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Next Year's Promise
Karen Hudgins
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Anne Kingsley pursues a high-profile advertising project that takes her to Australia, where she meets sheep station owner Slade McGregor.

His distrust of this too-curious city woman rivals hers of the country rogue, who dares mixing business with pleasure. Although their backgrounds are worlds apart, Anne and Slade have both suffered betrayals of the heart. Beneath the Southern Cross, they face their inner fears and fall in love, to become perfect mates.

Removing his hat, Slade took in the spectacular whole of Anne. He already felt better. Being with her brought him stimulation and peace. If she only understood her effect on him.

Their time apart served a good purpose, he’d decided as he drove into Sydney. It gave him time to be sure. He liked her determination and natural beauty. But more so, she held the power to seduce his heart, soul and mind. He’d missed the surrender.

Tonight, though, was her night. In every sense. Each move she made in the midnight-blue cocktail dress fueled his need to hold her. Her eyes drew him in. Unwavering, she sent him the most powerful of feminine signals--a simple, sweet smile.

Slade twitched his mouth. Why play games and pretend he didn’t need her? Hell, he loved her--for who she was, and for who she wasn’t. Weeks without Annie had nearly done him in. Night and day blended into one long void. He’d resumed work on the wool scouring plant, but that didn’t fulfill him.

Seeing her now eased everything back into place. He wanted to make the Red Gum a success for reasons other than watching numbers grow in a tally log. He wanted it for her and some little McGregors. That is, if she’d have him and wanted it that way. She loved her work, but he’d be willing to settle for one little part of what was left over. What she gave him was that rich.

“Annie?” He stepped forward and breathed deeply. Boronia fragrance wreathed her. She speared him with hope and fire.

Couldn’t she feel it?

“Yes, Slade?” Anne never wanted to forget the way he was looking at her right now, enamored and accepting.

“You’ve cut your hair,” he said, still waiting for a signal. He wasn’t going to embarrass her in the middle of important business. If she wanted more from him, she’d have to show it was okay for him to give it.

Anne lifted her fingers to the wavy, sunlit tips.

“You like it?”

He nodded and the wholesome maleness of him rendered Anne weak-kneed. His next step brought him close enough to encircle her with his arms. She longed for his kiss.

Slade ran his hand down his jaw. No, he wasn’t going to cover her mouth with the tornadic kiss he’d stored up. She needed to pay attention to what she’d come here to finish. But hadn’t her invitation for him to attend this counted for something? If only he’d caught her call instead of his grandfather. Hearing her voice would have helped a heap.

Anne’s resolve dwindled by the second. The chemistry they once shared still cooked. Slade was the finest specimen of a “personal mess” she’d ever seen, or would want to. It pleased her beyond belief as he reached over and touched her cheek.

Slade gave out a faint whistle. This was as far as he was going to go. He swore he wasn’t going to push her to the fancy-papered wall and rekindle what he was sure he’d lost. His heart rattled his breastbone, but logic towed him back in line.

Which worked fine until she slid her fingers along his cheek. Then his unselfish intentions skidded into the billabong.

“I’m going to kiss you,” he stated. Lowering his head, he centered his lips on hers. Tasting them again rumbled from his head through his groin and down to his toes.

He absorbed her tremble as she opened her eyes.

“Slade, I--”

“Hush.” The softness and yearning in them brought out his best intentions. Yet, he was unsure she’d have him. It was true that they’d hailed from different lives and places, but something else was also true. She’d confounded him and loved him with such sweet intensity it neutralized any doubt that loving her would be a mistake. He let loose what was locked up in his heart.

“I’ve missed you,” he said, stroking her face with his thumbs. “Annie... I love you.”

Her eyes widened and she leaned into him.

There, he’d done it. He finally said what he’d realized long ago, but was never able to say until now. He repeated his words. “I love you.”

Romance novelist Karen Hudgins’ first novel was published in 2001. She then wrote three more for WingsePress.com. Her books are character-driven, and she creates the kind of stories she likes to read, or see in the movies. A dash of adventure, something mysterious, and lightly sensual romance fill her pages. Karen is also an avid digital photographer. She enjoys rock music and travel. She also works for a university and is a docent at the St. Louis Zoo.

Tonight With Tarzan: “Karen Hudgins has penned a novel filled with wonderful characters whom you can’t help falling in love with.” -- Judith Leigh, When the Vow Breaks, 2008, Highland Press.

Tonight With Tarzan: “Dynamic story spiced with humor, suspense, and more than a little jungle heat. Great Read!”-- Kathleen Coddington, Witch Ball, 2007, Cerridwen Press.

“Loved it! TWT definitely deserves a place of honor on your book shelf.” -- Debbie Hull, The Men of Her Dreams, 2003, Wings ePress.com.

“TWT makes me believe in romance! -- Kelly Erwin, Reader.

Fiction Books :: Romance Books :: Contemporary Books

ISBN: 1590889851
ISBN(13-digit): 9781590889855
Copyright: 2008
Book Publisher: Wings e Press
Binding: Perfect
No. of Pages: 330
Paper Weight (lb): 13.8

If you like this book, you may also enjoy:

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Brenda Nyveld Kathy Elbinger Jeannine D. VanEperen

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