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Authors: Kimberly Raye

In the Midnight Hour

BOOK: In the Midnight Hour
7.65Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Copyright © 1999, 2011 Kimberly Raye

To my wonderful son, Joshua Joseph Rangel
Mommy loves you

My heartfelt thanks to Jan Freed,
an extraordinary and gifted writer who’s never too busy
to help out a desperate friend

And an extra special thank you to Dana Green,
for sharing her knowledge of the Lafayette and USL area


Table of Contents


Title Page

Copyright Page


Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-one




It was a bed just made for sin

The instant the thought rooted in Veronica Parrish’s mind, she should have turned and hightailed it out of the antique shop.

She wasn’t the least bit interested in sinning.

More like sleeping. A good, solid night’s rest.

But as she stared at the mahogany four-poster bed with the legion of satyrs carved into the headboard, she knew in her heart she’d get very little sleep in this bed.

Right. It wasn’t as if she had time for sinning. With two jobs and school, she barely found the opportunity to eat and sleep. Not that she needed to eat. At five feet six and one hundred and thirty-nine and a half pounds—she had a digital scale—she could have skipped a few meals, or at least traded her favorite pizza for one of those salads they sold in the campus deli. As for sleep … She stifled a yawn. Now,
she needed.

She abandoned the small but elegant brass bed she’d been eyeing, scooted past the clerk, and wound her way around furniture and crates to the king-size bed in the far corner of the back room.

“Good choice,” the clerk said, coming up behind her. “It just came in a few days ago from an estate liquidation. I haven’t even had the chance to get it cleaned up and moved to the front yet. It’s a beauty, dust and all, though, isn’t it?”

“Yes.” Her breath caught as she reached out. Her fingertips trailed over the smooth mahogany of one hand-carved bedpost and wiped away the silver coating. Instantly, the wood seemed to warm to her touch and a strange tingle shot through her.

“This piece dates back to the 1830s.” The clerk stood behind her, an anxious look on his face, a spot of mustard on his cheek from his interrupted lunch.

She glanced at her watch. She had all of fifteen minutes to decide on a bed. It was now or never with her schedule. Early mornings alternated between Landry & Landry, the accounting firm where she worked part-time, and classes at the University of Southwestern Louisiana, where she pursued her accounting degree. Evenings she spent at the school’s Dupré Library, moonlighting as an assistant before going home to her small efficiency. She had no time for shopping or indecision.

This monstrosity would take up half her apartment. Too big. Too expensive, she realized when she glanced at the price tag. She’d already budgeted a decent amount of money and set her sights on a smaller bed, like the nice brass bed she’d been looking at earlier. Tasteful, comfortable.

, a voice whispered, and she stiffened.

Okay, maybe so; but boring, at least in Ronnie’s book, was better than bold and outrageous, and that’s exactly what this bed was.

Her gaze drank in the huge headboard, the carved satyrs that seemed to stare back at her, through her. Four massive posters surged toward the ceiling. It was a man’s bed, with a distinct presence and undeniable strength. Overwhelming, dominating.

. She could imagine curling into the mattress surrounded by so much wood and … well, strength. She touched one bedpost again, felt the strange current whisper through her body, as if calling to her.

Take me home

But it wasn’t a call, it was more of a command, as if the bed had a will all its own and was anxious for her to make up her mind.


She snatched her hand away as a nervous giggle bubbled on her lips. She was getting carried away. Lack of sleep was making her giddy. She’d pulled too many all-nighters studying, catching quick catnaps on the worn sofa in the back lounge at the library, and now she was starting to get punchy. She needed a bed in the worst way. Her own had died last week when her neighbor’s chubby three-year-old twins had used it for a trampoline. A few jumps and the springs had given, the frame had cracked, and the bed had breathed its last breath.

Now or never.

Again, her gaze traced the solid frame, the carved posts, the satyr-sculpted headboard. Definitely made for sin. She frowned. It was the sort of creation to make one think of passionate kisses and erotic fantasies, which was exactly why she didn’t need it. Veronica Parrish didn’t have time for such foolishness. She had to stay focused on graduating in two months. She’d worked too hard to let anything distract her.

Earth to Ronnie! It’s just a bed. It’s not as if you’re about to purchase a Chippendale’s dancer and take him home to do a
little research
for your human sexuality class. It’s a piece of furniture, for Pete’s sake

“It’s expertly crafted,” the clerk interjected, obviously trying to sway her. “Solid wood. No particle board here, that’s for sure.”

Her attention strayed back to the price tag. “It’s a bit more than I intended.”

“If it’s money you’re watching, I’ve got a cherry wood double in the far corner. Simple and tasteful, and at least half the price of this. Or there’s that little brass number. Either one would probably be more appropriate for your needs.”

Exactly what she needed. She always made the nice, rational, appropriate choices in her life. Never took any chances, never acted on her feelings.

It was a man’s world, after all, and if a woman wanted to make it she had to think like a man. With her head instead of her heart.

Ronnie reached out again, her fingertips brushing the wood. The strange tingling started again, spread through her body, seeking all the strategic points—the sensitive shell of each ear, the hollow of her throat, her tender nipples, her navel, the backs of her knees, the arch of each foot. The sensations were highly unsettling. Extremely impractical. Wildly unladylike.

And this was
the sort of bed a strictly career-minded woman, especially the daughter of Covenant, Louisiana’s ultra-conservative mayor, should be forking over her hardearned money for.

That’s what her father would say if he were here.

Her mother would call it scandalous.

Both would call her a political liability, just the way they’d done when she’d announced her intention to pursue an accounting degree at a college one hundred and fifty miles away.

Not that they didn’t like accountants. If Veronica had been their son, they would have kissed her off and wished her well.

Men made great accountants, but women … Well, they made good wives and mothers and great Jell-O molds, at least according to her father and his political platform, which emphasized a return to the traditional roles of men and women and family.

He would have steered her toward the brass bed, or a white wicker number, something more … ladylike. Meek and mild, rather than bold and outrageous. A woman’s bed instead of a man’s.

“I’ll take this one,” she said as a smile curved her lips. “

Chapter One


Valentine Tremaine loved women.

There was just something about the softness of a woman’s skin, the shine of her hair, the warm, musky scent that was hers and hers alone, the way she walked and talked and smiled and did other, more


Creatures sent straight from heaven. God’s supreme effort to outdo all the Devil’s pleasurable vices. There was no food as delectable. No whiskey as warm and soothing. No drug as addicting.

yes. Women

They came in every size and shape; short and tall, petite and buxom, shy as a summer shower and bold as a clap of thunder, and Val adored them all regardless.

Like his father and all the Tremaine men before him, he had no special preference when it came to females. They were all attractive in their own unique way, all intoxicating in their similarities, whether a raven-haired beauty, a golden-tressed angel, or a redheaded temptress. He’d had his share of all three, and many, many in between.

Not that he was a man to brag, or to take the gift of a woman’s body for granted. Val took nothing for granted, and that reason alone made his appeal phenomenal.

BOOK: In the Midnight Hour
7.65Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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