and she pointed at the shreds of rope. “Your rope frayed.”
His eyes blazed fiery hot and locked with hers. “That’s not a flagpole, princess. It’s a whipping post.”