Authors: Joan Hohl
But a one-sided love was never, could never, be enough. Sex was one thing, love another. And Sandra knew that to hang on to one, while denying herself the other, would be self-destructive.
Her decision reached, she went in search of Cameron. And her decision was tested when she found hi—m all six feet four inches of gorgeous man fresh from the shower, his hair damp, his chest bare, his worn, faded jeans unsnapped.
Go no further! I want you to read all about what’s in store for you this month at Silhouette Desire. First, there’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for, the triumphant return of Joan Hohl’s BIG BAD WOLFE series! MAN OF THE MONTH Cameron Wolfe “stars” in the absolutely wonderful
This book, Joan’s twenty-fifth Silhouette title, is a keeper. So if you plan on giving it to someone to read I suggest you get one for yourself
one for a friend—it’s that good!
In addition, it’s always exciting for me to present a unique new miniseries, and SONS AND LOVERS is just such a series. Lucas, Ridge and Reese are all brothers with a secret past. and a romantic future. The series begins with
Lucas: The Loner
by Cindy Gerard, and continues in February with
Reese: The Untamed
by Susan Connell and in March with
Ridge: The Avenger
by Leanne Banks. Don’t miss them!
If you like humor, don’t miss
the next book in Carole Buck’s charming, fun-filled WEDDING BELLES series, or
My House or Yours?
the latest from Lass Small.
If ranches are a place you’d like to visit, you must check out Barbara McMahon’s
And this month is completed with a dramatic, sensuous love story from Metsy Hingle. The story is called
and I think you’ll surrender to the talents of this wonderful new writer.
Please address questions and book requests to:
Silhouette Reader Service
U.S.: 3010 Walden Ave., P.O. Box 1325, Buffalo, NY 14269
Canadian: P.O. Box 609, Fort Erie, Ont. L2A 5X3
A Much Needed Holiday
*Texas Gold #294
One Tough Hombre
Lyon’s Cub #762
† Wolfe Watching #865
† Wolfe Wanting #884
† Big Bad Wolfe Series
Silhouette Special Edition
A Taste for Rich Things
The Scent of Lilacs #376
Silhouette Intimate Moments
Moments Harsh, Moments Gentle
Silhouette Summer Sizzlers
Silhouette Christmas Stories
has received numerous awards for her work, including the Romance Writers of America Golden Medallion award. In addition to contemporary romance, this prolific author also writes historical and time-travel romances. Joan lives in eastern Pennsylvania with her husband and family.
is Joan’s twenty-fifth book for Silhouette.
Mrs. Maddy Wolfe
Requests the Honor of your Company
at the Marriage of Her Son Jake
Miss Sarah Cummings
in the Sprucewood University Chapel at 11:00 am.
Luncheon Reception in Faculty Dining Room 11:30 am.
hy hadn’t they ever gone to bed together?
Cameron Wolfe peered over the top of his goldframed reading glasses at the woman elegantly poised in his office doorway.
Sandra Bradley was well worth peering at.
At age thirty-one—or was it thirty-two now?-Sandra was in her glorious prime. Tall, slender, gorgeous, and smart as they came, she was one fantastic piece of work, a delight to the eyes and senses, and a worthy opponent into the bargain.
What more could any red-blooded American male ask for in a woman?
Cameron repressed a smile at the immediate response his brain threw out to his silent query. He could readily imagine Sandra in any role she chose to perform—any role, that is, except one of acquiescence.
An unabashed feminist and a damn sharp lawyer, Sandra was light-years beyond the outmoded traditional concept of femininity—which an swered his original question about why they had never gone to bed together. He and Sandra had a professional relationship, and Cameron never mixed business with pleasure. The combination could be explosive, thus devastating. Besides, his view of women was as unabashedly traditional as Sandra’s was nontraditional.
“Well, hello,” he drawled. “To what do I owe the singular honor of your visit?”
“Hello yourself.” Sandra’s voice always thrilled. Low and throaty, she could drawl along with the best. “It’s a courtesy call.” She strolled with languid grace into the room.
Attired in a severely tailored jonquil yellow suit, combined with a silk shirt, scarf, shoes and handbag in leaf green, she appeared to bring the mild freshness of Denver’s early-spring weather into the room with her.
Up close, she was even easier on the eyes.
Her features were clearly classic—sculptured bone structure, beneath satiny skin with a magnolia-creamy complexion. Her well-defined, fulllipped mouth alone could have, and probably had, turned hordes of men’s minds to mush, and another part of their anatomy to steel.
Her long-legged, curvaceous figure wasn’t bad, either. In truth, it was muscle-clenching.
Feeling the predictable thrill, and the tightening effect, in every atom of his being, Cameron covered his reaction with the equally languid-appearing motions of first rising, then removing his glasses.
“How intriguing.” He allowed a hint of a smile to shadow his lips. Laying the specs on top of the papers he had been reading, he flicked a hand to indicate the two functional chairs placed in front of his desk. “Have a seat,” he said, arching one goldkissed, tawny eyebrow. “And explain.”
“The courtesy?” Matching his expression with a raised brown brow that was as dark as his were light, Sandra sank onto a chair and crossed her legs, causing her long, narrow side-split linen skirt to hitch up to reveal an enticing length of thigh.
“Er. yeah.” Cameron’s voice was dry, because his throat was dry, parched by the heat of his reaction to her display of one sheer-nylon-encased leg.
Lord, what his imagination could conjure around her legs, should he give it free rein. And
most of the conjuring would involve those long, shapely limbs, that tapered to slender ankles, curling around him.
The fleeting thought occurred to him of how amused—surprised? shocked? amazed?—his family, friends and acquaintances would very likely be, should they be able to tap into the desire of his imagination to indulge in erotic flights of fantasy about her.
With the possible exception of his mother, who knew him best, and tended to peer beneath the surface, nearly everyone who knew Cameron believed him to be a confirmed woman-hater, as well as a confirmed bachelor.
He wasn’t, of course. But having been burned once, a long time ago, he was not only wary of involvement, he was extremely selective in his choice of female companions—who had been few and far between for some years. And even then, he had never had a dalliance with anyone remotely concerned with his professional life.
Sandra, however, was something else again. There had been instances, too many for comfort, when temptation lured, desire swirled, and his imagination fought against his self-imposed control in a burning bid to soar free. To date, his control had proved stronger. Today was no different.
Imposing that hard-fought-for iron control, Cameron didn’t free his imagination. With a silent sigh of regret, he reined it in instead.
“What courtesy, and why?”
Her luscious mouth curved into a knowing smile of genuine amusement, and appreciation for his discernment. Sandra had never made the mistake of taking him for anybody’s fool.
“The courtesy of letting you know that you’ll be getting a break from tangling with me for a while. possibly a long while.”
He frowned; instead of clarifying, her explanation compounded his confusion. His expression mirroring his feelings, Cameron dropped into his desk chair, leaned forward and fixed a piercing stare on her.
“You want to expand on that cryptic statement?”
Sandra’s smile took on a teasing quirk; her soft dark brown eyes danced with laughter lights. “You mean, what in hell am I talking about?”
Cameron gave a judicious nod of his head, and absently raised a hand to brush back the thick lock of tawny hair that tumbled onto his forehead. “Yeah, that would clear up the issue for me.”
“I’m taking a leave of absence from my work and the firm,” she answered with a simple candor. “A sabbatical, if you will.”
Her response brought him to a full stop for an instant. The low sound of her throaty laughter jarred him out of his bemusement.
“Leave of absence?” His voice had lost the slow and easy drawl, and now held unabashed and blatant disbelief. “A sabbatical?”
Sandra made an elaborate show of glancing around the office. “Do I detect an echo in here?”
“Clever. Real clever.” Cameron gave her a dry, droll look. “If you’re through playing straight ma—person,” he said chidingly, “are you ready to tell me what in hell you
She chided him right back. “Exactly what I said. I’m taking a leave of absence.”
“Why?” His brow furrowed in a frown. “You’re the best lawyer in the firm.”
“Thank you for that.” Sandra inclined her head in acknowledgment of the compliment. She knew they were few and far between from Cameron Wolfe.
“You’re welcome. Now tell me why.”
‘‘I’m tired.” Her answer came without hesitation, and with determined adamancy. “I need a break.”
His eyes shadowed with brooding intent, Cameron absently toyed with one of the earpieces of his glasses as he mulled over her response.
Sandra certainly didn’t look tired, he mused, studying her face in minute detail. In point of fact,
she looked as bright and sparkling as the spring sunshine that was pouring through the wide office window and splashing butter yellow color on the utilitarian gray carpet.
For all the depth of his shrewd observation, Cameron could not detect the slightest sign of stress or strain in her smooth features, or in the calm, clear eyes returning his inspection.
“You don’t look tired,” he voiced his assessment. “Matter of fact, you look pretty good.”
Sandra laughed; it was another sound that never failed to thrill. Low, throatily exciting, her laughter had always had the power to light the darkest and most secret depths of his being.
“Two compliments from you in one day.” Her eyes sparkled with amusement. “Must be a record.”
“A stranger overhearing you might be forgiven for thinking me some kind of ogre,” Cameron said in gentle reproof. “Am I really that cold?”
“No.” She shook her head, setting her sleek, stylishly bobbed sable hair swirling. “A tad remote, perhaps, but not cold.” Her soft mouth curved into a teasing smile. “But for as long as I’ve known you, you have never been fast and loose with the compliments.”
“I never saw the point in sweet-talking anyone,” he said with blunt honesty.
“Yes, I know. You call them as you see them.”
“Right.” He gave a sharp, emphatic nod of his head, once again flipping the shock of hair onto his forehead. “So, now that we’ve established my forthrightness,” he drawled, absently brushing back the unruly hair, “I’d like to hear the bottom-line reason for your taking a leave of absence.”
Sandra shook her head despairingly, and sent another ripple of throaty laughter dancing around the room and down his spine.
“You’re a hoot, Wolfe,” she said, a smile remaining after her laughter subsided. “You’re like a journalist in hot pursuit of a fast-breaking juicy scandal—you just don’t quit, do you?”
“Quitting doesn’t get you anywhere.”
“Touche,” she said, acknowledging his pointed barb. “But you see, the bottom line is, I am tired.” A frown drew her perfectly arched brows together. “I’m more than tired. I’m burned out. I need a break.”
Cameron stared at her pensively while he assimilated the depth of the shading in her voice. Sandra was saying a lot more than she was saying, he concluded, loosening his visual grip on her steadily returned stare.
“This last case get to you?” he asked, setting his reading glasses aside once more to rake long fingers through his already finger-ruffled hair.
“Yes.” Her flat response was immediate, unequivocal. “It got to me.”
Cameron knew the feeling; boy, did he know the feeling. The strange, almost eerie thing was, the case he had just wrapped up had gotten to him, too.
Odd, the two of them feeling the strain at the same time. Odd, and a bit weird.
He made a quick movement of his head, as if trying to shake off the uncanny sensation. Coincidence, he assured himself. Nothing but coincidence.
But was it?
Cameron’s built-in computer went to work, tossing out facts and figures, irrefutable and unarguable.
He had been transferred to Denver by the Bureau the year that Sandra joined the law firm of Carlson and Carlson, a mother-and-daughter partnership handling primarily what Cameron thought of as “women’s cases.”
Throughout the intervening years, he had observed Sandra’s dedication and work with what he hoped was a dispassionate objectivity. They had clashed and tangled on several occasions—whenever one of his cases evolved into one of her cases.
Sandra had always maintained the highest level of professionalism and the strictest moral and ethical code of behavior—as, in fact, he did himself.
In Cameron’s opinion, Sandra was not just one of the best attorneys he knew but also one of the best human beings. He admired her, and genuinely
liked her, more than a little—which was why he kept a professional barrier between them.
But, at the same time, he also kept close tabs on her, following her career and cases.
And her last case had been a real beaut.
Sandra had represented the mother in a childcustody battle. The divorced combatants had been equally determined to attain sole custody of the innocent party, a lovely little girl of five.
The father, one Raymond Whitfield—a man Cameron personally and secretly considered an arrogant and overbearing bastard—had been confident of winning the battle, due to his wealth and his position in the city.
The mother—made timid and fearful by years of marriage to a psychologically abusive man—had somehow worked up the courage to seek help from Carlson and Carlson, after reading an article in a national magazine about the successful record of the firm, and the skill in the courtroom of Sandra Bradley.
Sandra had not only accepted the woman as a client, she had marshaled all her formidable intelligence and talents to bring them to the case.
Sandra, the mother and, most importantly, the five-year-old child had won. The bastard had lostwith much huffing and puffing, and not a whiff of dignity.
But the battle had obviously taken a great toll on Sandra—although there was little evidence of it in her appearance or demeanor.
“He didn’t lose graciously, did he?” he said, referring to the man’s public harrumphing.
“No, he didn’t.” Sandra lifted her shoulders in a helpless shrug. “Probably because he genuinely believed he couldn’t possibly lose.”
“Seeing as how he comes from a very old and well-established family, with friends in high places, I suppose that’s understandable.”
“More like predictable,” she murmured, grimacing. “He is really not a very nice man.”
“Did he make any threats, open or veiled?” Cameron demanded, alerted by a hint of something in her tone, her expression.
Sandra flipped her hand in a dismissive gesture. “He was just blowing off steam.”
“What did he say?”
“It wasn’t important, all big—”
He cut her off, repeating his hard voiced question. “What did he say?”
He again cut her off. “Sandra. Tell me.”
She heaved a sigh, but answered, “He muttered something about getting me, winning out in the end.” She made a face, looking both wry and bored. “I’m sure he meant that he’d see me in court again, maybe even the Supreme Court.”
“Maybe,” he agreed, making a mental note to keep tabs on the man, just to be on the safe side.
“At any rate, it’s over, at least for now,” she said, giving him a faint smile. “And I’m tired. I’ve earned a break, and I’m going to take it.”
“Well, at the risk of repeating myself, it doesn’t show. You don’t look tired.”
She responded with a spine-tingling laugh.
While absorbing the effect of her laughter on his senses, Cameron couldn’t help but wonder if his own weariness and uneasy sense of pointlessness were manifesting themselves in his expressions or his actions.
After more than ten years as a special agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, he was experiencing more than disillusionment; he was feeling jaded and cynical.
He didn’t like the feeling.
Cameron sprang from a family with a history of involvement in law enforcement. Pennsylvania was his birth state. His father had been a beat cop in Philadelphia, and had been killed in the line of duty by a strung-out dealer during a narcotics bust several years ago. Cameron still ached inside at the memory.
The eldest of four sons, he was proud of his younger brothers, all three of whom were in law enforcement. The one nearest to him in age, Royce, was a sergeant with the Pennsylvania State Police.
The next brother, Eric, was on the Philadelphia police force, working undercover in the narcotics division, which he had transferred to after the death of their father. His youngest brother, Jake, after years of worrying Cameron with his rebellious attitude and footloose-and-fancy-free life-style, had finally come to terms with himself.