Available May 16th from Ellora’s Cave.
In case you missed it on my web site, here’s a blurb and excerpt.
Emmia feels the emotion of all who surround her. Her Talent is empathy and it’s more curse than blessing. She employs her skill as a justice mercenary, discovering criminals and meting out punishment.
Magnus didn’t kill his lover, Caith, the way everyone suspects. Now he is lord to a keep filled with suspicious, angry people.
Quinn, part three of the menage a trois that ended in Caith’s death, wants only to set things right and resume the loving relationship he once had with Magnus. He seeks out Emmia and employs her.
In a sexual tangle…
But both Magnus and Quinn are drawn to Emmia, just as they are drawn to each other. All three of them become lost in a weave of scorching and erotic desire coupled with emotional need.
Soon Emmia is balancing the two men like swords to uncover the truth
and not be hurt in the bargain…
Emmia woke the next morning at the moment dawn slivered the sky. Her eyes fluttered open and she frowned, hearing the sound of wood being chopped.
She bounded out of bed and went to her window. Below her, in the area where she normally kept her firewood, stood Quinn in all his shirtless glory. Muscles rippled as he raised the axe over his head and brought it down on a fallen tree trunk. Something tightened in her stomach at the sight, and it wasn’t only because he formed such an enticing picture…it was anger.
He glanced up at the window, did a double take and smiled a little, wiping the sweat from his brow.
She disappeared and ran downstairs and out the door. “What do you think you’re doing?” she demanded as she approached him.
He hefted the axe over his shoulder and looked up at the sky. His ribcage rose and fell with his breathing, labored from his exertion. Emmia tried not to become overly fascinated with his strong build, the way the muscles in his arms bunched and flexed as he moved, and how the faint light filtering though the trees made his skin gleam.
“It’s getting colder,” he said. “Winter’s setting in. You don’t have nearly enough firewood laid back.” His breath showed in the cool morning air. He pointed with the axe at her admittedly meager pile of wood. “I found some dead fall and I’m stocking it for you. Paying you back for the food, water, horse feed and the room for the night.”
“I didn’t ask you to do that.”
“I don’t leave debts unpaid, Emmia.” He paused, looking at her speculatively. “You don’t get much help, do you? You don’t know how to handle it when you do.”
“I don’t need you to try and understand me, Quinn.”
“Seems to me that you might need someone to take care of you a little sometimes. Since you take care of so many others.”
“You don’t know what I want or what I need.” Her voice was shaking a little. She tried to read his emotions, but failed. That happened sometimes when her own emotions ran high. She wasn’t sure why she was so offended by Quinn taking the initiative in chopping wood for her, she just was.
He stared at her for a long moment. “I know exactly what a woman like you needs.”
Anger flared through her hard and fast. His meaning was not lost on her. “That’s a very high-handed comment to make.”
“Out here in the woods on your own so often,” he continued. “I’ll bet that even when you’re working and you’re around people you keep them at a distance. I bet men pursue you, but you put them off. You don’t want to be close to them because you can feel their emotions. You can tell when they’re just in it for the sex, or worse, when they’ve grown bored with you.”
“I’ve used men for just sex before, too, Quinn.”
He nodded. “We all have needs. Empty, though, isn’t it? One night of sex appeases us for a short time, but we all need relationships, connections and intimacy.”
“You aren’t the one to talk. You admitted last night you used Caith for sex.”
He shook his head. “No, it wasn’t like that. Our relationship was seated in deep respect and caring, if not love. We weren’t using each other, we were enjoying each other.”
“A fine line.” She shook her head. “I’m not having this conversation with you. I want you to leave here now. I’m very well on my own.” She turned to walk away. “I don’t need anyone—”
She heard the axe thunk to the ground and felt Quinn’s strong hand on her upper arm. He spun her around to face him. “You’re lying to yourself,” he growled. “I can see it in your eyes. You’re lonely, Emmia.” He rubbed a tendril of her hair between his fingers and then hooked it behind her ear. His touch felt good to her, though she tried to deny it. She tried to deny his words too, but couldn’t.
“So what if I am,” she whispered. “That’s the lot I drew in this lifetime.”
He shook his head. “It doesn’t have to be that way. I’m here. I’m intrigued by you, attracted to you.”
“You’re trying to seduce me, a poor pathetic, lonely woman out in the woods, just so I’ll agree to travel to Ravensbridge,” she spat. “You think I don’t know?”
“No! Emmia, this has nothing to do with that.” He sighed heavily. “I’m genuinely attracted to you.”
Emmia did feel that from him. Grudgingly, she admitted he wasn’t lying.
“And I recognize things in you because Magnus is also an empath. I see things in you that I’ve seen in him.” He shrugged. “That’s all.”
She stilled. “Magnus is an empath?”
“Yes. I know the Talent is rare.”
“You didn’t mention that before.”
“I didn’t know it was relevant.”
She blinked. “I’ve never met another empath before,” she replied quietly, almost to herself.
“Come to Ravensbridge and you will.”
She shook herself out of the shock. “I wouldn’t be able to feel his emotions. I’d be blinded in that way.”
“I know. You’d have to use your other reasoning abilities to discover the truth.” He paused. “Does this mean you’re thinking of accepting the job?”
“I don’t know.” Although the fact that Magnus was an empath did change things. She pulled out of his grasp with an impatient jerk. “Give me time to think.”
He raised his hands, palms out. “All right.”
She raised her gaze to his. His dark eyes regarded her with a nice, even warmth. Quinn was attracted to her and he understood her better than anyone she’d ever met, likely because of his relationship with Magnus. He confused her, set her on edge. He made her uncomfortable.
“Emmia,” he said slowly. “Give me tonight with you. Just one night. I’ll leave in the morning…with or without you.”
She didn’t answer. She only turned and walked away.
Give me tonight with you. Just one night.
As she walked away, Emmia closed her eyes for a moment. Was it horrible that she was tempted by the offer? One night of physical contact with another person, his hands on her body, his mouth on her skin, hard body moving over her, his cock filling her, moving inside her… It had been so long since she’d had that. Her body nearly ached at the thought of it being so close.
She honestly didn’t know if she’d able to refuse his offer.