Awaken to Pleasure

By: Nalini Singh

“I Don’t Mind When You Touch Me.”

Her eyes widened, as if she were surprised by her own words.

He was touched by the admission. “A woman should enjoy her man’s kiss, not merely allow it.” With her face bathed in the soft light of the moon streaking in through the window, she looked vulnerable.

“I’m not sure I know how to enjoy.” Her words were brutally honest. “C-could you…”

He leaned closer, enclosing her with his body. “What would you like, piccola?”

“A kiss. Like it’s supposed to be,” she whispered.

Her words betrayed that, for her, kissing had never been a pleasure. One day soon, he’d find out who had abused her, but for tonight, he would kiss her as an innocent was meant to be kissed—with tenderness and just a stroke of passion.

Just enough to tantalize.

Dear Reader,

Welcome to another passion-filled month at Silhouette Desire. Summer may be waning to a close, but the heat between these pages is still guaranteed to singe your fingertips.

Things get hot and sweaty with Sheri WhiteFeather’s Steamy Savannah Nights, the latest installment of our ever-popular continuity DYNASTIES: THE DANFORTHS. USA TODAY bestselling author Beverly Barton bursts back on the Silhouette Desire scene with Laying His Claim, another fabulous book in her series THE PROTECTORS. And Leanne Banks adds to the heat with Between Duty and Desire, the first book in MANTALK, an ongoing series with stories told exclusively from the hero’s point of view. (Talk about finally finding out what he’s really thinking!)

Also keeping things red-hot is Kristi Gold, whose Persuading the Playboy King launches her brand-new miniseries, THE ROYAL WAGER. You’ll soon be melting when you read about Brenda Jackson’s latest Westmoreland hero in Stone Cold Surrender. (Trust me, there is nothing cold about this man!) And be sure to Awaken to Pleasure with Nalini Singh’s superspicy marriage-of-convenience story.

Enjoy all the passion inside!


Rain slashed against the windscreen of Jackson’s car with fierce intensity. Aware of the dangers inherent in the dark winter’s night, he kept the speed of his powerful car well under control, watching out for reckless pedestrians.

However, in sharp contrast to the usual Friday night crowds, there was an almost deserted air about the brightly lit centre of Auckland. He knew it was illusionary. The revelers were there but hidden in soundproofed, weatherproofed basements and upstairs rooms, full of pumping music that drowned out the driving rain. He’d passed one such room on his way out of his studio office. It had been the site of a wrap party for a murder drama.

A reed-thin blonde had caught him leaving the building and invited him to join in. Her eyes had been frank with invitation for a much more private party. Unfortunately for her ambition, he didn’t play those kinds of games, and ever since Bonnie, blondes held about as much appeal as arsenic.

After the day he’d had, all he wanted was some cognac and a hot bath. Taylor looked like she could do with both. The poor baby was standing outside in the icy rain, waiting for a bus, her face pinched with cold. She could probably do with a hot man in bed as well but…


Standing in the pouring rain under a barely glowing streetlight, shivering and blue?

“Dio!” He screeched to a stop and then backed up, thanking God for the lack of traffic. As soon as he reached her, he leaned across and threw open the passenger door. “Get the hell in!” The weather obliged, but Taylor didn’t.

The sodden woman outside made a face, as if debating whether to take his less than warm offer. Needle-sharp rain continued to pelt her, hard and certainly painful, even through the thick wool of her pantsuit. “The bus is supposed to come any m-m-m-minute.”

Her chattering teeth enraged Jackson. For a second, he thought he saw fear in those big eyes of hers but it had to have been a trick of the light. He’d never met a woman less afraid of him than this bedraggled creature. “Get in here right now, Taylor.”

She looked like she was going to be obstinate, but then the universe took pity on him. It started to hail. With a tiny shriek that was undeniably feminine, she scrambled into the car and pulled the door shut. Her trembling hands immediately went to the warm air circulating from the ventilation shafts.

He turned up the heat before pulling away from the curb to make a right turn instead of going left. Taylor lived on the opposite side of the city from him. Outside, the night had become immeasurably darker, but the hailstorm petered away after a short but brutal reign.

“I’m wet…your car…” Taylor began, through lips that were blue with cold.