Excerpt from Stealing a Bit of Heaven...
"Do you like me, Master Logan?"
When he jerked upright, his head smacked into the hearthstones. His curses filled the room and Riley wanted to run. What was she doing? This man was a stranger, filled with threats and accusations. He had twisted her life from a problem-ridden disaster into a holy mess and she had practically invited him into her life.
Don't make it worse, Riley. Don't say the words in your head. 'Tis not the answer. Go to Daniel. He's a devious bastard, but he'll never hurt you. This man is dangerous. This man will steal your soul if he has a chance and will never give it back.
She waited until he calmed down, her need to flee the cottage a roiling snake in her gut. It took all the courage she had to stand still. Logan was frozen near the hearth and when he spoke, his voice was very quiet in the still room.
"I don't know you, lass."
"But you like the way I look? You said as much. A man doesn't want under a woman's skirt unless he likes the way she looks."
He cursed again as his hand brushed the hot kettle. He grabbed a dingy cloth from the stones and turned to her. He had clearly forgotten what he was doing. She took the cloth from his hand, grabbed the kettle and tried to pour water into the pot. Her hands started to tremble and she missed the opening entirely. She felt him watching her.
"I have very little but my reputation in this village, Master Logan, and even that is tenuous considering my father's legacy. I know what kind of man he was and I've fought hard the last six months to repair the damage he's done."
She busied herself arranging the cups and found a bit of cake she'd made the day before. Brian had not left much, but perhaps she could steal into Logan's good graces with her culinary skills. She racked her brain for any possible solution but there was really only one thing she had left of any value. Logan was watching every move she made and when her hands would not stop trembling she pushed them into her pockets. She had to turn away from him because looking at his face was taking away her courage.
"I'm willing to risk the shred of reputation I do have. I can't allow you to confine me to gaol."
"Do you think you've a choice in that?" he asked.
She ignored him. "And I'm not selling my brother."
"No, I imagine not. I can see he's all you have." Logan twisted her around to face him. She dropped her head but she already knew one thing about Rafe Logan. He was relentless. He gripped her face and lifted it. "So what would you be selling, Mistress Sullivan?"
"My pride," she whispered.
"What exactly does that mean?" he asked.
"Would you…?" Oh, she couldn't say it. What if he laughed? What if he refused to accept her offer? Or worse yet, what if he actually wanted to accept it? She could barely get the words out of her mouth. "Would the debt be satisfied if I offered…?"
She was starting to hyperventilate. She was going to pass out, simply drop to his feet like a lifeless shell. There was a tightness in her throat. It felt like it was closing.
"Don't make me say it," she whispered.
"I want to hear it."
His eyes were burning into her, stealing the tattered remains of whatever soul she'd once had. She had one more chance before she said the words that would ruin her life. She should escape from this man and go to Daniel before she did the one thing Daniel would not forgive. If she chose Daniel, she knew he would never hurt her and this man seemed to live on the edge of violence. Something about the intensity of his eyes, the sudden frowns that appeared on his face, the bitter laughter that twisted from his mouth signaled danger. She could not trust this man to be anything but volatile.
Logan's thumb traced a soft path across her cheek and it loosened something inside of her. Whatever dark secrets this man had, however amoral his motivations or desires might be, the touch of his skin against hers stirred something deep inside of her. She felt as though she hovered on the brink of darkness in his presence and was one step away from falling over the edge of the precipice to oblivion, but it didn't seem to matter. She didn't want Daniel Corrigan and the comfortable life he offered. She wanted this man. She'd not thought it possible to want a man this much. One hour in this man's arms would ruin her for life but she was willing to risk it just to see what heaven might be like. He was a dark archangel, the answer to her prayers. What she'd been praying for no longer seemed to matter. If she was going to give herself to anyone this was the one she would choose. She lowered her eyes because she did not want to see the satisfaction in his.
"Say it," he ordered.
"You can have me," she said.
"And what would I do with you, lass?"
She caught her lip between her teeth. "Anything you like."