THE MEN OF THORNE ENTERPRISES
The unexpected sight produced an equally unexpected reaction. Air hitched in her throat, getting caught somewhere between her last and next breath. The pulse in her temple pounded and beat in the same uneven rhythm as the heart thumping wildly in her chest. She hadn’t seen a naked man in—how long? Too long.
She stood still. Stuck in a state of quiet shock. Her eyes, roving across his form from his head to his heels—thick calves, muscular thighs—lingering on that firm, tight butt and incredible broad back in between. Mesmerized by the image, she traced imaginary fingers over the width of his shoulders, the slope of his back and the curve of his butt.
His male beauty was only slightly marred by puckered and pulled skin from apparent burns and other scaring. These drew her in and roused her curiosity. She had no idea that beneath his picture-perfect exterior, was a damaged canvas.
She tipped closer. Rolling her bottom lip between her teeth she clamped down and leaned forward and inhaled. Her eyes closed and rolled back as the fresh smell of masculine scented soap filled her nostrils.
“You want I should turn over, so you can get a better look?”
Gabe’s voice startled her and made her damn near jump out of her skin. He remained in the same position, not an eye open or a lash disturbed. Yet he knew she was there.
“I thought you were asleep,” she gasped, clutching a hand to her thumping chest.
“Obviously. Did I interrupt your peeping Thomasina act?”
“What tipped you off?” she groused. “Was it the heavy breathing?”
“Yeah.” He laughed lightly, responding with his eyes still closed. “Besides the air displacement, I heard you come into the room.”
“What are you?” she demanded, her face twisting into a frown and hands automatically going to her hips. “Some kind of human barometer or radar detector?”
“Something like that,” he answered, rolling over on his back and dragging the sheet with him to cover his nakedness. Failing to conceal a full-frontal outline that made the models in her Playgirl magazine look like adolescent school boys. The impressive bulge, now free from restraining materials like cargo pants, khaki shorts, or underwear. Shielded by a hand holding the sheet wadded into a bunch.
Gabe propped himself up on the two pillows, one arm behind his head, the other holding his protection in place. Considering his lack of inhibition, she had a feeling the sheet was more for her benefit than his. Again, visions of Playgirl models popped in her head, with Gabe—long limbs, tanned skin, tousled hair and sexy eyes—stretched out and posing for the Centerfold. The dog tags adding a Soldier of Fortune hint of adventure to his bad-boy persona. Talk about a photo opp. Where’s my damn camera when I need it? She hurriedly brushed the back of her hand across her lips and chin to wipe away any signs of drool. Real or imagined.
Naomi flipped on the table lamp and plopped down onto the sofa, skimming her feet over the edge of Gabe’s pallet, the long slender toes of one foot curling into the sheet and cushion. It was kind of weird how it wasn’t weird to sit across from him—her clad in short silk PJs, him semi-covered in nothing but a sheet and a smile. If he wasn’t embarrassed sitting there gabbing without a stitch on, why should she be? Besides, what woman in her right mind would turn down the opportunity to enjoy her own private peep show? The image of Tarzan swinging on a vine streaked through her head—complete with skimpy loin cloth.
The lamp, turned on to its dimmest setting gave off plenty of light to gape at Gabe’s body, scars and all. Scars that covered areas other than his back, more visible now. More prominent. Telltale markings on his upper torso matched those on his back.
“What brings you out of your cave, Naomi? Did you want something?” he asked, dipping his head to one side, catching her eye and forcing her to look straight at him, not his scars.
“I couldn’t sleep,” she muttered, meeting his stare. Reluctant to admit to the real reason for her intrusion. She didn’t want to tell him that, maybe she owed him an apology. That, maybe she’d overreacted. The notion and the words stuck in her throat like week old bread. And she was choking on the crust.
“Me either,” Gabe said, letting go of the sheet and running both hands over his face and head. Further mussing his already tousled hair. “I guess there’s a reason my mom always told me don’t go to bed mad. A gut full of anxiety messes with your stomach and your head.” Gabe turned on his side and propped himself up on an elbow. Wrapping the material more firmly around him like a Roman toga, he faced her with a level stare.
“Look, Naomi, I’m sorry for busting into your life and pretty much taking over and turning everything upside down and sideways. It wasn’t intentional. Believe me, I know I’m heavy-handed. Demanding. And an all-around pain in the ass. Part of that is the military in me. I’m a Marine. It’s drilled into me to always be there—and no one gets left behind. But, a lot of it comes natural too. So, yeah. I’m an asshole. But I promise you, when the shit rolls downhill and you need someone with a shovel, I’m an asshole who can get the job done.”
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"Gabriel's Fire is romance that sizzles and burns, then ignites into a fireball"
Inventive world building and realistic characters enhanced my enjoyment of this well rounded, drama and suspense packed read. Lotchie Burton’s The Men of Thorne Enterprises series will definitely be placed on my must-read list!” ~ Karen R., Librarian
"Her stories just keep getting better!"
“I’m an avid reader of this author’s work, and Ms. Burton’s stories just keep getting better! If you read and enjoyed the action, drama, and romance of Love Hard Love Deep, then you’re in for a treat. Gabriel’s Fire gives you more. More excitement; more drama; more passion and sizzle; more emotion–just MORE!” C.S. Ray
LOVE HARD LOVE DEEP
THE MEN OF THORNE ENTERPRISES
Eyes flying open, breath caught in his throat gasping for air, Rick struggled awake from his dream. He’d had hundreds like it, but the sensation of hot breath and soft lips on his throat and fingers lightly stroking his chin—this was way too real. The pressure on his chest holding him down confused him. He reached for the bedside lamp and fumbled with the switch. The sudden brightness filling the dark space nearly blinded him, but not before realizing he wasn’t in bed alone. Nylah lay across him, blanketing him with her body, pinning him under her weight. Her breasts flattened against his chest. He’d forgotten where he was. Gripping her upper arms he gently lifted and tried to push her away.
“Nylah, I don’t think….”
“Shhh.” She put a finger to his lips and resisted his feeble attempt to dislodge her. “Please,”she said in a hoarse whisper. “Don’t make me stop. I need this. It’s been too long since I’ve been this close to you. And I miss it.” She kissed him on his throat again. Body to body she eased her way upward. Soft puckered lips skimmed over his face. The tip of her moist tongue stroked the line of his jaw and traced the shell of his ear, singing him with hot breath. His ear burned, scalp tingled and slivers of heat streaked down the back of his neck. Her seductive whisper, moist heat and the warmth of her sexy weight woke every dormant nerve in his body. And made him sweat.
“Whether you admit it or not, you need this, too.” She laid her head on his shoulder, pressing her nose and mouth against his neck, rubbing sensually back and forth. Teasing and driving him crazy. The tiny muscles that lined his throat constricted, closed and choked off what little air was left in his suddenly depleted lungs. His heart thudded against his rib cage, the beat pounding in his head, ringing in his ears—and pulsing in his groin.
Nylah placed gentle kisses on his eyes, nose and chin. Rick stayed perfectly still. Afraid to move. Afraid he might break the fragile thread that ran between them and held this moment together. He wanted this moment. To be in her arms, pressed close to her heart. To feel the out-of-control rhythm beating in time and matching his own. God, how he missed the feeling. Laying both hands on the sides of his head, the pads of her thumbs stroked the high ridges under his hollowed eyes and traced his brows. Her deep chocolate-brown stare penetrated and searched his face and pierced his soul. He didn’t know what she was searching for, but he knew what she saw: hunger, need, desire… Distrust.
A small sigh sounded in her throat. Leaning forward, Nylah closed her eyes, pressed her forehead to his and wrapped her arms around his neck. One hand caressed the back of his head and neck in long soothing strokes.
“I know you’re still angry, Rick. That’s okay. You can be angry with me again tomorrow. I promise. But tonight you’re going to love me like you used to. We’re going to put aside our differences, if only for one night, and fuck like rabbits.”
Rick squeezed his eyes shut and held his breath.
“You’re going to fuck me until you’re drained of all that anger and hurt.”
“Don’t do this, Nylah, not again,” he responded, his voice a broken rasp.
“Do what?” she questioned in a barely heard whisper.
“Make me love you, then leave me.”
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Nothing’s Sweeter Than Candy
“Good morning.” She reached up to brush aside wayward strands that threatened to obscure his sight.
“What beautiful blue eyes you have,” she said as she wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him on his chin.
“The better to see you with,” he growled playfully.
Nuzzling in closer, she was again made painfully aware of his arousal pressed intimately against her thighs. “Um, now that the three of us are awake, what ever should we do?”
“I told you to ignore him. He has a one-track mind. Besides, he always wakes up long before I do.”
“You know,” she said, pinning him with a meaningful look, “eventually we’re going to have to do something about his shameless behavior, right?”
“I’m counting on it. But it won’t be today.”
“Well, if you insist.” She pouted. “I suppose I’ll let you get away with this sweet, albeit misguided attempt at chivalry for now. But you should know up front I’m a high-maintenance kind of girl used to having her way. So, consider yourself forewarned. Right now, I’ll settle for being fed. What’s for breakfast?”
“Are you going to be this demanding the entire time we’re together?”
“Absolutely.” She grinned.
He grinned back and kissed her on her nose, and then untangled himself from her arms and quickly got out of bed. “If you’re going to stay here, you’ll have to pull your weight. Meet me in the kitchen in ten minutes.” He turned and left the room.
Candace lay in bed a while longer. She hadn’t been the least bit alarmed by Brice’s earlier statement that they would make love. The attraction was mutual, and the two of them becoming intimate was inevitable. She’d enjoyed lying next to him all through the night and had felt safe cuddled in his arms—a feeling she was woefully unaccustomed to.
Poignant memories of nights with Nash, void of intimacy and affection, flashed in her head. Nash? Crap. Where did he come from to ruin my feel-good moment? She didn’t want to think about him right now—who he really was or what he might be capable of. She was with Brice, and Brice was nothing like Nash. That thought put the smile back on her face and made her jump out of bed and hurry to the bathroom. She quickly washed her face, brushed her teeth, and combed her wild, curly mane of hair up into a bushy ponytail perched on the top of her head.
Still dressed in cotton drawstring pajamas and a tank top, she hurried downstairs to meet Brice in the kitchen. What she saw there stopped her dead in her tracks, tightened her nipples, and sent a flash of warmth straight to her center, causing it to ache and throb with anticipation. Brice was bent over in front of the refrigerator, his muscular arms flexing as he reached inside. His firm rear end was so enticing it took every ounce of self-control she had not to walk up behind him, grab his ass, and rub all over him like a cat in heat.
The man had a body to die for: tall and lean with well-defined abdominals and chest muscles beneath an undershirt that stretched tight across his torso. His arms were muscled and roped with veins that stood out with implied strength. He was virtually a walking advertisement for a gym membership, and he’d be perfectly cast in one of those TV infomercials selling newfangled workout equipment. She knew he looked good in a suit and tie, but hot damn, he looked even better dressed in less. When he’d come to her room under the cover of darkness, Lord knows she’d felt every hardened inch of him pressed against her, separated only by two thin layers of cloth. Now in the light of day, she ogled his near-naked glory, feeling damp and needy—and wishing like hell he weren’t so determined to be a gentleman.
Of course, he picked that instant to stand up and catch her gawking. Her eyes were immediately drawn to the impressive outline of his “friend,” which she’d enjoyed pushing tight and aroused against her all night long. The full frontal was even more magnificent as it hung low and swayed from side to side. She had to lean against the counter to keep from collapsing on the floor. The unexpected rush of heat and desire made her dizzy. Oh my God. He’s got a six-pack—and packing an extra nine down below.
“Caught you looking.” He grinned as he closed the refrigerator door with his hip, his hands full of food for breakfast.
“Damn right you did,” she said defiantly, clinching her fists as a rosy blush spread across her face and down her throat. “Traipsing around the kitchen wearing fancy pajamas and precious little else, you’re lucky that ‘looking’ is all I was doing.”
Brice laughed out loud. “I apologize for the distraction, but this is the most I’ve worn in my own home in years. So, you’re lucky I’m not ‘traipsing’ around in my birthday suit.”
Lord o’ mercy. I did not need that visual running through my head. “Then I’ll overlook your exhibitionism, this time,” she countered flippantly with her nose in the air. “But a girl can handle only so much testosterone in an enclosed space. So don’t blame me if I look at you like a dog drooling over his favorite toy. If you insist on making such a blatant display, then you have no one to fault but yourself.”
“Okay,” he chuckled. “Let’s put you to work. You said you were hungry, so we need to get you fed.” He gave her a mischievous look and wiggled his eyebrows. “Maybe a full stomach will help take the edge off?”
A full stomach is not what I had in mind. She felt a more ferocious hunger taking hold. She stood aside as he placed breakfast food and cooking utensils on the counter. From the looks of it, he was preparing to feed an army, with fruit, eggs, bacon, sausage, and fixings for pancakes.
“What can I do to help?”
“How good are you with a knife?”
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Prelude to a Seduction
“I’m undressing you” he murmurs, as his fingers deftly unfasten the buttons of her blouse and unzip her skirt. His mouth teases and nibbles at her neck and shoulder.
“Silly man, of course you’re undressing me” she giggles. “Maybe my question should have been,Why?”
“Because” he whispers in her ear and let his lips journey down her cheek to trail kisses across her chin and lips “I love to touch your skin, and I can’t touch you with all these clothes on.”
Her smile is warm and sexy; her breath is hot and sweet. “I know, but if you keep this up I’ll never get out of here on time.”
“That’s the plan” he says, showing off perfect beautiful white teeth in a wide wolfish grin.
“I can’t be late, not again!” She shrieks with laughter when he leans forward and licks that elusive sensitive spot, just behind her ear.
“I’ll bet no one will even notice. Come on babe, let me send you off with a smile on your face,” he cajoles. “Or at least let me send you off with a smile on my face,” he grins and wiggles his eyebrows up and down. She shakes her head and laughs at his twisted sense of humor knowing she won’t resist, and she’ll eventually give up and give in to his persuasive mouth and convincing hands. Ignoring her feeble attempts at protest he continues to methodically strip her clothing away, piece by piece until she stands completely naked and exposed to his appraising gaze. He lays her down upon the bed and blankets her with his body, burying his face between the divide of her soft succulent breasts.
“Mm” he sighs in muffled contentment. “You feel so soft. I could lay here forever.”
“We don’t have forever” she purrs seductively “and I can’t wait that long. You’ve got me naked; you need to do something about it right now.”
“I’m more than happy to oblige, my lady,” he responds, his voice low and husky with need. “Your demand…..is my wish.” He brushes and strokes her body with nimble fingers and knowledgeable hands, familiar with every curve, every dip and every hollow. He knows her body in intimate detail, and he knows what it takes to make her hum, purr, and sing for him.
“I love the way you smell. You smell like ice cream,” he mumbles and slowly kisses and licks his way down her length.
“Yeah, ice cream. I want to see if you taste like ice cream, too.” He reaches his destination and settles himself between her legs, at the juncture where her silky smooth thighs spread and separate, and allow him access to her liquid heat. He pushes his face down and into her hot heated crevice, inhaling deeply and drawing in the distinctly musky sweet scent of her sex. His tongue flicks and licks and laps and tastes the gathering pool of nectar, generated by his skillful touch.
“You taste like caramel, like caramel over ice cream,” he whispers against her sensitive bud. “Um, you’re so sweet. I can never get enough of your taste.” He continues to stroke her silken walls with his tongue and to tease her hidden pearl; then dip deep inside to taste more of her. She moans and writhes from the pleasure.
“Oh babe it feels so good, but I want to feel you inside me. I need to have your hard throbbing cock here,” she uses her hand to point the way, “inside me now.”
He shudders with his desire and rises up to fulfill her urgent plea. He pushes her legs higher, spreads them wider, moving into position to plunge deep. Her moans excite him and stir and push him toward the edge. He presses the tip of his shaft at her entrance, anxious and impatient to feel her hot velvet sheath wrapped and squeezing tightly around his…….
BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!
His eyes flew open to the instantly recognizable sound of the alarm clock incessantly beeping; the noise loud enough to wake the dead. David came fully awake, his body taut, rigid and aching with a raging hard-on; his cock hard enough to punch through steel. Damn! It was another damn dream! He groans and angrily slaps the OFF button on his clock. Closing his eyes and resting his head against the headboard he tries to breathe through his painful erection; knowing the feeling will subside as the memory of the dream fades. Unable to completely quell the desire that constantly rides him, he punches the pillow in utter frustration; hard, hot and achingly unfulfilled.