A Chance Reunion
in CHRISTMAS CONFIDENTIAL anthology
Book #3 in the Chance, Texas series
ISBN # 978-0-373-27801-5
November 13, 2012
Who is the mysterious woman who looks so much like his dead wife?
Gage Chance doesn't know, but he has to find out. And when bullets begin to fly, he'll risk his life to save hers and get to the bottom of things. Will the truth be more than he can handle?
“Why won’t you just leave? I’ll be okay.” A look of panic spread across Elana’s face.
Gage pressed ahead. “I’m not leaving you in danger. I don’t care what you’ve done in the past. It doesn’t matter. You have a child now and I believe you’ve become a decent person. I’ll see this through to the end.”
He’d said the words, but the frustration of not knowing if she was Alicia still burned in his gut. The person she’d been describing as her younger self was not at all the person he’d thought he’d known as his wife. She couldn’t be that person. Wouldn’t he know for sure?
But he wasn’t ready for an argument. His mind was too jumbled. He knew his body—his senses and his libido—felt the same way about this woman as it had about his deceased wife. Still, his mind was fairly sure the two women were not the same.
Holding up both hands, palms out, he tried soothing words. “Take it easy. It shouldn’t be a terrible hardship to have me around. I think I’ve proven I can be handy in emergencies.”
“Uh… I don’t know.” She walked over to sit on the bed in an effort that seemed designed to keep her as far away from him as possible.
Her simple moves turned him hard and ready in an instant. The situation seemed crazy as all hell. If she was Alicia, he should hate her. And if she wasn’t… Well, he shouldn’t be having these protective urges toward her. Nor should he be experiencing the most arousing desire he’d felt in the five years since his wife’s death. From the moment he’d seen her, he’d wanted her.
He’d tried to move on with his social life since Alicia’s death, had even endured a few fix-ups by his brothers. But no one else electrified him with one look. No other women made him crave, lust uncontrollably, or lit him with such a fiery passion in such a short a time.
No, only this one. And only because she reminded him of his dead wife? Crazy.
“Forget everything for now,” he said as soothingly as he could manage as he inched toward her. “Don’t think about it. Try to get some rest. You can decide what’s best later. I’ll be right here.”
Just then the floodlights went on outside and doused the room in a warm glow. She made a strangled noise in her throat and he put a hand on her shoulder.
She turned to look up at him. “No one can see us, can they?”
The husky sound of her voice. The sudden blazing desire in her deep green eyes combined with that sincere look of tenderness. Everything about her produced such a drastic change in the atmosphere of the room around them that he could barely move. And all of it saturated him with such an acute wanting that he couldn’t catch his breath.
He cleared his throat and eased down to sit beside her. “No. You were right the first time. We can see out. But we’re too far away from the slopes, and without the room’s backlighting it won’t be possible to see in here from the grounds even with the curtains open.”
Elana looked over at him and the expression in her eyes went straight to his gut. Damn.
The eye color wasn’t right. The hair color wasn’t right. Even the accent wasn’t the same. But that erotic look she’d given him and that intimate warmth were all Alicia.
“Do you have a family?” she whispered, while pinning him with another tender look full of longing.
He couldn’t manage an answer. Conflicting emotions choked him, threatened to leave him a whimpering fool.
I don’t care who you are. Love me. Be mine. If only for tonight.
Low, gravelly words finally scraped out of his mouth. “Family. Yes. Brothers and sisters-in-law. Their kids. And my aunt.”
“No significant other? No one since your wife died?”
“I’ve tried…” he admitted reluctantly. “But sometimes being with someone when it’s not right is worse than being alone.”
He didn’t expect her to understand.
“I know what you mean.” And when he gazed into her eyes, he could see that she meant every word.
Dang, he wanted her desperately. Was it just because of the resemblance to his lost wife? What if they did make love and he ran across differences? In her body. In the way she made love. There were bound to be differences.
Could he stand to take that chance?
Sighing, she reached over and took his face in her hands. Forced to gaze deep into those dark green eyes again, he spotted a surprisingly empathetic sheen covering them.
“I need a hug. And you do too, I’m thinking.” Sliding her arms around him, she leaned in and pressed him close.
It was too much. He couldn’t deny her. His arms came up, capturing her lush body as she melted into him.
God, this was such a good idea. Shutting his eyes, he let himself go, inhaling her achingly familiar scent and reveling in her precious warmth. Leaning his head against the satin of her hair, he dreamed of another Christmas—long ago and far away.
Then, she turned her face and her lips brushed against his. His body responded, growing hard and pulsing with need. He wanted her, whoever she was, with a sudden heat that threatened to overwhelm them both.
God, this was such a bad idea. But knowing that he might get hurt later didn’t much matter. Not now.
With his body throbbing, he took the kiss deeper. Her mouth was hungry. Hot. Wet. Wild. He swept his tongue inside her parted lips and tasted everything that reminded him of home.
Lordy mercy, but the woman could kiss. The deep humming groan, coming from low in her throat, told him she was every bit as turned on as he was. It took him back to the last time he and Alicia had blow-your-socks-off sex. Fantastic. Addictive. He remembered and his body responded as it always had. And he craved more—and more.
His groans matched hers as he pulled back slightly and filled his hands with her breasts. “Alicia, darlin’.”
Elana let out a small sob as she gave his chest a halfhearted shove. “This can’t happen. Please.”
He dropped his hands and shook his head to come out of the haze. “Sorry. I shouldn’t have…” Standing, he hung his head and tried to douse the flames.
The two women weren’t that much alike. But this one turned him on, and that was dangerous.
Excerpt From: A CHANCE REUNION
by Linda Conrad
in Christmas Confidential anthology
From Harlequin Romantic Suspense
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