FREE! by Rhonda Lee Carver
Avary Pine plays the cello like an angel.
One evening she is attacked outside of the theater after a performance and is left without the use of her hand.
Fast forward two years. After grueling physical therapy and living and breathing the cello, Avary is determined to become the musician she once was. Her music coach encourages her to start playing in the public again, but the mind doesn’t heal as fast as the body. Each time Avary closes her eyes she is filled with memories of the attack.
Living with her sister, out of money and in a career rut, Avary accepts an offer to play at a dinner party at the illustrious Knight Estate. Baby steps back into the musical world didn’t include a luxurious weekend at a vineyard, but does she have a choice?
Reserved, intimidating, rich Victor Knight reluctantly invites unworldly, mousy Avary to his estate–but he’s in for a shock. Nothing about her is mousy. The last thing he needs is to get involved with a sweet, free-spirited cellist, but why can’t he resist? She cramps his bachelor lifestyle, and he’s never been happier. But he can’t lose someone again…
Can they leave the baggage at the door and learn to trust? Or will their past poison their future?
“That was close,” he whispered near her ear, his breath sweeping across her cheek.
He didn’t release her and she didn’t move. Instead, he lifted his hand to her jaw and slowly brushed his knuckles across her skin, tracing the line to where her pulse beat rapidly in the hollow at her neck. His fingers moved along her shoulder, examining the trembling flesh, gliding the tip of one finger over the tiny strap that held the top of the gown in place. He tucked his thumb underneath and gradually tugged it. The gown slipped low onto one breast. Her nipples turned to solid pearls. He skated his thumbs down her arms and she shivered, a whimper escaping her quivering lips. His breath grew hotter against her nape, his chest lifting and falling raggedly. He nuzzled her neck, his sandpapery beard rasped her sensitive flesh, but quickly forgotten when he brushed his lips against her ear lobe, lower to the spot where her neckline met her shoulder. She was at a loss, uncertain what she should do. She couldn’t move for fear that she would land on her face. And her body liked his touch, enjoyed how he erupted a cluster of sensations through her, over her, around her.
She felt his gentle touch on her wrist—the hand with the scar. She moaned in refusal, but he continued to slide his fingers along the length of hers, his thumb tracing the puffy red line. Sparks traveled up her arm and all she could do was stand there, allowing him to coax forbidden sensations within her. He brought her hand to his mouth and he kissed the spot where the scar was reddest, where the knife had first entered her flesh, the deepest cut. Then he traced the line with the tip of his tongue, upward from her palm, over her sensitive wrist and stopping where the scar ended, then kissing her again. Her veins quaked and her heart skipped ten beats. She’d never known such tenderness, such emotion.
A low groan slipped from within his chest and he easily turned her around to face him. She met his burning gaze and her lungs deflated. Seconds ticked by, maybe hours…maybe forever. She was in a hypnotic state as she watched him, his lovely eyes, his beautiful mouth that promised passionate kisses and of the secret things he could do to her—for her. For the first time in her entire life, she wanted a man to rip her clothes from her body and take her—hard and fast. She wanted to know what he felt like, have him explore her virgin flesh.
Would he oblige her?