Title: Within Temptation (Sons of Temptation #1)
Author: Tanya Holmes
Genre: Contemporary/Romantic Suspense/Mystery hybrid
Release Date: May 12, 2014
Love, betrayal and murder in a small town…Twelve years after her mother's murder, Shannon Bradford fears she may have helped convict an innocent man. Even worse, her prominent family may have had something to do with it. Desperate for answers, she seeks help from the one person least likely to give it. Her best friend and childhood crush, Trace Dawson. The man she sent to prison. Serving hard time for murder has left Trace angry and bitter. As far as he's concerned, digging into the past won't replace the years he's lost or erase the hell he's lived. Now that he's free, Shannon Bradford tops his list of bad memories. But he never counted on falling in love. WITHIN TEMPTATION is a contemporary/romantic suspense/mystery hybrid. Set in a sleepy little town during the dead of winter, this award-winning romance novel is a tale of one woman's quest for truth and a man's struggle to forgive.
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Trace sighed, braced the worktable. “I said, get out.”
Frozen with fear and anger, I stared at the floor. “No.”
I elevated my chin a fraction. “That’s right…no.”
He twisted around. His expression made a gradual shift from vengeful to predatory. Our eyes battled in silence, then, like a prowling lion, he advanced, and I, his prey, retreated until I’d backed into a wall. When his shadow engulfed me, I had to tilt my head all the way back to stare up at him. The ice had thawed in his eyes, leaving twin pools of lava.
I looked at his mouth and the time I kissed him on his seventeenth birthday came to mind. Thirteen-years-old and smitten with a desperate case of puppy love, I’d snuck up on him as he’d sat asleep in the carriage house.
The second my lips bumped into his, he’d startled awake and promptly put me away from him. He’d delivered a hasty, but genial grin, then wagged a finger.
Instead of giving me the brutal truth—that I was a pathetic little girl—the boy they’d ranked with Satan took pity on me. I was too good for him, he’d said.
But there was no pity in his eyes now as his gaze wandered my body. He may have killed my mother, may have even taken another life in prison, but I wasn’t afraid—not in the least. Dear God, had I become like those wretched women who got turned on by bad boys with blood-splattered pasts?
Fighting it, I looked away. “Please…stop.”
I drew a shallow breath. “This. What you’re doing.”
“What am I doin’, Shannon?” He anchored a forearm to the wall above my head. His left arm hung at his side.
I swallowed. “You’re trying to scare me.”
“That’s where you’re wrong.” He looked me over again, and when he spoke, his voice came out deep and gravelly. “Right now, scaring you is the furthest thing from my mind.” He snagged a whiff of my perfume and inched closer. “Way I see it, I’ve politely asked you to leave, but you refused. So I’m left wondering what’s keeping you here. Can’t be my sunny disposition.”
His gaze traveled down my neck, to my chest, a chest that rose and fell in frantic succession. He spent a long time looking there … at my breasts.
I felt my nipples bead, felt my face burn. Embarrassed, I lowered my eyes, but that was a mistake. A full arousal tented his zipper.
He smiled. “See, I think you’re still here ‘cause somethin’s missing.”
“What?” I all but squeaked.
“Oh, I dunno. Maybe lover boy’s not cutting it in bed?”
Fury burned my cheeks. “How dare you.”
“Just an honest question. I’m curious.”
“It’s none of your business.”
“What? Your sex life?” He cocked his head and frowned. “Hell, do y’all even have one?” Before I could tell him to kiss my ass, he added, “Trust me. If he’s not getting it from you, he’s getting it somewhere.”
I seared him with a glare. “Your crudity is astounding.”
“I’m just giving you my humble opinion. Nothin’ more.”
“You don’t know the first thing about humility.”
“Yes, ‘really.’ You’re too full of yourself.”
A slow, wicked grin eased across his lips. “Maybe so. But I’d bet the farm you wouldn’t mind being full of me too.”
About the Author
Tanya Holmes is a former Romance Writers of America Golden Heart finalist, a recipient of the Maggie Award, the MICA Award, as well as Overall Winner of the Sandy Haddad Award and a two-time finalist and one-time winner of The Emily (Best of the Best). She's happily married with children and loves reading, writing and a good cup of coffee---but not necessarily in that order. Her debut novel, Within Temptation is due out May 12, 2014.