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Gypsy Road Series, Book 2: Flesh & Blood [MultiFormat]
eBook by Karen Wiesner

eBook Category: Romance
eBook Description: After risking her heart once and learning to regret it, JoJo Summers finds it necessary to live her life as a paper doll. No emotions, no danger and no pain. Randy Briggs is the one man who can change her mind. His only ace in the hole is that she underestimates the power of love. Just when JoJo takes the first step in risking her heart to Randy, her past comes back to haunt her, in flesh and blood...and then her heart isn't the only thing she's in danger of losing.

eBook Publisher: Writers Exchange E-Publishing
Fictionwise Release Date: February 2012




* * * *

PROLOGUE

The woman he loved was getting ready to walk out of his life forever. And there wasn't a damn thing he could do to stop her. How could he stop someone who was, in essence, a stranger yet someone he'd come to know right down to the innermost depths of her soul? How could he love someone who wouldn't even tell him her name? And refused to hear his?

Maybe he was crazy. Maybe his grief had created something that wasn't there. But he didn't believe that. In one short weekend, he'd fallen in love this woman with the flowing, cinnamon-colored hair and vulnerable-as-a-lamb eyes--so much more than he'd ever loved Tawny in a year and a half of marriage. This woman understood him; she'd touched him deeper than anyone ever had. Deeper than anyone except Dakota. Somehow she'd even touched and eased that pain without words.

He loved her. He didn't want her to walk out of this cheap motel room and disappear from his life as if what had happened between them meant nothing.

She was here tonight, and that meant there was still a chance to convince her they could have a life together outside of this room. He'd convinced her to stay an extra night, hadn't he?

Randy slid across the bed to where she sat with her arms wrapped around her knees. He'd found her like this, so lonely and huddled into herself, each time he awoke. He didn't think she'd slept at all.

Snaking his arms over her shoulders, he felt the cold of her bare skin. One lamp pierced the curtain-shrouded room. Her hair shone like fire in that dim light. Brushing long silken strands back over her shoulder, Randy pressed a kiss into the curve of her neck while allowing one hand to trace the heart tattoo just above her breast. She allowed his touch, too. The ease they'd both displayed in their intimacy still astonished him. He'd never felt this natural with Tawny or the few women he'd dated before her, especially in such a short time. The first time he'd touched this woman, he'd forgotten she was a total stranger.

"I know this great Chinese restaurant. You must be as sick of pizza as I am." He smiled toward the empty pizza delivery boxes on a tattered bistro table. "We could go--"

She turned her head toward him. For the first time, he wondered how old she was. In the half-light, she barely looked old enough to have a license to drive the car she'd met him here in. Then again, the kind of naked honesty she'd laid before him would leave anyone looking like a child.

"When I leave, I leave alone," she said, her tone husky, firm. "When I leave...this never happened."

She'd given him every reason for why she wanted that yesterday. Yesterday her objective hadn't been nearly as unequivocal though. He drew back from it, from her. If he left here alone...Hell, he'd go back to his home and he'd have to face that Dakota was gone. Forever. And I'm not ready to consider that, let alone call it my reality.

Something had died in this woman recently. She'd bared her heartache to him as if they'd needed a reason for meeting and coming together this way. Even if she didn't know it, something had died in him, too. And, God help him, he didn't want to face the emptiness all alone. Not when they could heal each other.

"The hell if this never happened," he muttered. "It happened. We'll never forget it." Instinct took over, and he dragged her back toward him, turning her into his arms. He took her mouth, adding another layer of pain. Physical. Emotional. She was his. Every part of her responded to his passion. She crawled right into him like a caddis fly into its case. Yet she said, "I'll forget you, you'll forget me."

As cruel as her words were, the way she said them only heated him. With anger. With desire. With the need to grab hold and possess. With the ache to forget so I can find something in life that matters again. "I'll never forget you, sweetheart. I--"

But she stopped his words with a kiss so desperate, he couldn't deny her. "Don't," she begged. "Don't kill me. Because this is all we can have. All I'll ever allow myself again."

Gentle eyes the color of whiskey strengthened his hope. She felt what he felt. This wasn't a casual fling. Strangers getting through a night or two. This was love. Maybe even true love.

"I'll forget you," she whispered. "I have to. Because I don't want to hurt ever again."

She made love to him, at once cutting him and healing him. And, in the morning, she was gone. His emptiness returned.


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