by Tianna Xander
Now available at eXtasy Books!
Discovering the man who once rescued her meets all the qualifications of a monster, a young Eden flees. Pregnant and scared, she meets Edward, a knight in shining armor. But his promises aren't all they seem. As her hero turns into a villain, Eden again flees, this time in fear for her child's life. With luck and money fading, Eden is forced to return to the place she once fled—and the only man who can provide protection for her child.
Jake mourned the loss of his mate when she abandoned him and always hoped for her return. Imagine his surprise when she turns up at his birthday party like a long awaited present. Anger and hope war as he sorts through his feelings and comes to the only conclusion possible—until the truth of the child is dropped in his lap.
Will Jake offer the child the security and protection her terrified mother so desperately seeks? And does Eden have the courage to face a living, breathing werewolf?
Jake promised himself he would try to give her time. Time to come to grips with what he was, in addition to time to accept him. But God help them both if Eden couldn't find it in her heart to welcome him into her bed.
He watched as the two beautiful females pulled up in the rattiest looking piece of shi^t car he had ever seen. It looked as though it would disintegrate any minute. He wondered when the woman planned to get around to replacing it. He hoped it was before the damned thing fell apart. "Aren't you afraid that damned thing will blow up on you one of these days?" he asked as soon as they parked and got out of the car.
Eden shrugged. "What am I supposed to do? I don't have the money to replace it. Besides, it never fails to get me from point A to point B."
It probably never failed to smoke people out either. He just shook his head instead of making another comment. "About our talk." He held his arm out for her to take the lead. "I thought we'd best walk over to the wooden castle where Chas could have some fun."
"What's the wooden castle?"
Chastity gave him a look that said she practically worshipped the ground he walked on. Like he told his brothers while doling out advice to them about their women, never underestimate the power of the wooden castle when in the midst of mothers. He'd just never thought to find himself with a ready-made mother himself. All these years, he'd hoped that Eden would finally come to her senses, then get around to coming home. He never once thought she would come home in the company of a daughter--especially a daughter Chastity's age.
One thing was certain. It obviously didn't take Eden long to replace him. Her daughter was too old to have been very long in coming after she left Branson. The question that kept ticking in his mind was, whether or not Eden had been seeing the man while they were lovers. The thought made him growl. Eden glanced back at him nervously. "Don't worry.. I don't plan on eating you…here."
Eden's face turned beet red as her daughter gave her an inquiring look.
"He won't really eat us, will he, Mom?"
"Of course not." She pointed to the structure all of the school kids called the wooden castle. Made of wood, it was huge. Big enough to accommodate all of Branson's forty elementary school students as well as a few more. With four sets of monkey bars, eleven slides, seven ropewalks and a large ball pool inside, it remained Branson's pride and joy for the last several years. No one, not even the children left this place without cleaning up after themselves. "When did the city build this?"
"After I designed it, turned the plans in, then everyone in town pitched in the funds and the labor to give this to our children."
Eden gazed at it with the awe of a woman who wanted to know the reasoning behind the design. "Why?"
"Why did you design it, then suggest they build this?"
"Because I wanted somewhere for my children to play. Somewhere safe, where parents would hang out to watch each other's children while the kids had fun." He couldn't explain the way he'd felt back then. For some inexplicable reason, he'd needed to build this monstrosity for the town's children, for his children even though, deep down, he'd known he would never have any. They'd finally finished it three years ago. Right about the time, Eden's daughter would have been old enough to use it for the first time.
"Oh." Eden bit her lip, then cringed as her daughter climbed up the ladder of the tallest slide, waved, then dove down the thing, head first.
Striding over to the slide, Jake grabbed the girl by her upper arm and glared down into wide, fear-filled eyes. "If you can't use the equipment properly, you won't get on it again."
Chastity hung her head. "I'm sorry, sir." Tears ran down Chastity's cheeks and the girl ran to bury her face in her mother's shirt. "He doesn't like me."
Eden knelt down, cupped the child's cheeks in her hands, waited for her daughter to look up, then shook her head. "Of course he likes you, honey. He doesn't want to see you hurt. He wouldn't have said anything if he didn't like you because he wouldn't care." She held her for a moment, then gently pushed her toward the wooden structure. "Now go play for a few minutes while we talk over there on the bench. Okay?"
Nodding, Chastity turned away, heading back for the large slide. "I'll go down on my bum, this time."
"See that you do that," Jake reprimanded softly as the child he felt too damned responsible for began to climb the ladder again. As soon as the child was out of earshot, he turned on Eden. "Do you let her do that kind of thing all the time?"
"Of course not," she snapped. "She has never done anything like that in her life. I think she wanted to impress you. I know she never expected you to jump down her throat like that." She turned, stomped to the bench, then sat down. "Not that I wouldn't have jumped down her throat. But coming from you, it just seemed more…harsh or something."
"Harsh? Why in the hell should my opinion matter? I don't even know the girl."
"Your opinion matters because she knows all about you. She wants you to like her."
"What the hell for?" It wasn't as though they had any sort of connection, besides loving the same woman for entirely different reasons. "You would think your daughter would care more about the fact that you have obviously taken her from her father and have no intention of going back."
Book 2 of the Endowed series, Sinful Heat, is now available at http://bit.ly/85mZrb
One woman plus three sexy vampires equals one sinful, island Christmas.